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Old 30th March 2005, 01:20
Posts: n/a
Re: Fighter pilots' guts

Thanks Ruy for both postings.

Quote :
<< Main thing I'm trying to explain is that if there is any critique, it should be of Sholto Douglas, however to say that he had no right to judge or have an opinion on what he'd witnessed, as a senior officer, is not fair nor realistic.>>

Yes but Townsend did all the harm when he PUBLISHED his book, which was quite successful in the whole world and published in French too. Both the English and the French edition were published in... France. Incredible isn't it. I insist that his whole story must be forged - until I'm PROVEN wrong. No fighter unit what stationed at Villacoublay on 3 June 1940, this is a fact. Some fighter units were based there for short periods of time but NOT on this day. Villa is too close to the central target area : Paris. About 250 fighters were concentrated around Paris, a few dozen miles away (20-30 km or more) : at Chantilly, Lognes etc. This airfield (Villa) was used mainly for flight-testing new series aircraft produced by nearby factories, Breguet 693s and LeO 451s I think (no warranty). Besides, the French were informed of the German attack well in advance, much earlier than one day before, but French HQ were such fools that they spoilt everything and they had probably no advantage at all, rather disadvantages, from this knowledge. It cost the lives of about 8 good fighter pilots too many. In any case, this top conference either was not on 3 June or not at Villacoublay, or it never existed. It could - could! - rather have taken place at Dunkerque, but earlier, or even in Paris, for clearly it involved both the Air Forces and the Navies of both countries so the obvious guess is the Dunkerque evacuation. If this is correct it must have been much earlier than that.

Perhaps I can explain the error about "pilots". As you know RAF pilots (proudly) wear their "wings" on their battle-dress. They are made of some textile material. In the French AF EVERY MAN wears similar wings on his battle-dress, even the lowest ranks (ordinary soldiers). I ought to know : I was such an ordinary soldier (deuxième classe) before I became an officer. I forgot what you call them in the RAF. The colour of these wings is gold for officers and NCOs, orange below the rank of sergent. All this has nothing special to do with pilots but it is not surprising that a foreign general mistook the French wings for pilots' insignia.

The French pilot badge, exactly like the German one, is made of metal and is comprised of two horizontal wings inside a circle of laurel leaves, with a golden star which every member of the flying personnel wears.

Anyway nobody has the right to draw such drastic conclusions, on a foreign airfield, about a situation which he has no chance to understand if nobody explains it for him.

Last edited by Hawk-Eye; 30th March 2005 at 11:48.