French flights in 11 June 1940

Dili

Member
I am looking for Armée de L'Air and Aeronavale flights - army cooperative and strategic recon, sea search, CAP by fighters etc - either from Southern France and North Africa in 11 June in relation to Italian declaration of war.

I only have GB I/61 (sometimes called GR) with Martin 167F making a recon flight over italian airfields from Youk-le-Bains probably against Sicily or Sardegna.Would like also to know what were the target(s) of this one.
 

Saetta

New Member
Hi Dili, I've actually been working on an article regarding this very topic. It's important to note that there were actually three separate air forces the french had in Africa. The one most active against the Italians was Afrique Française du Nord (AFN), but they also had Escadrilles for Afrique Occidentale Française (French West Africa), and Afrique Equitoriale Française (French Central Africa). I would reccomend checking out the Desert Prelude: Early Clashes by Hakan Gustavsson and Ludovico Slongo.

It is an excellent series that in this particular book discusses the early French and RA sorties/engagements. here is the OoB that I have compiled regarding French strength in AFN:

a. Tunisia
GCIII/5 (fighters)
- 2 x Escadrilles of Moraine Saulnier MS.406's (~30 aircraft)
- Airfield at Tunis-Bizerta
GCI/9
- 28 x MS.406, 2 x Bloch MB220 (transport), 6 x Potez 630 (heavy fighter)
- 1° esq. Airfieldd at Tunis-Bizerta
- 2° esq. Airfield at El Hamma
GCI/10
- 9 x MS.406
- Airfield at Tunis-Bizerta

Aeronavale:
HB1, HB2, T1
- equipped with Latecoere 298 Seaplanes
- Based at Bizerta-Karouba
4S1
- CAM 55 Seaplanes
- Bizerta Karouba
4S2
- 3 x CAM 55, 4 x Liore et Olivier 258
- Bizerta-Karouba
E7
- 6 x LoE 70
- Bizerta-Karouba
E11
- 4 x LeO H-470
- Bizerta-Karouba

E3
- 6 x breguet Bizerte Sea Planes
- Airfield at Bizerta-Karouba

b. Morocco
GCIII/4 (fighters)
- Escadrille of Dewotaine D.510's and 2 x MS.230's
- Airfield at Casablanca
GBI/32 (bombers)
- Escadrille of Glenn-Martin GM 167F's
- Airfield at Mediouna
GBII/32 (bombers)
- Escadrille of Douglas DB7's
- Airfield at Mediouna

c. Algeria
GRI/61 (reconnaissance-bombers)
- Escadrille of GM 167F's
- Airfield at Youkes-les-Baines
GBII/25 (seaplane bombers)
- 15 x LoE H 257 bis Seaplanes
- based at Bougie
 

Dili

Member
Hi, i have to get that book, unexpected expenses have been prevented it in last 3 years.
i already have the OOB of Allies and Axis.

Are you sure about that GB II/25? the floatplane Leo H-25 are Aeronavale not Armée de l'Air.

Edit: i have found this in my notes:
En juin 1940, dix-huit exemplaires de LeO H257Bis, précédemment utilisés par la 25e escadre de l'Armée de l'Air à Karouba, seront versés à la Marine qui les affectera à diverses formations, notamment à l'escadrille E7 qui a perdu la quasi-totalité de ses Loire 70 lors de l'attaque italienne du 12 juin.
Edit 2: still do not understand how an aircraft ordered by the Navy ends up in and Air Force bomber squadron then later to be reverted to the Navy.

E3 4 Breguet 521
E11 2 Leo 470
E7 same as yours
4S1 4 CAM 55

more later.
 

Dili

Member
What i have found in meantime:
AB 4 with Loire Neuport 401 or 411, 1 aircraft recon Savona and the coast.
AC 3 with fighters Bloch 151, 1 aircraft makes a visual recon of Imperia looking for MAS
3S6 in Corsica moves some PL15 floatplane(or more than 1) from Aspretto to nearby Isolella, return to Aspretto in same day.
2 PL 15 go Southern France to St.Mandrier to be replaced by Laté 298 - the squadron was being converted to that model. 10 June already 3 PL 15 had a no return trip to St. Mandrier. First 2 Laté 298 arrive 18 June.
 
Hi Dili, I've actually been working on an article regarding this very topic. ...
May I ask if you have a estimate or interpretation of the ability of the Italian air force to interdict French ships traveling between south France & Algeria, & Morocco? My take is the Italians were very poorly prepared for such a effort. Do you have anything to share on this?
 

Dili

Member
Well geography prevents much of any effort isn't, it unless we are talking about Eastern Argelia.

They can bomb French ports in Southern France.
 

Dili

Member
Western Italy is closer from main departure ports, except those small in extreme South West France.
 

Saetta

New Member
Dili, you may be right on those figures. I may have combined the total strength, including aircraft that were under maintenance/ not serviceable. And that is an interesting observation regarding GBII/25. I'll see if Desert Prelude makes any additional coments regarding it. Thanks!
 

Saetta

New Member
Dili, this is the only information I could find regarding GBII/25:


"The situation of the AFN’s bomber force was slightly better, and at the beginning of hostilities with Germany many bomber Groupes were based in Tunisia and Algeria but were gradually redeployed to metropolitan France, so on June 1940 only four Groupes remained; GR I/61, GB II/25, GB I/32, GB II/32.
GR I/61 was equipped with Glenn-Martin GM 167Fs employed in the reconnaissance-bomber roles and based at Youks-les-Bains in Algeria.
GB II/25 was based at Bougie in Algeria with around fifteen Lioré et Olivier LeO H 257bis seaplanes.
GB I/32 was equipped with Glenn-Martin GM 167Fs based at Mediouna in Morocco from 14 June.
GB II/32 was equipped with Douglas DB7s."

Gustavsson, Hakan (2011-04-22). Desert Prelude: Early Clashes (Kindle Locations 426-431)

I Also found this regarding the Aeronavale:

"The Armée de l’Air was complemented with the Aeronavale, which in AFN had the following units: HB1, HB2, T1, 4S1, 4S2, E7, 11E and E3."

Gustavsson, Hakan (2011-04-22). Desert Prelude: Early Clashes (Kindle Locations 435-436)

So while GBII/25 was equipped with sea planes,at least according to Gustavsson, that specific Groupe was not considered part of the Aeronavale compliment
 

Dili

Member
Thanks Saetta. I have found that the H.257 from GBII/25 were given 19 June to E7 that lost many Loire 70 in Italian air bombing of Karouba 12 June.
 
Top