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Old 1st April 2005, 19:25
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Re: Fighter pilots' guts

Originally Posted by Franek Grabowski
First, nobody seen French troops at Cassino,

- Please (re-)read the history of the Italian Campaign...

second those French troops in Italy (elsewhere) were colonial anyway.

- Just like the by far greater part of the British army at the same time : Indians, South-Africans, New-Zealanders, Canadians etc. At the time the immense French colonies in Africa, especially North Africa, were considered French territory and of course the French army recruited soldiers there as best they could even when the men didn't happen to volunteer (some did). All other countries did the same and forced people into their army : Russia in eastern Poland (or is this wrong? I'm not an expert at WW II-Poland) and all its southern republics (Azerbaidjan, Uzbekistan, Georgia etc.), Germany in Czechoslovakia and Alsace. The USA even enlisted the Indians, who never were, and still are not, considered citizens in their own country and on their own land.

Nevertheless more than one million "European" French people were living in North Africa and as French citizens all able men were enlisted, I guess about 250,000 - arguing was useless but they didn't, they all wanted to jump at Germany's throat. On top of this thousands and thousands French men, mostly soldiers, had escaped, in various ways, from occupied France to N. Africa via Spain or to England, their number was not negligible. Just like many Poles escaped to France or England. And in June 1940 thousands, including many aircrew, went to N. Africa already, not to mention the French units which were permanently stationed there. In any case all officers and most NCOs were French, many lower ranks too. My own uncle was one of them in Morocco, he was just a soldier. He was borne in Marseille and certainly had no African blood, you can trace this family de... until the XIIIth century in central France.
Designations can be misleading, for ex. the French phrase "1er (or 2e etc.) Régiment de Parachutistes Coloniaux". Its members were all French (some black) perhaps with very few exceptions. Likewise the French "Régiments de tirailleurs algériens" and the "Goumiers" (Morocco) had many French soldiers, NCOs and all officers.

No I cannot, certainly they (we?) wanted to kill as many Germans as possible but not at the cost of own life. I am not awared of any self sacrified attack in the Kamikaze style ever performed by Polish pilot.
- I never wrote nor implied that. WhatI meant is that they were prepared to die in combat - all right, just like any other soldier from any country, but certainly even more than that. I never meant suicide attacks, only fighting, even if very dangerous. (It WAS very dangerous).

Also stats do show that Polish losses were not any higher than of the other nations.

- Good! If it's true I like that.
Finally, is there any fighter pilot with worser reputation rather than Italian one?
- Hmmm... I don't know if you may say that. Some fights over Libya between Italian Fiat CR-42 biplanes and British Hurricanes ended with several Hurricanes shot down. The reverse happened too on other occasions. Possibly the Italians just didn't have got the right airplanes. I am aware of the bad reputation of Italian SOLDIERS but hear, hear, I heard that Rommel himself said his best soldiers were the Italians (if they had the proper leaders). So... Let us be careful whith wholesale judgements : "the Germans are tall, fair-haired and blue-eyed and dumb, the French are short and aggressive, they run behind every female person and drink red wine, the Britishers drink only warm water spiced with a little cold water, the Poles are drunk" etc.

Last edited by Hawk-Eye; 1st April 2005 at 19:31. Reason: Rats! Italics again! This is treason!
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