- Battle of Bilbao
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Bilbao
caption=The Northern Front. Bilbao is on the right of the red area.
Spanish Civil War
place= Biscay, Northern
territory = Nationalists win Biscay from the repbublicans
result=Decisive Nationalist victory
combatant1=flagicon|Spain|1931 Spanish Republic flagicon|Basque Country
combatant2=flagicon|Spain|1939 Nationalist Spain
The Battle of Bilbao was part of the
War in the North, during the Spanish Civil Warwhere the Nationalist Army captured the city of Bilbaoand the remaining parts of the Basque Country still held by the Republic.
Bilbao was the capital of the autonomous Basque area established by the Republic after the war began. This establishment was in payment for Basque Nationalist support of the Republic. Not all Basques supported the Basque Nationalists, however.
Navarre and Alava had rallied to the rising against the Republic. [
Gabriel Jackson, "The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939 (1965), p. 384 ]
The Nationalists gained Guipuzcoa early in the war with the fall of
San Sebastián, September 13, 1936. [ Hugh Thomas, "The Spanish Civil War", (2001), p. 397]
June 11The Basque forces had fallen back to the city of Bilbao, which was defended by a series of rushed fortifications called the " Iron Belt." Unfortunately, the Iron Belt was poorly designed for defense [Gabriel Jackson, pp. 380-384.] and the designer of the Belt, engineer Alejandro Goicoechea, defected to the Nationalists and brought them the plans of the defenses, so that they could strike at the weakest point [ Manuel Montero García, History of Biscay (1980).] . The ring was breeched by an infantry assault supported by heavy artillery bombardment. On the night of June 13the defenders evacuated most of the civilian population from the city. On June 18General Ulibarri withdrew his remaining troops from Bilbao and the Nationalists occupied the city on the following day. The city's bridges had been destroyed to hinder the invaders but the city remained mostly intact.
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