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Old 29th March 2005, 15:46
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Re: Fighter pilots' guts

One implied recognition of the French airmen of 1940 can be found in a diary note by Hannes Trautloft (JG 54's commander). When the Soviet fighter pilots in March 1942 started to get better and adopted better tactics, Trautloft's conclusion was:

"We have the impression that French pilots are flying with the Russians now. In the last days we have noticed a completely new tactic adopted by the enemy fighters. . . . And [they] have also grown more aggressive". (Quoted in "Black Cross/Red Star", Vol. 2, p. 94.)

(This was one year before the first French fighter pilots appeared on the Eastern Front.)

Taking the very strong opposition they were up against, the accomplishment of the French Normandie-Niemen fighter regiment really is impressive. All their victories were achieved in an environment where the cream of the Luftwaffe veterans operated. I can imagine the rate of destruction the Normandie-Niemen veterans could have caused if they would have been set loose against the rookies in the Luftwaffe's "Western" fighter units.
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Christer Bergström

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Last edited by Christer Bergström; 29th March 2005 at 15:48.