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CXXIX International Brigade
Flag of the International Brigades.svg
Country Various, but mostly Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans
Branch Emblem of the International Brigades International Brigades
Allegiance Flag of Spain (1931–1939) Spain
Service history
Active 8 February 1938 - 28 March 1939
Role Home Defence
Part of 29th Division (1937 —forerunner unit)
45th Division (1938)[1]
39th Division (1938-39)
Nickname Forty Nations Brigade
Battles Spanish Civil War
Decorations Medal of Bravery
Commanders
Commanders Wacław Komar
Insignia
Plaza de la Constitución de Chillón (Ciudad Real)

Central square of Chillón, the town where the CXXIX International Brigade was established in February 1938.

The CXXIX International Brigade or 129th International Brigade was a military unit of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. Its members were from a number of different countries thus it was also known as "Forty Nations Brigade" (Spanish language:Brigada de las cuarenta naciones ).

HistoryEdit

129th Mixed BrigadeEdit

A predecessor 129th Mixed Brigade had been established in 1937 made up mainly of POUM militiamen.[2] It was made part of the new 29th Division of the Spanish Republican Army and saw its baptism of fire in Northern Aragon. Owing to its alleged faulty performance in the combats of the Battle of Sabiñánigo and the Huesca Offensive, both the brigade and the division were wrapped up. The disbandment, however, fell in line with the persecution of the POUM by the Communists following the May Events of 1937 in Barcelona.[3]

International BrigadeEdit

The defunct mixed brigade was revived as the CXXIX International Brigade in Chillón (Ciudad Real Province) on 8 February 1938. It brought together the odds and ends of assorted reorganized international units. Although nicknamed "Forty Nations Brigade", most of its men were from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Its first leader was Polish officer Wacław Komar, who had previously led the Dombrowski Battalion in the XIII International Brigade. On 13 February it was made part of the 45th Division.[1] After having been sent west to Castuera on 16 February the CXXIX International Brigade saw its first brief combat action at the Extremaduran Front.[2] The beginning of the rebel Aragon Offensive necessitated the swift transferring of the CXXIX International Brigade to the eastern part of the Iberian System. The brigade arrived on 25 March to the mountain town of Morella. In the new location it faced relentless attacks from the enemy until it had to withdraw on 4 April after having suffered numerous casualties. Owing to the severe depletion of its ranks, the brigade was sent then to nearby Sant Mateu for reorganization. As it happened to be further south of the eastward-pushing rebel thrust, the CXXIX International Brigade had become detached from the remaining international brigades of the 45th Division and it was discharged from it on 30 June.[1] The other units of the division became isolated in Catalonia when the territory held by the Spanish Republic was split in two by the swift crumbling of the loyalist defense in Aragon. In its new location the brigade was strengthened with new weapons and Spanish recruits, being made part thenceforward of the 39th Division.[2] In the course of the following months the brigade took refuge in La Iglesuela del Cid and took part in numerous actions of the Levante Campaign. In September the unit attained distinction in battle in combats and skirmishes around the Alto del Buitre and the Sierra de Javalambre, being collectively awarded the Medal of Bravery.[2]

Twilight and end of the unitEdit

On the 16 October the brigade lost its international members and became a regular republican mixed brigade under the leadership of infantry commander José Pellicer Gandia. It would stay covering the same area of the front until the end of the war.[4] Meanwhile the international fighters were gathered at Moncada, Valencia and were sent by ship to Barcelona. There they intended to take part in the Catalonia Campaign under the former leader of the Dimitrov Battalion, Czechoslovak commander Josef Pavel.[4] In the middle of the Republican debacle in Catalonia the former CXXIX International Brigade members joined other foreign volunteers who had chosen to remain in Spain and tried to defend Vic. But in the face of the overwhelming rebel pressure they were not successful and had to join the general withdrawal towards the north. Finally they reached the French border at the beginning of February and left Spain.[4]

StructureEdit

LeadersEdit

Order of battleEdit

During its existence as an International Brigade the unit included the following battalions:[5]

), which included different nationalities, but where Czechs and Slovaks predominated.[6] It was initially under the command of Egon Erwin Kisch, a famous Czech journalist.

), composed mainly of Yugoslav[7] and Bulgarian fighters.

), made up of various nations of the Balkans.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 SBHAC BM 129
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Carlos Engel (1999); p. 40
  3. Carlos Engel (1999)M p. 297
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Carlos Engel (1999); pág. 41
  5. Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War, Appendix III, p. 1036
  6. Associació catalana de Vexil·lologia
  7. Aguirre, Xabier. «Yugoslavia y los ejércitos: la legitimidad militar en tiempos de genocidio», p. 24

BibliographyEdit

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