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About 303sqn

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  • Birthday 08/17/1954

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    Polish Air Force

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  1. 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.”
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Only four S.E.5as made it to Poland and only one was painted with Polish Air Force markings. After WWI Britain had large numbers of surplus aircraft crated in depots. The authority to sell these aircraft was granted to the Handley Page Company. In July 1919 a representative of the company made an offer to gen. Jan Romer, chairman of the Polish Military Mission in Paris. After contacting his superiors in Warsaw, in September 1919, he sent Marian Gaweł and Michał Tłuchoowski, representatives of the Polish Air Service, to London, to evaluate on the ground and in the air the aircraft offered by Handley Page, Bristol Fighter, DH 9, and S.E.5a. After receiving their report to the Ministry of Military Affairs in Warsaw, the Polish aviation authorities invited Handley Page to display the Bristol Fighter and S.E.5A in Warsaw. The Handley Page team of Engineers and pilots arrived by sea at Gdańsk on 1 December 1919. They brought two S.E.5as and two RR Falcon III Bristol Fighters. By mid-December the aircraft had arrived in Warsaw and assembled their at the end of the month. On 9 January 1920 the aircraft were presented to the Polish commission led by Polish Air Force Inspector gen.Gustaw Macewicz. The S.E.5a made a good impression which improved after a competition between the S.E.5a, a Fokker D.VII and an Ansaldo Balilla. The S.E.5a flown by CWL factory pilot Antoni Mroczkowski won. On 2 February Mroczowski crashed on landing after another demonstration flight, braking both his arms. The S.E.5a was wrecked. It is not known for certain if this affected the decision of the Polish commission which ordered 75 Bristol Fighters, later increased to 125. After the Handley Page team departed Warsaw they left their aircraft behind. As property of Handley Page they could not be used by the Polish Air Force so were dismantled and stored at the CSL. In June Aleksander Serednicki, head of aviation at the Supreme Command, asked the Minister of Military Affairs that the fighter left in storage be purchased from Handley Page. The S.E.5a, F9135 Hispania Suiza engine no. 3684 built by Vickers at Crayford, was purchased on 5 July and its assembly started at the Central Aircraft Works and given the CWL serial number 19.01 and Polish markings applied. Upper surfaces in PC-10, lower clear doped linen. The engine cowling, some metal parts and the front of the fin and fuselage below it were a darker colour, probably dark green. Chessboards were applied to upper and lower wing surfaces, rudder and fuselage sides. The serial number, 19.01, was applied in black forward of the chessboard on the fuselage side and as stencilling on some components, e.g., rudder, fin, wing struts. On 8 July 1920, Maj. Cedric Faunt le Roy, OC 7 Eskadra Myśliwska, had somehow learned of the S.E.5a being assembled and asked the Head of Aviation to allocate the fighter to his unit. This was approved on 13 July. The following day Stefan Ciecierski left for Kowel. On 15 July he landed at Hołoby where the 7 Eskadra were based. After a few hours respite he took off in the S.E5a for a reconnaissance of the Łuck area. At Kolonia Podhaje he saw Bolshevik cavalry and attacked. A bullet from the ground damaged the engine an he was forced to land behind enemy lines. The crashed aircraft was set on fire by the Bolsheviks. Ciecierski was taken prisoner but managed to escape back to Poland in November. The wreck was found by Polish troops in September when Łuck was liberated. The engine and other parts of the S.E.5a that crashed in February 1920 were regarded as spares for 19.01 and were put into storage at the VSL on 23 July. In May 1926 two S.E.5as, registration G-EBIC and G-EBXC, belonging to Savage Skywriting Co., owned by James Worledge, arrived in Poland. They were used for advertising various products over Warsaw, Cracow, Lwów and other places.
