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" French Aerial victories against the British" Topic

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Kaoschallenged Inactive Member04 Aug 2012 11:36 a.m. PST

I could have sworn I posted this before. But couldn't find it. I thought this might be of interest though. grin Robert

Leon Richard
"Actually, all were well before Operation Torch. Richard commanded the D.520-equipped GCIII/6, which defended Syria. Six of his victories came during the British attack on Syria in mid-1941, a campaign that was short, but bitterly fought by both sides:

June 8 1941 – Fulmar
June 9 1941 – Hurricane
June 13 1941 – Blenheim
June 23 1941 – Hurricane
June 23 1941 – Tomahawk
July 5 1941 – Hurricane

After the pro-Vichy forces were withdrawn from Syria, GCIII/6 moved to Algeria, and he claimed his last kill there:

May 18 1942 – Fulmar

After the Operation Torch landings, Richard joined the Allied side, but was killed in a training accident on May 26, 1943, when he ran out of fuel and fractured his skull against the instrument panel making a forced landing."



Pierre Le Gloan (January 6, 1913 – September 11, 1943), French pilot (flying ace) of World War II.
He was born in Brittany, France. At the age of eighteen he joined the French Air Force. At the outbreak of the war he served in the GC III/6 fighter squadron, flying the Morane-Saulnier MS.406. Along with his wingman, he shot down his first German Do 17P reconnaissance bomber on November 23, 1939. At the beginning of the Battle of France in 1940 he shot down 3 German bombers.
On June 1, 1940 his squadron was moved towards southern France, to Le Luc airfield and re-armed with the newest Dewoitine D.520 fighters. After Italy declared war on France and the Italian air force started bombing raids, Le Gloan shot down two Fiat BR.20 bombers on June 13, flying in pair. On June 15 Le Gloan, along with another pilot, attacked a group of twelve Italian Fiat CR.42 fighters, and shot down three of them, while Cpt. Assolent shot down another. While returning to the airfield, Le Gloan shot down another CR.42 and another BR.20 bomber. For this outstanding achievement of destroying 5 aircraft in one flight, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.
Due to the military situation of France, on June 20, GC III/6 squadron was withdrawn to Algiers in the French colony of Algeria. After the armistice between France and Germany, and the subsequent British attacks on the French navy, French forces in North Africa, including Le Gloan's unit, became subordinated to the Vichy government. In May 1941 GC III/6 was moved to the French colony of Syria. In June, Allied forces, including some Free French units, attacked Syria and Lebanon. In subsequent combat, on June 8, 1941, Le Gloan shot down his first British fighter (Hawker Hurricane). By July 5, he had shot down 6 Hurricanes and 1 Gloster Gladiator. Later the weakened GC III/6 was withdrawn back to Algiers.
During the allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, (Operation Torch), French fighter squadrons based in Algiers, unlike those in Oran or Casablanca, did not oppose the Allied landings. Soon all the French forces in North Africa had sided with the Allies. In May 1943, Le Gloan's unit, then renamed GC 3/6 Roussillon, was re-armed with new P-39 Airacobra fighters from the United States. In August, Le Gloan took the command of the 3rd escadrille (flight) of the squadron. The unit's primary task at the time were offshore patrols.
On September 11, 1943, Pierre Le Gloan flew on patrol with another pilot. Over the sea, smoke started to come out of Le Gloan's engine. He returned towards the shore, but the engine stopped. He tried to make a belly landing on the shore, but, probably forgetting that his Airacobra still had an underbelly fuel fank attached (which were not used on earlier French fighters), the fuel in his plane exploded while he was trying to land, killing him instantly.
During his complicated combat career, Pierre Le Gloan shot down 18 aircraft (4 German, 7 Italian and 7 British), which gave him the 4th position among the French flying aces of the war.



Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2012 12:09 p.m. PST

Thanks for posting this, there are definitely some interesting scenarios there!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2012 12:53 p.m. PST

Did they keep their kill markers when flying for "the other side"?

Sundance04 Aug 2012 1:10 p.m. PST

Cool post!

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member04 Aug 2012 1:14 p.m. PST

Thanks Texas Jack. I think I had originally posted about this in the Looking for unusual scenarios thread grin

TMP link

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member04 Aug 2012 1:45 p.m. PST


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member04 Aug 2012 6:45 p.m. PST


Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2012 1:23 p.m. PST

Could it somehow be contrived to put a Frenchie in a P-36 (Hawk 75) and throw him against the Allies?

