|About the Book|
In 1942, General de Gaulle agreedto send French pilots to fight alongside the Red Air Force against the Germans on the Eastern Front.OnSeptember 1, 1942, the Groupe de Chasse III or 3rd Fighter Group Normandie was created, equipped with Yak-3MoreIn 1942, General de Gaulle agreed to send French pilots to fight alongside the Red Air Force against the Germans on the Eastern Front. On September 1, 1942, the Groupe de Chasse III or 3rd Fighter Group Normandie was created, equipped with Yak-3 fighter aircraft. On April 5, 1943, pilots Preziosi and Durand shared the unit’s first kill. Over the next two years, the group became the most highly decorated fighter unit ever to fly for France, and the second highest scoring fighter air group of the Soviet Air Force. Such was their notoriety that in May 1943 an order was signed by the German General Keitel stating that all Normandie pilots were to be shot if captured. The Normandie Group took an active part in the air support of the epic Battle of Kursk and in 1944 Stalin added Niemen to their title in recognition of the help they rendered to the Soviet Army in crossing this river. The first of the Western Allies to capture and occupy German territory, Normandie-Niemen clashed with the crack German fighter group JG51 Mölders in the air battle over Königsberg in March 1945. By the war’s end the Group had racked up an impressive 273 confirmed victories and another 36 probables.