dimanche 19 février 2012

Who am I (revised 05 / 03 / 2018)

Today, I’m a retired scientist.

 I was born in March 1945 in North Africa. 

My two parents were also scientists, my eldest son too, the youngest is a piano teacher. 

As you can easily feel it, I'm French.

As far I remember, I was always enthusiastic with airplanes. 
That was reinforced when I saw, during a meeting near Algiers, in 1953 (I was 8), the great test pilot Marcel Doret flying his old Dewoitine D 27: Wonderful ! 

After my wedding in 1975, I discovered the family tree of my wife contained three skilled airmen:
  • Jean du Plessis de Grénédan, who died in the Dixmude French Zeppelin, 
  • Georges Bougault, leader of the Bearn carrier fighter squadron, who died when his Bernard HV 120 floatplane Schneider Cup racer crashed while flying at very low altitude and very high speed (585 kph) in 1931,
  • Edmond Marin La Meslé, one of the best fighter pilots of the Campaign of France, who was shot down with his Thunderbolt by Flak in February 1945.

I begun to fly at 43, with a retired Air France pilot as my own flying instructor, Mr Joachim Litwa, who was trained as fighter pilot between 1943 and 1944 in the USA and who was a P 47 Thunderbolt pilot. 
After the war, he flew many planes in various countries (Morocco, Vietnam) before to be pilot for Air France. 
He was one of the Boeing 707 pilots who were authorized to experiment a barrel roll by his (famous) Boeing mentor Alvin Tex Johnston.

Finally, I obtained my pilot license in August 1989: I was 44, and I had flown only until October 1992, when I focused on my new scientific project, on a completely new field of research.

My father and my grandfather - a painter who began the WW I in the artillery of 75 mm, but became photo-analyst in a recce squadron (MF 22) from 1916 to 1918 - were soldiers of the WW I (as was also my other grandfather, a skilled surgeon, dead in January 1945, two month before my birth day).
They chatted together by my side - I was a child - a lot of time about the defeat suffered by my country in June 1940. 

So, I was wondering: Why such a disaster? I learned (not easily) that the French defeat was, simultaneously, also a British one. 

Against the common tales, the main problem was not the soldiers but the staffs of the different armies, who acted as they had neither work to both the tactical and strategical actual modern conceptions.

The data I gathered were books and historical articles since 1960 among them were some William Green publications in which very few was said on French fighters or bombers... 

At the beginning of the 70's, the excellent French Docavia collection gave me some responses... and triggered new questions, as do, more recently, books and reviews published by Lela press and the Avions review. 

Thanks to Internet and to my own activities of blogger, I discovered also the old publications as Les Ailes, L'Aéronautique and L'Aérophile.

My interest is not only aeronautical. 

I’m very interested by armored vehicles as treated by the splendid GBM review, also by submarines.

At the primary school in 1954, I have seen the movie Casabianca on the saga of one the  five submarines who managed to escape the scuttling of the French Fleet at Toulon in 1942.

I saw some of the most dramatic steps of the liberation of Corsica - and, obviously, I have read the really extraordinary book her captain, Jean L’Herminier, wrote.

I read also memories of French and foreign actors of this war, and learned a lot from their point of views (as from their silences...).

My endless researches reinforced my admiration for the French - but not only - engineers who have provided up to date materials to the pilots.

However, some administrative (no ! Read bureaucratic) structures have acted against any common sense, favoring clearly our enemies.
Such a perception, unfortunately, regards also many Allied deciders...

Some questions remained without clear responses. 

That will be the main subject of my blog.

But I will follow more recent or clearly different subjects: It's a blog...

May be, some of my readers feel some of my analyses a little too harsh. 

But I have 2 choices when I'm analyzing the causes of the huge Allied defeat of 1940: 

  • Writing, as it is currently written, that this defeat was unavoidable... 
  • Explaining, as it's possible for me, how a incredible collection of stupid choices led the Allied soldiers in such a bad way.
When a politician, a decider or a general take a wrong decision, I feel me right to be harsh with him (in 1940, there were no woman in charge of such decision).

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