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XYZ Line
Part of the Spanish Civil War
Date July 18 - July 24, 1938
Location East Central Spain
Result Republican victory
Spain Republican Spain Spain Nationalist Spain
Italy Italy
Nazi Germany Germany
 ? Spain José Solchaga
Spain José Enrique Varela
Italy Mario Berti
 ?  ?
Casualties and losses
 ?  ?

The XYZ Line or Matallana Line was a system of fortifications built during the Spanish Civil War to defend the capital of the Second Spanish Republic in Valencia. Unlike the Maginot line, or the "Cinturón de Hierro" or Iron Belt of Bilbao that were expensive systems of fortifications and bunkers made of reinforced concrete, the XYZ Line was a system of defenses in depth consisting of trenches and bunkers that took advantage of some of the most difficult terrain in Spain to the north and north east of Valencia. The defenses were built to withstand bombarment by heavy artillery or 1,000 pound aerial bombs.

Following the success of the Aragon Offensive resulting in the Nationalists reaching the Mediterranean Sea, Francisco Franco decided to turn south against the capital of the Spanish Republic at Valencia. Advancing on three fronts from Teruel, the Mediterranean sea coast and a central column moving between them moving through the mountains. They found it slow going due to rainy weather that slowed the offensive and difficult terrain that aided the defense of Republican forces being driven back before them. On June 14th Castellón fell to Garcia Valino's Corps after several days of fighting but they were halted short of Sagunto where the mountains of the Sierra de Espadán came close to the sea. To the west Solchaga's Corps moved south from Tuerel on July 13th with Varela's Corps and the Italian CTV on their flank to the east. After some determined restistance at Mora de Rubielos and Sarrion the Republican line in the Sierra de Toro crumbled. The nationalist advanced 60 miles until they were stopped by the XYZ Line fortifications running east and west from Viver into mountainous terrain.

Between July 18th and July 24th 1938 these defenses held by two Republican Corps were successful in halting the Nationalist advance, resulting in about 20,000 Nationalist casualties. [1] The Republican offensive in the north, the Battle of the Ebro prevented any further assaults on the line by drawing away several Nationalist divisions and their heavy artillery.


  1. ^ Thomas, p. 824


  • Thomas, Hugh (1977). The Spanish Civil War. New York: Harper and Row. ISBN 0-06-014278-2.  

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