Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: BAF, DAF, FAF, GAF, PAF, etc.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    1,303
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default BAF, DAF, FAF, GAF, PAF, etc.

    Dear all

    Could someone please tell me the OFFICIAL English and native-tongue names (and abbreviations) for the following European Air Forces between 1939 and 1945, bearing in mind some of them are bound to have a few caveats:

    - Belgian Air Force
    - Dutch Air Force
    - French Air Force
    - German Air Force (Okay, I know they were the Luftwaffe auf Deustch, but was this right in English?)
    - Polish Air Force

    Did the Belgian or Dutch Air Forces have the prefix 'Royal' during this time?

    I've seen references to Free French forces, but was there actually a 'Free French Air Force', as such?

    Thanks
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Berkshire
    Posts
    2,208
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Steve
    I don't think that this is going to be any more clear cut than your previous thread on Sqn names!!
    I would first suggest that you look at http://www.rafweb.org/Menu.htm#Squadrons and look at most of the Sqns in the 300 Series. Errol's point (on the previous thread) about the Squadron badges(where authorised) is well illustrated and whilst the site is not an official one they do seem to try very hard for accuracy. Where an Air Force had the title ROYAL it seems to have retained it in exile but mostly in documents and correspondence. The Netherlands as an example is very commonly referred to as Dutch.
    I did get a large document from CWGC which gave the graves of non-Commonwealth personnel for which CWGC are responsible and in that the Air Forces are referred to as in your list except for the use of Netherlands where you have Dutch!!(told you it wasn't clear cut!) and of course there is also Yugoslav and Hellenic and others to add to the list. There was a Royal Hellenic Air Force at the time and a Royal Norwegian Air Force.
    I realise that this may add to the confusion but it is a starting point
    Regards
    Dick

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Aubers, France
    Posts
    2,377
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    hello Steve,

    As Dick puts it, I'm afraid it will "clear as mud" after all the explanations.

    French Air Force is Armée de l'air in French, that one was easy.

    Belgian Air Force, as far as I know (I'm really a neighbour), was Aéronautique Militaire pre-war, AéMi in short. It became Force Aérienne (FAé) postwar, and is now Composante Aérienne if my memory serves me well.

    Now with the Free French Air Force, translated from Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres (FAFL in short). It's actually very difficult to explain. As you know, France collapsed in June 1940 and Maréchal Pétain was called back from his retirement to act as a guide (the older generations in France had a big respect for him due to his WW1 actions). On 17th June Pétain asked the Germans for an Armistice, this was signed on 22nd June at Rethondes. But in the meantime, a French Général, Charles de Gaulle, flew to London and made a radio call (actually several, the most famous one being on the 18th June, there's no recording of it, we just have the text) asking for anybody to join him (military arms, civilians) to keep on the fight. The Free French were born from that, with an Army, a Navy, an Air Force and the French Forces of the Interior (FFI). The first airmen started to arrive in the last days of June, some stole planes, many embarked in boats, some disguised as Poles, etc...

    After the allied invasion in North Africa, where there was a large amount of Armée de l'air personel, it was decided to merge the two together, but the bond was difficult to create, especially between those who had decided to join De Gaulle from the start, and those who flew with Vichy.

    Actually, only 7 units are entitled to carry the "Free French" name (plus the Lignes Aériennes Militaires, which was in Africa) : these units are more famous in France under their names, chosen by the head of the FAFL, Martial Valin, so that in communiqués, the names of the French regions could be given / heard, and that was good for morale : the units are : Alsace, Lorraine, Ile-de-France, Normandie (later Normandie-Niémen), Bretagne, Artois and Picardie. Alsace and Lorraine first fought in North Africa and were later transfered to U.K., Normandie fought on the russian front.

    Joss

  4. #4
    Bart FM Droog Guest

    Default

    Hello Steve,

    Regarding the Netherlands: until 01/07/1939 the Air Force was called 'Luchtvaartafdeeling' (something like 'Aviation Branch'). From 01/07/1939 the name was 'Luchtbrigade' (Air Brigade), part of the Army. The full name of the Dutch Air Force was 'Wapen der Militaire Luchtvaart', (Army Branch of Military Aviation).

    On 1 June 1940 <a href='http://www.epibreren.com/ww2/raf/320_squadron.html'>No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron</a> was formed. This Squadron and 321 (Netherlands) Squadron were the first of the non-British RAF Squadrons.

    The Dutch or Netherlands Air Force wasn't 'Royal' (Koninklijk) until 07/03/1953.

    Source: history department site <a href='http://www.luchtmacht.nl:30280/vluchtdoordetijd/tijdvakken/tijdvak1918_1940/'>Koninklijke Luchtmacht</a>.

    Regards,

    Bart

  5. #5
    Alain Guest

    Default Belgian Air Force

    Hello Steve ,

    During the war the Régiment Aeronautique was part of the Army , in 1947 the Régiment got the name Belgian Air Force , a few years ago the name changed in Air Component. So you see the name " Royal " was never used in Belgium.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    1,303
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts

    Default

    Dear Dick, Joss, Bart and Alain

    Thank you vey much for your detailed responses, which are very informative and most appreciated.

