Polish September 15, 1940
Sgt. Antoni Glowacki of the 501st Squadron was the first to hit the battle at 11.20. His squadron, together with the 253rd Squadron, was to attack a formation of Dornier Do 17 bombers in the Maidstone area, but before the Hurricane pilots could attack, they themselves had to face the accompanying German fighters on the Bf 109 . It was not valid for Antoni Glowacki to have had eight proven victories from previous fights. Although he was able to shoot at one of the opponents, but before he could verify the results of his shooting, he himself collected countless hits and was glad that he managed to land at the base with a machine.
The mechanics of the 303rd Polish Squadron were immortalized in early October 1940 in an aircraft with the inscription " 126 Adolphs ", which symbolized 126 verified victories achieved by the unit during the Battle of Britain
At 11.25, 13 Hurricanes took off from the Polish 302nd Squadron as part of the so-called Great Wing of the legless Douglas Bader over London. Next, let us remember one of the participants, Julian " Roch " Kowalski: " I flew to the left of S / L Commander Satchello, Czerwiński on the right. We flew through the clouds and narrowed my eyes at the sky. White lines loomed in the azure sky, first straight, then curled into wide arcs. I also saw wild spirals, which eventually turned into black smoke heading for the ground. From time to time, a white parachute grew up in the sky, which completed the overall impression of the scenery at a much slower pace.
The fight is already underway - I think in my mind - Spitfires welcome Messers. Below us, on a white pillow of clouds, the silhouettes of German bombers are clearly visible. Some are already repelled by Hurricane squadrons, but others arrive from the east. A big noise in the headphones, but I'm not listening. Why also? I don't understand. Then I hear Polish:, Attack! Let's hit those son of a bitch! ' It'll probably be Northolt - I think. They're closer than us. We are flying over them. Terrible sight! I'm glad I'm not German. We keep flying when I hear Bader's voice: 'Tally-ho!'
The Prime Minister of Poland, General Sikorski, honors Józef Jek, who shot down one Bf 110 on 15 September 1940 and recorded a total of seven and a half verified victories in the war.
The whole wing is attacking the massive formation of the Do 17 bombers at full throttle. I'm framing one Dornier in the crosshairs and shooting the first shot from a relatively short distance. I hit the fuselage, but the enemy continued to fly undisturbed. I shook my head and shouted in a strong voice, 'To Roch's engine, to the engine!' After another short dose, the engine exploded, the whole right wing broke off and the German fell into the clouds in a wild corkscrew… "
After a savage cut and after returning to Duxford Airport, the Poles from the 302nd Squadron without their own losses claimed seven certain and two probable victories. In fact, the German losses were smaller, because each shot down Dornier attacked several fighters.For example, a machine belonging to the KG 76 unit with the code F1 + FH was claimed independently by nine pilots !!!
Tadeusz Andruszków ( in life jacket ) with mechanics of the 303rd Squadron. September 15 participated in the downing of the bomber Do 17. He fell September 27, 1940
The sentence in Kowalski's headphones: “ Attack! Let's fuck you son of a bitch! "Came from the men of the Polish 303rd Squadron ; 12 of them attacked another formation of Do 17, which they mistakenly identified as Do 215. But before they got to effective range, they were attacked by escorting fighters from the cantilever. that it flies to meet other formations of Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighters. One Bf 109 headed straight for him with the apparent intention of undergoing a frontal attack. However, Lokuciewski did not want to take any risks and went into a left turn. The German flew harmlessly around without a chance to aim, and the Pole caught up with him after a short while. After two doses, the enemy began to smoke when Lokuciewski thought to look back. Late, Hurricane collected a series of hits and the pilot felt a sharp pain in his legs. Instinctively, he sank into the saving white darkness of the clouds. Under the clouds, he looked around and watched in horror as a huge hole in a 20mm grenade in the right wing. The coolant temperature rose sharply, but Lokuciewski still made it to the base in Northolt. He landed with the flaps closed because the controls didn't work. He was immediately taken to the hospital with his legs spread, but when he said goodbye to his friends, he smiled encouragingly at them and said, " But I got a sheepskin! "
Lokuciewski's claim was confirmed by the third member of the blue swarm Sgt. Wojciechowski, who followed the hit Bf 109 to the ground, where Uffz.Walburger from unit 2./JG 27 made an emergency landing and shortly afterwards went into captivity. Then Wojciechowski regained his height and together with Tadeusz Andruszków shot down one Do 17.
