Friday, October 22, 2010

Spanish Grouping

This is a posting of a group of Spanish Army items from my collection that are all Spanish, but not specifically from the same historical period. I just recently did the research on these items to find out the details on each one......... so here goes a quick and dirty look at each of the three:

Spanish Helmet Model 42 / 79

The Spanish Army was originally issued with German made stahlhelm helmets before World War Two, when Germany sent troops and equipment to help out Franco in the 1930's during the Spanish Civil War. The Spanish Army used the original helmets until they manufactured their own version in 1942. In 1979, they made more of the model 42 style helmet shells and outfitted them with a newer style canvas and leather liner. These were designated as model 42 / 79 helmets. These were used through the 1980's until Spain retired all of the old helmets and issued the newer NATO style Kevlar helmets. Up until the old metal helmets were retired, all three helmet models could be seen in use at the same time.

Here's a shot from the 1980's showing a Spanish soldier wearing a model 42 / 79 helmet:

Medal: Spanish Blue Division, German Army, WW2:

This medal is an original WW2 German issued medal that was awarded to the Blue Division of Spanish Volunteers that Franco sent to the Russian Front to fight with the German Army. Spain was overwhelmed with volunteers who wished to go fight with the German Army and Franco ended up sending a full division to fight (almost 18,000 officers and men). This division was officially designated as the 250th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht. Over 45,000 Spanish soldiers ended up fighting with division through the course of the war. After the war, Spanish veterans still serving in the Spanish Army, who had served with the Blue Division in WW2, were allowed to wear their German medals and awards on their service uniforms (complete with swastikas!). Nearly all of the Spanish officer corp and command in post-war Spain had served with the division and their German awards can be seen in many of the old photographs. I guess this an often overlooked bit of WW2 history.

Here is a picture of a Spanish bicycle soldier from the Blue Division serving with the German Army outside of Stalingrad during WW2 (1942).

Spanish Mauser Model 42 Bayonet:

This last item is a Spanish Mauser Model 42 Bayonet. I picked this bayonet up at a yard sale many years ago, but only figured out what it was this last week! As the model number indicates, the Mauser rifle that this goes to was first manufactured by Spain in 1942 and was used up through the 1950's and maybe later.

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