Spanish Air Force during the WWII

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Master Sergeant
Jan 1, 2010
After the Civil War, Franco and his staff, clearly impressed by the role air power played in their ascension to power, established the modern Spanish air force; the 'Ejercito del Aire' (EDA). Formed on October 7th, 1939, the 'Ejercito' would play a relatively small but significant part in World War II. When news of the German invasion of Red Russia reached the Spanish government, the new Fascist government's Foreign Ministry, Ramon Serrano Suñer, offered military assistance to the Nazis by way of the German Ambassador, Eberhard von Stohrer. Adolph Hitler wanted a full pledge declaration of war against the Allies, but Franco and Serrano were kindly aware that any such move will place the country's struggling economy at the mercy of Great Britain's oil embargo.

If they could not assist Germany directly, then Franco, though an all volunteer force, similar to the German-deployed Condor Legion during the Civil War, could be mustered. On July 1941, 18,000 men from all walks of life joined in what would be called the Blue Division; a ground force unit that would see heavy action in the Eastern Front. Attached to the division was a limited air expeditionary force known as the Blue Squadron or 'Escuadrilla Azul'. The Blue Squadron was part of the overall Army Group Center assets from 1941 until 1944. A total of five Spanish Squadrons flying BF-109 and later FW-190, flew a total of 1,918 sorties as part of Jagdgeschwader 51, also known as "Molders". The squadrons worked in succession beginning with the first arriving on early June 1941 until the last official one on February of 1944. They had the distinction of being the only Spanish unit to have fought in the Battle of Kursk. Its combat record consisted of 277 air kills and 74 aircraft destroyed, with a total combined loss of seven Spanish pilots.

During the first years after WWII the Spanish Air Force consisted largely of German and Italian planes and copies of them. An interesting example was the HA-1112-M1L Buchon (transliteration: "big throat"), this was essentially a licensed production of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 re-engined with a Rolls-Royce Merlin for use in Spain. Although in sheer numbers the EdA was impressive, at the end of WWII technically it had become more or less obsolete due to the progress in aviation technology during the war. For budget reasons Spain actually kept many of the old german aircraft operative well into the 50´s and 60´s, as an example the last Junkers Ju-52 transport plane was not retired from service until 1972. On March 18, 1946, the first Spanish paratroop unit was created. It participated in the Ifni War during 1957 and 1958. In this campaign many old axis aircraft still saw service such as the Junkers 52 or the Heinkel 111 (nicknamed "Pedro") and others.
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The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a German World War II fighter aircraft designed by Willy Messerschmitt in the early 1930s. It was one of the first true modern fighters of the era, including such features as an all-metal monocoque construction, a closed canopy, and retractable landing gear. Having gone through its baptism of fire in the Spanish Civil War, the Bf 109 was still in service at the dawn of the jet age at the end of World War II, during which it was the backbone of the German Luftwaffe fighter force. An inverted Vee-piston engined fighter, the Bf 109 was supplemented, but never completely replaced in service, by the radial engined Focke-Wulf Fw 190 from the end of 1941.

Originally conceived as an interceptor, later models were developed to fulfill multiple tasks, serving as bomber escort, fighter bomber, day-, night- all-weather fighter, bomber destroyer, ground-attack aircraft, and as reconnaissance aircraft. It was supplied to and operated by several states during World War II, and served with several countries for many years after the war. The Bf 109 was the most produced warplane during World War II, with 30,573 examples built during the war, and the most produced fighter aircraft in history, with a total of 33,984 units produced up to April 1945. The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring German fighter aces of World War II, who claimed 928 victories between them while flying with Jagdgeschwader 52, chiefly on the Eastern Front, as well as by the highest scoring German ace in the North African Campaign. It was also flown by the highest high-scoring non-German ace Ilmari Juutilainen, and several other successful ones, notably from Finland, Romania, Croatia and Hungary. Through constant development, it remained competitive with the latest Allied fighter aircraft until the end of the war.