Three aces of the 303rd Squadron. From left: Sgt. Kazimierz Wunsche ( 5 kills ), Sgt. Stanislaw Karubin ( 6 ) and Sgt. Eugeniusz Szaposznikow ( 8 )
At the same time, Jan Zumbach flew from the yellow swarm to help his number Zdzislaw Henneberg, who faced the attack of two Bf 109s. One of them hit. The hit plane went into a dive and started burning. Then Zumbach and another Hurricane tried to attack the bombers, but he ran out of ammunition during the first dose. The Henneberg rescued by Zumbach had enough ammunition, so he managed to hit one Dornier in the right engine. After another dose, the fuel tank began to burn, which meant the final end of the enemy aircraft. Henneberg disengaged and headed home. However, his path was crossed by a trio of Bf 109 heading towards the Channel. Taking advantage of the fact that the Germans did not notice him, Henneberg attacked: " I opened fire at a distance of about 250 m and I saw one enemy plane start to smoke and drop slightly. I fired again. Then the enemy's plane slowed down significantly and I was able to fire the third series from the shortened distance of 130 m from the left side. The enemy aircraft hit the sea level at an angle of about 30 ° and about 10 km from the shore. "
A total of seven Bf 109s shot down and two Do 17 were awarded to a total of Poles from the 303rd Squadron after the morning battle. The Czech member of the squadron, Josef František , added one Bf 110. it was a great victory anyway.The Polish successful noon was supplemented by Marian Duryasz from the 601st Squadron, who, as a member of the Red Swarm at 12.30, shot down one Do 17 near Edenbridge: “ I flew like a red 3 Squadron A when we attacked the bombers. We carried out a frontal attack. During the attack, one dodged and tried to escape in a pike. The clouds were fast approaching, so I fired at him all the time. He dropped all the bombs. I watched him fall into a small grove, where he exploded with a large flame. "
At 14.15, Douglas Bader's Big Wing took off again, consisting of the Canadian 242nd , Czechoslovak 310th and Polish 302nd Squadrons. The latter squadron brought together only seven combat-ready Hurricanes, which immediately after attacking the height attacked one of the formations of the 17th. His number Julian " Roch " Kowalski with a minimum distance of 20 m next Do 17 literally shot. The third member of the swarm, Stasio Lapka, was not so successful, defensive shooting ignited the engine of his plane and the Pole jumped on a parachute. However, the fight ended for him anyway, because he broke his leg on impact.
S / L Witold Urbanowicz ( 17 kills ), P / O Jan Zumbach ( 12 ), P / OMiroslaw Ferić ( 8 ) and F / O Zdzislaw Henneberg ( 8 ) shortly after receiving the British DFC award
Before running out of ammunition, Julian Kowalski managed to shoot down his second Dornier and then decided to return to base. The landing flaps could not be extended. After landing, the aircraft turned to the left, because the landing gear tire was punctured. The mechanics of the 302nd Squadron, who ran in, asked him, frightened: " What happened? Where is the rest of the swarm? "Kowalski has not yet reacted in shock and stares incomprehensibly at his leaky Hurricane. The mechanics, meanwhile, looked at Kowalski as if looking for bullet holes in his coveralls. A total of 68 machine gun shots, such was the tax for attacking bombers from a minimum distance. The pilots of the 302nd Squadron did not do well in the afternoon fight. For the price of two certain and two probable victories, they lost two fighters and pilots. Other machines suffered more or less damage.
