The Counterattack

After the XI International had weathered the assault of the Army of Africa, both sides dug in on the Caso de Campo. After supplies had been brought up, General Kleber ordered a counterattack on the Moroccan positions. The Brigaders advanced across the grass into the enemy fire, and succeeded in driving the panicked Moros out of their trenches to new positions further back. The Brigade suffered 30% casualties in doing so.

Although a militarily insignificant retreat, the Moroccan advance had been soundly checked, and word soon spread that the new arrivals had given the Army of Africa its first taste of defeat. Republican morale soared to new heights, General Kleber was hailed as the Saviour of Madrid.

With the Nationalist advance on the Caso de Campo stalled, General Varela shifted the axis of attack on to the working class suburb of Carabanchel, held by Republican militias. There, in the narrow streets which were the home turf of the militiamen, the Moroccans were not only held back, but hurled back, with heavy losses. Even the cautious Franco had underestimated just how fiercely Madrid was prepared to resist.

The Moroccans were a precious resource and the Nationalists were becoming worried by their mounting casualties. Varela began probing the Republican lines, seeking weaknesses.

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