Spanish Air Force operated some D-1s, E-3s and 15 F-4s, and may have received several older B-types. Volunteers of Escuadrilla Azul on the Eastern Front operated E-4, E-7, E-7/B, F-2, F-4 (belonged in JG-27 under the command of Luftflotte 2,until April 1943) among G-4 and G-6 (detached in JG-51 under the command Luftflotte 4, until June 1944). Between 1939 and 1945, 45 Bf-109Bs, 15 Me-109Es, 10 Me-109Fs and 25 Me-109Gs were delivered to Spain.


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Hi mate I saw you come from Spain right?, you have an immage about Dornier bomber how your first post, are really nice pictures, really good quality...

Several damaged Fw-200 landed in Spain during the war. In the beginning, they were repaired and returned to their bases in France. After Operation Torch (the Allied invasion of Africa), the Spanish government interned four aircraft that arrived (although their crews were still allowed to return to Germany). Since the planes could not be used, they were sold by Germany to Spain. One of the three flyable planes was then operated in the Spanish Air Force and the others used for spares. Due to damages, lack of spares, and for political reasons, they were grounded and scrapped around 1950.


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The Junkers Ju 88 represented one of the better and more successful bomber designs attributed to the German Luftwaffe. The system performed on a variety of levels, achieving success with most every role and saw production reach totals well past 15,000 examples. Though operating for a nation whose bomber squadrons are rarely the cause for general discussion of the air war in World War 2, the Junkers Ju 88 stands out as a formidable and successful flyer that provided German warplanners with a versatile performers and equally terrified the leaders of opposing countries. At its core, the Ju 88 was simple twin-engine monoplane system built around a thin pencil-like fuselage with a single vertical tail surface. The crew compartment was fitted to the extreme forward portion of the fuselage and held accommodations for up to four personnel under glazed glasswork. The Ju 88 had provisions for an internal and (later models) external bomb loadouts along with a defensive array of machine guns of various types.

The initial Ju 88V-1 prototype first as early as 1936, though it accommodated just three personnel and was fitted with Daimler-Benz DB 600A series engines of 1,000 horsepower each. Production models entered service by the end 1939 as the Ju 88A-1 and in time for the full-swing of the Second World War. Most notably, the Ju 88 series took part in the 1940 summer offensive against England in the famed "Battle of Britain", serving the gamut of roles in varying forms - some featuring rocket-assisted take-off for quick action response. The Ju 88 proved to be a versatile component to the Luftwaffe arsenal. It represented the fastest of the German bombers available and much was made with its advantage in speed. The system would go on to be fielded on every front that Germany was fighting on and was also well-noted for its anti-shipping capability against the Allied convoys thanks to several conversion models fitted with specialized radar and anti-ship munitions. As prized as the platform was, its final claim to fame would be recognized in the use of the Ju 88's bomb-laden fuselage as part of the Mistel - a fighter aircraft/Ju 88 combination where the piloted fighter (various were considered including the Fw 190, Me 262 and Me 109 platforms) would be mounted atop a crewless, yet bomb-laden Ju 88 fuselage, component which would later be jettisoned onto a target. Another in the seemingly long line of ingenious - yet desperate and ill-fated - concoctions related to the Luftwaffe and the closing months of World War 2 but such was the end for this fine machine.

During the WWII, Spain signed some agreements with the german goverment to suply them minerals and cereals in exchange of weapons. The "Bar Program" provided to Spain 10 Ju-88 A-4, which were collected by spanish pilots in november of 1943, in the base of Francazal, France. They were delivered at Toulouse airport. The planes were assigned to 13 Regimiento, based in Albacete (Los Llanos airbase).Serial number 13 indicated the unit, and the other numbers the plane identification. During the war many others Ju-88 landed in Spain, being interned. With these planes and the ones that were adquired in 1943, Spain had 28 operational Ju-88 between 1945-46, being the last one replaced in 1958 by CASA C-2111.


