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Thursday, September 10th 2015, 7:46pm

French News, Q2/1946

Indochina Cabinet Demands Increase in Air DefenseCapability - Gia Dinh Bao
Monday, April 1, 1946
Following a Chinese probe of Indochinese airspace last week, the cabinet met in Hanoi to discuss a high-level response. According to officials, a Chinese photo-reconnaissance aircraft approached but did not enter Indochinese airspace, apparently with the goal of probing the early warning network operated by the French Air Force. Initial interception of the intruder was accomplished by a floatplane fighter of the French Navy, but the Chinese aircraft outran the floatplane and eventually had to be intercepted and escorted away from the coastline by jet interceptors of the Armee de l'Aire.

The cabinet criticized the fact that Indochinese air defense forces still have to rely so heavily on the numbers and technological capabilities of the Armee de l'Aire, when the Indochinese GDAI (Air Defense Force) was created specifically to take over air defense of the region. In a public statement, Prime Minister Truong Van Bao indicated the government's intention to tighten security and improve defense across the board, and informed the Indochinese parliament that amendments to the defense budget will be introduced shortly.

Helicopter Prototype Crashes on First Flight - Science-et-Vie
Wednesday, April 3, 1946
ONERA announced that the prototype of a twin-rotor fourteen passenger helicopter, designed by the SFG firm of Nantes, crashed on March 27th while undergoing its first test flight at the CEV test center. The helicopter's pilot suffered minor injuries and burns, but was released from the hospital after two days' treatment. The prototype helicopter is reportedly part of a program to provide a dedicated troop and cargo transport helicopter to the French Army.

Tour de Normandie Begins - La Croix
Friday, April 5, 1946
The Tour de Normandie cycling race began today amidst the surprising announcement that the young Belgian bicyclist Gustave van Pottelsberghe, favored to win, was disqualified after an experimental drug called 'amphetamine' was found in his possession. With the popular young Belgian out of the race, his teammate Bruno de Kiekeboes and Frenchman Jacques Dezobry are expected to make a good showing.

Jet Conversion Flies at the CEV - La Provence
Tuesday, April 9, 1946
A Breguet-Nord Br.810 Bretagne twin engine transport flew for the first time under jet power at ONERA's Centre d'Essais en Vol yesterday. The aircraft, originally propeller-powered and common in service with both the military as well as Air France, was rebuilt over the winter in order to serve as a testbed for new technological concepts.

Tour de Normandie - Drugging Scandal Intensifies - Le FigaroFriday, April 12, 1946
The end of the Tour de Normandie brought victory to Jacques Dezobry, but was marred by the early disqualification of Gustave van Pottelsberghe, who was found in possession of an amphetamine drug intended to enhance physical performance. The French cycling organizations condemned the use of amphetamines and slapped a thirteen-month ban on van Pottelsberghe (which will prevent him from riding in both the 1946 and 1947 Tour de France). But this was only the beginning, as the race officials frisked other cyclists at random throughout the course of the event, resulting in the disqualification of four more cyclists.

Unfortunately, Italian cyclist Luigi Scarpa managed to evade the officials' random searches and on the penultimate day of the race, swerved off the road into a ditch just outside Rouen. Scarpa suffered minor physical injuries, but died during transport to medical facilities. Nearly a hundred grams of a cocaine and caffiene mixture was found hidden on him. Investigation by Tour officials revealed that Scarpa had successfully passed one of the random searches early in the race, but had evaded further checks as he struggled to remain in fourth place.

While the majority of Tour officials absolutely condemn the use of drugs during the cycle races, some Tour officials have disagreed, claiming that the use of cocaine, caffiene, and the new amphetamines is too widespread, and competitors who fail to use them cede too many advantages to those riders who do. Further, use of drugs, while consistently condemned and punished by the organizers, has never been specifically been made against the rules. In light of the scandal at the Tour de Normandie, French cycling officials vowed to review the rules prior to the beginning of this year's Tour de France.

Avions Dassault Proposes Merger with Arsenal - La Croix
Tuesday, April 16, 1946
Marcel Bloch's firm Avions Dassault has proposed a plan to assume control of the government-owned parastatal Arsenal de l'Aéronautique. The merger comes following labour union difficulties at Arsenal de l'Aéronautique which have affected the manufacturer's bottom line, as well as payment of the firm's corporate debts to the French government. If approved, the merger will make Avions Dassault one of the single largest aviation manufacturers in the world by profit, workforce, and manufacturing space, in addition to becoming one of France's ten largest companies.

