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  • French "Normandie-Neman" Fighter Regiment

    It is a copy from another part of the forum.



    http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0141666/
    Нормандия-Неман (Normandie – Niémen) (1960)
    ("Normandy- Neman") - This movie describes the actions of the very famous in USSR French fighter squadron (later - the regiment) "Normandy" which fought in the Soviet-German front under Soviet command. Four French pilots became Heroes of Soviet Union. I saw an interview with one of them when the former pilot said that the movie is very exact.

    I myself looked the movie and I liked it very much.

    "Normandie-Neman" was very famous in USSR (during WWII and later - I myself remember the 80th). There is an episode in the epic Soviet movie "Liberation" where the pilots of "Normandie" are shown.

    Also look this:

    http://war-forums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15697

  • #2
    I recall the episode from the movie "Normandie-Neman".

    The French pilots had Russian technicians. Once "Normandie" transfered from one airfield to another. And the technicians were carrying by planes, they were placed in an empty place inside of the fuselage. It was a usual practice in Soviet Air Forces.

    And one pilot was attacked by the Germans and was wounded. The commanders of "Normandie" were in the airfield when they saw the damaged plane which tried to land. But the French pilot was wounded in the head, his blood covered his eyes and he didn't see anything. But he kne that if he beles out so his Russian technician will crash together with the plane. The Russian technician couldn't to get out from the plane while the plane was in air.

    And the French pilot spoke in radio: "Say me direction and height! Say me direction and height!" He wanted to land blindly according the guidance from the land. An officer began to guide him: "Go down! To the left! To the left! To the left! Incorrect, go up, go up!" The pilot tried to land a few times but he was wounded and couldn't follow correctly after the commands from the land so he had to go up each time for preventing of wreckage. All the pilots and technicians looked in the air. What to do?

    In the end Tiulian, the French commander, took microphone and said: "You are not able to land, bale out! You have no other choice!" Everyone understood that in this case the Russian techician will die during the wreckage of the plane which will fall down without a pilot. And the pilot understood it but he couldn't abandon his Russian technician. And the pilot spoke again and again: "Say me direction and height! Say me direction and height!"

    In the end he couldn't land and the plane crashed. Both the pilot and the technician died.

    It was an episode from the movie.

    A few months ago Russian TV showed the interview with De La Puap, a French pilot of "Normandie", a Hero of Soviet Union. It was made in 2004.

    And Russian journalist asked De La Puap about that case:

    "Was it true or it was only the fiction of moviemakers?"

    De La Puap answered:

    "It was true. Situation was absolutely real, the French pilot died trying to save the life of his Russian technician".

    De La Puap called the name of the pilot but I didn't remember that name...

    And De La Puap said that the movie is very exact.

    Comment


    • #3
      And I remember another episode from the movie.

      There was an unlucky pilot. He couldn't get victory again and again. His comrades reported about their victories again and again but he didn't.

      And once he run into the headquarters and shouted: "I shot a "Messer" [Bf-109]"

      But later it became known that it was a mistake and it was a horrific mistake - he shot down the Soviet fighter. The Soviet fighter didn't defend, he tried to show that it was a friendly plane by some means but the French pilot wanted to shoot down an enemy fighter very much and didn't draw attention on it.

      The French pilot was very upset. Moreover, it turned out that he shot down the Soviet pilot who often visited "Normandie" and who was well known to the French pilots.

      Later, from time to time "Normandie" stood in a formation and the Soviet officers solemnly awarded some the French pilots. And each time that French pilot stood in an alignment with "dropped" head and looked how his comrades were getting the Soviet awards. He often spoke: "I shot down a Russian plane and the Russians remember it."

      He continued to fight and got his victories but in any awarding ceremony he had no hope to be awarded.

      But suddenly in one awarding ceremony he heard his name. The Soviet officer called his to go out from an alignment and to get an award. He was amazed: "It is impossible, I shot down a Russian plane". But it was true, he was awarded by a Soviet award.

      I saw the movie many years ago so I can make some mistakes in my description so I do not remember what award the French pilot got (may be, he became a Hero of Soviet Union).

      Comment


      • #4
        Once in the summer of 1943 a French pilot saved a Soviet pilot.

        Once Nikolai Pinchuk, a pilot of 18th Guards FAR, shot down a German bomber and made a ram attack against another. Then he baled out. But he saw that two German "FW-190" began to approach to him, it looked like they wanted to shoot the Soviet pilot who was slowly going down with parachute. When the Germans approched closer Pinchuk decided that only a miracle is able to save him.

