Military Review

Guadalajara defeat of Benito Mussolini. Part of 1

30
В stories military art are many examples of battles in which, quantitatively, the weaker side defeated a more numerous adversary thanks to the better quality of their troops, command or armament. But the victory of the 20-thousandth corps of the People’s Republican Army of Spain over the 70-thousandth Italian expeditionary force and the forces of the Franco during the Guadalajara operation 8 - 23 in March 1937 - occupies a special place.


The operation, as we shall see below, showed the enormous importance of the moral factor in the course of hostilities and the skillful interaction of the arms of the armed forces.


Republican people's militia on the march

The Guadalajara sector was quite convenient for the advance of large masses of troops on Madrid - and from the very beginning of the war attracted the attention of opponents. The highway network of the operational area had 5 highways leading from the northeast to the city of Guadalajara. The area where the main events took place during the advance of the Italians (Almadrones, Toriha, Briuega, Macegozo) was a flat 5 defile - 15 km wide, sandwiched on both sides by mountain spurs. The southwestern part of the region (Villaviciosa, Gahapekhos, Trihueke and Briuega) is wooded (a considerable forest area had a great tactical importance, hampering the maneuverability of motorized units). The presence of rokadnyh paths in the forest (Toriha - Briuega - the intersection at 83-th km of the French highway) allowed the Republicans to organize a defense in front of the forest, and secretly maneuver reserves. The open, well-observed terrain to the northeast of the forest prevented Italians from covertly maneuvering. To the south-west of the Thorich-Briueg line were two highways, separated by a roadless mountainous zone.

The Guadalajara sector was defended by the 12th Infantry Division of the Republicans as part of the 72, 50, 71, 49 and 48 brigades, stretched almost on the 80-km front. Owing to such a size of the front, Republicans occupied only commanders of heights and junctions of roads; while the gaps between them were only observed by fasts. In engineering terms, the defense consisted of a single line of trenches (full-length), covered in some areas with a wire fence.

Guadalajara defeat of Benito Mussolini. Part of 1

Republican Army Fighters, 1937

On the right flank direction Maranta, Cifuentes defended the 72-i brigade (four battalions). There was no right for the 72-th brigade of the republican troops - because to the southeast, the mountain roadless (almost to Teruel) district excluded the actions of large forces of both sides. Here, individual defiles were covered by small detachments - and the closest detachment in 60 was in Zaorexas.

The central direction along the French Highway was defended by the 50 Brigade: the 3 battalion in positions at the height front of Meranchel, Mirabueno, Castehop and one battalion (recruits without weapons) in Toriha.

The 72-th and 50-brigade brigade covered the cavalry squadron in Las Inviernas.

The 71 Brigade (2-battalion) covered the area of ​​Hadrake.

The Guadalajara-Kogolyudo line was defended by the 49 Brigade, with the 2 battalion in the 1 line, the 3 in reserve in Kogolyudo and the 4 (unarmed) in the rear.

Divisional artillery (15 guns) was in firing positions in the brigade area.

The 48 brigade of the 2 battalion was in reserve - one battalion at Alaminos and the other (without weapons), together with the brigade headquarters - at Briuega.

For the offensive on the Guadalajara direction, the enemy possessed the Italian Expeditionary Corps, which by the beginning of March had finished concentrating in the area of ​​Algor, Sigüens, Medinaceli, Alcolea. In addition, on the front against the 12 division of the Republicans was the Francoist division of Soria (2-brigade), which also had to take part in the offensive.

The Italian Expeditionary Force was a striking force in the operation. In its composition:

a) three Italian volunteer fascist divisions: "God's Will", "Black Flame" and "Black Feathers";
b) personnel Italian motorized division "Littorio";
c) two Italian groups of mixed Italian-Spanish: brigades (each group is equal to a regiment in composition):
d) corps artillery group of eight artillery divisions and four anti-aircraft batteries:
e) special forces: two tank a battalion, a company of armored vehicles, a moto-machine-gun company, two flame-thrower-chemical companies;
e) road maneuvering group (around 1300 vehicles);
g) engineering and communications troops: a sapper company, a radio squadron, a radiotour, a direction-finding unit;
with) aviation;
i) 7 reserve infantry battalions.

70780 (officers - 3150, soldiers - 67630 people) enemy fighters opposed 10000 Republicans (around 6000 active rifles, 15 guns and 85 machine guns).


Italian troops during the Guadalajara operation

Thus, the attacker before the start of the operation had multiple superiority over the defenders.

The plan of the offensive operation of the Italian command provided for 3 successive phases, which were to be developed from 8 to 14 in March.

1-th stage (8 - 9 March) - a breakthrough of the republican defense south-west of Algor and the capture of the area Briuega, Thorich;

2-th stage (10 - 11 March) - the seizure of Guadalajara; at this time the Soria division captures Kogoljudo;

3 Stage (12 - 14 March) - seizing Alcala de Henares (30 km northeast of Madrid) and the punch to Madrid.

The corps offensive was to be conducted in a narrow lane (width 10 - 12 km) along two highways: through Toriha to Guadalajara (French Highway) and Briueg’s turn to Armounia. Naturally, this required a serious grouping of troops. The hull was built in three echelons; in the process of an offensive at certain lines, it was planned to replace one echelon of another

In the 1 echelon, the 2 Volunteer Division was advancing with two groups of mixed brigades and reinforcement units - 15 battalions, 74 guns and 48 tanks. After the 8-minute artillery preparation, this echelon in the morning of March 30 was supposed to break through the Republican defenses on the Mirabueno, French Highway, Las Inviernas section and reach the line Agresilla, Hontanares, Kogolor, Macetoso by the end of the day. After this milestone was reached, the 2 Volunteer Division was to be replaced by units of the 3 Volunteer Division (second echelon).

The 2 echelon consisted of the 3 volunteer division with attached units - 9 battalions, 72 guns, 43 tanks, 32 armored vehicles. After the completion of the Republican defense breakthrough of the 2 division, this echelon was supposed to quickly move forward on vehicles along the French highway and, overtaking parts of the 2 division, capture Thorich.

The 3 echelon consisted of the divisions of Littorio and the 1 volunteer divisions - 16 battalions, 68 guns, 12 tanks. Intended for the further development of success in the direction of Guadalajara, Alcala de Epares.

By the beginning of the offensive, the Expeditionary Corps had its initial position: the 2-I Volunteer Division with reinforcement units deployed on the Mandayon-Navalportto front; The 3 Volunteer Division concentrated around Karabakhos, Alcolea, Aguilar — in readiness at any moment to rush into motor vehicles to develop the breakthrough of the 2 division; The 1 Volunteer Division concentrated in the Sigüenz area; the division “Littorio”, concentrated in the region of Ariza, was to advance to the region of Karabakhos, Alcolea, Aguilar - as soon as the 3-division came out of this region.

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  1. polpot
    polpot 25 December 2018 05: 46
    +10
    Thank you, the war in Spain is a very interesting topic, we look forward to continuing.
  2. Conductor
    Conductor 25 December 2018 06: 23
    0
    No, well, where, where did the pasta climb! gain experience?
    1. svp67
      svp67 25 December 2018 07: 28
      +5
      Quote: Conductor
      No, well, where, where did the pasta climb! gain experience?

      Well, it happens when the DESIRE appears to revive the former greatness, the former empire, and the forces and means are NOT ENOUGH
      1. Conductor
        Conductor 25 December 2018 08: 41
        +3
        We then picked up, like the Germans, but the Italians sank into Greece, they cleaned them, Uncle Hitler help !!!, sank into northern Africa, again cleaned. Here the MAC 10 was canceled out, and the light forces of the fleet were quite imagined, and everything else was a misunderstanding.
        1. Olgovich
          Olgovich 25 December 2018 09: 29
          -4
          Quote: Conductor
          but the Italians, stuck in Greece, they cleaned them, Uncle Hitler help !!!, stuck in northern Africa, again cleaned

          In Abyssinia they didn’t clean them, but on the contrary, and in Spain, judging by the results, they cleaned them for someone else.
          1. Conductor
            Conductor 25 December 2018 19: 50
            +1
            Yes, against Ethiopians with spears to fight, heroism. And to whom did the Italians in Spain sweep?
    2. parma
      parma 25 December 2018 07: 53
      +1
      And where did everyone climb? Country of advice where to climb? But in 1937 the USSR had no victories yet - in 1920 they lost the war to Poland, in 1929 a draw with China (count the country 3 of the world), Hassan and so on were just ahead ... But experience was gained, the news in real I wanted to check the battle (moreover, with an equal opponent equipped with modern weapons of the rivals) ....
      According to the article, a very interesting topic has been touched upon, not very popular with us, probably because after the war most of its veterans from our parts did not expect anything good ...
      1. hohol95
        hohol95 25 December 2018 23: 19
        +1
        On July 22, General Franco turned to the governments of Germany and Italy with a request for emergency military assistance.
        Berlin and Rome instantly reacted to the rebels. Five days later, transport aircraft (nine Savoy-81, twelve Savoy-Marchetti and twenty Junkers-52) began to transfer troops from the Moroccan Tetuan airfield to Southern Spain.
        On July 27, 1936, the London Chronicle newspaper reported: “Our correspondent asked General Franco the question: “Can you, if necessary, kill half of Spain?” With a slight smile, the general replied: “I will achieve victory at all costs.”
        On November 28, Rome signed a secret agreement between Italy and the Spanish government of General Franco on cooperation, according to which the Duce pledged to help the Francoists not only with transport aircraft, but also with modern military equipment.
        For Italian assistance, Franco owed Italy 5 billion lire, which Caudillo promised to pay until June 30, 1967. Needless to say, Franco left the Italians “with a nose”.
        So, it turns out that the USSR was not the first in those "Spanish showdowns".
        1. parma
          parma 26 December 2018 06: 53
          +1
          And no one claimed that the USSR was the first state that got involved in Spanish history .... I said that Italy militarily had more achievements over the 20th century - Italy emerged victorious from all its war by that time, and The USSR (well, RI before him), on the contrary, the most outsider ...
          True, successes in WWI, then Ethiopia, and finally in Spain inflated CSV Duce too much, which led to huge "successes" in Greece ...
          1. hohol95
            hohol95 26 December 2018 16: 31
            0
            True, successes in WWI, then Ethiopia, and finally in Spain inflated CSV Duce too much, which led to huge "successes" in Greece ...

            Missed the Italo-Turkish war -
            the war between the Kingdom of Italy and the Ottoman Empire from September 29, 1911 to October 18, 1912 (386 days). Italy captured the Ottoman Empire Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (the territory of modern Libya), as well as the Greek-speaking Dodecanese archipelago (including the island of Rhodes).
        2. Mikhail Matyugin
          Mikhail Matyugin 26 December 2018 13: 01
          0
          Quote: hohol95
          So, it turns out that the USSR was not the first in those "Spanish showdowns".

          No, of course, he simply provoked the seizure of power through the Comintern and the beginning of the "revolution" in 1936 and that's it ... But no, not at all, of course ...
          1. hohol95
            hohol95 26 December 2018 21: 30
            +2
            No, of course, he simply provoked the seizure of power through the Comintern and the beginning of the "revolution" in 1936 and that's it ... But no, not at all, of course ...

            A great conclusion - A FINGER IN THE SKY ...
            Background and causes of war: a chronology of the events of the 1920s - mid-1930s.
            - Spain fell into the whirlpool of complex socio-economic processes caused by the First World War. First of all, this was manifested in the constant change of government offices. Such leapfrog in the leadership of Spain prevented the solution of the priority problems of the population and the country;
            - In 1923, General Miguel Primo de Rivera threw off the government, as a result of which a dictatorial regime was established. His reign lasted a long seven years, and ceased at the beginning of the 1930's .;
            - The global economic crisis, which caused a deterioration in the social situation of the Spaniards, a drop in living standards; Power began to lose credibility, and already it could control the population, negative trends in society;
            - Democracy was restored (1931, after the municipal elections were held) and the establishment of the power of the left forces, which caused the abolition of the monarchy, the emigration of King Alphonse Thirteen. Spain was proclaimed a republic. But the apparent stabilization of the political situation did not contribute to the long stay in power of some political forces. Most of the population continued to live below the poverty line, so the left and right political forces made maximum use of socio-economic issues as a platform for coming to power. Therefore, until 1936 there was a constant alternation of right and left governments, resulting in the polarization of parties in Spain;
            - During the years 1931-1933. attempts were made to carry out a series of reforms in the country, which increased the degree of social tension and the activation of radical political forces. In particular, the government tried to adopt new labor legislation, but it was never adopted due to protests and resistance from entrepreneurs. At the same time, the number of officers in the Spanish army was reduced by 40%, which turned the military against the current government. The Catholic Church went into opposition to power after the secularization of society. The agrarian reform, which provided for the transfer of land to small owners, ended in failure. This caused opposition from the latifundists, so the reform of the agricultural sector failed. All innovations were stopped when in 1933 the right-wing forces won the election. As a result, miners revolted in the region of Asturias;
            - In 1936, general elections were held, in order to win in which different political forces forced to cooperate came together in the People’s Front coalition. It included moderate socialists, anarchists and communists. They were opposed by right-wing radicals - the Catholic Orientation Party and the Phalanx Party. They were supported by supporters of the Catholic Church, priests, monarchists, the army, and the high command of the army. The activities of phalangists and other right-wing elements were banned from the first days of the Popular Front’s stay in power. The supporters of the right-wing forces and the Phalanx Party did not like this very much, which resulted in massive street clashes between the right and left blocs. The population began to fear that strikes and popular unrest would lead the Communist Party to power.
            - The confrontation of an open nature began after an officer who was a member of the Republican Party was killed on July 12. In response, a deputy from conservative political forces was shot dead. A few days later, the military in the Canaries and Morocco, who at that time were under Spanish rule, opposed the Republicans. By July 18, all the military garrisons began uprisings and rebellions, which crossed became the main driving force of the civil war and the Franco regime. In particular, he was supported by officers (almost 14 thousand), as well as ordinary soldiers (150 thousand people).
            Source: https://spainmag.ru/grazhdanskaya-vojna-v-ispanii-1936-1939/
            And where are the traces of the "bloody hand of the Kremlin"? There were plenty of hotheads of their own!
            1. Mikhail Matyugin
              Mikhail Matyugin 27 December 2018 08: 20
              0
              Quote: hohol95
              Such leapfrog in the leadership of Spain prevented the solution of the priority problems of the population and the country;
              - In 1923, General Miguel Primo de Rivera threw off the government, as a result of which a dictatorial regime was established. His reign lasted a long seven years, and ceased at the beginning of the 1930's .;
              I must say right away that you have chosen an unsuccessful interlocutor for a dispute that is very competent for your misfortune precisely in the Spanish Civil War.
              And you really decide whether the "long" already 7 years of military dictatorship, or leapfrog governments.

              Quote: hohol95
              Democracy was restored (1931 year after the municipal elections were held) and the establishment of left-wing power, which caused the abolition of the monarchy, the emigration of King Alphonse Thirteen. Spain was proclaimed a republic. But the apparent stabilization of the political situation did not contribute to the long stay in power of some political forces.
              Your text is again taken from a certain Soviet book explicitly. In fact, democracy presupposes the existence of a changeable power, and not "a long stay of the left in power alone." Just after the monarchy was overthrown in Spain, the local "left" decided, following the example of Russia in 1917, to establish communist rule, but without unleashing a civil war (just like in Russia) they could not keep power for yourself for a long time. Do you think that the USSR in the 20s-30s did not finance the left movements in Spain through the Comintern and through the Finintern? ha ha ...

              Quote: hohol95
              During 1931-1933. attempts were made to carry out a series of reforms in the country, which increased the degree of social tension and the activation of radical political forces.
              It was simply the first attempt at revolution in Spain by an international team of "professional revolutionaries" (like Navalny's modern team) there.

              Quote: hohol95
              The Catholic Church went into opposition to power after the secularization of society.

              Is it you who terrifying a series of pogroms of Christian churches and the first massacres of priests and monks call it so modestly, almost subtly - "secularization"?!?

              Quote: hohol95
              All innovations were stopped when the right-wing forces won the election in 1933. As a result, miners revolted in the region of Asturias
              An interesting alignment is to respond with an armed rebellion to the coming to power as a result of the recognized elections of unwanted political parties. And yes, if you didn’t know, the Asturian trial proved the receipt of funding and arms deliveries from abroad (by the way, exactly as in Russia regarding the "1905 revolution", organized largely by Japanese foreign intelligence).

              Quote: hohol95
              The confrontation of an open nature began after an officer who was a member of the Republican Party was killed on July 12. In response, a deputy from conservative political forces was shot dead.
              You know, I read the transcripts (!!!) of the meetings at the time of the beginning of the clashes, there are a lot of interesting things, you know, right up to such threats from the "left" to the monarchists and traditionalists that "your ears are fading" ...

              In general, I showed in several brushstrokes that without the direct participation of the Revolutionary International, the political struggle in Spain was unlikely to flow into the civil war phase, so you can wave your finger into the sky yourself.
      2. hohol95
        hohol95 26 December 2018 22: 18
        +1
        in 1929 a draw with China (count country 3 of the world)

        What do you base this statement on?
        According to reporting documents, the Soviet troops then lost 211 soldiers killed. But after 60 years - also according to the documents - it was established that there were at least 281 dead. There were officially 729 wounded, but later it turned out: more than 1400 wounded then passed through hospitals in the Far East. 32 turned out to be missing. The losses of the Chinese were much higher: we took just a little less than 10 thousand prisoners, and the Chinese corpses ceased to be counted when the figure reached two thousand.
    3. Blacksmith 55
      Blacksmith 55 25 December 2018 10: 58
      +4
      As I heard a joke: the Austrians complained to God, well, why do we have the weakest army? Lord, make our army stronger. And God created the Italian army.
  3. svp67
    svp67 25 December 2018 07: 26
    +6
    Italian troops during the Guadalajara operation


    Republicans ...

    1. Albatroz
      Albatroz 25 December 2018 07: 28
      +6
      Top photo - flamethrower car?
      1. svp67
        svp67 25 December 2018 08: 30
        +5
        Quote: Albatroz
        Top photo - flamethrower car?

        Well, you could say that
      2. faiver
        faiver 27 December 2018 16: 54
        0
        flamethrowing wedge
  4. Albatroz
    Albatroz 25 December 2018 07: 30
    +9
    Landfill in front of 2 mv. Still, the Civil War - the most fierce for their peoples. And external forces traditionally strive to cling to.
  5. fox_rudy
    fox_rudy 25 December 2018 10: 07
    +3
    Yes, Spain, the topic is interesting. At one time I read with enthusiasm 'When the olives groan' by Pyotr Lebedenko. I read 'Red Wind' much later. But also with pleasure. In them, however, the emphasis on pilots, but the general theme is revealed well. I advise.
    1. kalibr
      kalibr 25 December 2018 21: 45
      +2
      George Orwell: "Vivat, Catalonia!" - this is a book.
      1. Mikhail Matyugin
        Mikhail Matyugin 27 December 2018 08: 24
        +1
        Quote: kalibr
        George Orwell: "Vivat, Catalonia!" - this is the book

        Yes, the book is in many ways good, but only then did the author seriously change his views.
        1. kalibr
          kalibr 27 December 2018 08: 38
          0
          That's why I changed that I saw life near ...
  6. Mikhail Matyugin
    Mikhail Matyugin 25 December 2018 13: 55
    -6
    Dear author, raised an interesting topic, only ... as it is one-sided or something. It just seems that we are retold the chapters of some of the books of the Soviet period, no more, and do not offer the latest author's research. If this is not so, then I would like the author to dissuade further, in the following parts, in this. I also allow myself a few comments.

    Quote: Semyon Zadlonsky
    But the victory of the 20-thousandth corps of the People’s Republican Army of Spain over the 70-thousandth Italian Expeditionary Corps and Franco troops during the Guadalajara operation 8 - 23 on March 1937 - occupies a special place.
    The author’s sources were clearly Soviet propaganda books. Even the fought Republicans give more objective data on the number of parties ....

    Quote: Semyon Zadonsky
    three Italian volunteer fascist divisions: “God's Will”, “Black Flame” and “Black Feathers”; b) the personnel Italian motorized division "Littorio"
    First, the Italian volunteer divisions were about the same militia, and just as weakly armed as many of the Spanish "red" divisions. Secondly, even the Littorio personnel division allegedly had the degree of its motorization, say, hmm ... well, it was not very good. Thirdly, the echelon formation in deep orders in the 30s is simply deadly (although, of course, the Red Army used it later, to be honest).

    And so far not a word about the MAIN factor that ensured this defeat, the author has not said anything ... And this is never a "high spirit of the republicans", because the fighting qualities of the red republican militia were still the same ...
    1. Albatroz
      Albatroz 25 December 2018 20: 56
      +8
      Again, Mikhail Matyugin, traditionally not waiting for the end of the cycle, makes profound and often erroneous conclusions. Well sat down vi.
      It is obvious to me that the sources are special military literature, and not propaganda literature at all. And as for the numbers, everything is true, I do not know what the character Michael wanted to say.
      As far as I delved into the topic of course.
      And while not a word about the MAIN factor that ensured this rout, the author did not say anything
      I think they will also report how else
      1. Mikhail Matyugin
        Mikhail Matyugin 26 December 2018 13: 09
        -5
        Quote: Albatroz
        And as for the numbers, everything is true, I do not know what the character Michael wanted to say.

        Comrade Albatros, who is still cowardly hiding behind a pseudonym and still did not dare to introduce himself even in PM, look for the characters in his theater, but here please communicate properly. This time.

        Quote: Albatroz
        traditionally not waiting for the end of the cycle, makes thoughtful and often erroneous conclusions
        The cycle can be completed through 20 parts. If the material is laid out and a platform for discussion is provided, what is the problem? These are two.

        And tell me, Comrade Albatross, what is the wrong conclusion then? About the slyness of numbers - a review is given below even on Soviet sources, showing how they can float. Western data, including Spanish researchers (even republican), give different numbers. It seems that the author, apparently, did not bother to analyze them, but decided to simply lay out the next retelling of the chapter from some Soviet book, no more.
        1. The comment was deleted.
        2. Albatroz
          Albatroz 27 December 2018 09: 34
          +4
          No, cowardly hiding behind the mask of the Lord of the Seas Russell Crowe is just a certain Matyugin.
          Or is he and captain Jack Aubrey the same person? laughing
          Who would talk about pseudonyms ...
          Well, of course, with a patient problem - I want everything at once. If you are on the book of Samoilov about Guadalajara, then this is a mistake. Yes, and it is in the internet. There are rarer materials - studies of military specialists.
          As for the numbers, there is nothing to be tricked by the Matyugins themselves. The numbers are correct, and they changed during the operation - when the direction intensified, and the 12th division became part of 4AK, as the Ryazan noted below.
    2. Ryazan87
      Ryazan87 26 December 2018 11: 36
      +1
      I agree. The numbers are pretty sly. Even if you take "Guadalajara" written in hot pursuit (Samoilov P. I. Guadalajara (Defeat of the Italian Expeditionary Corps). - Moscow: Military Publishing, 1940), then the balance of forces is presented there differently:
      "The total number of troops [Francoists], from the very beginning took part in the operation, was about 60 000 person; armament - 30 active rifles, 1800 machine guns, 250 guns, 140 tanks and armored cars, 60 aircraft and 5000 vehicles.
      To these forces originally opposed by the weak 12th Republican Infantry Division of five brigades, stretched at the front 75-80 km long and having only about 10 people, 5900 active rifles, 85 machine guns and 15 guns. Later, as the operation developed, the Republican forces were significantly strengthened by the transfer from other sections of the Madrid front to a total of seven infantry brigades, a tank brigade, an aviation group, and a number of separate special units. All these forces formed the newly created 4th Army Corps consisting of three divisions (11th, 12th and 14th). The size of the corps by the end of the operation reached 30 people, 000 active rifles, 360 machine guns, 39 guns, 54 tanks and 70 aircraft. "
  7. Brutan
    Brutan 25 December 2018 20: 45
    +3
    Interesting material, professionally written.
    We look forward to continuing)