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Osprey Campaign 60 : The Ebro 1938 : Death Knell of the Republic

The last major Republican offensive of the Spanish Civil War, the Battle of the Ebro was an attempt to restore communications between Catalonia and the rest of Republican Spain. It was a vitally important episode in the Spanish conflict and, although ultimately a Republican defeat it proved a severe setback for the Nationalist forces under General Francesco Franco Bahamonde. According to many historians it extended the war for an extra year. Ultimately however it was probably the death knell of the Republic; their armies lost vast amounts of men and materials and they were left incapable of defending their remaining territory effectively. Additionally, under pressure from France and Britain, the International Brigades were withdrawn from Spain during the battle, ending direct military support for the Republic. The offensive was a response to the Nationalist attacks in February-June which had reached the sea at Vinaroz and isolated Catalonia from the rest of Loyalist-held territory. The Republican crossing of the Ebro met with initial success but was ultimately halted around the town of Gandesa. The battle for the bridgehead raged for 113 days costing 70,000 loyalist casualties before their battered forces withdrew across the Ebro. The fighting was marked by bloody attritional warfare, specialised artillery bombardments and extensive air attacks on the Loyalist supply lines. The consequences for Europe were immense. Franco's ultimate victory created another fascist state; Britain and France's failure to intervene effectively convinced Hitler that the liberal democracies would not oppose him and hastened his invasion of Czechoslovakia, and ultimately the outbreak of World War II. Text by Chris Henry with illustrations by Adam Hook.

    Contents
  • Origins of the Campaign
  • Opposing Leaders
  • Opposing Armies
  • Opposing Plans
  • The Campaign
  • Aftermath
  • The Battlefield Today
  • Chronology
  • Wargaming the Ebro Offensive
  • Glossary
  • Further Reading

 

Osprey Campaign


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