Histoire & Collections: French Air Force in North Africa 1940-67 #2

Author/Artists: Alain Crosnier


Histoire & Collections


$49.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 176 pages, hardbound, 9x12, 2500 photos. ISBN: 978-2-35250-421-4. French

For decades, the French had colonies in North Africa. Some, like Algeria, were so close to France culturally, that the residents considered themselves as French as those in metropolitan France. As French territory, it was natural that there would be a French military presence. Indeed, as WW2 got going, it was North Africa that much of the French military sought as a refuge from German occupation. Though under a new, pro-German government and considerable restrictions when compared to pre-war conditions, these places were still French. It was uncertain how these forces would react to the invasion under Operation Torch, though after a few days, it was obvious that they would rather side with the Allies. Though post war saw a considerable change as former colonies decided they wanted to be self-governing, things did not happen over night and it was into the late 1960s that France held onto many of these places.

This book covers the units that were based in three places; Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.

First thing one notices is that the book is in French. Now normally this would be a bit of an impediment to those who do not speak the language, but since English is based on French, one can quite easily glean a lot of information. To be honest, what is the major draw of this title are the photographs. There are thousands of them in both black and white as well as full color. The number of different types is truly incredible as France used a lot of US types in the 1940s and early 1950s until the French aircraft industry got up to speed. You'll also find several German types as these were being built in French factories during the war.

This time, the book is divided by the mission of the aircraft. For instance, the initial section is, for all intents and purposes, on what we call COIN aircraft. Here you will find armed T-6s, T-28s as well as SIPA 12A (Ar-396) along with observation types such as French built Fi-156 aircraft. The next is for bombers and in here are MD 311s and A-26s. Transports are the third major section with Ju-52s, C-47s, and Noratlas as the major types. Finally, helicopters are covered, the French using quite a few H-19, H-21, and H-34 types as well as the early use of the Alouette II. There are other aircraft types included and I've only covered the major players.

But one keeps coming back to the photographs. If you are a modeler or have an interest in things that are a bit outside the norm, then this is a book for you. The language difference is not really a major impediment and this is a book that I can easily recommend.

December 2018

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