Friday, 29 November 2013

The Good, The Bad & The Garbanzos

We bade farewell to Aragón with a visit to the Italian positions atop Ermita Santa Quitería followed by an excellent lunch at Café Hermes in Tardienta. We also had a cup of coffee in Huesca. There was standing joke with the Republican troops on the Aragón front about "having a cup of coffee in Huesca tomorrow" - they never did. 

And so, back to Catalunya and a brief visit to Fayon and its Ebro Museum. The museum is incredible. All the things you would expect: uniforms, weapons and personal kit. Where it stands out is its full size dioramas of The Battle of The Ebro and also the VERY heavy weaponry on display. Artillery pieces, mortars, HMGs and AA artillery including and a complete, including sights, 88mm Flak36. Most impressive and well worth a visit.

Then up the road to La Fatarella. We were supposed to be lodging in La Fatarella village itself but some confusion over bookings led us to stay at the peasant farmhouse at Torre Nova about 3km away. Torre Nova was used as a dressing station/field hospital during the battle of the Ebro. We stayed here B&B but ate most of our meals at La Casa Ecologica in La Fatarella. Menú del día is a wonderful thing: choice of starters, mains and desserts plus as much wine, bread, water and coffee as you can cope with all for between 8 -12 Euros a head. Bonus!

Torre Nova Farmhouse
Field hospital during The Battle of The Ebro

Trenches on the ridge above Terra Nova

Saturday in La Fatarella: a conference on aspects of SCW. Went for a walk around the village with DW. Lunch in café Can Ríus with AW, PR & DW, met some interesting and knowledgeable people.

Sunday saw a re-enactment of the end of The Battle of The Ebro. The Nationalists were represented by a group of friendly Carlists. I know they were friendly they gave me strong sherry wine. They also colonised the Republican bunker, christened 'Fred & Ginger's' to get out of the incessant wind. The Republican troops contented themselves with manning the trenches.

The battle was short, 20 minutes or so, but great fun to be a combat correspondent in. As well as my digi I was also using a borrowed 35mm Leica. I think I got some good shots even though the Leica takes a little time to set up. One notable feature of the fighting was the extravagant use of pyros to create an artillery barrage effect and the number of home-made grenades being thrown by both sides. I was lying down on top of the bunker to get some good shots and got a present of a grenade which I managed to roll away from before it went off. If it had been a real one I'd be writing this from a hospital bed. Possibly.

A Carlist
Note how he has turned his blanket into a capote

Carlists in the tree line!

Republican defenders

Restored bunker from the battle

This is a short film taken by one of the other combat cameramen present. 
All acknowledgements and copyright belong to: Ramon Aragonés Margalef.


No comments:

Post a Comment