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Major Battles of the Spanish Civil War

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Flag of the Republican 44th Division

Flag of the 44th Division

Pictured above is the flag of the 44th Division of the Republican Popular Army. This division was at the front in Aragón when the Nationalists launched their offensive. The Nationalist Moroccan Corps, under the command of General Yagüe, with the support of tanks, broke through the 44th Division on the first day of the offensive.

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The flag image was created by SanchoPanzaXXI and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

The Nationalist offensive in Aragón

The Nationalist offensive in Aragón was launched in March 1938, shortly after their successful operations to recapture Teruel. This offensive was to prove catastrophic for the Republic. The Republican forces were all but routed in Aragón, and the Nationalists were able to capture huge swathes of territory in both Aragón and the Levante. The Nationalists made full advantage of air and artillery superiority, bombarding enemy positions ahead of assaults. Belchite was retaken from the International Brigade which had captured it at such cost during the Republicans earlier attack on Aragón, on the second day of the offensive.

On April 15th the 4th Navarre Division captured Vinaroz on the Levante coast, effectively severing the Republic in two (Catalonia and the central zone). This also meant that the central zone, which included Madrid and Valencia, shared all of its land borders with Nationalist Spain. With the Republic in an increasingly desperate position, Franco chose to attack towards Valencia, rather than Barcelona (which was now the base of the Republican government). This decision, which has been much criticized, gave the Republicans the breathing space they required to organize and plan a new offensive of their own, the battle of the Ebro.

The attack towards Valencia did meet with initial success, but fortifications had been prepared that the Nationalists were unable to breach. New aircraft arrived from the Soviet Union that were put into action, challenging the Nationalists air superiority. After suffering heavy losses in their attempts to breach the fortifications in early July, the Nationalists were forced to postpone their efforts when the Republicans launched their Ebro offensive on July 24th, 1938.