Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niemen

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Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niemen
Fighter Squadron 2/30 Normandie-Niemen
Эмблема Нормандия — Неман.svg
Insignia of the Escadron
Active1942 - present
Country France
BranchRoundel of France.svg French Air Force
TypeFighter aircraft unit
Part of30e Escadre de Chasse
composed of 3 Escadrilles :
SPA 91
SPA 93 (French: SPA 93)
SPA 97
Nickname(s)Neu-Neu
EquipmentRafale
Engagements

Battles

Decorations
The regiment in Moscow in 2010

Escadron de Chasse or Fighter Squadron 2/30 Normandie-Niemen (French: Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niemen) is a Fighter aircraft unit of the French Air Force. During the dormant phase in 2009, the Escadron was equipped with Mirage F1CT fighters and stationed at Colmar-Meyenheim Air Base (BA 132).

The Normandie-Niemen Fighter Regiment (French: Régiment de Chasse Normandie-Niémen - (Russian: Нормандия-Неман) has adopted different formations and designations since 1942. Originally formed as Groupe de Chasse Normandie 3 in 1942, then redesignated as a Regiment (without and with "Niemen" designation the same year) in 1944, then given four different squadron numbers (1953, 1962, 1993, & 1995), and later two regiments designations (2008 and 2011).

The unit served on the Eastern Front of the European Theatre of World War II with the 1st Air Army. The regiment is notable for being one of only three units from Western Allied countries to see combat on the Eastern Front during World War II, and Normandie-Niemen was the only Western Allied unit to fight with the Soviet forces until the end of the war in Europe.[1][2]

Initially the Groupe de Chasse 3 (GC 3) (3rd Fighter Group) in the Free French Air Force comprised a group of French fighter pilots sent to aid Soviet forces on the Eastern Front at the suggestion of Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French Forces, who felt it important that French servicemen serve on all fronts in the war. The groupe, first commanded by Jean Tulasne, fought in three campaigns on behalf of the Soviet Union between 22 March 1943, and 9 May 1945, during which time it destroyed 273 enemy aircraft and received numerous orders, citations and decorations from both the Free French and Soviet governments, including the French Légion d’Honneur and the Soviet Order of the Red Banner. Joseph Stalin awarded the unit the name Niemen for its participation in the Battle of the Niemen River.

In 2005 the unit, known as Escadron de chasse 1/30 Normandie-Niemen, flew Dassault Mirage F1CT aircraft. The squadron was briefly disbanded in June 2010 and re-activated in 2011 as a Dassault Rafale unit, with formal reactivation on 25 June 2012 as Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niemen at Mont-de-Marsan Air Base.

Since September 3, 2015, the Normandie-Niemen was again attached to the 30e Escadre de Chasse reformed the same day on Mont-de-Marsan Air Base (BA 118).

French pilot Bruno de Faletans, killed in a mission, and a Soviet radio operator on April 1943.

History[edit]

Denominations & different designations[edit]

A Mirage F1 of Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niemen and another Mirage of the serving Escadron de Chasse 3/30 Lorraine in 1986 armed with Matra R530.
  • September 1, 1942 : creation of the Fighter Group - Groupe de Chasse Normandie n° III (G.C. Normandie 3) at Riyaq in Lebanon.
  • February 7, 1944 : G.C Normandie III was transformed into a Fighter Regiment - Régiment de Chasse Normandie with four Escadrilles (RC Normandie)
  • July 21, 1944 : Fighter Regiment - Régiment de Chasse Normandie - receives the designation of Niémen and became the Fighter Regiment - Régiment de Chasse Normandie-Niémen (R.C Normandie-Niémen)
  • 1953 : the regiment split into two parts and one became the Escadron de Chasse 2/6 Normandie-Niémen fighter squadron
  • 1962 : the 6e Escadre de Chasse was dissolved, the Squadron was attached to the 30e Escadre de Chasse and was redesignated Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niémen (EC 2/30).
  • October 13, 1993 : dissolution of EC 2/30 and redesignation as Escadron de Chasse 1/13 Normandie-Niémen
  • July 1, 1995 : squadron returns to designation of Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niémen.
  • June 27, 2008 : the squadron is given the title of regiment, the Regiment de Chasse 1/30 Normandie-Niémen.
  • September 1, 2011 : the squadron becomes Regiment de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niémem.

Creation[edit]

During the rallying of général Charles de Gaulle through the Appeal of 18 June 1940 inviting Frenchmen to join him in London, some went on to Great-Britain in order to continue the fight with the Allies. Great-Britain became the most important « Free French military base and rallying point.

Following the rupture of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact by Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941, representatives of Vichy were declared as Persona non grata by the Soviet Authorities and were asked to return to France. Colonel Charles Luguet, the air attaché of the Vichy Government in Moscow, changed allegiance to the Free French.

