Biplane fighter aces

Spain

Teniente Joaquín Velasco Fernández Nespral

In August 1938, Teniente Joaquín Velasco Fernández Nespral served in Escuadrilla 7-E-3 of Grupo 3-G-3.

On 1 August, near Fayón, a group of Spanish pilots led by comandante Joaquín García Morato (3-G-3) engaged a formation of I-15s. Although CR.32 (3-100) pilot Enrique Munaiz de Brea (4-E-3) lost his life during the action, the Spaniards claimed seven ‘Curtiss fighters’ destroyed. Two of these aircraft were the first successes for alférez Antonio Manrique Garrido (1-E-3) - one I-15 was seen to fall in flames near Mequinenza, while the pilot of the second machine escaped by parachute. The other kills were individually credited to comandante Morato, capitán Julio Salvador (1-E-3), teniente Manuel Vázquez Sagastizábal (1-E-3), teniente Velasco (7-E-3) and teniente Emelio O’Connor Valdivielso (4-E-3).

On 24 December 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 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.

Velsasco ended the war with 13 biplane victories (all of them claimed while flying in the 7-E-3).

Claims:
Kill no. Date Time Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
  1938                
? 01/08/38   1 I-15 Destroyed CR.32   near Fayón 7-E-3
? 24/12/38   1 R-Z (a) Destroyed CR.32   near Fontllonga 7-E-3
? 24/12/38   1 R-Z (a) Destroyed CR.32   near Fontllonga 7-E-3

Biplane victories: 13 destroyed.
TOTAL: 13 destroyed.
(a) Claimed in combat with R-Zs from 2a/30, which lost 6 R-Z against Nationalist claims for 9.

Sources:
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




Last modified 14 February 2017