A dogfight involving Bruno Mussolini and an American ?

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918bones
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Re: A dogfight involving Bruno Mussolini and an American ?

Post by 918bones » 09 May 2011 16:54

Bruno Mussolini's younger brother, Romano, wrote an interesting version of this 'dogfight'.

http://books.google.com/books?id=j-njVp ... e&q&f=true
I appreciate Mr's Wards comment about Capt. Dickinson.

I'm the "Spanish Lady's" daughter.

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Ironmachine
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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by Ironmachine » 09 May 2011 21:22

Bruno Mussolini's younger brother, Romano, wrote an interesting version of this 'dogfight'.
Interesting it may be, but obviously it is full of "mistakes". For example, Dickinson could not have been flying a P-26:
One additional Model 281 was sold to Spain in 1935 for evaluation as a possible successor to the Nieuport-Delage NiD-52 fighter that was then the backbone of the Spanish air service. Delivered to Barajas, in Madrid, without armament on March 10, 1935, the Boeing fighter was test-flown by Boeing and Spanish military pilots. Boeing's asking price of 500,000 pesetas per plane ultimately resulted in the Spanish government's decision to reject the 281 and instead obtain a license from the British Hawker Aircraft Company for Hispano Suiza to produce 50 Hawker Spanish Fury biplane fighters.
The Boeing 281 was still at Barajas when the Spanish Civil War broke out on July 18, 1936, and was hastily armed with two .303 Vickers machine guns under the wings for front-line service with the Republican forces. Operating from Getafe airfield, it saw considerable action against the fascist rebels, on one occasion flying in formation with a Spanish Fury, four Dewoitine D.372s, two Loire 46s and two Nieuport-Delage NiD-52s.
Republican air strength at Getafe was down to one Fury, one Dewoitine and the Boeing 281 by mid-October 1936. Then, on October 21, Ramón Puparelli, one of the Boeing fighter's original test pilots, took it up to defend the airfield against three enemy Fiat CR.32s, only to be shot down. Puparelli managed to bail out. Some time later, the Spanish Republican government, which had never actually bought the prototype, finally paid $20,000 to Boeing representative Wilbur Johnson, through its embassy in Paris, for the 281's use in combat.
http://www.historynet.com/boeing-p-26-peashooter.htm/5

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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by paulrward » 23 May 2011 20:46

Hello All;
This is fascinating, especially the revelation from Romano Mussolini that his brother Bruno described a dogfight with Derek Dickinson. I must get hold of this book ASAP, as, if it is true, it confirms one of the most maligned events in aviation history. For decades, aviation writers have dismissed this story as ‘ Dickinson’s Fantasy ‘ and ‘ A tall tale ‘, but, if this account by Romano Mussolini is true, then it certainly puts Dickinson into the first rank as an adventurer and soldier of fortune !
As for errors in the account: First, the Polikarpov I-16 Mosca was frequently referred to by the Fascists as the ‘Boeing’ , just as the I-15 Chato and Tupelov SB-2 were referred to as the ‘Curtis’ and the ‘Martin’, respectively, due to their superficial resemblances to the P-26, the Curtis Hawk, and the Martin B-10. So, for an Italian pilot to refer to an I-16 as a Boeing P-26 is not strange.
Dickinson in his account referred to the armament of his I-16 as ‘ four barreled Vickers’, which seems strange, but may have been a transcription error, and is quite understandable when you remember that he had worked to replace the ‘shot out’ ShKas guns on the Alas Rojas I-16s with older Vickers guns.
Next, Captain Dickinson was NOT the commander of Escadrilla de Moscas No. 7, “ Alas Rojas’, but instead was an Engineering and Maintenance Officer who flew combat patrols as needed. This was often done with the foreign pilots who stayed on after their contracts ran out at the end of 1937. Those who chose to stay, if the Republic felt they were useful, were granted commissions as Lieutenants in the Fuerzes Aereas de la Republica Espanola ( FARE ) and continued serving. ( for a LOT LESS MONEY ! ) This was very risky for the men who chose to do this, as, in the case of the United States, accepting a commission as an officer in a foreign military service voids your U.S. Citizenship ! Some of these men, at the end of the war, became ‘men without a country’ . Derek Dickinson was granted a lieutenant’s commission, and almost immediately was promoted to Captain.
A late acquaintance of mine, Mr. Robert Victor, met Captain Dickinson, while Mr. Victor was visiting the Fighter Training School at El Carmoli, and Captain Dickinson was receiving his conversion training on the I-16. He described Dickinson as a tall, thin older man who was a careful, competent pilot. As Mr. Victor was serving as an instructor pilot at La Ribiera, and had some bad experiences with some of the other foreign pilots who he said ‘were more interested in booze and broads than flying and fighting ‘, this was a very favorable comment.
So, a old story that had been put to rest has risen again. Very Interesting
Respectfully;
Paul R. Ward
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918bones
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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by 918bones » 23 May 2011 23:06