In 1942, de Gaulle, recognizing the importance of French soldiers to serve on all fronts of the war, decided to engage forces on the Eastern Front (World War II). He envisaged first to send a Mechanized Division (the future 1st Free French Division of général de Larminat) on the Eastern front, however British opposition added to the difficulties of this project and the view of général Valin, commandant of the Free French Air Forces, made him opt to send an air unit instead of a Division[3]

Beginning in 1942, the Soviet diplomats liaising with the French National Committee, mainly Ambassador Alexander Bogomolov, announced that the Soviet Government welcomed with great care, the project initiative of sending French aviators to combat on the Eastern Front. On February 19, 1942, Charles de Gaulle designated colonel Charles Luguet and Captain Albert Mirlesse to take on practical negotiations with the USSR, under the authority of Général Valin.[4] The Soviets studied the proposition with interest, however negotiations consumed time, Colonel Pougatchev, military chief of the mission in London, did not accept a group whom were all French, detached near the Soviet Army. In addition, parallel negotiations of Captain Mirlesse, by général Ernest Petit (French: général Petit) in military mission for Free France at Moscow and by Roger Garreau, in diplomatic mission at Kouïbychev, the Soviet alternate capital, were bungled.

Nevertheless, on February 25, 1942, a first list of pilots was communicated to the Soviets. The first commandant, Joseph Pouliquen, was designated and tasked by général de Gaulle in person to complete formation and command the future Fighter Group n°III (G.C. n°III) placed at disposition at the front, the latter would garrison in Lebanon while awaiting the green light from the Soviets. The effective creation of the Fighter Group Normandie, wasn't dated until the end of 1942 (the first date mentioned in the Marching Journal was September 15, 1942[5]), under the designation only of « Normandie ». Joseph Pouliquen suggested the designation of Normandie for the G.C.n°III, he had preferred to designate the group on the name of his province, Bretagne, but the latter was already in use by a Bombardment Group. Accordingly, the first constitution was formed of a group of fighter pilots and French mechanics, all volunteers. The first group was composed of 14 fighter pilots and 58 mechanics. The group was also joined by 17 Soviet mechanics.

The first 14 fighter pilots of the G.C.n°III hailed from units of the Royal Air Force or from the Fighter Group Île-de-France in England (The English) and from the Alsace Fighter Group (groupe de chasse Alsace) North Africa (The Libyans). The English, eight strong, included aspirant Joseph Risso (French: Joseph Risso), aspirant Yves Mahé, lieutenant Didier Béguin, aspirant Marcel Albert, aspirant Marcel Lefèvre, aspirant Albert Durand, aspirant Yves Bizien and aspirant Roland de la Poype. The six Libyans were aspirant Noël Castelain, lieutenant Raymond Derville, lieutenant André Poznanski, lieutenant Albert Preziosi, captain Albert Littolff, and commandant Jean Tulasne.

De Gaulle officially ordered the creation of the Groupe de Chasse Normandie (GC 3) on 1 September 1942, with Commandant Pouliquen in command. Mechanics, pilots and hardware travelled by rail and air via Tehran to Baku.

After long negotiations with colonel Levandovitch, the military chargé of international relations of the general staff headquarters of the Air Ministry of the Soviet Union,[6] the Group left the Military air base of Riyaq, Lebanon, on November 12, 1942 to arrive on November 28, 1942 at Ivanovo air base (situated at 250 km, north-east of Moscow), via Iraq and Iran. At Ivanovo, a training course was given to the personnel to handle the first aircraft of the G.C.n°III, the Yakovlev Yak-1.[7]

Engagement during the Second World War[edit]

Nevertheless, before this departure on October 24, 1942, commandant Pouliquen and colonel Édouard Corniglion-Molinier, accompanied by commandants Denis and Tuslane, awarded the respectively the fanion of the escadrille and the arms insignias of Normandie to members of the unit. The ceremony was accompanied with the following speech:

Officiers, Sous-Officiers, Caporaux et Soldats du 3e Groupe de Chasse !
Je vais vous remettre l'insigne de notre groupe aux armes de la Normandie.
Vous le porterez avec fierté et dignité.
Il représentera pour vous l'image même de la France dans une de ses plus belle et de ses plus riche contrée.
Il évoquera pour vous le souvenir d'une campagne de chez nous calme et reposante.
En ce moment, la Normandie souffre plus particulièrement de l'occupation allemande. Des bombardements, des combats fréquents ont lieu sur ses côtes et dans son ciel.
Notre pensée va vers ce coin de France que le 3e Groupe de Chasse honorera en portant ses Armes et que les pilotes glorifieront par leur victoires.

