Cartagena Uprising

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Cartagena Uprising
Part of the Spanish Civil War
Cartagena desde San Julian 01.JPG
Cartagena
Date March 4–7, 1939
Location Cartagena, Spain
Result
  • Suppression of the Uprising
  • Flight of the Republican Fleet
Belligerents
 Spanish Republic  Nationalist Spain
Francoist Spain Fifth column
Commanders and leaders
Second Spanish Republic Francisco Galán
Second Spanish Republic Artemio Precioso
Second Spanish Republic Miguel Buiza
Francoist Spain Arturo Espa
Francoist Spain Rafael Barrionuevo
  • Second Spanish Republic Gerardo Armentia
Strength
One brigade
three cruisers
eight destroyers
Cartagena's garrison
two auxiliary cruisers
Casualties and losses
206th brigage?
three cruisers fled to Bizerte
eight destroyers fled to Bizerte
Cartagena's garrison?
one auxiliar cruiser sunk
1,225 dead and 700 prisoners

The Cartagena Uprising took place March 4–7, 1939 during the Spanish Civil War. SS Castillo de Olite sunk during the event.

Background[edit]

After the fall of Catalonia in February 1939, the military situation of the Republic was hopeless. The republic still held the capital city and 30 per cent of Spanish territory, but the Spanish Republican Army had lost 220,000 soldiers, the second city of [1] the country and the Catalan war industry.[2] Furthermore, in 27 February Manuel Azaña the president of the Republic resigned and Great Britain and France recognized the francoist government. The high commanders of the Republican army believed that further military resistance was impossible, but the prime minister backed by the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) wanted to continue the resistance. Then the colonel Segismundo Casado, supported by the generals Matallana and Miaja, the CNT (Cipriano Mera), the secret service of the republic (the SIM), a section of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) (Julian Besteiro) and a section of the UGT (Wenceslao Carrillo), planned a coup against Negrin.[3]

The uprising[edit]

On 3 March, Juan Negrin appointed Francisco Galan, a member of the PCE, to command the naval base of Cartagena. On 4 March, Franciso Galan arrived in Cartagena to take over command and the supporters of Casado, led by the colonel Gerardo Armentia, revolted and arrested Galan.[4] Then, the Fifth Column in the city, led by Colonel Arturo Espa, joined the rebellion, seized the coastal batteries of Los Dolores and the radio station, from where they broadcast appeals for help from the nationalists.[5] Rafael Barrionuevo, a retired general living in the city, proclaimed himself military governor.[6]

The flight of the Republican Fleet and the suppression of the uprising[edit]

On 5 March, the Nationalist air force bombed the harbour of Cartagena, sinking Spanish Republican Navy destroyer Sanchez Barcaiztegui.[7] As a result Commander Miguel Buiza ordered the bulk of the fleet, which included cruisers Miguel de Cervantes, Libertad and Mendez Nuñez, as well as eight destroyers, to flee from Cartagena and head to Bizerte.

Galan, who had been liberated by the rebels, fled on board the Libertad. Then the IV division of the Spanish Republican Army, led by communist officer Joaquin Rodriguez, was dispatched to Cartagena in order to crush the revolt, by Jesus Hernandez.[8] On 7 March, the 206th brigade arrived to Cartagena, crushed the rising and seized the radio station and the coastal batteries.[9] There were 61 deaths.[10]

The sinking of the Castillo de Olite[edit]

Franco had ordered troops to Cartagena in order to support the uprising, and the same day, two Nationalist transport ships arrived to support the rebellion, without knowing that the rebellion had been crushed.[11] The shore batteries of Cartagena fired at close rank and sunk one of them, the Castillo de Olite. 1,225 soldiers died and 700 were taken prisoners.[12]

Aftermath[edit]

The rebellion was crushed, but the Republican fleet didn't return to Cartagena and fled to Bizerte. The French authorities seized the ships and later handed them over to the Nationalists.[13] Without the fleet the evacuation of Republican refugees was impossible.[14]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.391
  2. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2001. London. p.854
  3. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2001. London. pp.876.878
  4. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.390
  5. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. pp.390-391
  6. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2001. London. p.876
  7. ^ Juliá, Santos; Casanova, Julían; Solé i Sabaté, Josep Maria, Villarroya, Joan; and Moreno, Francisco. Víctimas de la guerra civil. 2006. Ediciones Temas de Hoy. Madrid. p.266
  8. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2001. London. p.877
  9. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.391
  10. ^ Juliá, Santos; Casanova, Julían; Solé i Sabaté, Josep Maria, Villarroya, Joan; and Moreno, Francisco. Víctimas de la guerra civil. 2006. Ediciones Temas de Hoy. Madrid. p.267
  11. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2001. London. p.877
  12. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.391
  13. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.391
  14. ^ Graham, Helen. The Spanish Civil War. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. 2005. p. 113

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Viñas, Ángel; and Hernández Sánchez, Fernando. El Desplome de la República. Editorial Crítica. Barcelona. 2009. ISBN 978-84-9892-031-4