The Normandie-Niemen Squadrons were Free French combat pilots that flew missions against the Nazis for and from Russia. They flew 869 missions and scored 273 victories with 37 non-certified shoot-downs. French pilots were flying the Soviet Yakovlev 1, and fast nimble and easy to fly fighter that resembled the Spitfire. These guys could fly. In fact the French brought down so many Focke Wolfe 190s that Field Marshal William Keitel said if he found any French pilots they would be shot immediately.
The Groupe de Chasse GC 3 Normandie program was expanded into a full regiment size unit with four more squadrons added and a newer version of the Yak, the Yak 9D was supplied to the French. From Eastern Prussia to Germany the French pilots chewed through one German squadron after another. Stalin and De Gaulle lauded them. Stalin offered three squadrons of Yak 3 fighters as thank you gifts. The French squadrons flew to France after the war and were hailed as heroes when they landed.
Four of the Normandie-Niemen pilots were named as national heroes in the Soviet Union. The French also his Wehrmacht armor unions in battles around Orel, Bryansk, and Konigsberg. The French gave the Normandie-Niemen squadron the Croix de la Libération, the Médaille Militaire and the Croix de Guerre. The Soviet Union gave them the Order of Alexander Nevsky.
Source: The History of Modern Warfare, Paul Brewer Cartlon Books 2007 , wiki