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Old 25th March 2005, 18:33
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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.

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