Helion's The Blue Squadrons
|Juan Arraez Cerda &Eduardo Manuel Gil Martinez
|$45.00 MSRP from Casemate
138 pages, softcover, 160
It comes as no surprise that were it not for the Germans, Franco may well not have come out on top in the Spanish Civil War. In all aspects, it was seen as a conflict of nationalism vs communism. Franco wasn't an idiot and managed to keep Spain out of World War II.
When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, there was no lack of Spaniards who wanted to go and fight against communists. In addition to ground troops, there were fliers and ground crew who volunteered to go and fight. This started in late 1941 and consisted in multiple deployments that were to be 3 to 4 months long. This is where the 'squadrons' part of the book title comes in.
Before entering combat, the airmen had to go through some conversion training as the Spanish did not fly the Bf-109G or the later FW-190A. So it took a few months once they left the country to go to the front. One thing for sure is that the Spanish did quite well once they entered combat. There were multiple aces and after each 'squadron' returned to Spain, they were able to pass on their experiences and what they learned to the folks back home, increasing the professional level of the Spanish Air Force.
This book tells the full story of those Spanish volunteers complete with a nice selection of period photos of the personalities and their aircraft. Each of the five squadrons/deployments are covered along with maps, charts and several pages of full color profiles of the aircraft that were flown. In all, the research shows and helps to make for what is probably the best book on the subject yet done. One I can well recommend to you all.
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