Gideon Lewis-Kraus makes a few errors in his piece about the Spanish Civil War LRB, 21 February. The Germans didn’t ‘perfect the Blitzkrieg in Spain’. The ‘lightning war’ required a good road system, which is why it worked in France but not in Russia.
Lewis-Kraus is presumably thinking of the term ‘blitz’, which was misapplied to the air attacks on London in 1940, but which could be applied, retrospectively, to the German and Italian attack on Guernica of 26 April 1937.
Messerschmitt fighter-bombers played only a small part in the German Condor Legion. Some prototype models arrived in 1936, but most got there in 1939, too late to be used in the fighting.
The seven hundred or so Italian aircraft were mainly Fiat CR.32 fighters and Savoia-Marchetti bombers. The archetypal Nazi attack aircraft was the Stuka, as Lewis-Kraus says, but with its single bomb and ‘Jericho trumpet’ siren, it was more effective as a terror weapon. Deployed where it did not have undefended airspace, it was very vulnerable to fighter attack.
Bradford, West Yorkshire