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About 303sqn

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  • Birthday 08/17/1954

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  1. Monografie Lotnicze 36 PZL P.11 part 1. In the summer of 1937, in the construction office of the PZL No. 1 Aircraft Factory at Okęcie-Paluch, P.11c performance calculations were made for the PZL-Bristol Mercury VIII engine with a power of 625 KW (850 HP), which was then produced by the PZL Engine Factory No. 1, Warsaw. This project was abandoned because it turned out that despite the significant power increase, the speed of the aircraft would not reach 400 kph due to the large diameter of the engine, increasing the aerodynamic resistance. When, in April 1939, the production of the PZL 50 Jastrząb fighter aircraft was halted due to its low performance and unsatisfactory properties, they began to look for the possibility of quickly developing another fighter design.The Aviation Command rejected the proposal for the production of P.24 aircraft with French Gnome-Rhone engines, both because of their unreliability and long lead time for the order in France. Since 150 Mercury VIII engines, made for Jastrząb I, were immediately available, the decision was made to start production of the P.11c with these engines. At the PZL No. 1 plant in Warsaw, a project for such a modification was started. The new P.11c version was designated PZL P.11g Kobuz.. In the summer of 1939, one P.11c was turned into a P.11g prototype at the PZL-WP No. 1 plant. In comparison with the P11c it received a modified engine cover, a new propeller and a covered cabin as with the PZL P.24. The prototype Kabuz flew at Okęce in the middle of August 1939 piloted by Kazimierz Kula. The aircraft reached a maximum speed of 390 kph in the trials. The production of 90 Kabuz was commissioned to Podlaska Wytwórnia Samalotów (PWS) in Biała Podlaska, where the wings were manufactured for the P.24 as spare parts for export. The tailplane was to be made by Lubelska Wytwórnia Samolotów (LWS), which produced them for the P.24. Production was to start in September 1939, and deliveries of the first aircraft in the first quarter of 1940. In the first days of September 1939, the Kobuz prototype was evacuated by factory pilots to Lwow and then to Gródek Jagielloński. From there, Ing. Pil. Jerzy Widawski moved it to Wielicka near Kowel. In Wieliczka, the plane was taken over by military forces and armed with 4 guns. On 14 and 15 September it shot down two German bombers. Damaged Kobuz was destroyed at this airfield a few days later (according to one report it flew to Romania). Monografie Lotnicze 36 PZL P.11 part 2. Apart from the eleven from III/3 Dyon, on September 14, another P.11 fighter took part in the operation - the prototype of the P.11g Kobuz aircraft. Kobuz, which at the outbreak of the war was at the Institute of Aviation Technology in Warsaw, was evacuated to Lwow on 5 September and then to Gródek Jagielloński. September 13, Ing. Pil. Jerzy Widawski brought the plane to the airfield at Wieliczka (40 km southeast of Kowel), where at that time were the 2 Dyon Łoś from the Bomber Brigade. After a review by mechanics and the installation of weapons (4 guns), P.11g was given to the defenders of Wieliczka, an improvised fighter squadron consisting of pilots of the Advanced Fighter School, which had so far only a few P.7a aircraft. On September 14, on the beginning of the afternoon, the WSM instructor, Lieutenant Henryk Szczęsny, attacked a group of He 111 Bombers with the Kubuz and shot down one aircraft that crashed near Kowel. [15 september] Defending airfield Wielicku Fighter Squadron pilots WSP alerted several time when German aircraft appeared. Around 17.30 Henryk Szczęsny with the P.11g intercepted a group of 5 He 111. One of the bombers struck by Polish fire, caught fire in the air and fell to the swamp near Kowel. During this fight, the pilot was injured in the leg and his plane - P.11g – badly damaged. Most probably, the Kobuz did not return to service. One of