Jarama Part 3

The next day Pavlov's T-26s counterattacked in what could best be described as a charge of mechanised heavy cavalry. Though not a great success in itself, the attack gave Nationalists another reason to pause, and Republicans time to move up reserve units into the sector.

General Mola was now extremely concerned with the way the offensive had been halted. He too was obsessed with Madrid, and he had persuaded Franco to let him commit his last six battalions of reserves, but these units could not even replace the losses his columns had suffered. Both sides had fought each other to a temporary standstill. Front line troops had suffered grievous losses in charges of hopeless bravery. The Republican general staff had reacted so slowly to the crisis that fresh units were not in position to take advantage of Nationalist exhaustion. The only reinforcements available at this point was XIV International. Also the Republican air force, which up till now had kept an effective umbrella over the battlefield was now being challenged by the Fiat CR32s of the Nationalists, which engaged the Chatos in a huge dogfight over the river. Five days later the 'Blue Patrol' Fiat group, led by the Nationalist air ace Morato was transferred to the front. Together with the Italian Legionary Air Force they inflicted heavy losses on the Republican fighters. The Russians piloting the valuable Ratas were ordered to act with great caution in the future as a result of the engagement.

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