WW2 Spanish Armored Cars

Ferrol Armored Car

Nationalist Spain (1936-1937)
Armored Car – 4-5 Built

Improvised Armored Cars in the Spanish Civil War

When war broke out in Spain following the failed coup of Generals Emilio Mola and José Sanjurjo, neither side could field large numbers of armored fighting vehicles. There was a total of 74 armored vehicles throughout the whole country with the governmental forces of the Republic keeping hold of the vast majority of them (58) and the Rebels, (also known as the ‘Nationalists’), only having 16. These vehicles were not the most modern designs and included WWI relics such as the Schneider CA1 and Renault FT, several imaginative indigenous designs, such as the Trubia Serie A and Landesa tanks, and the most numerous vehicle, the Bilbao Modelo 1932 armored car.
To gain the upper hand during the confusing and uncertain first days of the war, each side armed civilian buses, cars, trucks and lorries to use as temporary armored vehicles until a better solution could be found.They were never intended for long-term use. Due to the blackish color given by the iron and other metallic plating, these vehicles quickly gained the nickname of ‘tiznaos’ (from the adjective tiznado – sooty).
The Republicans, who controlled most of the industrial areas, managed to build, with varying success, around 400 of these during the first year of the war, and the Nationalists developed their own models in areas under their control, such as Pamplona, Zaragoza, Valladolid, and Ferrol.
Because of the rushed nature of their manufacture and their poor design, these vehicles were prone to breakdowns and malfunctions, with some vehicles even breaking in half due to the extra weight of their armor of protective steel plates.
While they may not have been the most practical of vehicles, these armored cars had several functions: to transport supplies, weapons and ammunition to friendly troops; for troop and prisoner transport; to impress enemy troops and civilians and inspire allied troops and supporters. Given the unimpressive and uninspiring aspect of these vehicles this may come as a surprise to modern viewers, but, it must be remembered that few Spanish fighters during the Civil War, let alone the civilian population, had been exposed to modern standard tanks or armored vehicles of any kind and these large, noisy and rumbling metallic ‘beasts’ must have had a dramatic impact on all who encountered them.


Following the electoral victory of the left-leaning Popular Front in the February 1936 elections, the political situation in Spain was tense. Foreseeing that these tensions would evolve into violent encounters, several military units across the country took matters into their own hands. Sometime between the months of March and April 1936, in the coastal and strategically important city of Ferrol (in the north of Galicia), the Regimento de Artillería de Costas No.2 (Coastal Artillery Regiment) transformed at least four of the regiments’ Hispano-Suiza 30/40 buses-transports into armored cars. As with many of the other improvised vehicles of the war, the vehicle was named after the town it was built in – Ferrol.

Ferrol No.4 with troops of the Regimento de Artillería de Costas nº2 outside said regiment’s barracks. Source: Blindados Españoles en el Ejército de Franco

Restored version of the Hispano-Suiza 30/40 bus from which the Ferrols were transformed. SOURCE
Unlike many of the other ‘tiznaos’, the Ferrols were built before the war meaning that more time was available to work on the vehicles, and the fact that they were built by qualified military personnel who knew what they were doing and not groups of militiamen, their design was well thought-out and the vehicles resembled modern armored cars, at least more so than other ‘tiznaos’.
As can be expected given the nature of their construction, all Ferrols have differences between them which vary from some models lacking headlights and/or front bumpers whilst others have them, to one example lacking a turret and machine gun. Details of the differences between vehicles will be addressed below. Generally, for all examples of this model, 6-8mm gray painted armored steel plating covered the original vehicle on all sides and a rotatable turret, inspired from the WWI Rolls-Royce Armored Car, was mounted on top with a Hotchkiss Model 1924 7mm (0.27 in) machine gun, which was quite possibly Spanish made. Each side of the vehicle had seven firing holes through which troops inside could fire their rifles, with an additional eight holes on both sides of the turret which could have also serve as a viewing port for the machine gunner. From front to back, the first hole could be found on the top end of the door which served as access for the crew and passengers.
In the front of the turret, 3 viewports could be found. The right one was the driver’s and one of the other ones to the left was for the commander. It can be assumed that the third viewpoint was for another crew member or passenger. Two medium-sized hatches on either side of the vehicle’s front allowed access to the motor for repairs and maintenance otherwise made impossible by the lack of a bonnet in the cladding. The front of the vehicle had two sets of ventilation grilles which were installed to prevent the motor from overheating.

