Pierre Le Gloan



Le Gloan shown with his 'lucky 6' Ms.406 in which he scored his first victory


An example of a D.520

Pierre Le Gloan was born in Brittany on the 6th of January 1913. Le Gloan had a passion for aviation at a very early age, he obtained a state scholarship to join the French Air Force in 1931. He received his beret on the 7th of August 1932. As his gunnery skills were the best of the group, and his ability to lead a formation, he was appointed 'Chef de Patrouille' (Flight Leader). On the 4th of September 1939 Le Gloan and his unit were moved to Betz - Bouillancy with the objective to protect Paris, here he shot down his first kill, a Luftwaffe  reconnaissance bomber (DO 17) thus opening his scoring. He would go on to account for another 3 Lufftwaffe bombers during the opening days of the Battle Of France. On the 1st of June his squadron was moved towards southern France, to Le Luc airfield and re-armed with the newest Dewoitine D 520 fighters. After Italy  declared war on France and the Italian air force started bombing raids, Le Gloan shot down two Fiat BR 20 bombers on the 13th of June, flying in pair. On the 15th of June Le Gloan, along with another pilot, attacked a group of twelve Italian Fiat CR 42 fighters, and shot down 3 of them, while Cpt. Assolent shot down 1. While returning to the airfield, Le Gloan shot down another CR.42 and another BR.20 bomber. For this outstanding achievement of destroying 5 aircraft in one flight, he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, this would forever give him immortality being as he was only (at the time) the second fighter pilot of World War II to achieve this feat during one sortie.



By now Le Gloan had 11 victories to his name. Due to a Military  situation in France Le Gloan was ordered to participate with the Germans in the French controlled  vichy  of  Syria. In a campaign lasting little over one month Le Gloan downed six RAF Hurricanes.During the allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, (Operation Tourch), fighter squadrons in Algiers did not fight. Soon all the French forces in North Africa, along with Pierre Le Gloan, joined the Free French. In May 1943, the GC III/6 was re-armed with new P - 30 Airacobra fighters from the United States. In August, Le Gloan took the command of the 3rd flight (escadrille) of the squadron. The unit's only task became offshore patrols. On September the 11th, 1943, Pierre Le Gloan flew on patrol with another pilot. Over the sea, smoke started to come out of Le Gloan's engine. He returned towards the shore, but the engine stopped. He tried to make a belly landing on the shore, but, probably forgetting that his Airacobra still had an underbelly fuel fank attached (which were not used on earlier French fighters), the fuel in his plane exploded while he was trying to land, killing him instantly. During his complicated combat career, Pierre Le Gloan shot down 18 aircraft (4 German, 7 Italian and 7 British), which gave him the 4th position among the French 'Aces'  of the war.

Pierre Le Gloan with his Famous D.520 '6' in full summer markings

Le Gloan at the controls of his D.520 '6'