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Showing posts from January, 2014

The best of planes, the worst of planes

Over on the excellent Hush-Kit, there is a list of the best looking French aircraft. It's a list that is not without its talking points - like cricket, rugby and football teams, every reader will always see some 'inexplicable omissions' from such selections. Where, for example, is the Latécoère 28 (the floatplane version flown by Jean Mermoz shown previously here)? I must also confess to having a soft spot for the Nieuport-Delage Ni.52/62/72 series, despite the odd sesquiplane configuration; and for the Dewoitine D500 and the Blériot-SPAD 510, which both staggered on in service until May 1940. Indeed, all the wartime SPADs have their rugged, business-like, charm, but elegant they are not - not even the more streamlined S.20. You might also include the Caudron C.640, but whilst powerful and streamlined, it remains a knock-off of the DH88 Comet.
But no, we are not here for the best of French aviation, but for the worst - the ugly monsters that should really have never left t…

Full of Eastern Promise

After investigating the rolls of Napoleon's Guard and infantry, I had another browse around the Mémoire des Hommes website of the Service Historique de la Défense, and took a look at the records of the French East India company, the Compagnie des Indes. The Company was originally created in 1664 as a rival to the British and Dutch companies. Like the HEIC, it couldn't help but meddle in local affairs, and the European conflicts between the two countries were also played out in India. The French got the worse of it, and the Compagnie virtually collapsed in 1764. It was revived in 1785, but was then abolished during the Revolution. Despite this, the French retained several enclaves in India, particularly around Pondicherry (now Puducherry) on the south-east coast, and Chandernagore (now Chandanaggar) until 1954 (yep, six years after the British left).
The approach is via the tab Présence française dans le monde. You are given several options. The Orientations historiquesprovide…

5,000 views!

To celebrate 5,000 page views of this here blog since it began in February, we go for the usual selection of eye candy aviation-themed posters, but this time, posters from the other side of the Wire (? of the Hill? of the Clouds??) - Germany.
Straubing is in eastern central Bavaria. The Volksfest was first held in 1812, following a decree by King Maximilian I Joseph, as a festival organised by the agricultural societies of the kreis. It declined in the course of the century, but was revived in 1898. It is now one of the biggest fairs in Bavaria outside Munich.

Sad to relate, the 1912 centenary event was completely rained off, so no-one will have seen the action depicted in the poster (designed by Edwin Hedel).

What a striking, unearthly image (by Ernst Riess)! The pilot with helmet, goggles and protective clothing hardly revealing any skin at all; above him flies a Taube, with another large biplane in the distance. The Prinz Heinrich event was a trial for prototypes, set up in 1911, bu…