lauantai 4. helmikuuta 2017

Escuadrilla Azul - Blue Squadron

The Blue Squadron (Spanish: Escuadrilla Azul, German: 15. Spanische Staffel) was a generic name given to the group of volunteer pilots and ground crews recruited from the Spanish Air Force that fought in the side of Germany on the Eastern Front, during the Second World War. The "Blue Patrol" was a counterpart offered by Franco to Nazi Germany for its help with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War.

Between September 1941 and May 1943 five Spanish squadrons rotated through the Eastern Front, attached to Luftwaffe fighter wings Jagdgeschwader 27 and Jagdgeschwader 51.

Flying Messerschmitt fighters and Focke-Wulf fighter-bombers, the Spaniards were credited with destroying more than 160 Soviet aircraft in nearly two years, while losing 20 pilots killed, missing, or captured. The unit remained in central Russia, despite requests by Muñoz Grandes that they be attached to the Blue Division, until their withdrawal in 1943.
15. Spanische Staffel
Blue Division
ActiveJune 24, 1941 – October 10, 1943
Country Spain
Allegiance Germany
BranchBalkenkreuz (Iron Cross) Luftwaffe
RoleFighter Squadron
Part ofJagdgeschwader 27.svg JG 27
JG 51 Emblem.png JG 51
Aircraft flown
BomberJu 52
Hs 123
Ju 88 (proposed)
FighterFw 190
Bf 109

The present Spanish Air Force (Ejército del Aire, or EdA) was officially established on 7 October 1939, after the end of the Spanish Civil War. The EdA was a successor to the Nationalist and Republican Air Forces. Spanish Republican colors disappeared and the black roundel of the planes was replaced by a yellow and red roundel. However, the black and white Saint Andrew's Cross (Spanish: Aspa de San Andrés) fin flash, the tail insignia of Franco's air force, as well as of the Aviazione Legionaria of Fascist Italy and the Condor Legion of Nazi Germany, is still in use in the present-day Spanish Air Force.

Under the post-Civil War regional military restructuring, all relevant air bases would be withdrawn from Catalonia. Even though formerly important air bases had been established in or around Barcelona, such as the Aviación Naval. Henceforward the whole north-eastern area of Spain would be left with mere token presence of the Spanish Air Force, a situation that persists to this day.

After the changes introduced at the beginning of the dictatorship the Air Regions and their Command centres were the following:

1st Air Region. Central.
2nd Air Region. Straits.
3rd Air Region. East.
4th Air Region. Pyrenees.
5th Air Region. Atlantic.
Balearic Islands Air Zone
Morocco Air Zone
Canary Islands and East Africa Air Zone

The Blue Squadron (Escuadrillas Azules) was an air unit that fought alongside the Axis Powers at the time of the Blue Division, Division Azul Spanish volunteer formation in World War II. The Escuadrilla azul operated with the Luftwaffe on the Eastern Front and took part in the battle of Kursk. This squadron was the "15 Spanische Staffel"/JG 27 Afrika of the VIII Fliegerkorps, Luftflotte 2.

During the first years after World War II the Spanish Air Force consisted largely of German and Italian planes and copies of them. An interesting example was the HA-1112-M1L Buchón (Pouter), this was essentially a licensed production of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 re-engined with a Rolls-Royce Merlin 500-45 for use in Spain.

In March 1946 the first Spanish military paratroop unit, the Primera Bandera de la Primera Legión de Tropas de Aviación, was established in Alcalá de Henares. It first saw action in the Ifni War during 1957 and 1958.

Because of US Government objection to use airplanes manufactured in the USA in her colonial struggles after World War II, Spain used at first old German aircraft, such as the T-2 (Junkers 52, nicknamed "Pava"), the B-2I (Heinkel 111, nicknamed "Pedro"), the C-4K (Spanish version of the Bf 109, nicknamed "Buchón"), and some others. Still, Grumman Albatross seaplanes and Sikorsky H-19B helicopters were used in rescue operations.

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