Traces of World War 2 
The Belgian Air Force
Aéronautique Militaire Belge
10/05/1940 - 30/06/1940

      home - latest update 29 March 2008

Introduction | Order of Battle | Sources | Links | Books | Losses

The Belgian Air Force was effectively suppressed on 10 May, suffering heavy losses on the ground. At Schaffen all but one of the 11 Hawker Hurricane fighters were wiped out, while the squadron of 15 Gladiators lost about six aircraft. Of the 23 Fiat biplanes, about 14 were destroyed. In total, about 80 aircraft were lost on the ground.

The 14 Battle bombers, the only modern bomber force the Belgians had, were massacred on 11 May attempting to knock out the Maas bridges at Maastricht. The Belgian air force had only a negligible impact thereafter.

By the time of the Belgian surrender on 28 May, just a handful of reconnaissance planes remained operational, covering the last battles along the Lys River. Both British and French air activity was fairly heavy over Belgium, supporting the large forces they had put into the country.

Source: David Meyler, The Air Services of the Low Countries
in the Second World War
, Avalanche Press

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1er Régiment d'Aéronautique (1st Air Regiment - Observation and Army Cooperation)
2e Régiment d'Aéronautique (2nd Air Regiment - Fighters)
3e Régiment d'Aéronautique (3rd Air Regiment - Reconnaissance and Bombers)
Ecoles de Pilotage (Flight Schools)
Centre d´Instruction des sous-lieutenants d´Aéronautique
École de tir
Établissements d´Aéronautique
Service de ravitaillement et de dépannage (SKD/Aé)

1er Régiment d'Aéronautique / 1ste Luchtmacht Regiment /1st Air Regiment (Observation and Army Cooperation).

Ier Groupe Aircraft # Peacetime base Wartime base Attached to
1/I/1, 1er Escadrille 'Mouette' Fairey Fox II and III 10 Deurne Hingene IVe & Ve Corps d'Armées
IIe Groupe          
3/II/1, 3e Escadrille 'Feuille de Houx' Fairey Fox II 12 Goetsenhoven Glabeek IIe Corps d'Armée
IIIe Groupe          
5/III/1, 5e Escadrille 'Hirondelle' Fairey Fox III 10 Goetsenhoven Jeneffe IIIe Corps d'Armée
& Liège fortress
IVe Groupe          
7/IV/1, 7e Escadrille 'Méphisto' Fairey Fox VI 9 Goetsenhoven Lonzee VIIe Corps d'Armée
& Namur fortress
Ve Groupe          
9/V/1, 9e Escadrille 'Sioux Bleu' Renard 31 11 Bierset Wilderen Corps de Cavalerie
VIe Groupe          
11/VI/1, 11e Escadrille 'Sioux Rouge' Renard 31 8 Bierset Hannut Ier Corps d'Armée
and later VIe Corps d'Armée
  total: 60      

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2e Régiment d'Aéronautique / 2nd Air Regiment - Fighters

Ier Groupe Type # Peacetime Base Wartime Base  
1/I/2, 1e Escadrille 'La Comète' Gloster Gladiator 15 Schaffen Beauchevain &
2/I/2, 2e Escadrille 'Le Chardon' Hawker Hurricane Mk.I 11 Schaffen Beauchevain &
IIe Groupe          
3/II/2, 3e Escadrille 'Cocotte Rouge' Fiat CR 42 14 Nivelles Brustem  
4/II/2, 4e Escadrille 'Cocotte Blanche' Fiat CR 42 9 Nivelles Brustem  
IIIe Groupe          
5/III/2, 5e Escadrille 'Aigle Bleu' Fairey Fox VI 15 Nivelles Vissenaken  
6/III/2, 6e Escadrille 'Aigle Rouge' Fairey Fox VI 15 Nivelles Vissenaken  
  total: 79      

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3e Régiment d'Aéronautique (3rd Air Regiment - Reconnaissance and Bombers)

Ier Groupe Type # Peacetime Base Wartime Base or notes  
1/I/3, 1re Escadrille 'Dragon Doré' Fairey Fox III 15 Evère Neerhespen  
3/I/3, 3e Escadrille 'Dragon Argenté' Fairey Fox III 15 Evère Neerhespen  
IIe Groupe          
9/II/3, 9e Escadrille none - Evère crews operated in 5/III/3  
11/II/3, 11e Escadrille none - - planned, not created  
IIIe Groupe          
5/III/3, 5e Escadrille 'Faucon Egyptien' Fairey Battle 14 Evère Belcele  
7/III/3, 7e Escadrille 'Flèche Ailée' Fairey Fox VIII 9 Evère Belcele  
  total: 53      

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Ecoles de Pilotage (Flight Schools)

Ecole de Pilotage Elémentaire (Basic Flight School)

Unit Type Peacetime Base
1ere Escadrille Avro 504 (first type flew in 1913!), Avro 626, MS 236 & SV4B; these planes were distributed throughout the units St-Denijs-Westrem
2e Escadrille   Gosselies
3e Escadrille   Deurne
5e Escadrille   Wevelgem
6e Escadrille   Wevelgem
  total planes: ?  

