15 APRIL 1938, Page 1

The Fight for Catalonia Last week General Franco captured Tremp,

about twenty miles from the coast, and with it the great reservoir from which most of the power for Barcelona's electricity comes. But since this success his advance has been held up, and Tortosa is still in Republican hands. The Government has been assisted in its defence by the lines of the Segre and Ebro rivers ; desperate attempts are being made, so far successfully, to keep open the strip of land, some twenty miles wide, through which the road from Barcelona to Valencia runs. There is talk in some quarters of a Government counter-offensive, as by now the insurgent forces are a long way from their bases. Such an effort may be beyond the Government's resources ; yet the vigorous offensives being conducted, as a diversion, at Guadalajara and in Estramadura, and the capture of the village of Vallibona in Aragon itself; show that the Republic still has reserves on which to call for yet another rally. The next week may be decisive ; but so far at least General Franco has failed to achieve the two primary objects of his dramatic and rapid advance—to reach the sea and cause a collapse of resistance in Catalonia. The barbarous bombing of Barcelona is probably largely responsi- ble for the remarkable consolidation of opinion which has taken place there ; one of the few encouraging lessons of the war in Spain, as in China, is that the bombing of civilian populations produces results precisely the opposite of those intended.