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Wednesday, September 22nd 2010, 4:28am

French News & Events - 2Q/1937

April 1st, 1937:

Contre-amiral Marc Chasset continues to make a slow recovery in the Lorient Naval Hospital. While the naval surgeons attending him have reported that Chasset's legs, and the stump of his aputated arm are mending well. Chasset's left eye however has given cause for great concern, and surgeons are of mixed opinions as to whether Chasset will retain the use of it, such is the extent of the facial injuries he sustained in the crash. Second Maitre Gilbert Lannes, and Matelot Auguste Dedieu have been released from the naval hospital, and declared fit for limited duties, by naval surgeons. A court of inquiry is being formed to look into the airplane crash, as Contre-amiral Chasset's plane was known to be kept in excellent working order by it's flight crew, and had rarely experienced any mechanical trouble prior to the fatal crash.

In the interim, the Marine Nationale and the Aeronavale have decided to appoint, Contre-amiral Cedric Toutain, to the post of acting CO - Naval Airships Division. Vice-amiral Victor-Claude Comte de Monvel was rejected for the second time for the appointment following some rather heated debate within the Naval General Staff. The Naval General Staff would much prefer to appoint, Contre-amiral Emile de Lenclos, to the post. De Lenclos when asked to accept the assignement was found to be confined to bed, recovering from an unexpected bout of severe bronchitis, and is not considered fit or available for the assignment even temporarily. Once de Lenclos is considered fit for duty, it's likely that Toutain's tenure as commander of the Navy's airship force will be a short one.

This post has been edited 2 times, last edit by "Agent148" (Sep 22nd 2010, 4:39am)


Friday, September 24th 2010, 5:48am

April 7th, 1937:

The Armee de l'Air is has begun flight trials for several new medium bomber designs with the aim of both supplemementing it's existing bomber strength, and selecting fit replacements for aging designs. Under consideration by the Air Force General Staff are the Bloch MB-131, Liore-et-Olivier LeO-451, and the Amiot 351. The Naval General Staff has expressed interest in the Liore-et-Olivier design to supplement it's naval air stations bomber strengths, which largely consist of flying boats and sea or float plane types. The need to further diversify with land based units under Aeronavale control (in addition to the various shipborne/carrier and waterborne units) is felt to be pressing by the Marine Nationale.

Bloch MB-131
Type: Medium Bomber/Reconnaissance Aircraft
Crew: 5
Engine: 2x Gnome-Rhone 14N-10/11 | 950 hp | Pistons
Length: 17.83 m | Width: 20.27 m | Height: 4.10 m
Weight: 6050 kg | Max. Combat Weight: 8590 kg
Max. Speed: 349 km/h | Ceiling: 7250 m | Range: 890 km
Armament: 3 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 MGs, 800 kg of bombs

Liore-et-Olivier LeO-451
Type: Medium Bomber
Crew: 4
Engine: 2 x G+R 14N 48/49 | 1140 hp | Pistons
Length: 17.20 m | Width: 22.50 m | Height: 4.50 m
Weight: 7813 kg | Max. Combat Weight: 11400 kg
Max. Speed: 420 km/h | Ceiling: 9000 m | Range: 2300 km
Armament: 1 x 20mm HS-404 & 2 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 MGs, 500-2000kg of bombs

Amiot 351
Type: Medium Bomber
Crew: 4
Engine: 2× Gnome-Rhône 14N 38/39| 950 hp | Pistons
Length: 14.50 m | Width: 22.75 m | Height: 4.06 m
Weight: 4270 kg | Max. Combat Weight: 11285 kg
Max. Speed: 460 km/h | Ceiling: ? m | Range: ? km
Armament: 2-3 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 MGs and 1 x 20mm Gun, 800-1250 kg of bombs

This post has been edited 2 times, last edit by "Agent148" (Sep 24th 2010, 5:50am)


Saturday, September 25th 2010, 11:57pm

April 10th, 1937:

General d'armee Maurice-Gustave Gamelin, has confounded his opponents in the Supreme War Council. In an unexpected organizational change within the Supreme War Council, Gamelin has been appointed via the influence of his friends and supporters in the Ministry of War, to the post of Inspector-General of Fortresses. General Gamelin's enemies have worked tirelessly to maginalize Gamelin's involvement in military affairs. Gamelin's entrenched conservatism and advocacy of established and dated tactics is regarded with horror by the French militarists who advocate thorough modernization in all aspect of the Armee de Terre.

