|I have been researching and working on a book on the French Marauders
for many years and I am in the final stages of writing. I have visited
this b26.com website on and off for 10 years. I am asking for first person
stories or fun annotates told to children of US Maraudermen about their
experiences with French Maraudermen. Pictures of US and French Maraudermen
together would be very much appreciated with full credit given to donors.
Especially for the 1943-1944 period when the French crews were being
trained by AAF personnel at the Telergma Bombardment Training Centre (BTC)
The book will be available only by early 2014 as we are adding a full
English section as well as some color profiles. The lay-out is being
I'm presently reviewing all texts and recovering most of the original
pictures which had been stored for 30 years in Paris while I was working
overseas. Most of (if not all) the FAF Marauder witnesses I interviewed
between 1975 and 1988 unfortunately passed away. I have more research to
do, especially in the USA. The book is to be published in 2014.
This B-26 book is a salute to my family and uncles who were all killed in
combat in 1944 and 1945, as well as to the USAAF and its personnel who
trained and fought along the French Maraudermen.
I will send an image of all the original metallic emblems worn by FR AF
Marauder crews during WW2. Cloth patches were extremely rare -- even
non-existent -- at that time among bomber crews. This really is a US
invention which was taken over first by pursuit crews of GC 2/5 "La
Fayette” in Algiers in 1943, as all the Sioux Head patches had been
offered by a private US donator, an ex-WW1 member of the US "La Fayette”
1 — “Maroc”: This emblem is correct. Nickname of the squadron was
"One-Two-Two”. Not in any form of disrespect for the USAAF but after the
name of a high-end Paris brothel highly visited by FR AF officers
(bachelors?) before WW2.
Le "One-Two-Two" at 122, Rue de Provence, Paris Ixe. The place does not
exist any more but the building is still there, just behind the two big
Parisian department stores : Le Printemps and Les Galeries Lafayette (not
to be confused with the Marquis de La Fayette who was not a shopkeeper but
a freedom fighter)
2 — “Bretagne”: Emblem is correct but not much 'legible'.
GBM 2/20 was the only so-called Free French unit of all the 8 Marauder
squadrons which have existed between 1943 and 1946, all other squadrons
were 'normal' French…
Just tell yourself that 'Free French' were some kind of Ivy League guys…
and you certainly don't need to be a descendent of the Pilgrim Fathers to
be a good American.
When I lived in LA between 1993 and 1996 I met with many friendly ex-Tuskegees
(332nd FG), and they are dye-hard US patriots of the best race — I can
swear on the Bible.
US historians always make that same mistake: French Marauder Men were 90
percent not 'Free French' or Gaullists. Only the personnel of GBM 2/20
was, and only for the first semester of the unit's existence. By V-E Day
only 20 percent of GBM 2/20 were original Gaullists. With only the
partisans of General de Gaulle it would have been very difficult to bring
together a full 112,000 men army to fight along the Allies in Italy, in
France and Germany. Gaullist combatants were a mere 2,500 men!
All FR AF Marauder crews were courageous guys, Gaullists or not, and the
deadly German Flak did not make any difference between French combatants…
3 — “Gascogne”: Correct for the B-26 period. Present EC 1/91 "Gascogne”,
flying Rafale B fighter-bombers, has the lion colors inverted (blue lion
4 — Franche-Comté”: Correct. Present day "Franche-Comté” flies C-130H
Hercules in Orléans.
5 — “Bourgogne”: Correct. All B-26s of that squadron sported a bottle of
Burgundy wine emblem (with a different name-scroll) and a wreath of grapes
under the copilot's cockpit.
6 — “Senegal”: Correct, but very few B-26s were ever seen with that emblem
painted on. The squadron's two escadrilles had more 'trendy' emblems, a
scorpion, and a vulture.
Created at the end of the war, GBM 1/34 “Béarn” was the longest serving
Marauder unit in FR. Ending up in 1947 as a transport squadron.
7 — GBM 1/31 “Aunis” was short-lived. Although it was fully manned, it
never got any of the ex-USAAF 17th BG B-26s it was awaiting as the war in
Europe was then over.
Unités Nom de start escadrille n°1 escadrille n°2 end
GBM 1/22 Maroc 07/1943 VB109 VB 125 05/1946
GBM 2/20 Bretagne 06/1944 Rennes Nantes 03/1946
GBM 1/19 Gascogne 06/1944 Sal 28 Spa 79 04/1946
GBM 2/52 Franche-Comté 09/1944 Sal 19 Br 104 01/1946
GBM 2/63 Senegal 09/1944 VR 558 F 554 05/1946
GBM 1/32 Bourgogne 09/1944 Br 7 Br 35 04/1946
GBM 1/34 Beam 10/1944 Sal 14 Sal 18 07/1947
GBM 1/31 Aunis 05/1944 Sal 277 Sal 10 07/1945
You need to be aware that most people in France, when they talk about the
B-26, refer to the Douglas A-26/B-26 Invader… which was also used by the
FR AF in Indochina and Algeria in large numbers. And also by many of the
same units which flew the Marauder. Metallic emblems of the A-26 period
can be found by dozens at the Flea Market, certainly not those of the
Marauder's which were produced in short series in Algiers and in Lyons
only, from 1943 to 1945.
The Red Paper Hen in the center of your image (taken from a Memorial
publication published in Paris in late 1945, of which I own a copy) was
(then) Colonel Paul Bodet's personal emblem. Paul Bodet commanded the 11th
Brigade de Bombardement Moyen. The Red Paper Hen (the original emblem of
Escadrille Br 11 created in 1913) was painted on the nose of 'his' B-26G,
a former GBM 1/32 a/c which had a small liquor bar inside, and a den with
comfortable armchairs installed inside the locked bomb bay…A paper hen is
British English for an origami chicken…Which in French is called a
'Cocotte' also meaning … a hooker. It's all about WW2 aviators who did not
get much to be with females…War is just constant frustration to most.
Jean-Michel Guhl ©2013