Numbers made

There is an ongoing debate over the number of Ferrols converted. The established view is that there were at least four, but several, especially among the war-modelling community, claim that there was also a fifth, with some highly improbable speculation that a sixth was converted.
Three of the vehicles (Numbers 1*, 1, 3 and 4) are very easy to account for, as they had distinguishable features.
What the main historiography considered to be number 1 had a very different appearance to the rest as it lacked a turret, the front plate consisted of a single inclined metallic plate going from the top of the ventilation grilles to the beginning of the roof of the vehicle and the viewports were all at different heights and angles, unlike the other vehicles, where all three viewports were at the same height and angle.

What is usually considered to be the Ferrol No.1 crossing the bridge between Cabañas and Puentedeume in northern Galicia in July 1936. Note the lack of a turret and distinctive frontal armor plating. Source: Blindados Españoles en el Ejército de Franco
However, newer photographic evidence offered by the archives of the Museo Manuel Reimóndez Portela would suggest that the actual No.1 was more similar to the rest. Its distinctive features are a number 1 painted at the front of the vehicle, a radiator cap or hood ornament on top of the grilles and a circular hatch to access the engine rather than the quadrilocular or rectangular of other models. It also lacks a bumper, has forward lights and text (although faint) over the spider crab insignia. This leads to two options: a) What is usually considered No.1 should be considered as a prototype (1*) and the one in the image below as the actual No.1; or b) That although being built without a turret and fighting for the first few weeks and even months of the war in that configuration at some point in late 1936 or early 1937 a turret, forward lights and other substantial changes were made, though there is no strong evidence supporting these claims and the comparison of both photos does not point towards that direction.

The actual Ferrol No.1 with its distinctive features as the number 1 painted at the front of the vehicle, a radiator cap or hood ornament on top of the grilles and a circular hatch to access the engine rather than the cuadricular or rectangular of other models. This photo was taken in Villamanin (León) on the 22nd of July 1937. It has been recorded that at least two Ferrols fought in this area. SOURCE
Numbers 3 and 4 were photographed together at least four times, which is quite remarkable given that there are only ten known photos of these vehicles. They are easy to identify as there was a number 3 and 4 painted beneath the ventilation grilles. Other differences include both front and back wheels being different and No.3’s lack of a front bumper, which No.4 has.

Ferrol armoured car
Rendition of the Ferrol Armoured Car by Tanks Encyclopedia’s own David Bocquelet
Ferrols number 3 and 4 easily distinguishable because of the numbers 3 and 4 painted beneath the grilles outside Regimento de Artillería de Costas nº2 barracks. Other differences include both front and back wheels being different and No.3’s lack of a front bumper, which No.4 has. Source: Blindados Españoles en el Ejército de FrancoIdentifying No.2 and the potential No.5 is harder. The photographic evidence is not the clearest and details can be missed to the naked eye, leaving all work on the matter up to speculation.
Author’s Note: After having spent many hours inspecting all available images of the vehicles I have come to the conclusion that at least five vehicles were made. Small details, such as the frame where the mudguards originally sat, the elevation and inclination of different armored plates, the detailing on the spider crab insignia on the side of the vehicle or the peephole on the doors, in my opinion, differ substantially between vehicles leading me to believe more than four were made. I have provided all available photos of the armored car so the reader can make his judgment about the numbers made.

Ferrols number 3 and 4 outside the Pelayo barracks in Oviedo in October 1937 after the conclusion of the war in the north. Source: Blindados Españoles en el Ejército de Franco

Combat History and Performance

With the outbreak of hostilities in July 1936, the Ferrols were the only armored vehicles in Galicia, giving their owners, the Nationalists, an advantage. The first recorded use of these vehicles was on the 20th of July 1936 when they were used to transport grenades, a mortar and machine guns from the coastal artillery barracks to the troops of the No.35 ‘Mérida’ Infantry Regiment. The following day, at dawn, a number of the vehicles carried out similar functions carrying another mortar and ammunition to the Comandancia del Arsenal building and on the return journey, transported the dismissed Chief of the Arsenal to imprisonment. During these journeys, they were in action against elements of the navy loyal to the Republic. In the morning, the commander of the Regimento de Artillería de Costas No.2, Sánchez Esperante, used one of them to visit the officers of the newly proclaimed military government and after their conversation, the Ferrols were used to assault the Town Hall and the People’s House (a community center) which were still under governmental control. Despite intense fire from the defenders, these buildings were soon captured after the rebels threatened to fire the two Plasencia mod. 1870 8cm cannons the Ferrols were transporting against the Town Hall.

