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The I.M.A.M Ro.37bis in Spanish Skies

June 6 2012 at 1:58 AM
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  (Acceso PeterDupont)

 
First of all I want to thank Vladimir Nikiforov (as always) for his great assistance by sharing his archive with me. Indirectly our mutual friend Juan Arraez Cerda: his articles for Serga & Avions magazines provide by far the best information on this subject to be found: Highly recommended!

And last but not least and for totally different reasons, my dear friend Juan Míllan and his dear Pilar. In the first week of March they offered us the utmost of Spanish hospitality under very difficult circumstances.

I hope you enjoy this summary. Any other pictures, additions or corrections from your side are more than welcome.

Kind regards,

Peter.



DEVELOPMENT OF THE Ro.37:

In 1925, Meridionali had managed to purchase the Italian license for Fokker's extremely successful C.V, a single-engined observation and light-bombing biplane designed for a wide range of alternative engines. IMAM's version of the C.V was powered by a 500-hp Alfa Romeo-built Bristol Jupiter radial engine and called the Ro.1. It became the standard, general-purpose biplane of the Regia Aeronautica Italiana during the early 1930s. Ro.1s saw extensive service during Italy's conquest of Ethiopia, where they proved invaluable for machine gunning and gassing the Negus' largely defenseless feudal infantry.

Picture 1: Italian IMAM Ro.1s flying over Ethiopia.

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The Regia Aeronautica's happy experiences with the Ro.1 seem to have given IMAM the inside track when it came to a replacement. But the planned successor, the three-seat, IMAM-designed Ro.30 of 1932, was not a resounding commercial success, being ordered in only limited quantities by the Italian service. In all likelihood, the 10% power increase offered by its 550-hp, Alfa/Bristol Jupiter was not enough to tempt the air force away from the still entirely satisfactory C.V/Ro 1. While the Ro.30 bettered the earlier aircraft's 19,680-ft (6055-m) service ceiling by almost 5000 ft (1538 m), it's top speed was actually slightly lower (155 mph vs. 158 for the Ro 1).

Picture 2: One of the few IMAM Ro.30s, designed to accommodate three crew members.

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When the Ro.37 appeared in 1934, however, it at last offered a significant step forward technologically and a useful increase in performance. So much so, in fact, that it was originally intended for a dual reconnaissance and two-seat fighter role. Powered by the new FIAT A.30 RA, a 600-hp, liquid-cooled V-12 that was both more powerful and more streamlined than the Jupiter, the Ro.37 could reach a top speed of 199 mph (332 kph) at 13,120 ft (4037 m), could land at 67 mph (112 kph), and had a service ceiling of 21,976 ft (6762 m). Range was marginally reduced compared with the Ro.1: 726 miles (1212 km). Pleased with these results, the Regia Aeronautica ordered about 200 aircraft, a large order for the time. Total production of this type was 294 aircraft.

Picture 3: The first version of the Ro.37, powered by the the Fiat A.30 as used by the 39a Squadriglia 5o Gruppo O.A., seen here in the summer of 1942 at Scutari.

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An air-cooled radial-engined version, the Ro.37bis, succeeded the FIAT-powered aircraft on the production lines. The Ro.37bis was powered by either of three engines, the 560-hp Piaggio P.IX RC40, the 650-hp Piaggio P.X. RC35 or the 700-hp Piaggio P.X.R, all 9-cylinder radials rated for maximum output at a lower altitude than the FIAT A.30.

Picture 4:

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With the former, the Ro.37bis was marginally faster than the Ro.37, reaching a maximum of 205 mph at 16,400 ft (50046 m), and had a substantially better ceiling, 23,616 ft (7266 m). With the latter, the Ro.37bis had the same maximum speed as the Ro.37, 199 mph (332 kph), but reached it at 6560 ft (2019 m). Service ceiling was reduced to 20,664 ft (6358 m). No doubt this engine was best suited for aircraft used primarily for low-level tactical and colonial roles, while the P.IX. was better suited to the original strategic reconnaissance mission. A total of 325 aircraft of this variant were build.

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I.M.A.M. Ro.37bis SPECIFICATIONS & DETAILS:

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Picture 5: Front cockpit instrument panel.

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Pictures 6-9: The SAFAT 7.7 machine gun, rear turret configuration and the 12kg bombs that were mostly used by the Spanish Ro.37s when they were involved in ground-attack missions.

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Picture 10: Characteristic front view of an IMAM Ro-37bis.

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On the 29th of September 1936, the first shipment of 10 Ro.37s (or Romeos as called by the Spanish), together with 12 Fiat CR.32 fighters, arrived at the harbor of Vigo, in Galicia in the north-east of Spain, because the harbors in the south of Spain were blocked by the Republican fleet.

Pictures 11 + 12: The first Romeos being assembled and tested at Tablada Airfield, here still without any markings.

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From here these aircraft were transported all the way to the south by train until they reached Tablada airfield (Parc Regional Sud) near Sevilla on the first of October. The Ro.37s were assembled in less than a week and equally divided between the Italian-manned 1a Squadriglia of 22o Gruppo Autonomo O.A. Linci under the command of Capitano Colacicchi and the Spanish-manned 1a Escuadrilla del Tercio 1-E-12 under the command of Capitán José Muñoz Jiménez El Corte.

Pictures 13 + 14: The first Romeos were hastily directed to the front, no time to apply any personal or squadron markings. Picture 13 shows Capitán José Muñoz Jiménez El Corte sitting on the spats of a Ro.37 at Talavera..

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After a short time of familiarization both groups were sent to Talavera de la Reina near Madrid to take part in the Nationalists attack on the capital.

Almost at the same time, on the 20th of October 1936, an Italian vessel unloaded a second batch of 11 Ro.37s at the harbor of Cadiz. These aircraft were also assembled at Tablada airfield as soon as possible, but three of them were damaged during test-flights. The rest was directed to Talavera de la Reina as soon as possible.

Picture 15: One of the newly arrived Ro.37s at Tablada

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Unfortunately one aircraft (12-14) crashed into a mountain side, causing the first Ro.37 casualties: the pilot Tenente Fazi and his observer Don Alfonso de Orléans y Borbón.

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During November and December the Battle for Madrid came to its peak: A Republican counter-offensive on the ground and reinforcements in the air by Polikarpov I-15 Chatos and I-16 Moscas occasioned much brain-racking for the Nationalists. As a result the Romeos and S.M.81s were forbidden to fly missions without adequate fighter protection and even on the 24th and 25th of November, Talavera airfield was shelled by Republican artillery and bombed by Tupolev SBs.

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In this period one Spanish Ro.37 of 1-E-12 was shot down and another badly damaged in the air, some more Italian Romeos were damaged during the assaults on Talavera airfield.
All flyable aircraft were directly moved to Arenas de San Pedro and, from the beginning of December, continued operations from the field of Prado del Arca.

Picture 18:

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More losses were encountered in December; on the 2nd the aircraft of Dino Ugo di Marcio was brought down by anti-aircraft fire and a tragedy occurred on the 10th of December when the aircraft of Rafael Jiménez Benamú and José Company was shot down by a friendly Heinkel He 51, causing the death if its crew. The German pilot of the Heinkel mistook the Ro.37bis for one of the Republican Polikarpov R-5s that at the same time had attacked Aravaca airfield.

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The last casualty occurred on the 3th of January 1937 when the Ro.37 of Mariano Garcia Alonso and Grimaldi Sauca was shot down by a Republican Polikarpov I-16 Mosca. The crew did not survive this accident, just at the time that Nationalist attack on Madrid was temporarily postponed.

At this time Mussolini had decided to enlarge Italian aid to Franco what resulted in the arrival of 31 more Ro.37s, this time equipped with the more powerful (700 hp) Piaggio P.X. Just enough aircraft to enable both the Italians and the Nationalist Spaniards to form two complete groups:
- Aviazione Legionaria XXIIo Gruppo Autonomo O.A. Linci consisting of 120a and 128a Squadriglia
- Aviación Nacional Grupo 1-G-12 (renamed 4-G-12 in June 1937) consisting of Escuadrillas 1-E-12 and 2-E-12.

Pictures 20 + 21: By spring 1938 the aircraft of XXIIo Gruppo could be recognized by the Linci emblem (120a Squadriglia) or the squadriglia number on the spats of the undercarriage (128a Squadriglia) as shown here.

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From now on both Groups, mostly separated but occasionally together, took part in every subsequent campaign of the Civil War.

XXIIo Gruppo:

in January and February 1937, XXIIo Gruppo Autonomo O.A. Linci took part in the Battle of Malaga with some of its aircraft operating from Armilla near Granada only 15 kilometers from the front, strafing and bombing the Republican supply lines till all resistance ceased.

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Battle of Guadalajara: From the end of February till the beginning of March 1937 a large element of the Aviazione Legionaria was brought together on Soria airfield for stopping the Republican counter offensive in the Madrid area. Among them some 20 Ro.37s, accompanied by 13 S.M.81s and 25 Fiat CR.32s (26o Gruppo Cucaracha). Another 28 CR.32s (Gruppo Asso di Bastoni) arrived on the airfield of Torrijos at the 8th of March.

Picture 23: Soria airfield March 1937

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Picture 24:

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The first bombing and strafing action of 9 Romeos took part on the 9th of March, Despite intensive anti-aircraft fire only the aircraft of Lieutenant Garizzo was severely hit and had to make an emergency landing at Sempilverda, resulting in a write-off of the aircraft but the crew walked away almost unharmed.

From the 13th of March onwards mass attacks were carried out by the Aviazione Legionaria, which also meant that the CR.32s provided fighter cover for the Romeos. Despite that sergente maggiore Luigi Lagna lost his life when his Ro.37bis was shot down by anti-aircraft fire on the 16th of March and for the same reason another Romeo was lost on the 20th of March.

The Republican offensive was finally halted on the 22nd of March which meant the end of the Battle of Guadalajara. On the same day and the next day two Romeos had to be written off due to emergency landings on respectively Almazán and Soria airfields.

After a few days of rest the XXIIo Gruppo was redirected to the airfield of Lacua near Vitoria. A few days after arrival, on the 7th of April, sergente maggiore Passionello wrecked his Ro.37 during a landing accident, but he and his observer left the debris unharmed.

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Operations over Basque country were often carried out together with Heinkel He 51s of 1./J88 and 3./J88 of Legion Condor and the Heinkel He 46s of the Spanish escuadrilla 1-E-11. The most deadly adversary in this campaign was the intense and precise anti-aircraft fire of the Oerlikon 1.S 20mm guns. This resulted in the following losses of Romeos:
- 13th of April One aircraft shot down over Vergara, crew managed to escape by parachute.
- 23rd of April - One aircraft shot down over Vergara, crew managed to escape by parachute too.
- 29th of April Aircraft of Tenenti Buzzi and Garotti hit by AA, but they managed to cripple back towards the environment of Guernica where both left the aircraft by parachute to land beyond their own lines.
- 6th of May Lucky Tenente Garotti, this time as observer of Capitano Romagnoli hit by AA-fire again near Monte Sollube but both managed to escape by parachute again behind over Nationalists held territory.
- 17th of May Aircraft of sergente maggiore Valvo and his observer Tenente Sforzini shot down in the environment of Guernica, both managed to escape by parachute.
On the 19th of June the city of Bilbao fell into Nationalists hands and this ended the Basque campaign.

During the Battle of Brunete in the central part of Spain and in preparation for the upcoming Battle for Santander, XXIIo Gruppo was relocated from Lacua to the airfield of Recajo (near Logroño) and from there to Villarcayo, more close to Santander.



On the the 20th of July, one Romeo was lost due to a landing accident and on 18th of August another one for the same reason, but in both cases their crews escaped unharmed.

The Battle for Santander started on the 14th of August and would become a decisive blow for the Republicans. Mainly because an overwhelming air superiority and the far better artillery on the ground for the Nationalists.

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The Ro.37s flew aggressive missions almost on a daily basis but this time they were protected by sufficient fighter cover. Nevertheless, on the 17th of August, the Ro.37 of Giuseppe Malvico and Giorgio Busa crashed into the Cr.32 of Adamo Giulietti during landing at Villarcayo after their mission, causing the death of all three of them.

When the fall of Santander was a fact on the 27th of August, ten Ro.37s performed a victory flight for the ground forces and thereafter welcomed a relative calm period of time and were redirected to the Arágon province. Only on the 4th of October the aircraft of Tenente Bruno Paolella was lost due to a forced landing in the open field, causing the death of its pilot.

Picture 27+28: Commanders Capitano Angelo Mastragostino of 128a Squadriglia seen before his Romeo in October 1937 and Capitano Fernando Zanni of 120a Squadriglia seen here during his tour in North Africa (Benghasi) in September 1941. Both pilots changed to Fighter Command (Caccia Terreste) after their Spanish tour.
Angelo Mastragostino was commander of the 154o Gruppo Autonomo C.T. during the Greek Campaign in 1940, was promoted to Tenente Colonnello on 18 March 1943 and survived WWII.
In October 1940 Fernando Zanni was commander of 160o Gruppo Autonomo C.T. during the Greek Campaign, fought in North Africa and also survived WWII with the rank of Tenente Colonello.

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In January 1938 XXIIo Gruppo started actions against the Alto de Celadas from their base at Recajo (Logrogño), while 120a Squadriglia was under command of Capitano Angelo Mastragostino and 128a Squadriglia of Capitano Fernando Zanni. From now on actions were performed together with their Spanish comrades of 4-G-12 until the conquest of Teruel on the 22nd of February.



The Aragon Offensive:

From the 9th of March XXIIo Gruppo supported the Nationalists attack in the direction to Alcañiz, often in cooperation with the Breda Ba.65s of the 65a Squadriglia di Assalto and protected by the Fiat CR.32s of the VIo Gruppo Gamba di Ferro and the XXIIIo Gruppo Asso di Bastoni .
On the 20th of March the aircraft of Paolo Boccella and Pietro Santu was lost to ant-aircraft fire.

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During the rapid advance of this campaign the Gruppo moved to the airfields of Escatrón and La Salada (near Alcañiz). The last missions of this campaign were flown on the 19th of April.


The Levante Campaign:

Against all expectations and against the advises of his generals and foreign partners, Franco decided to continue his attack into the southern direction towards Valencia instead of attacking Barcelona and the rest of Republican held northern territory. The campaign started on the 25th of April but was already halted for the first time on the 27th. Progression was slow, and resistance (helped by bad weather, the rough terrain and Russian reinforcements) far more greater than Franco had ever expected.

On the 25th of July the Nationalists offensive was definitively halted by the XYZ or Matallana line, the strong defenses around Valencia, and during this campaign the Nationalists had suffered a costly human loss ratio of 4 to 1.

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During this campaign the XXIIo Gruppo did not see much action. The 120a Squadriglia only performed photo-recce missions, while the 128a Squadriglia was responsible for all Cadena attacks, operating from the airstrips of Villafranca del Cid and the nearby Mosqueruela.

The Battle of the Ebro:

In the night of the 24th / 25th of July the Republican Army surpassed the river Ebro by surprise. The resulting battle turned out to be the biggest clash of armies of the entire conflict and the most bloody one as well. Instead of reinforcing the defenses for Barcelona and the Republican territory that was left in the northern part of Spain, Republican premier Juan Negrin, without sufficient air power, tanks or modern artillery, approved a counter attack from the northern side of the Ebro southwards to relieve the pressure on Valencia. And, as we know now, with devastating results for the Republicans.

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During this campaign the XXIIo Gruppo did see even less action than in the Levante campaign. 18 brand-new Ro.37s were received, all were equipped with the new Piaggio P.X.R engine but this engine soon appeared to deliver insufficient power. Several of these aircraft were modified to single seaters to compensate the loss of power.

Picture 32: 12-2 modified to single-seater.

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The Gruppo was based at the airfield of La Salada and only performed photo-reconnaissance missions, leaving the attack missions to the more modern and potent Breda Ba.65s.
At the end of the campaign 128a Squadriglia was even dissolved and its aircraft handed over to the Spanish Grupo 4-G-12.

On the 10th of February, at the end of the Catalonia Offensive, 11 Romeos of the 120a Squadriglia were stationed at Candasnos and another 7 at Castejón del Puente, Aragon. They soon were transferred to Casa Vieja to perform recce-missions over Extremadura and later to Olmedo to take part on the Final Offensive (against Madrid).On the 1st of April 1939 at the end of the hostilities XXIIo Gruppo only had seven airworthy Ro.37s to its disposal.

LAviación Nacional:

1-G-12 (renamed to 4-G-12 from June 1937) flew daily operations throughout February 1937 during the Battle of La Jarama and was joined with three groups of Junkers Ju 52s. Due to the fact that the Italian CR.32 pilots were forbidden to enter Republican held territory, they almost always flew their hazardous missions without fighter cover.

Picture 33: A pilot of 4-G-12 besides his Romeo showing an early variation of the nice insignia of this group.

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Finally, on the 18th, the recently arrived Joaquín García Morato and his Patrulla Azul turned the tide: his promise to offer fighter protection over Republican territory made the Italian fighter pilots disobey their orders and support their Spanish comrades. In the ensuing battle five Chatos and two Moscas were shot down and from then air superiority took a turn for the better in favor of the Nationalists.

At the beginning of March 1937 this Group was stationed at Cordoba, participating in the offensive of Pozoblanco and already on the 20th of March returned to Griñón near the central front at Madrid.

Until May only routine missions were carried out from Griñón but by then the Republicans concentrated their troops to attack the Nationalists stronghold at the end of the bridge over the river Tago. Being the only Nationalists offensive air unit in this region, 4-G-12 was responsible for the bulk of the operations to protect the defenders. On the 15th of May these actions took their toll when the Ro.37 of José Ramón Mosquera Retana and José Luis Bisquera Sanz broke down during a landing accident, killing both crew members. The bombing and strafing actions themselves were very successful however, especially those on the Aranjuez railway station where fresh troops and supplies were unloaded, culminating in the destructing of the CAMPSA fuel depots.

Picture 34: A Romeo with a CR.32 fighter in the background. Note the 2 on the spats (Does somebody knows where this stands for?).

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At the end of May another Republican offensive in the La Granja region was halted. Because the Romeos were still without fighter protection, they attacked the Republican positions 2 or 3 times daily from Avila.
The situation changed on the 1st of June when Joaquín García Morato and his Patrulla Azul (2-G-3) arrived in the province of Saragossa.

Battle of Brunete: At the time Bilbao was fallen, the Republicans started a new offensive west of Madrid near Brunete on the 5th of July. One of the goals was to win time so the troops in the north could reorganize their defenses for the coming Nationalists attack in the direction of Santander, the other to create a breakthrough in the encirclement in the south-west area around Madrid.

At this moment only 4-G-12 at Griñón and 19a and 20a Squadriglia of XXIIIo Gruppo Caccia with Fiat CR.32 fighters at Torrijos had to oppose 13 fighter squadrons (equipped with Polikarpov I-15s and I-16s), 3 squadrons of Tupolev SB-2 bombers and several squadrons of Polikarpov RZ army cooperation aircraft.

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In the middle of July Nationalists reinforcements were brought in from Avila (24a, 25a and 26a Squadriglia XVIo Gruppo Caccia and six aircraft from 2-G-3 (all CR.32s) to Torrijos, and from the north a Group of He 46 Pavas and a squadron of Aero A-101 Ocas to Avila and Delta (Casa Vieja) -) plus the He 51s of the Legion Condor to Villa del Prado and Escolona del Prado.

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One of the fiercest air battles of the Spanish Civil War were fought around Brunete with the estimated loss of 23 aircraft from the Nationalists and 100 from the Republican side at the time hostilities came to an end on the 27th of July and both parties consolidated their defensive positions.

Rare enough, no losses of Romeos are recorded during this battle and the Ro.37s of 4-G-12 stayed at Griñón until the 29th of August to be redirected westwards to Delta airfield (Casavieja), south of Avila. The Group stayed here (besides a short time of operations near Cordoba in the beginning of September) until the 3rd of November when it went to Sevilla with only two operational aircraft left.

Here the group was reequipped with some 13 brand-new Ro.37s, numbered 12-22 - 12-34 and was reorganised. Manuel Negrón became group-commander and both his squadrons were placed under the command of José Muñoz El Corto, respectively José Gancedo Gaez. But the last one and his observer José Diaz Aguilar already lost their lives on the 5th of November when their aircraft crashed during a routine flight. On the 15th of December 4-G-12 left Sevilla for its new combat destination. After a stop at Matacán (near Salamanca) until the 21st, it finally arrived at Alfamén (south-west of Zaragoza).