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The Dornier Do 24 was designed to meet a Dutch navy requirement for a replacement of the Dornier Wals being used in the Dutch East Indies. It was an all-metal monoplane with a broad-beamed hull and stabilising sponsons. The aircraft was powered by three wing-mounted radial engines. The first two aircraft built were fitted with 447 kW (600 hp) Junkers Jumo 205C diesel engines. The next two had 652 kW (875 hp) Wright R-1820-F52 Cyclones, this was to meet a Dutch requirement to use the same engines as the Martin 139. The third aircraft (with Cyclone engines) was the first to fly on 3 July 1937. Six Dutch aircraft (designated Do 24K-1) were built in Germany, followed by a further aircraft built under licence by Aviolanda in the Netherlands (designated Do 24K-2).

Only 25 aircraft had been built on the Aviolanda assembly line before the German occupation. The Luftwaffe were interested in the completed and partially completed aircraft. The Dutch production line continued to produce aircraft under German control. 11 airframes were completed with Dutch-bought Wright Cyclone engines, but later models used the BMW Bramo 323R-2. A further 159 Do 24s were built in the Netherlands during the occupation, most under the designation Do 24T-1. Another production line for the Do 24 was established in Sartrouville, France, during the German occupation. This line was operated by SNCA and was able to produce another 48 Do 24s. After the liberation, this facility produced a further 40 Do 24s, which served in the French Navy until 1952.

In 1944, 12 Dutch-built Do-24 T-3 were delivered to Spain with the understanding that they would assist downed airmen of both sides. These planes were based at Pollensa, Mallorca, being painted in green and yellow to avoid mistaken identifications with germans Do-24. After the war, a few French-built Do-24s also found their way to Spain. Spanish Do-24s were operational at least until 1967, and possibly later. In 1971, one of the last flying Spanish Do 24s was returned to the Dornier facility on Lake Constance for permanent display.


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The total amount of Do-17 sent to Spain was 31, most of them of the E version, although some were reconnaissance aircrafts (F and P series). In 1940 there were still 13 aircrafts on service, being retired in 1952 due to the lack of spare parts. During the WWII Spain only bought to Germany Bf-109s, Ju-88 and some aircrafts interned, like 3 Fw-200 Condor, one Ju-290 and some more Ju-88. No more Do-17s were acquired.


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Introduced into active service in 1937, the Heinkel 112 lost out in competition to the Messerschmitt ME 109, and was only produced in limited numbers, most aircraft seeing service with other nations after a short period with the Luftwaffe. Some were pressed into service with the Spanish Air Force, and the later B2 version served with the Rumanian and Hungarian Air Forces. One Spanish He-112, piloted by Lt. Miguel Entrena, shotted down a 14th Fighter Group P-38, forcing it down in Spanish Moroccan territory. Plagued with engine problems, the aircraft never quite reached its potential. It does serve, however, as a bridge between the last of the Luftwaffe biplane fighters, and the later famed ME 109 and FW190 series.

The civil war ended on April 1st, leaving Spain with one of the most powerful and modern air forces in the world. 2a Ecsuadra returned to Léon where they had started off, but on the 13th of July they were moved to Sania Ramel in Spanish Morocco. Here they were renamed 1a Escuadra and joined a newly formed 2a Escuadra flying the new Fiat G.50s (still no match for the 112s). Together they formed Grupo 27. When Allied forces landed in North Africa, the Spanish forces in Morocco found themselves once again on alert. Due to the navigational difficulties of the day, they found themselves repeatedly intercepting straying aircraft from both Allied and German forces. For instance, on the 8th of November they intercepted C-47s dropping paratroops on Morocco. On other occasions they intercepted Spitfire Vs from Gibraltar, and Dewoitine D.520s operated by the Vichy French out of Algeria. None of these incidents resulted in losses.

