Gruppe Imker (Legion Condor)
- Published: 02 March 2011 02 March 2011
- Last Updated: 07 April 2012 07 April 2012
On 20 September 1936 the men from the Ist and IInd Battalions of Panzer Regiment 6 of 3. Panzer-Division was asked if they wanted to volunteer for a foreign assignment, almost all of them agreed. They were transferred to Döberitz were they were given civilian clothing and was informed that they were not members of the Wehrmacht during this mission, they were then transported to Stettin and by boat to Spain along with panzers and other equipment.
Once in Spain they started training the nationalist forces within a few weeks. When the Spanish students had completed their tank training, they retained their Panzer I and the training units received new tanks for the next course. The German tanks were of limited use against the Soviet T-26 ranks provided to the Republicans so in addition to the Panzer I sent from Germany, they also made use of captured Soviet tanks in their training.
An estimated 56.000 Spaniards took part in the training provided by the Germans.
CommandersOberstleutnant Wilhelm Ritter von Thoma
Order of battle1. Panzer Kompanie
2. Panzer Kompanie
3. Panzer Kompanie (raised Dec 1936)
Training schoolsBrisiesca (artillery)
Casarrubuelos (tanks, antitank and flamethrowers)
Oropesa (tanks, antitank and flamethrowers)
Salamanca (protection against gas attacks)
Officers training schools
NCOs training schools
Miranda de Ebra
Notable membersOskar Dirlewanger (Infamous founder of the Dirlewanger unit of the Waffen-SS)
Officers training at Avila in 1939
(Courtesy of Bundesarchiv/Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany)
Sources usedRoger James Bender - Legion Condor
French L. MacLean - The Cruel Hunters: SS-Sonder-Kommando Dirlewanger Hitler's Most Notorious Anti-Partisan Unit