How much the Polish Air Force contributed in WW2 ?

Jul 2018
497
Hong Kong
#1
Introduction

I guess everybody is well-acquainted of the fact that the Polish Air Force played a key role in the Allied cause of WW2. However, do you know how much extent of the Polish pilots' involvement during the war ? Not only they fought in the Battle of Britain with distinction, but also took part in various RAF operations that inflicted immense damage upon Nazi Germany on the European continent.

Adam Zamoyski is really an outstanding Polish-British military historian who gave very much insight about the extraordinary performance of the Poles and the history of the rarely-known Polish Air Force in WW2. I am determined to conduct the extensive study based on his book The Forgotten Few : The Polish Air Force in World War II.

Those small number of Poles (approx. 17,000 in total) generated the tremendous impact in the course of WW2. They definitely deserved the praise of what Winston Churchill uttered : "Never was so much owed by so many to so few."

In this thread, let us discuss and analyze how was the pre-WW2 Polish Air Force organized, what did they perform and achieve during WW2, how did they co-operate with the British in RAF, and how were they betrayed and what's their fate in post-WW2. And most importantly, how would you evaluate the Polish Air Force's performance and role by yourself ? Did they score much success and contribution like what the popular legends had claimed ?
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,996
US
#2
The Polish air fighters were invaluable during the Battle of Britain. Would Britain have held out without their contributions?
 
Jul 2018
19
Poland
#3
The Staff had problems with the new Polish "pilots" of Squadron 303 at the beginning considering that they had to learn English (Possibly only one pilot knew English on a very basic level), one of the pilots (now a veteran) has mentioned it in a documentary film. I believe that It can be found on Youtube. Polish Divisions have also contributed to the uprising in Warsaw as they volunteered to drop supplies to the capital knowing the dangers. I believe that Poles weren't the only ones who wanted to help the resistance In their own war against the Reich. Many bombers didn't return to the airfields where they have taken off, they either went missing in action or were shot down by the Anti-Aircraft emplacements.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,996
US
#4
The Staff had problems with the new Polish "pilots" of Squadron 303 at the beginning considering that they had to learn English (Possibly only one pilot knew English on a very basic level), one of the pilots (now a veteran) has mentioned it in a documentary film. I believe that It can be found on Youtube. Polish Divisions have also contributed to the uprising in Warsaw as they volunteered to drop supplies to the capital knowing the dangers. I believe that Poles weren't the only ones who wanted to help the resistance In their own war against the Reich. Many bombers didn't return to the airfields where they have taken off, they either went missing in action or were shot down by the Anti-Aircraft emplacements.
No. 303
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._303_Polish_Fighter_Squadron

I read there were 145 Polish fighters in the RAF, the most of any non British nationality or ethnicity.
 
Oct 2017
169
Poland
#5
I am not much interested in the 20th century, so I will give you only a few superficial things.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_contribution_to_World_War_II#Air_force

"These Polish pilots, constituting 5% of the pilots active during the Battle of Britain, were responsible for 12% of total victories in the Battle."



"In the second half of 1941 and early 1942, Polish bomber squadrons formed a sixth of the forces available to RAF Bomber Command but later they suffered heavy losses, with little replenishment possibilities."




https://sciaga.pl/tekst/6336-7-lotnictwo_polsie_podczas_ii_wojny_swiatowej

"On the morning of September 1, 1939, about 2,000 Luftwaffe aircraft attacked Poland. Marshal Herman Goring's subordinates counted on easy victory knowing that Polish airmen had only 400, mostly obsolete machines at their disposal. But the Polish squadrons did not let themselves be surprised. They avoided bombing at airports, moving earlier to masked landing sites, from which they took off against aggressors."



"The Poles, on the other hand, tried to maximize the main advantage of PZL - maneuverability, which combined with the mastery of the pilotage, allowed them to fight even with several times more opponents.
Despite the significant advantage of the Luftwaffe, our fighters shot down 147 aircraft over the Polish sky, losing only 53 of their own in combat. Unfortunately, at least as many machines were destroyed due to the lack of spare parts and fuel, during forced landings and a hasty retreat."

"In mid-1942, the RAF offensive gained momentum. On the night of May 30, 1,000 bombers were sent for one target for the first time, of which 10% were machines with Polish crews. However, these huge expeditions caused significant losses, because the German defense against aviation was very effective."