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Ecole de Pilotage Avancé (Advanced Flight School)

Based at Wevelgem & Goetsenhoven

(aircraft type - number of planes)
Fairey Firefly - ? (first prototype flew in 1941???)
Fairey Fox - ?
Bréguet XIX - ?
Potez 33 - 8?
Koolhoven FK 56 - 12

Source: Aéronautique Militaire Belge - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940

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350 (Belgian) Squadron
Alternate Views on Adolf Galland's WW2 Kills
Ancien Bulletins du CLHAM
Aircraft ued by the Belgian Armed Forces
Aéronautique Militaire Belge - Order of Battle, 10th May 1940
Belgian Armed Forces, 1940
The Belgian Army at the outbreak of WW2 (doesn't state sources)
Belgian Aviation History Association
Belgian Hawker Hurricanes controversy -
Belgian place names in Dutch, French and German (Wikipedia)
Belgian War Cemetery Willemstad (English)
Belgian War Graves (1914-1918; 1940-1945)
Belgian Women in Uniform 1940-1946
Biplane Fighter Aces - Belgium
The Campaign of the Belgian Army in May 1940
Chievres Air Base History Erehof Willemstad (in Dutch)
The Fiat CR.42 in the Belgian Air Force
France, 1940
The Gloster Gladiator in the Belgian Air Force
Rodolphe Count de Hemricourt de Grunne
Militaire Vliegveld Vissenaken (in Dutch)
De Slag om de Grebbeberg (Dutch) Fall Gelb (Dutch)
Slagveld Sloedam (Dutch)
The Stampe

War over Holland (English)
Wings to Victory (Dutch)

Prisoners of War captured in Europe 1940
RAF - Campaign Diary - The Battle of France (May-June 1940)
RAF Museum: British Military Aviation in 1940
The Second World War - a day by day account

The War in France and Flanders, 1939-1940, by Major L.F. Ellis, 1954

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The Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Belgium The Official Account of What Happened 1939-1940
Brian Bond, France and Belgium, 1939-1940
Peter D. Cornwell, The Battle of France, Then and Now, 2008
Cynrik De Decker en Jean-Louis Roba, Mei 1940 boven België: de luchtstrijd tijdens de achttiendaagse veldtocht, De Krijger, Erpe-Mere, 1993
Major L.F. Ellis, The War in France and Flanders, 1939-1940, 1954
J.Fabribeckers, La Campage de L'armee Belge en 1940
Telford Taylor, The March of conquest
Jean-Luc Wauthy and Florimond de Neve, Les Aéronefs de la Force Aérienne Belge (3e partie : 1920-1940), Le Fana de l'Aviation magazine n.306, Mai 1995
General Wetzel, Der Angrif der 255. Division über die Lys
Michael Wiesner, "Wer die macht hat, hat recht". De Belgische krijgsgevangenen in Duitsland en de Conventie van Genève, 1940-1945, 2005

Zoho Creator: Books Belgian Aviation

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Links (in Dutch)
De Belgen in Engeland 1940-1945 (in Dutch)
Belgian Aviation History Association Archaeological Team
Belgian Aviation History Association
Belgisch Nationaal Herdenkingscomité / Comité National Belge du Souvenir
Belgians in the RAF and SAAF Bruggenhoofd Gent (in Dutch) - contains lists of Belgian and German casualties, Gent area, May 1940
Deaths in deportation
Gefusilleerden & gedeporteerden uit de Tweede Wereldoorlog / Les Fusillés et les déportés de la deuxième Guerre Mondiale, Belgium (in Dutch and French)

Discussion Groups
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
War over Holland Discussion Forum

Abbreviations used in the Royal Air Force
Code Names & RAF Vocabulary

Air Aces
Airwar over Denmark
Allied World War II Casualties in the Netherlands
Australian Wargraves
Axis History Factbook
British Aircraft Directory
British Aviation Archaeological Council - Books and research links
Canada's Air Force History
HMS Cavalier
Ciel de Gloire (in French) RAF Squadrons
CWGC Cemeteries Germany
CWGC Cemeteries Netherlands
Czechoslovak airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
Danish WW2 Pilots
Dutch Pilots in RAF Squadrons
Eagles Squadrons (American pilots in the RAF)
Foreign Aircraft Landings in Ireland 1939-1946
Håkans aviation page (from Sweden, in English)
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death, poem by W.B. Yeats
Jagdgeschwader 27 (in German)
Luchtoorlog ('Arial War', in Dutch, with many photos)
Land Forces of Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth
The Luftwaffe, 1933-1945
Luftwaffe and Allied Air Forces Discussion Forum
The National Ex-Prisoners of War Association
Nordic Aviation during WW2 aircraft of WW2
Polish Air Force 1940-1947 Operations Record Books
RAF Battle of Britain
RAF Upwood
RAF WWII 38 Group Squadrons Reunited
Warbird Alley
War over Holland
World War II Aircraft wrecksites in Norway

The Aerodrome - Aces and Aircraft of World War 1
WW1 Cemeteries

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This page is dedicated to the Belgian airmen who lost their lives in May 1940.

With special thanks to Leendert Holleman, Alain Rosseels and Henk Welting

© Bart FM Droog / Rottend Staal Online 2008. Permission granted for use of the data gathered here for non commercial purposes, if this source is mentioned with a link to