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Battle of Irún
Part of the Spanish Civil War
Date August 19 - September 5, 1936
Location Guipúzcoa, Spain
Result Decisive Nationalist victory
Belligerents
Spain Spanish Republic Spain Nationalist Spain
Commanders
Antonio Ortega, Manuel Margarida Valdes Lt. Colonel Alfonso Beorlegui Canet
Strength
 ?  ?
Casualties and losses
 ?  ?

The Battle of Irún was the critical battle of the Campaign of Guipúzcoa prior to the War in the North, during the Spanish Civil War. The Nationalist Army under Alfonso Beorlegui captured the city of Irún cutting off the northern provinces of Guipúzcoa, Vizcaya, Santander and Asturias from their source of arms and support in France.

Contents

Background

Irún is located on the northeastern coast of Spain, between the French border and the city of San Sebastian. The town was defended by 3,000 Republicans, including CNT militia, Asturians, Basque nationalists, and French communist volunteers. Major Beorlegui's force was smaller, but it included 155mm artillery, German light tanks and Ju 52 bombers, and a 700 man bandera from the Foreign Legion.

The battle

The Nationalist ships España (battleship), Almirante Cervera (cruiser), and Velasco (destroyer) bombarded the town on August 11. The main fighting took place on the Puntza ridge south of the town. The peak of the battle occurred at the convent of San Marcial, which was defended by Asturian miners and militia who threw dynamite and rocks when they ran out of ammunition.

The French had closed the border with Spain on August 8, leading to a shortage of ammunition and supplies on the Republican side. When the Republicans finally abandoned the town, they first set it on fire to destroy anything that might aid the Nationalist war effort. During the rest of the war, when the Nationalists would ruin a town with bombardment, then occupy it, they would announce that the Republicans had destroyed the town, citing the example of Irún. Beorlegui was wounded by a sniper when he entered the town. He refused to have the wound treated and died from gangrene.

Notes

Sources

Coordinates: 43°20′N 1°47′W / 43.333°N 1.783°W / 43.333; -1.783

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