French Rafale jets deploy to Poland (without the markings of the unit which fought alongside Soviets in WWII)

Four French Air Force Rafales have deployed to Poland. The aircraft don’t sport the traditional tail markings and the reason may be their unit fough alongside the Soviets in WWII.

At 09.40 GMT, four French Air Force Rafale “omnirole” jets landed at Malbork airbase in Poland, where they have been deployed to reinforce NATO and its allies presence around Ukraine.

The combat planes belong to two squadrons of the Armée de l’Air: the EC 1/7 “Provence”, based at Saint Dizier and the EC 2/30 “Normandie-Niémen” from Mont-de-Marsan.

The French planes had their unit markings removed from their tails, in what seems to be a symbolic act rather than a specific operational requirement, considering that squadron badges were not erased in previous combat operations (for instance Libya Air War in 2011).

The “Normandie-Niémen” was the only French Air Force unit (a Regiment) to fight alongside the Soviets until the end of the war in Europe, during WWII; considered the growing tension with Russia following the invasion and annexation of Crimea, most probably, Paris did not want to deploy aircraft whose markings could somehow recall a glorious past of joint operations with Moscow’s air armada.

A bit of Psyops?

Rafale Poland

Image credit: French MoD /EMA


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About David Cenciotti 4450 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.


  1. Removing emblems that might be offensive isnt psyops, its called having some common courtesy.

    • No siding with the Soviet at the time was the lesser of two evils Patton was right, we should’ve let him march on the Soviets back then.

  2. I thought the west wanted to de-escalate, rather than increase tensions and frustration…

    • Of course not, this only about aggressive expansion by the usual suspects. You only have to scratch the surface of these ‘humanitarian interventionists’ to find a neocon war monger. Nuland admitted herself the US has invested $50 billion since 92 in Ukraine ‘politics’, again, switching sides, thousands of US forces gave the ultimate sacrifice in WWII to crush the scourge of the extreme right, now they back them in Kiev!. Whether we agree or like Russia/Putin we’re all better off they’re there as a limiting factor at least as the only thing that is understood by these war hungry neocons is looking down the barrels of equally powerful weapons.

  3. It would have been a bad idea if they decided not to take off these emblems. Anything that relates to the Soviet Union is frowned upon in Poland and righteously so.

      • Poland wasn’t put into the soviet union(with no regards to its own preference) by Germany. The “aid money” comes from the EU, which FYI doesn’t consists of only Germany.

        A similar question could be asked, how does Germany feel about Polish financial contributions into the EU? Should they be mad because Poland was defending itself and shooting back?

      • @ Miller my point is Germany did a lot more to harm Poland than Russia (or does you memory not go back further than the creation of the Warsaw pact) but Poland loves EU ai money – and yes most of it does come from Germany – Germany pays for the EU just look at Greece every time they need a further bailout its Germany that foots the largest share

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