legion-condor

Last commander of the Condor Legion, Generalmajor Dr.Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen (he received a diploma engineer, dated May 10, 1924 and engineering doctorates in 1929),

photographed by Hugo Jaeger in the event of acceptance of the Condor Legion in Berlin dated June 6, 1939.

He is one of only 28 people selected German soldier who was awarded Spanienkreuz Schwertern in Gold mit mit Brillanten (look at his left, just under the D Wing Pilot Spain), which he received on the above date (June 6, 1939). At his right pocket we could see the other two medals Spain: “Medalla Militar Individual” and “Medalla de la Campaña 1936-1939” which is given to all troops who joined Franco’s Nationalist party (including the Condor Legion) in the Spanish Civil War.

He still has a relationship with Manfred von Richthofen brothers, hero of the top air in the First World War

Condor Legion, German Legion Condor,  Condor Legion a unit of the German air force, or Luftwaffe, detailed by Hermann Göring for special duty with General Francisco Franco’s Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). It was sent to Franco on the condition that it stay under German command. The Legion consisted of four bomber squadrons (of 12 bombers each) and four fighter squadrons and was backed by antiaircraft and antitank units. It engaged in several raids, especially on Barcelona. On April 26, 1937, it attacked the Basque city of Guernica.

Enters the ‘Stuka’…

On the night of August 1, 1936, a single Ju 87A-0 (the 4th prototype built) was secretly loaded onto a German passengers ship which was leaving Hamburg bent to the Spanish port of Cadiz were it arrived 5 days later. For security reasons it was given the serial number 29-1 and assigned to VJ/88, the experimental ‘Staffel’ of Legion Condor - the Luftwaffe’s expeditionary force sent by Hitler to assist Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War. So secret was this lonely ‘Stuka’ that very little is known of his war service.

During 1937 it returned to Germany, and later, in January 1938, three Ju 87A-1s arrived in Victoria, Spain, where they were given the serial numbers 29-2 to 4, and incorporated into the Legion Condor’s fighter wing (5.J/88).

These three Ju 87 ‘Antons’ formed a ‘Kette’ (unit of 3) and became known as ‘Jolanthe Kette’, using as a unit’s emblem a small piglet named after a cartoon of the period. These 3 A-1s were extensively tested in combat until October 1938, when they too were sent back to Germany, being replaced by the new B-1s.

During their time in Spain, the 'Antons’ were used not only to form an experienced cadre of pilots, mechanics and ground crews, but also to find design flaws and improve operational tactics. Everything culminated in the spectacular successes of 1939/40, except on one thing: In Spain the 'Stuka’ was not tested against a determined, well coordinated enemy fighter force. An oversight the Stuka crews would pay for dearly during the Battle of Britain.

This particular aircraft, 29-5, was a replacement for 29-4, which had been damaged by anti-aircraft fire and returned to Germany for repairs. It would be the last of the ‘Antons’ to see operational combat. Photo taken probably at La Cenia airfield, from where the Legion operated after April 21, 1938.

All the A-1s were painted in a colourful pre-war scheme of RLM 61, 62, and 63 with RLM 65 undersurfaces.

Original: TJ’s collection