Another photo of the Ferrols number 3 and 4 (in the background) outside the Pelayo barracks in Oviedo in October 1937. SOURCE
On the 22nd of July 1936, the Ferrols patrolled the towns around Ferrol crushing any elements loyal to the government and one was sent in the attempted capture of the town of Puentedeume, less than 10 km (6 miles) south, which had a strategically important bridge, but they were unsuccessful due to the opposing forces and terrain. The following day a bigger force accompanied the lone Ferrol and captured the town. The next day (July 23rd), they were used for patrolling duties in the north of Galicia. During these early days, without any armored opposition or organized resistance, the Ferrols proved to be very effective and efficient vehicles.
In late October or November 1936, the Ferrols were split up and sent to different fronts in the North. At least two (most probably numbers 3 and 4), were sent to the Oviedo-Grado sector in Asturias with a foot artillery battery. The other two were sent to the La Robla-Matallana-La Vecilla sector on the Leon front. It is suggested that two Ferrols accompanying the first Galician troops sent to Asturias in the summer of 1936 were knocked out or left inoperative whilst covering troops attacking the town of Bolgues on the Trubia road. These claims, however, are probably false as there is no other recorded presence of the Ferrols until November 1936 and it is likely that the aforementioned vehicles were not Ferrols but other armored cars, very likely captured from the Republican forces.
By February 1937, two of the Ferrols (again, most probably numbers 3 and 4), were defending Oviedo from the Republican attack to take this key city. The crews of the vehicles had taken casualties in the previous months and they were now manned by a combined total of 15 men. They were accompanied by two Trubia tanks protecting the weapons factory-Campo de los Patos sector against the combined total of 40 Republican armored vehicles, though not all were deployed in the same sector as the Ferrols.

Front of the Ferrol No.3 somewhere in Oviedo with Jesús Evaristo Casariego, a Réquete (Carlist militiamen) officer. SOURCE

Fate and Conclusion

Having served for over a year until the conclusion of the war in the north in October 1937, some of the vehicles, at least numbers 3 and 4, could be found in Oviedo, whilst at least one remained in León.
By this point they had exhausted their useful life and with plentiful Italian CV.33/35 and German Pz.I tanks, they were rendered surplus to requirements. Their fate for the remainder of the war is unknown but it seems likely that they were used for some time for patrolling and policing duties before being broken up for scrap or being put back to use into their original pre-conversion role.
Thanks to their more thought-out and, therefore, studier design and production, the ‘Ferrols’ were able to outlive other improvised ‘tiznao’ designs of the early weeks and months of the war, but once modern mass-produced vehicles were available in large numbers and the limitations of the ‘tiznaos’ became increasingly apparent, it was clear that they had had their day.

Links, Resources & Further Reading

Artemio Mortera Pérez, Los Medios Blindados de la Guerra Civil Española. Teatro de Operaciones del Norte 36/37 (Valladolid: AF Editores, 2007)
Francisco Antonio Martín, Los Medios Blindados de Ruedas en España, un Siglo de Historia (Valladolid: Quirón, 2002)
José López Hermida, Los Días del Alzamiento en Ferrol
Lucas Molina Franco and José M Manrique García, Blindados Españoles en el Ejército de Franco (1936-1939) (Valladolid: Galland Books, 2009)
Curiosidades de los CC y blindados. Su historia y reseñas on
Los Primeros Años de Hispano-Suiza on
Ferrol Armored Car images on
Ferrol Armored Car images on Galería Museo Manuel Reimóndez Portela

WW2 Republican Spanish Armored Cars WW2 Spanish Armored Cars

Bilbao Modelo 1932

Second Spanish Republic (1932-1939)
Nationalist Spain (1936-1943)
Armored Car – 48 Built