F / L Tadeusz Chlopik died on September 15, 1940 in a collision with Do 17
At the same time took off nine machines of the 303rd Squadron, which gained an altitude of 5500 m and above Gravesendemse engaged in combat with about four hundred enemy aircraft. In this confusing grind Sgt. Miroslaw Wojciechowski shot down a Bf 109 belonging to 1./LG 2, whose pilot Uffz. Streibing landed with a parachute at Chatham and was captured. Witold Urbanowicz , a future ace with 17 victories, joined two shot down bombers, which he identified as Do 215 : " The enemy formation split into three. After a long pursuit, I fired a shot from a distance of 200 m. At the same moment, the enemy aircraft hid in the clouds. After falling out of the clouds, I attacked again from a shorter distance and after a while the enemy fell burning into the sea. I attacked another of the 3/4 from behind and after a long dose his engine stopped working, the plane began to lose speed and altitude. I was convinced that I did not have an enemy fighter behind my back, and I attacked again from a distance of 150 m. I watched the fire and its fall into the sea… "
Another certain victory was reported by the red swarm pilot Miroslaw Ferić: " When I fired about half of the ammunition at enemy bombers, I approached a distance of 100 to 80 m from one Bf 110. After a dose, it ignited and fell into the clouds uncontrollably.As I ran out of ammunition, I hid in the clouds and after a few minutes I landed in Gravesend, refueled and flew to the base… “Not a single pilot of the 303rd Squadron Sgt. Brzezowski, whose disappearance was never illuminated.
F / O Julian Kowalski
However, the Poles outside the Polish squadron were also successful. For example, Sgt. Józef Jeka from the 238th Squadron won a certified victory of one Bf 110. Boleslaw Wlasnowolski, at that time a pilot of the 607th Squadron and a future ace with five victories, near Poole shot down Do 17: " I was red 3 when I was on the right at an altitude of 3600 m I saw a lone Do 17 flying over the coast near Poole, I caught up with an enemy plane that suddenly changed course, tried to fly in different directions, flew through the clouds, but it didn't work, I fired two rounds from behind and a little from below. in flames as he plunged into the clouds for a moment. I also stabbed the clouds and watched him fall into the sea… "
Pawel Niemec from the 17th Squadron was not so successful, although even a probable victory can not be called a failure. At 2 p.m., he took off from Debden to attack the bomber formations arriving from Calais and Boulogne with the others. The 17th Squadron circled at an altitude of 4500 m and waited for the enemy: " I was number 3 in the blue swarm when we attacked a group of about 50 Dorniers accompanied by Bf 110 behind them and Bf 109 above them. In the swarm we flew only two, because the number 2 did not start. I attacked from an angle to one Do 17 and opened fire at a distance of 300 m, I ended it after approaching a distance of 100 m. Black smoke began to emanate from the right engine. I disengaged, and when I looked back after a moment, the smoke was much thicker, and the flames seemed to flash from the engine. That's when I joined the other two Hurricanes and fired at the nearest Do 17, which was trying to hide in the clouds. After a short dose of 150 m, I did not notice any interventions. My plane was not hit by retaliatory fire. "
The wreckage of the Hurricane 303rd Squadron after a raid on Northolt Airport on September 6, 1940
On the evening of September 15, 1940, the weather worsened, limiting air operations to two days and allowing both sides to make up for losses and repair damaged machines. The Poles had reason to celebrate, because for the cost of two lives they won 26 verified victories ( 16 Do 17, respectively Do 215, eight Bf 109 and two Bf 110 ), which significantly contributed to the defeat of the Luftwaffe, which on September 15, 1940 lost 56 aircraft. For the Poles, this date was also significant in that exactly a year ago during the German-Polish war, their command resigned to the fight for the sky over Poland and ordered the withdrawal of the entire air force to Romania.
Published with the kind permission of the author.
Published in Military revue 4/2011 published by Naše Vojsko .
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