I too find it fascinating that Mussolini’s youngest son chose to record this ‘duel’ re Bruno and my father in his book. The internet certainly has plenty of stories that disproved the duel ever occurred and labeled him a liar and worse.

When my parents left Spain and finally arrived in the USA (San Francisco), they were greeted with the media along with government agents. Their photo even appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. Our government considered him a communist. They tracked him relentlessly, visited us often, and he was definitely blackballed. He may have been ‘old’ by military standards, but he still tried to enlist and to serve our country re WWII…of course he was turned down…but not because of his age.

He was a very intelligent man, fluent in several languages, yet no one would hire him. He ended up as a stock clerk in a grocery store. I was pretty young at that time, but I vividly remember my mother trembling when the FBI would ‘pop’ in on us, question her, and scare the daylights out of her.

Regardless, he brought four of us ‘Dickinsons’ into the world. My oldest brother won a full scholarship (sports) at a well-known university, earned his PHD, and went on to retire as a dean at another well-known university. My other brother was a successful businessman who passed away a few years ago. My late sister was a retired nurse who devoted her life to helping cancer patients.

My mother told us how awful things were in Valencia. She personally witnessed many atrocities. She was 18 when she met our father, an American who was a volunteer with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. He had no union ties; he just wanted to help, and joined the brigade in order to fly. He could have left Spain when it was obvious Franco was winning, but he chose to stay, fight, and write letters to our government for help in this war. His outspokenness was his downfall.

He got a little money from Reader’s Digest and some men’s magazines for his story in 1939.

Its easy to Google and believe what you read. Probably most of you are too young to really understand what went on then.

I really don’t care anymore if my father’s “Air Duel with Bruno” turns out to be true or not.

Some research I did said he was a lousy pilot. Interesting! My parents stayed with Mickey Rooney for a time, and Mickey let my father fly his open-cockpit plane to do loops, circles and tricks in order to spur my mother into labor when she was 9 months pregnant.

Yes, he was flamboyant when he went to Spain. I have no doubt that if he had a chance for an ‘air duel’ with anyone , he would have taken them up. Too bad he wasn’t prepared to duel with our government when he came ‘home’.

The Spanish Lady's Daughter

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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by paulrward » 24 May 2011 00:12

Dear Ms. 918bones ;

Thank you for your kind comments. I am interested in hearing
about your father's experiences during and after the Spanish Civil War,
and if you would like, you may private message me at

paulrward@outdrs.net

I look forward to hearing from you, and, on behalf of many of the contributors
to this forumn, want to express my gratitude to your father for his courage in
fighting for the cause of freedom long before it was popular to do so.

