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  #41  
Old 4th December 2019, 20:30
rof120 rof120 is offline
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BRITISH fighter losses

Hello dear faithful readers,

Clearly the 1940 French Campaign or FC (with part of the “Phoney War” (Sept. 1939-May 9, 1940) including the very good fight put up by French fighters and their pilots is of interest to a non-negligible part of TOCH members and visitors, up to this moment 3,394 views in 2 months is not bad at all (about 110 in the last 24 hours, up till now this is the record for this thread). I think the main explanation for this success is that – as I remarked already – up till now this subject has been very poorly researched (at least outside France and even IN France) or described in books or articles. There are a few exceptions though, for example Williamson Murray’s quite theoretical history of the Luftwaffe at a high academic level (the FC is only a small part of the whole), so high that most persons who used this book to write their own texts did not understand its fundamental philosophy but rushed at the figures in its tables without even trying to know how (cautiously) these figures should be used. Apart from Murray Robert Jackson published an amazingly good and comprehensive little book on the whole of the FC, one of the very best books in spite of a few errors which don’t change the whole significantly. It contains interesting pages on the Dutch and Belgian (?) air forces, on the French naval aviation etc. The title of this book is “Air War over France 1939-40”. Published by Ian Allan Ltd, 1974. I recommend it warmly. “Blitzkrieg” by Len Deighton is a good book too. There are a few more, especially in France, but mostly only on parts of the subject, like French bombers, French fighters, aces etc.

You were and are good so I made the necessary effort to fetch some interesting information from Norman L R Franks' very useful booklet “Royal Air Force FIGHTER COMMAND LOSSES of the Second World War” – Volume 1 (…) 1939-1941 – Published 1997 by Midland Publishing Limited, England.

“The Battle of France” starts on page 18 (actually this was the French Campaign). I looked at British fighter losses over France and the Benelux-countries from May 10 through May 14, 1940 (5 days on pages 18 through 22). At the start 6 RAF fighter squadrons (16 AC each) were based in France. During these 5 days no less than 96 RAF fighters were destroyed or had to be abandoned, a few of these 96 being damaged and possibly saved. These 96 fighters were exactly the complement of 6 squadrons (6 x 16) even though, of course, these losses were spread among more numerous squadrons. But this is not all. On page 28 we see that author Franks listed 64 more fighters lost for which he hardly knew the same details as for the 180 others for the period 10-20 May, 1940. This raises the total losses (in 11 days) by slightly more than 1/3 (33.33 %). We can add 1/3 to the mentioned losses during the 5 first days for the involved numbers are high enough to be (approximately) statistically relevant; possible numerical errors are not significant. So in the first 5 days of the French Campaign the RAF lost 96 x 1.3333, which is 128 fighters (a few were only damaged), which was the full aircraft complement of 8 squadrons! In his introduction Franks mentions that because of the conditions under which the fighting took place he can’t be certain that all losses could be registered or traced later. It is almost certain that more fighters were lost without any possibility of knowing about it today. In particular, there is no doubt that a number of Defiants, Blenheims If and Gladiators were lost even before the Dunkerque operation, I’d guess for a total of about a few dozen. But let us stick to Frank’s data, which for these 5 days applies to Hurricanes only. Losing the entire aircraft complement of 1.6 fighter squadrons a day (on average) obviously was a terrible blow even if we remember that May 14 was in this respect the worst day of the great air battle of Sedan. 29 pilots were killed during these 5 days (17 on May 14 only) plus a few wounded or PoW. These pilot losses don’t include those who Franks couldn’t trace but human losses were probably better scrutinized than AC losses so these 29 could be the real number.

As you know several more Hurricane squadrons (never Spitfires, considered too precious to be risked in this mess) were sent to reinforce RAF forces in France but losses were so high and at such a high rate that the Hurricane force on the continent hardly grew but possibly diminished. These losses continued until the end, for example 15 and 12 lost on May 15 and 16, 31 on May 18 (2 squadrons), 27 on May 19 (2 squadrons too) etc. These figures have to be raised by 1/3 as I already explained. 244 Hurricanes lost in but 11 days (including a number which were damaged, and including 64 which could not be traced exactly but are known to have been lost). More than 22 fighters lost every day on average, or 1.30 squadron a day.

