|Battle of the Ebro|
|Part of Spanish Civil War|
| Spanish Nationalists|
| Spanish Republicans
Earlier that year, Nationalists forces had overrun Aragon, reached the Mediterranean shore at Vinaroz on 15 April, spread along some 40 miles of seashore and cut the Republican-held territory into two. The Ebro River became the boundary between the newly-captured Nationalist territory to its south and the remaining Republican Catalonia to its north.
The decision to launch a counter-offensive was motivated not only by military considerations, but also by trying to gather international support and prove that the Republic was still an effective fighting force. While the offensive initially caught the Nationalists by surprise, the superior material resources, especially the complete aerial superiority of the Nationalists and their German and Italian allies, halted and bogged down Republicans.
The fighting dragged on until the end of October when the Nationalists counter-attacked and threw the Republicans back across the Ebro. Soon afterwards they crossed the river themselves and conquered Catalonia and its capital Barcelona. The fall of Madrid and Valencia and the end of the Republic followed.
Battle of the Ebro in The War That Came Early Edit
The Battle of the Ebro was dragging on inconclusively when word came that the Munich Conference had collapsed and Germany was at war with Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. Republican forces, including members of the Lincoln Brigade, were hopeful that the outbreak of a general European war might result in an end to France's non-interference policy, and an increase in aid to the Republic.
Soon thereafter, the Republic received a flood of new weapons and supplies from France, including fighter airplanes which helped counter the Nationalist-German aerial superiority. At the same time, the British Royal Navy imposed a blockade which prevented the arrival of supplies to the Nationalists from Germany and Italy.
However, shortly after the initial burst of aid, foreign supplies to the Republicans were also halted, as Germany subdued the Low Countries in December 1938 and then invaded France itself. The war in Spain became deadlocked again, with no momentum along the Ebro in either direction.
Thanks to the deadlock, however, the resurgent Republican forces were able to gain momentum elsewhere. An armored column swept out of Catalonia, reached Vinaroz and reunited the heretofore divided Republican territory. In this sense, the goal of the Ebro offensive was met, even if the forces along the Ebro proper were immobile well into 1939. This status quo did allow the redeployment of the Lincoln Brigade to fight the Nationalists at Madrid.