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Invasion of Val d'Aran ,Spain 1944


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#1 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 08:33 AM

This is from Wiki. How accurate is this? I hadn't heard of this until I was looking up information about the Spaniards fighting with the French.

The formation of the AGE
Some of the Spanish refugees joined French resistance groups, while others formed autonomous groups. In April 1942 a meeting of several Spanish combat groups decided to take the name of the XIV Cuerpo del Ejército de Guerrilleros Españoles, considering themselves the Corps' successors.
In May 1944 the XIV Corps re-formed as the Agrupación de Guerrilleros Españoles (AGE, roughly Group of Spanish Guerrillas),[1] because they consisted for the most part of Spanish combatants on French soil. This conveyed the group's distancing from the Franc Tireurs Partisans (FTP), the armed branch of the French Communist Party, with whom they had previously worked closely. By this time, the Spanish resistors had participated in numerous armed actions against the German army, even liberating various populations in the south of France.
The numbers of Spanish combatants in the ranks of the Resistance vary quite a bit amongst sources, but in general they accept a number around 10,000.[2] After the German army was driven from France, Spanish maquis returned their focus to Spain.

The invasion of the Val d'Aran

The most spectacular operation of the Spanish maquis was the invasion of Spain by between 4,000[3][4] and 7,000[5] guerrillas through the Valle de Arán and other parts of the Pyrenees, well equipped and with heavy armaments, on October 19, 1944, after the German army had been driven from the south of France. The invasion was named "Operation Reconquest of Spain".
Operation Reconquest of Spain was planned by the AGE staff. To carry out the invasion they created the 204th Division, made up of 12 brigades. The division was commanded by Vicente López Tovar.[6]
The objective of the offensive was to retake the sector of Spanish territory comprising the land between the Cinca and Segre Rivers and the French border. Later, the zone was declared conquered by the Republican government in exile, with the intention of provoking a general uprising against Franco throughout Spain. It was hoped that it would force the Allies to "liberate" Spain the same way it was "liberating" the rest of Europe.
The main attack in the valley was accompanied by operations in other valleys of the Pyrenees during the previous weeks, with the objective of distracting Franco's forces.[7] These other attacks were intended also to evaluate the situation in the interior of Spain, and make contact with other groups of exiles. The most important points of penetration in the long chain of mountains were Roncesvalles, Roncal, Hecho, Canfranc, the Arán, Andorra and Cerdaña, though there were also operations at smaller points.
The offensives were repelled by a great force that was moved into the area by Franco, made up of Guardia Civil, armed police, battalions of the Spanish Army, and 40,000 Moroccan troops.[8]
The guerrilla army conquered various towns and villages, raising the Republican flag, carrying out anti-Franco meetings in the plazas, as well as controlling part of the French border for several days, through which they were able to bring in trucks, material and reinforcements from France. However, the invasion failed to take Vielha, its principal objective. Finally, overwhelmed by the Nationalists' numeric and material advantage, the guerrillas pulled back. The retreat ended October 28,[9] when the last guerrillas re-crossed the border back into France, without the hoped-for uprising.

The Agrupaciones Guerrilleras

In spite of the setback of Arán in 1944, the morale of the exiled Spaniards remained high, given that all seemed still possible in an international context of general collapse of fascism. All throughout Spain, the level of guerrilla activity went up, precipitated by the incorporation of new contingents crossing the border and the reorganization of the groups with structures of a more military character.
The exiled PCE promoted the creation of the Agrupaciones Guerrilleras (Guerrilla Groups) in several geographic zones, coordinating the actions between them. It was modelled after the Federación de Guerrillas de León-Galicia, the first guerrilla organization of the post-war era. The most active group from the AG was the Agrupación Guerrillera de Levante y Aragón (AGLA), which was active in the area between the southern part of Teruel, the interior of Castellón and the north of Cuenca.
In 1948 the PCE changed its strategy, and at the behest of Stalin,[10] renounced the guerrilla fight, preferring to try to change the state-sanctioned Spanish Trade Union Organisation from within. This began the decline of the agrupaciones, already quite beaten by government repression. The Agrupaciones Guerrilleras renamed itself Comités de Resistencia. The new orientation, however, was not effective, and ultimately a general evacuation was decreed in 1952.

Spanish Maquis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Edited by JCFalkenbergIII, 30 August 2008 - 04:38 PM.

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#2 arneken

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 09:20 AM

'Our Spanish Brothers' or 'As at Plombieres'? France, The Legacy of Resistance and the Spanish Opposition to Franco, 1945-1948 -- Messenger 20 (1): 52 -- French History

maybe this will be a help?
Sixty-four bomber pilots and crew lie in the cemetery at Wevelgem Communal and today many locals still pay their respects to those brave men from high in the skies.

#3 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 05:56 PM

Looks like you have to pay to see the article :( . I was more interested in the 1944 invasion though rather then after 1945.
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#4 arneken

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 06:56 PM

Looks like you have to pay to see the article :( . I was more interested in the 1944 invasion though rather then after 1945.


Yeah saw it to (about the paying part) Not mutch to find about it some articles here and there.

http://de.wikipedia....wiki/Val_d'Aran (German article)
http://fr.wikipedia....n_du_Val_d'Aran (French article)
http://www.answers.c...rancisco-franco (some parts about Val d'Aran but mostly about Franco)

Edited by arneken, 30 August 2008 - 07:02 PM.

Sixty-four bomber pilots and crew lie in the cemetery at Wevelgem Communal and today many locals still pay their respects to those brave men from high in the skies.

#5 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 07:31 PM

The Abortive Invasion of Spain

Although the Spanish Civil War had left more than half a million dead, destroyed a quarter of a million houses and sent a third of million Spaniards into exile in France and Latin America, Franco was in no mood for reconciliation. He set up war tribunals which sentenced thousands of Republicans to death and interned nearly two million others in concentration camps until “order” had been restored. The Falange was the only permitted political organization, and censorship was rigidly enforced.

As World War II ground towards its conclusion, exiled Spanish Republicans distinguished themselves fighting for the Allies, especially among the ranks of the French Resistance, with many units active in the French Pyrenees from 1942 on. Implacable foes of Franco and fascists in general, the Basques even formed their own Gernika Batallion, which in April 1945 was instrumental in crushing a large German force in southwest France, still being supplied by Spain.

Some months before this, about 15,000 Spanish Republicans, logically concluding that total Allied victory would encompass the overthrow of Franco’s pro-Nazi regime, had attempted to occupy the Spanish Pyrenean valleys as a prelude to anti-Falangist uprisings across Spain. With minimal, half-hearted support from the French Resistance and the British SOE, they invaded on October 19, 1944 along the entire length of the Pyrenees, principally at the Val d’Aran, but also at Luzaide, Urdizeto, Benasque and the valles of Roncal and Pineta.

Although they arrived fully supplied to avoid relying on the locals and thus provoking reprisals against them, the Republican guerrillas in any case found many villages already forcibly depopulated, and the wells poisoned. After some initial success in Aran, “Reconquista de España” (as the operation was called) failed to take Vielha or seal off the Bonaigua pass and the half-built tunnel, and was forced to withdraw after a week. In the wake of this debacle, Franco’s regime strongly reinforced its border defences (so that there would be no further significant incursions), and vicious reprisals (especially in Aran) were exacted anyway.

Surviving Spanish Resistance members resident in France, for the most part ardent communists, were for many years shabbily treated by the French government in respect of (belated) decorations and pensions, and still tend to segregate themselves from locally born fighters at commemorative ceremonies. On the Spanish side, only in spring 2001 were official references to the combatants of 1944 and a few guerrilla cells who battled on in Spain until the early 1960s as “bandits” and “brigands” struck from the official record, though the survivors failed to gain the right to military pensions.

Pyrenees Tourism - The Abortive Invasion of Spain
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#6 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 02:29 AM

I have read on a few of the sites that mention this that is is some kind of revisionist history. Im not sure if that is so or not. Hopefull some of our Spanish posters can help out.
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#7 Lost Watchdog

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 01:27 PM

The tourism site quoted by JCFalkenbergIII mentions the Germans in southwest France in April 1945. Did any of them make it across the border to Spain as the war ended and if so what happen to them there?

#8 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 07:55 PM

I would assume that some did. And probably were welcome to stay.
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#9 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 01:39 AM

I'm still hoping that some of our Spanish posters or someone else can help.
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#10 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 01 September 2008 - 05:50 PM

Despite the official end of the war, guerrilla resistance to Franco (known as "the maquis") was widespread in many mountainous regions, and continued well into the 1950s. In 1944, a group of republican veterans, which also fought in the French resistance against the Nazis, invaded the Val d'Aran in northwest Catalonia, but they were quickly defeated.
The end of the war led to tens of thousands of exilees, mostly to France (but also Mexico, Chile, etc.). On the other side of the Pyrenees, refugees were confined in internment camps of the French Third Republic, such as Camp Gurs or Camp Vernet, where 12,000 Republicans were housed in squalid conditions (mostly soldiers from the Durruti Division [22]). The 17,000 refugees housed in Gurs were divided into four categories (Brigadists, pilots, Gudaris and ordinary 'Spaniards'). The Gudaris (Basques) and the pilots easily found local backers and jobs, and were allowed to quit the camp, but the farmers and ordinary people, who could not find relations in France, were encouraged by the Third Republic, in agreement with the Francoist government, to return to Spain. The great majority did so and were turned over to the Francoist authorities in Irún. From there they were transferred to the Miranda de Ebro camp for "purification" according to the Law of Political Responsibilities.
After the proclamation by Marshall Pétain of the Vichy regime, the refugees became political prisoners, and the French police attempted to round-up those who had been liberated from the camp. Along with other "undesirables", they were sent to the Drancy internment camp before being deported to Nazi Germany. 5,000 Spaniards thus died in Mauthausen concentration camp [23]. The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who had been named by the Chilean President Pedro Aguirre Cerda special consul for immigration in Paris, was given responsibility for what he called "the noblest mission I have ever undertaken": shipping more than 2,000 Spanish refugees, who had been housed by the French in squalid camps, to Chile on an old cargo ship, the Winnipeg.

Francisco Franco: Definition from Answers.com
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#11 JCFalkenbergIII

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Posted 02 September 2008 - 12:28 AM

"After the proclamation by Marshall Pétain of the Vichy regime, the refugees became political prisoners, and the French police attempted to round-up those who had been liberated from the camp. Along with other "undesirables", they were sent to the Drancy internment camp before being deported to Nazi Germany. 5,000 Spaniards thus died in Mauthausen concentration camp [23]."

Another factoid that is new to me.
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