On 24 July, 1938, General Rojo, Chief of Staff, proposed a diversionary attack to save Valencia. The plan was to attack north of the Nationalist’s salient, to the Mediterranean, forcing a passage across the great Rover Ebro at several points. To accomplish this plan, a new ‘Army of the Ebro’ was created under Modesto, consisting of 5th, 12th and 15th Army Corps, with the 18th in reserve. This force of 80,000 men was supported by 70-80 field batteries, 27 anti-aircraft guns and a much-improved aerial armada augmented by the addition of the Supermosea and Superchato fighters manned by Spaniards who had been trained in Russia. Nationalist troops were taken by surprise across the wide front and such a deep wedge was driven into their lines, that Franco at first considered permitting an advance so deep that a pincer movement would destroy the entire Republican army. He was talked out of this. One place where Nationalist troops functioned in good order was at Asco, where the Merida battalion resisted fiercely, their high unit morale helping to keep order.
Attacker: Spanish Republican (Elements of the XI Brigade, 35th Division)
Defender: Spanish Nationalist (Elements of the XVI Battalion Merida and Local Reserves)