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Pierre Pouyade

Pierre Pouyade French Air Force general

French Air Force general
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro French Air Force general
Was Politician Aviator Pilot Aircraft pilot
From France
Type Military Politics
Gender male
Birth 25 July 1911, Cerisiers, France
Death 5 September 1979, Bandol, France (aged 68 years)
Star sign LeoLeo
Politics Union of Democrats for the Republic
Prytanée National Militaire
Companion of the Liberation  
Medal "For the Victory over Germany in the Great Patriotic War 1941–1945"  
Order of the Red Banner  
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order  
Order of Alexander Nevsky  
Lenin Peace Prize  
The details

Pierre Pouyade (25 June 1911 – 5 September 1979) was a French Air Force general, World War II flying ace, and a commander of the Normandie-Niemen squadron. By the end of the War he had scored eight solo victories and two group victories, all but one on the Eastern Front.


Early life

Pouyade was born into a military family and studied in the Prytanée National Militaire from 1924 to 1928. In 1930 he entered Saint Cyr but after two years decided to pursue a career in the Air Force. He was commissioned as a pilot in the Versailles Air Academy in 1934. Lieutenant Pouyade served in the 6th Fighter Wing at Chartres Airfield from 1935 to 1937 and was then transferred to the Reims-based 13th Fighter Wing. On 15 June 1939 he was promoted to captain.

World War II

During the Battle of France he served as commander of GCN II./13, a Potez 630 night fighter squadron. On 2 June 1940, after destroying an enemy He 111, he was shot down and wounded. He remained in the Vichy French Air Force.

On 23 November 1940 he was posted to French Indochina as a fighter squadron commander with EC II./295, flying the MS.406. The colony, nominally administered by the Governor General Jean Decoux, was practically under Japanese rule in the aftermath of the 1940 Franco-Thai War. Pouyade was ordered to engage any Chinese Air Force or 'Flying Tigers' planes encountered.

On 2 October 1942 Pouyade deserted, stealing the Japanese air defense plans for the region. He took off from Bach Mai Airfield in a Potez 25 and flew to China, crash-landing near Kunming. There he made contact with the Free French delegation in Chongqing, which arranged for him to travel to London. The Vichy Government sentenced him to death in absentia for his desertion.

Free French Air Force

After a five-month-long journey through India, Africa and the United States he reached Britain in February 1943. The commander of the Free French Air Force, General Martial Valin, introduced him to Charles De Gaulle, who assigned him to recruit volunteers for the Normandie squadron, a Soviet-based Free French Air Force unit which took part in the combat operations on the Eastern Front.

Pouyade was sent in May 1943 to the Soviet Union to participate in the fighting as chief of an escadrille in the unit, arriving in June 1943. On 14 July, he claimed a Bf 110, and a Fw 189 and a Ju 87 the next day. On 18 July the Normandie-Niemen commander Jean Tulasne was shot down in a battle over Oryol and killed, and Pouyade replaced him. Under his leadership the unit took part in the battles for Belarus. On 21 July 1944, after its participation in Operation Bagration the unit was renamed Normandie-Niemen, for its contribution to the campaign in the eponymous river's area. They were later involved in the fighting over Poland and East Prussia, as part of General Georgi Zakharov's 303rd Air Army.

On 11 November 1944 Pouyade was relieved from his duty as commander and replaced by Louis Delfino. He returned to the now-liberated France, where he was severely injured in a car accident in January 1945. After recovering, he returned to active duty at April. When the war ended he held the rank of lieutenant colonel and had scored eight solo and two group kills in 178 sorties.

Post-war life

In 1947 Pouyade became president Vincent Auriol's air attache, a post which he held for three years. From 1950 to 1953 he was the military attache in the French Embassy in Argentina. Afterwards he served as an instructor in the NATO Defense College. In 1956 Brigadier General Pouyade retired from the French Armed Forces.

After his discharge he worked as an advisor on Soviet matters in the French arms company CSIAé (Sindicate of Aerospace Industries) and as the director of the overseas department in RICOM. On 9 February 1966 he replaced Jean Charbonnel as the Union for the New Republic's deputy for Corrèze in the French National Assembly. From March 1967 until April 1973 he held the same post for Var. Pouyade chaired the Franco-Soviet Friendship Association and was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet government during 1976. He died from cancer in 1979 and his ashes were scattered off the coast of Toulon.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 05 Apr 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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User contributions
Added by helene pouyade on 04 Apr 2020

My father has  not " deserted" in 1942 !  but he joinded Free French of Général de Gaulle ! He was not " released " from his commandement in november 1944 but was designed in december to prepare a French Division to continue the war...and he  went to Paris with all the Free French pilots of his Squadron . After his accident in january 45 in Paris, he  returned in USSR in avril and came back in France at the head of his group at LeBourget the 20thof june 1945.  

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