the reports from Romania reported that the aircraft was evacuated there, but this information has not yet been confirmed. Polskie Lotnictwo Myśliwskie w Boju Wrześniowym, Jerzy B Cynk September 13, two days after the departure of most of the Radziechów school staff to Kuty - a concentration of supernumerary flying and ground personnel from aviation units and schools - P.7 unit, commanded by Lt.. Henryk Szczęsny and the cadet pilot students and a group of mechanics moved from Radziechów to the Wielick airfield, where the Łos of the Bomber Brigade were stationed. The team was subordinated to Cpt. Łaguna, responsible for the OPL airfield. On the same day, prototypes arrived at Wieliczka: P.46/II Sum II, from Lwów, piloted by engineer Stanisław Riessa, and P.11g Kubuz, piloted by Jerzy Widawski. Kubuz, evacuated from Okęcie to Lwow on 5 September and then moved to the airfield in the area of Grógek Jagielloński, breaking his stabilizer. Kubuz, evacuated from Okęcie to Lwow on 5 September and then moved to the airfield in the area of Grógek Jagielloński. He caught in landing the empennage of the Sum, breaking his stabilizer. The slightly damaged Kubuz was repaired and ready for combat use the same day and Capt. Łaguna gave it to Lt. Szczęsny. Beginning on September 14, the squadron of Lt. Szczęsny, strengthened with the Kubuz, was the defence of the airfield, which was supposed to defend the Wielicka area and ensure the take-off and landing of Łoś. This was the first time the Bomber Brigade had any airfield defence since the beginning of hostilities. September 14 the squadron aircraft patrolled several times. In the south, Lt. Szczęsny, flying the Kubuz, allegedly shot down one He 111 in the Kowel area, which is not confirmed in the Luftwaffe documentation. Footnote 820. According to the reports of Capt. Cwynar, IPMS Lot AII.23/1a-6, -7, -8. Despite some reliable information about the use and successes of Kobuz in the defense of Wielicka, contained in the London documents and September studies in the archives of IPMS, in Poland the fate of Kubuz remained unknown until recently; the most common was the erroneous message about the prototype's destruction during the Okęcie bombing. At the same time, the legend was established, finding its source in Henryk Szczęsny's statements that in Wieliczka he flew a P.24. Kubuz had a closed P.24 cabin and, apart from the Mercury VIII engine, it was very similar to the P.24. One can only surmise, Lt. Szczęny did not realize what plane he fought with. The message about the evacuation of the Kobuz to Wielicka and handing it over to Lt. Szczęsny was also confirmed by Jerzy Widawski. None of the surviving original documents indicating the equipment of the Pilot School mentions a P.24. In addition to the fighter dyon of the Poznań Army, the ad hoc squadron of Lt. Szczęsny, consisting of pilots of the Advanced Fighter Pilot School, whose task it was to defend the Łoś bombers' airfield in Wieliczka, also conducted a much more effective operation. The squadron was scrambled several times. During one of the flights, Szczęsny, flying the faster Kobuz, fought alone a formation of Heinkels and shot down one of them. Szczesny was injured and his plane was hit. The operation records of the KG 55 confirms the loss of He 111P z.1 squadron I./KG 55 (probably as a result of the fight with Szczęsny), whose crew, under the direction of Fritz, died in the Dubno-Chyrów area and was buried in the Polish territory. The ad hoc squadron of the Advance Pilot School, deprived of its commander, Lieutenant Szczęsny, injured the previous day, made a few flights in the morning, protecting the airfield during the departure of the Łoś dyon. These activities closed a short period of its combat work. What happened to it is difficult to determine. It must be assumed that the damaged Kubuz was destroyed when the squadron was evacuated. According to Romanian records it was evacuated to Romania, pilot Henryk Szczęsny, original (Polish) serial 8.129, engine number 8004, given Romanian number 316, SOC 5/3/1942, reason, accident.
