Spain in Arms

A Military History of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939

E. R. Hooton

A military history of the Spanish Civil War from January 1937 onwards, uncovering new evidence and overturning much of the received wisdom about the conflict.
Date Published :
April 2019
Publisher :
Illustration :
20 black and white photographs, 20 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781612006376
Pages : 288
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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A military history of the Spanish Civil War from January 1937 onwards, uncovering new evidence and overturning much of the received wisdom about the conflict.

Spain in Arms is a military history of the Spanish Civil War. It examines how the Spanish Civil War developed on the battlefield through the prism of eight campaigns between 1937-1939 and shows how many accounts of military operations during this conflict are based upon half-truths and propaganda.

The book is based upon nearly 60 years of extensive research into the Spanish Civil War, augmented by information from specialized German, Italian and Russian works. The Italian campaign against the Basques on the Northern Front in 1937 was one of the most spectacular Nationalist successes of the Civil War, with 60,000 prisoners taken. This is also the first book to quote secret data about Italian air operations intercepted by the British. The figures intercepted by the British show the Italians flew 1,215 sorties and dropped 231 tons of bombs during the campaign, whilst also suffering the heaviest losses.

It also demonstrates how the Nationalists won not simply by benefitting from a cornucopia of modern arms from the Fascist powers but by using its limited resources to maximum effect. Spain in Arms reveals the Nationalist battlefield superiority in terms of training and overall command, and the Republic's corresponding weaknesses in the same fields. The Republican Brunete and Belchite offensives of 1937 are described in detail, from the weapons they carried and the tactics they employed to the dynamic Nationalist response and reaction of the generals. This book also explores how the extent of foreign intervention on both sides has been greatly exaggerated throughout history and provides the first accurate information on this military intervention, using British and French archives to produce a radically different but more accurate account of the battles and the factors and men who shaped them.

Hooton finally gives the historical context and operational implications of the battlefield events to provide a link between the First and Second World Wars.

About The Author

E. R. Hooton is a retired defence journalist and a member of the British Commission for Military History as well as being a member of the Royal United Services Institute. He has written numerous articles on military history and three highly regarded books on the history of the Luftwaffe – ‘The Luftwaffe – A Study in Air Power 1933-1945’ (2010) ‘Phoenix Triumphant: The Rise and Rise of the Luftwaffe’ (1992) and ‘Eagle in Flames: The Fall of the Luftwaffe’ (1997). He has also written a detailed history of air operations over the Western Front.


Chapter 1: Madrid Front February-March 1937
Chapter 2: The New Armies and weapons
Chapter 3: Northern Front April-October 1937
Chapter 4: Republican offensives July-October 1937
Chapter 5: The Nationalist Advance November 1937-October 1938
Chapter 6: The Last Battles; July 1938-February 1939


"This book takes advantage of records in both the British and French archives to provide a new context to the war and those who fought it."

- Military Heritage

“Hooton does write in surprisingly fast-moving prose (“Glory-hunting Berti asked Franco to rein in Aranda and give the Italians the privilege of reaching the sea first, but received very short shrift”). This meticulous study will be catnip for specialists studying the war—and only them.”

- Publishers Weekly

"This book cuts all of the fat and gristle away to give you only the juicy meat of the military history."

- A Wargamers Needful Things

"A valuable read for anyone with an interest in the Spanish Civil War or the coming of World War II. "

- The NYMAS Review

"Those interested in twentieth-century warfare, particularly during the interwar period, would greatly appreciate this book."

- Journal of Military History

"Hooton presents a balanced perspective by citing the memoirs of many Republican generals like Enrique Líster, Juan Modesto, and Vicente Rojo."

- Hispania

"Enhanced with the inclusion of maps, and eight page bibliography, and an eighteen page index, 'Spain in Arms: A Military History of the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939' is a definitively comprehensive history that is unreservedly recommended and fully endorsed for community, college, and university library 20th Century Military History collections in general, and Spanish Civil War supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, military history buffs, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that "Spain in Arms" is also available in a digital book format."

- Midwest Book Review

"A thoroughly thought-provoking insight into a hitherto unknown aspect of the Spanish Civil War."

- Royal Engineers Historical Society

“This is a good operational/strategic account of the Spanish Civil War, with considerable detail on equipment, organisation (down to brigade level), and the broad sweep of the fighting, supplemented by twenty maps and a scattering of photographs. The impact of foreign intervention—equipment, men, training—is well covered, as is the disparate nature of domestic troop types, from raw militia to long service professionals."

- Chris Jarvis, editor of Miniature Wargames

“E. R. Hooton’s Spain in Arms is a tour-de-force: not only does he provide a very comprehensive military narrative of the Spanish Civil War, but he also offers an expert analysis of the performance of the forces involved, including their doctrine, equipment and state of training. He thus fills a significant gap in the historiography of this conflict."

- Major General Mungo Melvin CB OBE, author of Manstein: Hitler’s Greatest General

‘’...a useful addition to the literature whose judgements on strictly military issues are perfectly sound. Those familiar with the standard reading will therefore find their knowledge of the conflict significantly extended, while it is to be hoped that the work will find its way onto many course bibliographies.’’

- European History Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 2

"E. R Hooton has given us by far the best one-volume military history of the Spanish conflict, despite certain limitations. It is outstanding for its objectivity, professionalism, and technical analysis, and it is the best existing succinct military guide to the most debated and controversial of the European civil wars of the first half of the twentieth century."

- History: Reviews of New Books

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