A superb photograph of French Dewoitine D.510 in Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) service. This line-up shows the Dewoitine aircraft at the time they were operated by a French volunteer squadron. The camouflage pattern may be seen to good advantage and appears to be dark green dapple over silver dope/natural metal finish. After examining many photographs of the Chinese Dewoitines I still cannot make up my mind whether there is a second base colour under the dark green mottle or it is just the effect of overspray! Even the prop blades were mottled.
Some accounts claim that the Dewoitines were only used as fighter trainers by the Chinese. In fact, after the French had departed, the surviving Dewoitines were deployed by the Chinese 17th Chung tui (approx. squadron). On 4th November 1939 they were part of a force that intercepted formations of Imperial Japanese Navy G3M bombers attacking Chengtu. Captain Shen Tse-Liu in aircraft '5921', leading the 17th's Dewoitines, attacked the G3M of 13th Ku commander Captain Okuda in a head on pass, using the 20mm cannon to set fire to the Japanese bomber and destroying it.
The Chinese had discovered that if fired in a dive the spring tension of the drum magazine of the Hispano HS-9 cannon was not strong enough to feed rounds into the breech of the gun, resulting in stoppages. They therefore made straight and level attacking passes on the bombers.
After the head on pass Captain Shen made further attacks against the rear of the Japanese formation but his aircraft was damaged by return fire, resulting in a forced landing in which he was injured. Dewoitine '5924' flown by Lieutenant Chen Kwei-min was also damaged by return fore but landed safely.
The Chinese Dewoitines do not appear to have been equipped with wing armament.
Image credit: Albert Lee Wong via "CAF-Flyboy"