Rusting aircraft and training in sandals
23 November 2007 , Madrid - The soldiers in Ifni may have been better paid than their counterparts on mainland Spain, but they were relatively few and spartanly equipped.
23 November 2007
Madrid - The soldiers in Ifni may have been better paid than their counterparts on mainland Spain, but they were relatively few and spartanly equipped.
Their transportation consisted, for example, of two jeeps, two ford trucks and an ambulance. The soldiers were equipped with Mauser rifles made before World War II, while their planes were rusting Junkers and Heinkels that were often more of a danger to their crew and passengers than to the enemy. In the space of just four months in 1957 two crashed at Ifni's airport, killing 20 people.
Such was the shortage of ammunition that soldiers were given just 10 rounds at each training practice and were ordered to return all the cartridges for reuse. At the outbreak of the war, there was an average of just 288 bullets per soldier in the whole province.
They were even short on boots, as made clear in a report by one officer written in September 1957: "The footwear situation has deteriorated. We have had to solve the problem by letting soldiers buy their own shoes in the market and ordering them to wear sandals for training."
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ Teresa Baragaño 2007]
Subject: Spanish news