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Montpellier Fighter Squadron

Montpellier Fighter Squadron Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review July 2013 Title Montpellier Fighter Squadron
Author Bartlomiej Belcarz Publisher Mushroom Model Publications
Published 2008 ISBN 9788389450357
Format 128 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $23.00

Review

WWII's saga of exiled airmen fighting Nazi aggression starts with Poland's plucky pilots.  And their expatriate adventure originates in France.

That's the story of Montpellier Fighter Squadron.  And Bartlomiej Belcarz tells the total tale in this lavishly illustrated, absorbing account from MMP.

The name "Montpellier Squadron", he notes, "never actually existed".  Instead, historians coined the term to trace the band of Polish defenders posted for training at the city's Centre d'Instruction d'Aviation de Chasse.

Given the clip, chaos and confusion accompanying France's fall, Belcarz has mined amazing amounts of archival detail.  Names.  Dates.  Movements.  Aircraft.  Serials.  Markings.  Even uniform minutiae.  All packed into just 128 pithy pages!

After illuminating background notes, coverage commendably cleaves, by commander and unit, into seven solid "sections".  Primary sources and personnel interviews dominate chapter annotations.  And several appendices with selected bibliographic categories complete contents.

Photos, artwork, tables and biographic sidebars support this solid study.  And the late, great Teodire Liviu Morosanu's 37 beautiful color plates – profiles, plan views and insignia for MS 406s, MB.152s and D-520s – splendidly sated my modeling muse.

I just wish Belcarz added US or British equivalents – not just French ratings – for Polish air force ranks.  A couple schemes for Polish-manned Hawk 75s would have agreeably augmented the excellent art.  And a couple maps could have considerably clarified contents.

But I nitpick.  MMP has forged a deservedly brilliant reputation with gems like this.  Enthusiasts of WWII's Blitzkrieg Era will love Montpellier Fighter Squadron.  I certainly did.

Robustly recommended!

With thanks to Casemate for the review copy.

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