Knew I would not be able to reach my lines

N 22 February 1938, while serving with 2. JG 132 Ricbtbofen, 11 was transferred to Bernburg airfield, northwest of Leipzig where the unit's pilots underwent advanced combat training. This was, in essence, the operational training and readiness element of the Gcsci wader. I had not been there very long before I was contacted by a senior officer who wanted to know if I would agree to go to Spain and fight with the Legion Condor. My long service career and the fact that I was not married, made me...

Spain October 1937

Jolanthe The Pig

RIGHT Four Ju 87 As were sent to Spain to evaluate the new dive bomber.'Hie unit which operated them was known is the Jolanthe Kcttc after a cartoon pig charactcr, this temporarily operating under J 88 as its 5.Staflcl. RIGHT Four Ju 87 As were sent to Spain to evaluate the new dive bomber.'Hie unit which operated them was known is the Jolanthe Kcttc after a cartoon pig charactcr, this temporarily operating under J 88 as its 5.Staflcl.

Spain 22 July 1936

Oblt Herwig Knuppel

The first MX German fighter pilots sent to Spain still in their civilian clothes. I nun left ate U. Gcrlnrd Klein shot down and killed by flak on 18 January 1938 on iheTcniel front . Ii. Ekkehard Hefter killed in an accident on 28 September 1936 due to engine failure at Vitorla. the first fighter pilot to he killed in Spain . Obit. Hannes Tr.iutloft.Oblt. Herwig Kn ppel. Obit. Kraft Fbcrhardt killed in combat on 13 November 1936 at Casa de Campo and Lt.Wotf-Heinricb von Houwald. Following the...

We flew three to four ground support missions a day at very low level

109 Spanish Blue Squadron

Eckehart Priebe entered the navy as a Coring Kadett in 1934 and was t t V tfjnjwjfe'flfl transferred to the Luftwaffe in 1935. He underwent training at the Flying Ji MEfi HRl Schools in Ludwigslust and Fassberg and was transferred, during the fl amp BaJ summer of 1936, to JG 134 Horst Wessel in K ln. He then served with 1 J 88 in M H taM gj Spain during 1937 and 1938 where he claimed an I-l6 Rata on 14 May 1938. M tmH Up until September 1939, he was General Milch s Adjutant and following the...

Prelude to PtfrmrtfTTO

Jagdgeschwader Schlageter

The badge of JG 132 later JG 26 Schlageter, as carried in April 1939 In April 1939, JG 132 Schlageter was one of the first Luftwaffe units to re-equip with the Bf 109 E. This aircraft, from the 6. Staffel, had black-green 70 and dark green 71 uppersurfaces with pale blue 65 beneath. The script S badge of the Geschwader was to become famous during the Battle of Britain period by which time the unit had been redesignated as the famous JG 26. The badge of JG 132 later JG 26 Schlageter, as carried...

Many pilots from our unit abruptly disappeared

Maj Erich Gerlitz

Condor enjoying a light lunch at La Cenia with a He 45 B reconnaissance aircraft in tl background. Second from the left is Obit. Eduard Neumann 2 victories , fourth from the left is the Gruppenkommandeur of J 88, Hptm. Gotthard Handrick 5 victories with Obit. Eberhard von Trutzschlcr-d'f-lsa sixth from the left. s horn in 1911 in Austro-Hungaria, in an area which was later seeded to Romania. . My soldier father was killed in 1914, and my mother died the same year, so I was brought up by my...

The blackest day

Philipp Von Bothmer

Kn ppel gives the following account of the 13 November actior The 13 November was the blackest day for the Jagdstaffe, Eberbardt. We flew as escort for the bombers of Obit Rudolf von Moreau during the afternoon from Avila to Madrid. After the second bombing run, we were attacked by 24 Rai as and Curtisses diving towards us from the cast of Madrid at an altitude of between 1,200 and 1,500 m 4,000 and 5,000 ft .A major combat began. Eberhardt followed a biplane and shot it down but rammed his...

FiefleutoTwPolancl 1939

The experience gained by German pilots in Spain was to prove invaluable when the Second World War broke out. For the fighter units, perhaps the most important operational lesson learned was the improvement of tactics. Like most other air forces they began the war in Spain by flying in tight parade ground groups of three, but by the end they had adopted a looser more manoeuvrable formation of four, known as the Schv arm. In addition to gaining operational experience, many pilots brought back...

Hellmuth Volkmann

Following the defeat of the Republicans on the northern front, J 88 withdrew to Le6n for rest and recuperation. On 2 November 1937, a new 4.J 88 was formed under Obit. Eberhard von TrOtzschler-d' amp sa, its He 51s being shipped from Germany aboard the Golfo de Panama. A day earlier the abrasive Generalmajor Sperrle was replaced as commander of the Legion Condor by Ceneralmajor Hellmuth Volkmann with Oberst Hermann Piocher taking over from von Rlchthofen as Chief of Staff In January 1938. At...

The Legion Condor is formed

Villa Del Prado

Up until the end of October 1936, all German aid to Spain had been given under conditions of strictest secrecy. The pilots who had gone to the country were officially discharged from the German armed forces and wore civilian clothes. The arrival of the first Soviet aircraft, flown by Soviet aircrews as well as the increasing use of International Brigades led Germany to rethink its policy. On 7 November, the Legion I Condor was established with 4,500 volunteers under the command of rVy....

Was I a coward No I simply panicked

I lans Schmollcr-Haldy was Gruppenad udant of I. for three months in Austria following the Anschluss, to see if all was well there. I was later joined by the there was little military activity in Wien Vienna at that time. As the Gruppenadjudant, I had to prepare a daity list of put tlte names of four or five unmarried pilots with high skil fact, we all knew that German pilots were involved in Spain a to the Legion. Paradoxically, if somebody had said publicly til been immediately sent to...

The End in Spain 167

Condor Legion 109

IJiFT One side of the spinner of Hptm. Gouluird Ilandrieks Bf 109 I gt 1 was marked with the five Olympic rings to commemorate his winning a Gold Medal in the 1936 Berlin Games together with the legend 1936 and a laurel wreath.This photo was taken after the aircraft had been decorated by his ground crew to commemorate his return to Germany In September 1938.The inscription'Scheiden tut web means Parting Is painful. ABOVE The other side of the spinner of Handrick's Bf 1091 gt 1 with the five...

The Messersriimitt Bf 109 arrives

Condor Legion Bf109

On 14 March 1937, the first three Bf 109 B-ls were delivered to 2J 88. Although possessing a much improved performance over the He 51, the eariy Messerschmitts suffered continuous problems with their Jumo 210 engines. In addition they still had fixed pitch wooden propellers and the manually cocked machine-guns. The He 51s released from 2.J 88 were transferred to Spanish units, but 1. and 3.J 88 continued to operate the type for some time. 4.J 88 was disbanded during the middle of the month, its...

We waited in sports clothing for our first operational mission

Oskar Dinort

Hannes Trautloft was one of the Luftwaffe's most capable fighter commanders not only in terms of his number of victories, but for his command abilities. He was Geschwaderkommodort' of JG 54 Gr nherz from August 1940 until July 1943 before going on to serve in various staff and command positions, including a period as Inspekteur der Tagj ger - Inspector for Day Fighters.An intelligent, outspoken man, he was never afraid to criticise the way he saw Goring leading the Luftwaffe to ruin and his...

PMrtafoland 1939

Family Crest Zeppelin

ABOVE This Bf 109 E-l was operated by l. JG 331. a unit formed from 10. JG 132-Richthofen'in November 1938.IV JG 132, of which the lO.Staffcl was a part, carried a small coloured circlc aft of the fuselage Balkenkreur. to identify that Gruppe.The battered boot badge of I. JG 331 later I. JG 77 represented Wandcr irkus Janke Jahnke's travelling circus , after the unit's first commander, Ilptm. Johannes Janke. Originally the battered boot badge of I 331 nick-named Wanderzirkus Jankc was retained...

End in Spain

Adolf Galland Insignia

As previously mentioned, bad weather dogged operations in late June and eariy July 1938, but on 12 July, preparations for an all out offensive against Valencia were completed. A period of great success followed for J 88. It began on the 12th when it. Wilhelm Keidel and Fw. Herbert Ihlefeld each shot down an 1-15. Three days later no less than nine Chatos were destroyed by pilots of J 88, one of them falling to Molders, his first victory. On 17 July, six more l-15s were shot down with four Ratas...

Return in Triumph

Condor Legion 109

Following the Nationalist victory, celebratory parades were organised throughout April and May 1939 by the Legion Condor in Sevilla, Valencia. Barajas, Madrid and Le6n. After this, J 88's Bf 109s were handed over to the Spanish, some remaining in service with that air force for many years. As for the German pilots, many of them were to become famous during a war which was to surpass even that in Spain for its ferocity and destruction. On 28 May, the entire Legion Condor left the port of Vigo by...

Germany becomes involved

Adolf Langenheim

The events outlined in The Background on page 2 presented General Franco with the problem of transporting his troops, in particular a large number of Moorish soldiers, to the mainland to support the uprising. On 22 July, he made an urgent appeal, via the offices of Adolf Langenheim, head of the Nazi Party in Tetu n, and Johannes Bernhardt, a German businessman in Morocco, to Hitler. The F hrer, who had just returned from attending a performance of the opera Die Walk re in Bayreuth, was...