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Old 8th May 2014, 00:34
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

Hello,
I have often wondered about the fate of those DB-7's that were Vichy Air Force after "Torch".

In Morocco
GB I/32 had 13 a/c.
GB II/32 had 13 a/c.
In Algeria
GB I/19 and GB I/61 between them had 26 a/c possibly 13 a/c each as the above two units did.
Total = 52 a/c.
The following I accept as Lost in action.
8th Nov 42, one (BG 1/19) s/d by Seafires, one(GB II/61 destroyed on t/o by FAA Martlets. Others (GB I/32) were caught on the ground by Wildcats, at least a two destroyed and four were badly damaged.
In the pm VF-41 Wildcats hit and destroyed three (GB1/32) and one damage, which left only three serviceable.
Also in the afternoon GB I/32 received two replacements from Gabon.
9th Nov 42, one (GB II/32) s/d by AA fire from "Lakeshurst". Five/six were destroyed on the ground by VF-9, three (GBII/32) blew up and GBI/32's last two were set ablaze. A single a/c of GB II/32 was destroyed on the ground in the late pm.
losses would have been -
GB I/32 - 1 s/d; 13 Destroyed on ground; 2 damaged.
GB II/32 - 1 s/d; 5/6 Destroyed on ground; 1 damaged.
GB I/19 - 1 s/d.
GBII/61 - 1 destroyed on ground.
These numbers are not 100% but I would say that about 50 % of the DB-7's were lost which left 50% either captured or in French forces hands. So did they later fight on with the French alongside the Allies or were they taken over by the Allied forces and SoC/Scraped or were they returned to the USA ?
Anyone know just what became of them ?
Thanks
Alex
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Old 8th May 2014, 12:43
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CJE CJE is offline
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Re: Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

These planes having been acquired by the French before Lend-Lease and paid "cash" had no reason to be returned to the US.
Those that remainded fought on with the Forces de l'Atlantique against the German pockets in Western France, which surrendered a few days before V-E days.
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Old 8th May 2014, 19:01
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

Hello,
Thank you for the reply C-J,

So they fought on in French Squadrons, across the Med and into France.
Should be not too hard then to trace their individual fate, if we know their serial numbers.

Anyone have any of these these 52 a/c numbers please ?

By the way, I found on the www "French DB-7B's, total of 170 but only 61 in service, the rest (109) went to the RAF. Their 170 constructor numbers were 2288 to 2457". Would these be the numbers applied to the Rudder of the French a/c or was there yet another French Air Force Serial number ?
Also the number of 61 seems small, were these the only DB-7's in the pre Vichy French Air Force service ?

Thanks
Alex
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Old 9th May 2014, 05:12
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Re: Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

Google FRSHD_PUB_00000364_dc_att-FRSHD_PUB_00000364
This is a 520k pdf entitled "Accidents aériens (01.01.1943-08.05.1945), classement par date"
Apparently the DB-7 were issued an up to 3 digits number (higher found n°135; if sequential then more than 61)

Last edited by udf_00; 10th May 2014 at 13:31.
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Old 11th May 2014, 19:30
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

Thank you for the link it is most useful.

Yes, from what I have found on the www, 116 arrived before the armmistis and five more afterward. A total of 121 a/c. 99 were ferried to French homeland after assembly at Casablanca. So there were still some 22 being assembled at Casablanca.

Of the 99, 67 are said to have been forwarded to squadrons, so some 32 were still at ferry pool(s). 16 a/c were given to Belgium, but ended up in Great Britain ( I believe these to have bee the 16 delivered in July/Aug 1940 to the RAF as AE457 to AE472).

In France some 8 are said to have been lost in combat so 59 plus some or all the 32 (total a possible 91 a/c ) were ordered to go back to Africa, did all make it ? they then joined the 22 ( did more arrive ? ) that were still there to become a grand total of 113 a/c (or more ?) for possible Vichy use as maybe others had in the meantime arrived from the US in Casablanca ? Comments welcome on the forgoing.

The DB-7's bore the designation "DB-7B-3" on the rudder beneath which was the Number "No. 1" up to "No.100". It is said that after the 100 The Douglas line numbers were used preceded by the letter "U", I do not have any further info about that though. As there is evidence of higher Number use as your No.135 proves.

Those forwarded ex-France to Great Britain were and as far as I can tell were delivered to the RAF (Refs: AB RAF serial number series) on the following dates:
1940
16 a/c delivered July/Aug 40 ex-French -(AE457 - AE472) - [ French contract F-271] - [possibly via Belgium ?].
23 a/c delivered Aug/Sept 40 ex-French (AW392 - AW414) [ French contract F-271].
4 a/c delivered Sept 40 ex-French - ( AX848 - AX851)[ French contract F-271] .
10 a/c delivered Sept 40 ex-French (AX921 - AX930) [ French contract F-271 ] .
23 a/c delivered Sept 40 ex-French (BB890 - BB912) [ French contract F-271 ].
17 a/c delivered Oct/Nov 40 ex-French (BD110 - BD126) [ French contract F-271 ] .
20 a/c delivered Oct/Nov 40 ex-French - (BJ458 - BJ477) [ French contract F-271 ] .
17 a/c delivered Oct/Nov 40 - ex-French - (BJ485 - BJ501) [ French contract F-271 ] .
2 a/c delivered Nov 40 - ex-French - (BK882 - BK883) [ French contract F-271 ].
2 a/c delivered Nov 40 - ex-French - (BL227 - BL228) [ French contract F-271 ] .
6 a/c delivered Dec 40 - ex-French - (BT460 - BT465) [ French contract F-271 ] .
1941
7 a/c delivered Feb 41 - ex-French - (AX910 - AX916) - [ French contract F-271 ] .
1 a/c delivered Feb 41 - ex-French - (BV203) - [ French contract F-271].
2 a/c delivered Feb 41 - ex-French - ( DG554 - DG555) - [ French contract F-271] .
4 a/c delivered Feb/Mch 41 - ex-French - (DK274 - DK277)[ French contract F-271] - [ Damaged beyond repair in transit, SoC].
From what I understand all A/c under F-271 arrived in the UK by sea.

