On 17 January 1938, the British Battalion moved into position, struggling through bitter cold and several feet of snow. Despite a ferocious rebel artillery bombardment, the battalion held their ground and brought the rebel counter-attack to a halt.
On 7 March 1938, Franco launched a massive and well-prepared attack on the Republican forces in Aragon. What began as a series of break-throughs for the Nationalists swiftly became outright retreat for the weary Republican forces, as their lines virtually collapsed.
Following a period of desperate reorganisation and training, the battalion was informed on 21 July 1938 that Republican forces were to cross the River Ebro in a huge offensive and that the battalion was charged with capturing Gandesa, through which they had retreated months earlier.