"Condors": Set during the Battle of the Ebro during the third year of the Spanish Civil War, four soldiers: Native Spanish Juan-Miguel Martinez and Englishmen and socialist Billy Gardner from the Spanish Republican Army, and Irishman Thomas Kilpatrick and German
Appearing in "Condors"
- Juan-Miguel Martinez
- Thomas Kilpatrick
- Joachim Reinert
- Billy Gardner
- Sergeant Lilley (Flashback only)
- International Brigade
- Irish Brigade
- Messerschmitt Bf 109
- Heinkel He 51
- Heinkel He 111
Synopsis for "Condors"
Set during the Battle of the Ebro during the third year of the Spanish Civil War, four soldiers: Native Spanish Juan-Miguel Martinez and Englishmen and socialist Billy Gardner from the Spanish Republican Army, and Irishman Thomas Kilpatrick and German fighter pilot Joachim Reinert supporting the Nationalists are together stranded in a shell hole by fate during the battle. Unnamed to each other, the four decides not to fight each other in which Billy throws away his empty revolver, and tells their own story and their reason for involving in the war, to make the most of it to wait out the battle.
Joachim Reinert was six years old when the First World War was over and lived under Germany's economic depression and war reparation. His father was a soldier who was very grievously wounded, costing the loss of his arms and mobility. Though Reinert doesn't hate the British or the French for his father's condition, he knows that war is terrible and he swore to never ever to become a soldier like his father. By age fifteen, his father died during the same year that Adolf Hitler became chancellor. Under Hitler's regime, Reinert, not a Nazi and doesn't care of his nation's politics, joined the Luftwaffe and realized that flying in his plane made him felt wonderful than being a soldier, stating that fighting in the air is a clean, honorable and fair chivalry between enemies. Eventually his country supported the Spanish Nationalists and during his second military tour at the Battle of the Ebro, his plane malfunctioned and made a emergency landing to where he currently ended up.
Billy Gardner, at the age of six, lost his father in the Great War after joining the Pals' Battalion. Gardner believed that his father's life was wasted for nothing. By the Great Depression, Gardner was called back to his home in the north from his scholarship to look after his mother during when labor strikes were being brutally suppressed. But it was where he first heard about the Socialist movement and he joined it for its virtues to fight against oppression and inequality. Eventually, he joined the International Brigade for the exact same reasons unlike his father's. Under the leadership of Sergeant Lilley, Gardner and his fellow soldiers are treated fairly and they respected each other. After taking a ridge during the Battle of the Ebro, Lilley's brigade were being repelled by enemy armor and air. Without any support from their allies and lacking ammunition, Lilley ordered everyone to retreat rather than wasting their lives for the ridge.
Thomas Kilpatrick is a steadfast Irish Nationalist who participated in the Easter Uprising and the guerrilla war in North Ireland. Given his remorseless nature, he became an executioner as he execute prisoners and traitors as his own comrades were very uncomfortable in killing men in cold blood. Overtime Kilpatrick realized that in order to defeat his English enemies is by means of embracing Irish Fascism. So he joined the Irish Brigade under fascist Eoin O'Duffy on the side of the Spanish Nationalists. While in an incidental moment in Salamanca, Kilpatrick and his countrymen lager too much in the local wine and accidentally throw up on a saluting Spanish general while being shipped to the battle. Joachim Reinert was present to witness the entire embarrassing incident.
Kilpatrick's Irish Brigade was sent to the Jarama Front, but were entirely ill-equipped and lacked resting. In their first engagement, they accidentally attacked Falangist troops for mistaking them as socialists. By the time they reach the real battle, matters had worsen as the Irish Brigade lost men to artillery shells and dysentery. It was not too long that a majority of Kilpatrick's men ultimately voted to give up and return to Ireland. Only Kilpatrick and a few others decided to stay. But it was pointless and Kilpatrick now regret that he should never had left Ireland from the beginning.
