Vichy D.520s of GC III/6 en route to Syria May 1941 - daily Ebay photo find #40
Nice selection of Vichy machines en route to the Middle East in May 1941 seen on a stop-over on the island of Sicily. The fighter force sent to Syria with the agreement of the Germans comprised the yellow-tailed Dewoitine D.520s of GC III/6, the aircraft transiting via Italy and Greece to arrive at Rayak on 27 May 1941 after a 3,800 km journey from North Africa. GC III/6 was commanded by Cdt Geille while the pilot roster included ace S/Lt Pierre Le Gloan, who had already achieved notoriety with five claims in one sortie against the Italians on 15 June 1940. He would return seven air combat victories against the Allies in Syria. The British launched Operation Exporter on 8 June 1941, the D.520 fighters of GC III/6 coming under attack from Tomahawks of No 3 Squadron RAAF. Five D.520s were damaged and one set alight in their first 'action' of this campaign.
Below; D.520 coded '33' seen in an official Bundesarchiv PK propaganda reporter photo in North Africa prior to the unit's transfer to Syria - note the outlined fuselage cocarde
For their journey to the Middle East the D.520s of GC III/6 were accompanied by four Potez 650 and one Farman 223 of GT II/15. The French force was held up in Athens for two days while en route to Syria due to the intense aerial activity resulting from operations against the island of Crete.
Below; Potez 650 no.15 " Adj-chef Renouard "of GT II/15 seen en route to Syria, May 1941. This particular machine was damaged in a strafing attack by Tomahawks on 26 June at Homs.
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