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In the meantime, the Gruppo had fully adopted the adopted the Cadena or Chain style tactics of ground-strafing as invented by the Spanish He 52 pilots of 1-G-12. The aircraft were flown one after the other in a kind of inclined vertical circle. During the attack the aircraft made a shallow dive towards its target to pull up after strafing with fully open throttle to climb away as fast as it could.

In January 4-G-12 was strongly involved in the actions over and around the Alto de Celadas together with XIIo Gruppo O.A.: with sufficient fighter cover, but exposed to immense ground and anti-aircraft fire. Due to this ground fire the Gruppo lost the aircraft of its commander Manuel Negrón and his observer Mira on the 20th of January during one of these Cadena attacks. Negrón was killed instantly, but his observer one way or another succeeded in taken over the controls and managed to fly the aircraft back to its base, but almost died from injuries inflicted by the crash-landing of the aircraft. After his recovery he succeeded in obtaining his pilots certificate and even managed to survive the Civil War.

Negron was temporally succeeded by Rafel Jiménez Benamú till the arrival of commander Rafael Martinez de Pisón. Actions continued until the 22nd of February when Teruel was finally recovered from the Nationalists.

Picture 38: 12-53 after ground loop

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The Aragon Offensive:

On the 9th of March the Nationalists launched their Aragon Offensive from Zaragoza in the south-west direction to the Mediterranean with the intention to cut Nationalists territory in two. Already on the 15th of April they accomplished this goal by taking Vinaroz and Benicarló.

From the start of this campaign 4-G-12 started its operations from Zaragoza (Sanjurjo) but shortly afterwards moved to the field of Puig Moreno (close to Alcañiz). The aircraft were continuously in action, supporting the fast advance of the ground-forces, strafing and bombing all resistance that was met. On the 31st of March however, the Ro.37 of Francisco Andrés Fernandez Suarez and Alfonso Stefania Belliure made a fatal crash during touch-down at Puig Moreño killing both crew members.

This was the sixth Ro.37 lost in action and at the start of April 4-G-12 was withdrawn from action and sent to Logrogño- Agoncillo airport (near Recajo) for rest and maintenance. On the 23rd of April 4-G-12 was transferred to Castejón del Puente (between Huesca and Lleida) near the French border to attack the encircled Republican Army at Bielsa.

Picture 39:

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The Levante Campaign:

At the start of this campaign XXIIo Gruppo was moved to Puig Moreno from where among others 13 supplementary missions were flown to Teruel. During this campaign at least two Romeos were lost to ground or anti-aircraft fire: on the 20th of June the aircraft of commander Martinez de Pisón and Emiliano Alfaro (both managed to escape by parachute and to rejoin their unit), and on the 23rd of June the aircraft of Jimenez Benamú and Lartigue which survived with only minor injuries.

Furthermore, during this campaign a lot of observers left 4-G-12 to obtain their pilots license and approximately 12 crew members left to join other units.

The Battle of the Ebro:

From the very start of the battle, the Romeos of 4-G-12 tried to stop the advance of the Republican forces. Because of the relatively small area in which the battle was fought, the aircraft were exposed to very intensive anti-aircraft fire and even to fighter attacks despite their fighter cover of CR.32s. They returned riddled with bullets and often with wounded crew members.

Picture 40:

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For instance on the 26th of August ground fire hit aircraft number 12-42 and its pilot Suarez Oviedo during its fourth strafing run at a height of approximately 15 meters. His observer Felix Martinez Saez managed to fly the aircraft to a height of some 2000 metres, where after the pilot recovered consciousness and made a perfect emergency landing, only to die of his wounds shortly afterwards.

And there were more casualties: on the 9th of September both Commander Jesús Camacho and Capitán Juan Diaz Criado were injured and at the end of the month the Romeo of Sancho and Luján was hit by anti-aircraft fire both escaped to safety by parachute. During the same mission Borrás was injured but managed to bring his aircraft back to his base.

On the 2nd of October the Ro.37 of Commander Cipriano Rodriguez Cucufate, who just had replaced Commander Jesús Camacho, and teniente Leopoldo de Castro was hit. Both men escaped by parachute, but the chute of Rodriguez did not unfold, which caused the loss of the second commander of 4-G-12 in action.

Due to the many losses in this period, 4-G-12 received 8 new pilots and 2 observers to keep the group on strength.

Picture 41: Romeo 12-43 brought to mono-seat configuration for better performance during Cadena attacks.

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The Catalonia Offensive:

The Nationalists started the campaign on the 23rd of December 1938 and rapidly conquered Catalonia. Barcelona fell on the 26th of January 1939 and the remnants of the Republican Forces headed for the French border together with thousands of civilians. Approximately 220.000 men were disarmed in France at the time Franco closed the border with France by the 10th of February.

4-G-12 started the campaign operating from the airfield of Castejón del Puente but during their advance operated also from Albatarrez, Araño and Bel Puig successively.

At the end of the hostilities in Catalonia the Grupo was transferred to Bequerencia to operate over Extremadura and later to Posadas to take part in the Final Offensive against Madrid. At the end of the Civil War 4-G-12 had 28 operational Romeos to its disposal.

After the Civil War:

Picture 42: Barajas Parade May 1939.

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All Ro.37s were flown to Barajas to take part in the victory parade for Franco. Almost immediately thereafter, the newly founded Ejercitó del Aire evaluated the remaining Ro.37s and judged them unsuitable for further front-line service.

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The aircraft were sent to Tablada for a complete revision and were brought to two-seat double control configuration to serve their remaining days as trainer-aircraft at the Training School at Jérez. In December 1945 these aircraft had disappeared from the inventory of the Ejercitó del Aire

Picture 44:

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Pictorial overview of the Ro.37s used in Spain in sequence of their individual aircraft numbers:

Pictures 45-46: 12-1

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Pictures 47-55: 12-2 (128a Squadriglia and Aviacion Nacional). Note picture 47: The emblem, painted within the national insignia, was carried by several Romeos around June 1938 while stationed at La Salada airfield (East of Sevilla and south of Cordoba), see also pictures 9, 60, 72 &78.


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Pictures 56-59: 12-3 (128a & 120a Squadriglia XXIIo Gruppo)

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Picture 60- : 12-4

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Pictures 61-63: 12-5, the mount of Capitano Angelo Mastragostino

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Pictures 64-66: 12-6, the last picture showing 12-6 after being rebuilt to mono-seat configuration. This probably was the second Ro.37bis rebuilt in Spain while its registration reads A.L.2 (Aviación Legionaria 2).

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Pictures 67-69: 12-7 (XXIIo Gruppo & Aviacion National - Note the different serials on the tail)

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Pictures 70+71 : 12-8

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Pictures 72-77 : 12-9 (XXIIo Gruppo Autonomo O.A. & Aviacion National

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Pictures 78-80: 12-10

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Pictures 81-87: 20-11

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Pictures 88+89: 12-14

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Pictures 90-92: 12-15

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Pictures 93-98: 12-17

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Pictures 99+100: 12-20

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Picture 102: 12-22

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Pictures 102+103: 12-31 Comandante Negrón Presente (in order of the Commander that lost his life on the 20th of January 1938 while attacking the Altos de Celadas near Teruel).

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Picture 104: 12-34

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Picture 105: 12-38

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Picture 106: 12-39

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Picture 107: 12-40

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Picture 108: 12-41

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Pictures 109-111: 12-43 (single seater)

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Picture 112-114: 12-44

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Picture 115: 12-48

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Pictures 116-1 :12-53

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Sources:

