Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Discussions on all aspects of the Spanish Civil War including the Condor Legion, the Germans fighting for Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
durb
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Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by durb » 02 Jun 2014 14:38

I have some difficulty to understand the structure of whole Nationalist Air Force. If I´m right the basic structure was this:

German volunteers / Condor Legion - pretty much autonomus air force under German command, but acted according to need of tactical situations and requests of Spanish Nationalist General Staff.

Italian volunteers - Aviacion del Tercio / Aviazione Legionaria - autonomous same way as Legion Condor

Spanish pilots and groundcrews - Aviación Nacional - the "real" Spanish Nationalist Air Force.

What was the organizational connection between the three, what were the commanding chain relations between them?

The history of whole Nationalist Air Force is divided by these three organizations and I´m not sure how much there really was coordinacion and joint operations between the three. Legion Condor is much more known than Aviacion del Tercio/Aviazione Legionaria and Aviación Nacional. I wonder if there are some good sources regarding Aviazione Legionaria and Aviación Nacional. So far the best information I have found from Håkans Aviation page: http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/scw.htm

The problem with Håkans Aviation page is that it´s day-to-day chronicles are a bit difficult to digest and the information is somewhat fragmented.

I would also recommend the Italian Luce newsreel and propaganda films for those interested in Aviazione Legionaria. The film quality of the Luce copies is very good. One good example is "Los novios de la muerte". This and other Luce films can be found from http://www.cinecitta.com/default.aspx?p ... &lng=it-it

I wonder also if there is some balanced book in English or Spanish about all units of both air forces (Nationalist and Republicans) including combat accounts of both sides in order to give a balanced view of the air war in Spain 1936 - 1939. So far the information is a bit fragmented and literature in English seems to be pretty much focused in the Legion Condor.

Felix C
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by Felix C » 02 Jun 2014 14:57

I read and thought well of Espana en Llamas: La Guerra Civil Desde el Aire.

http://www.casadellibro.com/libro-espan ... 023/912428

also Amazon.es and other vendor sites.

There are specific older volumes and a multi-volume set by Jesus Salas Larrazabal but the above is recent and provides a view of both sides. There is a one volume version in English of Larrazabal's work. http://www.amazon.es/Over-Spain-Salas-L ... 198&sr=1-3
A bit dated but sometimes the older volumes provide personal observations(or is it prejudices?) missing from later generations.

Also have read the older volumes(see below) by Alfcofar Nassaes who wrote individual volumes regarding Nationalist and expeditionary Italian Air Force contributions. Chock full of detail.
http://www.amazon.es/aviaci%C3%B3n-legi ... ar+nassaes
http://www.amazon.es/Aviacion-legionari ... ar+nassaes
Last edited by Felix C on 02 Jun 2014 22:13, edited 1 time in total.

durb
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by durb » 02 Jun 2014 20:33

Looked on those above. I wonder how good are these:
Rafael A Permuy Lopez: Air War Over Spain: Aviators, Aircraft and Air Units of the Nationalist and Republican Air Forces 1936-1939.
Alfredo Loguloso: Fiat CR 32 Aces of Spanish Civil War.
Christopher Shores: Spanish Civil War Air Forces.

Felix C
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by Felix C » 03 Jun 2014 14:04

Not to diminish the standing of the authors an their work but they appear like heavily illustrated booklets than books proper.

durb
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by durb » 03 Dec 2014 16:08

The book of Alcofar Nasser on Italian Aviación Legionaria (AL) in Spanish Civil War proved to give lots of detailed information.

Here some of basic stats info from "La aviación legionaria an la guerra española " (Alcofar Nassaes 1975):

In total some 700 - 730 Italian planes arrived to Spain. By type more or less these quantities - some of them went to Spanish Aviación Nacional:
Fiat CR 32 - 400
Savoia S.M. 79 - 99
Savoia S.M. 81- 65
Romeo Ro 37 - 36
Romeo Ro 41 - 25
Breda Ba-65 - 18
Caproni Ca-310 - 16
Fiat BR 20 - 16
Fiat G 50 - 11
Cant Z-501 - 9
Cant Z-506 - 4
Caproni Ca-135 - 2
+ few planes of some other types

In the ranks of AL served 6000 Italians, the pilots of AL flew more than 86 000 sorties and spent more than 135 000 hours in air and participated in 226 air combats. AL lost some 175 men KIA and some 190 were WIA.

Bombing units dropped some 11 584 tons of bombs, destroyed or damaged 224 ships (of different sizes), destroyed some 40 enemy planes on ground.

Official air combat stats:

903 enemy airplane destroyed, own combat losses 86 planes.

When it comes to official claim of 903 planes destroyed in air combat, it is clearly exaggerated. By 1970´s different historians (J. Salas Larrazábal and others) had come to conclusion that the real score was much lower. According to one Italian historian the number of 500 air victory claims is closer to thruth, and it may well be even less. However it should be noted that AL pilots did not necessarily overclaim much more than the pilots of Legion Condor (investigation of LC records have shown at least some 2:1 and 3:1 overclaim cases in their "confirmed air victories"). Similar overclaiming can be found with Republican Air Force and with Aviación Nacional (Spanish Nationalist Air Force). It would be interesting to discuss the overclaiming issue and how to dig out the real results of air combats in SCW, but it needs a thread of its own.

When it comes to the name of AL - Aviación Legionaria, I guess that we should use the Spanish name as "more official" than the Italian Aviazione Legionaria. Quite the same as we write Legión Condor instead of Condor Legion.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by Ironmachine » 03 Dec 2014 18:28

A very good work about the Aviación Legionaria is Guerra di Spagna e aviazione italiana (Aeronautica militare italiana, Roma, Ufficio Storico, 1992, 2nd Edition), by Ferdinando Pedriali. From my notes, the following numbers about the Italian aircraft losses are given in that book:
Fiat CR 32: 156 lost, of them 94 in combat of which 76 in air combat.
Savoia 81: 15 lost, of them 2 in combat of which 1 in air combat.
Savoia 79: 12 lost, of them 4 in combat (none in air combat).
BR 20: 2 lost, of them 1 in combat (none in air combat)
Ro 37: 20 lost, of them 11 in combat of which 1 in air combat.
Ba 65: 10 lost, of them 3 in combat (none in air combat).

durb
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by durb » 03 Dec 2014 22:25

Thanks for up-to-date info. To my limited knowlegde Alcofar Nassaes´s quite old book is currently the most detailed and probably best (?) on Aviación Legionaria available in Spanish. It does not surprise that probably the best book on subject is Italian.

In English Aviación Legionaria seems to rather neglected subject. Probably the best available is Alfredo Loguloso´s Fiat CR 32 Aces of Spanish Civil War (covering also J. García Morato & Co). It is made in Osprey Aircraft of Aces format which may not be liking of all, but according to most reviews it is one of the best of those series. The biplane fighter history expert Håkan Gustavsson gives it full 10/10.
Check: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fiat-CR-32-Span ... 1846039835

The Nationalist Spanish air units are not that well covered in recent books in English (or in Spanish?). So far the best web source is probably "Håkans Aviation page", but to my mind it is not an info in form easiest to digest. There are various Spanish web sources - but they tend to focus more in some special subject than in the overall development of Spanish units of Nationalist Air Force. For example I have yet not managed to find the overall combat stats of Nationalist Spanish air forces (like the combat strength in different times, number of flown sorties, dropped explosives, destroyed ground or sea targets, air victory claims, combat losses). If someone knows, I hope that the info is kindly shared here.

Couple of my findings from the web (in Spanish):
http://www.elmundo.es/la-aventura-de-la ... b456f.html
http://www.elgrancapitan.org/foro/viewt ... =7&t=18910

durb
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by durb » 08 Dec 2014 13:36

Some info found from mostly from Alcofar Nassaes (1975) and Mikhail Maslov (2011) regarding the Aviación Nacional (AN):

By the early summer 1937 the aircraft strength of AN was roughly 90 planes.

