Bloody fights of Polish interbrigadiers at Jarama

85 years ago, 13 February 1937, Polish volunteers fought bloody battles during the Battle of Jarama. About 170 of them were killed and wounded. Volunteers from the Dąbrowski Battalion (XII IB) were ordered to attack the hill with the "white house" occupied by the fascists, in order to relieve the critical section defended by the XI International Brigade. In order to do this, the anti-fascists had to descend from the hill where they had their positions, cross the Madrid-Valencia highway over which the fighting was taking place, and climb the enemy positions.

Throughout the assault, the Polish interbrigadiers were under heavy fire from fascist forces that were several times more numerous. However, they managed to get close to the fascist positions, where fierce battles to the death began. Communication with the battalion headquarters was lost, there was a shortage of ammunition, it became impossible to evacuate the wounded soldiers, and there was no artillery support. The fascists attacked with 18 tanks. During the withdrawal of the volunteers there were bayonet fights. The testimonies speak of cases of wounded men blowing themselves up with grenades in order to avoid being taken prisoner and to kill some fascists with a suicide attack.

"We did not run away because we lacked strength. The fascists were standing on the mountain and shooting at hundreds of people stretched out on the march," Jan Bernard recalled.

After the retreat of Dąbrowski battalion to their starting positions, the fascists continued the attack, including with the help of Moroccan cavalry, capturing republican trenches and forcing Polish anti-fascists to retreat further. Again, there were bayonet and grenade fights. It was only in the evening that the fascist units ceased their attack.

The Battle of the Jarama ended on 28 February 1937 and was the bloodiest battle for Madrid, which was again defended.