Respectfully;

Paul R. Ward
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Ironmachine
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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by Ironmachine » 24 May 2011 17:57

paulrward wrote:Those who chose to stay, if the Republic felt they were useful, were granted commissions as Lieutenants in the Fuerzes Aereas de la Republica Espanola ( FARE ) and continued serving.
Not directly related with this thread, but maybe someone could find what follows interesting:
Despite what is commonly shown in most books and webpages, it seems that the "Fuerzas Aéreas de la República Española (FARE)" never existed as such. That name was apparently invented by Francisco Tarazona in his book Yo fuí piloto de caza rojo. The real name, as used in official documents, was "Arma de Aviación".
Regards.

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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by paulrward » 24 May 2011 19:36

Ironmachine wrote:
it seems that the "Fuerzas Aéreas de la República Española (FARE)" never existed as such. That name was apparently invented by Francisco Tarazona in his book Yo fuí piloto de caza rojo. The real name, as used in official documents, was "Arma de Aviación".
Hello All;
An interesting point, but not strictly speaking, correct. Prior to the outbreak of the SCW, the Spanish Air Force was a subsection of the Spanish Army, and was thus, the Arma de Aviacion, or Aviacion Arm, much as the United States Army Air Corps was part of the U.S.Army.
After the outbreak of the War, to prevent any confusion about Spanish Air Force Officers being required to obey the orders of Army officers, many of whom subsequently proved to be traitors, the Air Force was separated and given its own identity. In fact, when Mr. Victor arrived in Madrid, he was issued an identity card from the Arma de Aviacion, and later, on October 17th, 1936, received a second card with an identifying seal that reads, “ Fuerzas Aereas de la Republica Espanola” and the card, across the top, has the acronym ‘ FARE’ superimposed on the winged emblem of the FARE.
In addition, his commission papers dated December 4th, 1938, also list the service and have seals using the name “ Fuerzas Aereas de la Republica Espanola”.
So, it would seem that there was a title change, possibly to reflect the fact that the loyal officers of the Spanish Air Force were no longer associated with army officers who had betrayed their country.


Respectfully;
Paul R. Ward
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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by Ironmachine » 24 May 2011 21:20

paulrward wrote:After the outbreak of the War, to prevent any confusion about Spanish Air Force Officers being required to obey the orders of Army officers, many of whom subsequently proved to be traitors, the Air Force was separated and given its own identity.
Do you have the order that separated the Air Force and gave it its own identity?
The reason you provide for that supposed change is unlikely. The non-aviation Army Officers that remained loyal to the republic would have had the same problem, and on the other hand also Aviation officers rebelled...
paulrward wrote:So, it would seem that there was a title change, possibly to reflect the fact that the loyal officers of the Spanish Air Force were no longer associated with army officers who had betrayed their country.
In that case, there should be an order for that title change, and AFAIK none has been found. The only order I am aware of is the decree of 14 May 1937 that created the "Arma de Aviación":
http://www.boe.es/datos/pdfs/BOE/1937/1 ... -00720.pdf
paulrward wrote:In fact, when Mr. Victor arrived in Madrid, he was issued an identity card from the Arma de Aviacion, and later, on October 17th, 1936, received a second card with an identifying seal that reads, “ Fuerzas Aereas de la Republica Espanola” and the card, across the top, has the acronym ‘ FARE’ superimposed on the winged emblem of the FARE. In addition, his commission papers dated December 4th, 1938, also list the service and have seals using the name “ Fuerzas Aereas de la Republica Espanola”.
Do you have pictures of those documents that you can post here?
Anyway, if the name "Fuerzas Aéreas de la Repúblican Española" was used during the SCW that would end the theory that it was created by Tarazona, but without an official decree of creation then the fact that they never existed as such remains.

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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by paulrward » 07 Jun 2013 23:17

Hello All ; ( and Mr. Ironmachine )

Sorry about the delay in getting back on this forum, but my time has been limited by events. Recently, some
interesting evidence concerning Captain Derek Dickinson and the acronym ' F.A.R.E/' has come to my attention.

When he left Spain, Captain Dickinson was presented by his comrades in the FARE with a gift in the form of
a Colt Model 1911 45 cal. automatic pistol. It was a comercial model, part of a lot sold internationally in 1916-1917,
and it was personallized in the form of engraving. The inscription is :


DICK DICKINSON
ESCUADRA " ALAS ROJAS "
FUERZAS AEREAS ESPANOLAS
ESPANA 1836-37



[img]
Dickinsons%20Pistol.JPG
[/img]

The pistol was auctioned recently, ( The price went very high, very fast, as it appears that a large number of people
were aware of the value of the gun as a historical object. ) Where the gun is now, I cannot say, but it can be seen by
the inscription that, at least in 1937, the FARE was known to those serving in the Loyalist Cause as the Fuerzas Areas
Espanolas, and if they at the time did not recognize the legitimicy of the Fascist Junta, then this is quite reasonable.

Hope this is of some interest to you.

Respectfully;

Paul R. Ward
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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by Ironmachine » 08 Jun 2013 05:27

paulward wrote: it can be seen by the inscription that, at least in 1937, the FARE was known to those serving in the Loyalist Cause as the Fuerzas Areas Espanolas, and if they at the time did not recognize the legitimicy of the Fascist Junta, then this is quite reasonable.
I would not go too far drawing many conclusions from this. At most , it can be seen that the term "Fuerzas Aéreas Españolas" was used by those presenting the gun, but it is questionable if its use was general, if its use was general by those presenting the gun, or even if they generally used any other designation. Anyway, what is clear from this gun is that the term "FARE" was not used in this particular case.
Regarding the legitimicy argument, I find it quite weak. It is evident that both sides in the SCW did not recognize the legitimicy of the other. That did not prevent the republican side from changing the name of its forces.

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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by paulrward » 13 Jun 2013 00:12

Hello All;

Interestingly enough, yesterday evening I was moving part of my book collection from shelf 'A' to shelf 'B', and found myself holding an interesting book in my hands. it is " Un Aviador de la Republica ", by Juan Sayos Estivill, also printed under the same title by his previous 'nom de plume', Joan de Milany. Sr. Sayos was a fighter pilot for the Republic, being a sergeant-pilot before the war, and being commisioned a lieutenant in 1938. He flew both I-15s and I-16s, and the book is well worth reading. ( it is in Spanish, but is written in a style that even I can easily interpret )

Thumbing through it, I found, on page 89, a photographic reproduction of his military identification card, from March, 1938. In the upper left corner is the winged disc and propeller emblem of the Spanish Air Force, over which is printed "Aviacion Militar". This is repeated on the elliptical stamp that overlays his photo.

On page 120 is a copy of a document promoting Sr. Sayos to Lieutenant, dated June 4, 1938. In the upper left corner is the printed heading of the stationary, showing the same winged disc, with a five pointed star over it, and under this
is printed:

Fuerzas Aereas
11 Escuadra
Grupo 26
1. Escuadrilla

It also has an elliptical stamp on it, which is still the 'Arma de Aviacion' stamp.

Finally, on page 128 is a copy of Sr. Sayos 'Autorizacion de Uso de Armas', issued to him on August 23, 1938. It has a round stamp on it, around the perimeter of which is printed, " Fuerzas Aereas - Servicio Armamento " On the left edge of the
document is half of a much large stamp, on which can be made out, " ....as Aereas ".


So, it appears that, sometime between March, 1938, and August, 1928, the name of the Spanish Air Force was changed from " Arma de Aviacion " to Fuerzas Aereas, and this is reflected in the official documents used and issued to personnel.

Since the nation that they were flying for was the ' Spanish Republic ' ( Republica Espanola ) , then the correct, complete
title of the Spanish Republican Air Force would be " Fuerzas Aereas de la Republica Espanola " , whose acronym would logically be, " F.A.R.E. " . This would make sense.

