Crosnier, Alain & Jarrige, Pierre - L'ALAT en AFN - French Army aviation in North Africa (ebook)
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Crosnier, Alain - L'ALAT en AFNThis book is part of a trilogy by Alain Crosnier devoted to the air assets engaged by France in operations in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia between 1943 and 1965. The other two volumes are devoted to the air force and naval aviation resources.
From artillery aviation to the ALOA...
The ability to see and inform has always been a constant obligation for the Army and a particularly dear need for artillerymen. The new French army set up in North Africa with the help of the allies in application of the Anfa agreements of early 1943 was to benefit from the organisation of the US Army, which had an autonomous artillery aviation. The French command then set up an organisation to manage the future artillery observation aircraft sections that were to be created. It was planned that each of the newly formed French divisions could be equipped with five two-aircraft artillery observation sections (SOAA), the whole forming a platoon (POA) of ten aircraft. The Piper L-4 aircraft, known as Piper Cub, were received in Algeria in September and October 1943 and it was in the middle of winter 43/44 that the crews carried out their first missions over the Italian theatre of operations, which was mountainous and not very conducive to the movements of the young pilots, who also had to be wary of an abundant Flak.
In March 1952, a ministerial decision created the Aviation légère d'observation d'artillerie (ALOA) and entrusted the Army with the complete implementation of the air and ground equipment necessary for the observation and control of artillery fire. The ALOA was limited to missions for the benefit of the artillery. But in Indochina, it introduced the helicopter in particular for medical evacuations. In January 1953, ALOA sent a first group of volunteers to follow a training course on Bell 47D and Hiller 360 light helicopters, and then for some of them on Westland S-55. There, the first Sikorsky S-55s delivered to the Army were integrated into a group, the GFHATI, a land unit created in liaison with the Air Force.
... and to the ALAT
The ceasefire of 21 July 1954 marked the end of the fighting in Indochina. On All Saints' Day of the same year, a new rebellion began in Algeria. The year 1954 was a pivotal one, since on 22 November a ministerial instruction decided to create an ALAT section. The Army's light aviation was born. The ALOA units in place in Europe and North Africa changed their name and became ALAT units. The French Air Force turned a blind eye but ensured that ALAT aircraft had no on-board weapons...
89 pages - in French