Grandes, Agustín Muñoz, born 27-01-1896, in Carabanchel Bajo, Spain in a humble family, and joined the army at a very young age and graduated from the military academy in Toledo. Upon graduating, he was deployed to Morocco in 1915 and in 1925 took part in the decisive Battle of Alhucemas. Muñoz Grandes fought for the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War and was promoted to General, taking command in the Army of Africa. He led the Spanish Legionnaries in the conquest of Málaga by the Nationalists in February 1937.
In 1941, Muñoz Grandes was given command of the División Azul , Generalísimo Bahamond Franco‘s volunteers unit created for service under the Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front, against the Soviet Union. Muñoz Grandes was well acquainted with the Nazi German military establishment, and attended several interviews with Wilhelm Canaris and Adolf Hitler.
The leader of the Belgian collaboration group the Black Brigade SS Untersturmführer Reimond Tollenaere was killed by friendly artillery fire from this Spanish Division Azul on 22-01-1942 in Kopcy, 24 km north of Veliki Novgorod, near the road to Chudovo. He is buried in the German soldier cemetery in Pankovka, 7 km from Novgorod. During his command Muñoz Grandes was decorated with the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, with Oak Leaves personally added by Hitler. He was recalled to Spain in December 1942. A promotion to Generalleutant awaited him at home, and his post on the Eastern Front was taken up by Emilio Esteban Infantes.
Agustin Munoz Grandes, 1942. The Commander of the Spanish ‘Blue Division’, Agustin Munoz Grandes (left) is awarded with the Iron Cross 1st Class by the German General Friedrich-Wilhelm Chappuis.
Muñoz Grandes was appointed Captain General of I Military District in 1945, Minister of the Army in 1951 and Chief of the Defence High Command (chief of staff of the Spanish Armed Forces) in 1958. He served as Deputy Prime Minister of Spain from 1962 to 1967. In this capacity he advised Franco to enter the Vietnam War in order to gain better relations with the United States; however, Franco was reluctant to publicly support the war or the United States, and ultimately only several teams of medical personnel were sent, covertly. Hostile to the restoration of the monarchy, he was replaced by Admiral Carrero Blanco.
Carrero Blanco, age 70, was killed on 20-12-1973 by four members of the ETA. These had dug a corridor under the street where Carrero often drove, and placed a bomb of 80 kilos in it. The bomb caused a huge explosion that caused the car in which Carrero Blanco was sitting with his bodyguard and driver, over a building and landed on the balcony behind it. The three occupants did not survive the attack.
Death and burial ground of Grandes, Agustín Muñoz.
Muñoz Grandes died on 11-07-1970, age 74 in Madfrid and is buried on the Cementerio Sur Madrid, Provincia de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
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