46th Division (People's Army of the Republic) - 46.ª División (Ejército Popular de la República)

46th Division
Manuel Azaña (11-13-1937) in the Plaza de Cervantes in Alcalá de Henares.png
Active June 1937 - February 7, 1939
country Spain
Fidelity Spanish flag Spanish Republic
Rama/s Red star.svg Regular People's Army
Type Infantry
Quartering Alcalá de Henares (1937-38)
High command

Notable commanders
Valentín González
Domiciano Leal
Vicente López Tovar
Wars and battles
Spanish Civil War

The 46th Division was a division belonging to the Republican People's Army that fought in the Spanish Civil War in defense of republican legality . It was made up for the most part by soldiers of communist ideology and for a good part of its operational life it was led by Commander Valentín González ( El Campesino ).


Manuel Azaña , Juan Negrín and General Miaja visit the forces of the 46th Division, in Alcalá de Henares (November 13, 1937).

The division was created in June 1937 through the grouping of the 10th and 101st Mixed Brigades , the latter of which the militia Major Valentín González González had been commander . [ 1 ] Later other mixed brigades were added.

Battle of Brunete

To alleviate the pressure of the rebels on the Republican zone in the North , the Republican Central General Staff planned an offensive on the Madrid Front , with the intention of encircling the Francoist divisions that surrounded the capital from the southwest. [ 2 ] It was framed alongside the 11th and 15th divisions in the new V Army Corps . [ 3 ] On July 8, the Campesino's men had reached the first houses of Villanueva de la Cañada , which was captured the following day. [ 4 ]During the battle some 300 men from the division were captured by the Moroccan Regulars and later found dead and severely mutilated. [ 5 ] Shortly afterwards, the men of "El Campesino" captured an entire Tabor of Moroccans but, in response to the previous massacre, 400 African regulars were shot. [ 5 ] He suffered casualties of such caliber that he had to withdraw to his barracks in Alcalá de Henares .

On the Aragon Front

In September part in the Battle of Belchite by the 11th Division of Líster and the 35th International Division of the General "Walter" . [ 6 ] [ note 1 ] not intervened in the early stages of the Battle of Teruel , but in early 1938 is sent to the area to relieve the republican units more worn. During the Battle of Alfambra , General Hernández Saravia requested the dispatch of the veteran 10th Mixed Brigade to try to stop the Francoist attack, but « El Campesino»He flatly refused. [ 7 ]

The republicans launched strong counterattacks along the entire line of the Teruel front to stop the Francoist offensive but they could not prevent Teruel from being totally surrounded on February 21 . "El Campesino" and his 46th Division are surrounded inside the city, surrounded by a large number of wounded and dead. [ 8 ] Aware of the siege, Saravia ordered him to retreat, although after the capture of Teruel by Franco's troops, they appeared scattered and unarmed along the roads, having left behind the wounded during the retreat imposed by Valentín González , who that caused that about 1500 were taken prisoner within the city by Franco's troops.[ 9 ] Valentin GonzalezaccusedModestoandListerhave left him abandoned to their fate inTeruelbut Líster accused him of having deserted the battlefield and have left abandoned his men. [ 10 ]

After this failure the unit went to the rear but the collapse of the Aragón Front forced its reincorporation at the end of March, reaching Lleida after reaching Borjas Blancas on March 27. [ 11 ] At that time he was able to rebuild the front on the Segre river , managing to restore discipline and order among the disbanded Republican units. [ 12 ] Between March 28 and April 3, the division led the Defense of Lleida , delaying the Franco advance. [ 13 ] Although on April 3 the city fell to theFranco's 13th Division , the division was decorated for its performance in Lleida. [ 13 ]

Battle of the Ebro

In the following months he was preparing for the offensive of the Ebro and on July 25 the whole division crossed the river, but his commanding officer: He had been relieved of command on the eve of the start of the operation and the Mayor of militias Domitian Leal will he replaced in command of the Division. [ 14 ] [ note 2 ] After securing the position of the bridgehead, continued progress towards the inside to link up with the troops of the 11th Division and seize control of the mountains of Pandols and Cavalls , positions that dominated the heights of Gandesaand excellent observation and defense points. In the early hours of the 26th the Republicans managed to gain control of these positions, but they were physically exhausted and could not launch the assault on Gandesa or continue the advance towards the towns of Bot or Batea , located south of the first. [ 15 ] Domitian Leal died from the impact of an artillery shell while acknowledging the ground, [ 16 ] being replaced by Vicente Lopez Tovar on September 23. [ 17 ] [ Note 3 ]Under the command of López Tovar the division faced the last phases of the Battle of the Ebro until its final retreat to the other side of the river.

Withdrawal from Catalonia

In the first phases of the Catalan Campaign (December 1938) the division moved together with the entire V Army Corps to the Front of the Segre , trying to contain the Franco advance in this area but to no avail. [ 18 ] On January 17, 1939, in retreat to Barcelona , there was a new change of command and the Militia Major Rodolfo Bosch Pearson remained as the new Commander, but he could do little apart from managing to withdraw to the French border at the beginning of February. [ 17 ] [ Note 4 ]




Chiefs of Staff

Order of battle

Army Corps attached [ 20 ]
Battle front
Brigades mixed integrated [ 20 ]
June 1937 V Army Corps Center 10.ª y 101.ª
August 1937 V Army Corps Aragon 10.ª , 101.ª y 209.ª
April 16, 1938 V Army Corps Segre 10.ª , 101.ª y 60.ª
July 24, 1938 V Army Corps Ebro 10.ª , 101.ª y 37.ª

See also


  1. ^ The participation of the 46th Division is controversial, since there are authors who maintain that it did not intervene but Hugh Thomas has maintained his participation in Belchite in all his works .
  2. Although El Campesino argued that he was ill, his superior and ultimately commander of the V Army Corps , Lister , visited him at his command post and later he would say that he had only had a panic attack at the idea of ​​crossing the river. The accusations and suspicions of cowardice against El Campesino were not new, so he was finally dismissed.
  3. El Campesino was still going to play one last role in the history of the Division when the possibility of returning to command the Division after the death of Domiciano Leal was raised. Although he became enthusiastic about the idea, he again gave long and excuses at the possibility of going to the front. Lister, again outraged, made sure to sideline him for the rest of the contest.
  4. ↑ It must be taken into account that at this time the troops of the Division were minimal and they were also seriously demoralized, although they still performed quite well in the Battle of Segre .


  1. Carlos Engel, p.306
  2. Hugh Thomas, pp. 766-767
  3. Ramón Salas Larrazábal , p. 1216
  4. ^ Hugh Thomas , p. 770
  5. ^ A b Hugh Thomas , p. 773
  6. Hugh Thomas, p. 779
  7. Hugh Thomas , p.853
  8. Puell, Fernando & A. Puerta, Just in: Atlas of the Spanish Civil War , Editorial Síntesis, Madrid, 2007
  9. Miguel, Jesús and Sánchez, Antonio: Battle of Teruel. In his: Illustrated History of the Spanish Civil War . Alcobendas, Editorial LIBSA, 2006, p. 327
  10. Enrique Líster in: Our War, p.301
  11. ^ Ramón Salas Larrazabal, pp. 1756-1759
  12. Ramón Salas Larrazabal, p. 1757
  13. to b Battle of Lerida (1938)
  14. Miguel, Jesús and Sánchez, Antonio. In his: Illustrated History of the Spanish Civil War . Alcobendas, Editorial LIBSA, 2006, p. 233.
  15. Carlos Engel, pag. 26
  16. Official Gazette of the Republic, No. 12 (January 12, 1939)
  17. a b c d Carlos Engel, p.307
  18. ^ Hugh Thomas , p. 934
  19. Alpert, 2013, p. 327.
  20. a b Carlos Engel, p.306


external links