The first attempt to stop the Rebel advance from La Coruna to Madrid was at Orense, where loyal troops, reinforced by communist and anarchist militia, occupied a vital ridge. The rebel commander pinned the government forces in the centre, and attempted to turn both flanks. On the governments left flank, fighting was extremely fierce when the communist militia not only stopped the attackers but drove them back. The communist militia even charged a Rebel battery, although in the end they were thrown back and virtually destroyed by a falangist counterattack. However, in the meantime, on the governments centre and right flank, the defenders were defeated by superior numbers and firepower. The intervention of the Republican air force could not turn the tide. The victory at Orense brought the Rebels one step closer to Madrid.