Published on
September 30, 2011
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Dominique Breffort and André Breffort
Other Publication Information
Softcover, 160 pages, 9” x 11 ¾”, 239 b&w photos, 385 color profiles
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site

If you have an interest in French military aircraft in service at the onset of WW II but have no reference books on the subject, this book is a must. If you have an interest in the subject and have reference books, you will probably want this book, too. This work covers France’s combat aircraft – fighters, bombers, reconnaissance and observation types – that were in service with the Armée de l’Air from 1939 until 1942. The FORWARD sets the stage and explains the purpose of the book by stating, “It is a general overview of the machines, either made in France or bought abroad and used by the Armée de l’Air between September 1939, when the Second World War started, and November 1942 when French military aviation which the Armistice convention had finally authorized to continue was disbanded.”

This is a big book, at 9” x 11 ¾”, one of the largest perfect-bound soft cover books I have seen. The 160-page work begins with a brief but adequately informative 4-page history reviewing the events that occurred from the beginning of the Armée de l’Air to the dissolution of the Vichy Air Force. The book then describes the development of camouflage and markings during the timeframe covered. Following that, there are seven pages of full color art illustrating 169 squadron badges and emblems, and a full color map showing the locations of fighter, reconnaissance, and observation group bases on May 10, 1940. The rest of the book’s contents is organized alphabetically to address each service aircraft in text, period photos, and full-color profiles…and then concludes with seven pages of “Those that never were…” – sixteen French military prototypes that never reached production.

Beginning with the Amiot 143, each aircraft type is covered in text, numerous black-and-white photos, one color photo, and a wealth of full-color profiles. These include aircraft types from the ANF-Les Mureaux, Arsenal, Blériot-Spad, Bloch, Breguet, Caudron, Curtiss, Dewoitine, Douglas, Farman, Glenn Martin, Koolhoven, Lioré & Olivier, Morane Saulnier, and Potez.

All of the 239 period photos are of remarkably high quality and contribute much to the value of the book. André Breffort’s 385 color profiles present believable representations of a number of color schemes for each aircraft type and are accompanied by individual historical captions. The text is a translation from an original French edition and does include a few misspellings and transposed words that tend to amuse rather than distract from the otherwise valuable information presented.

This is a much-appreciated addition to my book collection and will serve as a great reference for future model-building projects. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in this important era of aviation history.

My thanks to Casemate Publishers and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this fine publication.


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