Sunday, 30 March 2014

World of Tanks: Today in History: Guadalajara Operation

The Spanish Civil War began on July 17th, 1936. The conflict was between those on the side of the Spanish Republic and Francisco Franco's nationalist forces. The Republicans were supported by the USSR and Mexico, while the Francists received military aid from Germany, Italy, and Portugal.

After defending Madrid in the late fall of 1936, Republican forces, lacking highly trained and disciplined troops, spent time to rebuild their forces. On December 19th, 1936, the rebels resumed their offensives. After heavy battles at Brunete and the valley of the river Jarama, the position of the front stabilized.

The Italians attempted to shift the balance in the favour of the Francists. On March 8th, they performed an offensive with the "Black Flame" division. To develop this offensive, the division would be joined by another Italian division and a Spanish brigade. The Spanish-Italian forces had CV-3/33 and CV-3/35 Italian tanks, about 150 vehicles in total. In order to contain the attack, the Republicans transferred 20 T-26 tanks and two international brigades from Jaram to Guadalajara. Soviet tankers drove the tanks, and the battalion was commanded by Major M.P. Petrov.

On March 13th, 1937, the second stage of the battle began. Enrique Líster's 68th International Brigade and the tank battalion took advantage of the Italians' slow deployment and struck their enemy. As a result, the Republicans dealt a large blow to the Italian regiment, took trophies, and captured the city of Brihuega.

At the same time, on the opposite flank at Torro del Burgo, the 35th Republican Brigade also pushed away its enemy. By the evening of March 13th, the position of the Republicans on the front was much more solid.

From March 14th to March 17th, the Italians tried more attacks. Thanks to the Republican reserves, and uncontested superiority of T-26 tanks over Italian tankettes, these assaults had no success. Italians took serious losses and had to retreat. The Republicans won that battle.

Original article available here.

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