        But Pinchuk was saved by Albert Duran, a pilot of "Normandie". Duran saw what is happening and rushed to the point between Pinchuk and the German planes. The German planes forgot about Pinchuk and attacked the plane of Duran.

        In the result of a combat in steep turns the German planes went out from the combat and flew away.

        Lieutenant Pinchuk landed successfully in the Soviet territory.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Andrey
          I recall the episode from the movie "Normandie-Neman".

          The French pilots had Russian technicians. Once "Normandie" transfered from one airfield to another. And the technicians were carrying by planes, they were placed in an empty place inside of the fuselage. It was a usual practice in Soviet Air Forces.

          And one pilot was attacked by the Germans and was wounded. The commanders of "Normandie" were in the airfield when they saw the damaged plane which tried to land. But the French pilot was wounded in the head, his blood covered his eyes and he didn't see anything. But he kne that if he beles out so his Russian technician will crash together with the plane. The Russian technician couldn't to get out from the plane while the plane was in air.

          And the French pilot spoke in radio: "Say me direction and height! Say me direction and height!" He wanted to land blindly according the guidance from the land. An officer began to guide him: "Go down! To the left! To the left! To the left! Incorrect, go up, go up!" The pilot tried to land a few times but he was wounded and couldn't follow correctly after the commands from the land so he had to go up each time for preventing of wreckage. All the pilots and technicians looked in the air. What to do?

          In the end Tiulian, the French commander, took microphone and said: "You are not able to land, bale out! You have no other choice!" Everyone understood that in this case the Russian techician will die during the wreckage of the plane which will fall down without a pilot. And the pilot understood it but he couldn't abandon his Russian technician. And the pilot spoke again and again: "Say me direction and height! Say me direction and height!"

          In the end he couldn't land and the plane crashed. Both the pilot and the technician died.

          It was an episode from the movie.

          A few months ago Russian TV showed the interview with De La Puap, a French pilot of "Normandie", a Hero of Soviet Union. It was made in 2004.

          And Russian journalist asked De La Puap about that case:

          "Was it true or it was only the fiction of moviemakers?"

          De La Puap answered:

          "It was true. Situation was absolutely real, the French pilot died trying to save the life of his Russian technician".

          De La Puap called the name of the pilot but I didn't remember that name...

          And De La Puap said that the movie is very exact.
          That French pilot was Captain Maurice De Seynes.

          He refused to bale out from the damaged plane, where was a Russian technician without parachute, on July, 15th of 1944 over the airfield of Dubrovka...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Andrey
            And I remember another episode from the movie.

            There was an unlucky pilot. He couldn't get victory again and again. His comrades reported about their victories again and again but he didn't.

            And once he run into the headquarters and shouted: "I shot a "Messer" [Bf-109]"

            But later it became known that it was a mistake and it was a horrific mistake - he shot down the Soviet fighter. The Soviet fighter didn't defend, he tried to show that it was a friendly plane by some means but the French pilot wanted to shoot down an enemy fighter very much and didn't draw attention on it.

            The French pilot was very upset. Moreover, it turned out that he shot down the Soviet pilot who often visited "Normandie" and who was well known to the French pilots.

            Later, from time to time "Normandie" stood in a formation and the Soviet officers solemnly awarded some the French pilots. And each time that French pilot stood in an alignment with "dropped" head and looked how his comrades were getting the Soviet awards. He often spoke: "I shot down a Russian plane and the Russians remember it."

            He continued to fight and got his victories but in any awarding ceremony he had no hope to be awarded.

            But suddenly in one awarding ceremony he heard his name. The Soviet officer called his to go out from an alignment and to get an award. He was amazed: "It is impossible, I shot down a Russian plane". But it was true, he was awarded by a Soviet award.

            I saw the movie many years ago so I can make some mistakes in my description so I do not remember what award the French pilot got (may be, he became a Hero of Soviet Union).
            It was Maurice Challe.

            On June, 8th of 1944 two Soviet "Yaks" of 18th Guards FAR took off for interception of two German "Fw-190" which flew with recon mission over the Soviet ground troops. The German planes saw the appropaching Soviet fighters and run away. The Soviet planes began to return home. In the same time 4 "Yaks" of "Normandie" took off with the same mission. They flew in the direction of the German planes where 2 Soviet fighters had flew some time before.

