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David Seymour

World’s largest Air Force, Nov 1918

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David Seymour

Harald Penrose, in the second volume of his classic history of British aviation, claims that the RAF ‘had become the largest Air Force in the world, with 27,333 officers and 263,410 men of other ranks’. He gives the aircraft figure as 22,647.

H A Jones, The War in the Air - Appendices, 1937 (The Official History) offers, in Appendix XLI, the number of airframes on RAF charge on 31/10/18 as 22,171. His total for engines is 37,702. In Appendix XXXV he gives the personnel total, for ‘November 1918’ as: 291,175

Jones, in Appendix XL (Strength of Allied Aircraft on all Fronts, June 1918), gives the following totals for the Western Front: British 1736 and French 3149.

At the moment I cannot find any comparative figures for Nov 1918, but the June figures suggest that it might well be that the French Air Force was the largest in November.

Can anyone help with November figures for the French Air Force?

Many thanks for any help you can give on this matter.
David

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pete-c
14 minutes ago, David Seymour said:

Harald Penrose, in the second volume of his classic history of British aviation, claims that the RAF ‘had become the largest Air Force in the world, with 27,333 officers and 263,410 men of other ranks’. He gives the aircraft figure as 22,647.

H A Jones, The War in the Air - Appendices, 1937 (The Official History) offers, in Appendix XLI, the number of airframes on RAF charge on 31/10/18 as 22,171. His total for engines is 37,702. In Appendix XXXV he gives the personnel total, for ‘November 1918’ as: 291,175

Jones, in Appendix XL (Strength of Allied Aircraft on all Fronts, June 1918), gives the following totals for the Western Front: British 1736 and French 3149.

At the moment I cannot find any comparative figures for Nov 1918, but the June figures suggest that it might well be that the French Air Force was the largest in November.

Can anyone help with November figures for the French Air Force?

Many thanks for any help you can give on this matter.
David

 

David,

 

John H Morrow Jr, The Great War in the Air - Military Aviation from 1909 to 1921 has the following:

 

'In France the air arm diminished in size from 90,000 officers and men in November 1918 to 39,055 in October 1920.  Its number of aircraft shrank from 11,023 - 3,437 at the front, 33,886 in reserve, 3,000 in the schools, 700 in the interior and overseas - in November 1918 to 3,940 in March 1920, of which 3.050 were in storage.'

 

In the last paragraph of the chapter dealing specifically with French issues in 1918, Morrow states:  'In air strength it [the French air service] was the worlds largest air force.'

 

 

 

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David Seymour

Pete,

Thank you very much for looking out this material.  A very helpful and interesting reference.

David

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