French arms deliveries to SCW?

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French arms deliveries to SCW?

Post by durb » 30 Jul 2015 21:36

Reading the number of French arms deliveries my impression is that there is controversy between Nationalist and Republican sources. While Nationalist tend to represent as big numbers as possible the Republicans seem to represent as small numbers as possible. My feeling is that the propaganda needs played a part at their time: Nationalist exaggerating and Republicans dimishing the importance of French weaponry and French "aid" to Republicans.

Now after many decades and no need for propaganda claims anymore I wonder if there has been any objective studies of this theme showing how many aircraft, cannons etc. armament were actually delivered by French to Spain during the SCW. Although the amount of French arms deliveries to SCW was to my knowledge smaller than those by Italians, Germans and Soviets my guess is that France was clearly the fourth most important foreign weapon supplier during SCW. Btw, did French supply both sides?

Perhaps this has been already discussed?...

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Re: French arms deliveries to SCW?

Post by rewdco » 26 Feb 2016 20:58

I am doing some research on the motorcycles that have been delivered to the Republican Army during the SCW.

- I have reason to believe that the Republicans ordered two small Royal Enfield contracts from Birmingham dealer "Baker, Fay & Baker" (25 model J2’s plus 25 model G2 motorcycles). The 25 model J2’s were despatched from the factory on September 5th 1936, and the 25 G2’s were despatched on September 9th 1936. (At least one of these motorcycles survived, in Spain.)
- Further research has revealed that Velocette also delivered similar contracts around that period: In September 1936 there are two orders for 'Goss, London' - who bought 124 MSS, 25 KSS and 50 KTS models - and for 'Bassovitch, London' who bought 25 MSS and 21 KSS models. All Goss's bikes were despatched in a week between 3 & 10 September (probably about a week's production) and Bassovitch's 46 bikes were all despatched in two days.

- But this was only the start... Hundreds of motorcycles were ordered from Sarolea (not confirmed yet), Harley Davidson (not confirmed yet), BSA, Norton and Royal Enfield (again). This time the 750 BSAs (the 500cc OHV M22 model) were ordered through a mysterious “Captain Ball”. The BSA factory ledgers don't give a destination address in most cases (which is very unusual), but in a few exceptions the destination is “Paris” or sometimes “London”.

- The 500 Nortons (which were 500cc OHV model 18’s) were bought from the French Norton importer Lucien Psalty (based in Paris).

- The 1.000 Royal Enfields (500cc OHV model Js) were bought from the French Royal Enfield importer Pierre Psalty (also from Paris, this may have been Lucien Psalty’s brother). The BSA, Norton and Enfield contracts were all delivered around the same period in 1937 (May 15th until September 29th for the Enfields), and all the Spanish “Republican Army” motorcycles were made to a more or less standard civilian specification (“with electric horn”). There was also a batch of 80 identical model H machines (to the same standard civilian specification “with electric horn”) sent to "Depot / London" on the 23rd July 1937. One of these motorcycles was recently discovered in Spain, so it is reasonable to assume that this batch was also destined for the Republican Army.

Spanish forums and websites with information on the Civilian War motorcycles all copy each other, and nobody in Spain seems to have done any research. The result is that most of the information that can be found on the Spanish internet is "not completely correct"...

Any further information on deliveries of (British) motorcycles to the Republican Army would be most welcome!

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