It is not surprising that Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, CiC Fighter Command, was horrified to watch how his precious fighters were simply disappearing at a high rate and that he wanted this bloodletting to be stopped.

The mostly young and inexperienced RAF fighter pilots (some even aged 20 to 22) obeyed orders and fought very bravely. Better tactics (those they had to apply were not devised by them) would have given better results in victories and in losses. A good, simple example is the sending into battle of much too weak formations of 3 to 6 fighters. German fighters rarely flew with fewer AC than a “Staffel” of 12, of which about 7 or 8 were serviceable, but often in whole Gruppen (40 / 24-28) or even Geschwader (124 / 74-87). When Hauptmann (Captain or Flight Lt (RAF) Adolf Galland shot down 2 RAF Hurricanes (later a third) on May 11 - his first two victories - he was alone with one wingman, his friend Gustav Rödel, but this is an exception. He was the Operations Officer of JG 27 led by (lt-?) col. Max Ibel and in theory he was not expected, and was much too busy, to fly in combat and fight but HE absolutely wanted to do so and he repeatedly spirited away himself and a Me 109 as well as one wingman, and off he flew.

Last edited by rof120; 8th December 2019 at 22:17.
  #42  
Old 11th December 2019, 18:54
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Fighter losses in May 1940 : RAF losses, Armée de l’Air losses

The preceding post gives some details on RAF fighter losses from 10 through 14 May 1940 (the first 5 days of the French Campaign). Let us compare the fighter losses sustained by the RAF and the Armée de l’Air during these 5 days, which include terrible May 14, 1940 (Battle of Sedan).

Fighter losses*

Date------------- RAF-------- Armée de l’Air (AA)
May 10----------16**-------12 + 20 on the ground = 32
May 11---------- 17--------- 16
May 12---------- 15--------- 13
May 13---------- 18--------- 13
May 14 (Sedan) 32--------- 21 + 1 twin-engined Potez 631 - including loss of first 2 D.520s

Totals in 5 days:
RAF 98---------AA 75 plus 1 Potez 631 + 20 on the ground totalling 96


* All figures must be considered minima for many elements are not perfectly known. Among other things, French author Paul Martin raised his loss numbers from 1991 when he published them again 2000, by as much as 56 % for Dewoitine D.520s but this is really exceptional. Other figures were raised by 1 to 18 % (for recce aircraft Potez 63.11). More on this soon, I hope. Provisionally we can imagine more accurate figures if we raise RAF losses by 10 % (but the real figure could be 0 %) and the French figures perhaps by 10-20 %. Wait and see.

** RAF: 16 including 2 lost on the ground at Le Touquet. See Franks’ excellent booklet, top of page 19.

As you possibly noticed British and French fighter losses were more or less even during these first fateful days. In particular on May 14 in the great Sedan (air) battle both air forces made a maximum effort to fight Luftwaffe bombers including Stukas, and inevitably German fighters too. But about 100 RAF fighters were left in France (this figure is just an evaluation and has to be corrected according to evidence) whereas several hundred French fighters of all types were engaged in very hard fighting against German bombers as well as against Me 109s and 110s, which were engaged in a maximum effort too, especially over and around Sedan.

Fighters’ maximum effort

May 14, 1940, saw a maximum effort by the French and British air forces, which is clearly shown by their loss and victory figures as well as the very heavy losses of RAF bombers, and a few French ones, sent to the Sedan cauldron in the futile hope of destroying bridges there. French HQ had noticed at last – but too late – that it was not at all “impossible” to have large units (in fact, seven German armoured divisions with over 41,000 vehicles of all kinds!) cross the allegedly “impenetrable” Ardennes forest. Staff exercises in France had proved that it was indeed possible but this was ignored. This keen but very risky move by the German army was made possible only by the stupidity of French generals and other Army officers who did not even believe a French tank officer when he came back from a reconnaissance flight and reported what he had seen. There was still time to stop the Huns in their tank tracks and create an incredible disaster for Germany. This French observer was laughed at and ridiculed.

