Originally Posted by Redback
OK, not Tullio Covre.
How about Joaquín García Morato y Castaño?
Let me see.... Morato...Morato.... Yeah, that's the guy! You'd think 40 victories in the Spanish Civil War would gain some attention in the record books, but that doesn't seem to be the way. Good for you, Terry; and you get to ask the next question. See, that one was easy, right? And now, I'll sit back for a bit. Thanks; Ernie P.
Question: What warbird pilot do I describe?
(1) His name is right there at the top of the list; in his category, of course.
(2) His first five victories were scored while piloting three different types of aircraft.
(3) He served in two wars, and in a lesser conflict.
(4) He was considered to be an accomplished pilot, excellent at aerobatics.
(5) He taught blind flying, or flying by instrument.
(6) His total score of victims would have been considered very respectable in any war.
(7) He shot down aircraft manufactured by three different countries.
(8) While flying aircraft manufactured by three different countries.
(9) He was shot down by another aircraft only once in his combat career.
(10) The pilot who shot him down was a novice; a real beginner combat pilot.
(11) And, a pilot serving on the same side.
(12) However, in his first war, he was hit by ground fire on several occasions; being seriously wounded on at least two occasions.
(13) In his first war, he crashed into the sea on one mission; suffering injuries which kept him in the hospital for almost a year.
(14) He won a number of aerobatic competitions, both national and international.
(15) During his second war, he flew over 30 different aircraft, though not all in combat.
(16) After his second war concluded, he was killed while doing aerobatic maneuvers for a newsreel; when his engine failed.
(17) The novice pilot who shot him down was also his student.
García-Morato y Castaño, 1st Count of Jarama
Joaquín García-Morato y Castaño, 1st Count of Jarama (4 May 1904 – 4 April 1939) was the leading Nationalist fighter ace of the Spanish Civil War
. He is credited with 40 air victories, four gained while flying Heinkel He 51s
and 36 with the Italian Fiat CR.32
An accomplished prewar pilot (he served in Morocco
, fighting Berber
guerrillas during the Rif War
), excelled in aerobatics
, and instructed instrument flying. He was on holiday in England when the Civil War broke out. Hastening home to join the Nationalist cause, he gained his first victory on 12 August 1936 in a Nieuport-Delage 52
, shooting down one of three Vickers Vildebeest
. He then flew one of the first Heinkel He 51s
received from Germany. Flying this aircraft, on 18 August, he shot down a Republican NiD 52
and a Potez 540
. He downed another NiD 52 on 2 September. He then began flying an Italian Fiat CR.32, shooting down another NiD 52 on 11 September: it was his fifth victory.
Then he formed the Patrulla Azul ("Blue Patrol") of three CR.32 and during the early autumn 1936 he added six more aircraft of French manufacture, plus a British built Hawker Fury
, to his score. He gained his 12th victory on 5 November (a Potez 540
), followed by his first kill of a Soviet-built Polikarpov I-15
fighter. On 13 January 1937, he managed to shoot down two Tupolev SB-2
bombers - that outperformed the Fiat in terms of speed - attacking them from a superior height: they were his victories number 16 and 17.
Morato achieved 40 credited victories over Republican
aircraft, gained in 1,012 hours of operational flying. The only time he was shot down was on 3 October 1937, by a novice pilot he was training.
Shortly after the war, on 3 April 1939, he was performing low aerobatics for newsreel cameras, when his Fiat CR.32 crashed, killing him.
Joaquín García Morato y Castaño was born on 4 May 1904 in Melilla. His father was a colonel of infantery, so it was natural for him to choose military career. He entered to military academy of Toledo, and by 1923 he was promoted to lieutenant. In April 1925, he enrolled in the civil flying school, and on 6 August received his pilot´s licence. Little later García Morato obtained the military pilot qualification. He was sent to Morocco, where he flew fist reconaissence and bombing actions against the Berber rebels. After this he was transferred to a fighter squadron, which was stationed at Melilla and took also part in the war against Berber rebels. During this time his aircraft was frequently hit by ground fire. He had to force land on two occasions, suffering serious wounds.
