31st Mixed Brigade (People's Army of the Republic) - 31.ª Brigada Mixta (Ejército Popular de la República)

31st Mixed Brigade
Active As January 2 as 1937 - 9 as February as 1939
country Spain
Fidelity Spanish flag Spanish Republic
Rama/s Red star.svg Regular People's Army
Type Infantry
Wars and battles
Spanish Civil War

The 31st Mixed Brigade was a unit of the Popular Army of the Republic created during the Spanish Civil War . Throughout the war he participated in some of the main battles, such as La Granja , Aragón or the Ebro .


The 31st BM was created on January 2, 1937 from different units of the Fifth Regiment . His first command was the infantry commander Francisco Cacho Villarroig , who came from the "Lister" Brigade and in which he had been Chief of Staff. The unit was assigned to the 1st Division of the I Army Corps . [ 1 ]

Center front

On January 5, while it was in full military training, the brigade took part in the Third Battle of the La Coruña highway : it received the order to march towards Las Rozas , a town that had recently been occupied by the rebels and that it had to recover . The 31st WB attacked the enemy positions with the support of Soviet tanks, but the attempt failed and failed to regain the town. [ 2 ] During the following months the brigade remained in the Sierra de Guadarrama sector and for a brief period of time it was attached to the 10th Division , after which it returned to its previous unit. [ 3 ]

At the end of May the unit changed positions to intervene in the La Granja Offensive . On May 30, the brigade attacked the enemy front with the mission of occupying the position of El Nevero and the town of La Granja , with strong support from the aviation. However, during that day the brigade completely failed in its objectives and failed to advance during the following days. On June 4, the 31st WB retreated to its positions in Guadarrama, [ 4 ] a situation in which it remained for the following months. The failure of the operations led to the dismissal of Commander Cacho Villaroig and the appointment of the militia major Germán Paredes García . [ 5]

Aragon and Catalonia

When the Francoist offensive in Aragon began at the beginning of March 1938 , a reinforced 3rd Division under the command of the militia major Manuel Tagüeña, in which the 31st and 33rd mixed brigades were incorporated, departed from the front of the Center. . [ 4 ] On March 18, the 31st BM arrived at the combat front and, the next day, its forces relieved the worn-out 209th Mixed Brigade in Torrevelilla . It was to be in this town where Tagüeña's men, with the support of Líster's 11th Division , managed to stop the advance of the Italian Corpo Truppe Volontarie(CTV). [ 6 ] However, the enemy offensive was renewed and on March 31 the brigade was forced to withdraw, although the unit managed to considerably slow down the enemy advance. The unit withdrew towards the Gandesa area , establishing two battalions in Pinell and another that stood next to the Ebro to defend the Mora de Ebro bridge . [ 7 ] After being forced to cross the river, around April 13 the brigade was relieved by elements of the 45th International Division .

After undergoing a deep restructuring, the brigade was assigned to the XV Army Corps , in preparation for the Ebro Offensive .

In the early morning of July 25, the 31st BM crossed the river south of Ribarroja , continuing its advance towards the Sierra de la Fatarellla. [ 8 ] In the following days he tried unsuccessfully to occupy La Pobla de Masaluca , where his advance was halted due to the strong resistance of Franco's forces. During the following days he will have numerous confrontations with the Tercio de Montserrat , just arrived from Extremadura. On August 17, the 31st BM was withdrawn from the front line of combat, but two days later it had to return to relieve the 84th Mixed Brigade in the so-called Targa position, opposite Villalba de los Arcos.. That day he had to face the assaults of the Tercio de Montserrat, which did not manage to take Targa's position and after which the Tercio was practically annihilated. [ 9 ] Finally, the next day enemy pressure forced the brigade to retreat to Vertex Gaeta. Eight days later, with the unit very worn out by constant fighting, the brigade went into reserve. [ 10 ] In the last moments of the Battle of the Ebro, on November 12 the brigade abandoned its defensive positions and withdrew to Ascó . Two days later he suffered a strong attack against his positions on the road that went from La Fatarella to Ascó, after which he had to cross the Ebro through a pass located south of Flix. By then the brigade was very broken. [ 11 ]

At the end of December 1938 the Francoists launched their offensive on Catalonia. The brigade withdrew from La Pobla de la Granadella towards Montblanch and Tarragona , and by January 17, 1939 it was already in the vicinity of El Vendrell . Five days later he defended the accesses to Barcelna, but he did not defend the city and continued his retreat towards the French border. Once he crossed the border, his troops were disarmed by the French authorities.



See also


  1. Engel, 1999, p. 58.
  2. Quirós, 2009, p. 10.
  3. Quirós, 2009, p. 11.
  4. a b Engel, 1999 , p. 59.
  5. Quirós, 2009, pp. 14-15.
  6. Quirós, 2009, pp. 25-32.
  7. Quirós, 2009, pp. 33-37.
  8. Quirós, 2009, pp. 46-48.
  9. Quirós, 2009, p. 50.
  10. Engel, 1999, p. 60.
  11. Quirós, 2009, pp. 63-65.
  12. Martínez Reverte, 2003 , p. 55.
  13. Álvarez, 1989, p. 375.