Tail of Mirage III E C/n 514
belonging to Fighter Squadron EC 1/2 'Cigognes' (storks). Note
the old system with French flag applied on rudder. EC 1/2
Squadron is showing here insigna of SPA 3 insigna. This unit
began life in July 1912 as Bl 3 with Blériot planes and was
fitted with Bébé Nieuports to become N 3 during 1916 and Spad
VIIs to become SPA 3 in October 1917 and ended WWI with 171
credited kills, its most famous pilot having been Georges
Companion escadrille of SPA3 at EC 1/2 having its insigna on opposite side is SPA 103 holds its origins from November 1914 as VB 3 and flying Voisin planes. After becoming VB 103 in March 1915 it transformed in N 103 with dotation of Bébé Nieuports in February 1916 and next SPA 103 in 1917 with the famous biplane fighter Spad VII. The unit totalled 108 victories and René Fonck got here a part of its 75 kills.
After WWI, in January 1920 SPA 3 and 103 became respectively 1st and 3rd escadrilles of the Strasbourg based 2nd RAC (Fighter Aviation Regiment) and, after Spads, they successively flew types such as Nieuport-Delage Ni-D 29 and probably Blériot-Spad 81 before passing to Nieuport-Delage Ni-D 62 and 622. When 2nd RAC was disbanded in September 1933 our two escadrilles moved to Tours to constitute Groupe de Chasse (Fighter Group) GC I/2, SPA 3 being the first escadrille and SPA 103 the second. A change of designation occured in December 1936, 2nd Wing becoming the 2nd Light Fighter Wing with move from Tours to Chartres where Ni-D 62s let place to Dewoitine 500s, the first low wing fighters built by France.
During Spring 1939, GC I/2 was transformed on MS-406s and became autonomous to install at Beauvais-Tillé airfield at the end of August 1939. After their 28 victories gained before the fall of France, GC 1/2 was disbanded on 20 August 1940 on the Nîmes-Courbesac airfield.
Reformed under Vichy Regime, GC 1/2 with the same escadrilles flaew again from 1st July,1941 with Dewoitine 520s and Chateauroux-Déols as airfield. The day of the Allied landings in Morocco, on 10 November 1942 the Squadron is sent in North Africa. He stationned at Bizerte-Sidi Ahmed and next Fès and Meknes before to be sent in Scotland as Royal Air Force unit in January 1944 and operated under Squadron 329 with Spitfires from March 1944 inside 145th Wing with the Alsace Squadron which had been the first Free French Air Force Group created on 1st September 1943
After War, first at Friedrichshafen in Germany, the regrouped French elements of 145th Wing constitute the 2nd Fighter Wing with five squadrons of which SPA 3 and 103 formed GC I/2.
After the Wing was reduced to two GCs in 1946, the GC 1/2 'Cigognes' and 2/2 'Alsace' did a tour of operations in Indochina from July 1946 to September 1947 with Spitfire IXs. Again at Friedrichshafen at the débuts of 1948 the squadron received P-47s and next moved to Koblentz. before to transform in France during 1948-1949 on DH Vampire 5s with which it installed (for ever???) at Dijon-Longvic N° 102 Air Base. And from 1953 the 'Cigognes' flew Dassault Ouragans, next Mystère IV As from 1956 with which it operated in the Suez Canal War. First squadron to use Dassault Mirage III Cs from February 1961, it converted to III E type from late 1968.