(" English translation : Officers, Sous-Officiers, Corporals and Soldiers of the IIIrd Fighter Group ! I will award you with the arms insignia of our Normandie Group. You will wear it with pride and dignity. It will represent for you the image of France in one of its most beautiful and richest encounters. It will evoke for you the souvenir of a campaign which belongs to us which is calm and comforting. In this moment, Normandie suffers particularly from German occupation. Bombardments, and frequent combats have lieu on its coast and in its sky. Our thoughts go to that corner of France which the 3rd Fighter Group will render honors on behalf of and carry its Arms faithfully, with pilots glorifying the latter with their victories".) ( Marching Journal of Normandie-Niemen ).

It was general Valin who validated, on September 1, 1942, the proposed designation of the G.C.3 of « Normandie ».

This choice, following consultation, was taken due to the suffering endured by that region and naturally, it is the emblem of « Normandie » which was adopted : « Red adorned, with 2 Golden topped Leopard Style Lions Passant Guardant » (Passing Full face on Guard on top of a White Thunderbolt) (surnamed in Norman : Vles P’tits Cats). The insignias were realized by Armenian silversmiths of the markets of Damascus.

The three Escadrilles forming composition were :

  • « Rouen » for the first,
  • « Le Havre » for the second,
  • « Cherbourg » for the third.

The list of officers, sous-officiers and men (Marching Journal of Normandie-Niemen) feature:

  • Commandant Pouliquen
  • Commandant Tulasne
  • Captain Littolff
  • Lieutenant Preziosi
  • Lieutenant Derville
  • Lieutenant de Pange
  • Lieutenant Poznanski
  • Lieutenant Béguin
  • Captain Kahan
  • Aspirant de La Poype
  • Aspirant Bizien
  • Aspirant Durand
  • Aspirant Albert
  • Aspirant Marcel Lefèvre
  • Aspirant Castelain
  • Aspirant Schick
  • Aspirant Stakovitch
  • Sous-lieutenant médecin Libiedinsky
  • Adjudant-chef Duprat
  • Adjudant Morisson
  • Sergent-chef Turcaud
  • Sergent-chef Callorbe
  • Sergent-chef Darenlot
  • Sergent-chef Leloup
  • Sergent-chef Carel
  • Sergent-chef Matter
  • Sergent Jacquier
  • Sergent Touvrey
  • Sergent Lumbroso
  • Sergent Mounier
  • Sergent Auidibert
  • Sergent Mazurel
  • Sergent de Guilhem
  • Sergent Carme
  • Sergent Ourtelier
  • Sergent Vidal
  • Sergent Corot
  • Caporal Verges
  • Sergent Giovancerli
  • Caporal-chef Abad
  • Caporal-chef Eidel
  • Caporal-chef Marcellin
  • Caporal-chef Saliba
  • Caporal-chef Germain
  • Caporal-chef Lesourd
  • Caporal Lonchamp
  • Caporal Lefèvre
  • Sergent Drouet
  • Caporal Saliba
  • Caporal Gelin
  • Caporal Abichou
  • Caporal Chambalu
  • Caporal Gelibert
  • Caporal Larivet
  • Caporal Goulin
  • Caporal Weil
  • 2nd Class César
  • 2nd Class Greiner
  • 2nd Class Trolliet
  • 2nd Class Gouverneur

This list was established, then submitted by Captain Mirless to the Soviet Authorities, on September 1, 1942.

Arrived to the U.S.S.R on November 28, the training instruction of the French on the Yakovlev Yaks-7 and 1 lasted from December 2 until March 14, 1943. On the following March 20, général Ernest Petit, French mission military chief to Moscow in company with colonel Schoumoff, commandant of the Aerial Base of Ivanovo and colonel Levandovitch of the superior command of the Russian Aerial Forces, passed revue of the group during two days.

Following that inspection, the result statement added that: "By its military qualities and moral, this unit is ready to be sent to the front[8] The unit hence became operational on 22 March 1943.

First Campaign (March 22, 1943 - November 6, 1943)[edit]

The first campaign of GC 3, equipped with the Yakovlev Yak-1 fighter saw combat between Polotniani Zavod and Sloboda/Monastirtchina. It was hosted by a Soviet fighter regiment, and became that regiment's fourth squadron.

The Group joined as of March 22, 1943, the 1st Air Army. From an initial aerial victory over a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 on 5 April their tally rose dramatically.

On April 5, 1943, pilots Albert Preziosi and Albert Durand scored the unit's first victories, 14 days after their arrival at the front. Two Fw 190 were shot down in the region of Roslav while the patrol was escorting a Petlyakov Pe-2 bomber. Eight days later, on April 13, 1943, while in course of a free chase, three aircraft were engaged by four Fw 190s. Three pilots of Normandie-Niémen were shot down, as well as three Fw 190.

They fought in the Battle of Kursk during the month of July. The Commandant of the Group Jean Tulasne and his deputy Albert Littolff were killed during this battle.[9] Commandant Pierre Pouyade who joined the regiment after his evasion in Indochina, became commandant.