  5. The so called “Watts Propeller” takes its name from the the designer, Dr H C Watts M.B.E., D.Sc., M.Inst. C.E., F.R.Ae.S. He never manufactured propellers or owned a company that did but he was involved in the manufacture. After obtaining his degree from Bristol University, from 1911-14, he worked as a Technical Assistant for the Bristol Aeroplane Company. From 1914 until 1919 he was in charge of design and supply of aircraft propellers at the Air Ministry. From 1919 until 1925 a director of Ogilvie and Partners, consultant Aeronautical Engineers. From 1928 until 1932 he worked as an independent consulting engineer. In 1932 he joined the Airscrew Company, Weybridge, Surrey, as technical director. The Airscrew Company manufactured the two blade propellers for the early Hurricanes and Spitfires. So they can be called Watts or Weybridge. He was the author of The Design of Screw Propellers: With Special Reference to Their Adaptation for Aircraft
  6. The photograph of Z2667 was taken in April 1941 and it has yet to receive its chessboards which 302 Squadron applied on the fuselage just below the end panel of the canopy. Perhaps it never had them as by the end on the month Z2806 had become ‘E’ (Previously ‘A’). Z2667 was flown by P/O Wróblewski, P/O Kamiński, P/O Narucki, P/O Główczyński, Sgt Łysek, and Sgt Nastorowicz. After transfer to 43 Squadron it was flown by Polish pilots assigned to the unit P/O Czajkowski and Sgt Rozworski. 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 DJU-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.
  7. Those serial numbers do not look correct. Perhaps you should try the Halifax Forum. https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/halifaxbomber/ My mistake, L9613 was assigned to F/O Zygmuntowicz. If was not fully modified for SOE operations until late Feb 1942. Jasiński and crew joined 138 Squadron 25 October 1941 and were given L9612, one of the first Halifaxes to be modified for flights to Poland. Their first sortie was 7 November 1941. On the return they had to force land in Sweden. The crew destroyed the Halifax on the ground and were interned. Not for long, they were released in early 1942. Sgt Pieniążek, received L9618 NF W, in November 1941. After undergoing fuel consumption and navigational aids testing it was sent for modifications and returned in the last week of December. They flew missions mostly to Poland but also Austria and Czechoslovakia but I cannot find any mention of Yugoslavia.
  8. 1586 Flight used Halifax Mk II, Series 1a, and V. They would have been modified for special duties, hatches for dropping agents etc. The initial establishment of 1586 Flight was three Halifaxes (MK II series 1a I think), JD319 ‘A’, JD362 ‘L’, JN911 ‘Z’, three Liberators, BZ859 ‘J’ BZ860 ‘U’ BZ949 ‘T’, and ten aircrews. Coded were changed from NF to GR keeping the same letter. At this time JD362 carried the courting couple noseart under the cockpit. Can been seen in the sequence of photos 25 to 43 in the link to the Polish Aviation Museum above, which appear to be all of JD362. In them can been the nose, engines and the various aerials that were fitted. I would guess that they were taken during a visit of the Polish Air Force Film Unit. The aircraft were immediately flown to Sidi Amor in Tunisia, arriving 7th November. Ground personnel followed by sea to Taranto in Italy. No operations were flown until the night 15/16 December. Ground crew arrived at Campo Casale and the six aircraft followed on 22 December. By on night 5/6 January they lost Liberators BZ859 and BZ949 leaving them with one Liberator and one serviceable Halifax, the other two needing engine replacement. Replacement aircraft and spares were very difficult to obtain and the Flight’s CO S/Lr Król flew to England in BZ860 to intervene personally with the Air Ministry. He returned 30 th January and five replacement engines arrived about the same time. In June Halifaxes JP230, JP251, JP283 and Liberators KG827, KG890 were received as replacements. In mid-1944 VIIth Bureau in London received worrying reports from the Polish command at Brindisi base pointing out that by 1 August the flight would only have six available crews and by the end of the month four. The problem was that many of the flight’s personnel were coming to the end of their tour, some second or even third and in the case of W/O Słanisław Kłosowski fourth. Some personnel