XIII International Brigade

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The symbol of the international brigades

This article is about the 13th International Brigade - often known as the XIII Dabrowski Brigade - which fought for the Spanish Second Republic in the Spanish Civil War in the International Brigades. The brigade was dissolved and then reformed on four occasions.

1st Formation[edit]

The brigade was first mustered at the International Brigade headquarters in Albacete in December 1936.[1] The custom was to name Brigades on formation after inspirational "heroes of the Left". The 13th Brigade was named after Jarosław Dąbrowski, a Polish general who died on foreign soil, fighting in the defence of the Paris Commune in 1871. It consisted of three battalions, and three artillery batteries.

This brigade mutinied after receiving heavy casualties the Battle of Brunete in July 1937[citation needed]. Its battalions were dissolved, the men were sent to other units, and its equipment was re-distributed.[citation needed]

2nd Formation[edit]

The brigade was reformed on 4 August 1937, from Central European battalions. It again used Jarosław Dąbrowski as its exemplar.

It was dissolved on 23 September 1938, along with the other International Brigades, when the Negrin Government took the decision to send foreign volunteers home. This decision was taken after pressure from the Non-Intervention Committee to remove all foreign volunteers from both sides of the conflict in an endeavour to de-internationalise it. Negrin acquiesced because he believed the Nationalists would send their foreigners home too.

3rd formation[edit]

The brigade was again reformed (in Monredón) on 1 October 1938 from exclusively Spanish conscript battalions.

4th formation[edit]

In mid-January 1939, in Palafrugell, Cataluña, a group of Polish and Balkan volunteers requested permission of André Marty to return to fight the Nationalists' Catalonia Offensive. On 23 January, they were formed into the XIII International Brigade. It was placed in charge of a young second lieutenant. The unit soon fell apart.[2]

Brigade Staff[edit]

Brigade Commanders:

Chiefs of Staff:

  • Albert Schreiner "Schindler" (German)

Brigade Commissars:

  • Ferry (Italian)

Sources and references[edit]

  1. ^ Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War
  2. ^ Eby, Comrades and Commissars, p 415