The great Pétain (a retired WW I marshal…) and the great general Gamelin and others brilliant generals had stated that crossing the Ardennes forest with large units was “impossible”, forgetting the old Napoleonic phrase “impossible n’est pas français” – it was not German either. Having been unable to act properly the Army generals in full panic tried, as always in similar situations, to change the course of events by throwing all possible aircraft at the enemy – how simple, how clever. Only a few weeks earlier they would have abolished all combat aircraft (which stole the Army’s money) except those produced for (Army) reconnaissance and a few fighters to protect them.

This is why the giant air battle of Sedan took place, mainly from 13 through 15 May, 1940, reaching its climax on May 14 (see above).

At least the following French fighter units (Groupes de chasse or GC) were engaged on May 14 (and most of them on the other days) in the air battle of Sedan. The aircraft complements in brackets were those on May 10. You’ll notice that the aircraft complement of several French fighter units was 32, which corresponds exactly to TWO RAF squadrons; almost all other GCs were near this figure too:

GC I/1 (32 Bloch 152) – II/1 (32 Bloch 152) – II/2 (26 MS 406) – III/2 (26 MS 406) – I/3 (first mission, 34 Dewoitine D.520) – III/3 (28 MS 406) – II/4 (30 Curtiss H-75) – I/5 (32 Curtiss) – II/5 (30 Curtiss) – II/6 (26 MS 406) – III/6 (26 MS 406) – III/7 (30 MS 406) - I/8 (28 Bloch 152) – II/8 (20 Bloch 152) – II/10 (26 Bloch 152) – III/10 (23 Bloch 152)

MS 406 means Morane-Saulnier MS 406, also widely known as “Morane”. MB 152 means (Marcel) Bloch 152. Curtiss means Curtiss H-75, the export version of the USAAF’s Curtiss P-36, which was still deployed (together with P-40s) on Pearl Harbor’s airfields on December 7, 1941: 1 1/2 years later.

So on May 14, 1940 the French air force engaged (on request of GHQ) no less than 16 Groupes de chasse in the battle of Sedan totalling approximately 449 fighters (complement on May 10), possibly up to 19 GCs. This is about twice the aircraft complement of RAF Fighter Command’s 11 Group during the Battle of Britain in July-September (FC’s squadrons were rotated to the front and back). Only 20 GCs were available on this day and 3 more were engaged (too late for Sedan) on May 15 (GC II/3 with 34 D.520s), on May 17 (GCI/6 with 26 MS 406s) and on May 19 (GC II/9 with 26 Bloch 152s) totalling 86 fighters. It is quite possible that more GCs were actually engaged on May 14; right now I don’t have the necessary information (be patient – in a few days or weeks…) but GC III/1 (MS 406s), I/2 (MS 406s), I/4 (32 Curtisses) and III/9 (in Lyon with about 30 Bloch 152s) could have taken part in the fighting too – at least in theory it was possible for obviously the battle on May 14 was of paramount importance so they could have sent a few more units earmarked for the protection of Paris, the lower Seine River (with the cities of Rouen and Le Havre and, among other things, important oil refineries and facilities), Lyon and other important places. This they did with several GCs based in the lower Seine region, which made it possible to send formations of up to 27 Bloch 152s into combat (numerically this was exactly the same number as a whole German Gruppe, taking the serviceability rate of 40 AC into account) and there were other missions with up to about 40 French fighters of different types.

The French air force had got 6 “escadrilles” (flights) of each 12 twin-engined, twin-finned heavy fighters Potez 631, in theory 5 equipped with night fighters and 1 with daylight heavy fighters, but all of them were used almost only in daylight. These AC were much too slow for combat with enemy fighters but they were cannon-armed, a non-negligible factor. Max. speed was 442 km/h as compared to 550-560 for the twin-engined Me 110 (cannon-armed too but the French cannon were much better). One Potez 631 from ECMJ 1/16 was lost on May 14.

