IN THE CLOUDLESS SKY OF SPAIN

IN THE CLOUDLESS SKY OF SPAINFights over Zaragoza and Wescoe. With the aim of weakening the Franco offensive on the Northern front, the Republican command has taken a series of diversionary strikes in the region of Zaragoza and Huesca.

2 Jun-16 fighters have carried out several sorties in the area of La Grange. Among the other pilots in missions participated two volunteers from the United States — Frank Tinker and albert Baumler Americans in that they managed to shoot down three fighter Franco and the nationalists — a-16.
 
3 Jun-16 fighters spent a few dogfights with the fighters FIAT CR-32, destroying two CR-32 and after losing one I-16.
 
June 10 was a bad day for Republicans. I-16 was escorting bombers in the RAID on Zaragoza after losing in a fierce battle with the CR-32 five aircraft: one Potez-540, two P-Z and a-two and-16.
 
The next day the pilots of I-16 was carried out five sorties in support of bombers SB-2, and in each they had to fight with Franco’s CR-32. Its task-16 performed, while losing three aircraft.
 
June 15 fighter jets from the squadron covered Minaeva-15 Aircraft of the Republicans was attacked by Franco’s fighters. In the ensuing battle the Republicans shot down six CR-32, losing one I-15 and three I-16.
 
16 Jun bombers SB-2 under cover group-16 struck Huesca. I-16 had to fight with the Italian fighters who tried to disrupt the bombing. During the battle the Republicans lost one fighter
 
Two days later the I-16 again fought with the CR-32 attacked a group of SB-2 and P-Z. this time the Republicans were able to destroy five francoist fighters.
 
Over Brunete and Belchite
 
22 Aug 1937, Republican forces launched a new offensive South-West of Zaragoza. Republicans involved in the fighting all six squadrons of I-16, three I-15 and the three aircraft P-5 and P-Z.
 
Franco was transferred to the front of the Italian fighter groups Asso de Baston La Cucaracha, as well as the Spanish arm of the Garcia Morato-Patrulla Azuf.
 
The first day of air combat were unsuccessful — the parties had no losses.
 
Next day air activity intensified. The main task of the squadrons of I-16 was escorting bombers.
 
2 Sep pilots of I-16 was shot down Not-51. 6 Sep Republican part in Belchite.
 
Two fierce air combat took place on 12 October 1937 over Zaragoza, the Republicans lost four I-16: two were shot down, but two broken in case of a forced landing. At the same time, Franco’s group La Cucaracha lost five FIAT CR-32.
 
One of the most successful operations of the Republican aviation was the RAID on the airfield Carpinello held on 15 October 1937.
 
Intelligence Republicans received 30 September, when the squadron Gusev knocked from his airport link stray CR-32. One of Franco’s pilots managed to land the stricken fighter and was captured. He said that all the downed aircraft belonged to fighter new Italian connection.
 
The next day the squadron pilots Serov was able to land on your airfield Bajarlos Franco’s FIAT CR-32. Captured pilot revealed the secret of concentrations of aviation — October 15 it was planned to hold massive strikes against Republican airfields, it Was decided to pre-empt the Nazis with the Development of the operation, code-named “knight’s Move”, was supervised by Soviet military adviser Eugene Plugin. The RAID took place early morning Planes were at extremely low altitude. The blow fell at the time of the preflight preparation, when the bombers hung bombs, planes refueled fuel, and the crews were in the Parking lot in their cars. The sudden impact was achieved.
 
And-16 air force of Republican Spain
And-16 air force of Republican Spain.
 
The results of the RAID became known, when a captured German pilot who jumped from the burning Bf 109B. At the airport were destroyed or damaged approximately 70 aircraft, fuel depots and ammunition. Heavy losses the enemy suffered in the flight and technical personnel 4 December 1937 in the hands of the Republicans got almost serviceable Bf 109B. Tests of captured vehicles were originally carried out in Spain, and in the spring of 1938, the Bf 109B, together with other trophies (Not-111, Ne-51 and CR-32) was sent to the Soviet Union.
 
