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Friday, 15 December 2017

Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 15th December 1937 – 20th February 1938

THE BATTLE OF TERUEL

The Republican Army launched an offensive to capture Teruel to pre-empt a Nationalist attack upon Catalonia. Two Republican armies (led by Generals Hernandez Sarabia and Leopoldo Menendez) advanced on Teruel and by nightfall on 15th December they had surrounded the city.

The garrison, which was commanded by Colonel Rey d'Harcourt, held out in the southern part of the city until 8th January; casualties and lack of supplies then forced them to surrender. On 29th December General Franco had ordered Generals Jose Varela and Antonio Aranda to mount a counter-attack to relieve the defenders but the appalling winter weather hampered their advance and d'Harcourt had surrendered before they could raise the siege. The Republicans now found that they were in danger of being besieged in Teruel themselves.

On 7th February Nationalist cavalry attacked the Republican forces to the North of the city and forced them to retreat and by 17th February Moroccan troops (led by General Juan Yague) had crossed the River Alfambra. Three days later the Nationalists had almost surrounded the city and the Republican armies were forced to retreat along the Valencia road to the south-east. The Nationalists then reoccupied Teruel.

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