Although some - both enemies and allies - regard the position of Inspector-General of Fortresses to be well within Gamelin's tactical and strategic abilities, and a useful place to shuffle him off. Not all are as convinced however that General Gamelin will not use the new posting as a means to do harm to the current military reforms. Certainly he is likely, his ideas and views will clash openly with those of General d'armee Colson and General de division de Gaulle.

This post has been edited 2 times, last edit by "Agent148" (Dec 6th 2010, 7:56pm)


Sunday, September 26th 2010, 12:24am

April 12th, 1937:

The Armee de Terre general staff has authorized the formal creation of a new army headquarters - the L'armée des Pyrénées - at Toulouse, to control the equally newly formed IV, V and VI Corps Alpin. This army is to be composed of ten mountain divisions, three light infantry divisions and the two mechanized cavalry divisions. The two cavalry and tank equiped divisions will form a special mobile reserve corps for the army. Most of the troops controlled by the new mountain and light infantry divisions will be Franco-Iberian frontier guards, locally raised reservist or militia light infantry battalions, and military Gendarmerie units. As relations with Iberia have been steadily improving over the last year, the army is considered more of a security formation to maintain the territorial and customs integrity of the Franco-Iberian border along the length of the Pyrenees mountain range that forms the two countries natural border.

Attention had been recently drawn within the Army General Staff - by a junior staff officer charged with an independent study of existing French border defenses - to the fact that the Pyrenees front had not received as much attention as the Rhine, Alpine and Northern fronts. While not wishing to antagonize the Iberians, a real need existed to guard the french sides of the mountain passes through the Pyrenees. The L'armée des Pyrénées is the resultant answer to that precieved need.


Sunday, September 26th 2010, 12:44am

April 14th, 1937:

Contre-amiral Cedric Toutain, the acting CO - Naval Airships Division, has landed himself in yet another personal scandal, much to the embarrasement although not to the surprise of his superiors. Toutain was found by aides celebrating his recent appointment in his office at the Brest Naval Air Station in his usual colourful style. Naval Provosts were forced to arrest Contre-amiral Toutain for drunk and very disorderly conduct, and remove three very attractive woman of questionable virtue and negtioable ethics, whom he was found to be in close combat with in the office. Vice-amiral Victor-Claude Comte de Monvel has used this occurance to press for Toutain's immediate removal as acting commander of Naval Airships.

Chief of the Naval General Staff, Amiral Jean Louis Xavier François Darlan, has for the time being resisted Comte de Monvel's determined politicking and chosen to overlook, Toutain's not totally unexpected antics. The Vice-amiral Comte de Monvel is well known to be lobbying for his own appointment to the airships command, dispite being passed over for it twice already. Darlan, like many within the Naval High Command is expecting Contre-amiral Emile de Lenclos to recover soon from his attack of bronchitis, and be available to take up the control of the Airships Division. Medical reports concerning Contre-amiral March Chasset, while noting his improving health, make it increasingly doubtful as to whether he will be totally fit to return to active duty with the Marine Nationale.


Sunday, September 26th 2010, 12:48am

Oops! Just goes to show you, kids, that professional appearance is important!


Thursday, October 7th 2010, 3:10am

April 20th, 1937:

The French Chamber of Deputies, has demanded that a senatorial committee be formed to look into allegations concerning the operational conduct of the F.O.E.S. Batallion in French Indochina. A number of suppressed reports concerning the unit, both from it's days as a single company detachment, and following it's upgrading to a full battalion have surfaced via a leak from inside the Ministry of War.

