NOV II INSURGENT
While rain continued in the north, a lucky break in the foul weather over central and southern Spain dried up roads and fields. This was put to good use by the Nationalists. Lightly held Loyalist positions near Toledo and Tomelloso were overrun. Outflanked, the Loyalist front in between was shredded and collapsed, leaving a gap 50 miles wide. Prisoners were taken in large numbers. Fortified Tomelloso itself was surrounded and stormed. German motorized patrols fanned out into the Loyalist rear, destroying rail lines, creating havoc in Alcazar de San Juan, and penetrating as far as Cuenza before returning to safety at Tomelloso. Farther south a Falangist coup-de-main with air support against an Anarchist mountain position overlooking Albacete failed. Having completed rail repairs in the Henares valley, the Nationalists also brought reinforcements forward to the front at Guadalajara and attacked, advancing to within artillery range of the Valencia-Aranjuez rail line, on which supply for Madrid now relies. Although too late for a relief of the defenders at Teruel, the Nationalists attacked up the Jiloka valley, smashing among others the POUM Lenin Batallion and penetrating to within 15 miles of that mountain city. The front in northern Aragon remained quiet. At the Lorca front both sides are digging in. The only combat action was a successful local attack that captured the last Loyalist mountain positions short of Cieza. The remnants of the Nationalist fleet had their hands full shepherding convoys with sorely needed supplies to Cadiz at night in a cat-and-mouse game with Loyalist submarines. The threat posed by Italian submarines kept the Loyalist surface forces at anchor in Cartagena. A raid by German Heinkel-51 fighters put the Albacete airfield out of commission, but failed to catch any planes on the ground.
NOV II LOYALIST
Although receiving few reinforcements, the Loyalists also made good use of the dry weather in central and southern Spain. A concerted attack by armor with ample artillery and air support succeeded in squashing the Nationalist salient southwest of Aranjuez and reestablishing rail traffic to Madrid. A large number of prisoners were taken. Farther south the gap in the front was patched up with reinforcements hurriedly thrown in and Cuenza and Alcazar de San Juan, still out of reach of the bulk of the Nationalist forces, were reoccupied. In southwestern Aragon the rail link to Teruel was repaired and Nationalist vanguards approaching that city were thrown back. A daring attack out of Lorca with support by the Republican fleet made headway along the Granada highway, severing supply to the Nationalist forces east of Aguilas and in the mountains to the north. All other sectors remained quiet.
The return of dry weather in central Spain has let fighting flare up and provided excitement. The Nationalist attacks between Toledo and Alcazar de San Juan and at Guadalajara have reduce the Madrid front to a salient whose neck is only about 60 miles wide. Only the lack of sufficient mobile, motorized formations to exploit the collapse of the front has prevented a disaster. In turn, the Loyalists made excellent use of their superiority in armor to restore the situation by regaining control of the Aranjuez-Madrid rail line and so to reestablish a link between Madrid and mainland Spain. None the less, the fortified “no pasaran” line at Tomelloso has been lost and the main rail line Albacete-Alcazar de San Juan -Aranjuez is in danger. Moreover, having concentrated their effort at Aranjuez the Loyalists have had to leave the Guadalajara front weak, where the other Natinalist pincer is advancing. Despite adverse weather, the fighting in mountain triangle Guadalajara-Teruel-Calatayud has continued unabated. While the roadblock denying the Loyalists access to the area has been removed, the defenders have bought Franco’s troops time to seize most of the mountains, from where they pose a danger to the flanks of the Aragon and Guadalajara fronts. Moreover, the Loyalist troops that finally cleared the road into Teruel were sorely missed elsewhere. The situation at Lorca is interesting. Gambling on a risky surprise attack the Loyalists gained ground, but are now sitting somewhat precariously in a long salient along the Granada road. However, if they can hold onto that position, they may force the Nationalists in the mountains to the north to retreat for lack of supply. Overall, the balance of forces has now tipped well in favor of the Nationalists. The Loyalists are outnumbered and short of supply. Their main remaining strengths are their superiority in armor (of questionable value in winter weather), their interior lines, and their control of the sea. For the Nationalists, on the other hand, the ability to move attack supply forward has now become the limiting factor.