            Suddenly Maurice Challe, one of the French pilots, saw 2 fighters which flew to him from the direction of sun. He made a frontal attack of one of them. Usually it is difficult to hit an enemy plane from a frontal attack but now Maurice Challe hitted the target. Maurice Challe drew attention neither on the strange behavior of hitted plane nor on the well-known silhoete of a "Yak"-fighter and attacked it again. Soviet pilot Arkhipov was pilot of that Soviet "Yak"...

            Maurice Challe was very upset...

            To the end of the war Maurice Challe shot down 10 German planes and was awarded by three Soviet orders: by an Order of the Red Banner and by two Orders of the Patriotic War (of 2nd and 1st Class).

            Comment


            • #7
              I want to add that the French pilots fought very well.

              I read in a western book that "Normandie" was practically destroyed.

              In reality the French pilots sometimes suffred losses especially in 1943 but usually they shot down more enemy planes then they lost.

              Here is the part from the memoirs of De Geoffre:

              "In the airfield of Antonovo our regiment had the most intensive combats... From September, 19th to October, 27 of 1944 we flew sorties without stoppings. Our results were so good that no one fighter group all over the world had the same results for so a short period of time....

              On October, 16th the large offensive began. In 14 o'clock the third squadron flew the first mission in that offensive and shot down a "messer" ["Bf-109"] and a "focke-wolfe" ["FW-190"]. It was the first success in the especially glorious days of "Normandie". We had constant aierial combats for 7 days! We flew only 10 minutes after taking off and the aerial combat began. Now all the pilots of "Normandie" had victories. The amount ofout victories increased and increased. The digits speak themselves about our successes. October, 16th - the regiment made 100 sorties, shot down 30 enemy planes and didn't lost any our plane! It was an amazed success. October, 17th - the regiment made 107 sorties and shot down 12 enemy planes.
              ...
              October, 18th - we shot down 12 enemy planes, including 5 "heinkeles" [He]. One of the was shot down by me. October, 20th [19th???] - 71 sorties, 11 enemy planes. Totally for 4 days of the offensive we put out of an action more 70 enemy planes. In that day Emone was shot down, he broke his leg and landed in enemy territory. But he was saved by a Russian tank who carried out him from an enemy territory.
              ...
              Our holiday didn't finish yet! October, 22nd - we shot down 13 "focke-wolves" ["FW-190"]. Ocober, 23rd - we shot down 8 "focke-wolves" and 1 "mesershmitt" ["Bf-109"]. The sorties do not finish. But our pilots are exchausted.

              For 7 days we had 107 victories! Our regiment was mentioned in the order of the Supreme Command-In-Chief [Stalin] for this success! There is and my part in this success - I shot down a Ju-88, a He-126, and a Bf-109..."

              If to speak about the casualties of "Normandie" for that period...

              In the memoirs of De Geoffre are mentioned only two such cases:
              October, 18th - Emone - broke his leg but survived,
              October, 27th - Cuffaut - baled out and was not even wounded.

              Comment


              • #8
                Here is the translation of info from a Russian site
                http://aces.boom.ru/france/normand.htm

                The history of the 1st Separate Fighter Air Regiment “Normandie-Nemane” of the “Fighting France” began on December, 4th of 1942, when the squadron “Normandie”, containing 15 pilots, was formed a part of the Soviet Air Forces (the French pilots already had 19 victories that were achieved in France, Britain, Mediterranean Sea region and so on).

                On March, 22nd of 1943 the squadron “Normandie” was formed a part of the 204th Bomber Air Division and operated together with the Soviet Pe-2 bombers.

                From April, 16th of 1943 till the end of the war “Normandie” was included in 303th Fighter Air Division of Major General G.N. Zakharov. In April, 16th “Normandie” contained 11 pilots.

                All the air combats of “Normandie” were made in Yak-fighters. Firstly the pilots of “Normandie” fought on Yak-1B, then they flew on Yak-9 and in the end of the war they flew on brand new Yak-3.

                In August of 1943 the squadron got new replacement and was reformed in a separate air regiment. From April, 1st to September, 4th of 1943 the pilots of “Normandie” achieved 75 confirmed and 4 probable victories and destroyed 14 enemy planes on a ground. For that period “Normandie” lost 17 pilots – a half of its staff.

