Who's Who - Michel Coiffard
Michel Joseph Callixte Marie Coiffard (1892-1918) was a notable French 'balloon buster' air ace during the First World War.
Following spells with both the French infantry and artillery Coiffard enlisted as a military aviator in 1917. Assigned to N154 and then Spa154 he undertook the often overlooked but notably dangerous practice of enemy observation balloon hunting.
While the life expectancy of any First World War aviator (particularly over the crowded skies of the Western Front) was in any event precarious, specialising in downing enemy balloons was an especially dangerous occupation, protected as they were by artillery and patrolling aircraft.
Nevertheless Coiffard excelled in his chosen field. Of his final total of 34 confirmed air victories fully 28 were achieved against German balloons.
Holding the rank of Lieutenant Coiffard was finally killed in action some two weeks short of the armistice, on 29 October 1918. He was 26.
In slang a "beetle" was a landing craft for 200 men.
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