  2. Letter to all operational commands dated 30th April 1942.
  3. They weren’t chosen, they were allocated by the Air Ministry. 309 squadron was originally an army co-operation squadron and under direct command of the 1st Polish Corps and allocated the letters AR. On 23 June 1942, a letter was sent from the Deputy Director of Air Tactics at the Air Ministry to Bomber Command, Fighter Command, Coastal Command and Army Co-operation Command, headed 'Squadron Code letters on Aircraft’. The letter stated that the Deputy Director of Air Tactics had been directed to refer to the use of squadron code letters on aircraft and to inform the Commands that it was now considered that the application of such markings were defeating all efforts by W/T security to conceal the Order of Battle. Unless there were overriding reasons to the contrary, the squadron code letters were to be abandoned and the views of the Commands were therefore sought as a matter of urgency. Following consideration of all the replies received from the Operational Commands, on 26 September 1942 a letter was sent to all Operational Commands at home and overseas which stated that with the exception of Bomber and Fighter Commands it had been decided to dispense with the two-letter squadron codes as a means of identification on security grounds. When it became clear that the 1st Polish Corps would not fight on the Continent in its entirety, and therefore there was no longer a need for a co-operation/tactical reconnaissance squadron, it was decided that 309 Squadron would become a fighter squadron and existing personnel left to become the nucleus of the newly forming 318 Squadron that would become the tactical reconnaissance squadron for 2nd Polish Corps. In theory, at least, 309 Squadron no longer had squadron codes so that when it transferred to Fighter Command they were allocated a new code, WC.
  4. The markings were to be applied to all single-engined fighters in 11 Group with the exception of Mustangs.
  5. It isn't the Mustang he flew on D-Day. FB166, built as P51C-1-NT (NA-103) 42-103060, was ferried from Ashton Down on 13th April 1944 by Sgt Tamowicz and was adopted by S Ldr Horbaczewski as his personal aircraft. The only known photograph was taken on 4th May. On 12th June he flew FB166 fresh from an inspection at 411 RSU claiming a Fw 190 destroyed. FB166 was hit by flak and returned to 411 RSU for repair. After it was repaired it rejoined 315 Squadron in late June and remained there for almost two weeks. A survivor, it joined another Polish unit, 316 Squadron, in early June 1946 coded SZ-B, serving until the unit was disbanded in December the same year. FB382, built as P-51C-10-NT (NA-103) 42-103532, arrived at 315 Squadron on 15th June and appears to have been immediately adopted as the new PK-G. It served with 315 Squadron for over two months before being sent to 3501 Service Unit on 23 August 1944. FB382 was photographed by the Polish Film Unit in June 1944, possibly for publicity purposes after Horbaczewski rescued W/O Tamowicz after he was shot down in no-man's land in Normandy. It is not clear why FB382 was replaced. The squadron had been transferred to ADGB to help combat the V1 threat and as a result they had been 'thrashing' their Mustangs using 150 grade gasoline. In order to gain maximum speed ‘invasion stripes’ were completely removed from their aircraft. It maybe that FB382 was becoming very 'tired'. It was not unusual for a Merlin engine to require replacement after only one or two weeks. The last time that Horbaczewski flew FB382 operationally was the 30th July, on a mission escorting Beaufighters to Norway. During the mission the squadron downed eight German fighters. A few days later the Polish Film Unit returned to 315 Squadron for publicity purposes. However, it was FB387 that was photographed which had not yet had Horbaczewski's personal markings completed. FB387, built as P-51C-10-NT (NA-103) 42-103537, spent some time in storage before being TOC by 315 Squadron on 28th July 1944 and appears to immediately been chosen to replace FB382. It continued to serve with 315 Squadron after Horbaczewski failed to return on 18th August until late October when it and other 315 Mustangs were transferred to 316 Squadron. Its career ended on 9th November 1944 when F/Lt Walawski hit a truck while taxiing at night. It was sent for repair but recategorised as damage beyond repair and SOC.
