The true legend of the air battles of the Spanish Civil War became the Soviet biplane fighter Polikarpov 1-15, in the ranks of the Republican Air Force called Chato.
At the very end of the Spanish Civil War, Soviet fighter biplanes Polikarpov I-15bis appeared on the Iberian Peninsula. Under the name Super-Chato, it was not enough to intervene significantly in the ongoing fighting. The time of the Spanish Republicans was relentlessly short, and there were only weeks left until the complete defeat of the government forces.
Polikarpov I-16 undoubtedly ranked among the most important aircraft structures operating during the Spanish Civil War. The characteristically shaped monoplane gained over time ( at least in the Soviet Union and later also in the then socialist Czechoslovakia) as a kind of icon of this conflict. It was an aircraft in its time undoubtedly remarkable concept and high performance, with a fairly significant impact on the course of air encounters. However, his operational career in the Spanish Republican Air Force did not lack enough problematic moments and was certainly not as dazzling as was presented for decades by Soviet propagandists.
After its baptism of combat on 10-13. November Polikarp's I-16 continued further actions in the Madrid sky. Together with the biplane I-15s, they dramatically changed the situation in the air over the Spanish central battlefield for a time. Pilotos rusos (Russian pilots) in their powerful aircraft quickly became literally darlings of the people of Madrid and had a great influence on the rise of republican morale.
Deliveries of Soviet military aircraft to Republican Spain began on October 15, when the steamer Staryi Bolshevik, carrying the first ten Tupolev SB-16 type 5 bombers, 30 Tupolev SB bombers and 31 battle Polikarpov R-5SSS, anchored in the port of Cartagena. The latter machines remain a bit in the shadow of the other three types.
The basic tactical aircraft of the Spanish Government Air Force, used from 1937 until the bitter end of the Civil War for bombing operations near the front, became the Soviet Polikarpov R-Z. It was a very outdated construction for the conditions of the second half of the 1930s.
During the occasional war, the fighter monoplane Polikarpov I-16 became famous in the Spanish sky. The Soviets delivered a total of 276 Polikarpov I-16 types 5, 6 and 10 to Spain during the conflict. Deliveries began in early November 1936 with the arrival of the first 31 machines. The planes became known in Spain on the Republican side under the name Mono or Mosca (Fly) and in the nationalist camp as Rata (Rat).
Ever since the first heavier-than-air planes appeared and began to compete with the reigning airships, designers have been flirting with the idea of using heavier aircraft (the term aircraft includes all flying machines, heavier-than-air aircraft and lighter air aerostats) to carry lighter ones.
The Russian fighter of the 1930s was one of the best in the world in its category at the time of its creation. She successfully fought not only in the Spanish Civil War, but also in the Kuomintang Air Force, in the 1939-Russia-Russia border conflict and the 1939-40 Winter War with Finland, and even in the early days of the World War II, including defending Moscow and Leningrad, until enough more modern aircraft.
In 2010, a Russian expedition searching the battlefield in the area of the Chalchyn River for the remains of Soviet soldiers found fragments of the wreck of a Polikarpov I-15bis fighter. The machine was identified as an aircraft serial number 3934. It belonged to the 4th Squadron of the 70th IAP and was shot down on June 22, 1939 as one of more than 60 machines of this type, written off by the Soviet Air Force during the known conflict. The found remains of the fallen pilot, k.-n. V.I. Jurecký, were buried in Chojbalsan, Mongolia on August 2, 2010.