French fighter losses and victories on May 14, 1940

Units--------- Losses----------- Victories

GC I/1----------- 1 MB 152-------- 5 Me 110
GC II/1---------- 5 MB 152-------- 2 Ju 87 – 1 Hs 126 – 1 Me 109 – 4 Me 110 (total 8 victories)
GC II/2---------- 1 MS 406-------- none
GC III/2--------- 0 MS 406-------- 3 He 111
GC I/3----------- 2 D.520--------- 2 Do 17 – 2 He 111 – 2 Me 109 – 4 Me 110 totalling 10 victories
GC II/4---------- 1 Curtiss-------- 1 Me 110
GC I/5----------- 1 Curtiss-------- none*
GC II/5---------- 1 Curtiss-------- 1 Me 109 – 2 Me 110
GC II/6---------- 3 MS 406-------- none
GC III/6--------- 1 MS 406-------- 2 He 111
GC I/8----------- 1 MB 152-------- 1 Me 109
GC II/8----------0 MB 152-------- 2 He 111
GC II/10-------- 3 MB 152-------- none
GC III/10--------3 MB 152-------- 1 Do 17 – 5 Me 109
ECMJ 1/16-------1 Potez 631------none

* GC I/5 won no victory on this day (but certainly faced German bombers and fighters). Don’t draw any conclusions for this unit won about 8 victories during the “Phoney War” and 24 more from May 10 through 13, and ended the French Campaign on June 16 (ordered to fly to North Africa like numerous other French units) having won the by very, very far highest number of victories among all 24 GCs: 111 certain or probable victories. The three next best GCs won 77, 76 and 75. These exceptional results were made possible by capitaine Accart’s remarkable qualities as a fighter pilot (15 certain victories), a fighter leader and an ideal officer who gave his pilots the best possible training: his escadrille alone (1/2 Groupe de chasse, corresponding to an RAF flight but with 12 fighters of which a maximum of 9 could fly at the same time, 3 being kept in reserve or undergoing repairs/maintenance) won more than 70 of these 111 victories. In Peter Cornwell’s book TBOFTN, already mentioned in preceding posts, I discovered that 3 more certain victories can be added to Accart’s official score of 12 + 4 probables, reducing the number of "probables" by 1 or 2.

Allied bomber losses on May 14, 1940 (air battle of Sedan) (See Chorley's book on RAF bomber losses; details in the next post below.)

The RAF lost 33 Fairey “Battle” light bombers to German fighters and Flak as well as 17 Bristol “Blenheim” IV light bombers and 2 Handley-Page “Hampden” medium bombers.

The French lost 1 LeO 451 medium bomber, 2 old Amiot 143 and 1 very recent Amiot 354. The French bomber force was still in full development and growing fast.

According to Paul Martin's 1991 figures, which were raised 2000, the Armée de l'air lost - during the entire French Campaign (May 10 - June 24) - 56 light bombers Breguet 691-693, 47 excellent medium bombers LeO 451, 20 Glenn-Martin 167 F, 5 Bloch 200-210, 5 Amiot 351-354 (mass production had only started recently), 14 Douglas DB 7 (the future "Boston"), 5 obsolete Amiot 143, 6 Potez 633 bombers and 2 Farman 222-224 four-engined heavy bombers (total: 160).

If I remember correctly on May 14, 1940, German Flak (possibly together with fighters) claimed the destruction of 73 Allied aircraft but during part of the day only.

Last edited by rof120; 14th December 2019 at 16:50.
  #43  
Old 12th December 2019, 12:54
rof120 rof120 is offline
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Data source (Bomber Command losses by WR Choréey)

Sorry I forgot to mention the origin of the data on BC losses at Sedan on May 14, 1940:

Royal Air Force
BOMBER COMMAND
LOSSES

of the Second World War
Volune I

1939-1940

Author: W R Chorley

Midland Publishing 1992

The data is much more detailed in this book than in my short digest.
  #44  
Old 12th December 2019, 12:57
rof120 rof120 is offline
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Typo: Chorley not "Chorléey"

Sorry again. Author is Chorley. Am unable to correct the title (?).
  #45  
Old 13th December 2019, 17:30
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Summary of the French fighter losses and victories on May 14, 1940

The details are to be found in the preceding post.