  6. It is mostly bunkum, invented by people who make everything up and find nothing out. In this case the nincompoops have even promoted a Polish officer to a position he never held. The name Witorzeńć is conspicuous by is absence from operations concerning Dieppe, Rutter or Jubilee. That’s because he wasn’t there. In the summer of 1942 he commanded the 2nd Polish Wing and never commanded the the 1st Polish Wing, ever. Squadron records and his logbook show that he never flew this Spitfire. Not very surprising as he was ‘up north’ at kirton-in-Lindsey while AA853 was ‘down south’ with 302 Squadron based at Heston. Man and machine were hundreds of mikes apart. At Kirton, Witorzeńć’s personal aircraft was AD192. Orders for special markings for Operation Rutter were issued on 4th and 7th July and removed after 11th July. I have never seen any evidence that they were still around at the time of Operation Jubilee. After Rutter was cancelled, it was not postponed, it was not intended at thte time to run it at a later date, squadrons returned to their home bases. When it was reinstated as Jubilee no orders were issued for special markings. As part of the concentration for Operation Rutter 302 Squadron moved to Croydon where the special markings were applied 6th July. After Rutter was cancelled the Squadron returned to Heston. Because of a series of accidents at Croydon it was deemed unsuitable for Spitfire operations and it was decided not to use it for Operation Jubilee. On the 19th August AA583 was flown by Beyer on air sea rescue patrol, recalled when in the air. In the afternoon it was flown by Urbanski, patrol over Dieppe area covwring withdrawl of troops. On 29th August it is recorded as being flown by Kaminski rescue to Manston 10.35 - 11.00, rescue from Manston 11.35 to 12.40. The following film footage was shot on 6th July during preparations for Operation Rutter. The tail of an aircraft cane been seen about 50 seconds in. There are no stripes on the elevators. The air Ministry always seems to have concerns over painting control surfaces as it might affect their balance. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1060021075#.WfTA4dmsvrg.facebook
  7. Those are only the numeric part of the serial number.
  8. 303sqn

    Hurricane Mk IIA wings

    Initial equipment (19/9/40) Hurricane Mk I WX- A P3085, Nov V7045, Jan 41 V7047. WX-B R2684, 15/9 V6860. WX-C P3942, V6744. WX-D P3935, Nov V7046. WX-E P3927, 17/8 P2954, Sept P3205, Jan 41 P3204. WX-F P3867, 14/2/41 V6742. WX-G R2685, Oct V6694. WX-H P3939, 6/9 P2717. WX-J P3538. WX-K V6569, Sept V6734. WX-L P3812, 15/1/40 V6865. WX-M R4095, 15/9/40 V6735. WX-Q V6570, V6571. WX-R P2752, 15/10/40 P3872, 18/10/40 P3785. WX-S V6942. WX-T P3934, 24/8/40 V7417, 17/10/40 P3877. WX-U P3923, 18/11/40 N2352, Feb 41 N2423, Mar 41 Z2485. WX-V P3931, 18/10/40 V7593, 25/10/40 V7593, Jan 41 V7047. WX-W P3120, 25/10/40 V6941. WX-X P3930, 18/10/40 R2687. WX-Y P3924, 30/09/40 P2918. WX-Z P3086, 18/09/40 V6753. In the first days of March 1941 302 Squadron began replacing its Hurricane Mk Is with Mk IIs. At this time Z2342 (F), Z2350 (W), Z2357 (X), Z2386 (C), Z2423 (V), Z2485 (U), Z2497 (S), Z2523 (G), Z2629 (R), Z2668 (H), Z2673 (Y), Z2667 (E), Z2681 (Z), Z2773 (T), Z2775 (D), Z2814 (K), Z2861, Z3091(M), Z3095 (N), Z3098 (A), Z3099 (B). Additionally in May the following are recorded with the squadron: Z2489, Z2499, Z2815, Z3023, Z3067, Z3080, Z3093, Z3181, Z3221, Z3228, Z3314, Z3323, Z3327,Z3332, Z3501. On 28th May the squadron moved to Jurby, leaving their Mk IIs at Kenley, where they adopted the Hurricane MK Is previously owned by 312 Squadron. N2471 (H), N2771, P2932 (Q), P3039 (A) P3209 ex DU-S, P3759, P3888 (K) ex DU-O, P3983 ex DU-Q, V6678 (Y) ex DU-L, V6848 ex DU-N, V6935, V6938 (C), V6943 (D) ex DU-J, V7028 (U) ex DU-V, V7042, V7597, V7858 (G), W9137 (B) ex DU-B. On 27-28 July 1941, two batches of nine Hurricane II aircraft arrived, as a new equipment for the squadron. Z2913 (D), Z3165 (K), Z3402 (Z), Z3425 (A), Z3668 (W), Z3672 (G), Z3673 (C), Z3674 (Y), Z3675 (B), Z3676 (H), Z3751(J), Z3752 (L), Z3980 (V), Z3982 (S), Z3983 (Q), Z5000 (X), Z5004 (T), Z5006 (P). Additionally, Z2913 (D) 24/08, Z3332 (R) 20/08, Z2897 or Z3897 (U), Z5040 (U) 22/08. At the same time, the squadron handed over his well-worn Hurricane Is. P3039 (A), R9137 (B), P3938 (C), V6930 (E), V7630 (G), P3307 (J), P3888 (K), V7486 (L), P3983 (Q), V7028 (U), V6678 (Y), P2992, P2993, P3934, P3209, V6848, V6935, V7042, V7997. After October 11, 1941, there were new equipment for the unit - eighteen Spitfire VB and two Mk IIA. All serviceable Hurricanes were sent to 2 Delivery Flight in Colerne, and from there to 245 Squadron. The remaining Hurricane IIBs were sent back successively as they were restored to flight condition. ORB records Gnyś flying the following Hurricanes: 25/10/40 WX-R P3872 26/10/40 WX-R P3872 28/10/40 WX-X R2687 10/11/40 WX-R P3785 15/11/40 WX-R P3785 23/11/40 WX-R P3785 15/02/41 WX-T P3877 23/02/41 WX-T P3877 09/03/41 WX-U Z2485 09/03/41 WX-W Z2350 * 09/03/41 WX-R Z2629 * 15/03/41 WX-W Z2350 08/04/41 WX-U Z2485 02/07/41 V? 12/08/41 WX-U ?7897 ** 14/08/41 WX-Y Z3674 28/08/41 WX-T Z5004 29/08/41 WX-T Z5004 * Apparently at the same time. ** Might be Z2897 or Z3897. MS406 Gynś was assigned Section 4 Bursztyn of GC III/I. Of the 3 aircraft assigned to the section Bursztyn flew c/n 1031, L-621 and Chciuk c/n 948. They received code numbers in the form of large Roman numerals, c/n 1031 - ‘I’ and c/n 948 ‘III’. The aircraft assigned Gnyś has not been identified but it is likely it carried ‘II’ on the rear fuselage
  9. Right, finally got somewhere last night. Robert Gretzyngier "Poles in Defence of Britain" records the combat as Circus 18 on 21st May. 303 and 306 squadrons were despatched ahead of the main force. 13 303 Spitfires and 12 306 Hurricanes strafed dispersal huts at Berck-sur-Mer. 302 Squadron (1 and 258 squadrons were also involved) acted as close cover for 18 Blenheim bombers raiding the power station at Gosnay. He then quotes the entire passage from the autobiography with a footnote that Gnyś was flying a Hurricane not a Spitfire. P/O Rytka was shot down (later returned via Spain) in Z2423 WX-V. This is the only Hurricane identified. As Gretzyngier always lists all participating aircraft where known one must conclude that there is no existing (or known) documentation that identifies the 302 Hurricanes on that day.
  10. You can view the ORB online but it is watermarked which obscures some details. The bad news is that May 1941 is missing. According to his autobiography he got married on the 17th May and spent 4 days honeymoon in the country. If that is the 17th + 4 then he would have been on his last day of his honeymoon. Cynk, The Polish Airforce at War, says the last combat at Kenley took part on 21st May at 17.30. If Gnyś was involved then it would be the day he returned from his honeymoon. Gnyś does not mention any combat after returning from his honeymoon, only that the squadron moved to Jurby. He does describe a large battle taking place in which his engine was hit and manged to limp back and land in field. The account is rather confusing. He implies that it took place towards the end of February 1941. He mentions "two more Hurricane squadrons" and "three Spitfire squadrons flying top cover". Then at the end of the account "My Spitfire was spluttering .... ". Either he was not flying a Spitfire or the date is wrong. In Feb 1941 the ORB records him flying P3877 'T' on the 14th and 23rd. In March P33877 'T' on 6th and 8th. Z2485 'U' on 9th and 10th. Z2350 'W' on15th, 19, and 30th. In April there is only one entry for Gnyś Z2485 'U'. May is missing and his name does not appear again until 26th June flying V7042. The place to look would be the combat records.
  11. It was delivered in standard markings but not flown much as there were problems with the engine. During this time, probably April 1919, the marking were amended to the wrap-around form of the chessboards. When photographed on 3rd May the aircraft featured the tilde emblem similiar to Stec's 001 but a mirror image. Later it was altered to the infinity sign, perhaps because the two aircraft were easily confused with each other. BTW, Model Maker Decals intend to release a sheet (in three scales) for all the Polish E.Vs which inclued the red/white bits for the tail.
  12. http://www.horntip.com/html/songs_sorted_by_informant/military_songs/air_force/
  13. The Spitfire was called Haberbusch, Haberbusch and Schiele being the largest brewery in Warsaw. With it Schiele scored a BF 109 destroyed and another probable on 24th October 1941. “That evening, as he was leaving the mess, one of the WAAFs, a pretty girl with a cockney accent, called Jean, came up to him and asked to show her his plane. They walked over to the Spitfire. She ran her hand over the wing of the war machine, and then turned him. She was only seventeen, and he was shocked by the emotional intensity with which she kissed him and then clung to him. Later, as they sat side by side on the wing of the Spitfire, listening to the dull thud of bombs raining down on London and watching the searchlights sweeping the sky, he looked up and saw the stars of the Great Bear shining brightly. The next morning he asked his mechanic, Staszek, to paint the seven stars of the constellation of the fuselage of his plane.”
  14. 303sqn

    Yellow Vacuforms

    The main cause of of yellowing in plastics is oxidation, heat and UV light. They cause desaturation and conjugation. When all the available bonds on a carbon atom are occupied by hydrogen atoms it is ‘saturated’. When there are carbon to carbon double bonds, C=C, then the molecule is said to be unsaturated. That is the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats. The formation of these double bonds results in conjugation. Conjugation is simply a chain of alternating double and single bonds like so, C-C=C-C=C-C=C-C=. In conjugated systems the π bonding electrons delocalise. That means that the electrons are no longer associated with a single carbon atom. Delocalised electrons absorb light in the visible spectrum and it is that that leads to the plastic looking yellowish. The colour of many dyes is derived from this mechanism. Most flame retardants are safe but aliphatic bromine compounds are sensitive to heat and UV light and breakdown to release bromine. This accelerates the yellowing process. Some manufacturers add a blue dye to counteract the yellowing.
  15. In 1/72 Azur released kits for all the models A to G. IBG say they will be releasing a kit for the P-24. In 1/48 scale Mirage have kits for all the models accept the E. They said intended to produce an 'E' kit but never have. There is a resin conversion to make the E model from Mirage kit. The nearest you can get to making a Polish version is the third prototype which is easy to tweek from a P.24A. The first and second prototypes are much more difficult as they had a different tail similar to a P.11a.
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