Martin B-26 Marauder with Free French Air Force

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The Martin B-26 Marauder was used in large numbers by the revived French Armée de l'Air from 1943, and was used during the fighting in Italy and southern France. The Armée de l'Air or Free French Air Force was formed around a core of former Vichy units that had been based in North Africa during Operation Torch. At first there were doubts about the wisdom of equipping these units with modern aircraft, but they soon proved themselves to be trustworthy, and in September 1943 three Groupes de Bombardement received the B-26 Marauder – GB I/22 to replace the LeO 451 and GB I/19 and I/32 to replace the DB-7.

At first these squadrons took part in the campaign in Italy, but in the summer of 1944 they were used to support Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France, and after the Allied landings on 15 August all of the French Marauder groups moved onto French soil, where they were used to provide tactical support for the American and French armies as they advanced north and east across France and into Germany. By 1945 seven of the Armée de l'Air's nine Groupes de Bombardement were equipped with the B-26, but as with the RAF and USAAF the French quickly replaced the Marauder after the war and they had all been phased out by the end of 1947.

B-26 Marauder Groups of the Armée de l'Air
GB I/19 'Gascogne'
GB I/32 'Bourgogne'
GB I/22 'Maroc'
GB I/34 'Bearn'
GB II/20 'Bretagne'
GB II/52 'Franche-Comte'
GB II/63 'Senegal'

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 May 2009), Martin B-26 Marauder with Free French Air Force , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_B-26_Free_French.html

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