Respectfully;

Paul R. Ward
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Ironmachine
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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by Ironmachine » 13 Jun 2013 08:55

I would appreciate that you post scans of all those photographs.
paulrward wrote:So, it appears that, sometime between March, 1938, and August, 1928, the name of the Spanish Air Force was changed from " Arma de Aviacion " to Fuerzas Aereas, and this is reflected in the official documents used and issued to personnel.
Maybe yes, maybe not. It would depend on who produced those "official" documents. In any case, if this change was really official, it should be easy to find it on the Gazeta de la República. I have searched its database and I have found legal dispositions regarding the "Arma de Aviación" from as late as 1938; there are also legal dispositions regarding the "Fuerzas Aéreas", but they are less frequent, and they are from the same time when "Arma de Aviación" was also being used. And I have not been able to find a decree changing the name.
paulrward wrote:Since the nation that they were flying for was the ' Spanish Republic ' ( Republica Espanola ) , then the correct, complete
title of the Spanish Republican Air Force would be " Fuerzas Aereas de la Republica Espanola " , whose acronym would logically be, " F.A.R.E. " . This would make sense.
Actually, the nation they were flying for was "España", or at most the "República de España", just in the same way that today it is "Reino de España" (Kingdom of Spain) and not "Reino Español" (Spanish Kingdom). Anyway, the second option would not change the acronym.
But the problem is that all the references that I have found in the Gazeta de la República just mention the "Fuerzas Aéreas", not the "Fuerzas Aéreas de la República Española". It's the same thing that happens in the documents you found in the book Un Aviador de la Republica. Actually, this would make sense because, after all, which other "Fuerzas Aéreas" would they be? It is just what happens nowadays, as the Spanish Air Force is just called "Ejército del Aire", not "Ejército del Aire Español" or "Ejército del Aire de España" or "Ejército del Aire del Reino de España"....
And what's more, remember that the Army that was fighting for the "Spanish Republic" was know as the "Ejército Popular Republicano" (E.P.R.) and not "Ejército Popular de la República Española" (E.P.R.E.), which would have been its correct, complete title according to your argument.

Regards.

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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by paulrward » 13 Jun 2013 20:06

Hello All ;

I will try to get a way to copy these illustrations into my computer ( I do not posess a document scanner ).
As for who created these documents, as one is an Identificatiion card, one is a promotion letter, and the
third is an authorization card, these would all be official documents, and would thus be created by the
governing authority, that is, the F.A.R.E.

Ironmachine, you may not be able to find a ' decree ', but it must be remembered, the Spanish Republic
was a democracy, not a monarchy or a dictatorship, so that there might not be a 'decree', but rather it
might be an order, ( Orden del Ministerio de Defensa Nacional ). You might want to check the relevant
issues of 'Diario Official del Ministerio de Defensa', which were published in Madrid.

And, to continue, to simply refer to the Spanish Republican Air Force as the 'Air Force' would tenc
to lead to confusion, as there were a large number spanish speaking nations that had air forces in the
1930s. In fact, when, in the USA, we speak of our own air force, we refer to it as ' the United States
Air Force' , with the acronym 'USAF'. ( Similarly the U.S. Navy is the USN, the Coast Guard is the USCG )
So, for the sake of clarity, it makes sense to use FARE rather than FA, simply to avoid confusion with
the Honduran Air Force.


As for Espana vs. Espanola, it is irrelevant what the usage of the Fascists or the Monarchists after the war
was. In fact, it makes more sense if you consider that the Republican forces were fighting for the Spanish
People, rather than just to take over Spain. So, Tarazona might be more likely to use Espanola rather than
Espana. After all, he and his comrades fought and died to try to save the Spanish People from tyranny and
oppression.