The squadron became the focus of Soviet propaganda, so much so that Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel decreed that any French pilots were to be shot on sight and if captured would be executed.[10]

In August, the French mechanics commanded by Alex Michel and Louis Duprat, the two officer mechanics, were sent to the Middle East and definitely replaced by Soviet mechanics at the order of Engineer-Captain Sergueï Agavelian. Here again, formation considerations on Soviet material has prevailed.[11]

On 11 October de Gaulle accorded the groupe the title of Compagnon de la Libération. By the time GC 3 relocated to Tula on 6 November 1943, only six pilots remained from the original groupe, which had accumulated 72 aerial victories since becoming operational. In their first year on the front they claimed 86 kills (77 confirmed, 9 'probables') and 16 enemy aircraft damaged, for the loss of 25 Yak fighters.

In 1944 the groupe was expanded to become a régiment, with a fourth escadrille joining its ranks, with the reinforcement by numerous pilots hailing from North Africa. After completing training on the more advanced Yakovlev Yak-9D fighter at Tula, the expanded regiment rejoined front line operations for its second campaign.

Second Campaign[edit]

This took place around Doubrovka (in Russia) and Gross-Kalweitchen (in East Prussia, Germany) until 27 November 1944. On July 21, 1944 Joseph Stalin awarded the regiment the name Nieman, (thus becoming Normandie-Niemen) in recognition of its participation in the battles to liberate the Neman River. Giving Soviet units the battle honour names of places they had conquered was common. On 16 October, the first day of a new offensive against East Prussia, the regiment's pilots claimed 29 enemy aircraft destroyed without loss. By the following month the regiment found itself based in German territory. By the end of the year, Pouyade was released from command of the regiment and he, along with other veteran pilots, returned to France. He was replaced by Commandant Louis Delfino. By the end of 1944, 201 kills were claimed.

On October 16 and 17, Normandie, engaged in operation Gumbinnen - dreadful offensive on Oriental-Prussia - beat a record by beating down 41 German aircraft without losses.

At the end of November 1944, colonel Pierre Pouyade gave the order to repaint on the Yaks the emblems of Normandie-Niemen by adding the White Thunder which was the emblem of 303rd Aerial Division to which the Regiment Normandie-Niemen belonged to.[12] The aviators of Normandie-Niémen were the first French to enter militarily into Germany.

Retrieved from the front at the approach winter, the regiment went to Moscow in order to accompany the diplomatic visit of général de Gaulle to Stalin, and accordingly received the respective medals and rendered honors. A quarter of the pilots received a break in France, reducing the Group to three escadrille.

Third Campaign[edit]

14 January 1945 saw the Normandie-Niemen start its third campaign (from Dopenen to Heiligenbeil), concentrating in the East Prussian part of the German Reich. From January to May 1945 (V-E Day), Normandie participated to the invasion of Oriental-Prussia and to the siege of Kaliningrad.

It was decided in December to transform the regiment Normandie in an Aerial Division France by the reinforcement of a Fighter Group known as "Aquitaine", as well as a Bombardiers Group, however, the end of the war put a term on this project.

Beginning June 1945, a decree by Stalin accorded a legal right to the concerned combatants to return with their arms. He gave a sort of gift to each of his Yak-3 at a personal title. This point gave lieu to contestations.[13] On June 20, 1945, the French aviators went back to France while landing at Bourget, where they were welcomed like heroes.

The chronology of the return is as follows:

« On June 15, at the orders of général Georgi Zakharov, the 40 equipment of Normandie Niemen flew to Posen

  • On the 16, the pilots were at Prague
  • On the 17, they were at Stuttgart where they were received by général de Lattre de Tassigny
  • On the 20, they arrived to St Dizier and went back to Paris le Bourget where they were welcomed with enthusiasm[14] »

As indicated by the chronology, the pilots were received by général de Lattre at Stuttgart ( a little gap between the 17 and 20 ) at the occasion of a layover.

According to official sources,[15] the 38 Yak-3 paraded underneath the Champs-Élysées.

Statistics[edit]

At the end of the war, the regiment had claimed 273 enemy aircraft shot down, 37 probables, and lost 87 aircraft and 52 pilots in return. Some 5,240 sorties were flown and the unit took part in 869 dogfights. The unit also destroyed 27 trains, 22 locomotives, two E-boats, 132 trucks, and 24 staff cars. Forty-two of the squadron's pilots were killed and 30 reached ace status.[16]

Four of its pilots, Marcel Albert, Marcel Lefèvre, Jacques André and Roland de La Poype, became Heroes of the Soviet Union.

Its battle honours included such names such as Bryansk, Orel 1943, Ielnia, Smolensk 1943, Orsha 1944, Berezina 1944, Niemen 1944,Chernyakhovsk 1945, Königsberg (later renamed Kaliningrad by the Soviets), Baltiysk 1945, and Pillau.

