Spanish Arms Sales to U.K. 1940/1945

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AlanD
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Joined: 11 Jan 2013 07:25

Spanish Arms Sales to U.K. 1940/1945

Post by AlanD » 18 Jul 2021 02:17

Hello

Does anyone have any information on Spanish arms sales - especially small arms - to the UK in 1940/45?

Regards

Alan

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Ironmachine
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Re: Spanish Arms Sales to U.K. 1940/1945

Post by Ironmachine » 19 Jul 2021 09:54

It's not much, but what follows is taken from https://www.mve2gm.es/paises/espa%C3%B1 ... -de-armas/ (translated by me):
At the beginning of World War II, the British War Office bought a batch of Star and Llama handguns to equip the Special Operations Executive, SOE.
In 1944 it placed an order for pistols, quantity unknown but significant, to the Spanish firm Gabilondo y Cía., manufacturer of the Llama brand, in .38 ACP caliber.
The "Rigal Report", which is a series of documents that inventoried the weapons distributed to Force 136 operating in Southeast Asia and India, mentions "some 3,000 Llama pistols in different calibers: 9mm, .380 ACP and. 32 ACP".
There was also an important consignment of small arms and ammunition delivered to the French resistance by the SOE. In the book "Chuck Yeager: fighter pilot" written by former Major General in the United States Air Force, Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager, who as a pilot during World War II was shot down over France in his eighth mission on March 5, 1944 and after escaping through Spain on March 30 with the help of the Maquis (French resistance), he returned to England on May 15, 1944. Shortly thereafter, he described that the combatants of the French resistance that helped him carried among other weapons the pistol "Llama .38 s". so it seems that he was referring to the Model V in caliber 9 mm Largo / .38 Super.
As for the "British" Star handguns there is little information, although it seems that in the early 1940s that government bought a consignment of a Star caliber 9 short model pistol, possibly the Star S.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Spanish Arms Sales to U.K. 1940/1945

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Jul 2021 14:10

Hi Ironmachine,

I seem to recall that the British also ordered thousands of pistols in Argentina for SOE.

(See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballester%E2%80%93Molina)

I wonder what the rationale was? To give anybody caught with one deniability about any British connection?

Cheers,

Sid.

ROLAND1369
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Re: Spanish Arms Sales to U.K. 1940/1945

Post by ROLAND1369 » 19 Jul 2021 16:18

I think that the answer is much simpler. The purchase of non standard pistols would not compete with the manufacture of standard weapons for the regular British military. The British could not supply their own forces with enough weapons, note after Dunkirk the weapons supplied by the US for the home guard. SOE was an unknown quantity early in the war and most likely would have had great difficulty in achieving a higher priority for weapons over the regular forces. Note that the OSS also supplied non standard weapons such as the high standard SMG to its operatives. Once the war was started any need for hiding the source of the weapons was totally unnecessary.

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