Respectfully ;

Paul R. Ward
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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by Ironmachine » 14 Jun 2013 08:08

paulrward wrote:As for who created these documents, as one is an Identificatiion card, one is a promotion letter, and the third is an authorization card, these would all be official documents, and would thus be created by the governing authority, that is, the F.A.R.E.
Well, it is quite questionable that they were created by the F.A.R.E., as no one has shown any proof that this designation really existed.
On the other hand, it is quite possible that an official organism can, by mistake, ignorance or any other reason, use a non-official designation of another organism when creating an official document.
Anyway, as none of those documents mentions the "F.A.R.E." but just the "Fuerzas Aéreas" (F.A.), this is a moot point.
paulrward wrote:Ironmachine, you may not be able to find a ' decree ', but it must be remembered, the Spanish Republic was a democracy, not a monarchy or a dictatorship, so that there might not be a 'decree', but rather it might be an order, ( Orden del Ministerio de Defensa Nacional ). You might want to check the relevant issues of 'Diario Official del Ministerio de Defensa', which were published in Madrid.
In fact, I used the term "decree" in a general sense, meaning any legal disposition (law, decree, order...) published in the Gaceta; my fault. I have not checked the Diario Oficial of the different ministries involved, but it should be noted that as the Arma de Aviación was created by a decree, any change made by a simple order is of very questionable legality. I would expect a decree to create the "Fuerzas Aéreas" and such a disposition should be published in the Gazeta. There is always the possibility that you are right, but I have never see such disposition, and it seems that neither have you.
By the way, this may shock you :) but monarchies and dictatorships have orders and laws and all kinds of legal dispositions, not only decrees. And it is also surprising that it seems for your wording that you think monarchies can not be democracies; so much for the United Kingdom, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and even Spain :lol:. I hope that at least you already know that republics can be dictatorships...
paulrward wrote:And, to continue, to simply refer to the Spanish Republican Air Force as the 'Air Force' would tenc to lead to confusion, as there were a large number spanish speaking nations that had air forces in the 1930s. In fact, when, in the USA, we speak of our own air force, we refer to it as ' the United States Air Force' , with the acronym 'USAF'. ( Similarly the U.S. Navy is the USN, the Coast Guard is the USCG ).
And in Spain, when we speak of our own air force and there is a possibility of confusion, we refer to it as the "Ejército del Aire español" (not "Ejército del Aire del Reino de España"), but still its official designation is just "Ejército del Aire".
paulrward wrote:So, for the sake of clarity, it makes sense to use FARE rather than FA, simply to avoid confusion with the Honduran Air Force.
And still you have stated that all the documents shown in the book Un Aviador de la Republica use FA rather that FARE. So much for your argument.
Besides, it is very questionable that it would make any more sense to use FARE instead of FAE ("Fuerzas Aéreas Españolas") or FAR (Fuerzas Aéreas Republicanas).
On the other hand, in the contest of the civil war in Spain in 1936-1939, I don't think anybody involved is going to think that when talking about the "Fuerzas Aéreas" they mean the "Fuerzas Aéreas de Honduras". But anyway, this is also a moot point, because the problem is not whether the term "F.A.R.E." was used during the war, but instead whether it was an official designation.
paulrward wrote:As for Espana vs. Espanola, it is irrelevant what the usage of the Fascists or the Monarchists after the war was. In fact, it makes more sense if you consider that the Republican forces were fighting for the Spanish People, rather than just to take over Spain. So, Tarazona might be more likely to use Espanola rather than Espana. After all, he and his comrades fought and died to try to save the Spanish People from tyranny and oppression.
Frankly, I can't see the relationship between their motivations and the official designation of their fighting service. Anyway, it was not Tarazona who decided the naming of the air forces. On the other hand, you may say that those in the republican army fought and died for the same reason than those in their air forces, and neither "Española" nor "España" was used to name the E.P.R.

Regards.

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Re: A dogfight involving runo Mussolini and an American ?

Post by Ironmachine » 14 Jun 2013 08:14

It should be noted that, as they were called "Fuerzas Aéreas" and they were the air forces of the "República española", there is a always the possibility that there are some documents mentioning the "Fuerzas Aéreas de la Répública española" or some rubber stamp with the legend "Fuerzas Aéreas - República Española". This is different from "Fuerzas Aéreas de la República Española" being an official designation.

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