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German Military Vehicles in the Spanish Civil War (ePub)

A Comprehensive Study of the Deployment of German Military Vehicles on the Eve of WW2

Military > Frontline eBooks WWII > German Forces & Weaponry

By Lucas Molina Franco, José Mara Manrique, Jose Mara Mata
Frontline Books
File Size: 52.0 MB (.epub)
Pages: 231
Illustrations: Integrated B&W & colour plates
ISBN: 9781473878853
Published: 4th November 2019


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War broke out in Spain in 1936, when right wing forces, eventually led by General Franco, revolted against the elected, left-leaning government of the Second Spanish Republic. Hitler offered support to Franco’s Nationalists within days of the opening of hostilities, sending in powerful air and armoured units. Regarded as the ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Second World War, the Spanish Civil War enabled the Germans to test their new machines in combat conditions. Of particular note was the formation of the Condor Legion, composed of German air and ground troops.

This book provides readers with a comprehensive study of the combat and logistics vehicles which formed part of the German contingent that fought in the Spanish Civil War alongside the rebels. The Panzer I, which so surprised the world in the Polish campaign and initially equipped the German Panzerdivisionen, was first seen in the Spanish Civil War, together with a wide range of specialised war materiel such as flamethrowers. The Germans also tested small numbers of 88 mm Flak 18 anti-aircraft artillery guns which they used to destroy Republican tanks and fortifications with direct fire, as well as enemy aircraft in their designed role.

This book looks at the wide range of vehicles used by the Germans to support their war effort in Spain, from the humblest motorcycle to the Horch staff car, or from Opel Blitz, MAN Diesel, Mercedes, and Krupp trucks to the large Vomag 3LR 443. Even the different types of military ambulances seen in Spain during the war years are explored.

Never has such a comprehensive and graphical study been made of vehicles used by the German forces in the Spanish Civil War. It draws on a large collection of high-quality images, most of them previously unpublished, with each model that served in Spain identified.

The Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 presented Nazi Germany with the perfect opportunity to support its comrades in fascism, but above all to test in combat conditions the numerous new weapons, vehicles and tactics which they had developed to overcome the stalemate of trench warfare. It was an extremely valuable experience, and as such were very much able to hit the ground running at the start of the Second World War. This superbly presented book consists largely of illustrations and photographs of the considerable range of the equipment used during its course, from the relatively mundane, of staff cars, motorcycles and supply trucks, to anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, and the most prestigious of all, tanks and aircraft. It also presents numerous tables listing the types and quantities of each, as well as orders of battle for the German and Spanish units which used them.

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Pegasus Archive

If you want to find out more about the Spanish Civil War and the vehicles in use at the time then this would be an ideal book to provide an introduction.

Windscreen, The Military Vehicle Trust - December 2020

Due to its proximity to World War II, the Spanish Civil War is often overshadowed and books on the subject have been, until recently few and far between. This book seeks to address this and succeeds comprehensively. Military historians will find much to interest them and military model makers will find many interesting photographs within the pages of this book that have not been seen before Highly recommended.

Tom Cole, Miniature Armoured Fighting Vehicles Association, September 2020

Masterpiece with special place within our library.

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Miniaturas JM

The Civil War that broke out in Spain in 1936 was used as a training ground for the German ground and air forces in the Condor Legion that supported the Spanish forces under fascist General Francisco Franco. Within three years, the lessons learnt here would be put to devastating effect in Poland, the Low Countries and France.
This book comprehensively describes the German armour. This was mainly Panzerkampwagen I Ausf A and Bs including four Ausf A “Breda” that were fitted with a turret mounted 20mm Italian cannon that gave the normally machine gun armed tanks an anti-tank capability. There were also Panzerbefehlswagen I Ausf B Command tanks as well at least one “Ohne Aufbau” (without superstructure) that was used for training. It is interesting to note that the main impact of German ground forces (aside from providing equipment) was training with around 56,000 Nationalist soldiers trained by the Germans.
As well as armour the Germans provided a plethora of soft skin vehicles from BMW motorcycles, through Horch, Mercedes-Benz, Wanderer and Stoewr cars through to trucks from Vomag, Büssing-NAG and the ubiquitous Opel “Blitz”. There were also specialist vehicles like the Krupp “Protze”, Büssing-NAG workshop truck and Phänomen Granit ambulance. The book also covers the ground vehicles used by the Air Force contingent which included signals trucks and specialist vehicles used to support aircraft as well as Sd Kfz 7 Half-tracks used for towing 88 mm Flak 18 anti-aircraft guns.
The book is lavishly illustrated with archive photographs on almost every page. Each has a comprehensive caption accurately identifying vehicle types and sometimes location. There are drawings depicting various scenarios and some of these are repeated in a colour section in the centre showing a variety of vehicles and detailed drawings of uniforms worn by German and Spanish troops. The text is well researched and takes the reader chronologically through the build-up of the German contingents and the impact they had on the conflict. But it is not just about the vehicles supplied by the Germans. The book also looks at the personnel involved. Soldiers like Wilhelm Von Thoma who commanded Panzer forces in Spain and would go on to command 17 Panzer Division during Operation Barbarossa and later Panzer troops in the Western Desert
Due to its proximity to World War II, the Spanish Civil War is often overshadowed and books on the subject have been, until recently few and far between. This book seeks to address this and succeeds comprehensively. Military historians will find much to interest them and military model makers will find many interesting photographs within the pages of this book that have not been seen before Highly recommended.


This book combines succinct text with lavish illustration. The photographs included in this excellent study include many very rare images. – Very Highly Recommended.

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Overall the book is a very good book.

UK Historian

Worth getting if you're interested in German machinery, or even machinery of the War/period.
Well-written, well-illustrated, well-edited. Plenty of 'nuggets' of info, and has increased my interest in what went on in Spain.

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WW2 Talk

This is a book that’s really covering ground that hasn’t been covered elsewhere. Worth the money.

Tank and AFV News

This is a great SCW modeler's reference -- at least from the German equipment perspective. Enjoyed it.

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

This is a book that will delight fans of military history and military vehicles, with the added interest that many of those vehicles were tried and tested in Spain first and were later put to use in WWII. The authors have published a number of books in Spanish on historic subjects related mostly to the Spanish Civil War, and I understand that Pen & Sword are working on publishing other related titles. An informative and visually engaging book about a period of Spanish history that remains very present, and we should never forget.

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Author Translator, Olga Nunez Miret

The book is a feast for the eyes of military history buffs , a book portraying this war as terrible as it is distant, which saw the main ideologies of the beginning of the 20th century clashing. A struggle to which the vehicles reproduced in these rare and beautiful photos of this very interesting book have contributed.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

This new hardback book from Frontline Books has 231 pages packed with interest for both the vehicle historian and the modeller alike.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

About Lucas Molina Franco

Lucas Molina Franco was born in Ferrol in 1965. He has a graduate degree in Economics and Business Science and a doctorate in Contemporary History. He has worked as a technical officer in the Regional Government of Castile and Leon while teaching as a university lecturer in Macroeconomics and Business Economics. He is currently editor of ARES, a journal of military history and current military affairs.

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