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Old 25th March 2005, 18:33
Hawk-Eye Hawk-Eye is offline
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Fighter pilots chicken?

Fighter pilots chicken?

This subject has been discussed right here, once more, some time ago, which is why I am forced to post this correction.

There is something very strange about 1940 French aircrew. They are the only ones in the world (!) of which various incompetent and dishonest people full of hatred use to say that “they were not eager to fight, were not brave, did not fight with the last ounce of energy”, etc. In the latter case a reason is given : they were very tired etc., which is no excuse for printing such statements. In a nutshell, they are the only WW II-aircrew in the world who are said, again and again, especially by certain British people, not to have been brave and even, in some publications, to have acted cowardly and improperly. I want to stress that none of the many other nationalities - from Japanese to Finnish and from Brazilian to Russian, not to forget American, Italian, German and British – ever was accused of the same sins, which is a good thing for it would also be nonsense. So I refuse to retaliate in kind and call WW II airmen from Poland (see below) and England “cowards, not eager to fight”. I wouldn’t DREAM of such a stupid, dirty statement and the reverse ought to be obvious actually.


Obviously these wholesale cowardice accusations are ludicrous and absolutely disgusting. Above all, they are not correct but wrong. If they were true I would not hesitate to say so, not because I am a French traitor but because nothing has any value in history except the truth, as far as it can be established. In this case it is very simple to do so and there is absolutely no excuse for lies.



Possibly all this legend started with the Allied defeat of May-June 1940, in which France was not the only country to be beaten for there were three others including the UK, but everybody has got used to mention the “French” defeat only, which is totally wrong for it was a very serious ALLIED defeat. Besides, the defensive potential of Belgium and the Netherlands was very high 1940. They were just beaten by new German equipment and tactics, not to mention the brutal violation of their neutrality, German soldiers fighting in DUTCH uniforms in important cases... Together with their colonies (at the time nobody in Europe or America attacked colonialism seriously) these countries were not negligible powers. In particular the NL “owned” Surinam with significant oil reserves and Indonesia (Dutch Indies or East Indies), with a lot of oil too, which was the reason for the 1942 Japanese invasion. So 1940 the NL, too, really were a world power and a very rich one, which made effective defence possible, but they were a neutral country (Belgium too) and realised the danger too late. So the 1940 defeat took place on French soil. Did it? What about the Dutch and Belgian defeats, which the presence of the best British units did not change in the least? When the Allies beat the Germans in France 1944, was it a “French defeat” too? It took place on French soil! Or when the British beat the Italians in Libya, was it a “Libyan defeat”? After all the UK was first to declare war on Germany on 3 September 1939, and the Netherlands and Belgium were first to be massively attacked by the Luftwaffe, including paratroopers in both countries, and invaded by the German army including three armored divisions! So we could feel the 1940 defeat was British, Dutch and Belgian.



Back to aircrew. One of the main anti-French liars certainly was Peter Townsend. His disgusting attack(s) were particularly noxious because he was a well-known RAF hero of WW II, or so he told us. I don’t know if he was first to launch this kind of anti-French propaganda, which in any case was rather surprising from a so-called “friend and ally” shortly after the Nazi defeat. This traitor even was living in... France, yes in France, near Rambouillet, not far from Paris, and he had married a Frenchwoman! In his book with the so modest title “Duel of Eagles” – he was one of the best-known “eagles” himself because of his romance with Princess Margaret, for years the tabloids’ favourite feature – he wrote, after a hair-raising story about “50” French fighters the pilots of which didn’t bother to take off when the Germans bombed their airfield but calmly and coldly continued to have lunch (!), that the 1940 French pilots were “not ardent and not brave”. [I feel this ludicrous fairy-tale proves the contrary of what PT thought he was demonstrating, for continuing to have lunch under raining bombs is strong evidence of an incredible self-control and of a bravery which no British pilot ever displayed].



