Spanish civil war [1936-1939]
Angel Salas Larrazabal-fighter ace of two wars
In November 2011, a 44.5-size shoe with a rubber sole and the remains of a calf bone was found near the town of La Fatarella in eastern Spain. Although the police were immediately called in, the appearance of the shoe suggested that it would not be a recent crime, but that the remains found would be of more interest to archaeologists. They discovered the skeleton of a man about 180 cm tall, who had with him ammunition for Soviet-made rifles and two hand grenades of Polish origin. According to the fragments found, the corpse was identified as a soldier of the Republican International Brigades, who was killed by a grenade explosion. It had him partially covered with soil and the advancing soldiers of gen. Francotook his rifle, helmet and covered the protruding rest with soil. Under these circumstances, the date of "Charlie's" death (as it was called by the scientific community) can be determined quite accurately. It happened on November 14, 1938 during the final phase of the Battle of Ebro.
Spanish fighter ace, fighting in two wars.
100 years ago, on April 10, 1908, František Kriegel was born in Stanislawów. It has made a remarkable impression on our modern history. The poor Jewish boy from Galicia was the only Czechoslovak top prisoner-politician who said NO! to Brezhnev in the turbulent days of August 1968 and did not sign the Moscow dictatorship and thus saved our Czechoslovak honor. The well-known Czech philosopher Karel Kosík once said that he tried to find a similar act in Czech history: it can only be compared to Jan Hus's actions in Constance.
František Kriegel, a Czechoslovak politician who did not sign the consent to the dictates of Moscow in August 1968, would have lived to be hundreds of years old these days. In the second of the three parts, we will find František Kriegl during the Prague Spring and the invasion of the five armies of the Warsaw Pact. This portrait of František Kriegl was also published in a slightly different form in the exile "Roman" Letters and will be reminded by Letters No. 2/2008, published this month.
František Kriegel, a Czechoslovak politician who did not sign the consent to Moscow's dictates in August 1968, would be 100 years old last Thursday. The final part of the recollections is devoted to the period after 1968, when the then communist regime tried to make František Kriegl's life unpleasant in every possible way. But they couldn't break him. His signature appeared among Charter 77 among the first. This portrait of František Kriegl was also published in a slightly different form in the exile "Roman" Letters and will be reminded by Letters No. 2/2008, published this month.
Soon after the First World War, a new enemy of democratic and socialist forces emerged - fascism. It is a specific phenomenon of the first half of the 20th century. Fascism, in terms of ideology, absorbed everything that could be heard in the masses. His starting point was nationalism and chauvinism, and he did not despise extreme racism. His thoughts were always very flexible and willing to adapt to the situation. They always tried to get attention.
Fighter Aces Spanish Civil War 1936-39 - Nationalists. Spaniards, Germans, Italians
Fighter Aces Spanish Civil War 1936-39 - Republicans. Spaniards, French, USA, Yugoslavia, USSR
During the Spanish Civil War, a number of types originally from the United States served in the Republican Air Force. Due to the US embargo on the export of military equipment to the Iberian Peninsula, these were almost always civilian aircraft and, in a few cases, individual pieces of military aircraft. The only exception was the Grumman GE-23, called the "Dolphin" in the Republican Air Force. This two-seat fighter and fighter aircraft was an export version of the Grumman FF-1, built for the US Navy. The Spanish Government Air Force acquired a total of 34 copies, produced under license by the Canadian manufacturer Canadian Car & Foundry Company. They included them in the regular service in the spring of 1938.
The emissaries of the Spanish Republic, searching in the USA for suitable types to strengthen the government air force, encountered a biplane two-seat fighter Grumman FF-1 in the fall of 1936. This probably happened in September, when the United States held a cap. Augustín Sanz Sainz. And so it is most likely to be said that the decision to manufacture these aircraft at the Canadian Car & Foundry Company (CC & FC) factory in Fort William was from the very beginning the interest of the Spanish Republicans.
The first aircraft of Czechoslovak construction, which appeared in the sky of civil war-torn Spain, became the fighter Avia BH-33E. The only specimen arrived on the Iberian Peninsula at the end of August 1936. It can serve as a textbook example of how the Republican Air Force gained combat aircraft after the outbreak of hostilities. In addition, it can also be used as an example of the sad fact that the effort made did not match the final effect. The famous saying " For a lot of money, little music " is suitable for the Avia BH-33E.
Among the interesting and today almost forgotten aircraft constructions that flashed through the history of the Spanish Civil War are the American types Bellanca 28-70 and 28-90.
Long after the end of the Spanish Civil War, there were reports that the Republican Air Force had actively deployed Blériot-SPAD S 510 biplane fighters of French origin in the fighting. Machines of this type were also among the victories of insurgent fighters.
The position of the most modern Republican bomber before the arrival of the Soviet Tupolevs SB was acquired by the French twin-engine type Bloch MB 210. Compared to another French design, the Potez 54 high-altitude aircraft, it was an all-metal aircraft with a classic layout, a self-supporting low-flying aircraft. The good impression was somewhat spoiled by the then angularity of the then Société des Avions Marcel Bloch products. Unfortunately, the small amount of MB 210 delivered from France did not allow this bomber type to play a more significant role in Spain.
The aviation actions of the Spanish Civil War fascinate with the presence of a large number of different aircraft structures. Types flew over the Iberian Peninsula, which then played a significant part during World War II. And also here it was possible to see really rare aircraft. Undoubtedly, this second group included the only prototype of the French twin-engine multi-seat combat aircraft Breguet 460.
During their career, the Bulldogs II only got into real combat in a single air force, at the very end of their life. A total of eight fighters of this type were sold by Estonia to Republican Spain, in the colors of which biplanes in 1937 intervened in an encounter in the Asturian sky. The predominant nationalist aircraft faced here, including the much more modern machines of the German Legion Condor .
In the second half of the Spanish Civil War, the armament of the fighter component of the Republican Air Force relied almost exclusively on the Soviet Polikarp I-15 and I-16. Other types of single-seat fighters were usually available in only a few copies and served outside the main combat areas, mainly to cover the long Mediterranean coast. These included the French Dewoitine D.371 high-altitude fighters.
Requirements for new German bombers of modern concept, which appeared in the form of He 111E-1, Ju 86D-1 and Do 17E-1 in February 1937 on the Spanish battlefield, arose in the first half of the 1930s. That is, at a time when Germany was still formally complying with the arms restrictions resulting from the Treaty of Versailles, imposed on the Weimar Republic by the victorious powers of 1919. The aircraft were therefore originally declared as civilian types; in reality, however, they were created in such a way that their construction could be used in both civilian and military roles without major problems.
"Planes were approaching trucks. Darras could not see the bombs flying to the ground in the sun. But he saw them explode like rosary beads in the fields. He was beginning to feel pain in his bandaged leg. He knew that one of the Douglases didn't have a sight, and that he was bombing through an enlarged toilet opening. Suddenly part of the road stopped: the column was interrupted. One of the bombs hit a truck, and it collapsed across the road. The bombs have landed so far… "
The combat value of Italian aircraft from the late 1930s and the initial period of World War II is usually viewed with a certain amount of skepticism. However, this is not entirely appropriate - at least when evaluating the bomber types deployed by Aviazione Legionaria on the Spanish battlefield.
Some planes really intervened in the Spanish Civil War. Other air types only touched on the events on the Iberian Peninsula. The second group includes an older sibling of the famous Fiat CR.32, CR.20 aircraft.
The British Hawker Spanish Fury has become one of the most remarkable fighter types of the initial phase of the Spanish Civil War. Although only three specimens arrived on the Iberian Peninsula, and in September 1936 the last of them remained in regular service with the Republican Air Force, but the type gained an excellent reputation in the Aviación Militar. He confirmed his value in the heavy fighting on the approaches to Madrid in the summer and autumn of 1936.
The elegant twin-engine medium bomber Heinkel He-111 was one of the most successful German types from the 1930s and early 1940s. Especially in the first half of World War II, it formed the basis of the Luftwaffe bombing unit. However, his successful operational career began in Spain, where, according to Sonderstab W documents, a total of 97 He-111B and He-111E were delivered with a total value of 39,512,485 Reichsmarks.
Spanish pilots were given the opportunity for the first time to test the German fighter He 112 in flight in the summer of 1938. At that time in the Iberian Peninsula, Ernst Heinkel AG under operational conditions demonstrated the prototype He 112 V9 ( W.Nr.1944, D-IGSI ).
During the Civil War, the Spanish battlefield served Nazi Germany as an ideal polygon for testing tactical procedures and military equipment. Among the aircraft, which in the state of the famous Legion Condor really only blinked for testing in operational conditions, was also the only prototype of the fighter Heinkel He 112 V6. It occurred in Spain from the end of November 1936 until the crash on July 19 of the following year.
In August 1936, an introductory pair of German aircraft, the Junkers Ju 52 / 3m transport and bomber, and the Heinkel He 51 B-1 fighter, appeared on the battlefields of the Spanish Civil War.
The Henschel Hs 123 A biplane was one of the first types sent to Spain for combat combat after the decision to expand Operation " Feuerzauber " ( German intervention in the ongoing civil war on the side of the insurgents ).
The most important fighter type of the first weeks of the Spanish Civil War was the obsolete Hispano-Nieuport 52, forming in the summer of 1936 the standard armament Aviación Militar. It was used intensively mainly by the Republican Air Force, a smaller number were also gained by the insurgents after the coup. The first air victories of the tragic civil conflict were won by the pilots of both opposing parties in the cabins of these fighters.
