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Old 25th December 2014, 22:50
GuerraCivil GuerraCivil is offline
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Re: True air combat records of Spanish Civil War?

I have been gathering some information about Northern Front 1936-1937. What is known for sure is that 1937 Republicans lost almost all their aircraft allocated in North. This meant 43 I-15 and sixteen I-16 and many other planes - only 2 Chatos and 1 Mosca managed to escape to France on 20.10.1937 before the fall of Gijón.

Republican losses were more than 59 (!) Polikarpov fighters - there was at Northern Front eight Letov 231s, probably nine Breguet XIX, four Koolhoven planes, one DC-2, couple of Ni-H. 52 and probably some 15 planes of different old French/British types. How many of these Republican planes were destroyed in air combat is a open question (although some Italian and German claims can be verified). For example of eight Letov 231´s only one was shot down in air combat. Many planes were destroyed on the ground by the enemy or set on fire by retreating Republicans. The AA resources to protect airfields were limited to few machineguns and thus Republican airfields were quite easy targets for Nationalist air attacks. Also many airfields were very primitive with difficult takeoff and landing conditions which caused crash-landings and damages.

Also Nationalists suffered some losses at the Northern Front, although I know only the German and Italian records. When it comes to Italians, Aviazione Legionaria lost to my knowledge 5 aircraft in combat during the Northern campaigns. This includes the shot down of Italian ace Guido Presel (Fiat CR 32) by Chato pilot Rafael Magriña on 5.6.1937 + four other losses occurred in August 1937. I do not know of more Italian combat losses at Northern front. Unfortunately the losses and claims of Spanish Nationalist air units are unknown to me.

Of the Legion Condor losses I have more info. To my knowlegde Republican fighter units and their flak destroyed as many as 18 Legion Condor planes at the Northern Front, of which probably 9 in air combat and 9 shot down by flak. More precisely these in chronological order:

8.12.1936 Northern Front: He 51 (J/88) shot down by I-15 (likely Soviet pilot)
4.1.1937 Torrijos: Ju 52 (K/88) shot down by I-15 (del Río)
1.4.1937 Vizcaya: He 51 (J/88) shot down by flak
18.4.1937 Bilbao: Do 17 (VB/88) shot down by I-15 (del Río)
13.5.1937 Vizcaya: 2 x He 51 (J/88) shot down by flak
15.6.1937 Miravalles: He 70 (A/88) shot down in air combat or by flak
14.8.1937 Santander: He 111 (K/88) shot down air combat or by flak
23.8.1937 Santander: He 70 (A/88) shot down in air combat or by flak
25.8.1937 Santander: 2 x He 111 (K/88) shot down by enemy I-16´s
2.9.1937: He 111 (K/88) over Gijón shot down by enemy fighter (I-15)
4.9.1937 Lanes: He 70 (A/88) and Do 17 (VB/88) shot down by flak
11.9.1937 North: He 45 (A/88) damaged badly by flak and written off
22.9.1937 Santander: He 45 (A/88) shot down by flak
24.9.1937 Gijón: Ju 52 (K/88) shot down by enemy fighters
7.10.1937 Gijón: Ju 52 (K/88) over Gijón shot down by flak

Of the loss of 11.9.1937 it is interesting to note that He 45 of A/88 was piloted by Gefreiter Stanislau Leske who died when crash-landing his badly damaged plane. Some sources refer Leske having being a pilot of J/88 and crash-landed a Heinkel 51 on that day!

Last edited by GuerraCivil; 26th December 2014 at 21:40.
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