Spanish Republican Aces Book Review
|Date of Review||July 2012||Title||Spanish Republican Aces|
|Author||Rafael A Permuy López||Publisher||Osprey Publishing|
|Format||96 pages, softbound||MSRP (USD)||$22.95|
Some still see the Spanish Civil War through prisms of passion, politics, and propaganda. Fortunately, honest historians relentlessly strive to sift fact from fable.
So goes Osprey’s superb Spanish Republican Aces. Ably panning in attenuated archival streams, Rafael A Permuy López culls combatants for coverage from among “the most outstanding pilots of the early months of the civil war”. As most officers joined the Nationalists, loyalist aircrews initially compromised NCOs, sergeants, and corporals. And since Republican records remain lost or incomplete, the author honestly admits possible “gaps”.
Chapters proceed chronologically and geographically through the conflict. After examining the Republican Fighter Force in 1936-37, text turns from pilots serving with Spain’s premier fighter unit – Escuadra de Caza No11 – to those fighting in the North.
Here appears a gaudy group of miscellaneous mounts. These include Nieuport Ni-H.52s, Hawker Spanish Furys, Dewoitine D.372s, Dewoitine D.510s, and, remarkably, the sole Boeing Model 281 – export version of the legendary P-26 Peashooter.
Accent then shifts to aircrew associated with specific Soviet aircraft types – Polikarpov I-15 Chatos, I-15bis Superchatos, and I-16 Moscas – before concluding with Nightfighter personnel. Individual biographies outline each pilot’s background, exploits, and – where known – fate.
Engrossing anecdotes and fascinating photos tincture text. A dozen pages of cool color art motivated my modeling muse. And helpful lists with appendices and index augment this absorbing account.
Spanish Republican Aces perfectly complements Osprey’s Aces of the Legion Condor (Aces 99) and Fiat CR.32 Aces of the Spanish Civil War (Aces 94). Only the irritating lack of maps spoiled an otherwise ripping read!
My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!