SEP II INSURGENT
In the Biscay provinces things are fast coming to an end. The Basque “government” has capitulated. Santander has fallen to a concentric attack, and its separatist leaders are negotiating surrender. Only three pockets of resistance still hold out, a major one in Pyrenees foothills near Pamplona and two small ones in the Cantabrian mountains and he hills south of Bilbao. Mop-up is progressing. To retain a cohesive front in Aragon the Insurgents withdrew from Huesca, but are attempting to retain control of the Calatayud-Guadalajara rail line. The isolated defenders in the mountains near Teruel were resupplied by air. The Madrid front was quiet. In the Jarama valley the Nationalists solidified their position and established a supply line to their outposts in Guadalajara without meeting resistance. In southern Castilla the Nationalist offensive ground to a halt after reaching Cuidad Real and Valdepenas, having outrun their supplies and facing a superior enemy with plentiful artillery. At the Mediterranean coast the Nationalist onslaught continued unabated. Republican stragglers in Almeria were overpowered and the port was secured. The main forces cleared the mountains on the approaches to Lorca and seized the port of Aguilas, the last loyalist-held city in Andalucia. The best terrain for defense in this sector has been captured by the Nationalists or rendered untenable. Lorca itself is threatened, and with Almeria and Aguilas the Nationalists now hold two ports through which they can be reinforced and resupplied. Having done its work in the Bay of Biscay, the Nationalist fleet took over escort duty for troop convoys from the Canarias and then sailed into the Mediterranean to discourage any attempts at naval support of ground operations by the Republicans. However, they suffered a serious reverse when an intrepid Republican submarine managed to sink the new heavy cruiser *Baleares* out of a large battle group off the coast near Aguilas and, to add insult to injury, escaped unscathed to its Cartagena base. This single loss goes far toward tilting the delicate balance at sea back in the Republicans’ favor. Italian fighters unsuccessfully strafed the Toledo airfield.
SEP II LOYALIST
In the Sierra Cantabrica and near Bilbao two small pockets held out without much hope of relief. The last Santanderos laid down their arms. The forces in the major pocket near Pamplona attempted to break out and establish contact with a mountain battalion that had advanced from Huesca, but the effort failed despite massive air support. On the Aragon front the Loyalists closed up to the Nationalist defense positions, but did not attack for lack of sufficient resources. Advancing through difficult terrain but unopposed, light forces established contact with troops from the Madrid front southeast of the Jarama. The Madrid front remained quiet except for a local attack with support by armored cars that regained Guadalajara. Construction of the inner fortification ring to shield Madrid is proceeding. A center for International Brigades has been set up in Madrid. In southern Castilla the “no pasaran” line forward of Alcazar de San Juan was further fortified. Farther southeast, Loyalists stragglers continued their retreat from the Sierra Nevada to avoid being cut off. A strong position was established forward of Lorca to stop the Nationalist advance along the Mediterranean coast. The Loyalist cause was dealt a severe blow by the French government’s closure of the border. A serious immediate consequence is that the scheduled delivery of aircraft and field-gun components has been held up. Madrid is attempting to negotiate a release.
The Loyalists have lost the race to link up with the Separatists in the Biscay provinces. The chance that any intact formations from that area can still fight their way through to the main Loyalist lines in Aragon is remote. Victory in the north has freed substantial Nationalist forces, and it is now only a matter of time that they will make their appearance at the main front, be it in Aragon or at Madrid. The danger of collapse of the Nationalist Aragon front has been averted. In the other theaters the Loyalists are barely holding on. The only bright spot is the successful link-up, even if still tenuous, of the Aragon and Madrid fronts. This operation has isolated the weak Nationalist groups in the mountains of southern Aragon. Here, the last obstacle to complete control of this strategically important area is the mountain position near Teruel that blocks the main supply line from Valencia. In the face of Loyalist air superiority and for lack of airfields within fighter range, the Nationalists may be unable to maintain their airlift to keep the defenders in supply.