Biplane fighter aces

Spain

Miguel Guerrero García

5 January 1909 – 1992

Miguel Guerrero García was born in Figueras, Catalonia, on 5 January 1909,

He entered the Infantry Academy in 1925 and subsequently graduated as a pilot in 1932.

Assigned to fighter Grupo No 12 in Granada, he was on leave in Jaén at the start of the revolt.
Receiving an order from the Madrid government to assume control of Granada-Armilla airport, Guerrero instead joined the Nationalist rebels.

While returning from a liaison mission in Africa on 25 July, teniente Guerrero (Ni-H.52) shot down a Málaga-based Dornier Wal over the Straits of Gibraltar.
Guerrero was the Nationalist pilot who recorded the greatest number of victories during the opening stages of the war.

On 29 July, teniente Guerrero (Ni-H.52) claimed a Vildebeest at Iznájar.

Two days later, on 31 July, he claimed another Vildebeest at Iznalloz.

Grenada-based, teniente Guerrero (Ni-H.52) claimed a Breguet XIX on 1 August.

He totally claimed four Republican aircraft over Andalusia between 25 July and 1 August 1936 while flying the Ni-H.52.
He also claimed a probably destroyed while flying the Ni-H.52.

He also flew missions in the Ro.37 and He 51.

In August 1936, a small fighter squadron was formed in Burgos and for a brief period it was under the command of capitán Chamorro, although he soon went on to pilot Dragon Rapides and an Airspeed Envoy, in which he was killed whilst escorting General Mola. Pilots who flew with this squadron included Julio Salvador, Guerrero García, Martín Campos and Ramón Alvarez Senra, tenientes Miguel García Pardo and Ramiro Pasual, and occasionally capitán Ángel Salas.

The all-Spanish Fiat Grupo, with the designation 2-G-3, was formed in Cordoba on 4 May 1937 from the escuadrillas led by capitán Joaquín García Morato and capitán Ángel Salas (2-E-3). Morato assumed command of the Grupo, and Julio Salvador took over leadership of Morato’s old escuadrilla (1-E-3).
This had been made possible after a further consignment of eight CR.32s had been passed on to the Nationalist air force in April 1937, and they joined the five previously handed over four months earlier to form the basis of the first Spanish grupo equipped with Fiat fighters. Grupo 2-G-3 consisted of 13 aircraft and 15 pilots, which were divided into two escuadrillas of six fighters each. The final CR.32 was Morato’s personal (3-51).
Of the pilots assigned to its escuadrillas, two of them had previously served as wingmen in the Patrulla Azul, while the remaining 12 were chosen according to their experience in fighters.

Escuadrilla 1-E-3
Teniente Julio Salvador (CO)
Teniente Guerrero
Alférez Manuel Vázquez Sagastizábal
Alférez Arístides García López Rengel
Alférez Rafael Mazarredo Trenor
Alférez Jesús Rubio Paz
Brigada Ramón Senra Àlvarez

Escuadrilla 2-E-3
Capitán Ángel Salas
Capitán Narciso Bermúdes de Castro
Capitán Javier Murcia Rubio
Teniente Miguel García Pardo
Alférez Javier Allende Isasi
Alférez Joaquín Ansaldo Vejarano
Alférez Jorge Muntadas Claramunt

In March 1938, the Grupo took part in Aragón offensive.

In the afternoon on 12 March, 2-G-3 encountered enemy aircraft attempting to stop the sweeping advance in the Aragon offensive. During the afternoon 18 Fiats, led by capitán Ángel Salas (CO) and capitán Joaquín García Morato, escorted Ju 52/3ms on a raid, and having completed this task made a sweep of the front as far as Híjar, where they encountered 19 Chatos that were escorting 11 SBs. In the ensuing dogfights, capitán Salas claimed one probable I-15, capitán Morato claimed two I-15s while teniente Miguel García Pardo (2-E-3) destroyed one I-15, which fell near Híjar. Teniente Guerrero (1-E-3) set fire to another I-15, whose pilot took to his parachute from a very low height. Teniente Julio Salvador (CO 1-E-3) attacked another machine, which began to trail smoke, but he was unable to continue his attack as his Fiat was almost out of fuel; unable to return to his base at Tauste, he had to land at Saragossa. Teniente Carlos Serra Pablo-Romero, teniente Carlos Bayo (2-E-3) and teniente de Hemricourt (2-E-3) each were successful in shooting down an I-15. Teniente Manuel Vázquez Sagastizábal (1-E-3) attacked three SBs claiming on of them that crashed while attempting to land near Escatrón. No CR.32s were lost in this combat.
The I-15 shot down by teniente García Pardo was from 1a/26 and was flown by Soviet pilot Starshii Leitenant Bela Ignat’evich Arady, who bailed out badly burned and landed in Republican lines. The wreckage of this machine (I-15 CA-057) was recovered subsequently, and a piece of it was retained, on which ensuing victories of 2-G-3 were recorded, as well as the names of all those in the group who were killed.

In the spring of 1938, the Escuadrilla 5-E-3 was formed with Fiat CR.32s. The unit was commanded by capitán Guerrero.

After that Ángel Salas became ill in the end of November 1938, Guerrero led 2-G-3 temporarily until 13 January, when Salas returned from hospital.

At the start of the Valsequillo Offensive on 5 January 1939, the only CR.32 unit in Andalusia at the time was Escuadrilla 8-E-3 (led by capitán Arístides García López) at Posadas, near Cordoba. One week later it was joined by 1-E-3 and 3-E-3 Escuadrillas (led by capitán Manuel Vázquez Sagastizábal and capitán Guerrero, respectively), which were transferred in from Aragon.

Guerrero ended the war with 13 victories and 2 probably destroyed.
He 1050 hours during 575 operational sorties, of which 794 hours and 438 sorties were on CR.32s. Nine of his claims were made with the Fiat CR.32.
His large size made it awkward for him to fit comfortably in the cockpit of a CR.32. Fortunately for him he was never forced to bail out!

Decorated with the Medalla Militar, he went on to command a fighter unit in Morocco during World War 2.

On becoming a general, Guerrero was assigned important command and General Staff positions, as well as diplomatic assignments in the USA.

In 1970 he was made commander of the 1 st Aerial Region of Spain, and subsequently joined the Reserve in 1979.

Guerrero passed away in Madrid in 1992.

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1936                
1 25/07/36   1 Dornier Wal Destroyed Ni-H.52   Straits of Gibraltar  
2 29/07/36   1 Vildebeest Destroyed Ni-H.52   Iznájar  
3 31/07/36   1 Vildebeest Destroyed Ni-H.52   Iznalloz  
4 01/08/36   1 Breuget XIX Destroyed Ni-H.52   from Grenada  
  ??/??/36   1 Enemy aircraft Probably destroyed Ni-H.52      
  1938                
? 12/03/38 afternoon 1 I-15 (a) Destroyed CR.32   Híjar 1-E-3

Biplane victories: 13 destroyed, 1 probably destroyed.
TOTAL: 13 destroyed, 1 probably destroyed.
(a) 2-G-3 claimed 7 I-15s, 1 probable and 1 damaged and 1 SB destroyed without losses. Republican losses is not known.

Sources:
Air Aces - Christopher Shores, 1983 Presidio Press, Greenwich, ISBN 0-89141-166-6
Air War over Spain - Jesus Salas Larrazabal, 1974 Ian Allan Ltd, Shepperton, Surrey, ISBN 0-7110-0521-4
Fiat CR.32 Aces of the Spanish Civil War - Alfredo Logoluso, 2010 Osprey Publishing, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84603-983-6
Joaquin Garcia-Morato - Best Ace of Spanish Civil War (WWII Ace Stories) - Mihail Zhirohov, 2003
Wings Over Spain - Emiliani Ghergo, 1997 Giorgio Apostolo Editore, Milano
Additional information kindly provided by Alfredo Logoluso and Ondrej Repka.




Last modified 15 March 2017