Experimental unit refocused on the Northern front, where the air battles were not as violent in nature. From your aerodrome in Tablada in the Bf 109, Not.112, Ju87 and Hs123 began to make raids into the area of Bilbao and Guyon.
The pilots of the Legion Kondor was looking forward to the arrival of the new Bf 109. 112 and Hs123, well-established in a difficult combat situation. Forced to fly obsolete planes, German pilots lost confidence fell their morale.
At the end of February in the port of Cadiz began to unload the court that delivered the new batch of 15 fighters. They were all sent to the second squadron 88 group (2.J/88). The first three Bf 109B-1 pilots Joystick, Schlaffer and Godek ferried to the squadron in Almorah. These cars had wooden screws and machine guns were supplied with a mechanical (cable) system recharge. Aircraft engines were not very reliable and quite often fail.
With the arrival of new equipment J/88 was reorganized in April disbanded 4 Staffel (Staffel, it. — squadron), 1 and 3 Staffel Staffel retained in service fighters do Not.51, Staffel 2, armed Bf 109B-1, was headed by Lieutenant Lutzow. From 4 Staffel disbanded the squadron moved the logo is an image of the cylinder, so almost all of the Bf 109B-1 was on the left side the same logo.
Beginners have mastered the Bf 109 was fast enough, as all the training had only consisted of three flights. The plane was so easy to learn that until 1942 the Germans quite successfully without training modification of the Bf 109.
Having failed to capture Madrid, Franco decided to focus its efforts on the capture of the Republican-controlled North of the country near Bilbao. In the same area were the main forces of the Legion “Condor”. The aircraft flew to airfields in the vicinity of Vitoria and Burgos. In the same area is located and the second squadron 88 group (2.J/88) with his seven Bf 109 prepared for aerial combat.
Aerial reconnaissance revealed a small number of government aircraft. At the Republican airfields counted to twenty fighters, most of which were outdated Bulldogs English production. Bomber command consisted of several bombers POTEZ 54 and adapted to these objectives an old “Farman” and DC-2.
The offensive of Franco began on 31 March 1937. The main task of the Bf 109 at the first stage of the operation was the escort of their bombers from the structure VB/88.6 APR Lieutenant Lutzow scored its first victory at the Bf 109. In the report he wrote: “the First victory. 17 h 15 min, altitude 2400 meters, North-West Ochandiano. The fighter biplane of the CURTISS. The pilot of the downed plane has landed in our territory, using a parachute.”
22 APR opened its fighting through Lieutenant are welcome, Sergeant Hallauer and captain Janson, shooting down one I-15. One of these I-15 was piloted by Republican ACE Felipe del río, the most successful pilot on the Northern front, who won by the time seven victories. A few days earlier, on 18 April, he destroyed a Do 17 from the Legion.
The first combat loss “Spanish” Bf 109 was the aircraft of Lieutenant Wendel, shot down may 13, the Republican pilot Leopold Mortelecom, flying on I-15.
Bronetskaya offensive launched by the Republicans on 6 July 1937, had as its objective to pull the troops nationalists from the Northern front. The first success of the Republicans has forced Franco to withdraw some troops from the Northern front to halt the offensive. July 7 airfields Escolano and Avila relocated squadrons and 1 Staffel 2 Staffel of J/88. In the first stage of the battle the German fighters had to fly with great intensity, carrying out up to five departures per day — is to some extent compensated for the advantage of the Republicans in the air. On 8 July Lieutenant Pinkel and non-commissioned officer Jonasson destroyed two Republican SAT.
July 11 in the course of one hour of air combat Sergeant Baddam hit-And-15 the American H. Dahle. On the same day, Sergeant-major, Braunshweiger was recorded at his own expense of the Republican I-16.
