The Polish and French Air Forces have been close since their inceptions 100-odd years ago. Founded in 1918, the Polish Air Force was first equipped with captured German and Austrian aircraft, but these were quickly replaced with aircraft from the Western Allies, mainly France. These aircraft were replaced by indigenous Polish designs beginning in the 1930s. After the success of the German Blitzkrieg in 1939, many air and ground crews fled, some to the South through Hungary and Romania, and others to the West, first in France, then in the UK. This book tells the story of the French contingent during the Spring and Summer of 1940.
416 pages, 772 photographs, hardcover. Written by Bartołomiej Belcraz, this is a large coffee-table sized book. It is extensively illustrated with multiple B&W photos on nearly every page, and accompanied by 81 full colour profiles. I lament the fact that my French was barely sufficient to the task of reading this book. Non-French speakers would be well advised to accompany it with a good translation dictionary in their native language in order to get the most of it. Native French speakers will find it a very dense and thorough history. The photos, maps and tables accompanying the text need little translation, and serve as an excellent accompaniment.
The book begins with a short history of the Polish Air Force from its inception in 1918 through the 1930s, with close attention paid to the French influences in its organisation and equipment.
The next section concerns the background of the Polish Air Force in exile, diplomatic conferences in France and the UK, the collection of the pilots and ground crews who had fled to Hungary, Romania and the Balkans in France and their subsequent dispersal into the French Air Force.
The largest and most thorough section of the book details the employment of Polish air and ground crews in each French Air Force unit to which they were posted. Each fighter, bomber and reconnaissance unit's history during the Fall of France is examined through the perspective of the Polish crews posted to it.
The last portion of this section covers the evacuation to the UK of every possible airman, many of whom were to go on to great fame during the Battle of Britain and the remainder of the War.
The book finishes with 10 appendices, a very thorough bibliography and the aforementioned colour profiles.
This ought to make certain Heller kits popular once more.
The book is available for purchase directly from the Artipresse website
. Interested buyers may also purchase it though the FRROM website
. Click "Contact" to e-mail FRROM directly with your purchase request.
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