Morane Saulnier MS.406C1...
...Camera On 14, from MMP Books
Title: Morane Saulnier MS.406C1, France 1940
Author: Bartlomiej Belcarz
This is number 14 in MMP's Camera On series, a soft-cover book of 80 pages, by author Bartlomiej Belcarz. The subject of this French fighter also includes examples due to go into Polish service as well as French.
The 80-page softcover book opens with the details from a report written for the Polish Air Force, who had agreed to buy a number of the MS.406C1 from the French. It was a relatively modern aircraft, though it was already outclassed by the start of WW2. To pass some on, the French Government managed to get the Poles to agree to buy some. They clearly knew it was not ideal, but needs must and they were at least available. A number of the photos include examples with Polish markings, though still in France while Polish pilots were training on them. What we see then in the excellent collection of photos are a few which show the aircraft in serviceable condition, and French and Polish pilots posing alongside their machines. The bulk of the pictures though show the many wrecked airframes which were spread around the various airfields in France following the success of the German Blitzkrieg. Like most soldiers/airmen, they liked to pose for souvenir pictures to send home to their families, or simply as a reminder. Some were clearly posed for the camera, perhaps for propaganda purposes. A number of them show the same aircraft but clearly at different times, as they were moved and/or scavenged/stripped. A few of course are completely burnt out, leaving little recognisable apart from the engine, and sometimes the tail. There are a variety of airfields featured, including Cambrai, St.Quentin, Norrent-Fontes, Oran-La Senia, Clermont-Ferrand and others. There are also a selection of shots illustrating the Germans removing some of the airframes for evaluation, parts or just scrap.
Some of the photos have other aircraft featured within them, as well as the MS.406 airframes which form the subject of the book. The whole collection is a fascinating record of the Blitzkrieg era in France in 1940, and many of the pictures will offer some fine inspiration for modellers who might like to recreate them in miniature. Another excellent addition to the Camera On series.
Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.