Early special operations in the civil war?

Discussions on all aspects of the Spanish Civil War including the Condor Legion, the Germans fighting for Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
Number24
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Early special operations in the civil war?

Post by Number24 » 05 Nov 2019 13:55

Many of us have read Ernst Hemningway's "For whom the bell tolls" about the American volunteer working as a saboteur on the Republican side. How much truth is it to having the main character in this role in the war? Jordan's commanding officer in the novel is called "Febing" is suposedly based on the NKVD rezident (station chief) in Spain, Alexander Orlov.
Wikipedia: "Orlov arrived in Madrid on 15 September 1936. He organized guerrilla warfare behind Nationalist lines, as he had done in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War, but after his defection to the West the work was later credited to his deputy, Grigory Syroezhkin, to avoid mention of the defected general."

The Norwegian communist Asbjørn Sunde was also working under Orlov as a saboteur. After the civil war he returnied to Norway where he became the leader of the Oslo branch of the Wollweber Group, a NKVD organisation that sabotaged ships from fascist countries that visited harbours in Northern Europe. When Germany invaded Norway in 1940 he became one of the most active organisers and trainers for saboteurs, an assassin and a saboteur himself. His codename was "Osvald", so the resitnce group was caled the Osvald Group. In 1949 he was convicted for espionage for the USSR.

From the little I know about the subject it seems like the special operations durning the Spanish civil war was on the Republican side and supported by the USSR. The begining of soviet special forces was in the 1930's. "The grandfather of Soviet Spetsnaz", Ilya Starinov, served in Spain during the civil war.

That's everything I know on the topic. Wht do you know?

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Ironmachine
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Re: Early special operations in the civil war?

Post by Ironmachine » 06 Nov 2019 08:11

There is not much information available, and mostly about the XIV Cuerpo de Ejército Guerrillero of the EPR, which was created near the end of 1937.
Here you have some data about the OOB and some operations of that unit, and references about other "special operations" units:
https://elgrancapitan.org/foro/viewtopi ... es#p377465

An article about Republican guerrilla units and foreign involvement: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q ... 6ki5oyRJwp

A very good source about the subject of special operations in the SCW is the book FUERZAS ESPECIALES EN LA GUERRA CIVIL ESPAÑOLA: DEL XIV CUERPO DE EJÉRCITO GUERRILLERO A LAS PARTIDAS REQUETÉS DEL ALTO TAJO by Raúl C. Cancio. It includes information about units from both sides.

Number24
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Re: Early special operations in the civil war?

Post by Number24 » 07 Nov 2019 01:11

Thank you. I'm dependent on Google Translate, but this is very informative.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Early special operations in the civil war?

Post by Ironmachine » 07 Nov 2019 07:52

If you have problems with the translation, I can help you with the relevant parts.

Edward L. Hsiao
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Re: Early special operations in the civil war?

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 12 Jan 2020 07:32

As I recall there were German sailors from a German warship had destroyed a Spanish Republican radio station on land by using high explosives. Were there any other special operations the were carried out by the Germans during the Spanish Civil War?

Edward L. Hsiao

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Ironmachine
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Re: Early special operations in the civil war?

Post by Ironmachine » 12 Jan 2020 13:09

Edward L. Hsiao wrote:As I recall there were German sailors from a German warship had destroyed a Spanish Republican radio station on land by using high explosives.
As I recall, there weren't. Do you have any further information about that action so that it may be confirmed (or not), or is that like so many other claims that you have made in the forum?

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Georg_S
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Re: Early special operations in the civil war?

Post by Georg_S » 19 Mar 2020 11:39

A post by Jeromewaf was deleted as it was out of topic. Please stick to the topic or don´t post

//Georg
Waffen-SS, SS-TV, KZ/KL SS-Pz.A.A.
- http://wennallebruderschweigen.blogspot.com/

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Early special operations in the civil war?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Mar 2020 13:09

I would question whether it was practicable to use foreigners on special operations behind enemy lines during the civil war, unless they spoke Spanish like a native and looked the part- and how many do? Skorzeny only found about eight completely fluent English speakers for the Ardennes Offensive.

Cheers,

Sid.

ROLAND1369
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Re: Early special operations in the civil war?

Post by ROLAND1369 » 24 Mar 2020 15:08

Sid For strike operations it is not uncommon to bring non Special Operations technical experts in with the operators. The British in the raid on the German radar station in France in 1942 brought in an RAF radar expert who had never jumped before and in Laos during the Viet Nam War the SOF team took another non SOF Air Force technical expert in to identify and remove the classified equipment from a crashed F 111. Language is desired but not always necessary if you have local Assets, ie the local Guerilla group, who do speak the Language. In the latest Afghan War the First A team was met by the local Afghan resistance who provided them shelter, transport(horses), and intel. The A team provided the resist ants with technical expertise in the form of resupply by air and more importantly the operation of Viper Anti tank missiles to decimate the Taliban armor. This is more of the way Special Forces usually operate. We were winning till the Regular Army Assholes came in. They were ,more worried about our beards than the Taliban.
As Chairman Mao said" Guerillas seldom win wars, but regular armies frequently loose them". Just the rantings of an old Special Forces soldier.

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