It received the following decorations: from France, the Légion d'Honneur, the Croix de la Libération, the Médaille Militaire, the Croix de guerre with six palmes; from the USSR, it received the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Alexander Nevsky, with eleven citations between the two orders.

From 1942 until 1945, the « Normandie-Niémen » Fighter Regiment:

  • conducted 5240 missions which amounted to 4354 hours of flying;
  • delivered 896 aerial combats;
  • obtained 273 victories.

The Regiment endured the loss of:

  • 38 pilots killed or disappeared;
  • 7 pilots killed while aerial service;
  • 3 pilots made prisoners of war and then returned to France.

The Regiment destroyed:

  • 273 enemy downed planes;
  • 37 enemy planes probably downed;
  • 47 enemy planes damaged;
  • 132 destroyed trucks;
  • 27 trains destroyed;
  • eight train stations attacked;
  • five airfields attacked;
  • two vedettes drowned;
  • four attacked garrisons;
  • three factories attacked.

Controversy on the future of the aircraft[edit]

The aircraft and pilots belonged to the French Air Force of which the Normandie-Nièmen was one of the regiments. The aircraft were transferred to Toussus-le-Noble at the beginning of February 1946, by decision of Air Force headquarters. It was a civilian base where a zone was reserved for the Air Force. Serving as training aircraft, without detached pieces, the aircraft were cannibalized little by little. A unique restored specimen is at the Musée de l’air et de l’espace of the Bourget.

A Yak 3 (01) Musée de l’air et de l’espace of Bourget. The tip (French: casserole d'hélice) is painted with three colors.

A Soviet author wrote on this subject:

« Le don au régiment Normandie-Niémen de tous les avions sur lesquels ils avaient volé fut une manifestation de l'amitié sincère entre les peuples français et soviétiques »


("English translation: The gift of the Regiment Normandie-Niémen of all the aircraft upon which he flew on was a manifestation of the sincere friendship between the French and Soviet people".)

- Maréchal Alexander Novikov, Revue Icare, n° 62, Spring-Summer 1972, p.73.

and

« En faisant aux pilotes du Normandie-Nièmen l'honneur de leur laisser l'arme qui leur a servi pendant la guerre et en leur permettant de rentrer chez eux sur leurs avions de combat, l'Union Soviétique leur a offert la plus haute récompense. »


("English translation : While rendering the pilots of Normandie-Nièmen the honor to keep their arms which served them during the war and allowing them to return to their homeland on their combat aircraft, the Soviet Union offered them the highest compensation.")

- Maréchal Novikov, Revue Icare n° 62, Spring-Summer 1972, p. 73.

When the number of Yak-3 was too small to constitute a combat unit, the Normandie-Nièmen used the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 built in France by the Germans. This caused a problem to certain pilots, who saw their brother in arms beaten down by Fw 190 of the Jagdgeschwader 51.

Great fame[edit]

The actions of this French unit with the Soviets against the Germans, even if it had a symbolic part, earned it great fame. Its combat accomplishments were so grand that the Escadrille rapidly gained much esteem among the Russians. The gesture has never been forgotten.

After the Second World War[edit]

F6F Hellcat of the II/6 in Indochina.
A Rafale adorning the colors of the 2/30.

After a posting at Bourget then Toussus-le-Noble, in 1947 the « Normandie-Niémen » Fighter Regiment was assigned to Rabat-Salé air base in Morocco. During the Indochina War (1949–1951), the regiment was stationed at Saigon. Then, the Regiment returned to North Africa, in Algeria. In 1953, the regiment was split in two: one of the two adopted the designation of Escadron de Chasse 2/6 Normandie-Niémen.

Following the dissolution of the 6e Escadre de Chasse, the Escadron was attached to the 30e Escadre de Chasse, and it became the Escadron de Chasse 2/30 Normandie-Niémen.

A Su-27 of the Russian Knights (French: Chevaliers Russes) at Air Base 112 (BA112).

The Escadron returned to France, at Orange (Vaucluse), on March 13, 1962. It moved to Reims – Champagne Air Base (BA 112) in June 1966, where the squadron remained for near 30 years, while being assigned to the 30e Escadre de Chasse. On September 18, 1992, EC 2/30 « Normandie-Niemen » celebrated its 50th Anniversary. The event included the visit of Sukhoi Su-27s of the Russian Knights aerobatic team and a delegation of military veterans of the former Soviet Union. It was organized by Pierre Joxe, Ministre de la Défense, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force.

On October 13, 1993, the Escadron was redesignated Escadron de Chasse 1/13 Normandie-Niémen. The later left then Reims to be based on Aerial Base 132 Colmar-Meyenheim (French: base aérienne 132) at Meyenheim, near Colmar (Alsace).

