Battle of the Ebro


The Battle of the Ebro was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Tens of thousands of men were butchered between  July and November 1938. The defeat spelled disaster for the Republic as it effectively finished the state’s chances of resistance to Franco’s armies.

Area of the Battle of the Ebre – excellent site with lots of tourist information about how to visit the Ebro Battle sites

At midnight between 24th and 25th July, 1938, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Modesto, soldiers of the newly formed Army of the Ebro, crossed the river, breaking through the defensive lines of General Yagüe’s Moroccan Army. The Battle of the Ebro (as we know it today) had begun. 

 Spartacus Schoolnet — Battle of the Ebro – feature an excellent series of quotes including this one from Jack Jones

There were many casualties and I became one of them. Once more I had clambered up the hill with my comrades, taking cover where we could and firing at the enemy wherever he appeared. The bullets of the snipers whizzed over, grenades and shells were striking the ground, throwing up earth and dust and showering us with shrapnel. Suddenly my shoulder and right arm went numb. Blood gushed from my shoulder and I couldn’t lift my rifle. I could do nothing but lie where I was. Near me a comrade had been killed and I could hear the cries of others, complaining of their wounds. While I was lying there, to make things worse, a spray of shrapnel hit my right arm. The stretcher bearers were doing their best but could hardly keep up with the number of casualties. As night fell I made my own way, crawling to the bottom of the hill. I was taken with other wounded men down the line to an emergency field hospital at Mora del Ebro where I was given an anti-tetanus injection. The place was like an abattoir; there was blood and the smell of blood everywhere.

Maps of the Civil War in Catalonia – superb maps detailing the battle from an Atlas to the Civil War in Catalonia (in Catalan)

 Battle of the Ebro – Wikipedia  

This was the longest and bloodiest battle of the Spanish Civil War. It took place between July and November 1938, with fighting mainly concentrated in two areas on the lower course of the Ebro River, the Terra Alta comarca of Catalonia, and the Auts area close to Fayón (Faió) in the lower Matarranya, Eastern Lower Aragon. These sparsley-populated areas saw the largest array of armies in the Civil War. The results of the battle were disastrous for the Second Spanish Republic with tens of thousands of dead and wounded, with little effect on the relentless advance of the Nationalists.

Chronology of the Spanish Civil War


  • Barcelona in the Civil War