French Flying Boats of WWII

White • 2013
Autor(zy)Gerard Bousquet
IlustratorTeodor Liviu Morosanu
Data wydania2013-09-30
Nr katalogowy9120
KategoriaAvailable KategoriaDostępne
FormatA4 HB, 232 stron (232 w kolorze)
Cena240.00 PLN Cena40.00 GBP

This book presents a unique and globally comprehensive coverage of an unusual military aviation subject. This work will also help you fill out your knowledge and will be a very useful reference work. In addition to monographs of each aircraft type, whole families of aircraft are presented along with comparative studies which set French aviation in the context of the period, thus giving an appreciation of its real value. The text has been illustrated with photographs and high quality colour profiles.

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  • Amazon.co.uk Cunstomer review (2nd) • 2014-08-27
  • Amazon.co.uk Cunstomers' reviews • 2014-08-27
  • http://speedreaders.info • 2014-08-27

    What fun it is to come across a book that really has been missing on the landscape of English-language books. It’s not that there is a shortage of publications on French seaplanes but that they’re in French.

    Bousquet’s previous “big” book on the subject, Les Paquebots Volants (Docavia, 2006, ISBN-13: 978-2914205009), never made it into English but its splendid illustrations hinted at a vastly interesting subject. He’s been looking at civilian and military hydravions since 1981 and done much to advance the subject. Several smaller books in this publisher’s “French Wings” series are by him.

    Here, broadly divided into three basic categories based on operational range, 30 types are examined in alphabetical order of nine makers large and small. Civilian craft seconded to or adapted for military service are also considered as well as two types that only existed as mock-ups (Breguet 792, Potez-SCAN 180).

    This book is part of a series and thus follows an established format: general lay of the land, aircraft specifics pertaining to development and service history, photos, color profiles, and 3-views. The 80-some color profiles, here once again by the late Teodor Liviu Morosanu, are as always splendid. All are printed sideways so as to not lose any detail in the gutter.

    After introductory remarks pertaining to nomenclature, Bousquet discusses French naval aviation vis-a-vis its German counterpart. The key take-away here is that while the French had more aircraft, they were old if not outright obsolete. Either Bousquet assumes a quite knowledgeable reader or he simply forgot to add certain layers of detail. For instance, he points out that of ca. 510 seaplanes only 282 can be classified as “operational” but nowhere explains either the methodology of the classification or the reasons that kept two fifths of the force out of front-line service.

    While this book does have a translator with an English-sounding name, the syntax does take some getting used to but is not ever ambiguous. What ambiguity or lack of clarity there is stems from the source. Bousquet is given to making sweeping statements that will make the attentive reader stumble. For instance, a comment is made about the “much lower losses” by the French, 13 lost out of 39 built vs. 38 of 100. If you just glance at the numbers without thinking about them you might be inclined to take this as written but when you actually do the math you get 33% vs 38% which isn’t that drastic a difference. And the remaining 62 German planes had probably much more opportunity to do damage than the remaining 26 French ones.

    Abbreviations are not spelled out the first time they are used and there is no glossary; there is also no map of seaplane bases, all of which would make the book more accessible to the nonspecialist reader. But, you don’t read this book, or this sort of book, for micro-detailed warfighting commentary but for background about specific aircraft. The book does by no means cover all French sea- or floatplanes; come to think of it, the author doesn’t actually explain why he picked these 30. No matter, what is here is plenty interesting and thoroughly covered, and certainly representative. It would be too much to say these planes look French but they surely look different from pretty much anybody else’s. Much like French cars, there is evidence of original design and a lack of fear of having form dictated by function. To say some of these planes look odd would be an understatement.

    Kit modelers will know that commercially made scale models (vacuform, injection-molded, or resin) of most of these aircraft are hard to come by and for them this book will be a treasure trove. If building from scratch is too much of a challenge you’ll at least be able to customize mass-market kits with specific paint schemes and markings (there are even several aircraft in Luftwaffe markings that had been captured by the Germans), including civil.

