Battle of Minorca (1939)

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Battle of Minorca
Part of the Spanish Civil War
Localització de Menorca respecte les Illes Balears.svg
Balearic islands. Minorca in blue.
Date 7–9 February 1939
Location Minorca, Balearic Islands Spain
Result
  • Surrender of the Republican garrison.
  • Nationalist occupation of Minorca.
Belligerents
 Spanish Republic  Nationalist Spain
Francoist Spain Fifth Column
Commanders and leaders
Second Spanish Republic Luis González de Ubieta
Second Spanish Republic Marcelino Rodríguez 
Spain Juan Thomas
Strength
1 brigade 3 battalions[1]
Casualties and losses
1 killed unknown

The Battle of Minorca took place in Minorca between the 7 and 9 February 1939 during the Spanish Civil War.

Background[edit]

After the fall of Catalonia, the island of Minorca, the only Balearic island held by the Republic, was isolated from other Republican-held territory by the Nationalist naval blockade. Then, Francisco Franco said to the British government that Mussolini's Italian troops would abandon the Balearic Islands after the war and the British government agreed to arrange the surrender of the Republican garrison.[2]

The rising[edit]

On 8 January 1939 Admiral Luis González de Ubieta was transferred to Minorca to take the command of the Spanish Republican naval base at Port Mahon. He also was given the authority to command all the republican military forces on the island.[3]

On 7 February, the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Devonshire came to the Mahon harbor with a Nationalist emissary, Fernando Sartorius, on board. Sartorius said to the Republican commander, Luis González Ubieta, that the Nationalist forces would occupy the island on 8 February, but the Republican officers and supporters would abandon the island. The same day, three battalions of the Republican garrison, led by a member of the Fifth column, the officer Juan Thomas, occupied the Minorca ciudadela, after killing the Republican commander Marcelino Rodríguez. One brigade of Republican troops arrived from Mahon, defeated the rebel troops after a brief combat and surrounded the Ciudadela. Nevertheless the Republican officers believed that the fight was useless, desired to abandon the island and the British arranged the surrender of the island to the Nationalists on board of the HMS Devonshire. On 8 February, Italian and Spanish Nationalist bombers attacked Mahon, but the Devonshire sailed to Marseille with 452 Republican refugees on board.[4] On 9 February, the 105th division of the Nationalist Army disembarked at the Ciudadela and the Republican troops surrendered.[5]

Aftermath[edit]

After the surrender of Minorca, many Republican officers in the central zone believed that they would negotiate a deal with the Nationalists, and then started to plan a coup against the Negrín government.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p. 860
  2. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. THe Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. London. 2006. p. 385
  3. ^ Diario oficial nº22, 22 de enero de 1939
  4. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p. 861
  5. ^ Salas Larrazábal, Ramón & Jesús (1986). Historia general de la Guerra de España.Rialp, p. 393. ISBN 84-321-2340-4 (Spanish)
  6. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p. 861