INSURGENT SEP I 1937
The battle of the Jucar river is reaching a climax. In a determined effort the Nationalists pressed forward on the south bank and broke into the Republican lines, undeterred by defensive air support. The leading elements of the main force reached the confluence of the Jucar and Cabriel rivers (23A:3806) while mechanized units raced ahead through the wilderness of the Reserva nacional (3805), overrunning a Republican armored-car regiment. Italian and German light tanks continued on to reinforce the Kondors at Alcira. A continuous line has been formed along the river’s south bank, but is hardly strong enough to withstand the counterattack bound to come. The Kondors at Alcira also received air drops of ammunition.
As ashore the battle of the Jucar escalated, both navies maneuvered for position in attempts to join the fray. Italian submarines were first to arrive off-shore at the Jucar estuary. The remnants of both the Nationalist and Republican surface fleets, now about evenly matched, joined in later. The Nationalists attempted to exploit this opportunity to ferry troops (a construction regiment) from the Baleares to the mainland. However, just before sneaking into port at Palma de Mallorca the unescorted transport convoy was intercepted and sunk by the Republican fleet. However, to do so the latter had to give up their station at the Jucar estuary.
While fighting raged at the Jucar, all other fronts remained quiet.
In a massive effort to reduce their Republican counterparts the Nationalist airforce turned its attention to Cartagena, now serving as Loyalist bomber base. Once again the results were very disappointing. While Italian Fiats got the better of some obsolete Russian fighters, some Nationalist Ro-37 attack bombers fell to anti-aircraft fire, and no damage to speak of was done on the ground.
The French border was opened the previous week and remains open, but this has little effect on the overall situation.
LOYALIST SEP I 1937
In Murcia province the Loyalists stuck to their by now improved positions along their front forward of Cartagena, Murcia, Cieza, and Yekla while attempting to seal off and isolate the penetretion at Alcira. In a coordinated attack by armor from the south and infantry from the north across the Jucar against the weak patrols of Nationalist light tanks, the Reserva nacional (23A:3805) was regained, the Alcira hedgehog again cut off, and a tenuous new line of communications between the Murcia pocket and the Cataluna-Valencia heartland reestablished.
With Rebel troops now less than 30 miles from Valencia, a crash program has been initiated to fortify the city and its environs. Civil labor has been recruited and La Pasionaria is exhorting the denizens to do a job surpassing that at Madrid. Pick axes and shovels on all streets!
The Republican Fleet bestirred itself and ran a convoy ferrying an anti-aircraft regiment from Cartagena to Valencia. The fleet then put into Alicante and prepared to support the garrison should the city be attacked. The Nationalist Navy, intent on their task of protecting the Kondors at Alcira, did not try to interfere.
A raid on Madrid’s factories by Po-540 bombers remained unsuccessful.
The Loyalists’ failure to mop up the Kondors at Alcira has come back to roost. The position has been strengthened, and to eliminate it will now take a much stronger effort. While a line of communications to Murcia has been reestablished, the only rail link is still firmly blocked. The battle of the Jucar is not over, and the next few weeks will decide whether the Nationalist can manage to forge a firm corridor to the sea to cut off the Murcia pocket once and for all before poor campaign weather sets in.
If the transfer of anti-aircraft batteries is an indication, the Loyalists naval command has decided to give up using Cartagena as principal base and retreat the fleet to Valencia.