Normandie-Niemen

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The Normandie-Niemen squadron (Russian: Нормандия-Неман) was a fighter squadron of the French Air Force. It served on the Eastern Front of the European Theatre of World War II with the 1st Air Army. The regiment is notable for being one of only two air combat units from an Allied western European country to participate on the Eastern Front during World War II, the other being the British No. 151 Wing RAF[1] , and the only one to fight along the Soviets till the end of the war in Europe.

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Description

The unit originated in mid-1943 during World War II. Initially the groupe comprised a group of French fighter-pilots sent to aid Soviet forces on the Eastern Front at the suggestion of Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French Forces, who felt it important that French servicemen serve on all fronts in the war.

The unit was the GC3 (Groupe de Chasse 3 or 3rd Fighter Group) in the Free French Air Force, first commanded by Jean Tulasne (the 's' is silent). It fought in three campaigns on behalf of the Soviet Union between March 22, 1943, and May 9, 1945, during which time it destroyed 273 enemy aircraft and received many orders, citations and decorations from both France and the Soviet Union, including the French Légion d’Honneur and the Soviet Order of the Red Banner. Joseph Stalin awarded the unit the name Niemen for its participation in the Battle of the Neman River (1944).

As of 2005 the unit, known as squadron 1/30, flies Dassault Mirage F1 CT planes.

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