The Campaign

1936 Once the fog surrounding the confused and bloody events of that first weekend of 17/18 July began to clear, the balance of power seemed heavily weighted in favour of the Republicans. Their forces of trained men, both regular and militia, outnumbered those of their opponents. Most of the main cities and all the industrial areas were in their hands. Leading members of the U.M.E., among them Generals Goded and Burriel, were in their hands, soon to be executed. José Antonio Primo de Rivera, leader of the Falange, languished in a Republican jail. The Nationalist trump card, the African Army, was blocked in Spanish Morocco and seemed likely to remain there since most of the fleet was in Republican hands after sailors had seized the ships, shooting or throwing overboard any officer suspected of Nationalist sympathies. Even in Rome and Berlin the general consensus was that the rebellion had begun so disastrously that it was bound to collapse prematurely.

The prognostication of failure was reinforced by the crash on 20 July of the Puss Moth carrying the leader of the movement, General Sanjurjo, to Spain shortly after taking off from Lisbon. The general was killed instantly and the rebellion was left without a head. There were three rivals for the position, Franco, Mola and Queipo de Llano; but the matter was not resolved until October, after a meeting in Burgos of leading insurgents, which was often acrimonious and which lasted several days.

Nationalist divisional badges. (A) ijth Division: a black shield with a red-yellow-red centre stripe, the number in white on a black patch enclosed by a yellow 'D'. The small insignia identify the branches represented in the formation: top, left to right, the regular infantry badge in yellow, with red showing in the loop of the horn; the red Falangist emblem; and the badge of the Tercio in full colour. Bottom, left to right: the white tower of the regular engineers, the yellow grenade of the artillery, and the yellow rifles and white crescent of the Moroccan regular infantry. (B) 23rd Division: yellow edge, yellow (left) and blue halved shield, yellow infantry badge, red legend. (C) 74th Division: red disc, yellow rim with green motif, central device all yellow except grey helmet.

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