The battle for Teruel
 
1937, the year ended with heavy fighting in Teruel. The offensive of the Republican army, which began December 15, was a complete surprise for Franco Before the attack aviation of the Republicans were concentrated on the airfields in the province of Castellon and Valencia. Participated in the battles of five squadrons of I-16 Standing in the first few days of the onset of bad weather prevented air operations on both sides, but on December 21 the Republican troops came in Teruel This forced Franco to abandon the offensive on Madrid, and to throw all forces on Teruel front
 
At this time, given the success at Teruel, the Republican command decided to carry out the change of composition in fighter squadrons. January 3, most of the Soviet pilots departed through France to the USSR. They sent a new group on a full-Time training of new members of the squadrons, the enemy is not given.
 
I-16 type 10 — the trophy of Franco
I-16 type 10 — the trophy son.
 
29 Dec began the offensive of Franco in Teruel Somewhat improved weather conditions allowed the aircraft of the opposing sides to rise in the sky In the day light bombers of Franco Not-45 or-46 under cover of fighter CR-32 from group 2-C-3 tried to attack the Republican parts. However, the fighters I-15 and I-16 were able to intercept the enemy aircraft on the way to the goal. The battle ended with the loss of the Franco CR-32 with tail number 3-87, and the Republicans shot down one I-16.
 
The next day-16 again met in combat with CR-32 from group 2–3, accompanied Ro-37bis, Non-45 and non-46 While Franco managed to shoot down two of the Republican fighter.
 
17 Jan fire from the ground was shot down one I-16, Soviet pilot managed to jump with a parachute from lost control of the fighter, but was captured.
 
On January 18 held a dogfight fighters-16 Franco’s Bf 109B 2.J/88 under the command of Wolfgang Selman Opponents managed to shoot down one aircraft.
 
On 20 January there were two major air battle, in which each of the parties involved up to 50 aircraft. The Republicans managed to shoot down seven enemy fighters, losing two-And-16.
 
February 7 group SB-2, flying under the cover of I-16 squadron, diatchenko, was suddenly attacked by a BF 109B fighters of 1.J/88 and 2.J/88. In the ensuing air battle was lost four bombers, several aircraft received substantial damage and landed outside of their airfields, Two Bf 109B of Franco’s squadrons were shot down by I-16 fighters and one gunner-radio operator from the crew of the SB-2 Nikiforova Such losses to bombers forced the Republican command on the month to withdraw the squadron of SB-2 from the front.
 
February 7 was the debut day for the German dive bomber Ju-87A this is how this event Eugene Stepanov “From the closing group of bombers separated the top three single-engine machines of some unknown design Entering at the peak, they rushed to the earth Coming out of the peak, the fascists again rushed down To the ground reached their machine-gun route. What kind of plane? Fighter? Bomber? In the sight blended with the hunchback cockpit, I opened fire, and jerked the stick slipped over the fascist. At the same time put the German turn, I put on my fighter dashboard. One of the bullets ripped the sleeve of a flight jacket. “Miraculously remained alive, flashed in his head. So there, except for the pilot and another shooter ..”. The next day we were told that the Nazis applied a new dive bomber “Ju-87”.
 
A characteristic feature of the Teruel operation was successful Republicans about airfields. As recalled Alexander Gusev, for the period from 15 December to 25 January 1938, not one bomb fell on the existing aerodrome of his squadron. But the I-16 fighters shot down three enemy bombers during raids on the wrong airfields.
 
Throughout February, despite bad weather conditions in the area of Teruel unfolded brutal air battles. On 22 February, the nationalists captured Teruel, and the intensity of the fighting began to subside.
 
The Aragonese front
 
On the morning of March 9, 1938, Franco launched an offensive on the Aragon front with the purpose of access to the Mediterranean sea and the dismemberment of the Republican territory. The air battle broke out with its former power and ferocity.
 
March 9-all-And-16 were raised to reflect the massive RAID by Franco’s bombers. During several of the air battles were shot down two Italian bombers SM. 81 and three fighters CR-32 Republicans to their airfields had not returned two I-16
 
On the first day of nationalists seized Fuendetodos and a number of nodes and reference points on 11 Mar Republicans left Belchite, Codo, Moisala.
 
On 12 March, the nationalists subjected to fierce bombardment of the city of Sagunto Killed many civilians March 12, Franco entered Escatron and Ihar.
 
13 March in a battle over Alkanes Republicans lost-16, tail code SM-121.
 
The next day, Republican fighters several times flew to repel the raids of Franco’s bombers. On the Republican data, the enemy lost two Ro-37bis and one CR-32. Damaged I-16, Francisco Tarazona.
 
March 18 was left the town of Caspe.
 
3 APR-16 held a regular dogfight with a group of Bf 109B, in which one of Franco’s aircraft with tail number 6-20 was hit.
 
On 8 April, the squadron of I-16 covered group I-15 EN route to attack the enemy troops Over the target the aircraft was attacked by Italian fighter planes In the ensuing air combat fighter I-16 was shot down CR-32
 
12 APR sudden RAID bombers SM.79 was subjected to an airfield-based 3rd squadron-16 Nationalists succeeded in destroying two fighters and three damage On the following day the link-16 in the part of the commander Jose Maria Bravo and slave Antonio Morillo and Antonio Cano suddenly attacked a group of CR-32. One of Franco’s fighter was damaged and gone towards the front line.
 
April 14th, covering group SB-2-16 fighters carried out air combat with attacking their CR-32. The price of the two fighters was accomplished.
 
On 15 April, taking Benares and Benicarlo, the troops of Franco came to the coast of the Mediterranean sea. The territory controlled by Republicans, was split into two parts.
 
In the midst of the fighting, there was another change of Soviet volunteer pilots. Fought in Spain from July to September 1937 was sent to the Soviet Union.
 
Together with a new group of Soviet pilots in Spain brought 31 fighter I-16 type 10. The aircraft was assigned hull numbers starting with CM-158. The first units that received the new aircraft, became the second and fifth squadrons, manned by Soviet pilots One of the squadrons was led by N. Glushenkov, the second — F. Rodin. A little later the new fighter received the Spanish third and fourth squadrons.
 
On 20 April the third squadron tossed in Sagunto. With the new airport, the Spanish pilots spent a few dogfights with the Bf 109B, which lost one I-16.
 
April 23 squadron pilots covered the planes of valti V-1 of the first squadron of the 72nd groups in the RAID on the court of Franco in the port Vinaros From fire from the ground was damaged two I-16 with the numbers of the CM-140 and CM-141.
 
Two days later, link-16, which was piloted by Tarazona, Fierro and Vicente Yuste, intercepted a group of bombers Not-111 returning to base after a RAID on the port of Greo de Valencia. Tarazona was hit by a bomber, Fierro and Yuste together burned another one.
 
For a more rapid commissioning of damaged aircraft in the national aviation began to use mobile aircraft repair workshops — Parma complete with a set of different tools avtogarazhnij generators, lathes, Parma with attached them to the regular repairmen were very efficient and mobile on their own, they relocated from one airport to the other, which was immediately undertaken the repair.
 
Battles in the air were resumed on 7 may 1938 In this day the aircraft of the first squadron covered the group of I-15. At the approach to the front line pilots And-16 when the air-51, took advantage and attacked the enemy as a result of transient fight one fighter of Franco was shot down.
 
On the morning of 11 may, the pilots of the first and third squadrons were again accompanied by I-15, stormed columns of Franco on the highway Ended On the Nalis Republicans met a group of bombers Not-111 accompanied by a Bf 109B and attacked the enemy, having broken thereby the bombing of the Republican troops. While Tarazona was hit by a German fighter. His wingman Yuste had to leave the battlefield — the engine began to run rough. After landing on the fighter counted more than forty holes.
 
Two days later, in the battle-16 CR-32 wound in the leg received as Franco Garcia Morato — because of injuries he had to stay on the ground until may 22.
 
May 18, 1938, according to Republicans, was shot down 17 fighters FIAT CR-32 and the five bombers SM.79. Franco admitted the loss of only three CR-32 To turn the second squadron lost two I-16, killing Nikita Martynenko Ivan Turchin. A severe wound received pilot Vasily Andreev in the fifth squadron.
 
June 10 in the battle over Janetos agreed Bf 109B and I-16 from the third squadron. During the battle, was shot down two I-16, pilots Utrilla Hernandez and Antonio Diaz Pepper died.
 
June 13-16 conducted several air battles. The result of the day — eight of destroyed Italian FIAT CR-32. The Republicans lost one I-16. The next day an emergency landing on the beach at the mouth of the river Mears made Bf 109B, Lieutenant Helmut Hansa. The participant in this fight Tarazona recalled: “My attention was attracted by a plane flying North. Behind him stretched a white plume. We went down below and identified him as the Bf 109B. Making one attack and not opening fire, we forced the pilot to land on the banks of the river Mers…”. To see the plane, the Republicans did not. Six Bf 109B, going at low altitude from the sea, burned the stranded plane.
 
Units of the Bf 109 generally at this time suffered serious losses the Situation in the unit 1/88, could be called catastrophic. 1.J/88 has four serviceable Bf 109B and 2.J/88 — seven. In replenishing the losses of Germany began to receive new modification of the Bf 109 with the indices C and D.
 
July 15, scored his first victory of the famous German pilot Werner Mölders on your Bf 109D No. 6-79 he hit I-15.
 
19 Jul group And-16 bombers attacked the Ju-52 from K/88, escorted CR-32 and Bf 109B. The Republicans lost two aircraft, two more suffered serious damage. The second victory was scored Werner Mölders.
 
July 17, 1938 to Spain on the ship “Andrey Zhdanov” arrived next and last group of the Soviet fighter pilots, which included instructors from the Odessa school of air combat, 28 pilots to travel to Spain he served in the 56th fighter team of the Kiev military district. Of the newcomers were thought to form two squadrons. After several days of training flights and air combat, the group flew to the front.
 
July 20, 1938, the German pilots shot down four I-16, killing Ilya Shugurov, and V. Yakushin, who was going to appoint the commanders of squadrons. The command of the Republican aviation had to find the victims an adequate substitute.
 
Such pilots become S. Gritsevets, who led the fifth squadron, and P. Nedelin, who became commander of the second. A. arias later recalled, “Nobody could be compared to Gritsevtsa in piloting and accuracy of fire. Gritsevets was a true leader and innovator of air combat. Already in his first fight Gritsevets was hit by enemy fighter. The expense of the downed aircraft increased rapidly…”.
 
By this time the first squadron was commanded by josé Redondo martín, third Francisco Tarazona Toran, fourth — Antonio arias, sixth Francisco, Merano and seventh — josé Puig Torres.
 
In mid-July, the Republicans managed to get through France another 93 aircraft I-16 type 10, which went to replenish the increased losses. With this party was supposed to go and gun options of the fighters And-16, type 12, but at the last moment, given the deteriorating situation in Spain, and sending was canceled.
 
July 23 was shot down I-16 Sergeant Jose Ruiz Gomez, the pilot bailed out, but his shot from the ground with machine gun fire. On the same day in a plane crash over the airfield Casinos killed Soviet pilot Novels.
 
