Unseasonably early rain has engulfed all of Spain, hindering movement and attacks. In Aragon the Nationalists continued their attack south of Zaragoza, strengthened by the arrival of additional troops which victory in the Biscay provinces had freed.. The bothersome Loyalist salient near Calatayud was eliminated and the mountains to the south cleared of some of the scattered Loyalist contingents. The isolated defenders in the mountains above Teruel were again sustained by supply drops at night. At the Madrid front a Nationalist attack at Guadalajara gained some ground. The main thrust, from Toledo toward Aranjuez, continued with overwhelming strength. Troops of the Galicia Corps now sit firmly astride the Madrid-Aranjuez rail line, the capital’s last rail link with the Loyalist mainland. In southern Castilla the Nationalists stopped their advance against the Cartagena-Aranjuez rail line. Instead, they turned against the Republican armor in their flank and managed to inflict losses and widen their perilously narrow salient. The Lorca front remained quiet. Disaster befell the Nationalist Fleet. An internal explosion ripped apart the battelship *Espana* in the harbor of Aguilas and damaged beyond repair severeal other vessels tied up nearby. Only the heavy cruiser *Canarias* and some smaller craft escaped unharmed to the relative safety of the Atlantic.


The Loyalists were able to raise a large number of new formations and equip most of them with artillery. The bulk was used to strengthen the existing front, especially at Madrid and in Murcia province. A major, local attack with support by an armored train from Barcelona and all available aircraft finally managed to squash the enemy mountain position above Teruel, which had held out in isolation for almost three months and was on the verge of being relieved by the Nationalist advance from Calatyud. This success finally gains an entry into the mountain country of western Aragon. No attacks were staged at other fronts. The Loyalist fleet finally ventured out of Cartagena to demonstrate off Aguilas. A Nationalist air raid remained without success. Submarines began operating off Gibraltar. Loyalist delight over the arrival of modern “Rata” fighters from the Soviet Union proved short-lived when these suffered a bloody nose over Madrid, courtesy Italian Fiats. However, Stalin promised to replace the losses to regain air superiority.


The days of mobile warfare are practically over. With the arrival of poor weather and massive Loyalist reinforcements the front is congealing. It now runs from Lorca to Albacete, Tomelloso, Aranjuez, Madrid, Guadalajara, Teruel. Zaragoza and Huesca, all except Guadalajara in Loyalist hands. Only in the mountainous triangle Guadalajara-Teruel-Calatayud is the situation still somewhat fluid. Otherwise, the only weak spot in the Loyalist lines is between Tomelloso and Aranjuez, a sector to which the Nationalists have no easy access. Of greatest importance are the events in the mountains of southwestern Aragon. The Nationalist Aragon offensive is clearly aimed into this area rather than against Zaragoza. One of its objectives appears to be close to realization: to drive a wedge between the Loyalist Madrid and Aragon fronts and threaten their flanks. The other, the relief of Teruel to secure a starting position for a breakthrough to the coast, has run out of time. With the fall of the Teruel position the Loyalists have now finally gained as easy an access to the mountains as the Nationalists have enjoyed all along. However, the defenders at Teruel have bought enough time for the Nationalists to gain a firm foothold in most of the mountain area. Their other main Nationalist effort, at Toledo, has succeeded in cutting Madrid’s last rail line, and only about 50 miles separate its spearhead from the other prong of the pincer movement against the capital, at Guadalajara. The interruption of the rail line has not only placed Madrid in a precarious position, but also has reduced the rail capacity of the Loyalist mainland by one third. The Nationalists now enjoy a slight numerical advantage in capacity, but that is more then compensated by the fact that the Loyalists operate on interior lines. To this point Loyalist losses have been disproportionately heavy. Despite a steady stream of reinforcements, Loyalist troop strength did not significantly increase until November, while Nationalist strength on the mainland almost doubled in that time. At sea, however, the Nationalists are now hopelessly outmatched and will be reduced to running protected convoys at night. In the air the Loyalists still enjoy marginal superiority, despite their losses suffered over Madrid.