French Flying Boats of WW2

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French Flying Boats of WW2

Postby AquilaAudax » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:06 am

Hello Seawings

I am still beavering away on my trimotor notes - currently working back through the French types.

I have just become aware of a (relatively) new book by Gérard Bousquet, entitled French Flying Boats of WW2 (published by mmpbooks in 2013 in Poland !), which sounds like it may be very very useful.

Technical bookshops that sell books of that genre are virtually non-existent in Western Australia - and pretty thin on the ground elsewhere in Australia (!) - so I can't get my hands on a copy to see how it measures up.

Does anyone have a copy, or access to one, and can give me a report on the quality of the publication.

Aquila Audax
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:57 am

Re: French Flying Boats of WW2

Postby DavidLegg » Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:54 pm

Hello AA:

I have pasted below the review that I wrote for The Catalina News a couple of issues ago. I hope it helps. If you need further info, please PM me. Are you aware of the three volumes of les Ailes Francaises - les Hydravions a Coque published by Artipresse? (French language - no English captions or summary). Again, PM me if you want to know more.

"Although there have been a number of French language books that cover that country’s flying boats and seaplanes published over the years, there is very little that I know of in English barring the broad sort of information that has appeared in generalist books about seaplanes. This has changed with the publication of French Flying Boats of WWII by Gérard Bousquet and released by MMP Books (aka Mushroom Model Publications) in its White (Rainbow) Series. This excellent book starts with an overview of French naval aviation in 1939, comparing the strength of the Aéronautique Navale with that of the Luftwaffe. The latter was considerably outnumbered by the 510 seaplanes, 282 of them operational, that were distributed amongst the French units scattered around a dozen or so bases, both on the French mainland and abroad. The main body of the book then describes in a good level of detail some 30 flying boat types designed by French manufacturers and (mostly) used during the Second World War. The manufacturers are all well known - Breguet, CAMS, Latécoère, Lioré et Olivier (LeO), Loire, Potez, SNCAC and SNCAO as well as the less familiar Schreck and Minié-Cassin. However, amongst those ten companies are some pretty obscure flying boat designs, some of which never actually flew and remained ‘drawing board dreams’. My first surprise was the Breguet-Short Calcutta – if I ever knew that Breguet license-produced the Short Calcutta then I had certainly forgotten! In fact, Breguet built five (a Rochester-built example was imported beforehand as an evaluation aircraft). The Calcutta enabled Breguet to apply its construction experience in the design of its own Type 521 Bizerte although the draughtsman must have had an off day when it came to the vertical tail surfaces, the result being far less elegant than the Short design. Breguet’s designers also went rather over the top with the cockpit glazing although this tendency was not limited to that one company, CAMS and Latécoère being other culprits. Indeed, leafing through the designs in the book it becomes clear that, with a small number of notable exceptions, calling French flying boat designs ugly would be an understatement, the Loire 70 and 120 Bretagne being particularly bad examples where providing them with sails rather than wings might have been a better option. That said, the French did produce some attractive flying boat designs during WWII, the Latécoère 611 Achernar and LeO H-470 among them. The book is filled with superb photographs, drawings and colour side views and this reviewer was particularly pleased to see several photos taken at the Latécoère factory on Lake Biscarrosse and one at the nearby flying boat base at Hourtiquets. Our Catalina has been a regular visitor to the lake over the years and it is interesting to compare old photos with the current site. This is a most welcome addition to the available literature on flying boats – I’m guessing that a more comprehensive book covering all French-designed seaplanes and those foreign designs used by French forces and civilian operators would be prohibitively expensive and will remain a pipe dream but I can hope! Meanwhile, this will do and is highly recommended. It is A4 hardback format with 232 pages and its ISBN number is 978-83-63678-06-7, price £40. Our copy was kindly supplied by Orca Book Services….."
David Legg
Editor: The Catalina News, The Catalina Society
Author: Consolidated PBY Catalina - The Peacetime Record
Posts: 239
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:26 pm

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