25 July 1938 a group of I-16 attacked the bombers SM.79 of 285 squadron III group Two SM 79 was shot down. On the same day, Sergeant of the Arrest, Aguirre stole the fighter I-16 to the Franco, which acquired not only a good fighter, but the pilot, well familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of this aircraft.
 
28 July 16 a-16 fighters spent over Surinam fierce dogfight with a FIAT CR-32 from 18 squadron of the Italian group Asso di Bastoni Republicans shot down the plane of the commander of the Italian group captain Antonio Fierro, who was able to leave the CR-32 with a parachute And on the same day when planting is damaged in battle And-16 at the airfield Comparables killed angel Belmonte Regulon.
 
The battle of the Ebro
 
25 July 1938, four Republican divisions, crossed the river Ebro, moved in a decisive attack In the battle the Republicans fielded the strongest 11 aviation squadron, including 21, 26, 24, 12 and 28-th group (Gruppo) With around 80-16 (seven squadrons) was part of the 21 group, the General command of which was provided by M. Zarautz.
 
The first squadron of I-16, commanded And Kano, the second — P. Nedelin, the third — F. Tarazona, fourth A. arias, fifth — S. Gritsevets, sixth F. Marano and seventh — X. Puig a Place-based squadrons served airports in Reus, Valls and PLA de Cabra
 
By early August, in the area of fighting has also intensified and fighter aircraft of Franco In the fighting at the Ebro was attended by all the squadron Bf 109.
 
August 1, in a dogfight I-16 shot down a FIAT R-32 with tail number 3-100 of the group 3-C-3, the fighter pilot Franco E. Muniz de Brea was killed, the Republicans also lost one fighter — V. Beltran from 3 squadron fell in a flat spin, ablative And-16 after the repair. Beltran successfully used a parachute. During the whole of the next day in the air flashed a stubborn air battles, one of which is link-16 had a fight with Bf 109B, losing one car.
 
On 13 August the group I-16 attacked the Bf-109D of the Legion Kondor. German pilots claimed seven shot down I-16, however, the Republicans admitted the loss of only one fighter, whose pilot L. Rodriguez bailed out the next day, a fierce air battle took place over Gandesa. -16 of the first, second, third and fourth squadrons attacked the fighter CR-32 from the group 3-0-3 escorting a squadron of bombers Not-111 In the ensuing battle had been lost two I-16. Pilots M. Fernandez and uh Prado died Republicans, in turn, shot down two CR-32 Third CR-32 were seriously damaged and barely made it to the airport.
 
14 Aug 1938 Republican fighters for the first time used a new tactic — attack large groups of bombers and enemy fighters from above, high angle dive Reception was fully justified and in the first battle, the Republicans shot down four bombers and three fighters. A major role in the development of this tactic played a Sergei Gritsevets. August 21 Sergei Gritsevets spent an amazing fight. A pair of I-16 was supposed to escort a squadron of SB-2 Slave gritsevtsa could not take off due to technical reasons and the squadron commander went on a mission In the course of departure Gritsevets protected the crews SB-2, being able to hit and severely damage 7 Italian fighters FIAT CR-32 After landing shocked the Spaniards of the crew of the SB-2 pulled the Gritsevets of the cab and hand carried to the dining room, where threw a gala dinner. During this battle the S. Gritsevets received a gift from a grateful Spanish pilots with the gun attached to his arm Nickel-plated plaque with the inscription “For bravery in battle.”
On the same day from a direct hit exploded in the air fighter V. Vorobyeva that’s never happened before. A few days later-16 Korobkova has been damaged, which could cause only the shells from the gun. It became clear that the new Bf 109 appeared cannons.
 
22 August, the Republicans lost two And-16 from the seventh squadron In turn, I-16 destroyed four CR-32.
 
4 Sep-16 fighters from the fifth squadron damaged one CR-32 from XXIII of the group Asso de Bostoni, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing in Republican territory of the Italian pilot Francesco Panichi, in particular, said that they learned how to identify the planes from the squadron gritsevtsa and try not to engage them in battle Franco began to hunt for the plane gritsevtsa With this purpose, formed a part of the most experienced pilots.
 
