German Military Vehicles in the Spanish Civil War...

 

...A Comprehensive Study of the Deployment of German Military Vehicles on the Eve of WW2, from Frontline Books

 

Title: German Military Vehicles in the Spanish Civil War

Author: Jose Maria Mata, Lucas Molina, & Jose Maria Manrique

Publisher: Frontline Books

ISBN: 978-1-47387-883-9

 

This new hardback book from Frontline Books has 231 pages packed with interest for both the vehicle historian and the modeller alike. it is well known that both Russian and German support was provided to the two sides of the Spanish Civil War, the Nationalists and the Republicans. Germany used the opportunity to send both army and air force units as they tried out the growth of their revitalised military. The various German commanders who were there also include a number of names who WW2 historians will be familiar with, such as Willhelm Ritter Von Thoma, who was a general in the Afrika Korps when he was captured in November 1942.
The book concnetrates on the Army units sent to Spain, in particular Panzergruppe Drohne. They were equipped with the Panzer I Ausf A and Ausf B, along with support vehicles. It also includes some of the tanks they were upagainst, the old Renault FT-17 and the Russian T-26. There are also the 4 conversions of Panzer Is with a turret that had increased height to enable it to mount an Italian 20mm gun rather than the usual machine guns. The German troos were not there to fight as such, but to train Spanish troops in the use of their German equipment, including tactics as well as the physical machines. So tanks, flamethrowers and more. The later chapters cover more of the support vehicles used by both the army and Luftwaffe units, so an interesting mixture of truck types, including Opel, MAN, Faun, Krupp and Mercedes-Benz, with Workshop and Wireless bodies as well as basic General Service trucks. Add field cars and ambulances there is a great mix with lots of detail.
The experience the German troops and their commanders gained were of course to put them in good stead for the later war in Poland and France. Seeing their Phanoman-Granit ambulances it reminded me of talking to the late Tony Oliver who sorted out the vehicles for the film Battle of Briatin back in the 1960's. He was given access to any military base in Spain at the time and he found over 70 original German vehicles still there and he acquired them for use in making the film. His Phanoman-Granit ambulance, very much in original condition, can be seen to this day in the History on Wheels Collection at Eton Wick, here in the UK. I think modellers in particular will really enjoy this one.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin