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Campaign Orders – Aragon Front 1937
International Brigade

P1010011.JPGA rare find in 2005 was a collection of Republican Army (Ejercito de la Republica) field orders and transmissions from the Agrupacion De Reserva (often on 45th Division headed note paper) who were in reserve on the Aragon front (the reserve also included the 47th brigade and the 12th International Brigade). In my opinion these are probably unique and very exciting because they include orders for the Dimitrof, Diacovich, Liebnecht and Thaelman battalions. The 45th brigade were commanded by General Kleber who fought in the Russian Civil war on the side of the Bolsheviks and the 47th by Gustavo Duran.

 I believe the orders came from a Republican transmissions lieutenant (Teniente) as I have his military college handbook dating from April 1937 (see below). The orders must have reached their destination as they have been signed for on the envelopes.  Note that the names of the battalions often have 2 spellings to adapt to Spanish pronunciation. I have seen Nationalist orders but never Republican – not even in a museum – please let me know if there are others! I think they are worth describing in detail.

All the orders came from:-
EJERCITO DE LA REPUBLICA, Agrupacion de Reserva, Estado Mayor, Transmisiones (all the orders are in Reserve Group envelopes)

P1010008.JPGSr. Comandante Jefe del BATALLON ‘DIMITROF’ - issued from Samper de Calanda - 24th September 1937. Two weeks after the Battle of BELCHITE (Republican tactical victory). Includes detailed typed orders and hand drawn map showing route to Belchite from Samper.







P1010007.JPGThe Dimitrof (Dimitrov) battalion were part of the International Brigade and named after Georgi Dimitrov of the Comintern. The battalion was largely made up of Greeks & from the Balkans.

Sr Comandante Jefe Del BATALLON ‘DIACOVICH’ – Issued from Binefar (between Huesca and Lleida) – 28th November 1937. Includes typed orders from El Comisario Politico (political officer), lists numbers of troops, transmission codes i.e. enemy retreating (enemigo se retira) – Bacalao, even has a list of troops ranks and names. The Diacovich (Dajakovich) battalion were also part of the International Brigade and were largely Bulgarian communists.



Sr Comandante Jefe Del BATALLON ‘DIACOVICH’- Issued from Binefar - 2nd December 1937. Full typed orders from the Transmissions commander and handwritten list of codes and passwords.
Sr. Comandante Jefe del BATALLON ‘DIMITROF’ – Issued from Binefer – 2nd December 1937. Typed notes advising the commander of the Dimitrofs to keep in code when transmitting. Ends with ‘Saludos Antifascistas’




P1010012.JPG Sr. Comandante Jefe del GRUPO de ARTILLERIA – no date but list of codes same as 28th November. Full list of officers and soldiers of the 3rd battalion XII Brigada (Garibaldis?)









Order of Operacions – 07.00 hrs 3 December 1937 - issued by El Jefe de la Agrupacion de P1010013.JPGReserva comandante Baouman from Tarmarite (east of Binefar and north west of Lleida). Full plans with hand drawn and printed maps. Orders for the defence of Tamarite including XII & XIII brigades. According to the orders oposing them are Mussolini’s Italians. The reserve includes a squadron of tanks and cavalry. Taking part are the Dimitrofs, Diacovitchs and the artillery batteries of the Thaelmans and the Libenechts. Handwritten signatures on the orders.




The Aragon front during the second half of 1937.

The Republican Army of the East advanced from Catalonia in another attempt to capture Saragossa (the Durruti Column attempted the same in 1936). The Nationalist forces were pushed back but the Republicans could never remove them from around Saragossa, Huesca or P1010014.JPGTeruel. The International battalions took part but were exhausted by 1937 – the Thaelmans (German communists) had almost been wiped out in Madrid in ’36 and later at Las Rozas in jan ’37. I believe most of the foreign battalions had to use Spanish conscripts.
As a point of interest George Orwell was on the Huesca front when he was shot in the neck in May 1937 whilst serving with the P.O.U.M. forces. He was hospitalized in Monzon – 5 miles from Tamarite.


Escuela Popular de Guerra, Transmissions  - El Empleo Tactico de las Transmisiones.

Republican Army Instruction manual for officer cadets based in Villarreal near Castellon.


Very interesting manual as it belonged to the supplier of the orders above. The second half of the book dates from the early months of 1937.