On March 3rd 1943 a formation of Allied planes was seen straying into Spanish airspace yet again, and Grupo 27's alert plane was scrambled with Teniente Miguel Entrena Klett at the controls. After climbing to 3500 m, he spotted the target aircraft and identified them as eleven Lockheed P-38s. He then positioned for an attack out of the sun (which was to the rear of the formation) and made a diving pass on the trail-end aircraft. Several hits were made with the 20 mm rounds (his MGs were later discovered to be unloaded), and the plane started trailing smoke and was forced down in Algeria.

By 1944 the planes found themselves sitting on the ground more and more due to a lack of fuel and maintenance. By 1945 there were only nine left, and they were rotated out of service for repairs in Spain. They continued to be attrited due to accidents and cannibalization over the next few years, eventually returning to the mainland and being assigned to training units (where they rarely flew). The last airworthy example appears on the books in 1952, along with another that couldn't fly. The next year there were none listed.


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Yes, I have many, not only from Spain, but also from many differents countries. I am preparing a thread about the bombers that took part in the spanish civil war, but if you want some pictures let me know and I will send you what you need.

Thanks :D
A Junkers Ju-290 A-5 (Wk. no. 0178, code D-AITR), nicknamed "Bayern of Lufthansa" flew to Barcelona on April 5 1945 piloted by Lufthansa Flugkapitaen Sluzalek. The aircraft suffered damage to its landing gear on landing and was repaired with parts brought from Germany by a Lufthansa Fw-200. It remained in Spain because the Spanish Government ordered that regular Lufthansa flights on route K22 be terminated from 21 April and was turned over to the Spanish authorities. This A-5 was acquired by the Spanish and was eventually used by the Spanish Air Force from 29 April 1950 to 27 July 1956 as a government transport of personnel for the Superior School of Flight in Salamanca. It was scrapped due to a lack of spare parts in May 1957 following an accident.


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During the same time, at the request of Oberst (later Generalfeldmarschall) Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, chief of staff of the Legion Kondor, five aircraft had been deployed to Spain as a part of the Condor Legion, intended to be used as tactical bombers. In their intended role, the Hs 123s proved to be somewhat of a failure, hampered by their small bomb capacity and short range. Instead, the Hs 123s based in Seville were used for ground support, a role in which their range was not such a detriment, and where the ability to accurately place munitions was more important than carrying a large load. The combat evaluation of the Hs 123 demonstrated a remarkable resiliency in close-support missions, proving able to absorb a great deal of punishment including direct hits on the airframe and engine. The Nationalists in Spain were suitably impressed with the Hs 123 under battle conditions, purchasing the entire evaluation flight and ordering an additional 11 aircraft from Germany. The Spanish Hs 123s were known as "Angelito" (dear angel or little angel) and at least one Hs 123 was in service with the Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire) after 1945. This picture was taken at the Alcala de Henares Air Base, in 1948, and its a Hs-123A-1, coded BV1-5 1-50.


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As designed in 1931, the He 46 was a two-seat sesquiplane of mixed construction. The upper wing was swept back 10°, and the tailplane was mounted high and braced by struts. The undercarriage was fixed, and the tail was fitted with a skid rather than a wheel. The He 46 prototype first flew in late 1931; its flight characteristics were good, but design improvements were incorporated. The small lower wing was removed, while the mainplane was increased in area by 22% and braced to the fuselage, transforming the He 46 into a parasol-wing monoplane. A more powerful engine was added to the second prototype, and a single 7.92 mm (.312 in) MG 15 machine gun for the rear seat was added to the third prototype.

Only 13 of these warbirds survived to the war, being destinated to the Observation School of Malaga. For 1946, only three of them were airworthy, wearing the code R.1. In the second picture the plane is still wearing the code 11, since it was usual to conserve the military markings of the civil war during the first years of the post-war.


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