Awesome Photos! Spanish Civil War!

Update: Can anyone tell me what the tall black cylindrical objects are in the third photograph?  The photograph of the soldiers marching down the road, with the countryside vista in the background?  The black objects strapped to their backs?    Are they guns of some sort?  Do they launch missiles?  Is it rolled-up tarp for a tent?  What am I looking at?  I’m dying here!  Help an aspiring war geek out!  

Thank you

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Look at this amazing photo I found.  Fascists, during the Spanish Civil War.  That war was amazing (aren’t they all?).  In my fantasy life, I go fight in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.  I probably would not have the courage to serve in battle and women are last-resort fighters anyway, but I could have helped with military infrastructure.   

    Men are so fantastic looking.  I love how strong they are. 

     JACKPOT!  I just found the name of the photographer: Guglielmo Sandri, name at birth Wilhelm Schrefer, born 1905 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

      I wonder why he changed his name…?  Probably to fit in.

      Anyway, the Internet says he was a fascist photographer, but that is not a helpful description.  Was he a propagandist?  I must research this further.

     In any event, he took some damn fine photographs:


what are those black things? TELL MEEEEEE PLEEZE!

This photo is so rad.  What is that tower?  A minaret from the Muslim occupation, or what?  Maybe could be a church spire, but the design looks Arab to me.  Am I wrong?  Does anyone know? 

     As an aside, I have always wondered how the SS & Co., such as this fellow here, could get up in the morning, get dressed in front of the mirror and put on their hats with the idiotic and extremely creepy death’s head insignia, and go to work whilst taking themselves seriously.  

      Am I alone in wondering about this…?  Didn’t anyone ask himself, “Why does my hat have a skull and crossbones on it?  What am I, a pirate?  Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum?”

       Seriously.  Who came up with this spectacularly bad PR decision?  What the heck?  Were they just trying to scare the shit out of everyone they encountered?

      Well…I guess I just answered my own question. 

      Handsome man.  Too bad he was on the wrong side of history.

Do you kiss your mother whilst wearing that hat, Sir?

5 thoughts on “Awesome Photos! Spanish Civil War!”

  1. I believe the black objects are mortar tubes. Heavy mortars weigh too much for one person to carry so they are broken down into three main components. The tube, bi-pod and baseplate. The soldier on the extreme right looks like he is carrying the bi-pod. Another guy probably has the baseplate. The rest of the dudes are probably lugging the ammo, since I don’t see a vehicle anywhere. None of them seem to have rifles so they may be the heavy weapons company of an infantry battalion.

    Or they could be giant Tootsie Rolls.

  2. Mike, you are awesome. I believe you are correct about the objects being mortar tubes. It would make perfect sense.

    Orwell mentioned mortars being transported this way in Homage to Catalonia, but he didn’t really describe what they looked like, so I couldn’t recognize them.

    IMO, “Homage” is still the best book on that war I’ve ever read, but I really wish more was written about this complex and fascinating conflict. Same goes for WWI, which was a shockingly brutal and devastating war. Oh god, it was ugly. There’s a book called “Execution,” which consists of short first-hand accounts from the front lines…some of the descriptions have never left me.


  3. UPDATE: nowhere else to put this, but I want to record it, so I guess I’ll put it here…

    I was at the gym and thinking about your comment and this photo and the mortars and what I have read about that war. Gas/Fuel was a constant issue and they they were hoofing it all the time.

    Spain is a big country. I was trying to remember the areas occupied in the timeline of the war. How much did a mortar tube, or other component, weigh? Those guys could have carried that to hell and back! It would be like walking between NYC and Atlantic City, or even Boston! With a mortar tube on your back, sleeping on the ground!

    I know I’m just purveying the obvious here, but damn! American soldiers were humping it around Basra with 40 lbs of body armor on, but at least they had transport! And good shoes!

    1. Hi Paul!

      I’m familiar with the “Are WE the baddies?” clip and I think it’s hilarious. It really is true. The Totenkopf was part of the German (Prussian) military uniform since about 1800, so I guess the Nazis thought they were just keeping tradition, but let’s get real: it’s a hideous symbol that made the wearer look like a villan out of a comic book.

      Too bad they weren’t just in comic books, though.

      Thanks for reading! Drop by any time.

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