Polskie Si?y Powietrzne w czasie II wojny ?wiatowej - Polska w czasie II wojny ?wiatowej



"Polish aviation for over 10 days faced the prevailing opponent, using the active support of anti-aircraft artillery. As a result, the balance included about 250-285 destroyed German machines. Polish losses are estimated at over 300 machines. Poles managed to evacuate over 100 aircraft to neighboring countries, where most pilots were interned. Historians are not sure about the findings, in the face of discrepancies in reporting and the understatement of losses by the German side."

"Bombing forces made nearly 12,000 airplane tasks, which puts Poland at the forefront of the most committed anti-fascist coalition states."



Apparently only one Polish soldier fought against Japan.



"Japan was the only country that Poland officially declared war in the 20th century. Only one Polish soldier was directly involved in the armed operations against her. But he could fight for the entire squadron."



"An air ace Witold Urbanowicz in September 1943 volunteered (as a guest) to the American 14th Air Fleet fighting on the Chinese front. After a short stay in squadrons 16 and 74, on October 23, 1943, he was assigned to the famous 75th (75th Fighter Squadron) 14th Air Force Group, known as "Flying Tigers". As a pilot of this unit, flying on the P-40N Kittyhawk, the Pole fought well in the battle of Changde, escorted bombers and transport planes. On December 11, shielding a formation of bombers, he found himself alone against six Japanese fighters, two of whom he shot down (probably Nakajima Ki-43)."



"The main plane in the Yankee armament was the P-40 Warhawk. On this not-too-modern machine at that time, they had to face the dangerous Mitsubishi A6M Zero. With worse equipment, the Americans developed a special tactic of an unexpected attack in a diving flight. It brought them a lot of successes."

"Urbanowicz was initially stationed at the airport in Kunming, where he underwent appropriate acclimatization. He also learned many, in theory, necessary things in battle. In his memoirs he wrote after many years:

In the instructions given to American soldiers, I read a very valuable tip; that the Japanese can be easily distinguished from the Chinese because he has a large toe protruding.

Of course, it turned out to be nonsense. But he was surprised by the uncompromising attitude of Japanese pilots in air combat. Urbanowicz quickly gained respect for their courage, fanaticism and tenacity. As he summed it up, there were other rules of fighting here. Nevertheless, the Polish pilot proved with his achievements that contempt for death would not replace experience and training."



"As he intended, he did. The sky samurai, although he used up his ammunition, did not give up and tried to ram the Polish fighter. Urbanowicz avoided the collision at the last moment, then dashed the Warhawk in a steep dive behind Zero.

Polish ace was not used to waste ammunition in such situations. Browning missiles of his P-40 torn the hull of the enemy plane. The Japanese pilot rescued himself with a parachute jump and landed in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, where sharks caught him."

"In the end, when Urbanowicz was in a convenient shooting position and pulled the trigger, it turned out that his mgs were jammed! Nevertheless, keeping the appearance of the attack, he was running the Zero ahead of him. The Japanese pilot panicked, making desperate evolutions with the P-40 sitting on his tail. At one point: at high speed collides with the ground, turns around, lights up."

"As he claimed years later, during the fights in the Far East his account of victories increased by as much as 11 Japanese aircraft. He hit six enemy machines in the air and destroyed 5 more at airports. Officially, however, he received only two shot downs."


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptijNcDanVw



In general, Polish contribution was quite big, especially when we consider how small they were.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_contribution_to_World_War_II

"The Polish forces as a whole are considered to have been the 4th largest Allied army in Europe, after the Soviet Union, United States and Britain.[a]"


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q88AkN1hNYM



https://www.thinglink.com/scene/566002612571209729







 
Jan 2018
323
Sturgeon Lake Mn.
#7
Years ago in Chicago a fella who’d been a Polish fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain worked for my father’s engineering outfit, where I worked as a draftsman. The guy was quite a character and had a strong dislike for Germans and Bohemians.

He drove a big white Buick Duece and a Quarter with several German cross decals on the fenders above the portholes to mark the Germans he’d shot down. He also had a model of a Spitfire hanging inside the rear window.
 
Jan 2015
3,286
Front Lines of the Pig War
#8
The Polish air fighters were invaluable during the Battle of Britain. Would Britain have held out without their contributions?
Pretty likely yes, but that doesn't diminish their contribution

I am not much interested in the 20th century, so I will give you only a few superficial things

Translation for th e graphic? :think: