Military Review

Ram in the night sky of Barcelona

Ram in the night sky of Barcelona

The ram which was made by the Soviet pilot Yevgeny Stepanov on October 25 1937 of the year during the Spanish Civil War, became the first in stories night ram

When the civil war broke out in Spain in 1936, the insurgents led by General Franco were supported by the fascist regimes of Hitler and Mussolini.

Despite the fact that the United States and Western countries proclaimed a “policy of non-intervention” in the Spanish conflict, volunteers from 54 countries of the world, including from the Soviet Union, came to the aid of the legitimate government of Spain. Along with military advisers in Spain, there were military specialists, some of whom were directly involved in the hostilities.

Soviet fighters fought under Spanish names. It is known that 772 was used in military operations by Soviet aviators who fought on Soviet aircraft - I-15, I-16, SB, P-5SS, R-Zet (PZ). Like the pilots, the Spaniards called the Soviet combat vehicles by their proper names, for example, the I-15 was named Chato, i.e. snub-nosed, and the R-Zet - "Natasha." Total USSR handed over Spain 648 aircraft.

Supplies of military equipment and weapons made on the basis of statements of the republican government, sent to the leadership of the USSR. The planes arrived in Spain by sea, disassembled, and were assembled on the spot by Soviet technicians.

And although initially the operation to provide military assistance to Spain was kept secret, the enemy became aware of Soviet deliveries. Francist aviation regularly bombed ports of arrival of goods and at the same time built up forces at the expense of allied Germans and Italians.

The sky of Spain for the Soviet pilots was the space in which they first met with the Nazis. For almost two years, from the end of October 1936 to the middle of 1938, as part of an international squadron, they will beat the fascists and francoists over the Iberian Peninsula.

Despite the fact that the planes were inferior to the enemy aircraft in a number of technical parameters, the Soviet pilots accomplished real feats, which was deservedly noted by the opposing side.

“Tough and self-assured by nature, they coped with many difficulties,” the German general, Walter Schwabedissen, gave this description to the Soviet military.

If you get acquainted with the chronicle of the hostilities, we will actually see daily examples of the professionalism, courage and bravery of our pilots. Lt. Yevgeny Nikolayevich Stepanov became a participant in one of these fights that went down in the history of military aviation. Stepanov fought in Spain in August 1937, as part of the Squadron I-15, which was under the command of Anatoly Serov.

October 15 plane Eugenio Kamarada, as the Spaniards called Evgeny Stepanova, was among the 20 aircraft struck at the airfield Frankist aviation Garapinilos at Zaragoza. And 10 days later, he made the first ever night ram, knocking down an Italian Savoi-81 bomber (SM-81).

On the night of October 25, Stepanov, together with Ilya Finn, carried night combat duty at Sabadell (a city in 25 kilometers from Barcelona). At five o'clock in the morning he noticed a group of Savoy-81 bombers on their way to Barcelona. The lead captain Nikola Ruggieri bomber carried incendiary bombs, they were supposed to serve as a guide for other aircraft carrying fragmentation bombs.

The Italians were the first to fire on the I-15, and in response, Stepanov snapped the machine-gun fire in spite of falling into the wing, SM-81 firing back, continued to head for Barcelona.

“” If I don’t dump him now, it will be late, the bombs will fall on the city ... ”. He knew what was going on down there. Hooters of steamers roar hysterically in the port. On the streets there is a piercing howl of sirens. The cellars of houses and small metro stations are crowded with women, children, and old men ... ”

Seeing that the shooting did not bring the desired result, Stepanov went to the ram. A strike in the tail assembly brought down one of the Savoy; the plane, along with the crew of 6 Italians, fell in the suburbs of Barcelona.

The remaining bombers of the 251 Squadron decided to stop the mission and left the course. Stepanov and Finn landed their cars safely at the airfield in Sabadel. The fuselage and wings of the I-15 Stepanova were riddled with bullets in many places, and the propeller's ends were bent at the ends of the blades.

The hero of the first night ram fought against the Francoists and their allies for several months, in January 1938, his plane was shot down, the car was managed to land, but the pilot himself was captured, was sentenced to death, but by the International Committee of the Red Cross Stepanov was exchanged for German the pilot.