In 1928 he was transferred to the seaplane base at Melilla Atalayon, but again he sustained terrible injuries when his aircraft crashed into the sea during a mission. Suffering various fractures, Morato was hospitalised for almost a year. Upon his recovery, he was assigned as instructor to the Escuela de Transformación de Pilotos (Pilot Conversion School) at Alcala de Henares in 1929. He qualified as an observer and in 1930 as a wireless telegraphist. He learned to fly multi-engined aircraft, fighters and floatplanes, and he was an outstanding aerobatic pilot.
In the summer of 1932, García Morato qualified for the first course in blind flying and aerobatic flight to be held in Spain. Successfully completing them, he became an instructor in both disciplines. That same year García Morato also obtained the title of aviation mechanic. Continuing his aerobatic training, he was certified as a combat pilot instructor and frequently won aerobatic flying competitions both at home and abroad.
In 1934 Garcia Morato took part in the aerial intervention against the miners' rebellion in Asturia, the latter being suppressed on the ground by troops led by general Franco. He was promoted to captain shortly after this and tasked with organising the air troops of Security Corps in 1935. As many Spanish military officers, García Morato´s political thought followed right-wing and traditionalist views. When the military revolt started in July 1936, García Morato was in London on vacation. He did not hesitate to join the rebels and returned to Spain in August. After his arrival to Spain García Morato joined the Nationalist air force. He was given Ni-H.52 fighter and flew his first mission over Córdoba on 3 August 1936. Over that day he had his first contact with enemy. He attacked the Republican Breguet XIXs escorted by a solitary Ni-H.52 and managed to force them to withdraw. However, he did not achieve air victory from this encounter and made no claims. García Morato had better luck on 12 August, and he could claim his first victory when he shot down a Vickers Vildebeest light bomber over Antequera.
First contingent of German volunteer pilots arrived at the roadstead off Cádiz on 6 of August 1936. They started to train Spanish pilots at the airport of Tablada near Seville. On 10th of August, the first He 51 was fully assembled and ready for operations. The German pilots were not authorised to enter combat, but this was possible for the trained five Spanish pilots, of which one was Joaquín García Morato. He flew Heinkel 51 B in few missions and made three claims with it. His victims were Potez 540 bomber and two Ni-H 52 fighters.
Because Spanish pilots had often problems to get He 51 undamaged to the ground, German pilots requested that only they would fly Heinkels. Although García Morato had been succesfull with Heinkel, he and other Spanish pilots needed now another plane. They found it from Italian Fiat CR 32, which was easier to handle than Heinkel, more nimble and also faster. García Morato was the first Spanish pilot to try the Fiat CR.32 and he liked it immediately. Fiat became his plane for the rest of war, and his plane “3-51” became famous with its personal markings.
On the morning of 9 September of 1936 captain García Morato led Italian pilots Sergente Raffaele Chianese and Sergente Achille Buffali from Tablada to the airfield at Cáceres, in Extremadura, from where they could support the Nationalist advance towards Madrid. In the morning on 11 September García Morato became ace, when he claimed a Ni-H.52. This was capitán Morato’s fifth victory, and his first with the CR.32. More controversial claim was a Hawker Fury, which he claimed on 20 of September. It is probable, that he misidentified the enemy plane, because in reality no Fury was lost. On 24 September, the CR.32s and with them Joaquín García Morato were transferred to Talavera airfield, which was closer to the operational zone of Toledo and Madrid.
On 23 October, capitán Morato shared in the destruction of two airships stationed at Casa de Campo (Madrid’s race course), where Italian Sottotenente Giuseppe Cenni had noticed them the day before. On 5 November 1936 came the first large-scale aerial battle of the war. Nine Fiats from Torrijones, led by Capitano Carlo Alberto Maccagno (the pilots included captain García Morato, captain Ángel Salas and Julio Salvador) met about 15 I-15 and some Potez 540 between Leganés and Madrid. Without waiting for the support of five additional Fiats from Talavera, Capitano Maccagno led them in to attack, relying on superior performance to compensate for lack of numbers. Morato shot down a I-15, and then damaged the engine of a Potez 540, forcing it to land. Also the future ace Ángel Salas shot down a I-15. These claims also matched with admitted losses of the Republicans. On the minus side patrol leader Maccagno was shot down and captured.
