Brigades and Battalions of the International Brigades

  • Initial list of Brigades, Battalions and Smaller units in the International Brigades (1)

XI International Brigade  Thaelmann

Brigade Commanders (2)

  • Hans Kahle (German)                         To March 1937
  • Richard Staimer (German)               April-December 1937
  • Heinrich Rau (German)                     January-March 1938
  • Gustav Szinda (German)                   March 1938
  • Otto Flatter (Hungarian)                  April-August 1938
  • Adolf Reiner (Austrian)                     September 1938-January 1939

Brigade Commissars

  • Hans Beimler (German)                      To December 1936
  • Di-Vittorio (Italian)                            December 1936-January 1937
  • Artur Dorf (German)                          February-April 1937
  • Heinrich Rau (German)                       May-September 1937
  • Kurt Frank (German)                          September 1937-January 1938
  • Richard Schenk (German)                  February-March 1938
  • Ernest Blank (German)                       March 1938-January 1939

Chiefs of Staff

  • Ludwig Renn (German)                      December 1936-June 1937
  • Gustav Szinda (German)                    July-September 1937
  • Heinrich Rau (German)                       October-December 1937

XII  International Brigade Garibaldi

Commanders:

  • General Lukacs November 1936-

Commissars:

  •  Luigi Longo November 1936-

Chief of Staff:

XIII International Brigade Dombrowsky

Commanders:

Commissars:

Chief of Staff:

XIV International Brigade   

Commanders:

  • General Walter (Polish) [Karol Swierczewski] December 1936-

Commissars:

  •  Heuster (French) December 1936-

Chief of Staff:

  • Morandi (Italian)

              

 XV International Brigade      

   Commanders:

  • General Gal February 1937
  • Vladamir Copic (Croatian) February 1937-
  • Jose Maria Varela (Spanish)

Commissars:

  • Vladamir Copic (Croatian) February 1937
  • Steve Nelson (American)
  • David Doran (American)
  • John Gates (American)

Chief of Staff:

  •  George Nathan (British)
  • Robert Merriman (American)

129th International Brigade   

Commanders:

Commissars:

Chief of Staff:

                                                                                           

150th  International Brigade 

  

Commanders:

Commissars:

Chief of Staff:

Battalions

Dombrowsky  Formed October 1936.  Composed of Eastern European volunteers.

Commanders (3):

  • Tedeusz Oppman

Commissars:

Hans (Edgar Andre)  Formed October 1936. Composed of German, Austrian, Dutch and Swiss.

Commanders (2):

  • Hans Kahle (German) October 1936
  • Wilhelm Folkel (German) November 1936-January 1937
  • Miguel Szalway (Hungarian) January-February 1937
  • Gusav Szinda (German) February-July 1937
  • Willy Benz (German) January-April 1938
  • Hugo Wittmann (German) [Ernst Buschmann] April 1938-January 1939

Commissars:

  • Artur Dorf (German) October 1936-January 1937
  • Josef Zettler (German) January-March 1937
  • Karl Schmidt (Polish) March-May 1937
  • Willy Herr (German) May-June 1937
  • Josef Zeuner (German) June-August 1937
  • Willhelm Pinneke (German) August 1937-March 1938
  • Unknown (Spanish) April –October 1938

Commune de Paris Formed October 1936. Composed of French and Belgians.

Commanders (3):

  • Dumont

Commissars:

  • Rebiere

Ernst Thaelmann Formed October 1936. Composed of German, Austrian, Dutch and Scandinavians.

Commanders (2):

  • Ludwig Renn (German) November-December 1936
  • Richard Staimer (German) December 1936-February 1937
  • Franz Raab (German) July 1938-January 1939

Commissars:

  • Louis Schuster (German) November-December 1936
  • Paul Wolf (German) December 1936-February 1937
  • Franz Strunk (German) [Hermann Streit] February-March 1937
  • Toni Meinel (German) March-April 1937
  • Robert Weinland (German) April-July 1937
  • Willi Bredel (German) August-October 1937
  • Richard Schenk (German) October 1937-January 1938
  • Bernabe (Spanish) January-April 1938
  • Achuteguie (Spanish) April-August 1938
  • Modesta Ojeda (Spanish) August-October 1938

Garibaldi  Formed October 1936. Composed of Italian and Eastern Europeans.

Commanders (3):

  • Pacciardi ?-February 1937

Commissars:

Andre Marty  Formed October 1936. Composed of French and Belgians.

Louise Michel  Formed November 1936.  Composed of French and Belgians.

Chapaiev  Formed November 1936. Composed primarily of German and Eastern Europeans (21 nationalities).

Commanders (3):

  • Otto Brunner (Swiss)

Commissars:

Nine Nations  Formed December 1936.  Composed of German, French, Poles and six other nationalities.

La Marseille (Domingo Germinal)  Formed December 1936. Composed of French and Belgians.

Henri Vuillemin  Formed December 1936. Composed of French and Belgians.

Ralph Fox  Formed December 1936. Composed of French and Belgians.

Commanders (3):

  • de la Salle (French) ?-December 1936 (executed)

Commissars:

Henri Barbusse  Formed December 1936. Composed of French and Belgians.

Dimitrov  Formed February 1937. Composed of Eastern Europeans and Italians.

Commanders (3):

  • Grebnaroff
  • Carlo Penchienati

Commissars:

Saklatvala (English)  Formed February 1937. Composed of British and Irish.

Abraham Lincoln  Formed February 1937. Composed of American and Canadians.