In 1994, the Escadron participated in Opération Turquoise in Rwanda, and Opération Crécerelle in Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 9 May 1995, the 50th anniversary of Victory Day, the 18th Guards Assault Aviation Regiment of the Russian Air Force ("Vitebsk twice Red Banner Order of Suvorov")(or 18-й гвардейский Витебский дважды Краснознаменный ордена Суворова второй степени истребительный полк ВВС России "Нормандия – Неман" – in Russian) was also awarded the title Normandiya-Neman.[17] The regiment was based at Galenki, Primorsky Krai, in the Russian Far East, as part of the 11th Air Army. It flies Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack aircraft.

On July 1, 1995, the Escadron was redesignated Escadron de Chasse 2/30 « Normandie-Niemen ».

In 1999, the later took part in Operation Allied Force (French: Opération Allied Force).

On October 10, 2007, Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy and Vladimir Putin inaugurated a monument, sculpted by Russian artist Andrey Kovalchuk, for the memory of the French Escadrille Normandie-Niemen at Moscow, in Lefortovo Park.

On July 3, 2009, the Escadron was officially placed in a dormant phase. The last aircraft lift off for Reims and Châteaudun mid-July. Since July 17, 2009, no aircraft was flying out of Aerial Base Colmar-Meyenheim. A part of the aircraft, pilots, and regimental colors of the regiment, joined the Aerial Base 11 « commandant Marin la Meslée ».[18]

Veterans of the Escadron participated the Armistice celebration of 1945 on Red Square, at Moscow on May 9, 2010.[19]

On August 25, 2011, the first Rafale with colors of the 2/30 Normandie-Niemen took off from Aerial Base 118 Mont-de-Marsan (French: base aérienne 118 colonel Constantin Rozanoff de Mont-de-Marsan). This fourth Escadron Rafale which was officially recreated on September 1, 2011 wouldn't be operational until starting June 25, 2012[20] (year which would mark the 70th Anniversary of the prestigious "Neu-Neu").[21] The later received the traditions of Escadrille SPA 91 (French: Escadrille SPA 91), Escadrille SPA 93 (French: Escadrille SPA 93), Escadrille SPA 97 (French: Escadrille SPA 97) which replaced the Escadrilles FAFL.[22]

From August 31, 2015 until September 18, 2015, fifteen Rafale of Escadron de Chasse 1/7 Provence (French: 1/7 Provence), of the 2/30 Normandie-Niemen and the Escadron de Chasse 1/91 Gascogne (French: 1/91 Gascogne) were deployed on Aerial Base 126 Solenzara (French: BA126 Solenzara) for a campaign of air-to-air fire.[23]

From April 13 to April 25, 2016, two Rafale of the 2/30 Normandie-Niémen and two Rafale from the Escadron de Chasse 1/7 Provence were deployed on the Aerial Base of the RAF within the cadre of the exercise Griffin Strike 2016.[24]

Official 70th Anniversary (1942-2012) along with 5 pilots on Rafale and Mirage F1 in an Air-to-Air formation alignment.

On June 9, 2017, the escadron celebrated its 75th anniversary.

Key personnel[edit]

Following the last casualties beginning February 1945, commandant Louis Delfino decided to reduce the regiment to two Escadrille: the 2nd and 3rd, commanded respectively by Captain de Saint-Marceaux and Captain Charles de La Salle.[25]

Other notable unit members included:

Normandie-Niemen flag (1943–1951)
  • Marcel Albert (25 November 1917 - 23 August 2010) - Leader of Squadron 1 of the Normandie-Niemen, awarded Hero of the Soviet Union, and the Order of Lenin
  • Marcel Lefevre (17 March 1918 - 5 June 1944) - Leader of Squadron 3 of the Normandy-Niemen, posthumously awarded Hero of the Soviet Union
  • Roland de la Poype (28 July 1920 - 23 October 2012) - Member of Squadron 1, awarded Hero of the Soviet Union
  • Joseph Risso (23 January 1920 - 24 November 2005) - Member of Squadron 1, awarded Order of the Red Banner. Plane: Yak-9T
  • Jacques Andre (25 February 1919 - 2 April 1988) - Lieutenant

Garrison stationing[edit]

Second World War[edit]

After the Second World War[edit]

Escadrilles[edit]

Badge SPA 93.