    This publisher aims to bring niche subjects to wider attention and this book serves that purpose splendidly and in every regard upholds the series’ high standards.

    Copyright 2014, Sabu Advani (speedreaders.info).

  • The Catalina News, The Catalina Society • 2014-08-27
  • Amazon.co.uk Cunstomer review (3rd) • 2014-08-27

    Excellent book. Covers the subject very well' with some ...

    By G.H.KEABLE on 24 Aug 2014

    Excellent book. Covers the subject very well' with some beautiful illustrations.I've thoroughly enjoyed the book and will no doubt continue to derive pleasure from it. G.Keable.

  • Air Modeller No. 51 • 2014-08-27
  • Modelingmadness.com • 2014-08-27

    Reviewer: Scott Van Aken

    A type of aircraft which has all but disappeared from the scene is the flying boat. Much of the blame for this lies with WWII when airfields were built on many of islands of the world. It did not help that land planes had been improving over time to where not only were they more reliable, but had the range necessary to fly the legs of several thousand miles in some cases, to go from island airfield to island air field. Of course, they did not disappear overnight, but as they became worn out, most were simply scrapped.

    However, before this happend, the flying boat was a very important part of not only long range passenger transport, but also with the various air arms of the world. Flying boats of all sorts of sizes and types were in service in roles anywhere from training to maritime reconnaissance where the planes were in the air for a dozen hours or more. Most enthusiasts are familiar with the Sunderland or the Cataline, but few know much, if anything,

    The French divided their flying boats according to their range and endurance, from the smaller, single engine boats used for artillery spotting and training to the long range recce boats that often had multiple engines. To us, they were pretty much divided into short, medium and long range.

    One thing about French flying boats is that, for the most part, function was more important than form. If you have seen photos of many 1930s French bombers, then you know about which I speak. Some of them were lovely aircraft, but most of them were, well to put it nicely, utilitarian.

    This particular book covers every aircraft that was around during World War II. Some were nearing the end of their career, some were still entering service and some were simply paper projects. There are two things that struck me about these aircraft. One is the number of them that had wooden hulls. I had thought that aluminum hulled boats were pretty well standard stuff by the 1930s, but that is not the case. Same goes for the wings with many of these aircraft having fabric wings; even those from the middle 1930s.

    I also discovered that many of the larger aircraft were built in very small numbers. Many with only a handful and some with just one or two. Of course, some of the latter can be explained by the boats being completed just prior to the Armistice in 1940 when all French aircraft production came to a halt, though some were completed afterwards. Another factor is the snail's pace production speed of the French aviation industry. This aspect of France's troubles in the late 1930 with rearming is fairly well known and extended even more so to the building of flying boats, which were not very high on the priority list.

    The book begins with an introduction into French naval aviation and then continues into the bulk of the book where each type is listed alphabetically and then by manufacturer's designation. This includes those aircraft built under license, which are few, and starts with the Breguet-built Shorts Calcutta. Each section has a superlative selection of period photos of the aircraft in question. Many of these are arranged in landscape format to provide the largest image possible. This is also done with the many full color profiles that is a feature of this series of books.

    MMP has a deserved reputation for providing superbly researched and usable books that are a delight for both the enthusiast and modeler. This one has raised that bar another notch in terms of the sheer wealth of information that has been provided on what is to many, a pretty obscure, yet historically important subject. It is an absolute must have for any modeler and a book that gets my highest recommendation.

    November 2013

  • IPMS USA website • 2014-08-27

    Reviewed by: Hub Plott, IPMS# 31328

    When one looks at French aircraft of the period immediately before and during World War Two, it is evident that there were two schools of thought when it came to aircraft design! One school was to design elegant, graceful and beautiful aircraft. The other was to see just how ugly they could make the airplane and it still fly and perform the duties it was designed for. This book is filled with examples of aircraft from both schools.

    The book begins with a discussion of the main categories of French flying boats and what these categories entail. The “Croisiere” category is the very long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft with a range of 2100 to 2800 miles. The “Exploration” category was the long range maritime reconnaissance with a range of 1200 to 1900 miles. The last category, “Surveillance” had a range of up to 775 miles. Floatplanes are not discussed in this volume.

    There is a short discussion of the state of French Naval aviation in 1939 along with some charts showing the types of aircraft in each category as well as each unit and the aircraft allotted then finishing out with comparison of seaplane losses between France and Germany in the last quarter of 1939.

    The next 218 pages discuss each of the flying boats in alphabetical order by manufacturer and then in numerical order by designation from that manufacturer. Each of these individual aircraft sections gives an overview of the aircraft’s design/origin and operational history. These sections are also filled with many never before seen photos showing details of the beaching gear, launch rails and construction of these aircraft. The numerous and gorgeous color profiles are a joy to view and will provide a lot of inspiration to build models of some of these birds.

    Models of most of the aircraft within this book are hard to find! I know that there have been three 1/48 kits of the Liore 130. Two in injection molded plastic (FM and Azur) and one in resin (POMK) but that is it for my favorite scale. I believe Azur has also done a 1/72 of the Potez 462 (How a pilot could see to fly this bird through all those struts, I will never know!) and that there are one or two kits of the Liore 130 in this scale as well. For the larger flying boats, there may be a 1/144 scale resin kit or two and in 1/72 there was a vacuform kit of the Breguet 521 Bizerte that is long out of production and the maker’s name escapes me. There may be a few more vacuform kits out there but the above is all that I am aware of.

    I really enjoyed this book. I have always had a penchant for the oddball and lesser known aircraft of WWII and this book is filled with them! The author has really done his work to bring all of this information into one volume. The wealth of photo detail and color profiles alone makes this book worth the asking price! I can heartily recommend this book to anyone with an interest in WWII aviation, French aviation and to any modeler looking to build something from the road less traveled. If any of you fit into these categories, then buy this book you will not be disappointed!

    Our thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review copy and my thanks to IPMS/USA for the review opportunity!

  • Cybermodeler.com • 2014-08-27

    Link to review

  • Aeroplane 02/2014 - Book of the Month • 2014-08-27
  • Model Airplane International 01/2014 • 2014-08-27
  • Amazon.com customer review (1st) • 2014-08-27
  • Hyperscale.com • 2014-08-27

    Reviewed by Rob Baumgartner


    When discussing WWII aircraft, the subject of French flying boats doesn’t come up a lot. That’s a pity because there’s some quite remarkable designs to be had, both large and small.

    Gérard Bousquet has taken the liberty of gathering up as much data as possible on these types and presenting it in an easily accessible reference book. This A4 sized hardback contains 232 pages of text, photographs, scale plans and colour profiles.

    The author starts off with a brief explanation of where French naval aviation found itself prior to the start of WWII. This includes the requisition of commercial seaplanes as well as their categorization and disposition. Especially interesting is the comparison between the Luftwaffe and the Aéronautique Navale.

    This is followed by the “meat” of the publication, which is the alphabetical listing of the flying boats themselves. There are 30 individual aircraft types presented, and this includes a couple of projects that never got to the prototype stage.

    The text accompanying each subject relates the history, specifications and Air Ministry contract details. It’s all interesting stuff and the reader never gets bogged down in too much technical detail.

    Each aircraft is complimented with a set of scale drawings and at least one colour profile. These pieces are artwork are superbly done by Teodor Moro?anu and number 82 in total.

    Unfortunately there is no bibliography which would have been nice to direct the reader to other works.


    The subject tackled here is a complex one. To cover it in exhaustive detail would take a book many times the size of this publication.

    To his credit, the author has neatly condensed the available information into a logical and easily accessible format. This makes it an ideal guide for those interested in the vast array of French flying boats that found service during WWII.

  • Skrzydlata Polska 12/2013 • 2013-12-23

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