Alternate History Combat Aircraft

Ok, so here's my Easter Egg for you...
Spinning forth the tale of the Caudron 714 built by Renault:

Caudron714Foreign.jpg


The Caudron 714 was a Hail-Mary fighter conceived out of desperation... twice. The first time was when in the general fighter panic leading up to WWII, Marcel Rifard proposed a lightweight fighter made mostly of wood which, as Caudron at that time was a subsidiary of the Renault automobile group, could be built outside of the established aircraft industry.

The second desperate gamble came after the fall of France, when Germany started dismantling the French aero industry in order to use its factories for their own war effort. Recalling the appeal of the Caudron 714 practically built by carpenters onto a Renault base frame, Renault started marketing the idea of a 'homebuilt' fighter to every foreign country that had a Renault factory. As its main target was not to make a profit, but to get its own aircraft engineers out of France while still keeping them on their payroll, Renault could offer a deal so sweet not many countries could say no. True, by 1940, the 714 was hopelessly outclassed by the likes of the Me.109, the Spitfire Ia and the Zero... even by aircraft like the P.40, F4F and LaGG.3. Yet, it was still a step forward compared to the 10-year old biplanes many other countries were flying. Plus it was home-made and thus not relying on the whims of axis and allies for spare parts.

With Spain the first 'customer', construction of the 'foreign built' C.714 began in earnest in 1941 and before too long, the entire staff of Caudron had relocated to Madrid where, despite the Franco dictatorship, the air was much easier to breathe than in occupied Paris. As part of the Renault package consisted of 'easing in' the new Renault airplane division by building the 4-seat Caudron C.635 Simoun sportsplane/light transport, the Caudron Team in Spain quickly started devising a simplified C.714 that used parts shared with the Simoun production line. This resulted in the C.715, recognizable by its Simoun-style tailplane and the C.717 with the Simoun 's fixed landing gear. (A two-seat C.716 trainer was also designed but only built in small numbers.)

After Spain, the 715 and 717 were built in Romania, Argentina and Mexico while at one time even the China expressed interest. The final manufacturer of the Caudron was Lebanon: Upon liberation by the Free French forces, the old Renault factory in Beirut quickly set up a production line for an even more barebones C.717 to be flown by the French foreign legion and local volunteers. Although by this time definitely outclassed by every fighter in the allied arsenal, the plane cold still match the remnants of the Italian and Vichy Air force in the region and proved its worth as a ground attack aircraft and shipping patrol in the later stages of the war. Eventually, the Beirut factory ended up as a staging point for exiled French aeronautical engineers from all over the world who would later form the nucleus of the post WWII French aero industrym

Perhaps the biggest impact of the C.714/716/717 however was on the sport of soccer: While working for Caudron-Renault in Lebanon, a young draughtsman named Marcel Delatour fell in love with a local girl. Out of their union was born the famous Sadi Delatour, top scorer of all of France for most of the 1960's, left flank of the French National soccer team in 1966, 1970 and 1974 and eventually coach of the 'Equipe Bleu', leading it to win the 1978 World Cup
 
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