The French Air Force, officially the Armée de l'Air (Army of the Air) is the air force of the French Armed Forces. It was formed in 1909 as the Service Aéronautique, making it the world's oldest air force.
French Air Force in Southern Victory
The French Air Force came into existence at the start of the Great War and battled the German Air Force for control of the skies. After the Great War ended in defeat for France, the French Air Force was disbanded.
After Action Francaise took control of the country, the French Air Force was reborn. It immediately began rebuilding and rearming, preparing for war.
When the Second Great War began in 1941, the French Air Force joined the RAF in their combing campaign of German cities. As the war turned against the French, the Air Force was forced onto the defensive, and by the war's end, was unable to protect Paris from a superbomb.
French Air Force in The War That Came Early
The French Air Force had seen action in the Spanish Civil War, and after war broke out in 1938, the French increased their air activities in Spain after bombers from Nationalist held territory bombed towns in the south of France. However, this was eventually halted by the German thrust through the Low Lands in the last weeks of 1938. Unfortunately, the majority of French aircraft were no match for the German 109, and the French Air Force was forced into a defensive role, taking on bombers and dive bombers.
After the failed attempt to capture Paris, the French Air Force went on the offensive, bombing German cities. However, their efforts were overshadowed by the British.
After the Big Switch, and France allied with Germany against the Soviet Union, the French kept a good portion of their air force in France itself. After the Coup in the United Kingdom in 1941, the RAF was worried that the French Air Force might attack them after they resumed their bombing campaign against Germany, which resulted in the RAF avoiding French air space. In spite of these fears, the French Air Force did not strike back against the British much to the fury of the Germans.