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member05 Aug 2012 1:59 p.m. PST

Well they did use the Hawk 75 aka P-36 against USN Wildcats during Operation Torch. And against the British Fairey Swordfish planes escorted by obsolete Blackburn Skuas over Mers el-Kébir and and I think others at Dakar. Robert

Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2012 2:43 p.m. PST

Goodness, the mind spins at the possibilities!

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member05 Aug 2012 3:46 p.m. PST

If you haven't checked out the Looking for unusual scenarios thread you might like to. There are lots of good enounters there grin. Robert

TMP link

Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP05 Aug 2012 4:47 p.m. PST

Yeah, I´ve been looking through them, fun stuff!

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member05 Aug 2012 5:28 p.m. PST

Thanks grin. I'm glad you think so. I have spent alot of time researching them grin Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member05 Aug 2012 6:23 p.m. PST

This little bit about the attack on Mers-el-Kébir,

"Before the negotiations were formally ended, the British already took action. Swordfish and Skua aircraft flew into the harbor to drop magnetic mines, and French H-75 fighters rose to meet them. One Skua aircraft was shot down during the action, killing the crew."


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member05 Aug 2012 7:11 p.m. PST

From Wiki so take with a grain of salt of course,

"In 1941, D.520s of GC III/6, II/3 and naval escadrille 1AC fought the Allies during the Syria-Lebanon campaign. The Vichy French Air Force (Armée de l'Air de Vichy) was already relatively strong, but several units were sent to reinforce it. D.520s were the only French single-seat fighters capable of making the trip to Syria. The GC III/6 was sent first. The ferry trip was very difficult for a 1940 interceptor and the pilots pushed their planes as far as their fuel tanks would allow them to. They flew from France to Syria with intermediate stops at Rome, Brindisi or Catania. Another route was available through Germany and Greece (Athens), but it was seldom used. The trip always included a stopover in Rhodes (once an Italian base), before the final flight to Syria. This meant several thousands of kilometers were flown over mountains and sea. The most demanding part was Catania-Rhodes, which entailed no less than 1,200 km flown over the sea.[29] Even the trip from Rhodes to Syria was 800 km. LeO 451s and Martin 167F bombers had few problems, but D.520s were forced to fly a strenuous and dangerous mission, without any help or external assistance. Of the 168 French aircraft (of all types) sent to Syria, 155 accomplished their mission and successfully arrived. The Vichy Air force was numerically strong, but with very few ground crew and spare parts, so the operational flying time for the D.520s was very limited. D.520s of GC III/6 first saw action against British aircraft on 8 June 1941, when they shot down three Fairey Fulmars, losing one D.520 with its pilot taken prisoner).[30] Over the following days several escort missions were made to protect Martin, LeO and Bloch 200 (3/39 Esc) aircraft from British Royal Navy fighters. On 9 June, Two Hurricanes were shot down (with another D.520 lost).

In total, during the Syria campaign 266 missions were flown by the Vichy French Air Force: 99 of them were made by D.520s, nine by MS.406s, 46 by Martin 167s and 31 by LeO 451s. The D.520s were therefore the most active of the French aircraft in the campaign, where they claimed 31 kills over British and Australian units while losing 11 of their own in air combat and a further 24 to AA fire, accidents and attacks on their airfields.[citation needed]. On 10 July, five D.520s attacked Bristol Blenheim bombers from No. 45 Squadron RAF that were being escorted by seven Curtiss Tomahawks from No. 3 Squadron RAAF (3 Sqn).[31] The French pilots claimed three Blenheims, but at least four of the D.520s were destroyed by the Australian escorts, including two by F/O Peter Turnbull.[31][32] The following day, a Dewoitine pilot shot down a P-40 from 3 Sqn, the only Tomahawk lost during the campaign.[31] This Dewoitine was in turn shot down by F/O Bobby Gibbes. The initial advantage that the Vichy French Air Force enjoyed did not last long, and they lost most of their aircraft during the campaign. The majority of the lost aircraft were destroyed on the ground where the flat terrain, absence of infrastructure and absence of modern anti-aircraft (AA) artillery made them vulnerable to air attacks. On June 26, a strafing run by Tomahawks of 3 Sqn, on Homs airfield, destroyed five Dewoitine D.520s of Fighter Squadron II/3 (Groupe de Chasse II/3) and damaged six more.

By the end of the campaign, the Vichy forces had lost 179 aircraft from the approximately 289 committed to the Levant. The remaining aircraft with the range to do so, evacuated to Rhodes. The known French losses of fighter aircraft were 26 in air combat and 45 in strafing and bombing actions. Allied forces lost 41 planes, 27 of those shot down by French fighters. During Operation Torch, GC III/3 (previously known as GC I/3) was engaged in combat with the Allies over Oran. Flotille 1F saw action versus the United States Navy F4F Wildcat squadron VF-41 (from the carrierUSS Ranger), over Casablanca. One D.520 was among 14 US victory claims, with the only Allied losses being due to ground and friendly fire.[33] Other Dewoitine-equipped units in North Africa such as GC II/7 or GC II/3 did not to take part in the fighting. Overall, the known D.520 air strength in North Africa was 173 D.520s (143 combat ready) of GC II/3, III/3, III/6, II/7 and II/5, another 30 were in Senegal with GC II/6. The Navy had Esc 1AC and 2AC. Many D.520s were destroyed on the ground by Allied bombing. The French Air Force lost 56 aircraft, among them 13 D.520s. The Navy lost 19 D.520s aircraft. Among the 44 kills that the French scored overall, there was an entire squadron of nine Fairey Albacore, from the HMS Furious, all shot down by D.520s of GC III/3."


Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP06 Aug 2012 3:37 a.m. PST

It´s terrible, I don´t really need a new project! But really, I love inter and early war aircraft, and the idea I could field French-built as well as Hawk 75 planes going up against those less-than-stellar British aircraft and with P-40s and F4Fs thrown in for good measure, is just too much to resist.
It´s funny that I have done Vichy vs Allies on land and sea but it never occurred to me to take it to the air.
Robert I don´t know if I should thank you or curse you! :)

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member11 Aug 2012 3:26 p.m. PST

LOL Thanks Texas Jack. I find these encounters interesting also. Somewhat different from later in the war for sure. Robert

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2012 8:54 p.m. PST

So interesting!.
Thanks for share Robert!.


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member15 Aug 2012 10:44 a.m. PST

Thanks Tango. Glad you found it interesting :). Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member21 Aug 2012 6:42 p.m. PST


"July 10 : Five Dewoitine D520's of the Vichy French shoot down three Belnheims before they are attacked by Tomahawks of 3 Sqn RAAF. All the French aircraft are shot down. "


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member24 Aug 2012 11:42 p.m. PST

Another French Pilot, Jean Gisclon, claimed a Skua on 6 July 1940. Robert

Tommiatkins Inactive Member25 Aug 2012 6:19 a.m. PST


French fighting against the Thai air force! Supported by the Japanese. Also includes Japan vs French doing Blue on Blue. :)

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member25 Aug 2012 12:17 p.m. PST

Thanks for that Tommi. I have seen that before grin. But there were no Vichy French encounters with either the RAF or FAA . Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member27 Aug 2012 6:27 p.m. PST

"Attacks against German and Italian aircraft staging through Syria continued, with a total of six Axis aircraft being claimed destroyed by 8 June, while Vichy French forces claiming to have shot down a Blenheim on 28 May, with a further Blenheim being forced down on 2 June.


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member28 Aug 2012 4:39 p.m. PST

"Bale, WA Sub Lt, Pearce, EJ Sub Lt and Mills, JE L/A TAG 821 sqdn Albacore, POWS 8.11.42. Raid on La Senia airfield, Oran.
FTR HMS Furious. Attacked and shot down by Dewoitine Dw.520."


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member30 Aug 2012 12:18 p.m. PST

I do have to say that on the other side the RAF and FAA did bring down quite a few French especially in Syria. Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member31 Aug 2012 5:18 p.m. PST

Looks like a couple of Wellingtons were shot down too. Robert

"12th Aug 42.

Wellington II W5565, 1 OADU (Overseas Air Delivery Unit), Took off from Gibraltar for flight to Bathurst, ditched off French West Africa after attack by French fighters, the two dead airmen went down with the aircraft. The others were interned until December 1942.

