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Massimo Tessitori

question on Spanish SB

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Hi all, 
we are working on a page with profiles of SB during the Spanish civil war, both republican and nationalists.
A lot of questions arise:

for example, the splinter camouflage utilized by Nationalists: was it made with German colors, or their own?

I mean, planes as these:

20w5-f1.jpg

 

nat-f8.jpg

 

 

I've found this drawing, but I am not too convinced of it. As you can see, it shows two dark shades and a light one, but the photo shows two light shades and one dark one.

On other books, similarly painted Spanish planes are shown as sand, brown and green. 

Pq1Qc2A9-d41b620ef95c1ecc2fdf27d39e.jpg

sb-20w1-isp-r-x.png

sb-20w1-isp-l-x.png

 

 

 





A collection of images, not yet the definitive article, is here:
http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/pages/sb/tapani/spanish/spanish.htm

Regards
Massimo

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Some images that could be related:

 

This is a Casa copy of He-111: surely painted with Spanish colors. But, while it is clear that the lighter shade is grey, the dark shade or shades are ambiguous. Could be grey-green and brown, but not sure. 

 

http://www.aviationcorner.net/show_photo_en.asp?id=191339

 

This drawing looks to have compatible colors:

http://aces.safarikovi.org/victories/spain-eda.html

 

Here are some bw photos of Spanish He-111, surely painted with German colors:

 

https://erenow.com/ww/luftwaffe-illustrated-history-german-air-force-wwii/3.php

 

The shades look compatible with the photos of SB. 

But, is the intermediate color green, and the darker one brown?

 

Regards

Massimo

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The spanish air force planes were painted with locally supplied colours after the war's end, trying to imitate the italian shades. The most important manufacturer was Titanlux. Of course, the splinter camouflage tried to replicate the prewar german splinter scheme, but the paint was not german by any mean. During the war, lots of italian paint was readily available, thus it wouldn't be a mistake to say that during the war, some, if not most of them, were overpainted with italian paints.

To add insult to injury, the gray shades were generally called "gris barracón" or "gris ratón" (barrack grey or mouse grey). That covered a range of greys, going from something similar to RLM02 to RLM 66. And I say similar because, as previously said, they used local paints,, wich were supplied in a "pasty format, packed in cans", later to be thinned with used oil, petrol or diesel fuel at unit level....the quality of the overall finish varied from one unit to another. Some planes were just overpainted in an overall RLM70/65 lookalike, with no splinter or any other camouflage pattern. Most of the "martin bombers" were painted that way.....

The first pic you're showing doesn't depict a Nationalist plane, but a post war one, see the House of Bourbon's cocardes, surely post 1941, as it's sporting the red Yokes and Arrows emblem over the black fuselage cocarde. Looks to be freshly painted, so no doubt at all, locally supplied paints.

The colour profile is, IMHO; wrong.....the ex-republican Katiuska, White 1, was kept in her original camouglage colours, just the red wingtips and tricoloured rudder were overpainted, and nationalist markings added. It says "italian style" camouflage, but that's completely false. Some republican "martins bombers" were camouflaged with green blotches over sand colour, keeping that scheme after they were put into naionalist service.

Finally, that link with He111. Those He111 aren't spanish, but german. They belong to Legión Condor. those planes came already painted from germany,. They have original german colours, with standard Luftwaffe prewar pattern.

 

Best regards.

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Hi Artie, 

thank you for your answer.

I have still a lot of questions, of course, because I want to be sure to have understood well.

We have some photos of captured SB reutilized after marginal modification with the original republican camouflage, sand with green dots; here, the original markings were deleted with sand and green and the plane was remarked. 

These planes were later repainted with 3 shades splinter (When? Still during the war?).

The splinter camouflage looks preserved even after the replacing of nationalist markings with red-yellow-red roundels (1941?). Photos show the same pattern and contrast in SB with nationalist markings and with later Spanish markings.

About 'gris raton', does this mean that some light grey is utilized on the uppersurfaces of Spanish-painted splinter camouflages? Usually Italians utilized sand on their camouflages, while Germans utilized light grey RLM 63 as the lighter shade.

The few color photos that I've seen seem to show that light grey was utilized on upper surfaces on various CASA, including the  2111 of the (ambiguous) color photo after the war.