Guardian of the Republic

The Bilbao Modelo 1932 was the official armored car of the Guardias de Asalto (Assault Guard – officially known as Secciones de la Vanguardia del Cuerpo de Seguridad – Sections of the Vanguard of the Security Corps), who were essentially riot polic. They were boxy armored cars based on a Ford commercial truck chassis, with a cylindrical turret armed with a Spansh-built Hotchkiss machine gun. The Bilbao armored car was used by both Republicans and Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War, but the majority remained in Republican hands in 1936, and these were used extensively in the first few months of the war. As more were captured by the Nationalists, they also saw service throughout the rest of the war, albeit in smaller numbers.

Surviving Bilbao Modelo 1932 of the Assault Guard at Parque y Centro de Mantenimiento de Vehiculos Ruedas Numero. 1. Credits: Alcantara Forogratis.


The Bilbao Modelo 1932 was designed by an engineer from SECN (la Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval  / Spanish Society of Naval Construction) with collaboration from a Captain of Engineers from the Cuerpo de Seguridad y Asalto (Security and Assault Corps).
They were built by the Department of Railways of the SECN’s factory in Sestao, near Bilbao, hence the vehicle’s name “Bilbao Modelo 1932”. It is unclear what chassis Bilbao Modelo 1932 was based on. Originally, SECN considered using a 4×2 Ford V8 Model 1930 commercial truck manufactured in Barcelona by Ford Motor Ibérica, but the Ford Factory did not start production of engines until 1939. It is believed that the first series (IE the first 36 vehicles) were based on a Dodge 4×2 Model 1932 with either a Chrysler or Dodge K32 Model 1931 engine.
An iron frame of three joined parts was used to strengthen the vehicle in order to take the extra weight of the armoring. The cylindrical turret was placed in the center of the roof, which mounted a Spanish-built Hotchkiss Model 1924 7 mm (0.27 in) machine gun. This gun was manufactured in Spain for the Army, Navy, and even the Police.
Some Spanish sources mention other types of Bilbao armored cars such as a “Modelo 1935”, but this appears to be a misconception, as there appear to have been no production differences between any Bilbao armored cars.

Technical drawing of the Bilbao Modelo 1932.


The vehicles were originally divided among Republican security forces. The structure of the Compañías de Asalto is as follows: A Grupo de Asalto (located regionally) would be commanded by a Tentiente Coronel (Lieutenant Commander), which would consist of three Compañías de Seguridad, and integrated into this would be a Seccion Vanguardia, commanded by a Lieutenant, which would include nine Bilbao Modelo 1932s.
In total, there were twelve Grupos de Asalto, which would require one hundred and eight vehicles, but only forty two Bilbao Modelo 1932s were contracted to SECN in 1930. In June, 1932, forty Bilbao Modelo 1932s were supplied, with two remaining in Sestao for an unknown reason. Therefore, many Grupos would not have Bilbao Modelo 1932s, or they would not have a full complement of vehicles in each.

Guardia de Asalto in Barcelona receive their Bilbao Modelo 1932s. Credit: Andreu Puig i Farran, as taken from “Los Medios Blindados en la Guerra Civil España: Teatro de Operaciones del Norte 36/37” by Artemio Mortera Pérez.
In 1933, twelve Bilbao Modelo 1932s were ordered by the Grupo de Autoametralladoras del Regimiento de Caballería de Aranjuez (Armored Car Group of the Cavalry Regiment of Aranjuez). One Grupo would have two Esquadrons (squadrons), which would have six vehicles in each.
At the start of the war in 1936, the Bilbao Modelo 1932s were divided thus: forty were assigned to the Cuerpo de Seguridad, seven to the Ejército de Tierra (missing only one vehicle to be fully equipped), and one was at the Parque Regional de Automóviles de Madrid (Regional Park of Automobiles of Madrid). forty one of these were Republican hands, and the seven of the Ejército de Tierra were in Nationalist hands.
Throughout the war, the vehicles appear to have been used by different, often newly-made organizations.

Guardia de Asalto with a Bilbao Modelo 1932, Toledo, 1936.