                To the summer of 1944 the regiment got new replacement and new planes - Yak-9 – and contained 61 pilots and 55 planes.

                The French pilots went a large military path together with the Soviet pilots and made many combats together with them. The military path of “Normandie” began in the region of Moscow and finished in Eastern Prussia. “Normandie” took part in the liberation of Orel, Bryansk, Smolensk, Byelorussia, Lithonia, in the capturing of Gumbinnen, Instenburg, Kenigsburg, Pillau.

                “Normandie” got honourable name “Normandie-Nemane” for its successful combats and reliable covering of ground troops during the crossing of the river of Nemane in August of 1944.

                In the winter of 1945 the pilots of “Normandie” took part in the intensive combats for Kenigsburg. In that time the regiment already flew on brand new Yak-3.

                To the end of the war 96 pilots of the regiment flew 5240 sorties, had 869 air combats, shot down 268 enemy planes (according the digits from the archives of headquarters of 303th FAD and 273 according the data of the French Commission of Air Forces) and damaged 80 enemy planes.

                Only three pilots of the first 15-pilots group survived: Marcel Albert, Roland de la Poype and Joseph Risso. Totally the regiment lost 42 pilots: 35 were lost in air combats and 7 - not in combats. The names of all the lost pilots of “Normandie” are stamped by gold in the memorial board which is placed on the wall of the house #29 on Kropotkinskaya Naberezhnaya Street in Moscow where the French Military Mission placed during the war.

                The Air Regiment “Normandie“ was awarded for its feats of arms by different awards: the Soviet government awarded it by an Order of Red Banner and an Order of Alexander Nevskiy, the French government awarded it by Order of Honorary Legion, a Cross of War with six palms, a Cross of Liberation and a Military Medal.

                83 French pilots were awarded by many Soviet orders and medals. 4 of them became Heroes of Soviet Union: Marcel Lefevre (4.06.1945), Marcel Albert (27.11.1944), Roland de la Poype (27.11.1944) and Jacques Andre (4.06.1945).

                On June, 15th of 1945 the regiment took off from the airfield of Elbing on their planes, which were presented by the Soviet government, and flew in thedirection of Paris… One of the Yak-3 on which the pilots of “Normandie” fought is placed now in the [French] National Museum of Aircraft in La-Burge.


                (from jlbetin:
                The Museum of Air and Space it exactly at "Le Bourget" 7 km far from Paris between Paris and Roissy Charles De Gaulle airport.

                For memory it is at Le bourget that is there that the great Military Air Show and great airplanes trade occurs)
                Last edited by Andrey; 04 May 05, 02:17.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here is data about many of French pilots of "Normandia".

                  EACH link contains the description (in Russian), the full list of victories (date, place, type of plane) and at least one photo!!!

                  Example:
                  4. Roland de la Poype 16(7+9)+1n/c
                  16 - the amount of victories
                  inc 7 - personal victories
                  9 - group victories
                  1 n/c - 1 non-confirmed victory


                  List:

                  1. Marcel Albert 23(7+15) (inc. 2 in France)
                  Hero of Soviet Union
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/albert1.htm

                  2. Louis Delfino 16(5+11) (inc. victories in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/delfino.htm

                  3. Jacques Andre 16(12+4) (inc. 1 in France)
                  Hero of Soviet Union
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/andre.htm

                  4. Roland de la Poype 16(7+9)+1n/c (inc. 1 in Britain)
                  Hero of Soviet Union
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/poype.htm

                  5. Roger Sauvage 16(13+3)+1n/c (inc. 2 in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/sauvage.htm

                  6. Albert Littolf 14(6+8)+1n/c (inc. 10 in France and Britain)
                  was killed 16.07.1943
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/littolf.htm

                  7. Maurice Bon 13(9+4) (inc. 7 in France)
                  was killed 13.10.1943
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/bon.htm

                  8. Marcel Perrin 13(7+6)+2n/c
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/perrin.htm

                  9. Georges Lemare 13(7+6)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/lemare.htm

                  10. Roger Marchi 13(6+7)?
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/marchi.htm


                  11. Leon Cuffaut 13(5+8)+4n/c (inc. victories in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/cuffaut.htm

                  12. Marcel Lefevre 11(8+3)
                  died from wounds on 5.06.1944
                  Hero of Soviet Union
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/lefivre.htm