At the end, what colors do you consider likely for the splinter painted SB? Is the darkest one a brown? And the lighter one, do you think that it was sand or grey?

Best regards

Massimo

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2 hours ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

the original markings were deleted with sand and green and the plane was remarked. 

Usually, the original red markings and tricolour rudder were overpainted: wing tips, white, rudder, white with St. Andrew's cross, fuselage, the most similar available colour...20W was the code given to the captured martin bombers...followed by an ordinal number..

2 hours ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

These planes were later repainted with 3 shades splinter (When? Still during the war?).

Most probably after the war.....It makes sense, if they were looking for any kind of standarization. painting them during the war makes no sense at all.....that would had been a waste of time...but if they were repainted at any point, they tried to replicate the german splinter pattern, as previosuly said.

2 hours ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

The splinter camouflage looks preserved even after the replacing of nationalist markings with red-yellow-red roundels (1941?). Photos show the same pattern and contrast in SB with nationalist markings and with later Spanish markings.

Red-yellow-red roundels (House of Bourbon) were added to the wings (upper and lower part) right at the end of the war. The black roundels were kept on the fuselages up until 1945. The Yokes and Arrows emblem was painted red until 1941 or so...then, it was changed to a white colour.

2 hours ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

About 'gris raton', does this mean that some light grey is utilized on the uppersurfaces of Spanish-painted splinter camouflages?

To cut a long story short, "YES". The basic camouflage colours were light grey (similar to RLM63 or 02, depending on availability), olive green and earth brown (reddish hue). You could try to find some similitudes with german RLM colours, but they were actually more similar to the italian ones, but as previously said, from spanish stocks.

 

2 hours ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

what colors do you consider likely for the splinter painted SB? Is the darkest one a brown? And the lighter one, do you think that it was sand or grey?

If we talk about a repainted example, I'd go for a light grey, olive green, dark brown over light blue. Nevertheless, some sources claim it to be only olive green and sand colour, retaining its previous republican camouflage (for example, on 20W*1)....Most of the times, they didn't care about repainting the whole plane, just removed the republican markings....they needed to put any flying machine into active service ASAP.

 

a_Image__138__copia_5_1.jpg

Note the crudely overpainted markings....even the St. Andrew's cross looks absolutely blotchy.

 

 

 

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Hi, 

nat-f9.jpg

 

I think that this plane was the same of the photo above, after repainting and remarking. It has still s. Andreas crosses on the wings. So, is this plane photographed during wartime, or just at the end of the war? The camouflage looks new.  

Maybe it was the first to be repainted with the new standard. 

About the black lines under the wings: was there the light blue background between them, or some white?

Regards

Massimo

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Hi, Massimo:

29 minutes ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

black lines under the wings: was there the light blue background between them

Definitely, light blue between them.

 

30 minutes ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

is this plane photographed during wartime, or just at the end of the war

Who knows...??? The underwing roundels claim for a wartime plane, but we have to take into account that Rome wasn't built in a day....The planes were given new cocardes after the war, but I'm pretty sure it took some time to be done...

 

Regards

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Hi Artie, 

so it is likely that the splinter repainting with s.Andreas crosses was of late 1939 or 1940, and the red-yellow roundels in 1940 or 1941? So, the plane never fought with the splinter camouflage? 

Regards

Massimo

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I wouldn't dare to place any severe statement regarding spanish air force colours, specially around those troublesome days. Whenever I try to explain it, my fisrt sentence is "forget about RLM, FS, or any kind of standarization".

The spanish current  Ejército del Aire was founded as an independent arm on october, 7th, 1939. From that point, it was ordered to substitute the wing roundels for the House of Bourbon cocardes. The war ended on april, 1st, 1939. During that six months timeframe, you guess how things worked....recently ended war, lots of machines from both sides, an attemtp to standarize everything....a complete mess, I suppose.

I'd rather be very prudent before suggesting that they flew combat missions with the splinter camouflage already in place. And IMHO, with no photographic evidence, there's no evidence at all...

During the war, the planes were put again into service as soon as possible, and they just worried about repainting the republican markings, and some times, just a quick overpaint with whatever they had by hand was more than enough...In fact, the St. Andrew's cross was born that way: at first, both sides fought with the planes "as they were" when the war broke back on july, 18th, 1936......wich led to some deadly confusions wich made the nationalists try to conceal the republican markings. Before the war, those markings were limited to wing tricolured roundels, and tricoloured rudder, with no (or rarely seen) red wrap around bands on fuselage or wings. Those red markings were added later, needless to say, for political reasons. The St, Andrew's cross was born as a crossed out republican flag, to avoid confusion. The same way, the republican roundels were overpainted wth black.....Later in the war, a more "epic" meaning was given to the cross, and some people claims its origins back in the ancient spanish imperial flag (1506-1785), the "Burgundy Cross".

 

So, to cut a long story short, and back to our first question: If I had to suggest a theory, I'd say that the martin bombers were given a splinter camouflage right after the war's end, retaining the black wing roudels for some time. I don't think they flew any combat mission with the new spliter scheme, but retaining their original republican colour. The splinter scheme colours were, most probably, light grey, olive green and dark reddish brown, over light blue. The camouflage pattern tried to imitate the german prewar splinter, but the colours resembled the italian ones.

Funny fact: The Tupolevs were called Katiuskas by the republican side, and martin Bombers by the nationalist side. In fact, the original republican codes were BK-xxx (Bombardero Katiuska).

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Hi Artie, 

the timeframe is clear enough now. We'll try tp guess some colors, I think that the brown was extremely dark, it seems as black on some photos.

 

About the colors of Republican SB: I've seen some framents of Isaac Montoya of one SB with light grey undersurfaces and two shades of green, possibly belonging to a plane with low contrast two green pattern. Probably these planes can be mistaken for uniform dark green on bw photos.

Perhaps this one? Or is it really uniform green?

49-f4.jpg

By the way, here the colors are altered just after the unit surrended. I think that purple was repainted with light yellow, and the same was used to break the red bands on the fuselage. 

On this photo, I can't see the bands over the wings. Perhaps it was too difficult to hurrily repaint over the wings. 

 

Besides I've seen photos of a rudder, possibly of RDW, with the tri-color and some camouflage, sand yellow with green-brown blurried blotches. The sand brown and the yellow of the tricolor seemed pretty much as the same color, and the purple was almost black-red. 

 

This SB seems painted sand yellow with two color blotches too.

2-f2.jpg

 

This one seems sand overall. Note that the color is nearly undistinguishable from the yellow band on the tail, but it is as light as the ground.

But, the red band on the fuselage doesn't look as the red of the rudder.  Why is this? Could it be yellow? And why is the fuselage code missing?

 

1-f1.jpg

 

I've read that some tan or light brick brown was utilized too. I suppose that it was the case of this photo:

46-f4.jpg

 

 

Is there any more information, or one has to guess and look for inspiration on existing profiles?

 

Regards

Massimo

 

 

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Things are getting funny now.....!!!

 

1 hour ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

I think that the brown was extremely dark, it seems as black on some photos.

 

You bet, it's not black....it's a dark reddish brown. Won't try to give any known reference, because they didn't use them back then.....

 

And now, the funny part of the story: Republican SBs.....

1 hour ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

these planes can be mistaken for uniform dark green on bw photos

The planes came from Russia painted in the well known olive green/light blue scheme. That was the soviet common practice then. Never heard about two shades of green or light grey undersurfaces camouflage. The only known light grey russian planes arriving to Spain, were the first Polikarpov I-16 Type 5, wich arrived unpainted, with just a  protective grey primer, but they were soon overpainted. That overall grey shade led to the nickname "Rata", given by the nationalist pilots when they first met the nimble russian fighters over Madrid. They used to fly at house tops level, and then pull up and fire their guns against the enemy bombers' bellies.

 

1 hour ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

here the colors are altered just after the unit surrended.

"White 49". That's a well known example. That pic was taken after surrending, mid 1939. It was supposed to be painted in green and sand camouflage. The red fuselage band has been overpainted with a broad centre yellow band, to depict Monarchical flag. The rudder purple stripe may have been overpainted with yellow or white, difficult to guess. Definitely, the wingtips were red in that plane, maybe an optical effect, maybe overpainted in white...

 

1 hour ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

This SB seems painted sand yellow with two color blotches

"White 2" sported an olive green mottling over sand. The RWD you mention was a civilian airplane, and not much info about her is actually available. The green and brown blotches were oversprayed over the original aluminium paint. But the purple band on the rudder was not dark red at all, nor maroon or black red...

 

1 hour ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

This one seems sand overall. Note that the color is nearly undistinguishable from the yellow band on the tail,

"White 1"....probably sand or light brick brown overall. Other sources talk about olive green mottling over light brick brown. You must keep in mind that, under certain weather conditions, the paints faded very quickly, and it's quite difficult to guess the colours from bad quality b/w pics.

At least one "White 1" was downed over Tablada, making an emergency landing and falling almost intact in nationalist's hands, in december, 1936. Maybe this is that plane, and the rudder has been repainted in red/yellow/red, as it was a common practice then. The fuselage band could had been overpeinted with a similar sand or earth colour, trying to blend it with the rest of the fuselage. The code was surely overpainted.

1 hour ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

I've read that some tan or light brick brown was utilized too. I suppose that it was the case of this photo:

"White 46" sported a green/sand camouflage over light blue undersurfaces.

 

 

To add inslut to injury, not all the republican katiuskas sported fuselage code. Some of them just showed a white number in the rudder (individual number within squadron), some of them showed a black fuselage colour (individual plane number). Both numbers don't  have to be coincident, as you've probably found.

Edited by Artie

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Hi Artie, 

thank you for the answers.

Quote

The planes came from Russia painted in the well known olive green/light blue scheme. That was the soviet common practice then. 

Soviet SB were painted light grey overall in 1936-37, but they tended to peel off so they passed to aluminum paint to make the thing less noticeable. Then a yellow zinc chromate primer was introduced, peeling off stopped and SB started to come out of factory painted gloss light grey in late 1939; then they passed to grass green/light blue in spring 1940, and this was the factory painting, sometimes utilized for repainting of existing planes, till June 1941 when the black-green camo was introduced, but the production of SB has already been stopped. So I think that SB arrived in Spain with the Soviet grey or silver livery and were repainted there.

Besides I think that the most part of SB were not factory new but already utilized by the VVS. All Spanish SB had two blades propellers, but nearly all Soviet SB seen at the time of Barbarossa had three blade propellers. Where had gone the early production planes? Exported, I think. 

Quote

The only known light grey russian planes arriving to Spain, were the first Polikarpov I-16 Type 5, wich arrived unpainted, with just a  protective grey primer, but they were soon overpainted.

This sounds interesting, but I-16s came out of factory with green uppersurfaces and light blue (or grey/silver undersurfaces for later models, according to the time).  So, if they arrived painted grey, they had been repainted somewhere, in Russia or Spain.

The thing of grey I-16s is interesting, do photos exist?

There is a discussion with two pieces of an I-16 here:http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/board/index.php?topic=1019.0

I don't know the version, but this shows more layers of paint, the underlying one being probably Soviet original. It would be interesting to look at the pieces to see how colors are stratified. 

 

Quote

 

"White 1"....probably sand or light brick brown overall. Other sources talk about olive green mottling over light brick brown. You must keep in mind that, under certain weather conditions, the paints faded very quickly, and it's quite difficult to guess the colours from bad quality b/w pics.

At least one "White 1" was downed over Tablada, making an emergency landing and falling almost intact in nationalist's hands, in december, 1936. Maybe this is that plane, and the rudder has been repainted in red/yellow/red, as it was a common practice then. The fuselage band could had been overpeinted with a similar sand or earth colour, trying to blend it with the rest of the fuselage. The code was surely overpainted.

 

So this plane has already been captured by nationalists, and his fuselage band or codes repainted brown? Is it known what its code was?

Quote

Never heard about two shades of green or light grey undersurfaces camouflage.

I've read this on a Spanish forum years ago, just about SB. probably this http://www.network54.com/Forum/394728/ but now the link looks broken.
You can find the photo of a fragment here: http://massimotessitori.altervista.org/sovietwarplanes/pages/colors/spanish/color-table.html. This page is not linked to the main of the site because it is still too uncertain and fragmentary, Though I think that it has some interesting elements, although unsufficient.

 

PLANXA-PINTURABK-093-Acopia.jpg

 

This photo from Isaac Montoya shows a piece of SB. I don't know from what part, I suppose from the leading edge of the tail. 

We see two shades of green, though they seem overposed and could not necessarily be indicative of a camouflage. 

The yellowish part was interpreted as ALG-1 primer, but could be some Spanish sand too.

Color 2 was identified as light grey, but it is not clear if it is above or below the yellowish layer.

