The Lafayette Escadrille: A Photo History of the First American Fighter Squadron

The Lafayette Escadrille: A Photo History of the First American Fighter Squadron

by Steven A. Ruffin


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The Lafayette Escadrille was an all-volunteer squadron of Americans who flew for France during World War I. One hundred years later, it is still arguably the best-known fighter squadron ever to take to the skies. In this work the entire history of these gallant volunteers—who named themselves after the Marquis Lafayette, who came to America’s aid during its Revolution—is laid out in both text and pictorial form. In time for the centennial celebration, this work not only tells the fascinating story of the Lafayette Escadrille, it shows it.

Already a student of the squadron, the author spent a full year sifting through university and museum archives in the United States and France for photographs and documents relating to the famed unit. To complement these images, he traveled extensively, taking snapshots of existing markers and memorials honoring the men of the Lafayette Escadrille. In France, he specifically sought out locations where the squadron operated and its pilots frequented. In several cases, he was able to match his present-day color photos with contemporary images of the same scene, thus creating a jaw-dropping then-and-now comparison. To add even more color, the author included artwork and aircraft profiles by recognized illustrators, along with numerous full-color photographs of artifacts relating to the squadron's men and airplanes, as they are displayed today in various museums in the United States and France.

The result is undoubtedly the finest photographic collection of the Lafayette Escadrille to appear in print. Along with the expert text revealing air-combat experiences as well as life at the front during the Great War, it is a never-before-seen visual history that both World War I aviation aficionados and those with a passing interest in history will appreciate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612003504
Publisher: Casemate Publishers
Publication date: 06/30/2016
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Steven A. Ruffin is an aviation writer and researcher who has previously written the books Aviation's Most Wanted and Flights of No Return, as well as numerous articles in aviation and military magazines. He also served as the Managing Editor of the prestigious World War I aviation journal Over the Front from 2007 through 2010.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgements xv

Introduction xvii

Prologue xxi

1 An All-American Idea Takes Shape 1

2 The Escadrille Américaine Is Born 13

3 First Blood 29

4 Into the Grinder 41

5 Season of Discontent 55

6 The Battle Continues 65

7 The Best and the Bravest 75

8 Misery in the Somme 85

9 Mac Goes West 97

10 The Heartbreak of Ham 109

11 Chaudun and Beyond 121

12 Hard Times at Senard 135

13 From Falcons of France to American Eagles 149

14 Aftermath 161

Epilogue 175

Appendices 179

Selected Bibliography 183

Archival Sources 186

Museums 187

Index 188

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