Syrian Political Parties Outlawed - Agence Havas
Friday, April 19, 1946
In a speech delivered this morning, Syrian Prime Minister Khalid al-Hafiz called on the Syrian parliament to make the country a single-party state, citing increased concerns about domestic turmoil and political purity. Members of al-Hafiz's League of Nationalist Action cheered the Prime Minister's speech, and the Syrian parliament voted 79-21 in favor of approving al-Hafiz's motion.

Indochinese Air Defense Force to Garrison Hoang Sa - Gia Dinh Bao
Wednesday, April 24, 1946
The Indochinese Air Defense Force announced that it would begin an immediate project to build an airfield somewhere in the Hoang Sa (or Paracel) Islands as a counter to Chinese air-defense probes.

Monaco Grand Prix - Paris-Soir (Evening Edition)
Saturday, May 4, 1946
Giuseppe Farina and his yellow Simca powered to a triumphant win in this year's Monaco Grand Prix, defeating all contenders in a performance observers declared to be "masterful". At the conclusion of the race, overjoyed Italian fans broke past a barricade and pulled Farina from his vehicle, then carried him to an impromptu victory lap of the circuit.

However, the spotlight was also on Prince Rainier III of Monaco, who showed up at the race in the company of French cinema starlet Madeleine Niel. Two years ago, Mademoiselle Niel was reportedly a close friend and romantic interest of the Prince, but they had become more distant following a confrontation with Rainier's older sister, Princess Antoinette.

Cannes Film Festival - Paris-Soir
Friday, May 10, 1946
The Cannes Film Festival opened today.

Tour de France Officials Ban Drugs - Le Figaro
Wednesday, May 22, 1946
In light of the recent drug-use disqualifications at the Tour de Normandie, officials for the Tour de France reiterated their stance that any athletes found using or in possession of drugs during the race would be disqualified, as well as banned from participating all French cycling events for up to two years. The race is scheduled to begin July 10th.

Hanoimoi's Outrage Over German Arms Sales to China - Le Courrier du Viet Nam
Thursday, May 30, 1946
Monday's issue of Hanoimoi, the mouthpiece newspaper of choice for Vietnamese nationalists, revealed that last month the German government had signed a trade agreement with the Chinese government which included military hardware, including Steyr all-terrain vehicles and amphibious cars. News of the deal sparked ire from both the public and the Indochinese parliament, which criticized Germany's economic juggernaut for agreeing to arm China even while that country antagonizes its Philippine, Indochinese, and Japanese neighbors. The furor reached new heights yesterday when members of parliament from the Indochinese Fatherland Party introduced a "retaliatory measure", a bill requesting that the French government terminate the German Navy's current basing agreement at Cam Rahn Bay. The sponsors noted that the legislation was intended as 'a protest vote' rather than an actual attempt to evict the German squadron, but Prime Minister Van Bao replied that the bill would nevertheless receive fair discussion within the Indochinese parliamentary process.

Despite the outrage voiced by Hanoimoi, some Viet nationalists have tried to inject a note of realism. Nguyen Loc, a parliament member for the Indochina Fartherland Party, noted that the quantity of military equipment sold to China "is really rather low" and "of such limited military use it might as well be civilian equipment". Loc noted that other states, including South Africa and Mexico, sell more advanced military equipment to China on a regular basis, and have done so without the opprobrium expressed by Hanoimoi. According to Loc, the furor has likely been exascerbated by a rising perception of confrontational Chinese actions, such as the recent probes of Indochina's air defenses.

What the Bird Has to Say: "How Did We Get Here?" - Le Canard enchaîné
Thursday, June 6, 1946
"It seems incredible to us here at Le Canard enchaîné that the French military should be so heavily-involved in quelling the anticolonialist insurrection in such far-flung places like Kaga Bandoro. We have learned that the Armee de l'Aire's 56th Aerial Transport Group (56 GAT) remains heavily-engaged supporting the imperialist Dutch troops in their campaign at Kaga Bandoro - and in fact multiple aircraft were destroyed on the ground by the action of the insurgents. Is the support of the French people for this foreign adventure really so strong as to risk French blood and treasure for our Dutch neighbors?"

Battleship Richelieu Completes Refit - Le Spectateur Militaire Weekly
Monday, June 10, 1946
The battleship Richelieu has returned to service following a refit and modernization at the Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée yards in Marseilles. The "Cardinal of the Fleet" will spend the next month shaking down with a cruise to visit Sevastopol, Constantinople, and Piraeus.

New Voisin et Hennequin Series Slated for Publication - Le Matin
Wednesday, June 12, 1946
The authors and illustrators for the popular comic Voisin et Hennequin confirmed that a new series will enter publication from Société Parisienne d'Édition this fall. The series, featuring the fictional French Air Force ace pilots Wenceslas Voisin and Claude Nicolas Hennequin, proved highly popular within its target demographic, and repeatedly sold out of its first publication runs. The series has become so popular that the French Air Force has stated two vintage Bloch MB.152 fighters shall be painted in the colors of the fictional "Escadron de Lions" for use in the Bastille Day overflight as well as air shows.

Clemenceau Elected President - Agence Havas
Monday, June 17, 1946
The Alliance républicaine appears to have achieved its second major electoral success with the election of Quentin Clemenceau to the French presidency. Although official results have not yet been released, the election was reportedly extremely close, and the Alliance républicaine has not managed to achieve a majority in the French Parliament. Clemenceau as well as outgoing president Paul Theisman, are reportedly attempting to achieve sufficient support from other parties in order to form a majority government. The only real alternative, however, is the center-left Front Républicaine.

Weapons Seized in Red Sea Raid - L'Union
Tuesday, June 18, 1946
The light cruiser Durendal seized a dhow sailing in international waters following observation of suspicious behavior. The two hundred ton dhow was observed moored to a coastal steamer near Jabal al-Tair, an uninhabited and unclaimed island in the southern Red Sea. Acting upon the suspicion of piracy, the Durendal approached and signalled both ships to await inspection, whereupon the dhow attempted to flee. The Durendal apprehended the vessel after a fifteen minute chase and arrested the crew of four Arabs and one African. Inspection quickly revealed a cargo of thirty rifles and six hundred cases of 8mm ammunition, totalling over half a million rifle and machine gun rounds. The steamer, identified as the 1,500 ton Suwayq, homeported in Muscat, was also detained and searched on suspicion of weapons smuggling. No weapons were found aboard, and the Suwayq's captain claimed he had merely stopped to render aid after the dhow made signals of distress (claiming a lack of fresh water). Due to a lack of evidence, the Suwayq was released with orders to return to Muscat for thorough investigation by authorities. The dhow will be towed to Djibouti, where its crew will be tried on charges of weapons smuggling.

What the Bird Has to Say: "Selling out the Left" - Le Canard enchaîné
Wednesday, June 19, 1946
"Speculation remains rampant about whether the party leaders of the Front Républicaine, who lay claim to many of the venerable traditions of the French Left (although we feel compelled to point out their compromising stance on many key issues) shall be seduced by the smooth talk and cunning ploys of the new Clemenceau regime..."

24 Hours of Le Mans - La Croix
Saturday, June 22, 1946
The team of Jean-Pierre Wimille and Hermann Lang triumphed in the twenty-four hour Le Mans endurance race. On the last three laps, Lang successfully fended off American driver Carroll Shelby and Englishman John Herbert-Caine, who finished second and third, barely half a second behind Lang.

Front Républicaine Agrees to Partnership - For a Price - L'Humanité
Tuesday, June 25, 1946
The center-left Front Républicaine party reached an agreement with the center-right Alliance Républicaine in order to hold a majority bloc within the French Parliament, sufficient to form a cabinet and pass legislation. The chief sticking point was the Front Républicaine's demand that a new prime minister be named from their own party - a demand which sat poorly with the center-right members of President-elect Clemenceau's camp, many of whom were poorly disposed to compromise even with the moderate left.


Thursday, September 10th 2015, 9:57pm

A very nice round up of news. Covers a lot of ground with many interesting side-alleys and comments on current affairs.


Thursday, September 10th 2015, 11:46pm

Indeed, there is much food for thought in the latest budget of French news. The news from Syria is very disquieting, particularly taken together with the worsening situation in Palestine.


Friday, September 11th 2015, 12:10am

The news from Syria is very disquieting, particularly taken together with the worsening situation in Palestine.

Yes, their status as a French satellite state has been short-lived, given how they're currently leaving orbit...

By the way, are there any amoral weapons dealers out there? :whistling:


Friday, September 11th 2015, 1:00am

The news from Syria is very disquieting, particularly taken together with the worsening situation in Palestine.

Yes, their status as a French satellite state has been short-lived, given how they're currently leaving orbit...

By the way, are there any amoral weapons dealers out there? :whistling:

Why yes - yes there are... and it can be so much easier dealing with Governments...

"Stefan Czarnecki to the white courtesy telephone please..."