July 28, 2011

Battle of Britain: Part IV - Legend of the Spitfire

The Spitfire captured the fascination and imagination of generations the world over. It became a legend during the Battle of Britain and was hailed as the best fighter aircraft in the RAF fleet. Although the Hurricane faced a larger proportion of enemy aircraft it was the Spitfire which had a higher ratio of victory to loss. It was the ambition of every pilot to fly it, and the dreams of every young boy to grow up and become a Spitfire pilot!



Those who flew them marveled at its wide-ranging capabilities. It was not only a fighter aircraft, but an interceptor, bomber, and dealt with photo-reconnaissance as well as training. There were numerous variants of the design which featured different wing configurations but also horse power. The Spitfire had its origins at Supermarine Aviation Works and was the brainchild of its chief designer, R.J. Mitchell. After Mitchell`s death from cancer in 1937 one of his colleagues, Joseph Smith carried on as chief designer. The original airframe, powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, produced 1,030 hp (768kW) and was easily adapted to increasingly more powerful engines, such as the Rolls-Royce Griffon engines that eventually produced 2,035 hp (1,520 kW).


The first Griffon-powered Spitfire DP 845 flown by Jeffrey Quill 1942

The most striking feature of the Spitfire was its sleek elliptical wings which had a thin cross-section allowing a higher top speed than other fighers of its time, including that of the Hawker Hurricane. The Spitfire was built for speed which allowed it to accomplish its mission so successfully against enemy aircraft.



Spitfire, the legend, the facts and its opponent (5 of 5) (00:08:17m)

However, the Spitfire had its growing pains. The British Air Ministry had set specifications for a new fighter aircraft that was capable of 251 mph (404 km/hr) and in 1931 H.J. Mitchell designed the Supermarine Type 224. It was an open cockpit monoplane with bulky gull wings and a large fixed spatted undercarriage powered by a evaporative-cooled Rolls-Royce Goshawk engine of 600 hp (450 kW). It made its virgin flight in February 1934 but without the expected fanfare. It was a big disappointment. Mitchell and his team embarked on refining its design. Among the seven variations, it was the Gloster Gladiator biplane that was accepted for service.

Gloster Gladiator Biplane
His next aircraft was not accepted by the Air Ministry either. It was the Type 300, based on Type 224 but with a retractable undercarriage and its wingspan was reduced by 6 ft (1.8m). The design went through several modifications and incorporated a faired, enclosed cockpit, oxygen-breathing apparatus, smaller and thinner wings and the newly developed and more powerful Rolls-Royce PV-XII-V-12 engine, later christened the "Merlin". Mitchell began refining its design and the final version was completed on December 1, 1934.

In response to a recommendation by Squadron Leader Ralph Sorely of the Operational Requirements section of the Air Ministry, the Spitfire's armament was changed from two .0303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns in each wing to four .303 Brownings.

A prototype K5054 took its first flight on March 5, 1936 flown by the chief test pilot for Vickers Aviation, Captain Joseph "Mutt" Summers. This flight was made just four months of the maiden flight of the Hurricane.



The K5054 was fitted with a new propeller and taken on a test flight by Summers on March 10, 1936  It was the first time that the undercarriage was retracted.  After the fourth flight, the plane was fitted with a new engine and it was test-flown by Summers' assistants, Jeffrey Quill and George Pickering.  In their assessment, the Spitfire was very good, but not quite perfect. The rudder was too sensitive at speeds of 330 mph (528 km/hr) . In May the design incorporated a new and better shaped wooden propeller, allowing the Spitfire to reach a velocity of 348 mph (557 km/h) in level flight. After Summers had flown the prototype to RAF Martlesham Heath, Ft. Lt. Humphrey Edwardes-Jones took over the prototype for the RAF. He took it on a test flight and gave it a positive report with one recommendation - that the plane be equipped with an undercarriage position indicator. In the span of a week, on June 3, 1936, the Air Ministry had placed an order for 310 Spitfires without so much as looking at an offical report. (Interim reports were later issued).

The Spitfire made its public debut on Saturday, June 27, 1936 at the RAF Hendon air-display. Mass production was supposed to begin immediately but was postponed due to numerous problems that took some time to resolve.It was not until mid-1938 that the first Spitfires (K9787) rolled off the assembly lines at the Supermarine factory at Woolston, Southampton. This delay was attributed to the fact that the production was already working at full capacity filling orders for Walrus and Stranraer flying boats (and particularly due to the reluctance of Vickers-Armstrong (the parent company) in dealing with outside contractors). Consequently, the Air Ministry decided that after the initial order of 310 Spitfires, production should be stopped and henceforth instructed Supermarine to build Bristol Beaufighters. On March 24, 1938 the management teams of Supermarine and Vickers were able to persuade the Air Ministry that the problems could be overcome and thus received orders for 200 Spitfires for the K, L and N prefix serial numbers.

The most famous fighter aircraft in the Battle of Britain were the British Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire Mk I and the German Messerschmitt Bf 109 single-engine fighters.  The Spitfire was a more glamorous fighter, even though it was the Hurricanes that tallied the most kills, especially in the early part of the battle. The Spitfire and the Bf 109E were similar in speed and agility yet both were faster than the Hurricane. It is noteworthy that the turn-around time (the amount of time to re-arm and fuel) was 26 minutes for the Spitfire and only 9 minutes for the Hurricane. 

Spitfires in formation

Both the Hurricane and the Spitfire were armed with eight .303 Browning machine guns in the wings, which were set to allow the bullets to converge at a distance.  Although the Brownings had a high rate of fire it was incapable of penetrating the armor plating on Luftwaffe aircraft.   The incendiary round, called the "De Wilde" was chosen as it could do more damage than the standard "ball" rounds.

