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Old 22nd December 2014, 23:32
GuerraCivil GuerraCivil is offline
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Re: True air combat records of Spanish Civil War?

Apart from the Aviazione Legionaria´s about 75 - 80 losses chartered above, I have from the Franco´s side the following info I gathered of German and Spanish air contingents:

Legion Condor losses in air combat (the list does not include losses caused by flak or accidents during combat sorties!)

In total 42 air combat losses seems to be verified and can be credited to Republican air units

J/88 - at least 24 aircraft lost in air combat: 11 Bf 109 and 9 He 51 lost, but the figure migh be bigger but some cases are controversial (4 Bf 109) and on some He 51 losses there is no info is the loss was caused by air combat or by enemy flak
K/88 - at least 11 aircraft lost in air combat: 4 Ju 52 and 7 He 111, again the figure might be bigger because there is no always info if the combat loss caused by enemy was due to air combat or flak
VB/88 - at least 2 aircraft lost in air combat: 1 Ju 86 and 1 Do 17
A/88 - at least two aircraft lost in air combat: 2 He 70, but possibly more
AS/88 - the usual reference is that this unit lost in 5 or 6 aircraft due to enemy activity, at least 3 of them because of air combat.

Aviación Nacional / Brigada Hispana (Spanish Nationalist Air Force)

This is the least known of all air forces of Spanish Civil War (at least when it comes to references in English!). About 40-50 air combat losses seem possible, more than half of them Fiat CR 32 fighters. Possibly losses were higher.

Adding these losses to previously chartered Aviazione Legionaria loss score it looks that Franco´s side with all of its three air forces (Italian, German and Spanish) lost roughly estimated about 160 planes in air combats but this is a "at least" estimate, could be more (but less than 200 aircraft). I have not gone through all Republican claim records, but I guess that they claimed much more than 160!

For the Republican air combat losses it is for me difficult to make a similar evaluation because I do not have enough data (comprehensive loss records). The only thing that I know is that Polikarpov fighters were not shot down as many as the Legion Condor/Aviazione Legionaria/Aviación Nacional claimed.

According to Maslow the three Nationalist air forces claimed together some 500 I-15 Chatos which was more than were delivered by Soviets and manufactured in Spain. Also the claims of downed I-16´s seems to have been higher (about 400 - 500) than the total number of delivered Moscas to Spain (276). According to Maslov the air combat losses of Republican Polikarpov fighter units (including both I-15 and I-16) in Spanish Civil War could have been roughly 200 by the early 1939.

It seems that Republican air combat losses were considerably higher than those suffered by Nationalist air forces - total air combat losses of Republican Air Force were some 300 aircraft? However, Republican flak did cause considerably losses to all three Nationalist air forces.

The size of combat aircraft armadas of both sides seems also to have been exaggerated. To my knowledge there were not combat aircraft armadas of more than 1000 planes clashing against each others as claimed in some books.

More likely the combatant air forces at both sides were much smaller ones (according to A. Nassaes about 300 - 400 planes at same time in operational condition could have been the maximum combat strength at both sides). Probably the sizes of air armadas at enemy side were exaggerated by combat records and also to make it possible to match the own claims with enemy´s supposed combat strength.

If someone is more informed about the airwar of SCW - please share the info here!

Last edited by GuerraCivil; 23rd December 2014 at 15:42.
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