Since reactivation, in June 2012, there are 3 Escadrilles of the First World War which constitute the 2/30 instead of Escadrille Rouen, Le Havre and Cherboug:

  • SPA 91 Eagle with dead head;
  • SPA 92 Duck
  • SPA 97 Ermine fanion

Aircraft[edit]

  • Yakovlev UT-2
    Basic training aircraft, used for training between 1 and 18 December 1942.
    Polikarpov Po-2
    Initially Po-2s were used for training (between 1 and 18 December 1942), later were used for liaison and courier duties.
    Yakovlev Yak-7V
    Advanced training aircraft used for operational training between December 1942 and 25 January 1943. These aircraft were not owned by French unit.
    Yakovlev Yak-1b
    Fighter aircraft used between 19 January and 22 March for advanced and dogfight training, later used as fighter aircraft. Initially Normandie-Niemen received 6 aircraft, next 8 were sent in March 1943 and last 4 at the end of April 1943. Since June 1943 Yak-1bs were used for training of new pilots and remained in Normandie-Niemen till the end of that year.
    Yakovlev Yak-9D
    Fighter aircraft used for training in Tula between early June 1944 and late July 1944. Two Yak-9Ds were still used on 10 September 1944.along such type theirs receiving some examples of Yak-9T,tactical ground support variant in same period.
    Yakovlev Yak-3
    Main fighter aircraft of Normandie-Niemen used between end of July 1944 and May 1945. 37 Yak-3s were handed over to French Air Force and were used between June 1945 and April 1947.
    Yakovlev Yak-6
    Transport aircraft of Normandie-Niemen.

Fighters[edit]

Decorations[edit]

French decorations[edit]

Russian decorations[edit]

Cemetery[edit]

Funerary monuments, tombs of the Pilots and tombs of the unknown French soldiers of Normandie-Niémen are resting in the French Square (French: Carré français) of the Vvedenskoye Cemetery (French: Cimetière de la Présentation (Moscou)). The remains of six amongst them were repatriated to France in 1953.

Popular culture[edit]

The 1960 Franco-Russian film Normandie-Niémen directed by Jean Dréville and Damir Viatich-Berejnykh, relates the arrival in Russia of the first twenty pilots for intensive training and the formation of the squadron.

In the Yuri Bondarev 1970-1971 Liberation film dramatization of the course of the war from the Battle of Kursk to the Battle of Berlin, the Normandie-Niemen makes an appearance. Pierre Pouyade is portrayed by Italian actor Erno Bertoli.

Character Lieutenant Duroc (Patrick Chauvel) accounts his battles as Normandie-Niemen Free French fighter in Pierre Schoendoerffer's 1992 movie Dien Bien Phu.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The first was No. 151 Wing RAF – Nos. 81 and 134 RAF squadrons – which were stationed in Murmansk during September–October 1941. In Operation Orator (September 1942), a RAF-RAAF light bomber wing was stationed briefly at Vaenga.
  2. ^ Sean M. Mcateer, 500 Days: The War in Eastern Europe, 1944-1945, p.361
  3. ^ Yves Courrière, Normandie Niémen. Un temps pour la guerre, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1979, p.35 and Roland de la Poype, L'épopée du Normandie-Niémen, Paris, Éditions Perrin, 2011, p.100.
  4. ^ Yves Courrière, Normandie Niémen. Un temps pour la guerre, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1979, p.39
  5. ^ Yves Courrière, Normandie Niémen. Un temps pour la guerre, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1979, p.128.
  6. ^ Yves Courrière, Normandie Niémen. Un temps pour la guerre, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1979, p.64.
  7. ^ On special instruction of général De Gaulle, the French pilots chose the fighter aircraft which seemed the best and most suitable to the particular climatic conditions of the Soviet Union.
  8. ^ Marching Journal of Normandie-Niemen.
  9. ^ Selon Yves Courrière, 1979, le prix payé fut lourd : six morts en quatre jours pour 17 victoires homologues (casualty status was heavy : six fatalities in four days for 17 homologue victories).
  10. ^ Yves Courrière, 1979, p.199.
  11. ^ Yves Courrière, Normandie Niémen. Un temps pour la guerre, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1979, p.195-197.
  12. ^ Yves Courrière, Normandie Niémen. Un temps pour la guerre, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1979, p.364.
  13. ^ Selon Yves Courrière (1976), the decision of Staline could be interpreted in a different manner. It involves war arms in a marching state given to officers of the Air Force, and not to civilians.
  14. ^ "Normandie-Niémen : chronologie". Archived from the original on 2016-08-15. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  15. ^ "Colonel Delin : Normandie Niemen (pdf)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  16. ^ Bernole, Andre, and Glenn Barnett, "French Aces on the Eastern Front", WWII Quarterly, Fall 2011, pp. 16-25, 94.
  17. ^ "18th Guards Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment". www.ww2.dk. Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  18. ^ « Meyenheim : la fin du Normandie-Niemen et de l’aviation militaire en Alsace » L'Alsace, 4 juillet 2009 (en ligne[permanent dead link]).
  19. ^ Cf. Reportage sur Radio-France le même jour.
  20. ^ "25 juin, le retour du Normandie-Niémen". Archived from the original on 2018-01-03. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  21. ^ "Premier Rafale aux couleurs du Normandie-Niémen". Archived from the original on 2012-01-18. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  22. ^ Traditions des escadrilles de l'armée de l'air Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ defense.gouv.fr Archived 2018-06-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  24. ^ defense.gouv.fr Archived 2018-07-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ Roger Sauvage, Un du Normandie-Niemen, éditions J'ai lu Leur aventure, n° A23, Paris, 1971, page 301.
  26. ^ Mikoutani is a small Lithuanian village, situated hald-way between Vilnius and Lida in Belarus
  27. ^ Antonovo is located South-West of Kaunas.

