|AUTHOR||J Cerda, E Martinez,|
|NO OF PAGES||152|
|ILLUSTRATIONS||Photos & Illustrations|
The Spanish in the Luftwaffe, 1941-1944. When on 22 June 1941, the news reached Spain of the attack that the Third Reich had initiated against the Soviet Union, it was received with great satisfaction, since they had just come out of a civil war in which the Soviet Union’s ‘allies’ had been defeated, putting an end to plans to impose communism on Spain with the help of the USSR. General Francisco Franco, Head of the Spanish State, offered to send a volunteer unit to fight on the Eastern Front alongside the German army – an offer that was accepted by the German government two days later.
While the formation of the Blue Division was already under way, the Spanish Air Force also wanted to participate in the fight against the USSR and promptly began preparations to organise a series of several successive squadrons, each of which would fight at the front for six months. In this story of the fighting on the Eastern Front between the Spaniards and the Soviets, the various missions that the Spanish units were ordered on are covered, and the planes against in which the Spanish fought their war are covered as well.
This study recounts the experiences of the five squadrons sent to Russia between 1941 and 1944 to fight the Soviets. The courage and skill of the Spanish drivers and mechanics that helped the pilots achieve a high number of victories are also covered. The five Blue Squadrons that served between October 1941 and March 1944 remained in the combat front for almost 30 months. During these months they carried out 4,944 combat missions, with 611 engagements against the enemy and shot down 164 Soviet aircraft.
Among the Spanish pilots, there were 13 aces (when a pilot was verified as having shot down 5 enemy planes he was considered an ace), although the short period of time in which each of the five Blue Squadrons fought in Russia prevented the number of planes shot down by Spanish pilots being as high as that of their German comrades. The planes and emblems used by the five squadrons are also covered through a number of contemporary photographs, complemented by specially commissioned artwork.
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