    Kind regards
    Steve
    41 (F) Squadron RAF at War and Peace, April 1916-March 1946
    http://brew.clients.ch/41sqnraf.htm

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    317
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default Dutch RAF

    Hi Steve,

    Dutch military aviation in WW2 under the wings of the RAF had the Naval section, aviators coming from the Marine Luchtvaart Dienst, that became operational in England very early in the War in 1940. They formed 320 & 321 Sqns, first Coastal Command, and 320 later Bomber Command. The service was known under two names: Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service (RNNAS) or Royal Dutch Naval Air Service (RDNAS). As War progressed, 320 Sqn would have personnel with hardly any ties to naval origins.

    Bart Droog mentioned in an earlier response that "Royal" was a qualifier given to the name only after the War, but there are photographs of crests & badges showing that the term Royal was in fact used during Wartime too.

    Separated from the RAF, but certainly affiliated, we had the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School (RNMFS), again using Royal in the name during Wartime, operating in the USA, to train aviators for War duties. Most of the graduated pupils were send to the Dutch East Indies, some to the UK to fly with the RAF.

    The Dutch military aviators in the RAF who did not come from the Royal Dutch Navy, served either in 322 (Dutch) Sqn Fighter Command, without any clear service name such as RNNAS, or in dozens of other RAF Squadrons or Units.

    A few Dutchmen, who were already living in England when War broke out, or who came to England from all over the world, served in RAF Squadrons without any clear connection to the Dutch Government in exile in London. This very small group is not known by a name.

    Some of the Dutch naval aviators, and ground crew, served with the Fleet Air Arm, again without a name that would distinguish the group.

    Finally there was a special case. The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines) operated, under the wings of the BOAC, the Lisbon-Whitchurch line, that was used to a degree by the Allies as well as the Germans to exchange data and spies. These flights were in fact, to a degree, War missions. Several of the aviators held Dutch military aviation ranks. This line was abandoned after the Germans had shot down a DC-3 over the Gulf of Biscay, believing that Churchill was on that flight. Or so the story goes.

    The total count of Dutchmen serving with the RAF and the FAA in the Western Theatre of Operations now stands at 1.375, with no claim that this is complete. Of these, 235 were killed in action, whilst 90 of the 235 remained MIA. The RNNAS suffered most of the losses: 145 in 320 Sqn.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    317
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default BAF, PAF etc.

    Hi Steve,

    In addition to my previous message. The term "Koninklijke" (Royal) was attached in 1953, as stated by Bart Droog, to the Luchtmacht (Airforce), that became the Koninklijke Luchtmacht, abbreviated as KLu. The Dutch Navy was already called Koninklijke Marine (KM, Royal Navy) before WW2, hence the RNNAS as Wartime offspring could call itself "Royal" too.

    Furthermore, the Dutch in WW2 had the ML-KNIL, Militaire Luchtvaart van het Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger (Military Aviation of the Royal Netherlands Army in the Indies). This branch was resolved in 1952 into the KLu, after the Dutch East Indies became independent under the name of Indonesia.

    This segragation between Army and Navy aviators was, and still seems to be, rather strict. There is no reference to the Naval aviators on the KLu site to which Bart Droog referred. Meanwhile, the Dutch Naval aviators in the Western Theatre suffered heavier casualties in WW2 than the Army aviators, whilst the number of Dutch military aviation casualties suffered in the Eastern Theatre is about twice the number lost in the West.

    As a matter of interest, this strictness shall be softened by Phase II of the monument of which Phase I was revealed last year on Soesterberg Airforce Base. Phase I holds the names of all 267 KLu aviators who died in the line of duty from 1945 to the present. The monument was revealed by its initiator, Commodore Steve Netto (ret'd), formerly a KLu fighter pilot. Phase II shall include the names of all Dutch military aviators who were killed or went missing in the line of duty, from 1913 to the present. So LVA, MLD, RNNAS, NL-RAF, RNMFS, ML-KNIL and KLu losses shall all come together on this monument, that is to be revealed shortly after this summer. With that, the scope of the monument has risen from 267 to 1.283, with 587 more names in the monument's register of those who died from causes indirectly related to service flying. This serious enlargement of the monument's original scope was OK'd by General Dick Berlijn, a KLu general who stepped back as CO of all Dutch armed forces only a few days ago. It was agreed that inter-service rivalries should not extend over the graves of the lost ones.

  9. #9
    Bart FM Droog Guest

    Default

    Hello Rob,

    This is interesting. Will there be on online variant of this memorial?

    Groeten,

    Bart

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    317
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default BAF & PAF etc.

    Hi Bart,

    That's an interesting idea. We are so very busy with getting the Roll of Honour complete and correct, that no time has been given yet to the subject of Web presence. Needless to say that all data is processed digitally, making an online availability of the data, or parts of it, relatively easy. There are copyright issues to be thought through, but I recognize that online availability could be a good help to the historic aviation community, and a way to harvest more data as well as the inevitable data corrections that shall follow in the future.

    Meanwhile the initiator, Commodore bd Steve Netto, has a website. For info about the memorial, check out http://jachtvliegers.tripod.com/id19.html. So a possible Web vehicle for the idea is in existence.

    Ciao,

    Rob

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •