Tourism in Comarca del Jiloca (Teruel)

Civil War Trenches

Comarca del Jiloca has an important warlike heritage, composed of the most common fortification technique at the beginning of the 20th century.

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In particular, the Spanish Civil War and the thirties of the 20th century in general, were at a war level, a connection point between the methods of combat inherit of the 19th century and the modern war.

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The field fortifications techniques had been improving during the battle, passing from simple linear structures relatively improvised, to a complex fortification systems made in concrete by a great number of workers and specialized units. This evolution must be taken into account in the typology of the conserved remains.

With the outbreak of the battle, was put into practice the usual way of combat, inherited from the First World War: The trenches strategic war. The fronts were composed by successions of linear trenches placed facing each other with similar characteristics that covered vast tracts of land. 

trinchera_rubielos1These tactical plans were improving during the battle.

The National camp bet for new strategies in which appeared fortified fronts formed by independent points supported mutually by its own fire, developing the “cop-out positional system”. In the Republican side, they took a similar process but it was set up more slowly.

The front line in Teruel province was stabilized at the end of 1936 as continuation of the existing one in the provinces of Zaragoza and Huesca, which divided from north to south into halves the Aragonese territory. The border developed in the Teruel territory was more in the west side than in the other provinces, after the incoming area of Belchite, developed mainly along the Jiloca river and the road that linked Teruel with Zaragoza, until arriving the capital, where entering in Republican territory, forming a territory pocket covering around Albarracin, and leaving all the south part under the Republican power.

allueva_puesto_observacion (19)ret (Copy)The geographical framework of the towns that currently compose the Comarca del Jiloca conditioned particularly the arrangement of the fronts in this area. The depression of the Jiloca river served as the axis around which both sides were arranged. The valley, which runs in a direction from South to North is enclosed among mountain ranges (Menera, Cucalón, Lidón, Palomera), is the natural communication route between Teruel and Zaragoza. The road that ran that way, was soon controlled by the Nationalists, being a constant objetive for the Republican forces that took position in the mountains bordering the East, especially the Palomera mountain range. Calamocha was an important centre of recruitment, organization and connection with Zaragoza, mainly in the first months of war. Together with Bello, Calamocha and its airfield was a valuable headquarters for german and italian civil aviation operations.

Also, the Sierra de Oriche, belonging to the Sierra de Cucalón, flanked by the Huerva and Aguasvivas rivers, served as a natural border among both sides during the first two years. The National band controlled the high areas of the mountain like Fonfria and Allueva, as the Republicans were in front of them in the line of Rudilla and Anadón, or Monforte de Moyuela and Huesa del Común more in the interior.

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The front sector that occupied the Jiloca area was a contested line in the vanguard. Since December 1936 and January 1937, the Governmental side tried to advance their lines in order to take control and cut off the communication way to Zaragoza, fact that was repeated in September 1937 in Bueña and in 1938 in Singra in a maneuver related to the Battle of Teruel.

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The threat for the Francoist of the Republican positions in Sierra Palomera was neutralized definitely in February 1938 in the Battle of Alfambra. In a coordinated operation the Moroccan Army broke with the Portalrrubio front, reaching to Cervera del Rincón, Pancrudo and Corbatón, at the same time that the Galicia Army Corps attacked from Celadas towards Alfambra, and the Fifth Division broke the front from Rubielos de la Cérida towards Argente. 

Starting from this position towards Perales de Alfambra, is was developed the last successful cavalry charge of the recent history. The Republican defense were captured, achieving the final push to come to an end with the Battle of Teruel.

REMAINS

The largest concentrations of remains are in the Francoist area, in the localities of Bueña, Cosa, Bañón, standing out specially Singra and Rubielos de la Cérida with a high density in remains. In the Republican side, we can stand out the ones in Monforte de Moyuela.

 “El Balsete” Fortified Position (Caminreal)

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The position, from which it was controlled the access from Rubielos de la Cérida and Vivel del Río, was spreaded across the hill with a perimeter trenche line dug into the clayey land, that bordering the East side, it communicates with two machine gun nests built on concrete and located in the North and South faces. Both are identical, with a quadrangular shape, three big shotting pockets oriented to the front, East and West sides, with an access from the back. On the western side, the trench line turns into a powerful barricade built using the dry stone technique, with a winding path. The path and the building technique used are similar to the one in the “Los pilones” position in Rubielos de la Cérida. Around this area there are also remains from an underground shelter and another fortified machine gun nest.

“La Fuentecilla” Trenches (Bueña)

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In Bueña you can find some trenches built during the Civil War and located in “Las Fuentecillas”, “La Sartaneja” and the “Cabezo”. They were considered as front line positions intended for preventing from the advance of the Republican troops stayed at the Visiedo land. These trenches had a splendorous moment in September 1937, under the Bueña´s attack. A Civil Guard brigade known as “La Calavera” stood firm in these trenches against the thrust of the Republican troops who tripled the number of soldiers, thus preventing the progress towards the middle of the Jiloca Valley.

Los Pilones (Rubielos de la Cérida)

pilones_trincherasThe fortified position of Rubielos de la Cérida, also known as “Los Pilones”, is located along the hill, and whose trenches are placed through a succession of concave and convex curves in a longitudinal arrangement. They were built using stones and concrete having small hollows arranged across the wall, used for vigilance as a defense posts.

 

 

Cabezo Pequeño Trenches (Singra)

cabezoalto_grande_singraA set of defensive structures linked to the National Army in the surrounding area of the “Paridera de Allueva” located about two kilometres away from Singra.

This set of trenches is composed by two parts. The lower part was a refuge made on reinforced concrete with several machine gun nests and trenches. The upper part, was communicated through a trenches net which connected three concrete structures.

Fortified position of “Cabezo Aparicio”, “Val Haba” and “Cabezo Santo” (Monforte de Moyuela)

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There are some lines of trenches with an underground shelter. These were part of the defensive positions that linked to others located in Val Haba, Loma de la Cruz and Cabezo Santo. Most of the trenches were dug in the ground, although some parapet sections can be seen built in dry stone.

The ones called “Cabezo Santo” had several trench lines and a small fort-nest for machine guns which took part of the defensive positions that linked to the others. The most spectacular element is the concrete structure in a polygonal shape, with four big pockets for shotting.

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Fortified position of “Los Villares” (Allueva and Anadón)

Fortified position raised during the Civil War between the villages of Allueva and Anadón, called “Los Villares” or “San Jorge-El Gigante”. It was part of a front that extended for about five kilometres in the top of “La Rocha” hill, with many defensive positions and trenches, most of them now disappeared.

 

 CIVIL WAR ROUTE