Commanders:

  • James Harris
  • Robert Merriman
  • Belgian Officer
  • Martin Hourihan
  • Oliver Law
  • Mirko Markovics
  • Hans Amlie
  • Leonard Lamb
  • Phil Detro
  • David Reiss
  • Aaron Lopoff
  • Milton Wolff

Commissars:

  • Phil Bard
  • Sam Stember
  • George Brodsky
  • David E. Jones
  • Fred Lutz
  • Steve Nelson
  • John Q. Robinson
  • Fred Keller
  • George Watt

Sixth of February  Formed February 1937. Composed of French and Belgians.

Hans Beimler Formed March 1937. Composed of German, Austrian and Scandinavians.

Commanders (2):

  • Heinz Schramm (German) May-July 1937
  • Willy Schwarz (German) July-November 1937
  • Fritz Klamm (German) November-December 1937
  • Max Doppler (Swiss) December 1937-January 1938
  • Francisco Delgado (Spanish) January-April 1938
  • Miquoel (Spanish) April-May 1938
  • Mirales (Spanish) May-October 1938

 Commissars:

  • Ernst Braun (German) April-May 1937
  • Heinz Roth (German) [Heinz Hoffmann) September-December 1937
  • Robert Weinand (German) July-September 1937
  • Otto Kuhne (German) September-December 1937
  • Hans Goilz (German) January-August 1938
  • Dominguez (Spanish) August- October 1938

Twentieth (Morandi) Formed March 1937.  Independent Battalion attached to the 86th BDE.  Composed of Italians, East Europeans, English and Americans.

Matyas Rakosi Formed June 1937.  Composed of Eastern Europeans.

George Washington Formed June 1937. Composed of Americans and Canadians.

Commanders:

  • Mirko Marcovics

Commissars:

  • Dave Mates

Twelfth of February Formed July 1937. Composed of Austrians and Germans.

Commander (2):

  • Harry Helfeld (German) July-August 1937
  • Karl Bauer (Austrian) August-October 1937
  • Emil Reuter (Austrian) October 1937-February 1938
  • Karl Rimbach (Austrian) April-August 1938
  • Adolf Reiner (Austrian) April-August 1938
  • Willy Benz (German) August 1938-January 1939

Commissars:

  • Walter Knobloch (German) June-August 1937
  • Leo Wurzel (Austrian) August-September 1937
  • Paul Steiner (Austrian) October 1937-July 1938
  • Vincente S. Bordes (Spanish) July-October 1938

Palafox Formed July 1937.  Composed of Poles.

Mackenzie-Papineau Formed August 1937. Composed of Americans and Canadians.

Commander:

  • Robert Thompson (American)
  • Edward Cecil Smith

Commissar:

  • Joseph Dallet (American)
  • Saul Wellman (American)
  • Nilo Makela (Canadian)
  • Frank Rodgers (American)

Pierre Brachet Formed October 1937.  Composed of Belgians and French.

Mickiewicz Formed October 1937. composed of Eastern Europeans.

Djuro Djakovic Formed February 1938. Composed of Eastern Europeans.

Masryk Formed February 1938. Composed of Eastern Europeans.

Vallant Couturier Formed March 1938.  Composed of French and Belgians.

Divisionario Formed June 1938. A mixed battalion formed shortly before the Ebro Offensive. Composed of Eastern Europeans.

Lesser Formations

Anna Pauker Battery Composed of French and Belgians.

Antonio Gramsci Battery Composed of Italians.

Antonio Kochanek Battery Composed of Poles.

Baller Battery Composed of French and Belgians.

Bartosz Glowacki Battery Composed of Poles.

Carlo Rosselli Battery Composed of Italians.

Ernst Thaelmann Battery Composed of Austrians and Germans.

First Regiment de Tren  Attached to the Fifth Army Corps.  Two Squadrons. First primarily French, Second English and American.

Jaroslow Dombrowsky Cavalry Squadron Composed of Poles.

John Brown Battery Composed of Americans.

Commander:

  • Arthur Timpson

Commissar:

  • Isia Podolin

4th Group, 35th Battery (Composed of Americans)

Commander:

  • Nathan Norman Budish

Commissar:

  • Vince Lossowski

Jozka Majek Battery Composed of Germans and Czechs.

Karl Liebknech Battery Composed of German, Yugoslav and Czechs.

Karl Liebknech Anti-Aircraft Battery Composed of Germans and Poles.

Klement Gottwald Anti-Aircraft Battery Composed of Czech and Yugoslavian volunteers.

La Passionaria Cavalry Squadron Composed of French and Belgians.

Rosa Luxemburg Battery Composed of German and Yugoslavians.

Skoda Battery Composed of Czechs.

Stjepan Radic Battery Composed of Yugoslavians.

Thorez Cavalry Squadron Composed of French and Belgians.

Vasil Kolarov Battery Composed of Eastern Europeans.

Walery Wroblewski Battery Composed of Poles.

_____________________

(1) Initial list information is from Stewart, Cameron (1972)  ‘Summoned to the Eternal Field:’ An Inquiry into the Development and Composition of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939. The Claremont Graduate Institute. From Proquest.

(2) German Commanders, Commissars and Chiefs of Staff from Krammer, Arnold (1969) Germans Against Hitler: The Thaelmann Brigade. Journal of Contemporary History 14(2) pp. 65-83.

(3) Commanders, Commissars and Chiefs of Staff from Johnston, Verle B. (1967) Legions of Babel, The International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War. University Park :Pennsylvania University Press.

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