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The French Air Force in North Africa Vol.1

The French Air Force in North Africa Vol.1 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2017 Title The French Air Force in North Africa Vol.1
Author Alain Crosnier Publisher Histoire & Collections Publications
Published 2016 ISBN 9782352504207
Format 240 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $49.95


In French it's L'armée de l'air en Afrique du Nord: Maroc, Algérie, Tunisie, 1940-1967 (Tome 1).

In English, it's The French Air Force in North Africa: Morocco - Algeria – Tunisia, 1940-1967 (Volume 1)

In any language, it's an amazingly cool, colorful compendium – and spectacular resource for model project inspiration and reference.

Available in North America from Casemate, this superb, lavishly illustrated survey from Histoire & Collections spans 240 pithy pages.

Coverage chronologically courses – year-by-year, unit-by-unit – from June 1940 through mid-1967. Author Alain Crosnier includes virtually every combat and support type operated by the Armée de l'Air in North Africa during that period. And what an amazing array it is.

Battle of France veterans like the Dewoitine D.520 and LeO 451. Wartime replenishments like the Hawker Hurricane, A-24 Dauntless and B-26 Marauder. And postwar stalwarts like the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-63C Kingcobra. Those – and more – typified renascent French airpower in Africa.

The advent of jet propulsion witnessed the introduction of classics like the de Havilland Vampire, Lockheed T-33 and Dassault Ouragan. And these dutifully show.

With postwar anti-colonial conflicts, France pioneered counterinsurgency airpower. And in addition to armed transports and trainers, familiar Douglas B-26 Invaders and AD-4Ns also appear.

The lavishly illustrated survey sports, the publisher claims, 2,500 color and B&W photographs – most from personal albums. I honestly estimate about half that number. So are they including Volume 2 image counts in their total?

Modelers will certainly value the sumptuous swath of French camouflage and markings. Warpaint. Unit badges. Personal decorations. Codes. And more. How about that risqué Ouragan pinup on page 89?

Armament, too. Dozens – if not hundreds – of shots illustrate the ordinance French COIN types carried. Great modeling details all.

And don't let the language barrier stop you from snagging this stunning study. A pinch of high school French will help you savor Histoire & Collections's superb stew.

Wow. What an amazing account. I absolutely loved it. But that's a Martin Maryland – not Baltimore – on page 124.

Unreservedly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Casemate Publishing for this review sample!