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Curtiss Hawk in Armée de l’Air service, French Hawk H-75s vs the Bf 109 - photos by Scott Fellows from Flying Legends 2014

Despite the nationalisations of the Front Populaire during the mid-1930s, French industry was still manufacturing fewer than 100 aircraft per month during the period late 1938 to early 1939. The output from all French aircraft factories in total per month during early 1939 amounted to far less than the output from a single German producer. But by August 1939, France's aviation industry was beginning to shake off the shackles of obsolescence - although aircraft factories still closed for the weekend break, in some cases even after 10 May 1940. So the process of modernisation was still moving only at snail’s pace. On the out-break of war in September 1939 the Armée de l’Air’s entire fleet of aircraft was still essentially out-dated, including its most modern fighter, the Ms 406. In an effort to make up the shortfall the French placed huge orders for foreign types. Most significant of these were the American Curtiss Hawks (H-75).

Above; the port fuselage side of the Curtiss H-75 res…

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