Robert A. Lynn
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
ACES OF THE LEGION CONDOR
OSPREY PUBLISHING, 2011
QUALITY SOFTCOVER, $22.95, 112 PAGES, PHOTOGRAPHS, BIBLIOGRAPHY,APPENDICES, INDEX
A notable feature of the Spanish Civil War was the participation of foreign troops on a scale unmatched by any previous internal conflict. Two ideologically-opposed groups were trying to seize power in Spain and htis must have caused far-seeing politicians in other nations of the same color to consider what implications a preponderance of the extreme left or right in any future Spanish government might have for their own nations and strategic objectives.
As matters stood, the new face of Spain after the civil war could only bear communist or purely fascist-nationalist features. Small wonder then, that such a problem provoked the classic, if still young states of the opposing ideologies to become actively involved. Requests for aid from the two sides in Spain were only too willingly acceded to, with Italy and Germany on the one hand and the USSR on the other promising aid in the form of personnel and material. Without the intervention of these two power blocks it is unlikely that the Spanish Civil War could have assumed the proportions that it did, characterized by the large-scale use of modern weaponry, such as aircraft and tanks. However, a smaller war lasting some years would probably have driven the nation to economic ruin without producing a clear political result.
However it wasn't just the previously mentioned states which contributed to the rise of tensions in Spain, taking into the bargain the risk o the conflict a widenng into a general European war. Despite their membership in the Non-Intervention Committee (NIC), France, Great Britain, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia continued to deliver arms to the Republican side. There could be no question of compliance with the agreed-upon arms embargo. The absolute secrecy of such activities on the part of sympathetic governments allowed very little of the scope and nature of these arms deliveries to filter through to the outside world.
ACES OF THE LEGION CONDOR is a detailed history of the German volunteer unit that fought with pro-Franco forces during the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1939. Many tactics and strategies of the later Luftwaffe were first formulated and used during operations in Spain. Also, various German aircraft were tested and used, such as the famous Ju-87, Do-17, He-111, and Bf-109-all stalwarts of the later Luftwaffe during World War II. Many Luftwaffe pilots received combat training in Spain: Werner Molders, Adolf Galland, Hannes Trautloft, and Gunther Lutzow (to name just a few) all earned their wings as members of the Condor Legion. This book includes the many personalities, thorough battle analysis, photographs, color illustrations of the aircraft they flew, and the technical aspects of the weaponry they used. The result is a superb historical study of the early Luftwaffe.
As a footnote, on Pages 58 and 59 the bombing of Guernica is mentioned. It has long been held among many individuals that it was the Condor Legion that had done it but new research and scholarship in recent years has come to light to challenge that long term historical viewpoint. Reporting on a visit to Guernica, The Times military correspondent wrote the following on 5 May 1937: "That Guernica after a week's bombardment by aircraft and artillery shouldn't have shown signs of fire supports the Nationalist contention that aircraft weren't responsible for the burning of this town, which was bombed intermittently for a period of two hours. In Guernica, few fragments of bombs have been recovered, the facades of buildings still standing are unmarked, and the few craters I inspected were larger than anything hitherto made by abomb in Spain. From their position, it is a fair inference that these craters were caused by exploding mines which were unscientifically laid to cut roads."
A further unidentified source echoed this: "What actually happened was that industrial Basques, miners from Asturias, experts in explosives, fired and dynamited the town according to a pre-arranged plan. Two French artillery officers, veterans of World War I, inspected the town when Franco's troops entered. What they saw was, they said, largely the result of arson and incendiarism. Petrol had been largely used, plus dynamite. Each alleged 'bomb' crater coincided with a sewer-manhole on the street, and where there had been no sewers, there had been no 'bombs.'
And Sir Arnold Wilson, Conservative member of Parliament for Hitchin, Hertfordshire, wrote to The Observer after a visit to Guernica, on 3 October 1937: There was no evidence of damage from aerial bombardment, he said, but "most if not all of the damage was caused by wilful (spelling) incendiarism and such is the verdict of the inhabitants." Sir Arnold was convinced that Guernica was a "put-up job," a Red atrocity-story calculated to recoil on Franco and the Germans.
Thousands were said to have been killed by the bombs. This version of history-no surprises here-has been uncritically adopted ever since by conformist historians who carried out no original research. The Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, a Communist multi-millionaire, commemorated the raid in a famous propaganda painting titled "Guernica". It is on display in the United Nations building and the original and sketches are displayed in a gallery in Madrid. Closer examination reveals the Picasso painting to be a surrealist depiction of a bullfight; his first skecthes for it are found in his notebooks dating back over one year before the raid.
Further evidence is provided in Luis Bolin's memoir of the Spanish Civil War, SPAIN: THE VITAL YEARS in which he discusses the Guernica controversy. He flew General Franco to Spain at the start of the war. Also, the local registry of births and deaths lists 98 deaths from the air raid (most of them killed in one incident on a shelter near the local asylum, the Hospital-Asilo Calzada) and the local Communist newspaper Euzkadi Roja, publishing a report on the raid on 28 April 1937, which included a list of names of those injured in the attack.
Lt. Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard