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Falcó Sanmartín, José

Falcó Sanmartín
Given Name:
Jméno v originále:
Original Name:
José Falcó Sanmartín
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Datum, místo narození:
Date and Place of Birth:
27.09.1916 Barcelona /
Datum, místo úmrtí:
Date and Place of Decease:
10.05.2014 Toulouse
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Velitel noční stíhací letky - republikánské letectvo
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Plukovník v záloze

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José Falco Sanmartín was born 27. September 1916 in Barcelona, father José Falco, and mother Sabine San Martín. At the time he attended high school, he was fascinated by the story of Ramón Franco (brother of the future Spanish dictator Francisco Franco), who in 1926, flew across the Atlantic from Spain to Argentina. It was the first impulse that brought him to the interest of aviation.

In the army

In 1936 he was José called to the passing of compulsory military service was assigned to the navy as an ordinary seaman at the naval base in Barcelona. There it caught the events of the year 1936, thus beginning the civil war. The republican government launched a campaign to recruit pilots. José Falco in December 1936 he volunteered, was accepted and in march, 1937, assigned to the aviation school in Alcantarilla. Training end 31. October 1937, he was appointed to the rank of staff sergeant (sargento) and was assigned to the airport near Gerony, where he flew the machine I-15 Chato.

In march 1938 he was assigned to 5. fighter squadron in Sabadell, but that was already the following month disbanded because of large losses suffered by the republican air force during the battle of Teruel. Staff 5. the squadron was similarly assigned to the other-torn sections. José became a member of 3. fighter squadrons stationed in Sarrion, where he flew again on I-15.

In April 1938 broke out again difficult to fight. 15. 4. the nationalists conquered Vinaroz, thus the republican territory cut in half. The barcelona government decided to launch a counterattack on the river Ebro. Nationalists in response, they launched a night of air attacks on the ports, where the republicans were unloading weapons and military equipment from the USSR.

The attacks carried out in particular the German Heinkely the He 59 of the Legion Condor. The republican air force was trying to no matter what these attacks to avoid and decided to allocate from each of the squadron pilots, whose task it would have been a battle years ago. Of these pilots then had to be created a special fighter squadron, intended for the night of the prosecution. In 3. squadron, where he served José, none of the pilots did not have the necessary qualifications for night flying, so José Falco Sanmartín was in this function [also:aaaaaa]"designated volunteer". José began to work hard to learn, practiced night operations and landing and finally, when José came to the conclusion that he is ready, he kept on kýlovku your machine to paint the black bat in a white circle as his personal marking.

However, his night fighter activity it nezprošťovaly duty to daily martial years - in June 1938, he clashed with Bf 109 and with the damaged aircraft had to make an emergency landing. A few days later (exactly 19. 6.) again he shot down the Fiat CR 32 and kill him was officially recognized as his first victory.

The republican attack on the river Ebro began at the end of July 1938. In the night from 1. 2. August Falco attacked the Heinkel He 59, which shelled the road the republican column and hard to hit. Heinkel had to make an emergency landing at sea. It was the Falcons second confirmed kill.

In September, during one mission in the day, to compete with the messerschmitt coming from the Legion Condor, who was about to shoot one of his comrades, which was hanging on a parachute, and he chased it.

The first of October he was promoted to lieutenant (Teniente), Falco gained two more kills (were not, however, officially confirmed) however, the battle of the Ebro ended in failure of the republicans. In Sabadell, however, was at least finally based night fighter squadron. Her commander Walter Katz 11. November he fell and José Falco was sent to it in the function replaced and took over command of the squadron. The squadron was also armed with a machine I-15.

