The XVth found that when they moved to an assigned area, the Nationalist forces got there before them. Elements of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion and the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, XVth International Brigade, numbering less than 500 effectives, made it to the city of Caspe. The brigade commander, Dave Doran had the men dig trenches that crossed Cemetery Hill on the edge of town. On the 17th, Nationalist forces attacked Caspe. Tanks of the Condor Legion swung around the town while infantry of the Navarre Brigades captured Cemetery Hill. The fighting was desperate. Republican tanks countered the Condor Legion and Colonel Smith, commander of the Mac-Paps, organized a counterattack and retook the heights. During the fighting, Niilo Mäkelä, a legend in the Mac-Paps was mortally wounded by a mortar round. A square in the village of Capçanes was named after Mäkelä by his comrades.