French Flying Boats, 1924-1939...

...Polish Wings No.27, from MMP Books

Title:  Polish Wings 27, French Flying Boats, 1924-1939

Author: Robert M Stitt

Publisher:  MMP

ISBN:  978-83-65958-50-1

The history of the Polish Air Force continues with No 27 in the Polish Wings series from MMP Books. In this case we go to the inter-war period, when Poland had acquired the now prt of Puck, with a seaplane base that had been previously used by the German military. There were hangers, administrative buildings, slipway and docks where seaplanes could be moored or brought up onto the beach or apron. Initially the Polish units used old German machines but soon bought some Itlain aircraft, which though they served a useful purpose, they were already worn out. The Naval Aviation arm needed new aircraft, and they turned to France for 4 different flying boat types.
Following the informative Introduction which sets the scene, along with a lot of excellent archive photos to support the text, the book moves on to tackle the topic of Camouflage & Markings. Then it goes on to describe each type of Flying Boat, all supplied from French makers. The first is for the Loire et Olivier, LeO H-13B3 and the H-13E. These are followed by the CAMS 30E, a flying boat built by Chantiers Aero-Maritimes de la Seine whose factory was in Paris. Next, the Latham 43 HB.3, a 'Heavy' flying boat. Then another type which to be honest I can't remember reading about before, the Schreck FBA 17 HMT.2 and HE.2, aircraft that were the more numerous in Polish service. It was a smaller, single-engined flying boat. Finally, another Loire et Olivier type, the LeO H-135B3. All of these chapters are lavishly illustrated with a super collection of archive photos, along with colour artwork that give all the detail you need for modellers. In addition to the text which tells us about how each of them got on in service, including training and accidents. Added to this, each one also has tables which show which units individual airframes served with, and when plus notes on specific airframes.
This makes a very interesting addition to the Polish Wings series, and covers a series of aircraft which to be honest, I knew next to nothing about before now. The number of excellent archive images is quite something, giving great illustrations of the aircraft themselves, the facilities at the Puck operating base, so many of the aircrew and support teams who looked after them, the human side of the story. Add the colour artwork and this will interest aviation historian and modeller alike.  Another excellent addition to the Polish Wings series, and equally interesting for dealing with the inter-war period.

Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin