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Battle of Teruel

December 15, 1937-February 20, 1938

Republican offensive designed to forstall Nationalist offensive against Madrid by reducing the Nationalist Teruel salient which had penetrated Republican lines since the beginning of the war. Largely fought in miserable weather and bitter freezing cold where the climate was as much an enemy to both sides as they were to each other. Overwhelming Republican attack against a spirited and stubborn Nationalist defense goaded Franco into forstalling his planned Madrid offensive and retaking Teruel after it was lost to Republicans. Bitter defense of the Republicans failed to prevent advance of Nationalists and a Nationalist flanking attack at Alfambra with a spectacular cavalry charge helped turn the tide and trap the Republicans themselves in Teruel. Republicans were able to break out only after heavy losses. Initially designed as a showcase of Spanish endeavour, the Republicans had withheld the International Brigades from this battle but as the situation became more critical, the Internationals were deployed, however performing no better than other Republican troops. Insignificant in terms of territory, this battle again resulted in devestating manpower and materiel losses for the Republic, whose Aragón armies were so weakened as to be unable with withstand the following Nationalist counteroffensive into Aragón. Losses Nat - 50,000, a third due to cold, many aircraft to crashes and cold. Republicans - 60,000 [Santa Cruz].