To comparison Legión Condor had at that time about 100 - 110 aircraft. Aviación Legionaria had at the continent probably 150 (lowest estimate 90!) + considerable number of aircraft located in Mallorca (Aviación de las Baleares - the importance of Baleares as a air- and navalbase is worth a thread of its own).

By the late 1938 AN had 184 aircraft - 54 Fiat CR 32, 16 Heinkel 51, 12 Romeo 37bis, 6 Heinkel 45 etc. - the bomber group Briagada Aérea had 64 planes - most important types 21 Savoia S.M. 79, 17 Savoia S.M. 81 and 13 Junkers 52.

To comparison: Aviación Legionaria had 205 planes and Legión Condor had 119 aircraft by the late 1938.

AN received 127 Fiat CR 32 (100 by the July 1938) from Italians, of these planes 43 were lost, of which 26 in combat. The exact number of losses of other types are not known to me. Laureau (2000) mentions that 8 Spanish flown Ju 52 were lost and as many as 15 Spanish-flown He 51 were lost.

It looks that during most of the war the Italian air contingent was the biggest air force at the Nationalist side. Also the Spanish contingent grew with time and is undervaluated (at least among air history researchers and airwar aficionados outside of Spain). I think that the literature in English focuses too much on Legión Condor (LC) and takes it often out of the larger context of SCW airwar - this may give somewhat exaggerated picture of LC´s importance in overall airwar over Spain. LC and its fighter unit J/88 did not win the airwar over Spain alone and more credit should be given to Spanish and Italian airmen. Probably the "overvaluation" of Legión Condor compared to other SCW air forces lies in its way of groundbreaking tests of new aircraft types and tactics which later played important role in WW2. However the scale of these tests was not such that they alone would have secured the air superiority and victory of Spanish Nationalists.

durb
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by durb » 12 Dec 2014 17:11

Here is a list of the plane losses and combat casualties of Aviación Legionaria during the 1936-1937. This is kind a part of I of the project to make a informative combat loss records of Aviación Legionaria during the SCW. The list is not complete as it is based on my limited sources on the books of Forsyth, Permuy Lopez and Alcofar Nassaes, Some thing I have checked from the web sources (not so informative after all).
The principles of list are the following:
- only combat related losses are listed (accidents and other non-enemy caused losses not included, although one "friendly-fire" case is included)
- when it comes to damaged planes, I mention only cases when there has been a fatal combat casualty (KIA)
- if there is some spesific info about the enemy available, it is included
- the locations of combat losses are "more or less"
- although Aviación Legionaria was a Italian project, time-to-time some Spaniard pilots and units were incorporated in AL. Thus there are few Spaniards included in the combat loss record.
- if there is a "OK" after pilot´s name, it means that he survived without serious wounds and made it back to own lines (in case of being shot down over enemy territory)

Your comments and additions welcome!

Aviación Legionaria (Aviazione Legionaria) combat losses 1936 - 1937

30.8.1936 Talavera de la Reina: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy Fury (La Calle), Monico POW, killed.
30.8.1936 Talavera: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy Ni-H. 52´s (Santamaría, Peña), Castellani OK
13.9.1936 Talavera: Fiat CR 32 collided with enemy Ni-H. 52 (Colom KIA), Patriarca POW
4.11.1936 Madrid: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy (Soviet piloted) I-15, Magistrini KIA
4.11.1936 Madrid: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy (Soviet piloted) I-15, Dequal OK
5.11.1936 Madrid: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy (Soviet piloted) I-15, Maccacgno WIA, POW
9.11.1936 Madrid: Romeo Ro 37 lost in air combat?
1.12.1936 Madrid: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighters, Chianese POW
1.12.1936 Madrid: Romeo Ro 37 shot down by enemy AA, Di Marcio KIA, Matis OK
2.12.1936 Talavera: Savoia S.M. 81 destroyed on the ground (air attack of R-5´s)
10.12.1936/20.12.1936 (?): Romeo Ro 37 shot down by Legion Condor He 51 (“friendly fire”), Jiménez (Spaniard) and Compagny (Spaniard) KIA
22.12.1936 Mahón: Savoia S.M. 81 damaged by flak, Nerieri KIA
13.2.1937 Jarama: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighters, Lodi POW
19.3.1937 Mahón: Savoia S.M. 81 damaged in air combat, Dal Pan KIA
29.4.1937 Aviación de Baleares: Savoia S.M. 81 crashed in sea, five men crew KIA (Anfuso, Escofet, Camallo, Mattarollo, Zannoni), caused by combat damage?
5.6.1937 Santander: Fiat CR 32 shot down by I-15 (Magriña), Presel KIA
6.7.1937 Brunete: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighters, Vercellio KIA
7.7.1937 Ávila: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighters, Mattei OK
7.7.1937 Ávila: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighters, Passeri KIA
8.7.1937 Ávila: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighters, Rubio OK (Spaniard)
12.7.1937 Brunete: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighters, Bermúdez de Castro KIA (Spaniard)
14.8.-20.8.1937 Northern Front: combat losses of 4 aircraft (?) + 1 pilot seriously WIA (one might match with the 17.8.37 claim of Tarazona)
26.8.1937 Zaragoza: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-15 (Gonzáles), Caselli KIA
26.8.1937 Zaragoza: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-15 (Gonzáles), Schievano KIA
27.8.1937 Quinto de Ebro: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-15, Marietti OK
27.8.1937 Quinto de Ebro: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-15, Constantini OK
27.8.1937 Quinto de Ebro: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-15, Capellini POW
24.9.1937 Zuera: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy AA, Monte OK
29.9.1937 Baleares: Savoia S.M. 81 damaged by air combat, Bacchini and Appiani KIA
11.10.1937 Fuentes de Ebro y Mediana: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-16, Boschetto POW
11.10.1937 Fuentes de Ebro y M: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-16, Corsi POW
11.10.1937 Fuentes de Ebro y M: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-16, Leoncini POW
11.10.1937 Fuentes de Ebro y M: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-16, Neri KIA
11.10.1937 Fuentes de Ebro y M: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-16, Rigolli KIA
28.12.1937 Teruel: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-15 (Comas) - one Fiat CR 32 was lost in air combat (in which Comas claimed 2 Fiats), but this plane may have belonged to Spanish unit?

When it comes to 5 Fiat CR 32 losses on 11.10.1937 (Nassaes), it might be that the correct date was 12.10.1937, when Republican pilots Aguirre, Lamas and García (Mosca unit 1/21) claimed each 1 confirmed Fiat and other pilots of 1/21 Bravo, Arias and Gandía each a probable (Permuy Lopez). The combat was clearly a big blow to Italians although they made claims of 15 (!) destroyed enemy fighters in return. When analyzing combat reports one should take in account that there is a repeating pattern to put enemy losses higher almost always than the ones suffered by "own side" - propaganda played almost always a part in official published combat records of both sides turning clear defeat often to a glorious victory!

durb
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by durb » 15 Dec 2014 15:11

A continuation to previous post (above):

Aviación Legionaria (Aviazione Legionaria), combat losses 1938 – 1939 + comparison with some Republican info (italics)