Fighter MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109E:
1 —three-blade metal variable-pitch propeller; 2—suction pipe; 3 — detachable hood; 4 — opening of the lantern; 5 — rail; 6 — flap compartment radio; 7 — lifting pipe; 8 — pin cable mount antenna; 9 — control rod rudder; 10— front tail wheel; 11 — footboard; 12 — a radiator; 13 — hood oil cooler; 14 — spinner; 15 — fuselage machine gun; 16—suction nozzle; 17 — the canopy pilot; 18 — antenna; 19 — the fuel filler flap the fuel tank; 20 — cable the radio antenna; 21 — brace stabilizer; 22 — exhaust pipes; 23 — motor; 24 — the ventilator; 25 — the tail wheel in the retracted position; 26— wheel main landing gear; 27— the main landing gear; 28 maintenance hatches; 29— wing machine gun; the 30— cover machine gun; 31 — slat; 32 — ANO; 33 — shirt release of the cooling air water cooler; 34 —shirt release of the cooling air oil cooler; 35— maintenance hatch-mounted machine gun; 36 — PVD; 37 — maintenance hatch; 38 — weight compensator Aileron; 39 — oil cooler
July 12 was a particular success for the German fighters. Pilots, Pinkel, Buhl, Boddam and Jonasson shot down a total of six aircraft of the Republicans.
13 Jul suffered losses 2.J/88 were killed a non — commissioned officer Joneson. His Bf 109 crashed into the ground, steeply falling from a height of 2500 m. Presumably, the plane was shot down by American volunteer F. Tinker. The victory also claimed the Republican and arrows SAT of the 24-th group.
July 17, six Bf 109s engaged in a “free hunt” to the North of Madrid. Suddenly, the aircraft was attacked by nine Republican I-16. The first shots of the damaged aircraft Hendrick that forced the Germans to withdraw from battle, and Hendrick — to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport. July 18 was lost another Bf 109. It pilot a non-commissioned officer Nerbac escaped by parachute and landed on its territory.
Once the front near Brunete stabilized, Franco’s command returned to the plans to eliminate the Northern front. 30 Jul fighter units of the Legion were flown to airfields Aler Affairs, Kalahari. The Republicans had on the Northern front, four squadrons. Those that consisted of And-15, commanded the Spaniards Jimenez and Riverola, and consisting of a I-16 — Soviet pilots Jumpers and Smirnov.
The largest air battles for all the fighting on the Northern front was held on 21 and 22 August. The Republican squadron in full up in the air. According to Franco, the enemy aircraft in these battles, lost thirty aircraft. However, this information was, to put it mildly, exaggerated, because the Republicans lacked in this area such large forces.
September 28, Oberleutnant harder won his ninth victory. Five Bf 109 was escorting Do17 to Guyon. At an altitude of 1500 meters above the Germans had four And-four and 15-16; the latter suddenly attacked the Bf 109. A-16 made a mistake, slipped in front of the plane Harder. Tom only had to aim and press the trigger. All during the fighting on the Northern front, on account of the pilots of the Bf 109 was 26 victories.
By October 1937 the Bf 109 fighters were equipped with two squadrons (1.J/88 and 2.J/88) instead.51 remained in service with only one 3.J/88 (the task of the latter was direct support of ground units).
The comparison of the francoist and Republican air forces shows that by the end of 1937 the first had thirteen squadrons of fighters FIAT C. R. 32 (for 9 cars) and two squadrons of Bf 109 (12 aircraft). And at the disposal of the Republicans, there were twelve squadrons with 12 aircraft each, and armed with six of them were I-16 fighters, four squadrons flew to I-15; the rest were equipped with French and American machines.
The first air battle in the area of Teruel pilots 2.J/88 held 29 November at 19.00 local time. During the transient air combat pilots Schlichting, Rokhel and Siler knocked three of the Republican I-16.
In the area of Teruel the Republicans were transferred derived from Soviet fighter I-15bis. The first new aircraft entered the fray on December 4th. Here’s how this fight was described by the commander of the 1.J/88 Oberleutnant harder: “Below us everywhere were red fighters, and among them several unfamiliar biplanes — slow, but extremely agile. Once I opened fire and, it seems, fell into the red, but the aircraft continued to fly as if nothing had happened — maybe he had a good booking”.
In this battle, the Germans lost one Bf 109 Sergeant Polenta (No. 6-15). The pilot was still alive — he landed his plane in enemy territory and was captured. His Bf 109 had minor damage, was in the hands of the Republicans. The aircraft was able to recover, he was sent to Barcelona for extensive testing. Interest in the aircraft was shown by the French, who flew Bf 109 on the spot. Next summer, the aircraft flown in the USSR.
On 30 November, the Republicans shot down and captured Sergeant Sigmund. Harder wrote: “We met about 25 — 30 new biplanes and I-16, marching from the East. Our group consisted of 15 Bf 109. Suddenly it turned out that Sigmund with us. Below me ascending spirals rose 15 biplanes. I attacked from the sun, perched right in the tail of one of them with the number “11”. Open fire. Biplane explodes and its fragments fall to the ground. The remaining aircraft turned in my direction, and I had to break away from his pursuers. Tough battles, and losses in men and materiel depressing effect on us. We often asked ourselves — why do we have to hurt your forehead in someone’s interests?” The future commander of the fighter aircraft of Germany, the German ACE Galland wrote in his book revelation: “We are not fighting on the side of justice”.
In the last weeks of 1937, the J/88 has repeatedly changed the airbases, until he found himself in the center of Zaragoza.
23 Dec Republicans shot down a plane non-commissioned officer Kurz, the pilot died. 6 Feb 1938 2 pilot.J/88 non-commissioned officer Stang was shot down I-16 Spanish ACE Luis Frutos.
7 Feb J/88 claimed his biggest victory during the war — the Germans spread information about the destruction of ten and two SB-16. Only Oberleutnant Balthasar had reported the destruction of four of SB.
In March 1938, to Spain arrive 14 Bf 109B-2 and Bf five 109С-1. After you build and fly the aircraft assigned to squadrons. At this time, the Bf 109 was flown mainly in support of their bombers and scouts. Although air battles were rare, the flights are not done without losses and wins. March 11, Republican fighter was shot down by a Bf 109 captain Schleching, making his second sortie. The plane crashed near Caspe. During the fighting on the Aragon front on the Bf 109 had won only three games.
From 24 March, when the established flight weather, increased air activity. On this day a few 109 of part 1.J/88 had a fight with a group of Republican I-15. About their victories, said Lieutenant hail, Lieutenant, Sellmann and Sergeant stark. During the fighting North of the Ebro Bf 109 scored only one victory — March 29, Lieutenant Mayer was shot down I-15.
23 April 1938, Franco launched an attack on Valencia. In the first days of the offensive developed without much success, the cause of which was bad weather and the inability to actively use the aircraft.
June 2 Republican aviation attempted bombing of the airfield of La Senia. Nine SAT with a height of 1,500 meters dropped bombs, but little damage to the airfield caused. When you waste nine SB caught up with the fighters 2.J/88, destroying four aircraft — two SAT down Lieutenant Heinrich and one non-commissioned officers Meyer and Ihlefeld. The fifth SAT recorded on the gunners. According to Republicans, the RAID was destroyed several Bf 109 and airfield construction, and the bombers suffered no losses.
9 Jun fighters 2.J/88 was accompanied by.111 and Do17 from the composition of K/88 and A/88 when the top they had fallen to thirty-15. The result of the battle was zero for both parties. Although the Bf 109, and won victories, but his main task they performed all the bombers returned to their airfields. On 14 June accompanied by Ju87 was seriously wounded in the left shoulder Lieutenant Appr. In the second flight was shot down Lieutenant Hansa. About the events of that day wrote in his memoirs, the Republican pilot Tarazona: “I was flying in tandem with Claudina. My attention was attracted by a Bf 109 flying in a northerly direction — behind him stretched a smoky plume. Attacking it without opening fire, we forced the pilot to land on the banks of the river Mears”.
The situation by this time, Franco’s pilots can be called catastrophic: 1.J/88 there are only four serviceable Bf 109 and 1.J/88 — seven. The long-awaited reinforcements have arrived only by the end of June. All the machines are handed over in 3.J/88, the command assigned Werner Molders is departing to Germany of Adolf Galland. July 15, taking off on your Bf.109 No. 6-79, Mölders scored his first victory, shooting down a Republican I-15. From this moment began its four-month journey from unknown pilot to the most successful German pilot of the Spanish war.
