S u m m a r y
||Mushroom Blue Series No 7108 - Montpellier Fighter Squadron
||Soft cover; B5 format; 128 pages plus covers, 15 aircraft in color profiles.
||USD$22.46 from Squadron.com
||Extensive collection of photographs
Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
Mushroom's "Montpellier Fighter Squadron" Book is available online from Squadron
This volume is the latest in Mushroom Model Magazine’s Blue Series that recounts the history specific squadrons and pilots. This volume focuses on the Polish pilots in France that made up the “Montpellier Fighter Squadron”. These pilots escaped Poland after it’s fall, through Hungary and Rumania, finding their way to France.
The first thing we learn is that there really was not a “Montpellier Squadron”. Rather, this was a label given to the first group of Polish pilots that arrived in France and trained at the Centre d’Instruction d’Aviation de Chasse at Montpellier, France. The name became associated with the pilots as they entered service in various units.
After training, the Polish pilots were not allowed to form their own Polish units, as they had wanted. Initially the French did not trust the Poles and felt it was better for them to be integrated into French squadrons.
The book provides an interesting perspective on blame and trust. The French felt that the Polish pilots, upon their arrival, could not be trusted believing the Poles had given up in the fight against the Germans. Later, as the French concluded the armistice with Germany, the French feared that the Polish pilots would not honor it and continue to fight on their own.
The book concludes with a most poignant observation, by a Polish pilot, about the state of mind of French pilots upon the fall of France.
The exploits of the Polish pilots are told based on each individual French squadron in which they served. Each squadron is allocated its own chapter. But the story is the same across the squadrons – a good fight against overwhelming odds and, hopefully, an escape from France, usually through North Africa.
This volume is filled with an excellent collection of photographs, the majority of which I have not seen before. Also sprinkled throughout are brief biographies of individual Polish pilots.
Finally, as has become the norm for books from Stratus publications of Poland, which published this volume for Mushroom, the profiles are of excellent quality.
But this monograph is not without some issues. First, the English is a bit “cumbersome” and the narrative does not flow particularly well. Second, I wish the author had, in the beginning, given a comparative of ranks in the Polish, French and British or US air force. There is list of pilots in the back with Polish and French ranks, but it is not as effective as it could have been. Finally, I would have liked to have learned more about the marking of the French aircraft with the Polish checkerboard, and issues that might have arisen. The aircraft, for all practical purposes, carried two sets of national markings.
Mushroom and Stratus must be commended for publishing monographs such as this one. The efforts and exploits of pilots from Poland and Czechoslovakia are over shadowed by writings about USAAF, RAF and especially Luftwaffe pilots.
No one who has any interest in the air warfare in World War Two should ignore this book. It provides a very good account of the Polish pilots during a tragic period of the war. The events, the pilots and the aircraft are all given their due.
All Mushroom Model
Publications books are
available direct from
who now accept credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex, Switch)
distributors are MMD, Australian distributors are Platypus
Publications. In Europe, the books are available from any good bookshop (via our
UK distributors, Orca). Contact MMP direct in case of difficulties.
Roger at Mushroom Model
Review Copyright 2008 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 27 March, 2008
Last updated 27 March, 2008
Back to HyperScale Main Page
Back to Reviews Page