Segovia Offensive

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Segovia Offensive
Part of the Spanish Civil War
Miliciananos Taro.jpg
Republican soldiers during the Segovia Offensive.
Date 31 May, 6 June 1937
Location Near Segovia, Segovia province, Spain
Result Nationalist victory[1]
Belligerents
 Spanish Republic Francoist Spain Nationalist Spain
Commanders and leaders
Second Spanish Republic Domingo Moriones
Second Spanish RepublicGustavo Duran
Second Spanish RepublicJosé María Galan[2]
Karol Świerczewski "General Walther"
Francoist Spain José Varela
Francoist Spain Fernando Barrón
Strength
3 divisions ?
Casualties and losses
3,000 casualties ?

The Segovia Offensive was a Republican diversionary offensive which took place between 31 May and 6 June 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The main goal of the offensive was to occupy Segovia and divert Nationalist forces from their advance on Bilbao. After a brief initial advance the offensive failed due the Nationalist air superiority.

Background[edit]

On April 1937, the Nationalists started an offensive against the Republican held, Biscay Province, and by the end of May the Navarrese troops reached the eastern side of the Bilbao's defenses. Then, the Republican government decided to launch two diversionary offensives in the Aragon and the Madrid front in order to divert Nationalist troops.[3]

Battle[edit]

The Republican Army had three divisions in the Sierra de Guadarrama: Galan's 34th, General Walther's 35th and Duran's 69th divisions (according to Thomas, the commander of the 69th division was Luis Barceló), under the command of the Colonel Domingo Moriones, supported by artillery and a company of T-26 tanks.[4][5]

On May 31 the Republicans started the attack in the Sierra de Guadarrama with a heavy bombardment of the Nationalist positions, broke the Nationalist lines at San Ildefonso and the same day the 69th division occupied Cruz de la Gallega and advance towards Cabeza Grande, threatening the Segovia Road, although the XIV International Brigade suffered appalling casualties. The Republican advance reached La Granja,[6] but on June 1, the Nationalists started a counteroffensive with the General Varela's division, the reinforcements brought from the Madrid front by Barrón and heavy air support. The Nationalists recovered Cabeza Grande and threatened the Republican troops. On June 6, Moriones ordered the Republican troops to retreat to their start lines. The Republicans had lost 3,000 men, among them 1,000 members of the XIV International Brigade.[7]

Aftermath[edit]

The Republican offensive failed because the air superiority of the Nationalists and the ineffectiveness of the Spanish Republican Air Force. Colonel Moriones said: "Our own aircraft carried out bombing attacks from a great height and carelessly...our fighters kept a respectable distance and rarely came down to machine-gun the enemy...enemy aircraft were highly active and extraordinarily effective.".[8] The Segovia offensive only delayed two weeks the Nationalist offensive against Bilbao.[9]

In literature[edit]

The Segovia Offensive is the Offensive described in the Ernest Hemingway novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls.[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2006. pages 347 and 429
  2. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. (2001). Penguin Books. London. p.668
  3. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. (2001). Penguin Books. London. p.667
  4. ^ Beevor, Antony (2006). The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. pp.275-276
  5. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. (2001). Penguin Books. London. p.668
  6. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. (2001). Penguin Books. London. p.668
  7. ^ Beevor, Antony (2006). The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. p.276
  8. ^ Beevor, Antony (2006). The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. London. p.276
  9. ^ Beevor, Antony (2006). The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939.. London. Penguin Books. p.276
  10. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. (2001). Penguin Books. London. p.669
  11. ^ Beevor, Antony (2006). The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. Penguin Books. p.276

Bibliography[edit]

  • Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. Penguin Books. London. 2006. ISBN 0-14-303765-X
  • Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. London. 2001. ISBN 978-0-14-101161-5