The Abraham Lincoln Brigade ( es|Brigada Abraham Lincoln), officially the XV International Brigade (''XV Brigada Internacional''), was a mixed brigade that fought for the Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War as a part of the International Brigades. The brigade mustered at Albacete in Spain, in January 1937, comprising mainly English-speaking volunteers – arranged into the mostly British Saklatvala Battalion and the mostly North American Lincoln Battalion. It also included two non-English-speaking battalions, the Balkan Dimitrov Battalion and the Franco-Belgian Sixth February Battalion. It fought at Jarama, Brunete, Boadilla, Belchite, Fuentes de Ebro, Teruel and the Ebro River. The brigade's songs were "Jarama Valley" and "Viva la Quince Brigada".


The XVth Brigade first fought at the Battle of Jarama in February 1937 and suffered many casualties. The British lost 225 men out of 600, the Lincolns 120 out of 500. After the battle, the brigade was seriously under-strength. At the end of March, a Spanish battalion, ''Voluntario 24'' (the 24th Volunteers), joined the brigade. Over the next few months, under the close supervision of Janos Galicz, the brigade was re-organised into two regiments of about 1,200 men. He appointed "the gallant major", George Nathan, as brigade Chief of Staff. The first regiment, commanded by Jock Cunningham, with Harry Haywood as political commissar,''Eby'' (2007), p174 was English-speaking and comprised the depleted British and Lincolns; as well as the recently formed but under-strength second battalion of American volunteers, the George Washington Battalion. The second regiment was commanded by Major "Chapaiev" (Mihaly Szalvay) and consisted of the Dimitrov Battalion, the Sixth February Battalion and the ''Voluntario 24'' Battalion. This was the composition in July 1937 for the Battle of Brunete. As with the Battle of Jarama, the brigade suffered huge casualties; the brigade strength was reduced from six to four battalions. In particular, the two American battalions were so depleted that they merged to form the Lincoln-Washington Battalion. (This name did not last: it was renamed the Lincoln Battalion in October 1937.) The 6 February, which also suffered severe casualties, was transferred after Brunete. After Belchite, the nominally Canadian Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion joined the brigade, while the Dimitrov Battalion departed. During the fall of 1937 the units of the International Brigade were integrated into the Spanish Popular Army and the Battalions were re-numbered. The British Bn became the 57th, the Lincoln-Washington the 58th, the Spanish (formerly known as the 24th), became the 59th and the Mackenzie-Papineau the 60th. The battalion line-up remained stable through the withdrawal of the Internationals during the Ebro Campaign. The XVth International Brigade also included volunteers from Latin America, who, after incidents of bad treatment from North Americans, left the international Brigades and joined other units such as El Campesino's First Mobile Shock Brigade. On 13 March 2015, Dan Kaufman interviewed Del Berg, a 99-year-old veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, who he described as the last known survivor of the Brigade. Berg died 28 February 2016.

Overview of battalions

: * Sub-battalion units attached to the Brigade ** Brigade Anti-Tank Company ** XVth Brigade Photographic Unit (Aug 1937 – Sep 1938
** Connolly Column

Notable members

* Delmer Berg – American political activist * Edward A. Carter Jr. – American Medal of Honor recipient * Theodore Cogswell – American science fiction writer * Fred Copeman – English battalion commander * Milan Ćopić – Yugoslav prison warden * Vladimir Ćopić – Yugoslav brigade commander * Jock Cunningham – Scottish battalion commander * Petar Dapčević – Yugoslav commander * Paddy O'Daire – Irish battalion commander * Frank Ryan – Irish commissar * Ralph Fasanella – American painter * Janos Galicz – Hungarian division commander * Jack Jones – English company commissar * Oliver Law – American battalion commander * James Maley – Scottish political activist * Roland Masferrer – Cuban political activist * Robert Hale Merriman – American brigade chief of staff * Conlon Nancarrow – American-Mexican composer * George Nathan – British brigade chief of staff

See also

* American Medical Bureau



External links

Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives
Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU.

General references

* Beevor, Antony, ''The Battle for Spain'', 2006. * Bradley, Ken with Chappel, Mike (illus.) ''International Brigades in Spain 1936–39''. Published by Elite. . ** Good basic introduction to the subject in a readable and well-illustrated format. Author made several visits to battlefields and interviewed veterans in the 1980s and 90s. * Eby, Cecil. ''Comrades and Commissars'', 2007. * Thomas, Hugh, ''The Spanish Civil War'', 2001. 4th Rev. Ed. 2001.
EPR Order of Battle Website

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