 

Best regards

Massimo

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AFAIK, the Kats arrived painted in olive green/light blue....could it be light blue/grey??? Maybe, who knows. On the other side, those early Moscas came unpainted, with just an overall primer coat. It's been said that the early light grey paint was used on the undersides, but again, that's just spurious.

Anyway, I've never heard about grey or aluminium Kats arriving in Spain. Maybe they were repainted before delivery??...I don't know, but the russian planes received their green/light blue repaint in the spring of 1940, and the Kats arrived in Spain in october, 1936. The same month, they made their first combat mission, and no record or evidence exist about the planes being repainted. In fact, the only «aluminium» Kat to be known, is the one captured and shown by the nationalists in San Sebastian...

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Hi,

Quote

In fact, the only «aluminium» Kat to be known, is the one captured and shown by the nationalists in San Sebastian...

Interesting, is there any photo known? Was it painted aluminum when captured?

 

I think that the planes were grey or silver when arrived in Spain, and quickly repainted. Some camouflaged planes were painted sand with green dotting. If they had received them painted green, it would have been easier to paint sand dots over a green background. 

Regards

Massimo

 

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http://www.sbhac.net/Republica/Fuerzas/Armas/Kursaal/Kursaal.htm

 

Click that link, scroll down, et voilà.....the SB shown at the 1938 Gran Kursaal expo....Anywaym, that plane seems to be stripped before being shown.

 

Regarding the colour of the Kats when they arrived, I keep saying that there's no evidence of them being repainted. Not a single pic of any operative grey or aluminium plane, not a single veteran testimony.....I can't confirm or deny any option, so it's up to anyone to decide. Most of the republican Kats were green/blue.....the camouflaged ones were a minority, and of course, they were repainted here. Even here in Spain, it's quite difficult to find our certain aspects of those planes. When there're not written records, pictures or any other reliable source of information, everything else is theory and speculation. Back then, they weren't worried about keeping  a detailed record of the planes, their colors, how they came or when they were repainted ...just needed to press them into combat as soon as possible. Add the fact of the large amount of documentation that was destroyed to prevent it from falling in the hands of the advancing enemy, and you'll get an excellent puzzle...!! From time to time , a new unknown pics comes to light, throwing away every previously speculated theory, but up until then, I prefer to stick to what's already known for sure.

 

Cheers...

Arturo Navarro

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I have enjoyed this thread, and enter it with some trepidation.  However a number of comments passed, and assumptions made from them, are demonstrably incorrect. 

 

Firstly, the green over blue colour scheme was not introduced into the Soviet forces until mid 1940.  Soviet SBs of later production batches than those delivered to Spain still used the overall light grey colour.   Therefore it appears most likely that the ones sent to Spain were in this overall light grey -  there appears to be no support for too-dogmatic statements about alternative schemes on arrival but of course they could well have been repainted once in Spain. 

 

Secondly, it's untrue that the aircraft delivered were second hand, as a look at the timescales demonstrates.  From Mikhail Maslov's Tupolev SB, early production was slow and only 154 had been delivered by 8th August 1936.  The first delivery to Spain arrived 23rd October 1936.  Total production of the SB 2 M100 to the end of 1936 was 268 - of which 30 went to Spain.  Given that the main interest of the Soviets was in determining the combat abilities of this type, this makes sense.  They certainly received considerable feedback - much of it negative.  The second batch to Spain arrived 1st May 1937, and were 31 1937-standard examples SB 2 M100 with better guns and improved engines.  The third batch of 31 came in March 1938 and were late 1937 standard SB 2 M100A.  The first version with the M103 engines and 3-blade propellers was the 96th production batch  which began to roll off the production lines in September 1938 - long after any deliveries to Spain.

 

Thirdly, light grey Soviet SB 2 M100 with the two-blade propeller were still in use during the Kalkin Gol Incident in August 1939, and in the Finnish Winter War of 1939/40.  If photos of such from Barbarossa almost 2 years later are rare (I wouldn't claim non-existent) then this is probably because the survivors of the type was then considered obsolescent, and would be in training units or other rear units.  There doesn't seem to be any photos of such units probably because of their lack of propaganda value.  There are photos said to be of SB 2 M100 (or M100A) with the three blade props but these are either test examples or taken some time later, possibly after upgrading.  Or just mistaken captions, always a problem with books on Soviet types (and not only Soviet... but perhaps particularly so).

