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French Secret Projects: Post War Fighters (Vol 1)

French Secret Projects: Post War Fighters (Vol 1) Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review December 2017 Title French Secret Projects: Post War Fighters (Vol 1)
Author Jean-Christophe Carbonel Publisher Crecy
Published 2017 ISBN 9781910809006
Format 280 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $44.95


Jean-Christophe Carbonel surveys the spellbinding saga of post-WWII fighter designs in the lavishly illustrated French Secret Projects – first of a two-volume study from Crécy.

Available in North America from Specialty Press, the hefty, 280-page hardback spans 14 fascinating chapters:

  • The First Jet Engines
  • The Last Propeller Fighters
  • The First Jet Fighters
  • Rocket Fighters
  • The Ram Jet Fighters
  • Carrier-Borne Fighters
  • Light Strike Fighters for NATO
  • Flying boat fighters
  • Mach Two Developments
  • Dassault alone
  • Tail Sitter VTOL
  • Flat Riser VTOL
  • Mach Three Developments
  • Variable Geometry Wings

Here you'll find the familiar – like Dassault's Super Mystère and Super Etendard. And the unfamiliar.

Lots of the latter.

Matra's R 100 really resembles something from 1930s pulp fiction, doesn't it? Morane-Saulnier's attractive, businesslike MS 710/711 hardly echoes its more famous WWII antecedent. And how about Girodin's riveting "gothic wing" fighter proposals?

Sections on dead-end "Tail Sitter VTOL", rocket- and ramjet-powered projects also confirm how boldly visionary French designers were. Most of those intriguing vehicles resembled refugees from sci-fi flicks!

I especially enjoyed coverage of "Light Strike Fighters for NATO". Wouldn't that Nord 5010 Harpon look at home in a Gerry Anderson production? And Carbonel's notes on the Breguet Br 1001 Taon certainly whetted my appetite for more on that riveting "what if?".

Also enthralling were entries on the origin and evolution of Dassault's Mirage fighter family. Did you know that Albania actually sought to buy Mirage IIIs in 1969? Neither did I.

Perhaps Crécy could convince Carbonel to pen an in-depth, English-language history of the legendary Mirage line – bombers included. Line up behind me for that one!

Hundreds of photos and drawings illustrate Crécy's excellent effort. Annotations, tables, specifications, glossary, selected bibliography, and indices also augment the account.

Illuminating. Informative. And entertaining. That's Carbonel's French Secret Projects: Post War Fighters. I loved it.

But that's a "strong" anhedral – not dihedral – on Sud Ouest Trident horizontal stabilizers.

Robustly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!