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Air Observation Group GAO III/551


Historical

On the date of the outbreak of the German attack of May 10, 1940, the GAO III / 551 is attached to the Third Army in the Air Cooperation Forces of the ZOAE (East Air Operations Zone).


Staff

Commanders of the group GAO III/551
Commander PALDACCI
 
Captain BOURSAUS Georges
Juny 5, 1940
 
Commander MARIAGE Pierre
Juny 6, 1940
 
Other Members of the Military Staff
Captain PETITPREZ
Meteorological Officer
   
Aspirant RAY
Doctor
   

 


Personnel

Pilots and crew of the Group
Names of crew members
Rank
Function
Informations
Civil-statut
Photos
Citations
BALLET Jacques
Lieutenant
Observer
Born in Neufchateau. In 1929, after graduating from the Avord Reserve Officers Aviation School, he joined the 34th Aviation Regiment in Digny. He joined the GAO III/551 at the mobilization on September 3, 1939.      
BARLIER
Sub-Lieutenant
       
BERLAND Robert
Chief Warrant Officer
Pilot
Killed on June 13, 1940 aboard Potez 63-11 No.384 shot down by 6 Me109.    
BOURSAUS Georges
Captain
Pilot et Commander of Group
Wounded on June 5, 1940 aboard Potez 63-11 No.365 shot down by 7 Me109.    
BRAGADIR
Lieutenant
Pilot
On May 15, 1940, his aircraft, Potez 63-11 No.389 was shot down by 7 Me109. Lieutenant BRAGADIR, unscathed, managed to put his aircraft in the open countryside.      
BRAGEOT
Adjutant
       
BURCELIN
Master-Corporal
Machine-Gunner
On May 15, 1940, his aircraft, Potez 63-11 No.389 was shot down by 7 Me109. The Pilot manages to put his aircraft in the open countryside. Master Corporal BURCELIN is unharmed.      
COURMES
Sergeant
Pilot
     
DEBLADIS Roger
Lieutenant
Observer
Seriously wounded on June 5, 1940 aboard Potez 63-11 No.365 shot down by 7 Me109.    
DE-GINESTET Emeric
Lieutenant
Observer
Killed on June 13, 1940 aboard Potez 63-11 No.384 shot down by 6 Me109.    
DE-VILLEFAIGNE
Lieutenant
       
DUBIN
Sub-Lieutenant
       
GIRARD Louis
Staff-Sergeant
Machine-Gunner
Killed on June 13, 1940 aboard Potez 63-11 No.384 shot down by 6 Me109.    
GOUSSAULT
Lieutenant
Observer
Artillery Lieutenant detached to the GAO III/551      
JOST Raymond
Sub-Lieutenant
Observer
Killed on June 5, 1940 aboard Potez 63-11 No.796 shot down by 5 Me109.    
KREMPF
Sub-Lieutenant
       
LECLERC
Lieutenant
Observer
Cavalry Lieutenant detached to the GAO III/551      
LHOSTE Bernard
Sergeant
Machine-Gunner
Wounded on June 5, 1940 aboard Potez 63-11 No.365 shot down by 7 Me109.    
LIEB Georges
Lieutenant
Observer
On May 15, 1940, his aircraft, Potez 63-11 No.389 was shot down by 7 Me109. The Pilot manages to put his aircraft in the open countryside. Lieutenant LIEB is seriously injured.    
MARIAGE Pierre
Commandant
Commander of Group
   
MARZLOFF
Captain
Observer
Cavalry Captain detached to the GAO III/551      
MORILLON
Staff-Sergeant
Machine-Gunner
     
NEUVILLE Pierre
Staff-Sergeant
Pilot
Killed on June 5, 1940 aboard Potez 63-11 No.796 shot down by 5 Me109.    
PALDACCI
Commandant
Commander of Group
     
QUILICO Adrien
Sergeant
Machine-Gunner
Killed on June 5, 1940 aboard Potez 63-11 No.796 shot down by 5 Me109.    
RONOT
Captain
Observer
     
ROSSIGNOL
Adjutant
Machine-Gunner
     
ROSSIGNOL Jean
Captain
Observer
Killed on September 11, 1939 aboard the Mureaux 117 No.70 shot by the Flak in Germany.      
SIMARD
Lieutenant
       
SUEUR Jean
Lieutenant
Pilot
Killed on September 11, 1939 aboard the Mureaux 117 No.70 shot by the Flak in Germany.    
THERON
Sub-Lieutenant
       

 

 

 


Mechanics

Group Mechanics
Name
Rank
Function
Sqn.
Informations
Photo
FONTENELLE
Chief Warrant-Officer
Mechanic
 
           

 

Stories of crews

Crews of Group
Names of crew members
Rank
Function
Informations
Crew
SUEUR Jean
Lieutenant
Pilot
Mureaux 117 N° 70 : shot down by the Flak in Germany on September 11, 1939, his crew is killed
ROSSIGNOL Jean
Captain
Observer
Crew
BRAGADIR
Lieutenant
Pilot
Potez 63-11 n° 389 : Destroyed in air combat on May 15, 1940. Lieutenant LIEB is seriously injured.
LIEB
Lieutenant
Observer
BURCELIN
Master-Corporal
Machine-Gunner
Crew
COURMES
Staff-Sergeant
Pilot
Potez 63-11 n° 365 : On 20 May 1940, Staff Sergeant COURMES attacked a Junker JU52 during a mission. He strafed the enemy aircraft from the rear and plunged under it to disengage, but was hit by the train of the Junker JU52 which plunged at the same time. The German plane crashed to the ground, but Staff Sergeant COURMES managed to bring his plane back and land it on its Airfield, despite the "amputaion" of part of its left wing. The Potez 365 was repaired but was finally shot down on 5 June 1940 (see below).
BALLET Jacques
Lieutenant
Observer
ROSSIGNOL
Adjutant
Machine-Gunner
Crew
BOURSAUS
Captain
Pilot
Potez 63-11 n° 365 : Shot down by German Fighters on June 5, 1940. The crew is wounded, Lieutenant DEBLADIS more seriously.
DEBLADIS
Lieutenant
Observer
LHOSTE
Sergeant
Machine-Gunner
Crew
NEUVILLE Pierre
Staff-Sergeant
Pilot
Potez 63-11 n° 796 : Shot down by German Fighters on June 5, 1940. The crew is killed.
JOST Raymond
Sub-Lieutenant
Observer
QUILICO Adrien
Sergeant
Machine-Gunner
Crew
BERLAND Robert
Chief Warrant Officer
Pilot
Potez 63-11 n° 384 : Shot down by German fighters on June 13, 1940. The crew is killed.
DE-GINESTET Emeric
Lieutenant
Observer
GIRARD Louis
Staff-Sergeant
Machine-Gunner

 


Airfield

Airfields
Period of use of airfields
Names
County
Sternay-Wisseppe
54 - Meurthe et moselle
September 03,1939
Senon-Spincourt
55 - Meuse
September 06,1939
Chambly
60 - Oise
May 12,1940
Sissonne La Malmaison
2 - Aisne
May 16,1940
Sézanne Saint-Rémy
51 - Marne
May 18,1940
Romilly-sur-Seine
10 - Aube
May 19,1940
Etrépagny
27 - Eure
May 23,1940
Bacqueville-En-Caux
76 - Seine-Maritime
May 27,1940
Caen-Carpiquet
14 - Calvados
June 071940
Sainte-Croix-Sur-Mer
14 - Calvados
June 13,1940
Fontenay-le-Comte
85 - Vendée
June 15,1940
Cazaux
33 - Gironde
June 17,1940
Perpignan-La-Salanque
66 - Pyrénées Orientales
June 20,1940
Alger Maison-blanche
Algérie
June 21,1940

Click on the map to enlarge :

Itinerary of the GAO III/551

 


Aircrafts

The GAO III/551 was equipped since its creation, following aircrafts :

The used aircrafts are described in the accessible file by the link below. You will find N ° of series, Registration, date of affectation to the group, and fate of the plane there.

In this list are identified :

  • 1 Mureaux 117
  • 4 Potez 63-11

 


Casualties

Crewmen killed
8
Captain Jean ROSSIGNOL (Combat)
September 11, 1939
Lieutenant Jean SUEUR (combat)
September 11, 1939
Sub-Lieutenant JOST (Combat)
Juny 5, 1940
Staff-Sergeant NEUVILLE (Combat)
Juny 5, 1940
Sergeant QUILICO (Combat)
Juny 5, 1940
Lieutenant DE-GINESTET (Combat)
Juny 13, 1940
Chief Warrant Officer BERLAND (Combat)
Juny 13, 1940
Staff-Sergeant GIRARD (Combat)
Juny 13, 1940
Crewmen injured
4
Lieutenant LIEB (Combat)
May 15, 1940
Lieutenant DEBLADIS (Combat)
Juny 5, 1940
Captain BOURSAUS (Combat)
Juny 5, 1940
Sergeant LHOSTE (Cmbat)
Juny 5, 1940

 


Sources

- The citations or decorations listed are extracted from the Official Journals archived in « Source gallica.bnf.fr / Bibliothèque nationale de France »
- The dates and places of birth of the Group's personnel are taken mainly from the site : "Mémoires des Hommes"
- Book : "Ils étaient là" by Mr Jacqueline and Paul MARTIN - Editions Aéro-Editions