Lafayette Escadrille

(redirected from Escadrille Americaine)

Lafayette Escadrille

(lä'fēĕt`, lăf'ēĕt` ĕskədrĭl`), small group of American volunteer aviators in World War I, created (Apr., 1916) as Escadrille Américaine in the French air service. It was renamed the Lafayette Escadrille in December of the same year in honor of the French hero's service in the American Revolution, and the outfit saw much frontline action and suffered heavy casualties. In Jan., 1918, the Lafayette Escadrille was reorganized in the U.S. army as the 103d Pursuit Squadron.

Bibliography

See E. C. Parson's The Great Adventure (1937, repr. 1972 under the title I Flew with the Lafayette Escadrille); study by H. M. Mason (1964).

Lafayette Escadrille

American aviators assisting Allies in WWI. [Am. Hist.: Jameson, 273]
References in periodicals archive ?
Thirty-eight Americans ultimately would fly as members of either the Escadrille Americaine or Lafayette Escadrille.
Its nickname of l'Escadrille Americaine, caused diplomatic problems with Germany, but the pilots thought the alternative title, l'Escadrille des Volontaires, was too prosaic and failed at what they regarded as part of their goal--to goad their country into the war on the Allied side.
On April 20,1916, the Escadrille Americaine, officially N 124, was placed on duty at the front.
The Escadrille Americaine was from the beginning a chasse or pursuit squadron.
It was evident that this small unit could not possibly take care of all the Americans who wanted to volunteer, and this brought about the formation of the Lafayette Flying Corps, a larger organization consisting of all American volunteers in the French aviation service, a number of whom were not in the Escadrille Americaine but flew as individual members of French Groupes de Combat.
Here they had a chance to fly service types of machines, and sooner or later were assigned to a squadron on the front, in some cases to the Escadrille Americaine, but usually, as the Corps increased in size, to a Spad squadron in one of the Groupes de Combat.
Kiffin Rockwell shot down the first enemy plane credited to the Escadrille Americaine on May 18, 1916, on the Alsatian front.
When recovered, he transferred to aviation and eventually became one of the first seven American members of the Escadrille Americaine (N.124), five of whom had previously flown in other French squadrons.