17.1.1938 Santa Eulalia: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Boetti KIA - Leopoldo Morquillas Rubio´s (2/26) claim on Fiat CR 32 on 17.1.38?
17.1.1938 Santa Eulalia: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Cesana KIA - besides Rubio, the 2/26 pilots Vela and Zuazo claimed Fiat on 17.1.38.
21.2.1938 Alfambra: Fiat CR 32 destroyed by mid-air-collision with enemy I-15 (Viñals), Haya (Spaniard) KIA - Viñals survived from collision and made it back to homebase.
14.3.1938 near Caspe: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Ajello POW - Escuadra de Caza 11 claimed 6 (!) Fiat CR 32 on 14.3.1938.
17.3.1938 near Alcañiz: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Lucchini OK
20.3.1938 Aragón front: Fiat CR 32 shot down, Bocella KIA
20.3.1938 Aragón front: Fiat CR 32 shot down, Spaddaccini POW
20.3.1938 Aragón front: Fiat CR 32 shot down, Bertocci POW
26.3.1938 Norte del Ebro: Savoia S.M. 81 damaged by flak, Galli KIA
28.3.1938 La Fresneda: Savoia S.M. 79 shot down by flak, crew KIA (pilot Parini)
28.3.1938 La Fresneda: Savoia S.M. 79 shot down by flak, most of crew POW (pilot Maer OK)
28.3.1938: Breda Ba 65 shot down by flak, Copini KIA
2.4.1938 near Segre: Fiat CR 32 shot down by flak, Tessitore KIA
15.4.1938 Pauls: Fiat CR 32 shot down by flak, Lo Moro KIA
23.5.1938 near Bellcaire: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-16, Boschelli KIA - Escuadra de Caza 11 claimed one Fiat on 23.5.38
31.5.1938 Linares de Mora: Fiat CR 32 shot down by flak, Picchini KIA - Escuadra de Caza 11 claimed 10 (!!) Fiats on 31.5.1938
4.6.1938 “Levante front”: Fiat CR 32 shot down by flak, Nicchiarelli KIA
14.6.1938 Sarrión: Savoia S.M. 79 shot down by flak, whole crew KIA (pilot Pezzi)
25.6.1938 Sierra de Espadán: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Sebastiani KIA
16.6.1938: three Fiat CR 32 shot down? (Escuadrilla Autonoma de Ametrallamiento)
18.7.1938 Segorbe/Viver: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Raffi POW
18.7.1938 Segorbe/V.: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Vestrini POW
18.7.1938 Segorbe/V: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Guiducci POW
18.7.1938 Segorbe/V: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Lucchini POW
18.7.1938 Segorbe/V: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Frattini KIA
22.7.1938 “Levante front”: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Oliosi KIA
25.7.1938 Ebro front, Flix: Fiat BR 20 destroyed by enemy flak, Fruttini, Moro and Cerruti KIA, rest of crew OK
23.8.1938 Ebro front: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Bracco KIA
27.8.1938 Teresa: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Borgogne POW
1.11.1938 Mora y Ebro: Fiat CR shot down by enemy fighter, Zanetti KIA - José Falcó (3/26) claimed a Fiat CR 32 on 1.11.1938
24.12.1938 Castelldans: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Accorsi seriously WIA
24.12.1938 Castelldans: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Marini KIA - Gonzáles and Morales of 6/21 claimed together a shared Fiat
28.12.1938 Catalonian front: Fiat CR 32 badly damaged by enemy fighters, Gasparini KIA - Escuadra 11 claimed 3 "confirmed" Fiats
29.12.1938 Montblach: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Zannier KIA
3.1.1939 Catalonian front: Fiat BR 20 damaged by enemy flak, Chiasserni KIA
8.1.1939 Montblach: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy fighter, Falconi POW (?)
25.1.1939 Montseny: Fiat CR 32 shot down by enemy I-16, Masi KIA
29.3.1939 Escalona: Fiat CR 32 badly damaged in combat (flak?), Casadei KIA

durb
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Re: Aviazione Legionaria y Aviación Nacional

Post by durb » 17 Dec 2014 14:25

One thing which I have sometimes wondered what was the combat value of the Aviación Nacional equipment, which was "leftover" of Legión Condor? I have read that Germans passed often pretty worn-out planes to Spanish air units - they were far from "premium" planes, must have had somewhat weakened performance and caused much extra workload for Spanish mechanics. And some were clearly "failed" or obsolete types like Heinkel 46 which was quickly "donated" to Spanish airmen - according to Patrick Laureau Spanish were not happy to have that type in their units. But of course any equipment in flying condition was better than no equipment at all,

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