After those, aircraft came via the USA.

150 a/c delivered May/Sept 41 (W8252 - W8401) [ Douglas numbers 3300 TO 3449] - [ French contract A-87 ].

3rd French Order - 100 a/c delivered July/AUG 41 (AH430 - AH529) [ Douglas numbers 2950 to 3049] - [ French contract F-294 ].

150 a/c delivered Aug/Oct 41 - (Z2155 - Z304) [ Douglas numbers 3450 to 3599] - [ French contract A-87 ].

240 a/c delivered Oct41/Oct42 - ( AL668 - AL907) [Douglas numbers 3600 to 3839] [ French contract F-719 ].

55 a/c delivered Nov 41/May42 - (AL263 - AL500) -[ AL263 - AL278(16a/c); AL280 - AL297(18a/c); AL425( 1a/c); AL458 & AL459( 2 a/c); AL463(1a/c); AL466 - AL471( 6a/c); AL473 - AL477(5a/c); AL479 - AL481(3a/c); AL494(1a/c); AL497(1a/c); AL500(1a/c). ] - [Douglas numbers 2130 to 2203 and 2718 to 2883] [ French contract F-672 ].

Breakdown of this batch is:
[AL263(2130);264(2131);266(2133);268(2135);269(2136 );270(2137);271(2138);275(2142);276(2143);278(2145 );280(2147);284(2151);285(2152);286(2153);288(2155 );289(2156);290(2157);291(2158);293(2160);296(2163 );425(2803);458(2836);459(2837);463(2841);466(2844 );467(2845);468(2846);469(2847);470(2848);474(2852 );475(2853);479(2857);480(2858);481(2859);494(2875 );497(2878);500(2881) ].
While AL272(2139);273(2140);274(2141);277(2144) were lost at sea en route,21.12.41.
These four crashed in the USA, AL471(2849);473(2851);476(2854);477(2855).
Then these were diverted to Russia, AL265(2132);267(2134);281(2148);282(2149);283(2150 );287(2154);292(2159);294(2161);295(2162);297(2164 ).

Re: Douglas numbers, AB's "The British Air Commission and Lend-Lease" has the numbers running consecutively with the RAF serial numbers.
AL263-336 = 2130-2203.
AL337-502 = 2718-2883.
************************************************** ************************************************** *********************************
For those delivered in the 1940 period it would be great if the French number could be matched if indeed any were allotted to the a/c prior to being forwarded to Great Britain.

Alex

Last edited by Alex Smart; 13th May 2014 at 05:24.
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Old 11th May 2014, 20:46
Alex Smart Alex Smart is offline
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Re: Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

Just a thought,
Were any in transit to the USSR that may have also being assembled at Casablanca possibly comendered by the Vichy Forces ?
That could perhaps account for some of the higher numbers ?
alex
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Old 12th May 2014, 22:50
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Re: Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

According to a French website, after the armistice of June 1940, the Armée de l'Air had 95 DB-7, including 30 still unpacked and 20 in depots in North Africa.

Between this date and November 1942, a number were also lost in accidents, but the DB-7 were not used against the Allied, except for some small raids on Gibraltar in 1940.

According to the book "L'aviation de Vichy au combat, Volume 1", on 1 October 1942, the Armée de l'Air had still 79 DB-7.
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Old 5th August 2014, 20:27
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

Alex,

I have often wondered about those 16 "Belgian" DB-7's, either ordered directly or diverted from a French batch as quite many websites appear to be certain about.
Perhaps in deep cellars a document can be traced that points in this direction but on the other hand, nothing official seems to have come forward so far that can confirm this Belgian involvement.

Regards,

Leendert
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Old 6th August 2014, 10:27
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Re: Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

There's no such thing as "Belgian DB-7s". The same hoax as the "Belgian Buffaloes".

DB-7s were used against the Allies in Northern Africa.

You'll have a fair summary on the DB-7 in issues #41 and 42 of Aéro-Journal (in French), still available from our webwite.

Chris
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Old 6th August 2014, 11:04
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Re: Vichy French DB-7 a/c post "Torch"

Quote:
There's no such thing as "Belgian DB-7s". The same hoax as the "Belgian Buffaloes".
So by which country the Buffaloes unloaded by the Béarn in Martinique were intended to be used ? Netherlands ?

Regards

Alfred
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