Moroccan Army Corps - Cuerpo de Ejército Marroquí

Moroccan Army Corps
Active 1937 - 1939
country Spain
Fidelity Flag of the national side 1936-1938.svg Uprising Band
Rama/s COA Spain 1945 1977.svg Franco's Army
Type Infantry
Size Army corps
High command

Notable commanders
Juan Yagüe Blanco
Wars and battles
Spanish Civil War

The Moroccan Army Corps was a military unit of the Spanish Civil War that was part of the Northern Army , grouping together some of the troops from the rebel side . It was created in November of November of 1937 , and its chief Brigadier General of Infantry Juan Yagüe Blanco , famous military from the African campaigns . He participated in the Offensives of Teruel , Aragón , Ebro and Catalonia .

History of operations

The origins of this unit are to be found in the Spanish Army of Africa , whose units were the first to rise up during the Coup d'état of July 1936 . Once transferred to the Peninsula, he participated in the Extremadura Campaign and in the advance towards Madrid , until at the end he failed in the attempt to conquer the capital . They did not take long to make a terrible fame as bloodthirsty units, especially during the Battle of Almendralejo or the Badajoz Massacre with figures of 4,000 executed. [ 1 ] From then on, Yagüe was popularly known asthe butcher of Badajoz . [ 2 ]

After its creation in early 1938 he was sent to the front of Teruel to counter the Republican offensive , having a great participation during the Battle of the Alfambra with the Army Corps of Galicia of the General Aranda . On February 8, Franco's troops extended their lines along the Alfambra river, after destroying the republican units. [ 3 ] In two days they had conquered some 800 square kilometers of land and a dozen towns, while they had taken 7,000 prisoners from the Republican Army . [ 4]

Aragon offensive

Moroccan troops in Rubielos de Mora , after their conquest in July 1938 .

After this he remained in the Front of Aragon , prepared and awaiting a new offensive . [ 5 ] On March 7, General Yagüe's troops break the front, crushing all republican resistance. [ 6 ] The Moroccans of Yagüe were supported in their movements by the Condor Legion and 47 artillery batteries. [ 7 ] The Republican Chief of Staff , General Vicente Rojo , installed his operations center in Caspe , and concentrated in this town all the International Brigadesthat he was able to gather. [ 8 ] On March 16 the 13th Division of Barrón (with divisions Muñoz Grandes and Bautista Sanchez ) surrounded Caspe , after reaching the suburbs yesterday. At nightfall on the 17th , after two days of hard fighting in which the International Brigades offered great resistance, the Aragonese town fell. [ 9 ]

On March 23 , after a short rest, the Army Corps crossed the Ebro and conquered Pina de Ebro ; Two days later they occupied Fraga and entered Catalonia. [ 10 ] Yagüe immediately ordered an attack on the next city, Lérida , but El Campesino and the 46th Division managed to stop the Franco advance for a week, until the Francoists took the city on April 3 , but giving the Republicans chance to retire with valuable military equipment. [ 11 ]After cutting off the republican zone, the Army Corps went on to guard the front line from Lleida to the mouth of the Ebro river , with the Yagüe Headquarters installed in Caspe .

Battle of the Ebro

On July 25 , despite the espionage reports that had been reported, the Republican Army of the Ebro crossed the river and attacked in the midst of a complete surprise. The 50th Division was guarding a large part of the Ebro river that was being attacked by the Republicans; Division officers under Colonel Campo had long reported that select enemy troops were concentrated along the opposite bank, but the high command had ignored these warnings. [ 12 ] [ Note 1 ]When the Republicans attacked it was done in the midst of the complete surprise of the defenders, who withdrew amid some cases of panic and, in general, in complete disarray. In the case of the Moorish troops, the situation was even less promising, because the reputation of bloodthirsty that had been carving out since the beginning of the war guaranteed them the firing squad in case of being captured. [ 13 ]

In two days the republican forces managed to seize control of a bag, reaching the outskirts of Gandesa , and managed to take a large number of prisoners. [ 14 ] Yagüe managed to rebuild his Army Corps and establish a defensive ring that finally stopped the Republican offensive. Starting on August 6, their forces undertook a series of counterattacks to try to push the Republicans back to the other side of the river, but on September 3, the forces of Yagüe and García Valiño had only lifted the siege on Gandesa and advanced until the Corbera d'Ebre population . [ 15 ]On October 30, the final counteroffensive of the Francoists began in the Ebro: For three hours, after dawn, the republican positions were subjected to the bombardment of 175 rebel batteries and more than 100 airplanes. [ 16 ] Next, the Army Corps of the Maestrazgo , under the command of García Valiño , launched the attack . The Moroccans of Juan Yagüe together with the Navarrese of the I Division of Navarre under the command of Mohammed ben Mizzian , conquered the republican positions abandoned during the bombardment. [ 16 ] Day 3, advancing through Pinell, Yagüe's forces reached the Ebro river . [ 17 ] Yagüe entered Ribarroja on November 18 , reconstituting the defensive line. [ 17 ]

Catalonia offensive

After a period of reorganization, 3 of January of 1939 they crossed the Ebro to cooperate with the Catalonia Offensive performed by other units. [ 18 ] On January 26 the Moroccan troops led by Yagüe led the entry into Barcelona and on February 4 they also conquered Gerona .


Order of battle

Attached Army
Battle front
Integrated divisions
January of 1938 Northern Army Teruel III , IV , 82.ª , 105.ª y 108.ª
March 8 , 1938 Northern Army Aragon 5.ª , 13.ª , 15.ª y 105.ª
July 1938 Northern Army Aragon 40.ª , 13.ª , 50.ª y 105.ª
August 1938 Northern Army Ebro 50.ª , 82.ª , 152.ª y 4.ª
January of 1939 Northern Army Catalonia 13.ª , 50.ª y 105.ª



  1. The Francoist high command considered that after its Offensive in Aragon the republican forces in Catalonia had been practically useless to launch a major attack, even more so in the case of an insurmountable barrier as the river Ebro was then considered.


  1. Equipo Nizkor: Spanish historical revisionism, by Javier Tusell
  2. Spartacus Schoolnet: Biography Juan Yagüe
  3. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 852
  4. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 853
  5. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 857
  6. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 858
  7. Cecil Eby (1969), Between the Bullet and the Lie, American Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, pág. 207
  8. Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 859.
  9. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 860.
  10. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 861
  11. Hugh Thomas (2001), pp. 778–779.
  12. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 901
  13. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 773
  14. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 904
  15. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 906
  16. ^ A b Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 917
  17. ^ A b Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 918
  18. ^ Hugh Thomas (1976), p. 934