The Ministry of War, has remained steadfast in it's refusal to comment on the matter, dispite urgent demands by the Chamber that it clarify the situation. The Armee de Terre General Staff has managed to poured oil onto an already smoldering fire, by refusing to go beyond it's standard statement concerning the F.O.E.S. Batallion mission in Indochina. that being that the unit is assigned to special security duties, and the General Staff is not at liberty to discuss them, due to unit security and operational intelligence concerns.

Technically, the F.O.E.S. Batallion is at the disposal of the Governor-General of French Indochina, and for most administrative and logistical purposes answers to that office. However, the Batallion, is considered to be amoung the deployable assets of the War Ministry, and operates at the specific instruction of the Army General Staff for strategic purposes. In tactical terms, the F.O.E.S. Batallion is answers to no one but itself for it's tactical deployment and operational objectives.

Several incidents involving the F.O.E.S. and the reportedly mass slaughter of asian elephants, in or near the Thai-Indochinese border towns of Ban Houei Sai, Savannakhet, and Thakhek (all three townships are inside the French Laos Protectorate) have highlighted the fact that very little is know or understood about the unit, or it's mission, or at least outside certain segements of the French military. Nor are the above the only incidents incurred during the F.O.E.S. time in Indochine, they are believed by many in the Chamber to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Protests from various Thai border officals concerning these events have been duelly recorded by the Governor-General's office, and by the French Ambassador to the Thai Royal Court in Bangkok and promptly surpressed.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Agent148" (Oct 7th 2010, 3:25am)


Tuesday, October 26th 2010, 1:11am

April 25th, 1937:

The French Ministry of War has authorized joint experiments by the Armee de Terre, the Aeronavale and the Armee de l'Air with regard to the new prototype aircraft offered to the French armed forces, by Louis Breguet and Rene Dorand and the Societe Francaise Du Gyroplane. The new aircraft - a decendent Breguet-Richet No.2bis (1909), and Grypoplane Laboratoire (1931) and Breguet-Dorand Gryoplane (1935) - is fitted with coaxial rotors, and designated the Dorand G.II.

All three services have expressed an interest in the new aircraft and it's potential too serve as a most useful logistical transport, liason or observation/reconnasissance platform and perhaps potentially a combat aircraft. At present the Dorand G.II's potential is largely an unexplored quality.

The Societe Francaise Du Gyroplane has been contracted to provide each of the three services with four "testing" prototype aircraft each, for a combined order of one dozen Dorand G.IIs. Previous attempts to interest the Ministry of War in the Dorand helicopters, have been met with either offical disinterest or extreme skepticism. The current mood of reform within the three armed services has however given the Societe, and M'sieurs Breguet and Dorand, another chance to exibit the potential of the G.II on a public and military stage.

The Armee de Terre, Armee de l'Air and Aeronavale are expected to put the dozen contracted aircraft through rigourous mechanical and field trials. How well the Dorand G.II measures up to the high expectations held of it, both by it's supporters and the three services remains to be seen.

This post has been edited 2 times, last edit by "Agent148" (Dec 1st 2010, 12:48am)


Tuesday, November 9th 2010, 11:31pm

May 1st, 1937:

The testing of the Dorand G.II helicopter proceeds apace, to the general satisfaction of the Ministry of War officials. Some difficulties have been encountered with Rene Dorand's prototype, in particular it's twin, counter-rotating props. M'sieur Dorand, however with the assistance of the mechanics and engineers of the Societe Francaise Du Gyroplane have worked to mitigate the problems arising during testing.

Armee de Terre, Armee de l'Air and Aeronavale officers and test pilots have on the whole been impressed with the Dorand G.II's S/TOL and V/TOL abilities and its considerable manouverability in the field tests. Some reservations have been expressed by the test pilots concerning the G.II prototype's tendency to become unstable while in flight under certain conditions. M'sieur Dorand, has given this serious attention, and a redesign and partial reconstruction of the prototype's tail and control surfaces is underway to address the issue.

The Societe Francaise Du Gyroplane has requested a grant from the War Ministry, to assist in building up their construction and research facilities. This is in anticipation of the current trials of the G.II being sucessful and a large scale production order from the French military services.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Agent148" (Nov 9th 2010, 11:42pm)


Tuesday, November 9th 2010, 11:52pm

May 10th, 1937:

The Dorand G.II prototype with its modified tail and control surfaces, beings testing under the eyes of Ministry of War officals, today. Test pilots and military observers have commented favourable on the improved steadiness of the prototype in flight with the new arrangements. Further, the G.II now handles with greater ease and with a greater margin of safety in take-offs and landings with the new control surfaces.

The Ministry of War, has decided on the basis of current trials to advance the request for a governmental financial grant by the Societe Francaise Du Gyroplane. A contract for one-hundred Dorand G.II has been placed with Louis Breguet and Rene Dorand. The Armee de Terre will take possession of thirty-three helicopters, the Armee de l'Air the same, while the Aeronavale will take possession of thirty-four helicopters. The machines will be divided into independent Patrilles (Air Flights), and Escadrilles (Air Squadrons) controlled by three Groupes (Air Groups) de Grypoplane. The three groupes, are expected to subject the prototype Dorand G.II to further and more extensive testing and trials to determine the best roles suited to the aircraft, it's maximum preformance and it's limits both tactically and mechanically.

None of the machines under order are armed or considered capable of combat duties and are still considered prototypes - little more then airframes, a pilot, engines and propulsion blades and controls surfaces - undergoing extensive testing. While the Dorand G.II has conducted itself well during the current round of trials, there is still some skeptiscism directed towards the aircraft from within segements of the War Ministry and the General Staffs of the Armed Forces.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Agent148" (Dec 1st 2010, 1:02am)


Wednesday, November 10th 2010, 12:04am

May 12th, 1937:

Amiral Jean Darlan, Chief of the Naval General Staff, has sacked Contre-amiral Cedric Toutain, as acting CO - Naval Airships Division. Contre-amiral Emile de Lenclos, who has recently recovered sufficiently from his severe attack of bronchitis to resume active duties, has been appointed to the post.

Contre-amiral Toutain took his fall from offical grace with surprising dignity. Toutain's own behaviour and the tireless intrigues of Vice-amiral Victor-Claude Comte de Monvel, have finally resulted in Toutain's removal from the Naval Airships Division. This development has undoubtable caused a great deal of relief with regards to interal tentions within the Aeronavale .

Contre-amiral Marc Chasset has been released from intensive care and medical authorities at the Lorient Naval Hospital consider him to be out of immediate danger from his injuries. Naval doctors are impressed by Amiral Chasset's remarkable recovery but due to the extensive injuries to his legs, the amputation of his arm, and the loss of his left eye, Chasset has been placed on indefinite medical leave.


Wednesday, November 10th 2010, 2:24am

Rather early for a 1940 helicopter design to be appearing; Germany's own 1940 design isn't mentioned in WW until mid-1939, and Canada's own exploration of the type is currently a handful of YCH-1 models, which debuted in mid-1938, and a more capable successor is still being developed.


Wednesday, November 10th 2010, 3:31am


Originally posted by ShinRa_Inc
Rather early for a 1940 helicopter design to be appearing; Germany's own 1940 design isn't mentioned in WW until mid-1939, and Canada's own exploration of the type is currently a handful of YCH-1 models, which debuted in mid-1938, and a more capable successor is still being developed.

Isn't there a three year rule covering this sort of thing?


Wednesday, November 10th 2010, 4:13am


Originally posted by thesmilingassassin
Historical design that preceeded the G.II.....

But that craft isn't the one under discussion. The 1940 G.II is. Though that does beg the question as to why it's been skipped.


Originally posted by TexanCowboy
Isn't there a three year rule covering this sort of thing?

