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German aircraft factory in France?

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  • German aircraft factory in France?

    I am currently reading The Mighty Eighth by Gerald Astor and read of an account of a bombing raid on the aircraft factory in Meaulte, France. There is not much description of the raid and I can't help but wonder why the Germans would use a factory so close to enemy bombers. I'm thinking the raid might have been to make sure they did not.

    Anyone know about this factory and its wartime use?
    John

    Play La Marseillaise. Play it!

  • #2
    The Germans used a number of French aircraft factories to build German aircraft or aircraft components.

    For instance, this is the Ju 488 prototype being assembled in the Latécoère factory in France:

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    • #3
      Of course the Germans used the factory because it was already there - it had produced Potez models. And it was repeatedly bombed by the Allies during the war:

      RAF bombing of the Potez plant of Méaulte in 1941
      Michele

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      • #4
        And some continued building German aircraft after the war - often giving them a French name . Thus for example production of the Arado 396 continued as the S.I.P.A S12 with s S.N.E.C.M.A. engine and the Fiesler Storch as the Morane Sauliner MS500 with a French radial engine continued in France. MS 500s were used on active service in Algeria. Limited production also continued during the war of some French types which were used by the Luftwaffe for training and second line duties. The French aviation industry also produced components for German aircraft factories.
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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        • #5
          https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/II/AAF-II-7.html

          https://8thafhs.org/combat1942.htm

          Paul
          ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
          All human ills he can subdue,
          Or with a bauble or medal
          Can win mans heart for you;
          And many a blessing know to stew
          To make a megloamaniac bright;
          Give honour to the dainty Corse,
          The Pixie is a little shite.

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          • #6
            The Storch in French naval service in the form of the MS 500.
            http://img.kazeo.com/227/2272609/XL/ms-500-criquet.jpg
            In Algeria MS 500s were used for target marking for strike aircraft. It was apparently a hazardous duty due to ground fire. IIRC one was flown by the WW2 French fighter ace Pierre Closterman

            During the war one of the most important , if unglamorous, tasks of the Resistance was keeping the Allies informed of arms production for Germany in French factories . This would be used as part of the targeting process for Allied bombing.
            Last edited by MarkV; 07 Jan 16, 04:20.
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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            • #7
              In November 1941 under instructions from Milch German aircraft companies began off loading work onto French factories. All the major German aircraft factories established design offices in France and hired every French aircraft designer they could find. Work on long term projects and post war civilian aircraft was shifted to France to allow German offices to concentrate on intermediate wartime concerns. At the same time production of 2nd line, training and some combat aircraft deemed to be of lesser importance was contracted out to French firms. The Me 108, Fiesler Storch and the FW 189 were all shifted to France. This was to allow German plants to concentrate on front line fighters and bombers. FW contracted out large amounts of component production for the FW 190 to French plants and it would appear that Potez was one given major contracts.
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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              • #8
                French industrial collaboration is a very murky topic and one that is very under-researched. French factories worked on German contracts and produced a wide variety of war materials for the Wehrmacht. Being that France was occupied and that the population still needed to work in order to earn a living it isn't surprising.
                Gnome-Rhone being a good example for supplying the luftwaffe with thousands of engines and keeping their factories solvent during occupation:
                http://www.wehrmacht-history.com/man...nufacturer.htm
                "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics"
                -Omar Bradley
                "Not everyone who studies logistics is a professional logistician, and there is no way to understand when you don't know what you don't know."
                -Anonymous US Army logistician

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Javaman View Post
                  French industrial collaboration is a very murky topic and one that is very under-researched. ]
                  Arming the Luftwaffe: The German Aviation Industry in World War II
                  By Daniel Uziel has a fair bit on this.
                  Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                  Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                  • #10
                    The French aircraft industry produced a total of 11,219 aircraft for Germany between 1940 and 1944. 6,162 were French types and 5,057 German types. A further 1,237 aircraft, all French types were produced for the French themselves.
                    The principal German types manufactured in France and delivered to the Germans were Ar 196, Ar 199, Bf 108, Do 24T, Fi 156 (783 of these), Fw 189, Ju 52 (602 of these) and the Si 204.
                    Numbers from Vajda and Dancey et alter.

                    As well as axis partners some other national aircraft industries had no alternative but to build for the Germans. Holland's Fokker works being a case in point. The biggest contribution from Fokker was 702 Bu 181s. Seven Fokker employees were sentenced to death for sabotage and six of these were executed.

                    The Russians destroyed their aircraft plants prior to capture by the Germans (major factories at Kharkov, Kiev and Rostov, later those at Stalingrad and Voronezh for example). The Germans had to establish their own 'Frontreparaturbetrieb' (like Deutsche-Lufthansa at Kirovograd or Junkers at Taganrog) to repair and salvage their aircraft damaged in the east, and there were a lot of them.

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                    • #11
                      I understand the need for aircraft and using existing resources, but so close to England? How did they survive?
                      John

                      Play La Marseillaise. Play it!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JBark View Post
                        I understand the need for aircraft and using existing resources, but so close to England? How did they survive?
                        By hiding in the shelters when the British bombed...

                        Unfortunately, night bombing was not accurate, but Paris wasn't subjected to the intense bombing that the German factories were. The numbers produced were considerably below those possible if the factory had been operating at maximum capacity. Our French associates will now correct this statement.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                          By hiding in the shelters when the British bombed...

                          Unfortunately, night bombing was not accurate, but Paris wasn't subjected to the intense bombing that the German factories were. The numbers produced were considerably below those possible if the factory had been operating at maximum capacity. Our French associates will now correct this statement.
                          The Factory isn't in Paris but just outside Albert on the Somme. Its still there and still operating.
                          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                          • #14
                            Somewhere over 30% of French industrial production (the figure varies from source to source) was for the direct benefit of Germany by 1941. The RAF did go after French industrial targets, but even given the shorter range finding and hitting them at night proved difficult. Coningham, then commanding 4 Group, so presciently foresaw in early 1940 "a never ending struggle to circumvent the law that we cannot see in the dark."

                            According to the USSBS 20.6% of bombs dropped by the Anglo-American air forces were dropped on France. The figure is exceeded only by Germany itself (51.1%)

                            The RAF dropped 305,872 tons on France, the USAAF 263,620 tons, for a total of 569,493 tons.
                            Last edited by ruspren; 12 Jan 16, 10:32.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ruspren View Post
                              The French aircraft industry produced a total of 11,219 aircraft for Germany between 1940 and 1944. 6,162 were French types and 5,057 German types. A further 1,237 aircraft, all French types were produced for the French themselves.
                              The principal German types manufactured in France and delivered to the Germans were Ar 196, Ar 199, Bf 108, Do 24T, Fi 156 (783 of these), Fw 189, Ju 52 (602 of these) and the Si 204.
                              Numbers from Vajda and Dancey et alter.

                              As well as axis partners some other national aircraft industries had no alternative but to build for the Germans. Holland's Fokker works being a case in point. The biggest contribution from Fokker was 702 Bu 181s. Seven Fokker employees were sentenced to death for sabotage and six of these were executed.

                              The Russians destroyed their aircraft plants prior to capture by the Germans (major factories at Kharkov, Kiev and Rostov, later those at Stalingrad and Voronezh for example). The Germans had to establish their own 'Frontreparaturbetrieb' (like Deutsche-Lufthansa at Kirovograd or Junkers at Taganrog) to repair and salvage their aircraft damaged in the east, and there were a lot of them.
                              I have lower figures for France :2064 French types and 2078 German types .

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