I won’t even comment on all this British nonsense but it is particularly interesting to know that according to Townsend his hair-raising story is about events which took place on… 3 June 1940 at Villacoublay, an airfield (still active today) very close to Paris. Both the British and the French were aware, well in advance, of “Operation Paula”, the large-scale Luftwaffe attack on French communications, aero-industry, airfields and morale in Paris and in the surroundings. Several hundred German bombers, plus escorting fighters, took part (the numbers use to vary according to sources; J. Prien thinks in all 1,200 German planes were engaged (in one single mission), others report 500 or 700, and Prien still today is reproducing the triumphant propaganda figures of the OKW of over 70 French AC shot down and several hundred destroyed on the ground; the true figures were 17 and 19). This well-known fact could not prevent Townsend the genius from writing that on this very day Air Vice Marshal Sholto Douglas and admiral Sir Geoffrey Blake landed at Villacoublay in order to meet admiral Darlan and general Vuillemin, who were respectively the commanders-in-chief of the powerful French navy and of the Armée de l’Air (about 2,000 first-line aircraft). To arrange such a top-level conference of non-combatants but top brass on the target of an imminent air attack may correspond British traditions and humour but not French logic and elementary cautiousness.



Townsend never took part in the French Campaign, he was back home in England all the time. How dared he publish such accusations without knowing anything on the subject? He was a filthy phoney.

Some years ago vicious anti-French attacks started from quite unexpected quarters : from Poland! I always had thought that France and Poland were close friends who had fought nazism together and at a very high cost for both countries (even higher for Poland, especially if you include 45 years of post-war Russian slavery). France AND ENGLAND TOO had let down Poland in September 1939, doing nothing to help the Poles against the German attack, but they (wrongly) were convinced that there was nothing they could do. Several thousand Poles, especially from the Air Force, including many pilots, escaped to France to fight on, others escaped to England. French authorities did not always behave ideally towards these Poles but this was also true of most French people, in particular soldiers. I am convinced that the treatment the Poles experienced in France was just as poor and stupid as towards any comparable Frenchmen. Many French soldiers were much worse off in their chilly [very cold] slit trenches full of mud and water… Sometimes French administration (including in the Air Force) and red tape… no, really… Besides, I am French and I made some infuriating experiences within the French Air Force myself, you wouldn’t believe it. But it was 1961-62! They don’t learn fast!


Nevertheless the Poles in French exile received a number of remarkable advantages : French and Polish authorities together decided to create an independent Polish Air Force in France (this was never done in England although the Poles were far more numerous there after a while). They started with creating some Polish combat units : fighters – they did see some action – bombers etc. (these were ready for combat too late). On these “Polish” fighters (Morane 406s and Caudron-Renault CR 714s) the 3-colour French fuselage roundels were replaced by big, POLISH national emblems (this was never done within the RAF, not even 1944-45; some Polish pilots just painted a personal, small national flag near the cockpit). I am the only person making this remark and I claim ownership and copyright on it. In the meantime most Polish fighter pilots – their total number was around 180 - were integrated into existing French fighter units, where they were very welcome and valued, in particular after rather heavy losses suffered by the French “cowards”, probably in their beds with enemy dames who had managed to exhaust them.



But some years ago one or two Polish authors started publishing absolutely filthy, disgusting booklets (which are as ugly as their authors’ theories, by the way) accusing the French fighter arm, in particular French officers, of absolutely incredible crimes : they didn’t want to fight, after take-off they took the course opposite to the right course leading to combat, they confiscated Polish pilots’ victories for themselves etc. (how could anybody win any victories if they didn’t fly to the combat zone?). I won’t even elaborate on such RIDICULOUS and DISGUSTING accusations but just remark that such desertions had no chance to go unnoticed. In particular, there were millions of soldiers of all kinds in the area and one of the main tasks of the numerous French Gendarmerie is precisely to catch deserters (even in the air), spies etc. If they had done this these officers would have been shot and rightly so. Besides, they didn’t do it, which is proven by their victories (not stolen from defenceless Polish pilots) and by their losses in combat : about 30 % of the commandants (majors / squadron leaders) and of the capitaines were killed in action in approximately 5 weeks, not to mention the wounded. At this rate nobody among them would have been alive by the end of September. This shows that French fighter officers fought much more, and more fiercely, than their RAF counterparts, who were never exterminated. When this filthy libelling was published some French traitors were out of their minds for joy and proudly boasted with publishing it in their own, “French” magazine. They ought to be shot – too bad it’s not possible in peacetime. But even a shooting squad would be too great an honour for such people.



