BLUFThis article covers Nazi Germany air operations supporting Franco during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and how that involvement helped Nazi Germany prepare for WW2.
This article by historian Walter Musciano covers the following points:
- The Popular Front (Communists and leftists) won the 1936 election and were called Loyalists, Communists or Republicans.
- The Spanish Fascists - Falangists (called insurgents, Fascists or Nationalists) led an insurrection supported by much of the army.
- Nationalist leader General Franco had a 25,000-man army in Spanish Morocco.
- He asked Germany to supply transport aircraft to Spain - the first largescale troop movement by air.
- Hitler agreed to test his military and support an anti-communist leader.
- Initially, German volunteer fighter pilots, with German equipment, also trained Spanish personnel.
- International squadrons fought for the Spanish Loyalist government.
- Soviet fighters, tanks and bombers were sent to counter the Germans.
- German units were led by Luftwaffe commanders, and all personnel and equipment were integrated into a German air force corps in Spain.
- The Condor Legion was particularly successful in supporting ground forces.
- The Messerschmitt Bf-109, Germany’s main WW2 fighter, was evaluated under battle conditions, as were twin-engine He-111 and Dornier Do-17 bombers.
- Legion blind bombings and the ‘Devil’s Egg’ (precursor to napalm) killed many civilians.
- The ‘finger-four formation’ was developed by the Condor Legion.
- After General Franco won in March 1939, he was given all the equipment of the Condor Legion.
Recent Runway Posts related to this topic:
- The most iconic heavy bomber of World War II | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
- World War II's Allied Raid of Berlin Involved 1,000 Bombers (But Germany Fought On) | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)
References from the Web:
- FEB 2013 The Condor Legion | Air Force Magazine
- DEC 2020 The adaptability of the German Condor Legion in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39 | Global Strategy
Source: History Net
- Link to Source: HistoryNet
- Media Check: About Us - History (historyonthenet.com)
- LEARNING OUTCOMES—RUNWAY | The Runway (airforce.gov.au)