Summer, 1936

On the morning of the 20th of July 1936, two Bilbao Modelo 1932s, along with other military elements, intervened in the attack on the Cuartel de la Montaña, Madrid.
On the 21st of July, four were part of Colonel Riquelme’s column, which advanced on Toledo in order to besiege the Alcazar. Two of these vehicles were destroyed in combat.
On the afternoon of the 20th July, another column (formed in Madrid by Colonel Puigdendolas) is reported to have had no fewer than eight or nine Bilbao Modelo 1932s. These took part in the occupation of Alcalá de Henares (22 miles northeast of Madrid) on 21st July in order to quell a revolt (although no violence was used). The same vehicles later took part in the occupation of Guádalajara on the 22nd July which saw fierce fighting. Later on, two of these Bilbao Modelo 1932s were captured in the Guadarrama mountain range attacking the Nationalist positions at the port of Alto del León, whilst the other seven were taken back to Madrid.
It is possible that two or three Bilbao Modelo 1932s were part of la Columna Vidal of Tentiente Coronel Vidal Munárriz. It is reported that several were in service when the column was reformed after reaching Villareal on 21st July. Whilst two Bilbao Modelo 1932s were apparently kept at SECN in Sestao in 1932, the vehicles in the Columna Vidal may actually just have been locally built armored cars. On the 26th July, the Columna received reinforcements, and the following day, the newspaper “El Liberal” suggested that they received a “carro de asalto”, which might have been a Bilbao Modelo 1932, but this is unclear. It is quite likely that these vehicles were all locally built Tiznaos (a generic term for crude armored cars built in local workshops).

Autumn, 1936

At Madrid, Bilbao Modelo 1932s were added to different Columns. Lieutenant Colonel Mangada’s column, which had five Bilbaos, went to Cebreros (41 miles west of Madrid) and returned to Madrid three days later. These five Bilbaos also had a prominent role in the disruption of a Nationalist assault on the 19th of August on Navalperal de Pinares (40 miles northwest of Madrid).
Two Bilbao armored cars were involved in the defense of Mérida (August, 1936, 40 miles east of the Portuguese border), where they would be captured by the Nationalists. These were then used to enter Badajoz (34 miles west of Mérida).
Other Bilbao Modelo 1932s were known to be part of the Columna Móvil (Mobile Column) organized in Zaragoza, as well as the Ejército Expedicionario (Expeditionary Army) that left Seville in early August.
In mid-September, the Nationalists organized a two-section Armored Company with the Bilbao Modelo 1932s they had captured. This Company would arrive in Madrid, supporting the columns that were besieging the capital.
Different forces used Bilbao armored cars in the north of Spain. Two were with the Column of Commander Galvis near Irun and another four were sent from San Sebastián and Bilbao to stop to the Nationalists advance from Vitoria.

After 1936

The Bilbao Modelo 1932 was only a capable fighting vehicle in urban areas, and was totally unsuitable for combat in any sort of rural area. As a result, after the first few months of the war, the Bilbao Modelo 1932 would typically be kept in reserve or used in rear guard or ‘2nd line’ duties, such as policing and escorts. For example, at the end of 1938 the Agrupacion de Carros de Combate del Sur (Group of Combat Vehicles of the South, which was a Nationalist unit) nominally had a strength of seven Bilbao armored cars in reserve. Of these though only one was operational, five were in repair, and one was destroyed. This was possible due to the appearance of more versatile armored cars such as the BA-3, BA-6, UNL-35, and AAC-1937.
By the end of 1938, the Nationalists had thirteen Bilbao Modelo 1932s, including the seven belonging to the Cavalry, five which they captured from Republican forces, and one destroyed but used for spare parts. Five of these would be converted into flamethrower-carrying variants (see below). There is no information available for Republican numbers.

After 1939

After the Civil War, the remaining Bilbao Modelo 1932s were removed form the Ejército de Tierra’s stocks and were incorporated into the Cuerpo de Policía Armada y de Tráfico (Armed Police and Traffic Corps), formed under Franco in 1941, and likely served the same duties as they did in the Guardias de Asalto during pre-war Second Republic. The Second Republic’s Secciones de Vangurdia became the Banderas Móviles de la Policía Armada (Armed Police Mobile Flags), which, on paper, would be equipped with Bilbao Modelo 1932s for police transport (six men plus a driver).
It is known that the surviving Bilbao Modelo 1932s were assigned to the 10th Bandera Móvil at Valencia, which indicates that only a handful of vehicles survived the war – likely no more than nine. Photos from Policía Armada y de Tráfico magazine show that these were used for training of policemen, although the vehicles were unarmed.