It is interesting that precisely at the same time important negotiations were taking place about the reequipment of the Polish Air Force, free from Russia at last, with modern Western fighters. In particular, the French “Rafale” and the American F-18 were among the competitors. What a coincidence that some Polish people did everything to convince the top-ranking officers of the Polish AF that the French were terrible and had treated their fathers and grandfathers in a shameful way 1940. Poland ordered the US plane not the French one – not for this reason only but this organised campaign of anti-French libelling was part of the scheme. And I am going to PROVE it right here and right now : after the Polish fighter order this campaign ceased. Some people earn their money bathing in sewers.



PS : this is part of WW II history so I am not expecting this posting to be deleted. If it is deleted never mind, of course I stored it in my PC and I’ll spread it everywhere. Once more I’d like to remark that several much harsher attacks, on various targets, already have taken place here without anything being deleted.

Last edited by Hawk-Eye; 26th March 2005 at 13:04.
  #2  
Old 25th March 2005, 18:41
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Re: Fighter pilots chicken?

Quote:
“they were not eager to fight, were not brave, did not fight with the last ounce of energy”, etc.


Just one small concrete evidence of the opposite: During the Battle of France, I./JG 2 reported that 70 % of all enemy aircraft it claimed shot down between 10 May och 15 June 1940 were French aircraft. Meanwhile, 90 % of this Jagdgruppe's air combat losses were inflicted by French aircraft.
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  #3  
Old 25th March 2005, 18:45
Hawk-Eye Hawk-Eye is offline
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Re: Fighter pilots chicken?

Very good and most interesting.

Thanks Christer! Tack ska du ha!
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Old 25th March 2005, 21:25
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Fighter pilots chicken?

France was not the only country to be beaten for there were three others including the UK,

The United kingdom was NOT BEATEN

One of the main anti-French liars certainly was Peter Townsend. His disgusting attack(s) were particularly noxious because he was a well-known RAF hero of WW II, or so he told us

Peter Townsend was awarded a DFC in April 1940 . was shot down into the sea twice and was then awarded a bar to the DFC on 6th Sept 1940.

This traitor

Peter Townsend was NEVER a Traitor, to Britain or its people.

He was a filthy phoney.

Townsend was NO phoney.

His scoreboard shows otherwise
1/3rd share in the First German a/c shot down onto British soil.
Total of 9 and 2 Shared Destroyed, 2 probables and 4 Damaged.

this is part of WW II history

I think not

What is though, is the FACT that the ONLY French Air Unit to evacuate to the UK from Europe was one of the Polish manned Units within the French AF.
Those maned by Frenchmen, What became of those Units ?
They joined the enemy and turned on their one time allies .
Who were Traitors ?

Certain people these days try with great litterary fervour and long arguement to twist the facts .

To what end ?

Why do they wish to change history ?

Have they a Hidden agenda ?
  #5  
Old 25th March 2005, 21:47
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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Re: Fighter pilots chicken?

Quote:
What is though, is the FACT that the ONLY French Air Unit to evacuate to the UK from Europe was one of the Polish manned Units within the French AF.
Those maned by Frenchmen, What became of those Units ?
They joined the enemy and turned on their one time allies .
Who were Traitors ?


I suggest that everyone calms down a bit.

Please remember that France actually surrendered and made peace with Germany. It actually was a violation of both international laws and French laws for a Frenchman to take up arms against Germany following the French surrender. While I think that those Frenchmen who defied the formal laws and took up arms against Nazi Germany did something good, I can understand why not everyone did so. In any case, we should be careful before we call a whole nation "traitors". France didn't "turn on their one time allies". France was defeated and had to surrender - although it definitely was against her will. (Just like it is against any country's will to surrender to the enemy; but in wars one country often is left with no other choice.) But France bravely stood up against all efforts to pull it into the Axis camp. Actually, the country among the two in question which turned against its one time allied was the UK when it attacked the French fleet at Mers el Kébir. Again, I refrain from any moral judgement in that case; all I can do is note the fact that the British turned on their one time allies.

