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#4407242 - 02/24/18 09:24 PM Spa 103 and René Fonck.  
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“The Storks” (by memory officially called GC 12) was formed in November 1916 of 4 Escadrilles - with then N103 (later Spa 103) being part of it.
During the war 103 was credited with 108 aircraft victories plus a couple of ballons. Certainly a respectable number but of that 108 total René Fonck was responsible for 73 of them!

Whatever the personality quirks historically assigned to him (and my favorite was a quote from his reported closest friend) the man was a hell of a pilot.

#4407256 - 02/24/18 09:58 PM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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The man was methodical in his approach to everything and left nothing to chance, from accounts I've read. When he chose to go hunting for Boche planes he was successful more often than not.

.

#4407259 - 02/24/18 10:04 PM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Quite so Lou.
And the previously mentioned quote from his reported best friend - himself a 20+ victory ace:

“He is not a truthful man. He is a tiresome braggart, and even a bore, but in the air, a slashing rapier, a steel blade tempered with unblemished courage and priceless skill. ... But afterwards he can't forget how he rescued you, nor let you forget it. He can almost make you wish he hadn't helped you in the first place."

Hell of a pilot though!

#4407260 - 02/24/18 10:13 PM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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No doubt Duke, he was a hell of a pilot, and appears to have taken great joy in telling folks just how skilled he really was. Love that quote as well.

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#4407261 - 02/24/18 10:19 PM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Well, in his left-handed defense, if I shot down 75 planes, had to walk doubled over because of all my medals, and survived the war, you probably couldn’t shut me up either! smile
Heck you can’t now and I am only an electronic ace! When my computer is working that is....

#4407263 - 02/24/18 10:22 PM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Fair enough! biggrin

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#4407404 - 02/25/18 07:41 PM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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I flew an electronic SPAD once! cheers

#4407413 - 02/25/18 08:40 PM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Hero!

#4407430 - 02/25/18 09:38 PM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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Originally Posted by DukeIronHand
Well, in his left-handed defense, if I shot down 75 planes, had to walk doubled over because of all my medals, and survived the war, you probably couldn’t shut me up either! smile
Heck you can’t now and I am only an electronic ace! When my computer is working that is....


He did have to carry a heavy burden on his chest:

[Linked Image]

The pic dates probably from early 1918, and Fonck is still missing some of the awards he was decorated with later in the war and soon after, most notably the commandeur class of the Légion d'honneur, which is worn on a ribbon around the neck.

Fonck remains the Allied ace of aces. He approached air combat with an uncommonly scientific method, and when off-duty, avoided all the usual vices of the fighter jockeys' of his day, like regular visits to prostitutes and consumption of huge amounts of alcohol.

I imagine that was enough to alienate him from many of his colleagues, and his arrogant attitude can't have helped things.


"Upon my word I've had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers."

James McCudden, Five Years in the Royal Flying Corps
#4407464 - 02/26/18 12:28 AM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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It is said he never got one enemy bullet hole in his birds! I don't know how true that is. Now... Nungesser ... he didn't worry about women or drink!

#4407466 - 02/26/18 12:37 AM Re: Spa 103 and René Fonck. [Re: DukeIronHand]  
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He was actually, in my opinion, a bit ahead of his time in many ways. Reportedly, besides the things you already mentioned, was careful in what he ate (apparently difficult at an airfield - even a French one), did calisthenics, and went to bed early.

Somewhat similar to the way MvR approached life at the front and acedom.
Not as some carefree game and prostitute-laden booze fest but as a serious and almost scientific business.

Be curious if his reported reputation was well deserved. I live thru the literary period of the “anti-hero” where authors like to paint the grimmest picture of any “hero.” Albert Ball, MvR, Mannock, Bishop, Fonck, and others - even Guynemer and Rickenbacker - were certainly targets in some books. Became trendy for a while to be a...doubter of virtue? Some Vietnam War left over I am thinking.
Anyways given the above quote by Marcel Hagen(sp) I guess there was some fire with the smoke.


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