October 25, 2010

Famous Polish PZL 37 Los and P11 and the Polish Aces Who Flew Them

I had wanted to include videos with my previous post entitled "Media and Propaganda: The Polish Air Force in September 1939".  I recently came across this video which I would like to share with all of you.  It is quite exceptional and features the famous PZL 37 Los, and the P.11 which was part of the Pursuit Brigade, the jewels of the Polish fleet. The caption indicates that the film was made in the pre-war years of 1937 and 1938. But according to the keen observation of one of the viewers, who posted a comment, it actually took place during the September Campaign. (In some of the video frames, the planes were on the airfield at Okęcie).  Although the Polish Air Force was devastated by the German Luftwaffe, not enough can be said about the bravery and skill of Polish Aces in downing a phenomenal number of German aircraft.

I spent some time browsing the web and came up with some interesting and little-known facts about the Polish Air Force during September 1939:
  • From September 1 to September 6, 1939 Polish Fighter pilots shot down a total of 47 German aircraft. 
  • During the month of September 1939, Polish pilots shot down a total of 285 German aircraft, comprised of 63 reconnaissance planes, 67 Messerschmidt bf109s, 12 Messerschmidt bf110s, 78 Heinkel and Dornier planes, 31 Stuka (Ju87) dive bombers, 12 transport planes, and 22 of other types of planes. (These figures do not include ground-to-air kills, which totaled 87)
  • In addition there were over 270 German planes that were damaged by Polish fire.
    The following information was obtained from Polish Fighter Aces of World War 2, By the authors own admission the list is not exhaustive.  It also includes Polish Aces from the Battle of Britain and other WW2 battles: I have mentioned only two of them as the focus of this blog is the September Campaign.
    • Jan Falkowski, Ace Pilot made 9 kills. While flying a PWS-26 biplane aerobatics trainer, Falkowski was attacked by several Bf 109s.  He was able to take evasive action, thanks to the ease of  his plane's maneuverability.  It resulted in one of the German planes crashing to the ground, and the others, unable to catch him, gave up.  (Falkowski was shot down over Holland on March 9, 1945, but managed to escape capture.)
    • Stanislaw Brzeski, Ace Pilot made 8.5 kills. On September 3, 1939, Brzeski shot down a German observation balloon.(He was shot down by German flak on May 21, 1944 and spent the rest of the war as a German POW.)
    Another website I think is superb is Polish WW2 Fighter Aces,  which provides a long list of the names of Polish Aces, including their Military rank, followed by Confirmed Victories, Probable Victories, and Damaged Enemy Planes. I have listed only a few of them here: (they refer only to air-to air combat). The definition of an Ace was a pilot who had achieved a minimum of five (5) Confirmed victories in air to air combat. Poland had more than 40 Ace Pilots.
    • Major  Skalski Stanislaw    21 ---- 1 ---- 4 and 1/3 . He made a total of 321 sorties in WW2, fought over Poland in 1939, over England between 1940 and 1945, in Western Europe, Mediterranean, and North Africa.
    • Major - Pisarek M.  12 ---- 1 ---- 2   In September 1939 he downed two German planes and damaged one more. (He was killed in 1942 over France.)
    • Podpulkownik - Gabszewicz A.        9 and 1/2 ---- 1 and 1/3 ---- 3.  In the September Campaign 1939 he downed one of the first German planes. 
    I highly recommend the following websites for interesting information about Polish Aces and the September Campaign in 1939:
    If you would like to do some research on this subject, may I suggest that you first review my blog "Polish Air Force 1939: The Order of Battle"  which provides the complete list of Polish squadrons mobilized during the September Campaign.
    Thank you for visiting!
    Administrator, Polish Greatness.com

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