Engaged since September 1943 in coastal surveillance missions, the 1/5 “Champagne” fighter group totalled more than 11,500 flight hours when, in October 1944, it abandoned its Bell P-39 Airacobra for Republic P-47D Thunderbolt more powerful. From December 1944, within the new 3rd Fighter Squadron, the group took an active part in the Alsace campaign and then in missions to Germany. On the day of his parade on the Champs-Elysées, May 9, 1945, his record was eloquent with 2,300 fighter-bombardment sorties, 1,100 tons of bombs dropped and hundreds of locomotives, wagons, trucks and other vehicles destroyed. In seven months of intense fighting, the 1/5 “Champagne” fighter group also deplores the loss of eight pilots including that of its leader, Commander Edmond Marin la Meslée, shot down by the Flak in Alsace on February 4, 1945.
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