 

Whereas the early aircraft from the first delivery were rushed into service, this is very unlikely to be the case for all examples of this batch or later ones.  Wars are not conducted at full throttle throughout, there are always quiet  periods.  Even when the fighting is hard, it still requires time to work up units with inexperienced aircrew, and potent forces tend to be retained for use in major offensives (or defences, of course) rather than frittered away in piecemeal fashion.  It doesn't take that long to apply camouflage to such a small number of aircraft, either in a rush programme or a more considered one when time allowed.  I have read a statement from one of the Soviet pilots (with the first delivery?) that the colour on arrival was deemed unsuitable and that they were rapidly repainted in a red-brown colour obtained locally, but unfortunately I've been unable to trace just where this statement is found.  It is worth bearing in mind that the first mission on 28th October was flown with only three aircraft, with crews experienced on the type and on operations in Spain.

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That's why I said that can't give any opinion for sure. I just confirm what can be backed with photographic or official records evidence. And up to this day, no pic or official record demonstrates that the SBs arrived in one colour or another.....the first pictures showing those planes in Spain are of already camouflaged planes, and no evidence or proof demonstrates when or where that camouflage paint was applied, and there's not a single pic showing them in light grey or aluminium colour.  

Most of the material received from the URSS was new, in fact, as you correctly say, the soviets (in fact, the same can be said about Germany) found an excellent playground to test their combat abilities. The vast majority of the russian planes was used by russian pilots, so I wouldn't talk about inexperienced  crews.

There was a last batch of soviet planes waiting to be delivered to the republicans, waiting in France. That batch included M103 engined Kats, as well as I-152 and probably some I-153. Thay never reached spanish soil, because the campaign in Cataluña was already lost by the republicans.

 

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Maslov states that no facts have been found concerning any fourth delivery to Spain.  He doesn't mention any such aircraft reaching France, but to me it sounds decidedly unlikely.  Either that France would approve, at this stage, or that the Soviet Union would consider the risk of any examples falling to French hands. 

 

For the first deliveries, missions were in Russian hands.  However from the second delivery two Escuadrillos of Grupo 12 were Russian and two Spanish.  In addition Grupo 24 was Spanish.   I don't have a quote for how many that may have been, but there doesn't seem to be enough SBs for a full Grupo.  There's another statement that four Escuadrillos were in existence in the spring/summer of 1938 which included  at least two, one of which was Russian, attached to Grupo 24

 

I admit being a little puzzled why the grey scheme should be retained by the Soviet SBs whereas the fighters were camouflaged, but I don't want to expand this discussion to the fighters!

 

 

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Could someone please dig up an old Air Enthusiast Quarterly that opened with a couple of paragraphs from an eye witness that mentioned that the SB's came off the the boats and sat on the wharf's and were in a "brown" color. I remember this stopped me in my tracks when I read this eye witness account. I can't vouch for the accuracy of his words but it is an interesting nugget if true.

 

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10 hours ago, Massimo Tessitori said:

here is a photo of what could be a Spanish I-16

You can ommit the "could"...it was, indeed, one of the first Polickarpov I-16s wich arrived to Spain. They sported an overall finish of gray primer, similar to Aerolak or AMT-1, and black cowlings. Some sources claim it to be an overall aluminium colour wich quickly faded to a matt finish under the sunny spanish skies.  Makes sense, why not?

Just the wrap around red bands were added on tail and wings, ana a black serial number. It's believed that they were sent for testing purposes by the soviets, thus the lack of republican flag on the rudder and the non standard reg number.

When the planes arrived to Spain, they came into big wooden crates with the cyrilic words "MOKBA" (for Moscow) written on their sides, wich lead to the nickname "MOSCA". On the other hand, when they first appeared over the skies of Madrid, flying at tree top level to raise the morale of the population of a city ravaged by the bombings of the Condor Legion, and suddenly going up like arrows to attack the German bombers from their bellies and fly away, led to the german nickname "Ratte" (Ratas). When the nationalist pilots first met them, they called the little fighter "Boeing fighter", because they were supposed to be a cheap copy of the Boeing P26 fighters, wich the spanish governmentd was thinking about purchasing before the outbreak of the war. Then, the nationalist side adopted the same nickname for the flying barrel...

Edited by Artie

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