Bilbao Modelo 1932 being used for training by the Policia Armada, post-Civil War. From Policía Armada y de Tráfico magazine, courtesy of Coronel Juan Antonio Penacho, General D. Antonio Nadal, and Octavio Almendros.
With the reorganization of the Fuerzas de Orden Público (Public Order Forces) in 1943 (essentially, a new organization of armed police with the absorption of the Carabineros by the Guardia Civil) the trace of all Bilbao Modelo 1932s is lost, and they were likely retired.
Today, two Bilbao Modelo 1932s still exist. One is on display at the Parque Central de Mantenimientos de Vehñiculos Rueda No. 1 (Torrejón, Madrid), and the other is at the Academia de Logística (Calatayud, Zaragoza).

Bilbao Modelo 1932 ‘Lanzallamas’ – the flamethrower variant

What had previously been considered a myth in early scholarship on Spanish Civil War vehicles was proven reality by private photos taken by the Condor Legion. These Bilbao ‘Lanzallamas’ were essentially  Bilbao armored cars which were captured by the Nationalists, and then armed with heavy flamethrowers.

Context: Flamethrowers in Spain

As early as October, 1936, the Nationalists began training of flamethrower infantrymen under the direction of the Condor Legion. From January, 1937, Commander Peter Jansa (Chief of the Condor Legion’s anti-tank artillery instructors) was put in charge of the training. The Gruppe Von Thoma supplied eighteen flamethrowers of three types: nine standard, four light, and five heavy ‘trench’ (IE improvised) types. On the 17th of October, 1936, the training of a specialist flamethrower company began.
Of the four light flamethrower units, two were sent to the Tercio (Spanish Legion), one remained for training, and one was installed on a Panzer I Ausf. A, which joined other vehicles on October 27th for operations at the Talavera front.

Designing the Bilbao Modelo 1932 ‘Lanzallamas’

Several armored cars were requested in October in order to mount some of the five heavy trench flamethrowers, and the vehicle chosen was the Bilbao armored car. Five Bilbaos were sent to the workshop of the Condor Legion (in the town of Quismondo). Some of these vehicles were damaged and subsequently had to be repaired whilst they were being fitted with flamethrowers. These so-called ‘Bilbao Modelo 1932 Lanzallamas’ were no different from a regular Bilbao armored car, save for a large flame projector poking through the co-driver’s vision hatch, and an internal storage tank.

One of the five Bilbao “Lanzallamas”. The man on the left is a member of the Condor Legion. The distinctive flamethrower pokes through the co-driver’s hatch, and the tank is placed behind. Interestingly, the Hotchkiss machine gun armament has been kept. The turret and the front engine grill are marked with Spanish Nationalist two-tone flags. Source: Author’s collection

The Bilbao was chosen because of its large internal space, and also because multiple vehicles were readily available. Several were captured by the Nationalists after the uprising in 1936, and at least seven more were captured in advance operations at Toledo in September. These captured vehicles (some of which were converted into ‘Lanzallamas’) went on to form the “Compañía de Carros Blindados” (Armored Car Company).
Of the five Bilbao ‘Lanzallamas’, two were left in the Las Arguijuelas Castle for training. This was the first base of the Condor Legion Armored Detachment in Spain, and was an anti-tank training ground for Spanish troops until 1937. The other three ‘Lanzallamas’ were sent urgently to the Talavera front on the 26th of October, 1936.
On the 1st of November, new crews were appointed to be trained on the two reserve Bilbao ‘Lanzallamas’.
Little to no information is available on the combat performance of flamethrowers in the Spanish Civil War, let alone the Bilbao ‘Lanzallamas’.

