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eMedals-Spain, Franco Period. A Pair of Cufflinks Attributed to Spanish General Fernández Silvestre

Item: EU11580

Spain, Franco Period. A Pair of Cufflinks Attributed to Spanish General Fernández Silvestre



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Spain, Franco Period. A Pair of Cufflinks Attributed to Spanish General Fernández Silvestre

Gold with enamels, unmarked, weighing 10.6 grams collectively, each with one disk marked with the 1st Regiment of Regulares insignia and the other disk with the royal cypher of Alfonso XIII, each disk measuring 14 mm in diameter and linked together via a 21 mm and 26 mm chain respectively, red enamel chipping evident on one crown, light contact, very fine. In a hardshelled case, maker marked "H. ADRADAS MADRID" on the inside lid, lightly soiled medal bed, lightly scuffed exterior, case also very fine. Footnote: Manuel Fernández Silvestre y Patinga and Pantiga was a Spanish military general. He was born in El Caney, Cuba on December 16, 1871, the son of the Lieutenant Colonel of Artillery, Victor Fernandez and of Doña EleuteriaSilvestre. In 1889, he enrolled in the Military school of Toledo, where he met with the future high commissioner of Spanish Morocco, Dámaso Berenguer. After the Academy, he headed to Cuba in 1895, to fight there until the Spanish withdrawal in 1898. There he received twenty-two wounds and had a severe incapacity of the left arm, which he disguised very well. In 1904, after many postings to peninsular regiments, he was dispatched to the Spanish enclave of Melilla on the Mediterranean Rif coast of North Africa, where he proved to be an excellent negotiator, although also a fierce and an unpredictable man. In 1912, he occupied Larache and in 1918, he become the Commandant-General of Ceuta. As such, he reported to the High Commissioner, a position that was filled by Dámaso Berenguer. Silvestre led several campaigns against Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni, a notorious North Moroccan brigand, from 1913 through 1920. Though he never defeated Raisuni outright, his men inflicted such high casualties on him, that Raisuni ceased to be threat to Spanish authority. After stopping in Ceuta, Silvestre marched in 1920 to take command of the Command of Melilla, from where, in January 1921 he led the Rif invasion in order to stop the local resistance led by the guerrilla leader Abd el-Krim. The operation was risky and dangerous, since the Spanish soldiers were very poorly trained and scared of the Rifians. The local resistance began to believe that they were able to defeat the Spanish when, on June 1 of 1921, they took the position from Abarrán, killing many Spanish soldiers in combat. After the fall of Igueriben onJuly 22nd, the rebels attacked a Spanish military camp. The garrison of 5,000 soldiers ran away instead of fighting. There were at least 1,000 casualties among the Spanish. Silvestre reportedly further demoralized his men by yelling at them, "Run, run, the bogeyman is coming!" as they attempted to rally following their initial defeat. According to many witnesses, Silvestre, on seeing the disaster, got into his tent and committed suicide with a bullet to the head, passing away at the age of 49 at Annual, Morocco. A total of 15,000 Spanish soldiers fell in the days from July 22nd to August 9th. Most died during the infamous Battle of Anwal (known as the Disaster of Annual to Spanish historians). On that final day, Silvestre's deputy, general Navarro, surrendered with his men in Arruit mountain. The Regulares were first raised in 1911 as a "batallón indígena" of infantry. Their formation came at a time when the Spanish army was expanding into the Moroccan hinterland from the long held coastal enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Previously use had been made of Moroccan auxiliaries as scouts and the designation of "regulars" appears to have been intended to distinguish the newly raised force as a permanent unit of the Spanish army. Officers and some NCOs were seconded from Peninsular regiments. By 1914, four Groups (Grupos, the equivalent of a regiment) had been raised for active service. While the Regulares remained predominantly infantry, recognition of Moroccan skills as horsemen led to the establishment of cavalry squadrons. This mounted element of the Regulares was to remain a conspicuous feature throughout the period of Spanish rule of the protectorate. As such, each Group was composed of a headquarters and service company, two infantry Tabors (battalions) and a cavalry Tabor (squadron), plus a military band and Corps of Drums attached to the regimental headquarters. From 1914 to 1922, the Regulares were expanded in numbers to five "Grupos" based respectively in Melilla, Tetuán, Ceuta, Alhucemas and Larache (the Alhucemas Group was raised in 1921). The Regulares infantry were known for their ability to traverse "dead ground" without being detected, but their Spanish officers disliked unconventional warfare and only infrequently took advantage of this skill. The Moroccan troops generally remained loyal during the Rif War of the early 1920s, although there were reports of mutiny at Yat el Bax following the major Spanish defeat at the Battle of Anwal in 1921. During this period, the Regulares and the Spanish Legion ("Tercio") emerged as the elite corps of the Spanish Army with long-serving professionals on more or less continuous active service, attracting the best officers. These included the future dictator Francisco Franco who served initially with the Regulares, from 1913, before transferring to the newly raised Tercio (whose troops were mostly Spaniards) as second in command and commander of its 1st Battalion in 1920.
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