Legion Condor

Discussions on all aspects of the Spanish Civil War including the Condor Legion, the Germans fighting for Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
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Thomhasj
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Legion Condor

Post by Thomhasj » 13 Oct 2002 17:25

Where did the Legion Condor exist from? Which units made up the Legion Condor? Where they only Luftwaffe units, but also Heer or Kriegsmarine units?

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USAF1986
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Post by USAF1986 » 13 Oct 2002 19:38

While the emphasis of the German Condor Legion was generally on the Luftwaffe contigent (all three of the Condor Legion commanders were Luftwaffe generals*), the Legion also had Army and Navy components. Group “Imker” [Beekeeper] was the ground contingent of the German Condor Legion in Spain and was commanded virtually throughout the conflict by Oberst Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma. Arriving in Spain in early October 1936, the personnel of Group “Imker” were originally volunteers from Panzer Regiment 6 “Neuruppin” of the 3rd Panzer Division. Tasked with training General Francisco Franco’s Spanish Nationalist officers and men in tanks, infantry tactics, and artillery and signals employment, Group “Imker” maintained two, then three panzer training companies equipped with PzKpfw I light tanks (panzer units were codenamed Group “Drohne” or Drone). After completion of their training, the Spanish troops took custody of the tanks at which time a new shipment of PzKpfw I tanks arrived from Germany. Additionally, Group “Drohne” made use of a large number of Russian-built tanks captured from Republican forces. While ostensibly in Spain in a training capacity, the German Army instructors rotated to the front to provide further technical advice to the Spanish and to engage in direct combat operations. After the war, Ritter von Thoma claimed to have personally taken part in 192 tank actions in Spain.

The main German Navy contingent of instructors arrived in Spain in November 1936 and was codenamed Group “Nordsee” (North Sea). Per Bender (see source), the mission of this group was to: “…train the Spaniards in ship and coastal gunnery; mine warfare; in communications; and in torpedo boat warfare. There was also in Vigo a Sea Transport Group of the Navy assigned to the delivery and portioning out of supplies to the [Condor] Legion. Besides training Spanish naval personnel throughout the war, the Kriegsmarine also established and operated a naval officers’ training school at San Fernando. There, twelve naval NCOs with Kapitänleutnant Rolf Rüggeberg arrived and joined, as instructors, the 'Imker' organization.”

* Generals Hugo Sperrle, Hellmuth Volkmann, and Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen.

Regards,
Shawn

SOURCE: Bender, Roger James. “Uniforms, Organization and History [of the] Legion Condor.” R. James Publishing, San Jose, California, 1992.

Cantankerous
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Re: Legion Condor

Post by Cantankerous » 24 May 2020 15:57

How did the Condor Legion get its name?

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von thoma
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Re: Legion Condor

Post by von thoma » 24 May 2020 19:07

How did the Condor Legion get its name?
Hitler named the air Assistance the "Condor Legion"

“On 27th July, 1936, Adolf Hitler sent the Nationalists 26 German fighter aircraft. He also sent 30 Junkers 52s from Berlin
and Stuttgart to Morocco. Over the next couple of weeks the aircraft transported over 15,000 troops to Spain.
The fighter aircraft soon went into action and the Germans suffered their first losses when airmen Helmut Schulze and Herbert Zeck
were killed on 15th August.”

This Airlift was referred to as Operation Condor.

“In September 1936, Lieutenant Colonel Walther Warlimont of the German General Staff arrived as the German commander
and military adviser to General Francisco Franco. The following month Warlimont suggested that a German Condor Legion
should be formed to fight in the Spanish Civil War.”

Reference: https://spartacus-educational.com/SPcondor.htm
" The right to believe is the right of those who don't know "

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Ironmachine
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Re: Legion Condor

Post by Ironmachine » 24 May 2020 19:48

von thoma wrote:
Cantankerous wrote:How did the Condor Legion get its name?
Hitler named the air Assistance the "Condor Legion"

“On 27th July, 1936, Adolf Hitler sent the Nationalists 26 German fighter aircraft. He also sent 30 Junkers 52s from Berlin
and Stuttgart to Morocco. Over the next couple of weeks the aircraft transported over 15,000 troops to Spain.
The fighter aircraft soon went into action and the Germans suffered their first losses when airmen Helmut Schulze and Herbert Zeck
were killed on 15th August.”

This Airlift was referred to as Operation Condor.

“In September 1936, Lieutenant Colonel Walther Warlimont of the German General Staff arrived as the German commander
and military adviser to General Francisco Franco. The following month Warlimont suggested that a German Condor Legion
should be formed to fight in the Spanish Civil War.”

Reference: https://spartacus-educational.com/SPcondor.htm
Actually, it was a little more complicated than that and the reasons are far from clear. For example:
As the men and equipment began assembling at the port of Stettin, on the Baltic, Wilberg's team assigned the code name 'Eiserne Rationen' ('Iron Rations') to the air contingent bound for Spain, but his was later changed to Eiserne Legion (Iron Legion). Then Plocher was instructed by Göring to change this once more to Legion Condor, and to use the names of birds for all of its components. However, Plocher found that attempting to create a 'menagerie' of avian nomenclature was highly confusing and quickly decided upon a simple numbering system whereby each unit would carry the designation '88', but all operating under the 'umbrella' of the Legion Condor.
Source: Aces of the Legion Condor by Robert Forsyth.
Regarding the name by which the German volunteers were to become known, the sotry is rather more complex. [...] The German air contingent had unofficially adopted the name Legion Condor, following the Italian idea of ostensibly being part of the Spanish Foreign Legion, and adding the name of the majestic bird of the Andes mountains -unknown in Spain, but common in Spanish-speaking South America, where the local airline created by Lufthansa was called Sindicato Condor. It seems that the Germans always associated aviation in the Spanish-speaking world with the word 'condor'; coupled to 'Legion' this gave the German expeditionary force a short and sonorous name, which proved so popular that it ended up becoming definitive
Source: The Condor Legion: German Troops in the Spanish Civil War by Carlos Caballero Jurado.

And then you can find things like:
The name "Legion Condor" [sic] originated with the Spaniards ans is not, therefore, "Legion Kondor" or "Condor Legion". Milch used the term in his calendar diary on 7 Nov. 1936. Milch, "Merkbuch," MS in MFA
Source: Hitler and Spain: The Nazi Role in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 by Robert H. Whealey, footnote 42..
which really doesn't make much sense, but still...

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von thoma
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Re: Legion Condor

Post by von thoma » 24 May 2020 20:28

Anyway, the official name for 'The expeditionary German Legion' could only develop in high levels of command, and later be kept
Initially only an air support was considered as help, therefore the bird's name is logical.
" The right to believe is the right of those who don't know "

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Ironmachine
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Re: Legion Condor

Post by Ironmachine » 25 May 2020 07:28

von thoma wrote:the official name for 'The expeditionary German Legion' could only develop in high levels of command
Maybe, but still this left the unresolved question of which high level of command named it. You claimed that
von thoma wrote:Hitler named the air Assistance the "Condor Legion"
but you provided no proof of it, and I don't remember having ever seen any credible source claiming that. I have seen references (I actually posted one) to Göring naming it, but no actual document that support that idea. There are even some strange "theories" about the origin of the name, like that one that I posted that claims the name originated from the Spaniards, but personally I don't think it makes any sense.
So yes, probably the name came from high levels of command, but that's actually saying nothing. Which level, who and why, these questions are still unanswered.
von thoma wrote:Initially only an air support was considered as help, therefore the bird's name is logical.
A bird' name may be logical, actually using "condor" not so much. And logic was apparently ignored initially, with names like "Iron Rations" and "Iron Legion".

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