would continue to fly missions as volunteers. It was difficult to replace these crews. On 10th May Gen. Sosnkowski had made a request that 300 Squadron, who had just converted to Lancasters, be transferred to Special Duties. This was firmly rejected by AVM Harris but he could not stop the transfer of experienced crews from the squadron to 1586 Flight, which be was also against. The result was that the British withdrew four of the Flight’s sixteen aircraft and indicated that more would follow is the crew shortage continued. On 1st August the flight had six serviceable Haxifaxes with three available crews and three Liberators with three available crews. On 9/10 August four aircraft were sent to Warsaw, Halifaxes, JP251 ‘P’, JP252 ‘L’, JP230 ‘N’ and Liberator KG890 ‘S’. The flight received 2 new Liberator Mk VIs. By the middle of the month 1586 Flight (and 148 Squadron) were began to suffer a shortage of Halifaxes and replacement aircraft arriving from Britain either required modification for special duties or major overhauls. The Poles renewed their efforts to have 300 Squadron transferred to Brindisi for special duties. At this time JD362 is recorded a ‘E’. For eight nights running between 20/21 August and 27/28 August Polish volunteer crews made 35 sorties to the Warsaw area. Only 21 of these succeeded or partly succeeded and even the most experienced crews began to regard the operations as ‘missions impossible’. On the first of these nights F/Lt Edmund Ladro and crew in Halifax JP180 ‘A’ made a daring sweep low over Marszałkowska Street to drop supplies in the centre of Warsaw. F/Lt Jan Mioduchowski in an attempt to make a similar drop was beaten off by AA and dense smoke. Both Halifaxes were badly damaged but managed to return to Brindisi. The next night W/O Henryk Jastrzębski in Halifax JD362 ‘E’ repeated Ladro’s feat but most if not all the containers fell into German hands. Newly arrived crews started flying towards the end of August and fears grew that they were being sent to almost certain death. Two such crews were lost on the night 26th August when Halifaxes JD362 ‘E’ and JN895 ‘B’ were shot down over Hungary. Air decal sheet 72402 has two Halifaxes, JD319 GR A and LL252 (sic) GR L and Liberator EV978 GR R of 1586 Flight. It might still be available from the Jadar Shop.
  9. Hurricane Mk IIs were operated by 302, 306, 316, 317 and 318 squadrons. 309 Squadron operated MK IICs fitted with cameras. Polish Wings 4 has plenty of examples/profiles but it was entirely Polish and I expect difficult to find now. The more recent MMP book Polish Fighter Colours 1939-1947 part 1 is about the only English language publication that is easily available and has examples of Polish Hurricane Mk IIs.
  10. On 1st April 1943 an AM order reorganised 138 Special Duties Squadron into a 3 flight unit by the addition of ‘C’ (Polish) Flight. Seven of the most experienced crews from the disbanded 301 Squadron were posted there to join the Polish crews that had served with ‘A’ Flight. As far as the Polish Air Force were concerned it was ‘301 Squadron’ and various Polish records frequently refer to it as 301 Flight. After it became an independent unit, 1586 (Polish) Special Duties Flight, they lobbed for and were granted permission to use the 301 Squadron ‘GR’ codes. Duly chessboards were painted on their aircraft and the NF codes were replaced with GR. There is some confusion over JD362. Cynk, Polish Air Force at War, states it was “E”, lost on 26th August (night of 26/27 August), but elsewhere lists it as “L”. “C” Flight 01/04/43 Halifax II: BF309 NF*T, BB330 ’C’, BS378 ’D’, HR666 ‘E’, HX161 ‘M’, JD154 ‘V’, JD156 ‘W’, JD171 ‘P’, JD319 ‘A’, JD362 ‘L’, JN911 ‘Z’, LE281 ‘W’. Liberator III BZ858 ‘NF*F, BZ859 ‘J’, BZ860 ‘U’. 1586 Flight Halifax late 43 - early 44: JD319 GR*A, JD362 ‘L’, JN911 ‘Z’, JP171 ‘B’, JP177 ‘P’, JP180 ‘V’, JP181 ‘C’, JP207 ‘E’, JP222 ‘E’, JP236 ‘A’, JP249 ‘M’, JP252 ‘D’, JP281 ‘L’, LW272 ‘D’, LW284 ‘T’. Halifax mid-1944: BB412 ‘C’, JD319 ‘G’, JP161 ‘N’, JP220 ‘C’, JP226 ‘A’, JP230 ‘N’, JP251 ‘P’, JP252 ‘L’, JP254 ‘D’, JP283 ‘G’, JP295’P’, Liberator late 43 early 44: BZ859 GR*J, BZ860 ‘U’, BZ949 ‘T’, BZ965 ‘V’. Liberator mid-44: EV978 ‘R’, EW275 ‘R’, EW278 ‘U’, KG827 ‘U’, KG890 ‘S’, KH101 ‘R’, KH151 ‘S’. 7/11/44 Halifax: BB440 ‘G’, JP136 ‘D’, P242 ‘E’, LL118, ‘C’, LL187 ‘H’, LL367 ‘P’, LL534 ‘M’. Liberator: BZ965 ‘V’, KG834 ‘U’, KG994 ‘R’, KH151 ‘S’.