Juan-Miguel Martinez was at the Bombing of Guernica. Martinez was not a native of Guernica nor have any friends or relatives at the town. He returned from cousins in Marseille, France, and had simply stopped to spend the night at Guernica. He forgotten it was market day and also that many Republican troops had fallen back to Guernica as the Nationalists advanced. It was not too soon that he had heard church bells rang to warn of an air attack. Initially it was a single bomber that attack before everyone emerged out to help the wounded. However, it is just at that time that the entire bomber squadron, the Condor Legion, arrived, killing many even those that find shelter in the cellars. The survivors panicked and stampeded out of Guernica into the fields. Martinez followed them but his path was block by debris. His delay was fortunate as Heinkel He 51 biplanes appeared out of nowhere and massacred the survivors and even animals on the open field and every exit out of Guernica. It was then that the main bombing happened, leaving the entire town in absolute ruins. Martinez was among the very few people to survive, and bearing horrific witness to what is left of Guernica.
The bombing spurred Martinez to join the Republicans in order to stop similar events as Guernica from happening again, and as well to seek revenge on those who did it. But it didn't came out as after witnessing people died on either battles or senseless executions that he learn that there is no end to the violence and nothing good will come out of it.
In the end, Martinez states to a stunned Kilpatrick, Reinert and Gardner that he hates them: Reinert for allowing his German countrymen to use Spain as a target practice, Kilpatrick for simply being a lunatic, and Gardner for his idealism as being pointless. Stating that the latter's socialist beliefs doesn't even mentioned anything about Spain, its people or its problems, and for simply applying his ideals. Furthermore, the ideas of equality and fairness will not apply to humanity as humans are doom to carry out and repeat the violence. In general Martinez lambently states it is how the world "work out" its political theories through bloodshed in countries like his. Or to simply use Spain to prepare for "something much more terrible." Finally, Martinez tells the three that they remind him of condors for taking what is left of the carnage of the war. But he admits that he is not so much different from them.
After the battle had died down, the four leave the hole and went their separate ways after Martinez grimly states that not everyone has learned anything today. Just as has everyone left, Kilpatrick returns to the hole and wielding Gardner's gun, now loaded with Kilpatrick's spare bullets, believing that the others will come back and kill him when they have the chance. But as he waited until morning that he finally realize that they are not coming.
After the end of the Spanish Civil War on April 1, 1939, Spain fell under Nationalist control until the death of Fransisco Franco in 1975. At which time the country began the transition back to Democracy. The German Army and Air Force learned its lesson in the war and applied them during the Second World War, five months after the war in Spain. The volunteers of the International Brigade returned to their homelands, many to a hero's welcome. Later, however, particularly in the United States, their support for the Republican cause are condemned as Communist sympathizers.
Juan-Miguel Martinez returned to his native Torremolinos when the Civil War ended, and opened a seafood restaurant in a thriving tourist resort. For many years afterwards, he remained unforgiving towards Germany for its role in the war and had been secretly masturbating in German diners' food. Although he retired some years ago, his sons and grandsons continue to provide the service.
Thomas Kilpatrick was killed in 1954, when his own car bomb detonated prematurely at a crossroads outside the Irish border town of Newry. It is still unknown as to where he was going, what his intended target was, or what he thought he was doing.
Joachim Reinert fought in the Second World War in both the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain. By the time of the German invasion of Russia, he was a Colonel in command of three full fighter squadrons. He scored 217 kills, won the Knight's Cross with Swords, Oak Leaves and Diamonds. Even on the brutal Eastern front, Reinert was renowned for his decency and compassion toward downed opponents. A week before the end of the war, outnumbered and exhausted, he was shot down and machine-gunned under his parachute by Soviet fighters.
Billy Gardner lost a hand at the end of the Battle of the Ebro, and was thus unable to serve in the Second World War. He remained active in the British Labour Party and the Trade Union movement for the rest of his life. In June, 1979, on the eve of Margaret Thatcher's first election victory, he was beaten to death for his pension outside a post office in his hometown. Fewer and fewer year by year, his comrades mourn him still.
- This book was first published on January 8, 2003.
- This issue includes a special thanks to Dan Raspler.
- Thomas Kilpatrick's embarrassing incident for vomiting on a Spanish general is based on a real-life incident.
- In some scenes of the bombing of Guernica they are graphically stylized after Pablo Picasso's Guernica.
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Links and References
- ↑ Othen, Christopher. Franco's International Brigades, London: Reportage Press, 2008, pp. 111-112