It was different with the Poles. Poland never surrendered to Germany, so it would have been treason if the Poles had followed the example of the French airmen in 1940.
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  #6  
Old 25th March 2005, 22:14
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Fighter pilots chicken?

Destroying the French fleet is yet another history lessoin in itself.

There was much more behind it.

Advances were made to the French not to let the ships be used in any way by the Germans.

That request was denied.

Hence the destruction of the fleet.

Agree though that the French Surendered.

The Poles did not .

Years later it was the UK that betrayed the Poles.
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Old 26th March 2005, 12:49
Hawk-Eye Hawk-Eye is offline
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Re: Fighter pilots chicken?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Smart
France was not the only country to be beaten for there were three others including the UK,

The United kingdom was NOT BEATEN


- Obviously you did not read my post carefully Alex. To be beaten an army needs not fight on its own soil and its country (here : Britain) needs not be invaded by the enemy. For example Japan was totally beaten long before even one single enemy soldier put a foot on the "sacred" Japanese soil, if we except Okinawa, which the Japs consider their own but I understand the original inhabitants don't quite agree (same thing between imperialist England and Ireland - are you going to dispute that Ireland is not England?).

Every historian in the world will confirm for you that 1940 Germany beat the UK as well as France, the NL and Belgium - all four together actually. Every Englishman knows perfectly well that the UK had virtually nothing to resist a German invasion on the ground in July-September 1940.The UK fleet and Air Force were still able to put up a very good fight, which they did. The same is true of the French fleet and air force. The only difference between both countries, which both were totally beaten (the UK more than France) is that the French Channel prevented German troops and tanks from invading, that's all. Don't be all too proud and arrogant because a little sea strait protected you from invasion. This is not your own merit.

In a boxing fight if one of the guys feels he's losing and flees, and hides behind the changing-room, he can't claim he was NOT beaten! Everybody will tell you that. I agree. It applies to the 1940 UK too.

One of the main anti-French liars certainly was Peter Townsend. His disgusting attack(s) were particularly noxious because he was a well-known RAF hero of WW II, or so he told us

Peter Townsend was awarded a DFC in April 1940 . was shot down into the sea twice and was then awarded a bar to the DFC on 6th Sept 1940.


- Being shot down into the sea twice is no evidence of heroism but of clumsiness and poor value as a fighter pilot, and also of luck in this case for he survived. Everybody knows that to get the DFC you only needed to be an officer and wait for a little time. It was automatic and proves nothing (same remark for the French Croix de Guerre and Légion d'Honneur : some really deserved it, some did not).

This traitor - Peter Townsend was NEVER a Traitor, to Britain or its people.

- He was a traitor to his French allies in the war. This disgusting person lived in France for several decades, enjoying France, her friendly inhabitants, her wines, cheeses and other excellent food so appreciated by British people, her whole civilisation and way of life (often much more pleasant than the English one, especially on Sundays...), marrying a Frenchwoman and LIVING in and on the country. He probably was a French citizen (and still a British one at the same time) too. What do you call a bastard who enjoys all this and still insults some of the most heroic inhabitants of the country in the meanest way?

Obviously Mr. Alex Smart ist not THAT smart for he knows virtually nothing on 1940 events. Let me remind you of this : taking the duration into account, French fighter pilots (those libelled and heavily insulted by Townsend) had exactly as many of their number killed in combat as Fighter Command in the BoB. The latter were not as "few" as the legend tells us. There was a grand total of approx. 1,000 fighter pilots who fought within the FRENCH AF in May-June 1940 including about 180 Poles and 110 Czechs (several of them are among the top-ranking "French" aces so nobody "stole" their victories). The corresponding number for the BoB and the RAF is over 2,000. So in fact the French fighter pilot's loss rate was twice as high as the RAF's in the BoB - not because they were not good but because they fought so heroically. The German losses, too, were twice as high over France as over Britain, taking the duration into account. So WHO fought better and braver against the Luftwaffe? It was the French. See Williamson Murray's figures in "Luftwaffe - Strategy for Defeat".

But you AS answered nothing about the libelling of French aircrew. There is nothing you could say either.

He was a filthy phoney.

Townsend was NO phoney.

His scoreboard shows otherwise
1/3rd share in the First German a/c shot down onto British soil.
Total of 9 and 2 Shared Destroyed, 2 probables and 4 Damaged.

- Now it has become clear and plain that RAF fighter pilots' overclaim rate was approx. 5:1 (see D. Caldwell's history of JG 26 and similar sources). This leaves about 2 authentic victories to Townsend in 6 years of war - let's say 3 to be generous. Many French pilots won 2-16 victories in but 5 WEEKS. But I am not blaming Townsend. He took part in the fighting and, what's more, he led his squadron. He did his job just like the others, this is all right. He IS a phoney because of the rest of his life, after WW II, and what he said and published. Absolutely repulsive.

I suspect it was such a shock to him that Buckingham Palace refused to allow him to marry his Margaret that he was mentally disturbed and "needed" somebody, or people, to punch in order to relax a little. He chose to insult thousands of heroic French airmen. He knew they were much too nice and friendly and would not harm him. They did not, which I can't understand. Sometimes the French really are STUPID.

Just visit the graves! Do you really think that about 150 French fighter pilots out of 1,000 (not to mention other aircrew) were killed in their shelters and hideouts within 5 weeks?

What is (history) though, is the FACT that the ONLY French Air Unit to evacuate to the UK from Europe was one of the Polish manned Units within the French AF.
Those maned by Frenchmen, What became of those Units ?

- What makes you think that French AF units had a duty to fly to England? You're crazy. England and France were beaten, the French territory was being invaded but they still were FRENCH soldiers and they OBEYED ORDERS. The orders - obviously you have no idea - were that all French aircraft (and of course their crews) which were able to do so, and had the range, fly to French North Africa. This order was executed. All French airmen AND THEIR GOVERNMENT were firmly convinced that the fighting would continue from North Africa, where they had got enough airfields and facilities. But on 17 June IIRC Pétain came to power and reversed everything : he wanted the fighting to cease. Many generals, ministers and other politicians implored him to go to N. Africa and lead the war and the resistance to Nazi Germany but he refused. So what happened then could really not be foreseen by ordinary soldiers or officers : they all believed the fighting was going on and they were annihilated (and demoralized, for the first time) when they learned Pétain's decision.

Besides, ALL Polish reports, books etc. show that all French people, officers etc. did all they could to help the Poles to reach England. Many Poles escaped to England simply by ships sailing from French harbours. The French government could have made this escape really difficult. I'm glad they did not.

They joined the enemy and turned on their one time allies .

- Who joined the enemy, please? Could you explain? WHO turned on their allies?

Who were Traitors ?

- The Britishers, who cowardly murdered 1,300 good French navy seamen in their ships moored in harbour! In order to commit this slaughter they used their heaviest naval calibres, which proves that they wanted to KILL the French not only to disable the ships.

To those who don't know this detail I'd like to add that bigger ships, perhaps from destroyers upwards (cruisers, battleships...), need SEVERAL HOURS in order to start their engines and be able to sail and possibly fight. So the French ships at Mers el-Kébir had no chance. They could not even fire their guns.

Certain people these days try with great litterary fervour and long arguement to twist the facts .

- Yes, the British scoundrels do that. What I want is to expose the facts. I want everybody to know what really happened, to KNOW THE FACTS!

To what end ?

Why do they wish to change history ?

- Quite on the contrary : personally I want to save history - the truth quite simply.
Everybody knows what happened after the Japanese attacked the US base at Pearl Harbor, an attack very similar to the one at Mers el-Kébir : OF COURSE the USA immediately declared war on Japan. The whole world understood this perfectly well and agreed. Every American serviceman fought with the greatest tenacity to retaliate and make "the yellow monkeys" pay for their treacherous aggression.

The situation in Mers el-Kébir and Pearl Harbor was exactly the same with an exception though : everybody knew in advance that Japan was a potential enemy and would be a real one soon. So Japan was the enemy. But England was France's friend and ally! SOME ally! This is nothing new, this is the way England always behaved and always will behave. Just look how they treated the Scots, then the Irish ("cattle", they use to say). Just look at the European Union : they always tried to destroy it and now they're close to succeed in it. What is the only important country in the EU which could join the Euro currency but refuses to do so? England of course, as usual! Our "ally"! SOME ally! Even the Germans gave up their wonderful, beloved, legendary and so strong Deutsche Mark, which sounded nearly impossible.

If France had declared war on the UK after MeK everybody in the world would perfectly have understood and the first effect would have been that dozens of very modern, very fast, heavily armed French naval ships and 60 submarines - with German approval and help, for ex. to get part of their equipment and armament which was left in France - would have cut off the North Atlantic route, starving Britain, which would have been compelled to surrender too. Not to mention that the participation of the French Air Force in the Battle of Britain with 1,000 fighters and 700 modern bombers would have finished the RAF and England. The new French fighters of August 1940 would have been the very best in the world : Dewoitine D.520, 523, 524 (ever more power and speed), D.551, Arsenal VG-33, 36, 39, etc. French bombers were armed with the same superlative cannon as the fighters...

Mers el-Kébir, a day which will live in infamy! Once more England stabbed her friend IN THE BACK like a yellow-bellied coward.

Of course I am glad that all this (France fighting the UK) did NOT happen for Germany was EVEN WORSE than England, which does not make England likeable. Nevertheless Churchill (they say that HE ALONE insisted on the incredible brother murder of MeK) took a very high risk. He simply took the risk to lose the war within two months. And what for? To neutralise the 8 % of the French fleet which were at MeK! Most ships were at many other places. The clumsy Royal Navy did not even succeed in destroying all capital ships for the battleship "Strasbourg" made good her escape under heavy British fire (!) from the biggest British naval guns.

If France had accepted ANY of the British "proposals" (it was a disgusting ultimatum which no country in the world would have accepted) it would have been a breach of the German-French armistice (all French ships were to return to their ordinary harbours) and German reprisals could have been awful. Pétain was too scared - for his country - to take such a risk. The British ultimatum was totally unacceptable anyway. No country has the right to tell another country what to do with its own naval ships. English people think that they quite naturally ought to rule the whole world ("Rule Britannia") but this is a ridiculous error. The world doesn't agree, remember that.

I can't elaborate on this but the French Navy later proved that it never would accept her ships to be seized by Germany or Italy (who were unable to use them anyway - for lack of skilled crews). This never happened, not even at Toulon when the German army invaded 1942.

To answer your question Alex Smart : England turned on her ally, France, and murdered her soldiers - it was not the first and not the last time...

To be objective we should remember that both England and France had agreed that their would be no separate surrender of one of these countries. But then the French "PM", Paul Reynaud, who was a hawk and wanted to wage war all the way, was replaced by Pétain, who was quite the opposite. Pétain did not respect his country's previous agreements but he felt there was nothing else he could do (this was totally wrong : I am a firm supporter of the continuation of the war by France). This certainly was the biggest mistake in his life.

Nevertheless Pétain - who alledgedly was a real German-hater - never joined Germany on her war against England in spite of his disgraceful "collaboration". For this we all, especially England, should be grateful. Of course almost the whole French population was pro-British and strongly anti-German at the time but, with corresponding propaganda, Mers el-Kébir could have reversed the signs.

Pétain's worst 1940 crime is never mentioned. In the armistice negotiations he accepted that France sent back to Germany "foreigners" who had fled to France, mainly from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, mainly Jews and political opponents. This was an absolutely terrible crime which NEVER can be forgiven. These people had trusted France to save their lives and their children's and Pétain handed them over to the Germans! No comment.

Last edited by Hawk-Eye; 26th March 2005 at 13:10.
  #8  
Old 26th March 2005, 13:17
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Ruy Horta Ruy Horta is offline
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Re: Fighter pilots chicken?

Although there might be good points in this thread they are unfortunately offset by very poor wording, making this an emotional instead of an academic discussion. As it stands now I will have to end this current discussion by locking this thread.

Personally I have great interest in the subjects of The Battle of France in general, Anglo-French wartime relations and the AA. If the participants can learn from their mistakes they might be allowed to start a more objective and balanced discussion on the topic.

Note a public forum is not a tool for personal axe grinding.

Please check the following set of rules:
http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=885

Laissez-faire is not a blank cheque...
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