P/O A.B. Kidson Int.
P/O W.R. Simpson +
P/O E.O. Hampshire, Int.
Sgt T.S. Woodley, Int.
Sgt E.W. Draper +
Sgt L.C. Neave, Int.

Another aircraft was lost on the same day…..

Wellington IC HF882, 1 OADU. Took off from Gibraltar for Bathurst but failed to arrive. No other information is available for this loss."


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member01 Sep 2012 12:28 p.m. PST

"After the end of the Iraq fighting the British decided to invade Vichy French-controlled Syria to prevent the area from falling under direct German control. The French in Syria had supported the Iraqi rebellion materially and allowed Luftwaffe aircraft to use their airfields for operations over Iraq. The month-long Syria-Lebanon Campaign in June–July 1941 saw heavy fighting both in the air and on land, until the Vichy French authorities in Syria surrendered on 12 July 1941. In one encounter between the Royal Air Force and the Vichy French Air Force on 15 June 1941, six Gloster Gladiators were jumped by an equal number of Dewoitine D.520 monoplane fighter aircraft. In a confused battle, both sides lost one aircraft shot down and one severely damaged. French fighter ace Pierre Le Gloan shot down the Gladiator for his 15th confirmed kill. Le Gloan himself had to crash land his damaged D.520 at his own air base.[68]"


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member03 Sep 2012 11:33 p.m. PST

Found this humorous grin. Robert

" John D Clarke's book French Eagles Soviet Heroes The Normandie-Niemen Squadrons On
The Eastern Front. Page 123 states on delivery of their new YAK 3 aircraft in 1944 the ground crew were painting the kills marks on the fuselage. The Soviet crewman who was to paint the kills on Delfino's plane was collared by a fellow French pilotwho was an early 1940 de Gaulle Volunteer . He had a joke at Delfino's expense and got the Soviet painter to ask Delfino if as well as the black crosses of Luftwaffe kills whether he'd like an RAF roundal painted on his YAK too. As Delfino had served in the Vichy Forces before joining the French unit in Russia and had shot down said Wellington.
Delfino declined the offer."


Mark 1 Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2012 10:46 p.m. PST

Did they keep their kill markers when flying for "the other side"?

Might be worth noting that the great majority of French pilots never flew for "the other side".

They flew for France.

Odd how that simple perspective is so often missed in discussions like this.

(aka: Mk 1)

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member05 Sep 2012 11:14 p.m. PST

Regardless if they "They flew for France." I guess they were considered "The Other Side" to the British pilots and aircrew that were flying in combat against the French . Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member12 Sep 2012 10:15 a.m. PST

I have always wondered what the aircrew were thinking when hey saw the French fighters attacking. If they knew there was a chance or if it was a surprise that the French were actually attacking them. if there any hesitation to return fire. Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member15 Sep 2012 1:38 p.m. PST

"An attempt by British and Free French forces to land at Dakar in West Africa on 23 September 1940,on the premise that the local garrison would not resist their fellow countrymen,proved unfounded.Heavy resistance was offered,
Armee del'Air Martin 167F bombers attacking the British fleet units,whilst defending Hawks of GC1/4 shot down several Swordfish.In retaliation Martin 167Fs from Aeronavale Escadrilles,escorted by Flotille IF D.520s,twice again flew from Morocco to bomb Gibraltar on 24 and 25 September, "

Squadron Signal – Armee de L'Air – The French Air Force in WW2 Page 36.


Kaoschallenged Inactive Member16 Sep 2012 2:05 p.m. PST

From what I have read Vichy pilots were hesitant to engage the British before at Mers-el-Kébir. The Hawk pilots of GC I/5 and GC II/5 were very hesitant to press home attacks against the British. The British were former comrades and allies as well as the Free French. I would assume that some RAF and FAA pilots may have felt the same. Of course after Mers-el-Kébir the French had more of a reason to attack British aircraft. Many Vichy pilots changed theirs minds about escaping to England and fighting the Germans from there from what I have read. I haven't read anything if there were any hesitation after that.Things of course changed after Operation Torch where many pilots and crew went over to the Allies.But in the case of the two Wellingtons they were not attacking anything but flying off the French coat to Gibraltar. Which is why I was wondering.Robert

Kaoschallenged Inactive Member26 Sep 2012 8:57 p.m. PST

Does anyone know how many British aircraft might have been shot down by Vichy AA if any? Robert

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