Bibliography[edit]

  • French Eagles Soviet Heroes, John D. Clark, Sutton, 2005 ISBN 0-7509-4074-3
  • Yves Courrière, Normandie Niemen, Omnibus, 2004 ISBN 2-258-06171-7
  • Yves Courrière, Normandie Niémen. Un temps pour la guerre, Paris, Presses de la Cité, 1979, 414 p. (ISBN 2-258-00590-6)
  • François De Geoffre (photogr. collections privées des pilotes et Capitaine Eichenbaum), Normandie Niemen : Souvenirs d’un pilote (Souvenir of a Pilot), Paris, Editions André Bonne, 1958, 288 p., 19x14
  • Jean de Pange, De Koufra... au Normandie-Niemen 1940-1945, Metz, éditions Serpenoise, 2011, 345 p. (ISBN 978-2-87692-885-5)
  • Roland de la Poype, L'épopée du Normandie-Niémen, Paris, éditions Perrin, 2011, 268 p. (ISBN 978-2-262-03647-8)
  • Yves Donjon, Ceux du Normandie-Niemen (Those of Normandie-Niemen).
  • Serguei Dybov, Normandie-Niemen. L'histoire complète d'un régiment légendaire, Moscou (The complete history of a legendary regiment, Moscow), Éditions Yaouza, 2011, 320 p.
  • Christian-Jacques Ehrengardt, Normandie-Niemen, éditions Heimdal, 1989, 96 p. (ISBN 2-902-171-58-7)
  • Patrice Erler, L'ardente flamme, auto-édition, historique de 1942 à 2002.
  • Constantin Feldzer, On y va !, Boulogne, Axis, 1987, 482 p. (ISBN 2-905 814-03-9)
  • Antoine Fouchet, « Normandie-Niemen enfin à l'honneur », La Croix, 7 octobre 2006 (en ligne [archive]).
  • Maryvonne et René Gaudart, Pilotes du Normandie-Niemen (Pilots of Normandie-Niemen), d'après le journal de Roger Penverne dans l'Armée rouge (Based on the Journal of Roger Penverne in the Red Army), Éditions JPO, 2016, 500 p.
  • Histoire de l'escadrille Normadie Niemen en U.R.S.S. Journal de marche (22 mars 1942 - 20 juin 1945), Paris, Office français d'édition, 1946, 203 p.
  • Icare N° 62 Revue de l'aviation française, Normandie Niémen. Tome I: Ce que voulait De Gaulle, l'entraînement à Ivanovo, les premiers disparus, Paris, printemps-eté 1972, 221 p.
  • Icare N° 63 Revue de l'aviation française, Normandie Niémen. Tome II: La bataille d'Orel, les mécaniciens, retour à Toula, Paris, automne-hiver 1972, 227 p.
  • Icare N° 64 Revue de l'aviation française, Normandie Niémen. Tome III: La Campagne 1944, les mécaniciens soviétiques, la visite du général de Gaulle, Paris, hiver-printemps 1973, 221 p.
  • Icare N° 65 Revue de l'aviation française, Normandie Niémen. Tome IV: La Campagne 1944, la Biélorussie, la bataille du Niémen, Paris, printemps 1973, 175 p.
  • Icare N° 67 Revue de l'aviation française, Normandie Niémen. Tome V: La Campagne 1945 en Prusse Orientale, Paris, hiver-printemps 1974, 137 p.
  • Icare N° 70 Revue de l'aviation française, Normandie Niémen. Tome VI: La Victoire, le retour en France, Paris, automne-hiver 1974, 163 p.
  • Claude-Henry Leconte, André Moynet, Pilote de combat, Paris, éditions de la pensée moderne, 1955, 222 p
  • Roger Sauvage, Un du Normandie-Niemen, éditions J'ai lu Leur aventure, no A23, Paris, 1971, 372pp. ISBN B0000DOP3V
  • Alain Vezin, Régiment de Chasse Normandie Niemen, Éditions ETAI, 2009, 208 p. (ISBN 978-2-7268-8888-9).

Further reading[edit]

  • Normandie Niemen, Yves Courrière, Omnibus, 2004 ISBN 2-258-06171-7
  • Un du Normandie-Niemen, Roger Sauvage, Poche, 1971 ISBN B0000DOP3V
  • French Eagles Soviet Heroes, John D. Clark, Sutton, 2005 ISBN 0-7509-4074-3
  • Serguei Dybov Normandie-Niemen. L'histoire complète d'un régiment légendaire, éditions Yaouza, Moscou, 2011, 320 p.

External links[edit]