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The rebel battles of 1958

Published: 2017.12.11 - 12:51:09   /  /  Dra. Ana Teresa Badía Valdés  /  translated by  Luis E. Amador Dominguez  /

The East received December 1958 with battles in the I and II guerrilla fronts. The III Front, for its part, insisted on winning in Santiago de Cuba. By then the small towns, except the municipal capitals, were no longer in the hands of Fulgencio Batista's dictatorship.

If one proceeded towards the center of Las Villas, a series of attacks could also be seen on the roads, a strategy based, above all, on the closure of roads and railroad traffic.

From November 20-30, the Batalla of Guisa had taken place, in which, despite the fact that the army of the tyranny was supported by more than 40 combat aircraft, it took nearly 300 casualties. It also lost a T-17 tank, about one hundred long guns, seven 30-gauge tripod machine guns, two 60-millimeter mortars, one 81-millimeter mortar, one bazooka, 55,000 rounds of combat, 95 mortar shells, 20 bazooka rockets, 14 transport trucks; backpacks, uniforms, food, medicines and other ammunition and supplies.

On the first day of December of that year, the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, announced the war report: "La Batalla de Guisa! (...) It was a fight between men against planes, tanks and artillery. The most outstanding rebel officer was Captain Braulio Coroneaux, a veteran of numerous actions who fell gloriously defending his position on the road to Guisa, where enemy tanks could not pass." And Fidel continued: "The rebel units commanded by their captains and other officers fought with an extraordinary moral (...) A squad of women's platoon called Mariana Grajales fought courageously and also during the ten days that the action lasted, by supporting the bombing of airplanes and the attack of the enemy artillery."

The Batalla de Guisa was led by Fidel, together with the current president of the Councils of State and Ministers, Raúl Castro and the everlasting Camilo Cienfuegos.

Guisa was the greatest victory of the rebels. Meanwhile, December came and the guerrilla struggle began a hard month of battles (1):
• December 7, 1958. Taking of La Maya.
• December 9, 1958. Taking of San Luis and Baire.
• December 10. Joint Forces of I and III Fronts started the siege of Maffo. The town was occupied on December 30.
• December 16, 1958. Attack and taking of the Lombillo barracks by forces of column 11 Cándido González.
• December 16, 1958. The liberation of Estrada Palma, now the municipality of Bartolomé Masó, took place in the province of Granma.
• December 17, 1958. Taking of El Cobre.
• December 18, 1958. Taking of the town of Fomento, after three days of siege, by fighters of Column number eight Ciro Redondo under the command of Che.
• December 18, 1958. Liberation of Guayos and Cabaiguán.
• December 19, 1958. Combat of San José del Retiro (Jiguaní) by forces of the I and II Fronts.
• December 19, 1958. Forces of the I and III Fronts of the Rebel Army, under the command of the Commander in Chief, liberated the town of Jiguaní.
• December 21st. Camilo’s troops took Zulueta. Forces of the III Front took the Melgarejo Barracks.
• December 23, 1958. Fighters of Column 8 Ciro Redondo and Revolutionary Directorate March 13 liberated Sancti Spíritus.
• December 23, 1958. Taking of the city of Moa.
• December 24, 1958. Taking of Placetas.
• December 24, 1958. Taking of the Sagua de Tánamo barracks and rebels liberated the town after more than 40 days of intense fighting. The forces of the Columns 19 José Tey and the 17 Abel Santamaría participated.
• December 25, 1958. Taking of Caibarién and Remedios.
• December 25, 1958. Combat and taking of Puerto Padre.
• December 27, 1958. Liberation of Palma Soriano by troops of the Rebel Army commanded by Commander in Chief Fidel Castro.
• December 28, 1958. Liberation of the city of Trinidad by fighters of the Revolutionary Directorate March 13.
• December 29, 1958. Combat and taking of El Cristo by the III Front.
• December 29. Forces of the IV Front took Gibara. The town of Santo Domingo is liberated.
• December 30, 1958. -Taking of Jobabo.
• December 30, 1958. - The Batistian garrison entrenched in Maffo surrenders after days of fighting.
• December 31st. - Rebel forces directed by Fidel started the siege to Santiago de Cuba. Taking of Yaguajay led by Camilo. Troops commanded by Che took the city of Santa Clara. The dictator Fulgencio Batista fled.


1- Sources: Granma Newspaper, El Clarín, a newspaper of the ACRC and the Cuban News Agency.

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