French air force

Non-naval discussions about the Second World War. Military leaders, campaigns, weapons, etc.
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French air force

Post by paul.mercer » Mon May 06, 2019 9:09 am

Whilst looking up the subject of Churchill's order for the RN to sink the French fleet at Oran, one writer claimed that this was done primarily to impress the US, he later put this claim ((under an assumed name) that:
I too, am doing a paper on the Fall of France but from the perspective of the FRENCH AIR FORCE. The little evidence I have gleaned indicates The FRENCH Held back their fighters in order to get the RAF to send more squadrons into the fray. Why? The French wanted to so weaken England that she would be dragged down into defeat with France and French Military Honour saved.
Further on he claims:
Did it look bad for Churchill to stab his former ally in the back? Of course it did. But then again, you have to look at other variables. The French did everything they could think of to drag England down with them from Sabotaging army counter-attacks to withholding modern aircraft in order to get the RAF to bleed its self dry defending France. So, at the time of the Mers El Kabir attack (1940) the French couldn’t be trusted even if they were proven right at Toulon 1942. Second, the gambit worked—FDR crossed over to actively support the British, short of a declaration of war.
Is there any reliable evidence of this?

Francis Marliere
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Re: French air force

Post by Francis Marliere » Tue May 07, 2019 8:05 am


as far as I know, the French air force did not hold back its fighters. It's quite the contrary. Units were thrown - and wasted - in the battle as soon as they were available, without coordination and support.

It's true that there were dozens of modern fighters and bombers in the 'rear'. They were, however, not held back for political, but for technical reasons. Actually, these planes were almost finished but due to French desorganization lacked something essential (guns, propeller, etc.) to be combat ready.

Strictly my opinion of course.

Best regards,


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