On 24 December 1938 and 20 km north of Balaguer, 18 CR.32s from comandante Joaquín García Morato’s Spanish units intercepted a formation of nine R-Z light bombers from 2a Escuadrilla of Grupo No 30, escorted at a distance by 19 I-16s from the 6a and 7a Escuadrillas of No Grupo 21, near Fontllonga. Initially diving head-on at the bombers, the CR.32s then made a second attacking pass from the rear before the escort fighters could intervene. The Spaniards claimed nine R-Zs destroyed, three of which (plus a probable) were attributed to Morato, two to teniente Joaquín Velasco (7-E-3) and one each to teniente José Larios y Fernández (6-E-3), José Andrés Lacour Macia, Ruibal and José Recasens.
Of the nine R-Z, three returned to their own side's airfields (two to La Garriga and one to Vic). Six were shot down, of which three were lost, while the remainder managed to land with varying damaged inside their own lines. Overall, the R-Z escuadrilla suffered three dead, eight wounded and two taken prisoner. I-16s from 6a Capitán Amézaga took to his parachute and landed near Camarasa, where he was soon captured. Following six weeks in captivity, Amézaga was executed. Another Fiat had to land because of damage at Almenar.
Ruibal ended the Spanish Civil War with 1 victory claimed while flying the Fiat CR.32.
|Kill no.||Date||Time||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|1||24/12/38||1||R-Z (a)||Destroyed||CR.32||near Fontllonga|
Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with R-Zs from 2a/30, which lost 6 R-Z against Nationalist claims for 9.
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
Additional information kindly provided by Alfredo Logoluso and Ondrej Repka.