The next day, had to write off the broken at planting And two-third of 16 squadron.
 
On 6 September, the pilots of Gritsevets attacked the link-111, shooting down one bomber and two CR-32 from the support group in two days Gritsevets knocked latest Bf 109D.
 
On September 7, the Germans declared the destruction of two I-16, but the national data do not support the loss of these aircraft.
 
On 9 September the group of I-16 that accompanied the I-15 and SB, on a collision course faced with a squadron of Bf 109D In this case, the Republicans managed to shoot down a Bf 109D Lieutenant Luca, who made the 25th sortie Suffered losses and the Republicans who lost in this battle And 16. Pilot Jose Garcia Saez was killed In the same day, a squadron of Gritsevets was covered from the air the Republican forces Noticed a group CR-32, I-16 went on the attack, but they have taken the fight and returned to their territory.
 
On 11 September the Italians managed to catch the Gritsevets, when he was alone after the battle, returned to their base the Pilot had to fight against six CR-32 And this time the flying skills helped get ASU on top of the situation, and he managed to shoot down one fighter, the pilot of the other, fascinated by the attack, crashed into the ground, and the others hurried to get out of combat.
 
Unfortunately, tanks of the aircraft of Gritsevets was almost empty and the ground the motor stopped suddenly landed in a mountainous area, the pilot broke the fighter, by miracle having survived To the airfield Gritsevets was returning on foot with a parachute on his shoulders.
 
September 13 was lost And 16 of the first squadron, This victory was the seventh German ACE Werner Molders 21 Sep 1938-16 fighters from the second and third squadrons on Gandesa-Corbera attacked the bombers Not-111, marching, accompanied by the fighter CR-32. During the battle, the Republicans have shot down two fighters In the same day the fighters of the third, fourth, sixth and seventh squadrons escorted bombers SB-2 On Venta de Camposinos-16 joined in battle with the CR-32 and Bf 109, in which the I-16 Luis Margalef, of the third squadron crashed into a mountain, and Franco lost CR-32 from the group 5-E-3.
 
September 28, in the air encountered two I-16, killing the pilot V. Starkov, on 2 October the third and fourth squadron moved to a new home, having flown to the airfield Waltz on the same day, with the Waltz-16 flying in support of I-15 In the air they had to fight with the SK-32 Republican fighters shot down three fighters, losing one I-16 the next day, was destroyed And 16 of the seventh squadron, however, the pilot josé gutiérrez Cyclen was able to jump with a parachute and survived.
 
Fierce air battles broke out the next day, when Francisco Merono from the sixth squadron brought down Franco’s plane Julio Salvador — he bailed out, but landed right into the hands of Republicans In the same battle jammed due to a direct hit by the engine of a fighter plane famous Italian Garcia Morato, however, the pilot skillfully planned to the location of Franco.
 
Suffered losses and squadron Gritsevets In the battles over the Ebro killed In the sparrows, And Pavlov, And Saulo and Zyuzin Severe injuries And Konovalov and Tours 4 October 1938 Lieutenant Sabu Corte knocked the Bf 109D with pilot Otto Bertram For compatriot avenged Werner Mölders shot down over ASKO-16 Sergeant Jose Tebar of Villars.
 
13 October, the pilots of the fourth squadron flew in support of bomber SB-2 On the route the planes of Republicans attacked a Bf 109, shot down one I-16 In the next few days, the pilot of the fourth squadron had scored four killed CR-32.
 
At this time, the Republican government took the decision to withdraw from the front of brigades In the USSR had to leave and our pilots on 15 October 1938 they participated in the battles for the last time in Spain remained only a small group of military advisers.
 
30 Oct-16 from the third, fourth and sixth squadrons took off to intercept a group of bombers, marching in support for the fighters FIAT CR-32 According to the Republicans, in the air battle shot down three CR-32. On the same day damaged I-16 Tarazona However, the pilot was able to skillfully land the plane with a stopped engine to the airfield so that the fighter at landing has not suffered.
 
31 Oct rose in the air And-16 from all squadrons. The aircraft was accompanied by drums And-15, took off to attack enemy troops in the area of Sierra de Caballs On the front line-16 distracted from your task and attacked a group of bombers Not-111E and SM 79. Pilots of I-16 managed to destroy one non-111Е. Arrows bombers shot down I-16 Lieutenant Francisco Paredes Martinez. Martinez was injured suffered burns, but nevertheless managed to leave the burning fighter during the subsequent intensity of air combat is not abating.
 
November 8-16 of the third and fourth squadrons were accompanied by I-15. Reflecting the attack of CR-32 and the Bf-109, I-16 shot down one CR-32.
 
On November 12, the Republicans began withdrawing its troops from the right Bank of the Ebro river Raids of the bombers of Franco at the crossing of the Ebro reflect the third and fourth fighter squadrons, the pilots of the fourth managed to shoot down one CR-32.
 
Fighter I-16:
 
Fighter I-16:
Fighter I-16:
1 — osteklenie; 2—cover of the visor, 3 — gun wing, 4—seat headrest of the instructor; 5—canopy instructor 6—canopy UCITA; 7—tail wheel; 8—headrest; 9 — the harness system of the pilot; 10 — fairing-stabilizer, 11 — pedal foot control rudder, 12—brake pedal; 13—motor, 14—fuselage synchronized machine gun, 15 — cartridge box 16 — exhaust pipes, 17 — niche landing gear wheels in the retracted position, 18—cable harvesting of the main stand; 19 — wing machine gun, 20 — rocking brake control panel; 21 — ribs of the brake flap, a 22 — fairing machine gun; 23 — the cockpit canopy and pilot; 24 — crematory sight; 25 — the door of the cockpit in the open position, 26 — hatch filling neck of the oil tank 27 of the harness belt system 28 — hinge Aileron, 29—landing brake pads; 30 — synchronised fuselage guns.
 
The Catalan campaign
 
17 Dec Franco resumed his assault, striking in the direction of Barcelona.
 
21 December from the airfield Waltz to intercept a group of bombers do Not.111Е of K/88 took off two links I-16 fighters. As it turned out, Not 111 was under a lot of fighter escort, the Preponderance of force was considerable, so that to disrupt the bombing of the Republicans failed In the battle the Republicans lost one I-16 And two more were severely damaged
 
The next day in a short battle the I-16 was shot down CR-32 with tail number 3-103, the pilot died.
 
24 Dec pilots of I-16 shot down another CR-32, piloted by Sergeant Giuseppe Marin from 25 squadron group La Cucaracha.
 
26 Dec 1938-16 shot down the aircraft of group commander Lieutenant Colonel La Cucaracha, Duccio Tessar.
 
December 28, link And-16 from the third squadron, composed of Francisco Tarazona, Hoca Balsa and Manuel of Montilly attacked over Kastellanoi group of the SM 79 bombers and fighter CR-32. The Italians lost one CR-32. Pilot Aldo Gasperini has died.
 
Two days later, the third aircraft of the squadron that accompanied the I-15 shot down another CR-32.
 
January 4, 1939, the fourth squadron attacked a group of bombers is Not.111Е the Republicans shot down one bomber the next day-16 fourth squadron had a fight with Bf 109D, in which one of the I-16 was severely damaged in the Evening of the same day, link-16, patrolling the coast near Barcelona, was unexpected, from the sun, attacked by Bf 109. The Germans shot down one I-16 with the hull number CM-222 toward evening, a pair of lópez de Santa Maria and Luciano Tabernero Guerrero attacked the group.111Е, marching, accompanied by a Bf 109D, knocking during fast-moving combat one Bf 109D.
 
January 25 in the air from the airfield of La Garriga rose last airworthy I-16 Fighters had to accompany I-15. In the air the Republicans met with the CR-32 of “La Cucaracha”, knocking two of them — Sergeant Luigi Catena and corporal Marino Masi. Fighter Masi was the last CR 32 shot down by I-16 in aerial combat of the civil war in Spain.
 
At the final stage of the war the losses of the Republicans in the aerial battles were very large. So by December 31 in the sixth squadron “Moscas” only three serviceable aircraft, in the fourth — 8. The total number of serviceable I-16 did not exceed 20 cars.
 
I-16 type 5 in aircraft repair workshops.
I-16 type 5 in aircraft repair workshops.
 
26 Jan Franco entered Barcelona.
 
In the days following the Republican army broke up into small groups, working their way to the French border. Aerial combat is actually stopped.
 
The remaining airplanes of the Republicans concentrated on the airfields Figueras and Village. The aerodrome was under attack by Franco’s aviation. In the end, France managed to fly just two And-16, the rest were destroyed on the ground in raids or rendered defective as pilots and technicians. A number of serviceable I-16 fighters of Franco were able to capture at other airports. Only in the hands of the nationalists were 52-16 fighter, the last two of them have written off only in 1954.
 
Evaluation of aircraft
 
On returning Home, all the pilots had to report on the outcome of the battle. One of the sections of the report include characteristics of the aircraft, where you had to fight. In the estimates of fighter I-16 all pilots noted the same positive and negative sides of the machine.
 
In his book “Angry sky of Spain,” Gusev gives the plane such assessment: “Comparing the flight-technical data of our aircraft and the enemy aircraft, we carefully weighed all the pros and cons. When talking about the Polikarpov I-16, all who flew on it were unanimous in the opinion that this vehicle is subject only to the pilot who is fluent in the technique of piloting, especially at low speeds, low altitudes, at sharp evolutions.
 
And-16, in contrast to the I-15 and SB were strict in piloting — the loss of speed he instantly broke into a tailspin. Not only to me but to all my fellow air group-16 resembled a skittish horse that needs a constant, incessant attention.
 
-16 chassis was cleaned manually. This was done so: after takeoff at low speed and altitude 15 — 20 meters pilot removed hand from the Gaza strip and shifted it to the control stick, and the right was cleaned chassis. Had to do more than 40 turns of the knob. If the speed has increased, the chassis will not be removed without great physical effort. We came to the conclusion that we need to improve the car to achieve in order to facilitate cleaning of the chassis.
 
I-16 we also noted positive qualities. First, the I-16 And its size is smaller than the other fighters. Therefore, it is more difficult to detect in the air. As a rule, pilots And 16 has detected the enemy planes first. Secondly, air cooled motor, mounted on I-16, superior to the liquid motor on any enemy fighter in the air — cooled Engine a reliable shield for a pilot in frontal attacks. He is tenacious motor liquid cooling. Even a few hits didn’t bring him down. Loved One we wanted to see better. In formulating its proposals, the pilots expressed a variety of views. Each sought to draw useful lessons from the experience of air combat in Spain, to contribute to the common cause of further improvement of the fighter…
 
In the end, I came to this conclusion. On I-16 to replace the cable mechanism of the landing gear pneumatic or hydraulic drive. To strengthen the arms. To set the machine guns of 12.7 mm caliber or larger.
 
Indicated the pilots also need to install trim tabs on the control surfaces and improve oil cooler (on some modes the engine overheated) In the whole plane were evaluated positively. Before the advent of the Bf 109E — new modifications of the aircraft Willy Messerschmitt — And-16 was the best fighter of the civil war in Spain.
 
- 16
 
N. Food reserve was, A. CHECHIN

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