To sum up, in the huge air battle of Sedan on May 14, 1940, French fighters lost a total of 22 of their number

and were credited with 46 certain victories including 22 German fighters Me 109 and 110

and 9 deadly bombers He 111 (deadly mainly to ground troops and civilians) as well as 4 bombers Do 17 and 2 “Stukas” (Ju 87).

Quite generally the indicated French losses of aircraft of all types including bombers etc. are only the direct, obvious losses (part of them registered for AC which came back to base and were written off on the spot) but many heavily damaged AC were sent back to the rear or to the factories for repairs and were not available any more for weeks or rather months. A large part of these damaged AC was not repaired but written off in the rear. They correspond to the German classification of 60 % damage or more (AC written off).

Never again during the 5 weeks of real combat during this French Campaign would the French and German air forces sustain so high losses fighting each other except on June 5, the first day of the German “Fall Rot” (Operation Red – the invasion of the entire French territory), when the Armée de l’Air lost 36 AC including 15 fighters and the Luftwaffe 55 according to official French data but my evaluation is rather around 70 for June 5 NOT including the German victims of French AA (“The hardest day” of May-June with the same number of German losses as over England on August 18 – the British figure of (about?) 70 includes the victims of British AA). Even famous ace Werner Mölders (39 victories including 14 in Spain) was shot down on June 5 (and became a prisoner) by a young French lieutenant named René Pomier Layrargues who flew a Dewoitine 520 and was killed shortly afterwards by several Me 109s.
  #46  
Old 13th December 2019, 18:38
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Re: French fighter scores, mainly 1939-1940

As I wrote before, you should write a book, or several.


Best,
Ed
  #47  
Old 14th December 2019, 17:13
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Book(s) on the 1940 aerial French Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwest2 View Post
As I wrote before, you should write a book, or several.

Best,
Ed
- Oh, I didn't understand your preceding post correctly so my reply was not smack on target to say the least, sorry.

I consider your last statement very nice and a great compliment, especially coming from Ed West. Many thanks.

You're right and… I am working on at least one book on this subject indeed, which explains that I am relatively well-informed. I specialised heavily on this because, as I mentioned already, it has been mostly (not always) very poorly researched and treated up till now - with a few exceptions. If not the French but the German or British air force, or both, were the victim(s) of this bad treatment and incredible libelling I would concentrate on them instead.

There were two topflight (a good word here) historians who worked and published books together: French "ingénieurs" (scientists) - ingénieur with the design dept. of "aérospatiale" (now part of Airbus) / flight-test ingénieur with Dassault, Raymond Danel and Jean Cuny (not "Daniel" with an i), in particular Danel, who was a real, excellent historian too. I feel very modest as compared with him. Both died much too early about 30 years ago but they had managed to publish some remarkable books on the 1940 French air force including excellent monographs with the titles "Curtiss Hawk 75", "Le Dewoitine 520" (this book contains amazing detail on performance, production (over 400 before the end of the Fr. Campaign), improvements (by August, 1940, the Luftwaffe would have been in serious trouble facing D.523s and D.524s, then from about December on even better D.551s with ever-increasing, incredible performance - remember Spad and Nieuport in WW I...), engines becoming more and more powerful etc., the book "LeO 45, Amiot 350 et autres B4" (book on modern French medium bombers, all armed with machine-guns and one dorsal cannon; B4 means "Bombardement, 4 men on board), and the superlative "l'aviation de chasse française 1918-1940". Raymond Danel published numerous, excellent historical articles in early issues of "Le Fana" (actually, originally "L'album du fanatique de l'aviation", a magazine created by Robert Roux, an author himself) and also in the beautiful review "Icare" (specially recommended in spite of some flaws) published by SNPL, the main trade-union of French airline pilots. Starting 1970 "Icare" published about 17-20 special issues on the Armée de l'Air and French naval aviation as well as the Dutch and Belgian air forces at war 1939-1940 and two issues on the Luftwaffe. These issues often contain excellent fundamental historical articles by Raymond Danel, and mainly veterans' stories - most interesting. They are lavishly illustrated by original photographs, most of which were contributed by French veterans. "Icare" is still publishing several issues a year on all possible aviation subjects. Easy to find on the Internet. Back issues are easy to find on the Internet and cheap. The most important and useful issues are N° 53 "1939-40 / La drôle de guerre" (Phoney War) with general information too, and N° 54 "1939-40 / La bataille de France - Volume I : La Chasse" (The fighters). One of the mentioned flaws is the permanent use of the wrong phrase "La bataille (The Battle) de France" instead of "La Campagne de France" for "La Campagne" covers all hostilities from May 10 through June 24, 1940, whereas "La bataille" covers the 2nd part of the Campaign: 5-24 June. One or several issues were devoted to the Belgian and Dutch air forces, the French naval aviation, the French light bombers (Breguet 693-695), the French recce units, the bombers. There is a special issue on Czech fighter pilots with the Armée de l'Air and anoher one on Polish pilots. Both categories were excellent fighter pilots and fought very bravely, often with great success. If interested in the 1940 aerial French Campaign you can't live without the complete collection of these "Icare" issues. I understand 25,000 copies of each were printed. Some back issues can be ordered at "Icare's" Internet page, when out of print on various Internet sites.

