In early February, Franco’s Nationalist forces launched an offensive to cross the Jarama, cut the road, and compromise Madrid’s defenses. On the early morning of the 12th, the Nationalists captured the Morata Bridge, over the Jarama, in the British Battalion’s sector. The British Battalion was a mixed lot in terms of military experience; some forces had been fighting in the early battles around Madrid, others had never seen the war experience. The drama that unfolded over the next few days on the Spanish fields south of Madrid would be the British Battalion’s baptism of fire. It would indeed be full immersion.
Attacker: Republican (16th ‘British’ Battalion, XV International Brigade)
Defender: Nationalist (Elements of the 7th Tabor of Regulares of Melilla (Moors), German Condor Legion Heavy Weapons Battalion & 6th Foreign Legion Regiment, 4th Brigade)