The Headquarter blog
Hidalgo de Cisneros adventure
18th of March 1937. Guadalajara front.
Ten days after the beginning of the CTV’s offensive towards Guadalajara, when the Republican Air Force was in command of the air, Hidalgo de Cisneros, commander in chief of the FARE (the Republican air force) decided to fly on his own airplane to see the situation on the battlefield and the chaos in the Italian lines after the air attack on the morning. This action could be reckless as he could be attacked by enemy fighters.
This is his own relate of what happened:
” One of that days, when I was returning with my aeroplane, tired but happy of our pilots behaviour that day, I saw a Fiat fighter with the fascist ensigns on my right, and immediatly appeared another one on my left. I was very frightened as you can imagine. My first reaction was to feel stupid, so easily I have been caught. I did the only thing I could do, a hard and deep dive to almost reach the ground, but, naturally the two Fiat did the same and remained very close to me. To my surprise they didn’t open fire, I thought they wanted me as a prisoner, but suddenly one of them was saying hello with the hand and then I realized what happened. Some days ago five Fiat coming from Italy landed by mistake in one of our airfields, two managed to scape, but the other three were captured. These two planes was being tested following my orders, but I forgot about them, the mechanics also have forgotten to remove the fascist ensigns.
Winter 1941, North Africa front.
During the British offensive in called Operation Crusader Erwin Rommel was two times about to fall into British hands. Worst luck had General Ravenstein, commander of the 21st Panzer division who was captured the 29th of December by soldiers from the 2nd New Zealand Division in confused fighting near Sidi Rezegh. They initially didn’t know who was the prisoner who said to be colonel Schmidt hoping they didn’t understand his hierarchy ensigns. But when he was taken to see general Freyberg at the Divisional headquarters Prussian miitary etiquette prevailed and he introduced himself shouting ” Von Ravenstein!, general”
‘Pour Dieu et pour elle’
After the defeat of the Protestants at the battle of ‘White Mountain’ in 8th November 1620 he saw the opportunity of leading himself the Protestant cause. He raised an army and declared in a romantic way passionately in love in a chivalrous way of Elizabeth, the wife of Frederick V, ‘The Bohemian Queen’.
On one occasion that they met, the beautiful queen lost a glove. Christian saw it and rapidly took the glove from the floor and with a reverence he told her ‘Madan, i will return the glove to you once we were at the Palatinate’.
From this moment he wore the glove sewed to his hat with this inscription on it, ‘Pour Dieu et pour elle’ (For God and for her), a blasphemy in fact, as he meant Elizabeth not the mother of Jesus.
December 4th, 1937, Bujalaroz, Spain. A fighter Messerchmitt Bf-109 of the Kondor Legion, numbered 6-15 and flown by Otto Polenz was forced to make an emergency landing on a road behind enemy lines. Otto had fought against some I-16 Republican fighters commanded by the soviet Alexandr Gossiov.
After landing the aircraft was rapidly hidden by Republican land forces. It seems that only minor damages were suffered by the Bf-109, probably in the fuel system. It was repaired and possibly flown to Sabadell by a Soviet pilot.
You can guess that this kind of capture, a Bf-109 almost intact, was of great interest not only for the Spanish Republic but for the Soviet Union and France.
As the aircraft has been forced to land due to a fight against soviet pilots the URSS claimed the Bf-109 to be inspected by his experts, but also France was asking for the same. Finally, apart for the Republican army, French experts were allowed to inspect it, possibly in exchange of something of political value. This aircraft was later sent to the Soviet Union and tested in the institute II-VVS.
During the WWII this aircraft served with a special Soviet reconnaissance unit equipped with captured German aircraft, it was captured back by German JG27. The final fate of this plane is unknown