The Spanish Civil War and it's Major Battles

Build up

The Spanish Civil War took place in Spain from July 17th, 1936 and ended on April 1st, 1939. General Francisco Franco led a group of rebel group,
the Nationalists, in over throwing the Republicans, people who were loyal the Spanish republic that was in place. The Nationalists were aided by outside forces in Nazi Germany, Portugal, and the Kingdom of Italy, while the Republicans were aided by Mexico and the Soviet Union.[1]

As you can see with the image to the right, the pink was under Nationalist control and the blue is what the Republicans controlled.

Major Battles

The Battle of Guadalajara

The Battle of Guadalajara is very interesting because it was sparked by the Italian forces, who aided the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. Italy’s then fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, proposed that Italians take the offensive toward Guadalajara, which is located on the north-east side of Spain's capitol Madrid. They began their march on March 8th 1937, with about 50,000 Italian men leading the charge. The Republicans were able to counter them by bringing in 25,000 more men to have a total of 35,000 to fend off the Italian attack, with their counterattack happening from March 12th-15th. With the weather being cold and rainy, the fighting conditions weren’t the best and air support was limited. The Republicans were able to use all-weather airfield they had established to defend their front. With more counter-attacks from the 18th-22nd, the Italian army was retreating by the 23rd of March. Both sides only lost about 6,000 men, but the news of the Republicans holding off
the Italian army boosted their morale and saw the Republican side gain a lot of propaganda and attention.[2]

The Battle of the Ebro

The Battle of the Ebro was a planned, surprise attack on the Nationalists by the Republicans, and is thought to be their last attempt to attack. On July 24th 1938, the Republicans waited until midnight to cross the Ebro River. The surprise factor was a huge success and they had the Nationalists surrounded. But Franco was quick to respond and sent in units from all over to defend their lines. By August, the Nationalist had cut off the Republican supply line. On August 3rd, the Republicans took to the defensive while Franco was planning to take back the lost territory. Fighting lasted until November 18th with the Republicans be exhausted and Franco having successfully taken back the territory.

This battle became known as the most bloody and deadliest war of not only the Spanish Civil War, but in Spanish history. The republicans were estimated to have 75,000 casualties whereas Nationalists also were said to have suffered 60,000 deaths.[3]

The Battle of Madrid

Late July 1936 was the beginning of the Nationalists first attempt to take over the Spanish capital of Madrid. They had forces to the north and south, and it looked as if they were going to take it over no problem. But Franco’s decision to relieve efforts outside the city before attacking, gave the Republicans time to prepare for the attack. After receiving the Nationalists plan of attack off a dead officer, the Republicans knew where they were going to
Franco0001.pngattack with the most force. On November 7th the official attempt to gain control of Madrid began and lasted until mid-January 1937, with the Nationalist forces stopped. Both sides lost about 15,000 men and no further attempts were made by the Nationalists to take over Madrid. Instead, they planned to circle and control the city’s surroundings. Madrid wouldn't be taken over by the Nationalists until it was surrendered at the end of the war.[4]


On April 1st, 1939, The Republicans surrendered and the Nationalists had won the Spanish Civil War. Francisco Franco then went on to set up and run a fascist government in Spain, which he lead from 1939 until his death in November of 1975.[5]

Works Cited