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Groupe De Combat 12 'Les Cigognes'
France's Ace Fighter Group in World War I
by Jon Guttman
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Osprey Publishing (UK) (November 25, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN: 1841767530

           "By far the best known French aviation unit of the Great War was the Storks group, with stellar aces such as Georges Guynemer, René Fonck, and Pierre Dorme to name a few.   Thus, if any Aviation Militaire organization qualified as elite, it was Groupe de Combat 12.
           Following a provisional group organization, GC-12 was formally established in October 1916 and operated as an integrated unit for the next two years.  Guttman covers all eight squadrons that served with the Storks, though the bulk of coverage naturally stresses Escadrilles 3 and 103, which scored nearly three-quarters of the group total.
           Among many aspects of the Storks story is the variety of foreign pilots who passed through GC-12’s escadrilles, including Americans, Russians, and even Japanese.  In that regard, it truly was a world war. 
           The volume is generously illustrated with 125 photos and 40 color profiles by series artist Harry Dempsey.  The illustrations are heavily weighted toward SPADs, as the group began replacing its Nieuports about the time it was formed..
           The appendix is a simple listing of the 26 aces who flew with GC.12 though barely half 'made ace' as Storks.  The index, though not comprehensive, is a welcome feature.
           Five stars."

Reviewed by Barrett Tillman

Buy it now!

 
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