Spanish Civil War Cover

2/03/2012     Spain & Colonies

Spanish Civil War Cover
On 28th November 1936 at the beginning of the Civil War the Italian government signed a secret treaty with the Spanish Nationalists. In return for military aid, the Nationalist agreed to allow Italy to establish bases in Spain in case of war with France. Over the next three months Mussolini sent to Spain large quantities of aircraft, tanks and explosive materials.

In December the Italian Government began sending large numbers of Fascist "Black Shirt" volunteers to Spain and by the end of 1936 there were 3,000 members of the Black Shirts taking part in military action. They took part in the fighting around Madrid and participated in the fall of Málaga in February 1937. By this time their numbers had increased to 30,000. There were also 20,000 members of the regular Italian Army fighting in Spain.

During the whole period of the Spanish Civil War Italy sent 80,000 men, of whom almost 6,000 belonged to the Italian Air Force, 45,000 to the army and 29,000 to the fascist militia. Italy also supplied over 6000 items of heavy weaponry, over 150 tanks and over 650 aircraft.

Included in these numbers were members of the Field Post Office divisions using the "Ufficio Postale Speciale" No 1 – 9 cancellers. This particular cover sent to Lucca is annotated in m/s "Zona senzo bolli" (Zone without stamps) but has still been taxed by the Italian Post Office 50c on arrival.

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