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Battle of Belchite

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The Battle of Belchite refers to a series of military operations that took place between 24 August and 7 September 1937, in and around the small town of Belchite, in Aragon during the Spanish Civil War.
After failed attempts to capture Brunete, the Republican military leadership decided to try a new series of offensives to slow down the Nationalist advance in the north. A new campaign, therefore, was planned for Aragon. The decision was based on political as well as military considerations, as the government saw it as a way to decrease Anarchist and Workers' Party of Marxist Unification influence in the region by bringing in communist troops and incorporating three Anarchist divisions into the newly designated Army of the East under command of General Sebastián Pozas. Another objective of the planned offensive was to take Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, which was only a few kilometres behind enemy lines. Capturing the regional capital offered more than symbolic significance, because it was also the communication centre of the whole Aragon front. The first year of the war in this part of Spain had emphasised that the possession of key towns was of far greater importance than the control of wide areas of open countryside. The Nationalists had only three divisions, the 51st, 52nd and 105th, spread across the three hundred kilometres of front, with the majority of their troops concentrated in towns. General Pozas and his Chief of Staff Antonio Cordon set up their headquarters in Bujaraloz. Their plan was to break through at seven different points on the central one hundred-kilometre stretch between Zuera and Belchite. The object of splitting their attacking forces was to divide any Nationalist counter-attack and to offer fewer targets for bombing and strafing than at Brunete.


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