Bilbao from the Assault Guard
Bilbao Modelo 1932 of Assault Guard, currently on display at Parque y Centro de Mantenimiento de Vehiculos Ruedas N°1.Bilbao Lanzallamas
Bilbao Modelo 1932 ‘Lanzallamas’ (flamethrower version).
Camouflaged Republican Bilbao Modelo 1932, the Plaza de Zocodover, Toledo, 1936.
Camouflaged Republican Bilbao Modelo 1932, the Plaza de Zocodover, Toledo, 1936.

A knocked out Republican Bilbao Modelo 1932 with the corpses of its crew beside it. It was abandoned during the retreat from Talavera to Toledo. Note that the tires are missing, likely having been scavenged.

Different view of the above, after some time had passed. The engine appears to have been removed by this point, likely as salvage. Source: Author’s collection

Different view of the above after even more time has passed. Now, the vehicle has been stripped down for scrap even further. The soldier is of the Condor Legion.

Bilbao ‘Lanzallamas’ with the door open, showing the large internal tank for the flamethrower.

Bilbao Modelo 1932 of the Assault Guard at the barricade of the Plaza de Zocodover, Toledo, September, 1936.

Bilbao Modelo 1932 at the Plaza de Zocodover, Toledo, 1936.

Bilbao Modelo 1932 in La Plaza de Campana, Seville. It was abandoned by its crew on the 18th July, 1936, and later recovered by Captain Gabriel Fuentes.

Bilbao Modelo 1932, on display at the Escuela de Logística, Zaragoza.

Different view of the above.

Bilbao Modelo 1932 being used for training by the Policia Armada, post-Civil War. From Policía Armada y de Tráfico magazine, courtesy of Coronel Juan Antonio Penacho, General D. Antonio Nadal, and Octavio Almendros.

Bilbao Modelo 1932 specifications

Dimensions (LxWxH) 5.44 x 2.07 x 2.6 m
17’10” x  6’9″ x  8’6″
Total weight, battle ready 4800 kg (5.29 US tons)
Crew 3 + 5 (commander, driver, gunner + 5 riflemen)
Propulsion Unknown. Chrysler or Dodge K32 Model 1931 engine.
Speed (road) 50 km/h
Armament 7 mm (0.27 mm) Hotchkiss Modelo 1924
Armor Unknown


Private correspondence including Coronel Juan Antonio Penacho (the director of military history courses for universities in Spain), General D. Antonio Nadal (director of the Instituto de Cultura y Historia Militar), and Octavio Almendros regarding the Bilbao Modelo 1932, and its post-war use.
Private correspondence with Guillem Martí Pujol, Gorka L Martínez Mezo, and Francisco Javier Cabeza Martinez regarding the Bilbao Modelo 1932’s history, paint schemes, and use of flamethrowers during the Spanish Civil War.
La Maquina y la History No. 2: Blindados en España: 1a. parte: La Guerra Civil 1936-1939” by Javier de Mazarrasa
Camion Blindado Bilbao Mod. 1932 “Lanzallamas“” by Ángel P. Heras.
La Base Alemana de Carros de Combate en Las Arguijuelas, Caceres (1936-1937)” by Antonio Rodríguez González
Los Medios Blindados en la Guerra Civil España: Teatro de Operaciones del Norte 36/37” by Artemio Mortera Pérez
Blindados Españoles en el Ejército de Franco 1936-1939” by Lucas Molina Franco, and Jose Manrique Garcia.
Las Armas de la Guerra Civil: El Primer Estudio Global y Sistematico del Armamento Empleado por Ambos Contendientes” by José María Manrique García and Lucas Molina Franco
Spanish Civil War Tanks: The Proving Ground for Blitzkrieg” by Steven J. Zaloga
AFV Collection No. 1: Panzer I: Beginning of a Dynasty” by Lucas Molina Franco
Revista policía Armada y de Trafico” (1941-1942)” Ministerio de la Gobernación España.
Revista Policía”. Artículos de José Eugenio Fernández Barallobre” Ministerio del Interior, 2003-2004.
Colección de Ordenes generales de la Inspección General de la Policía Armada y de Trafico”, Archivo Histórico del Ministerio del Interior.

Panzer I equipped with a flamethrower, which was upgraded along with five Bilbao Modelo 1932s. Source: Private collection of Ruy Aballe, as taken from “AFV Collection No. 1: Panzer I: Beginning of a Dynasty” by Lucas Molina Franco.