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Condor Legion

P1010003.JPGIn 1936 Hitler saw Spain as part of his European plan – by giving military aid to Franco he was helping to create a potential ally on the borders of his enemy, the French. At the same time he hoped to control Spain’s mineral exports which were vital to Germany’s armament industry.
So in August 1936 over 10,000 German ‘volunteers’ began arriving in Spain – military advisors, pilots, ground crews, engineers, artillery, anti-aircraft  and tank crews (at the same time Mussolini sent his forces – the CVT).

In November these were grouped together into the ‘Condor Legion’ partly in response to the formation of the International Brigade, military aid from Russia and the unexpected tenacity of the Popular Front forces.
The role of the Condor Legion in the war was to prove very influential. The Luftwaffe was allowed to experiment and perfect types of bombing – in particular carpet bombing – dropping all the bombs at once for maximum damage. Additionally equipment was tested for efficiency including the Stuka bomber which was to have such am impact in the invasion of Poland in 1939.

P1010002.JPGHowever, perhaps the biggest development was carrying the war to civilians as a form of crushing public and military morale. It is now accepted that Guernica was an example of this German tactic although for many years Franco lied, consistently accusing the Republicans of bombing their own people. 
For all its efficiency and rather surprisingly, the Condor Legion suffered a loss of 160 aircraft in flying accidents.
Post war several German veterans published books on their experiences in Spain (2 examples illustrated).

 

 

See Third Reich