During the final weeks of 1936, the appearance of increasing numbers of Soviet-built fighters on the Madrid front, Joaquín García Morato and Ángel Salas did not consider that their Italian commander, Maggiore Tarcisio Fagnani, was too cautios. The Italian commander had ordered that on a particular occasion they were not to penetrate into enemy territory. Salas, who was leading the patrol, defied the order. Fagnani attempted to have him arrested when he returned to base, but García Morato intervened violently and protested that in Spain nobody was arrested for displaying courage. The outcome of ensuing discussions between Morato and Salas was a decision to try to form their own independent Spanish squadrons.
At the end of December 1936, five CR.32s were given to Spanish Nationalist Air Force, and García Morato formed and commanded an autonomous The unit was named the Patrulla Azul (“Blue Patrol”). On 3 January 1937, capitán Morato climbed high on a standing patrol while defending Córdoba in an effort to catch one of the fast, high-flying Tupolev SB bombers, which outperformed the Fiat CR.32 in terms of speed. Two appeared, and diving on these, he shot both down.
“After several days of studying the attacks on Córdoba, I had worked out when the (SB 2) bombers usually appeared, what altitude they were at and the direction from which they typically approached. Making full use of this information, I started flying standing patrols at a height of 16,500 ft over the city. One morning while circling over Cordoba I noticed two aircraft heading for the city at high speed. Heading towards them as fast as I could, I quickly identified the contacts as the two twin-engined bombers that had been regularly attacking Cordoba. I opened fire and hit one of the aircraft's engines. This Soon™ caught alight, leaving a trail of black smoke in its wake.
The stricken bomber turned around and headed back from whence it came, and I followed, hoping to see it crash. 1 also saw the second bomber turn back in the direction of home too. The damaged bomber did indeed crash some 40 miles from Cordoba near to the communist-held (sic) airport of Andujar, the aircraft being engulfed in flames.
As I turned for home, my fighter came under attack from the second “Martin bomber” (SB 2). The latter had somehow got to within 1200 ft of me and it was firing at me with its two machine guns. This was a dangerous moment for me, as I was more than 20 miles from Nationalist territory. It had never dawned on me that the bomber crew would dare attack me! However, I remained cool, banked away sharply and then fired at the enemy. Luck was with me, as one of my bullets hit the aeroplane in a vital spot and within seconds it had spun away and hit the ground, exploding in flames barely a mile away from my first victim.”
On 16 February of 1937, capitán García Morato led his Patrulla Azul from Andalusia to Talavera-Veladas so that the Spanish fighter pilots could lend their support to the escalating campaign on the Jarama front. The next day, on 17 February, capitán Morato was summoned to Salamanca by chief of the air force, general Alfredo Kindelán, who ordered him to intercept enemy aircraft even when outnumbered. He explained that the Republicans were close to securing air superiority over the frontline because fighter units of the Italian Aviazione Legionaria were employing cautious tactics when outnumbered by Soviet fighters. Having clearly been swayed by capitán Ángel Salas’ vociferous complaints of late 1936, Kindelán believed that Italian CR.32 pilots had been ordered to avoid unnecessary losses by senior officers in the Regia Aeronautica.
In the early morning on 18 February, two Nationalist Ro.37s (flown by Spanish pilots) took off, followed by three Ju 52/3ms escorted by the Spanish Patrulla Azul and the Italian Fiat Group (totally 25 CR.32 including the Spanish). When they arrived over the front at Jarama, the CR.32s turned so that they were patrolling parallel to the front, while a large formation of I-15´s and I-16´s fighters waited on the other side. When the Ro.37s and Ju 52/3ms were safe and returning, captain García Morato broke formation and, followed by two other Nationalist pilots attacked the Republican fighters near Arganda. Disregarding recent orders restricting them from engaging superior numbers of enemy aircraft, five Italian Fiat pilots led by lieutnant Corrado Ricci, went to the assistance of their Spanish comrades by leading their respective flights against the large Republican formation. Finally, the entire Italian group took part in the battle, fighting a reportedly against 21 I-15s and 18 I-16ss. Together Italian and Spanish Nationalist pilots claimed 12 enemy I-15´s and I-16´s. After the combat García Morato thanked Corrado Ricci for coming to his aid, as he knew that he owed him his life following the Italian pilots’ timely intervention. The first all-Spanish CR.32 escuadrilla, 1-E-3, was formed on 30 March of 1937 with capitán Morato as commander.
