La Batalla del
Jarama/The Battle of Jarama
Rafael R. Permuy
Artemio Mortera Pérez
“There's a valley
in Spain called Jarama
Its a place that we all know right well
For it's there that we fought with the fascists
And saw that pleasant valley turn to Hell”.*
* Verse from a
Spanish Civil War tune, sang by the men of the Abraham Lincoln
This book was published early in
2003, and deserves to be better known by those who are interested in
the history of the Spanish Civil War. It is the best single account
of the fierce battle fought in the valley of the river Jarama during
February 1937 published so far in Spain or elsewhere. The authors
used the best archival references at their disposal in their country
and help from abroad (namely from Russian author Sergey Abrosov).
This title is the third in a collection entirely devoted to the
Spanish Civil War, “Historica 36/39”, the other being the “Los
Pilotos de Caza de la Aviación Republicana/Fighter Pilots of the
Spanish Republic pt. 1” and “Tupolev SB Katiuska en España”/Tupolev
SB Katiuska in Spain” Pt. 1”.
Physically speaking, the book is a
softback in the usual A4 format, printed in glossy, good quality
paper. It has 88 pages, with plenty of black and white photos,
tables, maps, reproduction of original documents and some striking
colour profiles (mostly of aircraft, with two tanks and three
artillery pieces also depicted). The text is fully bilingual, with
double columns, Spanish to the left, English to the right.
We must warn the aviation minded
readers about the cover: don’t let it deceive yourselves, with its
group of Republican Army soldiers and an officer and their
Soviet-supplied Maxim machine-gun! Besides from a comprehensive
description of the ground operations, the book also covers in deep
detail the aerial operations from both sides during all stages of
the battle in the Jarama valley and its surroundings, discussing the
subject of air superiority and giving some answers to questions that
still remained on the subject after so many years of contradictory
versions. According to the authors, the so-called superiority
achieved by Nationalist airmen from 18 February on is a myth, in
spite of some gallant but isolated actions, like those performed by
the ace Capitán Garcia Morato and his comrades in that same day.
The only monoplanes employed by the Nationalist aviation were the
Heinkel He 112V-3 and a Messerschmitt Bf 109 prototype, both
integrated in the inventory of Condor Legion’s VJ/88. The air
fighting over the Jarama also demonstrated for once and for all the
total inadequacy of the Heinkel He 51 for all kinds of interception
missions. From then on, the German biplane was relegated to ground
The book is divided into the
1. Introduction (includes full lists of both the Nationalist and
Republican aircraft in the Jarama sector during February 1937)
2. Part I: First phase. The attack by the Reinforced Division (day
3. Part II: Second phase. The passage of the Jarama (day by day).
4. Part III: Third phase: The Republican Counterattack (detailed
overview of the fight in the air; conclusions).
5. Various documents. Includes an Operational Record Book for the
period stemming between 8 November 1936 and 17 April 1937, drawn
from an original document researched in the Russian archives by
We can recommend without any doubt
this title to all enthusiasts of military history, especially those
interested in the Spanish Civil War. The aviation part is well
covered and is an essential part of this work.
The book can be purchased directly from the publisher at
www.quironediciones.com, at a price of 10,5 Euro plus postage.
We must express our gratitude to our friend Rafael Permuy, who
offered us the copy reviewed.
gracias, querido amigo Rafa!