July 25, 1938 the Republican troops unexpectedly crossed the river Ebro and went on the offensive. Started the biggest battle of the Spanish war. “Surprise” at the headquarters of the Franco gave way to irritation. In the first few days of the offensive the Republicans have captured 600 square kilometers of territory. Only in early August, Franco took control of the situation. The battle lasted until mid-November, with some breaks and ended with the retreat of the Republican forces to their original positions.
In the fighting at the Ebro, he alternately attended by all the squadron Bf 109. The Republican party threw in the battle, seven squadrons of I-16, two of which were manned by Soviet pilots and three squadrons of I-15. The first air combat took place on 1 August. Fighters of 3.J/88 had a fight with 25 And 15 and won three; the plane of Lieutenant Chitzena was damaged and he had to make an emergency landing outside an aerodrome.
From 17 November to 1 December, the Legion was on vacation and in the fighting did not participate. This time, the Germans tried to use for the next replacement flight crews and replenishment units of the aircraft. By mid-December consisting of three fighter squadrons, there were 37 Bf 109 modifications b, C and D. Three Spanish pilot, who as part of the Legion mastered Bf 109, began to form two Spanish fighter squadron of Bf 109 and Not.112. Their commanders had become Murcia and Pardo. On staffing divisions went purchased in Germany 13. 112 and transferred from the Legion Bf 109 fighters of the modifications b, C and D, the replacement of which was obtained from Germany, 40 new Bf 109E-1 and Bf 109E-3. Began to fly a Bf109 and Spanish speakers Morato—March 10, he first took to the air on a new plane. All in all, Spain received 130 aircraft Bf 109.
Increasingly, the Republican fighters were engaged in battle with the 109 only when its numerical advantage: in this period Bf 109 losses had almost no. However, on earth they continued to annoy SB bomber. On December 16, at the airfield of La Senia SB bomber burned two fighters.
According to the plans of Franco, the last of their offensive was to drop the Republican part of the French border in the direction of Barcelona. The initial purpose was to Valencia. The battle began on December 23 at 8 a.m. in clear weather. The next day the weather turned bad, so the fighter squadrons of the J/88 have begun active actions on 28 December. On this day the pilots of the Bf109 won six victories, the next four, and on 30 December, six more victories. January 12 was carried out a RAID on Republican airfields Valls, Vendrell and Vilafranca. The surprise attack was successful — were destroyed on the ground 13 Republican aircraft.
5 Feb Bf 109 took part in the RAID on a Republican airfield of Fi-gueras. The fighters managed to burn all the tankers and destroy the aircraft standing on the runway.
6 Feb two newest Bf 109E-1 (No. 6-98 and No. 6-96) was shot down in aerial combat by the commander of the Republican night squadron-15 Lieutenant Falco. 50 years later he described the battle: “on 6 February in the morning the mechanics began to prepare the aircraft for the flight to France. The appearance on the horizon of monoplanes was greeted without panic: all agreed that this-16. However, it was soon discovered that this “Messerschmitt”. And here is my “Chatos” and “Dolphin” (GRUMMAN G-23) Sanchez in the air. I hurried to pick up speed before the meeting with the enemy, but there is one Bf 109 flashed in front of me, and a few others began to cross my course, intending to go to attack the airfield. I caught one of them in sight and pulled the trigger of his four guns. Then I noticed that “Dolphin” Sanchez is being chased by one of the “Messerschmitt”. I rushed to meet him. To avoid a head-on collision, the enemy fighter turned sharply away and went into the turn. I was attached to him, and on the third lap he finally came into sight, and again I pulled the trigger”.
Franco reached the French border, on 10 February 1939. Operation in Catalonia ended. Republican aircraft almost ceased to exist. March 27 was the last sortie of the German fighters in Spain — Bf 109 escorted bombers do Not.111.
N. Food reserve was, A. CHECHIN