The all-Spanish Fiat CR 32 unit (2-G-3) was formed in Cordoba on 4 of May 1937 from the squadrons led by García Morato and Ángel Salas (2-E-3). This had been made possible after a further consignment of eight CR.32s had been passed on to the Nationalist air force in April 1937, and they joined the five previously handed over four months earlier to form the basis of the first Spanish grupo equipped with Fiat fighters. Grupo 2-G-3 consisted of 13 aircraft and 15 pilots, which were divided into two escuadrillas of six fighters each. The final CR.32 was Morato’s personal (3-51).
Carcía Morato continued to lead Grupo 2-G-3 until September of 1937, when he was sent on an eight-week-long technical mission to Italy at the end of the month. Captain Ángel Salas took over the command of Grupo 2-G-3. On his return, capitán García Morato was named as chief of operations for the 1st Air Brigade, an appointment which he held until the end of June 1938, and Salas replaced him officially as Commander of Grupo 2-G-3. In the end of June 1938, García Morato assumed command of the second Fiat Grupo (3-G-3).
During August 1938 there was lot´s of aerial activity due to Republican offensive of Ebro. García Morato and his men clashed several times with Republican I-15´s and I-16´s.
On 14 August of August, Grupos 2-G-3 and 3-G-3 attacked a formation of Ratas, which were pursuing some He 111s over Gandesa. Later I-15´s and I-16´s joined in the battle. 2-G-3s record of operations described the combat:
“Miguel García Pardo attacked some Ratas (I-16) which were pursuing an He 111, shooting down one of the which fell near to Mora de Ebro … Lieutenant Bayo attacked three Ratas and succeeded in destroying one which fell on the edge of the Blanerías mountains. Later he attacked a Chato, but was unable to ascertain whether it was destroyed as damage to his engine forced him to land at Horte…
Lieutenant de Hemricourt (Belgian volunteer pilot) fired at one Rata without any result; and then attacked some Ratas engaged with other Fiats, hitting one which fell in a wood to the north of Reus.”
On 3 October 1938, García Morato´s plane was seriously damaged in combat and he had to make emergency landing. He was more lucky than his wingman, who was shot down and captured behind the Republican lines. To support the campaign to capture Barcelona in December 1938, virtually all the CR.32 units in Spain were committed. This included also the 7a Escuadra de Caza, commanded by García Morato
At midday on 19 January 1939, six CR.32s led by García Morato, and other six led by comandante Ángel Salas, flew a surveillance patrol near Igualada, on the Lérida-Barcelona road. The biplane fighters were accompanied by five He 112s led by capitán Miguel García Pardo. During the course of their patrol the Nationalist fighters intercepted 16 I-15s and 13 I-16s, and comandante García Morato shot down an I-15 from 4a Escuadrilla (his 40th and last victory). García Pardo also claimed a Rata destroyed for his 13th, and last, aerial success. It was also the only victory credited to the He 112 in Spain.
At the end of the war, García Morato was Chief of Operations of the Nationalist fighter force. Morato was killed in a flying accident on 4 April 1939 in front of newsreel cameras while performing low aerobatics in his personal Fiat CR.32 3-51. He had scored all his victories save his first four with this aircraft, but this time his faithful fighter let him down after an engine failure. His funerals were assisted by big crowd of people as well as by many prominent militar officers.
At the time of his death, Joaquín García Morato had claimed 40 air victories and was the “ace of the aces” of Spanish Civil War. During the Civil War he flew 1,012 hours, carried out 511 operational sorties and was involved in 56 combats. He flew Fiat CR.32s, Nieuports Ni-H. 52, He 51s and tested also Bf 109s and He 112. During the course of the war, he flew more than 30 different types of aircraft.
In the postwar (posguerra) Spain Joaquín García Morato was a celebrity and García Morato´s memoirs of the Civil War with the title “Guerra en el Aire” (Air War) were published posthumously, and no less than Generalíssimo Francisco Franco wrote the prologue of the book. García Morato appereaded later in the stamp of 10 pesetas. A memorial stone stands for him at Melilla, city in which he was born.
A photo of Joaquín García Morato can be found here: http://www.ctv.es/US...nff/gmorato.htm
More images, including the Fiat CR 32: https://www.google.f...iw=1680&bih=955