Pilots of the Polish Air Force saw action from the first day of World War 2 until the final victory in Europe in May 1945. Flying hopelessly outmoded P.11 fighters in defence of their country in September 1939, a handful of pilots inflicted serious losses on the Luftwaffe before being overwhelmed. The survivors escaped to then neutral Hungary and Romania, before being ordered to France by the new C-in-C of exiled Polish Armed Forces, Gen Sikorski. With the invasion of Western Europe by the Germans in May 1940, the surviving pilots were once more thrust into action in newly-formed Polish units, but again defeat ensured. A number of men then fled to Britain, where they were posted to either frontline Fighteer Command units or to generic squadrons formed in July/August 1940. The Polish pilots/squadrons made a significant contribution to the victory of the Battle of Britain, and from that foundation, these squadrons went on to see much action not only in Western Europe, but also in North Africa.
Almost 60 Polish pilots achieved ace status with the RAF, with men like Skalski, Urbanowicz, Horbaczewski, Gladych and Zumbach achieving scores well into double figures flying famous Allied types like the Hurricane, Spitfire, Mustang and Thunderbolt.
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(247mm x 184mm x 6mm)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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Author Biography - Robert Gretzyngier
Although only in their early 30s, Robert Gretzyngier and Wojtek Matusiak are not only co-editors of Poland's most pre-eminent monthly aviation journal, Skrzydlata Polska, but they have also researched the subject of Polish aces more thoroughly than any other aviation historian in Europe. Indeed, their knowledge of non-Polish RAF aces in general rivals that of many so-called eminent historians in Britain! They have interviewed dozens of pilots and spent hundreds of hours searching archives in Britain France and Germany specially for this book.