(Yak-9T with Marcel Lefevre figure)
As part of the agreement between the National Committee of Free France and the
government of the Soviet Union, Air Group No. 3 was formed in September 1942,
which soon became the Normandy Squadron. On December 4, 1942, the squadron
was included in the Soviet Air Force, and in April 1943 it began combat operations.
On July 5, 1943, the squadron was formed into the 1st Fighter Aviation Regiment
“Normandy”, which later became known as “Normandy-Neman”. Marcel Lefevre
was one of the first pilots to join the unit. After training on Soviet aircraft, he scored
his first victory on the Eastern Front in May 1943, shooting down an Hs-126 fighter
and then an Me-109 fighter. Lefevre was an inventive and virtuoso pilot in combat,
energetic and proactive. His experience and skill allowed him to be a kind of teacher
for the new French pilots arriving in the regiment.