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75 years since the ride over Guernica during the Spanish Civil War

Discussion in 'WWII' started by Aerojoe, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. Aerojoe

    Aerojoe Practically Family

    Guernica in the Basque Country was destroyed by Luftwaffe's Condor Legion on April 26, 1937 during the Spanish Civil War;


    It was attacked by 2 Heinkel 111s, a Dornier Do 17, 18 Ju 52 and 3 SM79 dropping 250kg explosive bombs and incendiaries. They devastated the whole city. Death toll is unknown but it could go to 3000 - 5000 people.

    They didn't manage to destroy the Guernica oak tree. For ancient basques, which is one of the oldest caucasian populations living in Europa, if not the eldest, oak trees were sacred. During the middle ages, the king of Castilla, one of the biggest kingdoms in Spain, still had to go to Vizcaya and swear the basque law by putting his hand over this tree.

    Picasso did his famous painting after the ride in 1937;


    This painting was first displayed at a World's Fair Exposition in Paris in 1937. A German general that was there, after inspecting the painting asked Picasso whether he had done the work. Picasso replied 'no, you have done it'.

    Regardless to say, anybody who sent a he111, Ju, Me... crew or pilot to take a bath in the Channel, is a personal friend of mine :D
  2. Rathdown

    Rathdown Practically Family

    Given that there are two sides to every story, and that there are many German members of this forum, I'd think you might want to reconsider the last line of your post, as some (myself included) may find your sentiments offensive.
  3. Aerojoe

    Aerojoe Practically Family

    I actually have nothing against any german. Even there is a german school here. However I don't sympathize any nazi which is a very different thing. I bet most of the germans don't sympathize them either. So, thanks no.
  4. RHY

    RHY One of the Regulars

    I concur. Most of the Germans you referred to are now long gone or elderly.

    WWII and wars in Spain, China and Manchuria are now history. The entire world now has hopefully learned the awful lessons taught, with the lives of some 40 million people lost from 1930 to 1945, that we cannot go down that path of total world war again knowing that we risk the end of mankind.
  5. So it's offensive to express the opinion that Germany was in the wrong in using force in Spain in 1937? Is it offensive to opine that Germany was in the wrong in using force in Poland in 1939? Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, Norway in 1940?

    There were, after all, two sides to those stories, too.

    Good lord.....
  6. Sharpsburg

    Sharpsburg One of the Regulars

    Sadly, RHY, I do not think the world has learned the awful lessons. Just today Charles Taylor was convicted of crimes against humanity by the Hague, but sadly many others walk free.
  7. old barnacle

    old barnacle New in Town

    at sea
    I don´t see any offense in the last line of Aerojoe´s post.
  8. Aerojoe

    Aerojoe Practically Family

    Yes, what it is really quite offensive is having a 250kg bomb falling over your head :D

    The Guernica attack was one of those strategic bombings that sadly became common during wwII. Guernica was an strategic point during those ages but there were only civilians in the town then, women and kids. The Basque army was at the front.

    Condor Legion planes caused a lot of damage. Dresden suffered 7 - 10 casualties per ton of bombs dropped while Guernica had 41 victims per ton;


    Yesterday, some survivors, just kids then, told that they recognized the sound of the Ju52s engines because they were so loaded, that their noise was not uniform, like if the engines were choking and the pilot had to give gas constantly to keep altitude.

    So well yes; God bless the RAF and the USAF :eek:
  9. Rathdown

    Rathdown Practically Family

    The totally missed point is that Germany didn't bomb Guernica, Guernica was bombed by Spanish Royalist forces, who were engaged in a civil war against the largely communist backed "Republican" forces. There were volunteers (including the German Condor Legion) fighting on both sides -- British, American, Irish, French -- you name it, and they were there, taking part as their politics dictated.
  10. old barnacle

    old barnacle New in Town

    at sea
    It is the position of today´s german government, that the Legion Condor is not worth remembering, despite the fact they fought for the spanish "royalist" (rather fascist) forces.
    In my opinion quite rightly so.
  11. Aerojoe

    Aerojoe Practically Family

    I presume they had their reasons all of them. Anyway and for the record, there were no communists backing the Basque Country or army. The Basque Country was ruled by the Basque national party that was a right wing party. Quite conservative and catholic. A lot of basque soldiers used to go to the services at the very same front. Here you have a picture;


    That flag is the Basque ensign, it is similar to the Union Jack.

    When the battle was lost, the other band, the national army, find themselves executing catholic priests that had been captured alongside basque soldiers and even the head of the church in Spain protested, threating General Franco with excommunication.
  12. And the RCAF which was fighting Germany long before the USAF (which technically at the time was the USAAF)!

    Per ardua ad astra!
  13. Der Spiegel



    At about 16:30 on Monday, 26 April 1937, warplanes of the German Condor Legion, commanded by Colonel Wolfram von Richthofen, bombed Guernica for about two hours. Germany, at this time led by Hitler, had lent material support to the Nationalists and were using the war as an opportunity to test out new weapons and tactics. Later, intense aerial bombardment became a crucial preliminary step in the Blitzkrieg tactic.[SUP][5][8][/SUP]
    In his journal for 30 April 1937, von Richthofen wrote:
    When the first Junker squadron arrived, there was smoke already everywhere (from the VB [VB/88] which had attacked with 3 aircraft); nobody would identify the targets of roads, bridge, and suburb, and so they just dropped everything right into the center. The 250s toppled a number of houses and destroyed the water mains.

    It would appear to be the case that some others would disagree with your thesis that "Germany" was not involved.
  14. Aerojoe

    Aerojoe Practically Family

    Oh, yes, Canadian fellows never to be forgotten, besides New Zealanders and Ossie friends that took part in the action :eusa_clap

    I totally agree. You know, in Bilbao, capital of Biscay, there was an aeroclub since almost the beginning of the aviation history. Some guys dared to fly their private bi-planes and face the Luftwaffe aircrafts, successfully shooting down some of them. In 1937, a bi-plane fighting a Me109 was like a F4u Corsair trying to shoot down an UFO. Hope some of these pilots could make it to the RAF after the Spanish war.

    There are some pictures of these German pilots/crews that were shut down in Biscay. All of them dressed in their 3rd Reich Luftwaffe uniforms with 3rd Reich documentation on them. Some of them appear in pictures crying because they probably thought they were going to be executed right there. Well, hell no, good guys don't that. They were exchanged for Basque prisoners and repatriated to Germany.

    Denying Legion Condor and 3rd Reich involvement in the Spanish Civil War or Guernica raid, it is something that has no sense at all.

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