  11. 15th November 1942, when the Polish Air Force standard was passed to 307 Squadron.
  12. Aeroclub used to import Part PE. They were only one to import into the UK, I think. I Get mine from the Jader Shop. http://jadarhobby.pl/
  13. 303sqn

    Spitfire PR 1G

    On 17th December 1942, The Air Ministry wrote to OC PRU at Benson explaining that a request had been received from Washington DC for details of any special type of aircraft camouflage used for particular missions such as photographic reconnaissance . The AM requested that full details of the various camouflage schemes and markings used by the PRU be supplied along with any details of any special tactics or methods used to conceal an aircraft in flight be forwarded without delay. The PRU’s reply was sent to HQ Coastal Command for onward transmission on 22nd December. It stated that two standard schemes had been adopted for camouflage of PR aircraft. Scheme A was applied to high-flying aircraft and consisted of an overall finish of PRU Blue (33B/494) with the exception of national markings. Scheme B was applied to low-flying aircraft and consisted of Extra Dark Sea Grey (33B/245) and Extra Dark Sea Green (33B/338) on the upper surfaces. Under surfaces were PRU Mauve which was mixed from 5 parts PRU Pink (not in Vocabulary of Stores), 2 parts PRU Blue and one part ident red (33B/72). 33B/72 is the pre-war bright red.
  14. Aircraft based in France had set a precedent of applying stripes to the rudder in the style of the French. This was perceived as causing problems with the rudder’s balance. On 1st May 1940 the AM sent signal X485 to all commands, at home and overseas, giving instructions to amend the markings carried by RAF aircraft. Vertical stripes, red white and blue, of equal width were to be applied to the fin. The blue stripe should be nearest the rudder but clear of the hinge. The signal stressed that the marking was to be applied to the fin. A second signal, X740, was sent on 11th May, stating that the three vertical stripes fin marking need not necessarily occupy the whole fin. It was sufficient that the width was to be clearly visible. As no specifications were given as to the width of the stripes, many different interpretations were made by units. The narrow stripes seen on 302 Squadron Hurricanes are also seen on other aircraft. I know of al least one Spitfire that has them and several Blenheims. Narrow stripes are found on Ansons, at a slant long the rudder line, and Whitleys, perhaps because they have small fins. As for 302 Squadron, there are few photos of their Hurricane Mk Is. WX*W (perhaps P3120) has ‘normal’ fin flashes whilst its successor V6941 had the narrow type. There is more material for the Hurricane Mk IIs where it seems to be common to have the narrow type of fin flashes but not exclusively. Z3332 WX*R and P3307 WX*J had the ‘normal’ type of fin flashes. Z2667 WX*E, Z2668 WX*H, Z3095 WX*N had the narrow type. They seem to have lasted until the end of service with the squadron with no effort made to replace them even when the aircraft were repainted in the Day Fighter Scheme e.g., Z3752 WX*L & Z3675 WX*B. The latter was later photographed at Sverdlovsk in USSR still with its 302 Squadron markings. Some 306 Squadron Hurricanes had slightly narrow fin flashes but not as extreme as 302 Squadron apart from UZ*Z Z2923 which were identical to 302 Squadron.
  15. Turkey, Bulgaria, Rumania, Greece. All versions were covered by Azur/Frrom. The Frrom boxings contain vac canopies.
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