Pictures 1, 6, 7, 8, 41, 50, 53, 69, 70, 71, 94, 109, : My scrapbook
Pictures 2, : Avia & Aeronautica website:http://www.avia-it.com/act/cera_una_volta/Aerei_nei_cieli/avianew_cera_una_volta_Aerei_168_IMAM_RO30.asp
Pictures 3, : Regia Aeronautica: Balcani & Fronte Orientale by Angelo Emiliani [Intergest 1974]
Pictures 4, : Janes All the World Aircraft 1938page74d
Pictures 5, 74, 76, : Archive Manuel Rodriguez Valverde
Pictures 9, 58, 95, 98, : Spagna 1936-39 LAviazione Legionaria by Angelo Emiliani [Intergest 1976]
Pictures 10, 15, 34, 45, 46, 60, 61, 62, 73, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 91, 101, 102, 104, : Archive Vladimir Nikiforov
Pictures 11, 26, 30, 31, 35, 38, 43, 47, 48, 51, 57, 61, 75, 90, 92, 115, :Serga no. 1 &3 (Spanish magazine 1999-07 Los Romeo Ro-37 bis en la Guerra Civil: article by Juan Arraez Cerda)
Pictures 12, 33, 42, 108, 111, 112, : Archive Manuel Rodriguez Valverde
Pictures 13, : Website Aviation Cornerhttp://www.aviationcorner.net/show_photo.asp?id=182244
Pictures 14, 21, 72, 78, 100, : Archive Anderle Furio
Pictures 16, 17, 22, 24, 36, 80, 89, 99, 113, : Avions no. 85 (French Magazine 2000-04 Les Romeo 37 dans la Guerre Civil Espagnole: article by Juan Arraez Cerda)
Pictures 18, 20, 25, 29, 39, 40, 56, 59, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68,79, 97, 103, 105, : Avions no. 86 (French Magazine 2000-05 Les Romeo 37 dans la Guerre Civil Espagnole: article by Juan Arraez Cerda)
Pictures 19, 37, 88, : Aeroplano (Spanish magazine) no.04 pages 23, 90, 97
Pictures 23, 28, : Asso4Stormo website http://www.asso4stormo.it/arc_02/arc_02_01/Costigliolo_cos/cos02.htm
Pictures 27, 32, 66, 93, : Website Aeronet GCEhttp://www.network54.com/Forum/394728/
Pictures 44, : Avions no. 87 (French Magazine 2000-06 Les Romeo 37 dans la Guerre Civil Espagnole: article by Juan Arraez Cerda)

Pictures 49, : Russiche website Avia déjà vuhttp://crimso.msk.ru/
Pictures 52, : Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine 1999-11 Volume 21 no.9
Pictures 54, : Soumrak Stihacich Dvouplosniku 1936-1937 part 1 by Miroslav Snajdr
Pictures 55, 67, 77, 96, : Ebay
Pictures 87, : Hikoki - Courage Alone - The Italian Air Force 1940-43 by Chris Dunning
Pictures 106, : Archive Juan Arraez Cerda
Pictures 107, : Aeroplano (Spanish magazine) no.07 page 103
Pictures 110, : (Russian Magazine) no. 71 2004-03 page 45
Pictures 114, : Aeroplano (Spanish Magazine) no. 29 page 261







 
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Respuestas

  1. Impresionante - Eloy on Jun 6, 7:04 AM
    1. Gracias - Vicente Querol on Jun 6, 8:29 AM
     
  2. Awesome work - JavierTR on Jun 6, 9:31 AM
    1. Muchas Gracias Javier….. - Peter Dupont on Jun 9, 12:20 AM
     
  3. Impresionante reportaje Dusan... - JMCastro on Jun 6, 5:41 PM
    1. Perdona Peter pues te llamé Dusan - JMCastro on Jun 6, 10:09 PM
      1. Hola José, - Peter Dupont on Jun 8, 11:52 PM
     
  4. Perfect Peter - Dusan Slezak on Jun 6, 7:50 PM
  5.  
  6. great - David Gesalí on Jun 6, 10:09 PM
  7.  
  8. Un magnifico trabajo. - Manuel Rodriguez Valverde on Jun 6, 11:53 PM
  9.  
  10. Impresionante, Peter... - Salvador Marín on Jun 7, 7:28 AM
  11.  
  12. !Me has dejado asombrado! - Juan Arráez Cerdá on Jun 7, 11:14 AM
  13.  
  14. Ayuda por favor .... y gracias - Peter Dupont on Jun 9, 12:45 AM
  15.  
  16. Como siempre... - Jose on Jun 9, 10:43 AM
  17.  
  18. Impresionado. - Fabian Ceron on Jun 10, 12:52 PM
  19.  
  20. Great work - Uwe Borchert on Jul 7, 11:42 AM
  21.  
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