It is perfectly possible that other excellent historians of the 1940 Armée de l'Air exist today. I admit that I don't know everything, in particular on various authors (sorry).

Here is an example of the innumerable, terrible statements made, both in France and in other countries, on this subject. I mentioned it already in one of my preceding posts but I feel it's worth repeating because the author is well-known and because of its stupidity:

Stephen Bungay (HE is the culprit) wrote in his well-known book "The Most Dangerous Enemy" (at the beginning of some chapter, probably the chapter dealing with the conditions at or before the beginning of the Battle of Britain; sorry, my copy of this book is still in a box too):

"Of course (or: "Obviously") the French aircraft designs were not of the same quality but…" (but French aircraft did inflict some losses on the Luftwaffe). "Not of the same quality" as in the UK and Germany. I already remarked that both the UK and Germany had only one excellent aircraft design each (1940) - Spitfire and Messerschmitt 109 - and that France had at least half a dozen in service. Bungay's wrong statement is very typical of all the nonsense we had to hear and read for nearly 80 years. Such people just gossip and make wind with their mouth without knowing anything, they just imagine it was like that (because France suffered an incredible defeat 1940 - but NOT in the air). Many French guys, probably wanting to look like smart experts, spread the following and are still doing so today: "The Dewoitine 520 was equal to the Spitfire and Me 109 but only 30 of these fighters took part in the Campaign." As I explained in other posts too this is nonsense: 34 D.520s took part in the fighting from May 14 on (GC I/3), 68 from May 15 on (GC I/3 and II/3), about 102 on June 1 (add GC II/7) and so forth (units, like for example GC III/6, newly reequipped with D.520s, came back to the front all the time - totalling 5 Groupes de chasse, each with 34-36 D.520s, totalling a complement of 170 D.520s in first-line units. Losses were compensated for without any difficulty (production exceeded 400, "one an hour", as "Flying" put it about 1959). Add 20 D.520s delivered to the French naval aviation (they must have had plenty of them at the Toulouse factory) and about 40 to units inside France so the grand total was not 30 but about 230.

"Usual disclaimer"

Last edited by rof120; 19th December 2019 at 19:20.
  #48  
Old 19th December 2019, 19:13
rof120 rof120 is offline
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BOOKS on French fighters 1939-1940

French fighters (1940) – More books

The excellent books by Daniel and Cuny were published by Éditions Larivière in their collection Docavia.

Too bad I just forgot to mention a few French books which really are worthwhile. Text in French but photographs, technical drawings and statistical tables have hardly any language. These are three monographs on French fighter types, all published by Lela Presse:

- Le MS 406 (Morane-Saulnier MS 406) by 12 authors. Strongly recommended if you want to know more than the usual 80 years old clichés. Large size.

- Le Bloch 152 by Serge Joanne, a very big book (large size) with hundreds of photographs, a life’s work. Numerous documents from “behind the scene”, like Armée de l’Air reports on comparative trials of various fighter types including one Me 109 E IIRC. I recommend it very warmly.

- Les Curtiss H-75 français, by Lionel Persyn. A useful complement to Docavia’s fine monograph by Cuny and G. Beauchamp (éd. Larivière) with about the same number of pages (about 360).

There are other books and booklets, often aircraft monographs, mostly not that big.

To be continued.
“Usual disclaimer”.
  #49  
Old 30th December 2019, 17:10
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Re: Fighter losses in May 1940 : RAF losses, Armée de l’Air losses

Sorry I forgot to add the 4 (four) Hs 126s shot down by GC III/7 even if a French "historian" who is just nuts, and Peter Cornwell, relying on him, believe that they misidentified 3 "Battles" and 1 LeO 45 for Hs 126s.

See details here at TOCH, Luftwaffe forum:

http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=55851

Here is the modified loss and victory list (French fighters) taking these 4 actual victories into account:

French fighter losses and victories on May 14, 1940

Units--------- Losses----------- Victories

GC I/1----------- 1 MB 152-------- 5 Me 110
GC II/1---------- 5 MB 152-------- 2 Ju 87 – 1 Hs 126 – 1 Me 109 – 4 Me 110 (total 8 victories)
GC II/2---------- 1 MS 406-------- none
GC III/2--------- 0 MS 406-------- 3 He 111
GC I/3----------- 2 D.520--------- 2 Do 17 – 2 He 111 – 2 Me 109 – 4 Me 110 totalling 10 victories
GC II/4---------- 1 Curtiss-------- 1 Me 110
GC I/5----------- 1 Curtiss-------- none
GC II/5---------- 1 Curtiss-------- 1 Me 109 – 2 Me 110
GC II/6---------- 3 MS 406-------- none
GC III/6--------- 1 MS 406-------- 2 He 111
GC I/8----------- 1 MB 152-------- 1 Me 109
GC III/7----------0 MS 406---------4 Hs 126
GC II/8----------0 MB 152-------- 2 He 111
GC II/10-------- 3 MB 152-------- none
GC III/10--------3 MB 152-------- 1 Do 17 – 5 Me 109
ECMJ 1/16-------1 Potez 631------none

Last edited by rof120; 1st January 2020 at 14:31.
  #50  
Old 31st December 2019, 17:33
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Re: Book(s) on the 1940 aerial French Campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by rof120 View Post
34 D.520s took part in the fighting from May 14 on (GC I/3), 68 from May 15 on (GC I/3 and II/3), about 102 on June 1 (add GC II/7) and so forth (units, like for example GC III/6, newly reequipped with D.520s, came back to the front all the time - totalling 5 Groupes de chasse, each with 34-36 D.520s, totalling a complement of 170 D.520s in first-line units. Losses were compensated for without any difficulty (production exceeded 400, "one an hour", as "Flying" put it about 1959).
400 produced, what proportion serviceable or even combat-ready ? 'Avions' no 143 article on GC II/7 page 51 and 'Avions' No 52 page 18 provide some 'context' - my translation. The picture is far more mitigé than you suggest;

" The Dewoitines were being delivered to us piecemeal ('..au compte-goutte..') Finally five pilots and five mechanics flew to Toulouse on board a Bloch 220 on the afternoon of May 14. Once there more surprises awaited us - the aircraft were not ready for a variety of reasons..(...) ..during the spring GC I/3 in Cannes had been tasked with operational testing of the D.520 ("expérimentation opérationelle") and had established a listing of no fewer than 132 changes that would have to be made to production machines before they were suitable for service.** Obviously this had an impact on the rate of production of the aircraft. More seriously however, the CGT (communist trade union and 'maitresse d'oeuvre' at the Toulouse factory) had received an order from the PCF (French communist party) to 'go-slow' on the production of the D.520 as a direct result of the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. The airfield at Francazal was literally awash with aircraft that we couldn't use while our pilots continued to die at the controls of their Ms 406s...our five pilots finally returned with their aircraft ten days later on the 24th.."

(générale de brigade aérienne Duval)

**see Danel/Cuny P66-73 "..l'application des modifications 'bon de guerre'.." - 228 D.520 produced by May 10..only 75 in Armée de l'air service - of which 28 were declared 'non bon de guerre'. By 05 June a total of 138 D.520s had been declared 'bon de guerre' of which 68 (50%) had already been lost..
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