Italian light fighters IMAM Ro.41 in Spain received only limited combat service. In the first line, the insurgents used them only very briefly in 1937 and did not encounter the enemy in the air at all. However, aircraft played a very important role in the training of new generations of fighter pilots of the Spanish Nationalist Air Force.
During the Civil War, the Germans tested all three types of the Luftwaffe bombing unit at the time during the Civil War: Heinkel He 111, Dornier Do 17 and Junkers Ju 86. If the deployment under real combat conditions confirmed the quality of the first two structures, Junkers Ju 86 D- 1, tested on the Iberian Peninsula in five copies, failed. The not very successful deployment in Spain foreshadowed the further fate of this aircraft, the children of the well-known company Junkers Flugzeug und Motorenwerke AG.
Czechoslovak Letov Š-231 fighter biplanes left a relatively significant mark in Spain's civil war. Machines of this type served in the Iberian Peninsula in the ranks of the government air force from spring 1937 to February 1939. Even with the Republican defeat " Spanish " history of the Š-231 flights did not end, as three captured machines continued to fly in the Frankish Air Force after the Civil War.
In the autumn of 1936, the French Loire 46 were among the most powerful fighters of the Republican Air Force.
When the nationalist uprising began in Morocco on July 17, 1936, which resulted in a bloody civil war, the Spanish naval air force Aeronáutica Naval still had several copies of the Martinsyde F.4 biplane fighter. The word "still" is correct, because this archaic type was created during the First World War!
Only five Bf 109C-1s, delivered to Tablady in April 1938, became the least represented variant of the 109 operating in Spain during the Civil War. They strengthened the armament of the J / 88 Legion of the Condor Legion.
The first Messerschmitt Bf 109 E appeared in the Spanish sky at the very end of 1938. They brought a completely new quality to the Iberian Peninsula in the category of fighter aircraft.
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).
The most widespread French aircraft of the interwar period was the Potez 25 multi-purpose biplane. In addition to the French Air Force, Potezy 25 served in the air forces of 21 states. One of them was also Spain, where planes intervened in the fighting during the Civil War on the Republican side.
The military constructions of the Polish aviation industry were represented in the Spanish sky during the Civil War by PWS-10 fighters. In 1936, the insurgents bought a total of 20. Immediately after delivery, it turned out that this was not a profitable investment. Outdated, unreliable and difficult-to-operate machines could not offer much positive to their new users. The Spaniards had to whistle an attempt to arm the fighter squadron almost immediately and transferred the machines straight to the second line.
During the Spanish Civil War, the world 's public learned to fear bombers. The so-called terrorist raids, ie attacks aimed at the civilian population, were mainly associated with the actions of aircraft of the German Legion Condor. Even more active players in raids on urban agglomerations, however, were the Italians, who gained a dubious reputation through indiscriminate attacks by fast Savoia-Marchetti S.79 bombers stationed in Mallorca against ports on the Mediterranean coast.
Among the successful types of aircraft of the Spanish Civil War was the Italian bomber SIAI Savoia-Marchetti S.81 Pipistrello ( Bat ). It represented the most important Italian bombing structure of the mid-1930s, in the period before the advent of the new S.79 and Fiat BR.20. He intervened in the Italian campaign in Abyssinia and successfully in the fighting in civil war-torn Spain.
An article on the deployment of a modern Vultee V-1A transport aircraft as a light bomber during the Spanish Civil War. For the Czech reader, the V-1A is also interesting in that at the end of his Spanish engagement, the Czechoslovak pilot Jan Ferák flew on it.
The best ace of the Spanish Civil War
German volunteers on the side of General Franco's nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Events of the Condor Legion fighting in the direction of the Mediterranean. The Battle of Teruel, the Battle of the River Ebro, the last months of the Civil War.
German volunteers on the side of General Franco's nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Events before the founding of the Condor Legion and the first months of its existence until the spring of 1937.
German volunteers on the side of General Franco's nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Events to fight the Legion of Condor on the Northern Front, including the bombing of Guernica.
According to official statistics, the most successful Soviet fighter, whose final score is 65 air victories, achieved together in the Spanish Civil and World War II.
Spanish fighter ace, fighting after the Civil War in the ranks of volunteers on the Eastern Front WWII.
When I planned the Lightning in the Sky series, I assumed it would only include airplanes called Lightning. But after the last part was published, I received a number of e-mails warning that the "lightning bolts" also flew in other countries and how it is possible that they were not mentioned in the series, or how I intend to correct this wrong. So I put an imaginary shovel of ash on my head - and we go for them.
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.
The night activity of the insurgent bombers posed an unpleasant problem for the Republicans in the summer of 1937. Among other things, because within reach of the bases of the nationalist Junkers Ju 52 / 3m, Madrid was not too far from the Brunette front.
The Belgian fighter pilot and his fate in the Spanish Civil War and then in the whirlwind of World War II, when he fell in RAF uniform.