BIG VICTORIES ON THE ARAGON FRONT
From Our Own Correspondent
The tables have again been turned in favour of the Nationalists after a series of unprecedented defeats during the last few weeks.
A big offensive began on Saturday, February 5, on the Aragon front, where, within two days Franco's • troops advanced zo kilometres on a front extending for so kilometres. ''he whole of the Sierra Palomera was taken, and the Reds retreated rapidly to the eastern side of the Alfambra River.
Two thousand eight hundred prisoners were taken, among them eleven officers and about twenty " political commissioners," Two entire batteries, a number of machine-guns and much ammunition were abandoned by the enemy, who left 3,000 dead. Three tanks were also taken, and the 46th International Brigade was annihilated. Among the positions lost by the Reds were the following important villages, captured on Sunday, February 6: Portalrubio, Alpeties, Lidon, Corbaton, Pancrudo, Rubielos de la C6rida, Cervera del Rincon, Argente, Visiedo, Rub, Fuentes Calientes, Camaiia, and Perales.
The Red front has been broken in two places, but Franco's advance has cost few losses.
Endymion and Alcira Salamanca declares itself entirely innocent of torpedoing the Endymion, pointing out how useless such an act would be to the Nationalists, whereas Barcelona would profit if the blame could be laid on Franco's shoulders. The Endymion was either sunk by a Red submarine, or else through striking a mine. The Nationalist Government took the trouble to announce, on several occasions, the mining of Spanish waters.
As to the Alcira, Salamanca affirms that it was sunk at the entry of the port of Barcelona which, as a military objective, must necessarily be bombarded by Nationalist aviation. But serious enquiries are being made by Salamanca into the details of this incident.
France's gesture of " humanitarianism" In joining her voice to that of the British Foreign Office to obtain the ces sation of bombardments, is considered with irony in Nationalist Spain.
In view of the help accorded to the Reds in the form of aeroplanes and munitions by the Front Populaire, especially by Pierre Cot, ex-Minister of Air (while he held office), who was a devoted friend to the Spanish Marxists, this attitude seems surprising, and is considered as the limit of hyprocrisy. It is very probable, that without the generous help given by France to the Anarcho-Communists, the civil war would have been over more than a year ago.
Knowing that Franco only bombards points of strategic importance, and that his raids have not, as have theirs, the object of terrorising the civil population, the Reds have transported great dumps of ammunition (of which they have a surfeit due to intervention) and petrol dumps to the centre of the various towns under their domination.
It will be remembered that in Santander, and the Asturias the churches were chosen to conceal the stores of ammunition, and your correspondent on entering with the troops of General Franco was able to photograph several of these cases.