There is a Gentleman's Three Year rule regarding aircraft. Some of us have felt that people are exploiting it to the bleeding edge, and to the detriment of the sim. I seem to recall some discussion about toning it down on 'new' technology, such as Jets, turboprops, and helicopters. Which, as pointed out, other players have been doing.


Wednesday, November 10th 2010, 4:28am

So far as I'm concerned, the 3-year rule allows us to introduce piston-engine aircraft within three years of their OTL entry date (and some exceptions have been made in certain cases). The three-year rule includes helicopters such as the Dorand G.II, as it's a piston-engined aircraft. Further, the G.II has been in service in France, Atlantis, and Chile for over two years now - and it's been in my encyclopedia for over eighteen months.

The G.II is a tad bit iffy, frankly, because it never flew in OTL before the Nazis captured it - so the specs are potentially optimistic. As I've noted before, the "production" variant has the rotors spaced a bit further apart, which is the only difficulty I've seen with it historically.


Wednesday, November 10th 2010, 6:56pm

They're all fairly small helicopters with limited payload and controllability as well. They aren't of great military use at the moment. Give it another 5-10years and they'll be more useful. It's not to say that countries can't build them, just that it'll take time to get to a practicable design.


Wednesday, November 10th 2010, 10:54pm

Hm, I either going to have to learn to discipher my own handwritten notes better or switch to another brand of tea, when I write this stuff at 2 am.

Thanks for all the editorial comments, they are appreciated. Certainly didn't want to cross any lines, when I worked out the posts concerning, the G.II testing/trials - seems my calculations regarding the years rule were in error. My bad :( .

At any rate some re-writing is definitely in order for the concerned posts to clarify things a bit and weave the various comments into it. Hm...<scribble>..<scribble>...

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "Agent148" (Nov 10th 2010, 11:11pm)


Monday, December 6th 2010, 8:32pm

May 13th, 1937:

Following deliberations within the Ministery of War, and the Army General Staff, an administrative reorganization of military forces is underway. The Armée du Levant (Army of the Levant) is the new title for the French military force defending French territorial possessions in Lebanon and Syria. It's Headquarters will be in Damascus, and will retain control of the XXII Corps already stationed there, however two additional corps - formed from colonial troops and Troupes Speciales du Levant (Special Troops of the Levant). Troupes Speciales being indigenous Syrian and Lebanese soldiers - will be created to come under the Armee du Levant's direction. Djibuti (French Somaliland) will be seperated from the XXII Corps, and become an independent corps-level command in it's own right: the Corps du Djibuti. Again, newly formed colonial, foreign legionary and indigeously recruited troops will be used to reinforce this command.

General d'armee Colson, Army Chief-of-Staff, has further authorized that the Legion Etrangere be doubled in size from it's current strength of seven mixed-arm regiments, to fourteen such regiments. All existing regiments will provide command and training cadres for the new regiments. Colson in a move that has suprised some has ordered that the Legion relocate it's primary headquarters to Fort Saint-Jean, in Marseilles. Currently the Legion Etrangere is headquartered in Sid-bel-Abbes, in French Algeria. The move makes some sense as it puts the HQ closer to it's primary logisitcal and training center, which will be of some considerable importance in light of the large scale enlargement of the Legion.

Additional administrative and command shake-ups are expected to be announced for the West African military commands and quite possibly the Pacific commands as well. It is anticipated that a more concerted merger of the existing XIXe Region Militaire (Algeria), Commandement Superior des Troupes de Tunisie (Tunisia) and the Troupes du Maroc (French Morocco) and the Afrique Occidentale Francaise (French Senegal, Guinea, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Bukina Faso, Niger and Chad) is being considered and seriously discussed within the Ministry of War.

This post has been edited 7 times, last edit by "Agent148" (Dec 10th 2010, 12:41am)


Wednesday, December 8th 2010, 4:43pm

Germany hopes that in doubling the size of the Foreign Legion that France will not deliberately seek to recruit German citizens into its ranks.