by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Unit histories require special efforts that all enthusiasts, historians can benefit from. But most donít have the resources to bring a manuscript to completion. I found out early on that the hurdles that need to be overcome require the efforts of one dedicated individual with contacts that span multiple avenues. Having written several unit histories myself, I can speak from experience.
Aeronautís newest release is ďGrim ReapersĒ by Mr. Jon Guttman. Well known and highly respected in the area of allied research concerning WWI aviation and has served as contributor & editor in many fine news stand magazines and publications on history in general. His list of published works numbers in the hundreds. Truly he is a champion of the genre.
Aeronautís publishing team has many of the usual suspects. There are Messers Jack Herris, Aaron Weaver, Steve Anderson, Frank W. Bailey, Mike OíNeal, Alan Toelle, Rick Duiven and many others contributing to the overall work. Uniquely the author includes text and images from the former members of Escadrille 94. In his youth he person ally interviewed some of the men he profiles here. You will follow Esc. 94 from its formation in 14 May 1917 to its deactivation in 1919 and even to post war information on some of its pilots. Rosters, flight log book, color section and a detailed bibliography are a few of the many high points you will find between these pages. The text consists of daily actives, individual insights and combat reports. The photographs presented are large format and very finely reproduced. Each chapter includes descriptions of the aircraft and the markings used during that period. The French aviation service as a matter of operations policy would regularly take a unit with some veteran experience, split it in half and create new squadron(s). Fortunately there are well chronicled. Another facet of this manuscript is that the author accurately reconciles Escadrille 94 victories and losses with the enemy victories and losses.
One such diamond is on page 62 of USAS 1st Lt. David Endicott Putnam (who flew with Esc. 94) is standing buy a dark colored Spad. For years many people thought he flew a red Spad XIII while in the 139th Aero. But most of us knew that he had flown with the French and was a close associate of Capt. Felix Madon (Esc. 38) who flew red colored aircraft for most of his career. The Spad was of course Madonís. The image was taken between June 8 -14, 1918. Enthusiastically, I can recommend this book for all readers of the genre. It will benefit anyone who picks it up and spends some time between its pages.
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