See also Groupe de Combat 12
Escadrille 103 of the French Air Force was formed from Breguet Escadrille 17, the latter being founded on 2 August 1914 at Longvic. On 16 November 1914, it re-equipped with Voisins, becoming Escadrille VB.3. On 23 November 1914, it was posted to Groupe de Bombardment No. 1, commanded by Commandant Louis de Goys de Mezeyrac. On 4 March 1915, it was redesignated Escadrille VB.103. As part of GB.1, the escadrille cited for its valor on 27 May 1915. General Ferdinand Foch issued the citation on 1 June. Foch would issue a second citation on 19 September 1915, based on the bombing raids of the 13th on Ludwigshafen. On 19 February 1916, the escadrille was repurposed as an escadrille de chasse (fighter squadron), being issued Nieuports and consequently renumbered as Escadrille N103. On 16 April 1916, the unit was amalgamated into Groupement de Combat de la Somme, along with Escadrille N26, Escadrille N73, and Escadrille N3. Escadrille N37, Escadrille N62, and Escadrille N65 were also temporarily assigned to the Groupement; the seven units were placed under command of Brocard. On 1 November 1916, the original four squadrons, including Escadrille N103, were formally consolidated as Groupe de Combat 12, under continuing command of Brocard.
On 28 January 1917, the unit was posted to the X Armee. It transferred to the VII Armee in March. On 12 July, it moved to support Ier Armee in Flanders. GC 12, including Escadrille 103, was transferred to VI Armee again on 11 December 1917.
Escadrille 103 continued its service within GC 12, as the groupe made the transition to support X Armee on 5 June 1918; to V Armee on 17 July; to Ier Armee on 29 July; and to II Armee on 9 September 1918. It received its third citation on the 9th, though the first as fighter unit Escadrille Spa103. It was credited with destroying 85 enemy aircraft and disabling 69 others. Its final tally for the entire war was 108 enemy aircraft and three observation balloons destroyed. The heritage of the escadrille continues in the present day French air force; it is represented by the top bird on the EC 1/2 Squadron emblem.
Commanding officers[edit | edit source]
- Escadrille VB.3
- Capitaine Georges Benoist: 2 August 1914
- Groupe de Bombardemente No. 1
- Chef de Bataillon Louis de Gous de Mezeyrac: 23 November 1914 - POW 27 May 1915
- Capitaine Willermoz: 28 May 1915 - 15 June 1915
- Lieutenant de Vaisseau Cayla: 15 June 1915 - 30 June 1915
- Capitaine Max Boucher: 1 July 1915 - 22 October 1915
- Lieutenant de Monju: 23 October 1915 - early February 1916
- Escadrille N103
- Capitaine Gallet: early February 1916 - 12 July 1916
- Lieutenant Barbey: mid July 1916
- Capitaine Jean d'Harcourt: late July 1916 - 27 March 1918
- Lieutenant Joseph Battle: 27 March 1918 - end of war
Notable personnel[edit | edit source]
Aircraft[edit | edit source]
Endnotes[edit | edit source]
- Franks, Bailey 1992, p. 103.
- Franks, Bailey 1992, p. 89.
References[edit | edit source]
- Franks, Norman; Frank W. Bailey. Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918 Grub Street, 1992. ISBN 0-948817-54-2, ISBN 978-0-948817-54-0.
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