Swan song

It is, however, the situation for republlikány very bad. 26. January 1939 Franco troops entered Barcelona. Republican units were clamped in a small area between Barcelona and the French border. Night fighter squadron, which had only three of the six aircraft, flitted under the Falcovým command on the airport Villajuiga, where he concentrated the remnants of the republican air force. Day 6. February returned from combat flight pilot one Polikarpovu I-16; later it turned out that it was not shot down but flew over to the nationalists, and told them the position of the last republican units. Result did not wait too long. In the afternoon six Fiats CR-32 bombed the airport Villajuiga. José Falco didn't have time to take off and therefore shot at the attackers from a rifle. Later it turned out that it actually hit one of the Italian pilots, who was injured and on his return, he had to make an emergency landing. This victory does not feature on the list of falco's achievements.

The desperate situation has forced the republican pilots decision to fly with their planes to France. In the morning, however over the airport appeared Messerschmitt. Panic broke out. Republican pilots tried to take off and tried to escape over the French border. Falco decided to their retreat to cover and came into the fight. When cruised the course in a pair of Messerschmitt, but he managed to one of them to hit. Immediately turned around and saw the second attack on one Grumman Delfin. Set off for the Messerschmitt and hit it with a series of shots during the power maneuvering, however, dropped off the engine of his I-15, when a sharp turnovers interrupted the fuel supply. Falco was now too low, than to be able to start up again, and so he had to make an emergency landing on the field more than 10 km from its airport. However, he managed to commandeer the first horse and later motorcycle, with which he returned to Villajuigy. Airport however found completely deserted - the only on the airport tarmac lay one Messerschmitt, whose dying pilot landed here on your stomach. The Pilot died and the republicans it was buried in the nearby cemetery in Villajuiga. The second Messerschmitt crashed and shattered and his pilot near the airport.

After these last two victories he was Falco, the local commander promoted to captain, but it has no meaning, the only escape. José Falco went to the French border by car, he was interned and experienced the poverty and miserable living conditions in concentration camps in the Boulou and Argeles-sur-Mer, where the French government focused on the Spanish refugees.


Finally, the French authorities have proposed to the Spanish members of the air force entry into the French air force. It was, however, only about mechanics, not about the pilots. The majority of those who wanted to keep flying, she left to Mexico or the USSR, José Falco, however, gave the preference to stay in France. Thanks to relatives living in Algeria, allowed Falco to leave the camp and go to Algiers. Here are nurtured in different ways, especially as a mechanic, but his repeated requests for admission to the French air force were not answered.

He married, but his wife soon died of diabetes. He married again in 1951. Two years later received French citizenship. When the war in Algeria forced to leave the dangerous area, he went to Oran, where he worked as a civilian employee of the navy. Later he returned to the continent, and in Toulouse he worked as a mechanic in the corps of the gendarmerie. This job he performed until his retirement in 1976.

After the death of general Franco was, along with other republican aviators, re-enlisted in the Spanish military air force. In 1980 he was appointed a colonel in the reserve.

It is still an active member of the organization of republican veterans and still fighting for the revival of the memories of the events of the time.

Table of kills:

Ord. č.DatumMístoProtivníkPoznámka
119. 6. 1938-Fiat CR 32-
21. 8. 1938VinarozHeinkel He 59-
36. 2. 1939VillajuigaMesserschmitt Bf 109 E-11./J 88, call sign 6-93, pilot Uffz. Hans Nirminger died
46. 2. 1939VillajuigaMesserschmitt Bf 109 E-11./J. 88, call sign 6-98, pilot Uffz. Heinrich Windemuth was killed


Patrick Laureau: Condor: The Luftwaffe in Spain, 1936-39, nakl. STACKPOLE BOOKS, Mechanicsburg - USA, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8117-0688-9
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Polikarpov I-15 Chato, na němž létal poručík José Falcó Sanmartín (4 sestřely). Stroj 6. výrobní série byl dodán v listopadu 1938. Může jít o stroj, na němž Falcó v únoru 1939 sestřelil dva Bf 109 E-1. Letoun nese na horních a bočních plochách tmavou zelenou barvu, spodní plochy světle modré.

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