                  13. Joseph Risso 11(6+5)+4n/c
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/risso.htm

                  14. Francois de Geoffre 11(?)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/geoffre.htm

                  15. Albert Durand 10(8+2) (inc. 4 in France)
                  was killed 1.09.1943
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/durand.htm

                  16. Louis Castin 10(6+4)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/castin.htm

                  17. Maurice Challe 10 (5+5)+1n/c
                  was killed 27.03.1945
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/challe_m.htm

                  18. Rene Challe 9(8+1) (inc. 2 in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/challe_r.htm

                  19. Reni Martin 9(7+2?) (inc. 2 in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/martin.htm

                  20. Yves Carbon 9(7+2) (inc. 2 in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/carbon.htm

                  21. Pierre Matras 9(4+5) (inc. 1 in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/matras.htm

                  22. Yves Mourier 9(3+6) (inc. 5 in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/mourier.htm

                  23. Andre Moynet 8(6+2)+5n/c (inc. 3 in Britain)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/moynet.htm

                  24. Pierre Lorrillon 8(5+3)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/lorillon.htm

                  25. Henri Foucaud 8(4+4)+1n/c
                  was killed 21.04.1944
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/foucaud.htm

                  26. Maurice Amarger 8(4+4)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/amarger.htm

                  27. Pierre Pouyade 6(2+4)+2n/c (inc. 1 in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/pouyade.htm

                  28. Robert Iribarne 7(4+3)
                  was killed 11.02.1945
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/iribarne.htm

                  29. Pierre Blyton 7(4+3)
                  was shot down 20.02.1945
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/blyton.htm

                  30. Pierre Dechanet 7(4+3) (inc. 1 in France)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/dechanet.htm

                  31. Noel Castelain 7(4+3) (inc. 1 in Britain)
                  was killed 16.07.1943
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/castelin.htm

                  32. Gabriel Mertzisen 7(3+4) (inc. victories in Syria)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/mertzisn.htm

                  33. Marc Charras 7(2+5)+1n/c
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/charras.htm

                  34. Didier Beguin 7(2+5)
                  was killed 29.11.1944
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/beguin.htm

                  35. Charles Miquel 6(4+2)+1n/c
                  was killed 16.01.1945
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/miquel.htm

                  36. Gael Taburet 6(2+4)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/taburet.htm

                  37. Jean-Jacques Manceau 6(1+5)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/manceau.htm

                  38. Lion Ougloff 6(1+4)+1n/c
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/ougloff.htm

                  39. Georges Henry 5(2+3)
                  died from wounds on 14.04.1945
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/henry.htm

                  40. Jean-Louis Tulasne 3(?)
                  was killed 17.07.1943
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/tulasne.htm

                  41. Jacques Saint-Phalle 3(?)
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/j_phalle.htm

                  42. Maurice De Seynes (?)
                  crashed 15.07.1944
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/seynes.htm


                  43. Jean De Pange ?
                  44. Robert Delin ?
                  45. Charles La Salle ?
                  46. Constantin Feldzer ?
                  47. Maurice Guido ?
                  48. Yves Bizien ?
                  http://aces.boom.ru/france/depange.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here is the list of the aces of "Normandie":

                    http://aces.boom.ru/france/france.htm

                    Here is the description of the actions of "Normandie" (in Russian)

                    http://aces.boom.ru/france/normand.htm

                    To the point, the monument to the French pilots of Air Regiment "Normandie" will be opened in Moscow soon.

                    (from jlbetin:
                    for your information there is still a Normandie Niemen fighter Group in the French Air force they fly Mirage F1 ( Regiment de Chasse 02-30)

                    here can be seen photos http://www.normandie-niemen.com/)
                    Last edited by Andrey; 04 May 05, 02:18.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "Hourra" for France and Russia !!!!! Vive le Normandie-Niémen !!!
                      The regiment is very famous in France, and still exist, based in Colmar (Alsace) with Mirage F1, and soon Rafale. He is one of the most beautiful regiment of the "Armée de l'Air".
                      There is many street with this name, and many books, incluse some of former ww2 pilots.

                      Congratulation for the forum and for the site Amvas, "magnifique" !!!

                      Crapouillot

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The survivor's of the unit were presented with the French Legion of Honor in a ceremony held in Moscow on Tuesday. There were only 3 French survivors on hand for the ceremony, presided over by the French PM Dominique de Villepin.

                        An honor well deserved.

                        http://www.ttc.org/200602141233.k1ecx3q25021.htm
                        Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

                        Comment

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