Spain may not have taken part in in the fighting in World War II, stricken by its own deadly Civil War, but it did supply military weaponry to its fascist associate Germany.
Using the design of the Nazi Messerschmitt Bf 109, one of the most agile and modern fighter planes of the time, Hitler licensed Spain to build the Hispano Aviación HA-1112 or “Buchon” fighter plane.
Unfortunately for Spain’s Royal Air Force, in desperate need of an overhaul despite the post-war turmoil it was going through, Hitler pulled out of the deal at the last minute.
The Fuhrer was by that stage more concerned about ensuring the German Luftwaffe aerial warfare branch has a ready supply of components to continue fighting during the final months of the war, thus deciding he wouldn’t supply Spain with the engines for their fighter planes.
Sixty-five out the 200 aircraft planned were finally built.
They were never used by either German or Spanish forces during the WWII period, ending up instead as Hollywood ‘show’ planes in movies such as Battle of Britain, directed by Guy Hamilton in 1969.
The film’s producers couldn’t afford to pay the head of the stunt pilots, Connie Edwards, once shooting had finished, deciding instead to reward him with all the Spanish planes as gifts.
Edwards kept them in a dusty warehouse for over half a century before he decided to start selling them at auction.
Texan company Platinum Fighter Sales is now organizing the commercial sale of the last six aircraft, telling Spanish daily ABC they hope the grounded Spain-made planes return home.
Although Spain was neutral during WWII, Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and Adolf Hitler met on several occasions, the Fuhrer at one point trying to convince Franco to help Germany seize Gibraltar from Britain (Operation Felix).