In comparison with the numerous formations of regular German and Italian troops assisting the rebels, the number of Soviet military was quite modest. But it was precisely the help of the Soviet military, along with the help of volunteers from other countries, that allowed the Republican government to resist the Francoists and their fascist accomplices for 32 months.

Soon, with the enemy, with whom the Soviet soldier fought in Spain, he will face in his native land.

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  1. svp67
    svp67 29 October 2017 07: 28
    Like the pilots, the Spaniards called Soviet combat vehicles by their own names, the I-15, for example, received the name "Chato", i.e. snub-nosed, and R-Zet - "Natasha."
    I-16 was the "Fly", SB- "Katyusha, R-5 -" Razor "..."
    Soviet volunteer pilots in Spain are the heroes of an almost forgotten war
    1. Reptiloid
      Reptiloid 29 October 2017 16: 01
      Unfortunately, over the past 5 years I haven’t seen it on TV or in any publications. Only online including VO
    2. Warrior with machine gun
      Warrior with machine gun 31 October 2017 13: 29
      I-16 like the Francoists also called "Rata" (the rat seems to be translated)
  2. XII Legion
    XII Legion 29 October 2017 08: 21
    The life of wonderful people is always interesting.
    Especially our warriors.
    Interestingly, what was the ratio of losses in the sky of Spain?
    1. WUA 518
      WUA 518 29 October 2017 09: 05
      Quote: XII Legion
      Interestingly, what was the ratio of losses in the sky of Spain?

      The loss of the francists for three years of 685 aircraft.
      Republican losses 784 (20 percent non-combat, as a result of accidents and disasters)
      The loss of Soviet pilots in Ispa
      Research institutes amounted to 77 people. In 1936, the loss amounted to twenty pilots, in
      1937 33; in 1938, 24 dead. In addition, 22 people went missing.
      1. XII Legion
        XII Legion 29 October 2017 10: 04
        Thank you for information hi
  3. parusnik
    parusnik 29 October 2017 08: 35
    It’s a pity that now they don’t remember about the exploits of Soviet pilots in the sky of Spain, China ... Thank you, author ...
    1. Reptiloid
      Reptiloid 29 October 2017 16: 11
      About Soviet pilots in China there was a cool article by Samsonov, a long time ago. So it’s necessary to write in a search engine “Stalin's Falcons in China. V.O.” And there are several volumes of CHINA AVIATION. A.A. DEMIN. In the first book about our pilots
      1. parusnik
        parusnik 29 October 2017 16: 13
        Books are not reprinted about this .. And they were published in Soviet times, sorry for a limited edition, I took them in the library. I did not see them on the shelves.
        1. Reptiloid
          Reptiloid 29 October 2017 17: 27
          In general, the book is called Aviation of the Great Neighbor, I have forgotten. I took it from zna, coma. Even after reading it, in August I bought a book, like, "All Aces of Stalin," a beautiful big one, but it turned out there were only last names, years, titles. AS a list for specialists, passed it, and now in the search engine, in Ozone, I saw 22 pages about the Stalin Falcons. But it’s uncomfortable to look simple now. And we need to study !!!!! Maybe that came about Spain or China !!!!!!
  4. bionik
    bionik 29 October 2017 08: 49

    At the wreckage of a rammed by Stepanov bomber. From left to right:
    A. Kondratiev, E. Stepanov, A. Serov, I. Finn, F. Agaltsov, E. Ptukhin, V. Andriashenko.
    Born May 22, 1911 in Moscow, in the family of a laborer. At the age of 6, he was left without a father. In 1928 he graduated from 7 classes, and in 1930 - the railway school of FZU. He worked as a blacksmith. Engaged in a factory radio club. In 1932 he graduated from the Moscow school of pilots of Osoaviahim, having a flight time of 80 hours. In the same year, on a ticket to the Komsomol, he was sent to the Borisoglebsk school of military pilots. After its completion, in March 1933, he was appointed to serve on a bomber, but after numerous statements he managed to achieve appointment to a fighter. He served as part of the 12th fighter aviation squadron, part of the 111th fighter aviation brigade of the Leningrad Military District. He was a senior pilot and flight commander.

    From August 20, 1937 to July 27, 1938 he took part in the national revolutionary war of the Spanish people. He was a pilot, squadron commander, and then commander of the I-15 fighter group. He had pseudonyms: "Eugenio" and "Slepnev." Had 100 hours of combat raid. After 16 air battles, he shot down 8 enemy aircraft in person, including 1 by ramming, and 4 in the group (according to published data). On November 10, 1937 he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner.

    Upon returning from Spain, he commanded a detachment in the Borisoglebsk military school of pilots, then he was an inspector for the technique of piloting the 19th fighter aviation regiment of the Leningrad Military District.

    From May 29 to September 16, 1939 he participated in battles with Japanese militarists in the area of ​​the Khalkhin-Gol River. I flew on I-16 and a little (only 5 sorties) on I-153. His task was to transfer combat experience to pilots who had not yet met the enemy in the air, to organize fights when the alarm sounds, and to take part in air battles. Once, at the head of a group of 12 aircraft, Stepanov entered into a battle with 30 Japanese fighters and personally shot down 1 aircraft. In total, the pilot of the 19th Fighter Aviation Regiment (1st Army Group), Captain E.N. Stepanov, made over 100 sorties, conducted 5 air battles, and shot down 4 enemy planes in the sky of Mongolia.

    On August 29, 1939, for the courage and military valor shown in battles with enemies, he was awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. On August 10, 1939 he was awarded the Mongolian Order "For Military Valor."

    As part of the 19th Fighter Aviation Regiment, he participated in the Soviet - Finnish War of 1939 - 1940. Then he was an inspector for the piloting technique of the Air Force command of the Moscow Military District.

    During the Great Patriotic War, he worked in the Air Force Directorate of the Moscow Military District. In 1942 - 1943 he was the head of the department of military - educational institutions of the Air Force of this district.

    After the war, he retired. Since April 1948 he worked as an inspector, instructor and department head in the Central Committee of DOSAAF, then he was deputy head of the Central Aero Club named after V.P. Chkalov. For several years he was vice president of the International Aviation Federation (FAI). Retired colonel, lived in Moscow. He died on September 4, 1996. He was buried at the Troekurovsky cemetery.
  5. midshipman
    midshipman 29 October 2017 09: 46
    He worked with the Commanders-in-Chief of the USSR Air Force. Knew about this feat. Wrote an article "Ram the lot of the brave." He was a brave pilot. Thank you for the article. Eternal memory to E. Stepanov. I have the honor.
  6. creak
    creak 29 October 2017 10: 45
    According to published data, of the nearly 4 thousand Soviet specialists who took part in the hostilities, more than 200 were killed.
    A little-known page of the Spanish Civil War is the participation of white emigrant officers and generals, most of whom fought on the side of Franco .. For example, the naval pilot Marchenko, who became famous in WWI, died in an air battle with Soviet pilots (according to some Captain Eremenko shot down), according to others - he was shot down by anti-aircraft artillery fire and died on the ground ... Major General Fok, being wounded in a battle with the Republicans, shot himself so as not to be captured ... There were other losses among white emigrants on both sides . Such a peculiar echo of the civil war in Russia ...
    At the end of the civil war, all white emigrants who wished to remain in the country were granted Spanish citizenship. Some of them continued their military service in the ranks of the Spanish Legion in Africa.
    1. Rastas
      Rastas 29 October 2017 20: 55
      How do you get information that most white emigres fought for Franco ??? So the majority of white emigrants generally stated that this was not their war. On the side of Franco fought (attention !!!) no more than 70 Russian immigrants. Franco even planned to create the so-called Russian battalions, but then, learning about the number of Russian emigrants who fought on his side, he abandoned this idea. And maybe it will be news for you, but about 200 Russian emigrants fought on the Republican side.
    2. Rastas
      Rastas 29 October 2017 20: 56
      And there were those who in 41 came along with Hitler.
  7. Alexey Antonov
    Alexey Antonov 15 November 2017 10: 00
    If we follow the current logic of the ideologists of the most European of all European states, then in 1936-37. there was Soviet Union aggression against Spain, and George Orwell, Willy Brandt, Ernest Hemingway, along with many others, were sworn aggressors, quilted jackets and Colorado.