During battle several Hurricanes flew missions armed with a single Hispano 20mm cannon in a pod under each wing. The experiment was unsatisfactory as the operation of the Hurricane became too slow and sluggish. Several Spitfires (Mk. IBs)  were also modified to carry a Hispano cannon however it experienced problems during combat: the guns often jammed and were unable to fire. But when it did function properly it was a highly effective weapon, capable of easily piercing the armored plating and self-sealing fuel tanks of the Luftwaffe aircraft.  An enemy fighter could be brought down with just three or four hits, or at the very least it would be damaged beyond repair.


No. 315 and No. 317 Polish squadrons flew the Spitfire Mk. Vb BM597 G-MKVB
  
Cockpit of BM597 Spitfire
From about the mid-1940s, the Spitfire had 73 pounds (33 kg) of steel plated armour, 6.5 mm thick for head and back protection on the seat bulkhead (4.5 mm) and covered the forward face of the glycol header tank while the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3 had 10mm of extra armour built in behind the pilot`s head and another 8mm armoured plate in the fuselage to protect the tank and the pilot from attacks from behind.

In the mid-1930s aviation design was developing all-metal, low-wing fighter aircraft, such as the French Dewoitine D.520 and the German Messerschmitt Bf 109. The refinements featured all-metal wings, retractable undercarriages, fully enclosed cockpits and low drag. The design of the Spitfire's airframe was a complex skeleton of 19 frames beginning at the main engine bulkhead (frame number one) to the tail unit frame. Five half-frames were built aft of the engine bulkhead to accomodate the fuel tanks and cockpit.  The frames were oval from the seventh frame to the nineteenth, each slightly reduced in size and each incorporating numerous holes drilled through them in order to lessen the weight as much as possible, and not weaken the structure.  Frame 20 was U-shaped and was the last frame of the fuselage proper and the frame to which the tail unit was attached. Frames 21, 22 and 23 formed the fin; frame 22 incorporated the tailwheel opening and frame 23 was the rudder post. Before being attached to the main fuselage, the tail unit frames were held in a jig and the eight horizontal tail formers were riveted to them.  A combination of 14 longitudinal stringers and two main longerons helped form a light but rigid structure to which sheets of alclad stressed skinning were attached. The fuselage plating was 24, 20 and 18 gauge in order of thickness towards the tail, while the fin structure was completed using short longerons from frames 20 to 23, before being covered in 22 gauge plating. There was ample room for camera equipment and fuel tanks which were to be fitted during the Spitfire's operational service life.

Polish Squadron in the Battle of Britain

The skins of the fuselage, wings and tailplane were secured by rivets and in critical areas such as the wing forward of the main spar, with flush rivets, where an uninterrupted airflow was required. The fuselage used standard dome-headed riveting. From February 1943 flush riveting was used on the fuselage, affecting all Spitfire variants.  In some areas, such as the rear of the wing, the top was riveted and the bottom fixed by woodscrews into sections of spruce; later, pop-riveting would be used for these areas. At first the ailerons, elevators and rudder were fabric-covered.  However combat experience demonstratd that fabric-covered ailerons were impossible to use at high speeds therefore fabric was replaced with a light alloy, improving control throughout the speed range.




The Spitfire had detachable wing tips which were fastened by two mounting points at the end of each main wing assembly. When the Spitfire took on a role as a high altitude fighter (Marks VI and VII and some early Mk VIIIs) the standard wing tips were replaced by extended, "pointed" tips which increased the wingspan from 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m) to 40 ft 2 in (12.3 m). The other wing tip variation, used by several Spitfire variants, was the "clipped" wing; the standard wing tips were replaced by wooden fairings which reduced the span to 32 ft 6 in (9.9 m). The wing tips used spruce formers for most of the internal structure with a light alloy skin attached using brass screws.

In late 1943, high diving trials were conducted in Farnoborough to test the handling characteristics of aircraft travelling at speeds near the sound barrier. The Spitfire XI was selected for the trials as it had it highest limiting Mach number of any other aircraft.  A fully feathering Rotol propeller was fitted to prevent overspeeding - due to the high altitudes necessary for these dives.  The EN409, flown by Squadron Leader J.R. Tobin reached 606 mph (975 km/hr, Mach 0.891) in a 45 degree dive. However in another test, the same aircraft suffered engine failure when the propeller and reduction gear broke off. The Squadron Leader who flew it, Anthoy F. Martindale RAFVR, successfully glided the Spitfire for 20 miles (32 km) back to the airfield and landed safely.  Martindale was decorated with the Air Force Cross for his bravery.

The Spitfire was modified by the RAE (Royal Aerospace Establishment)for high speed testing of the stabilator (aka "flying tail"). It was tested by RAE test pilot Eric Brown, in which he successfully reached Mach 0.86 in a dive.

The view from the Spitfire cockpit was considered fair however the curved plexiglass windscreen was poorly constructed and caused severe optical distortion making long-distance visual scanning laborious. The problem was solved when optically true glass was installed. Pilots flying the Hurricane had a better view over the nose than those flying Spitfires as the former had a higher seating position.

Many of the Spitfires used in the Battle of Britain were purchased privately. Money raised by towns, companies, clubs or individuals was used to buy Spitfires for £5,000 each with the purchaser having naming rights. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands donated £215,000 to purchase 43 Spitfires.


The greatest compliment paid to this aircraft was by a German ace during the Battle of Britain. In frustration he turned to his CC and demanded a squadron of Spitfires!!




Specifications (Spitfire Mk Vb)

General Characteristics 
Length: 29 ft 11 in (9.12 m)
Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
Height: 11 ft 5 in (3.86 m)
Wing area: 242.1 ft² (22.48 m²)
Airfoil: NACA 2209.4(tip)
Empty weight: 5,090 lb (2,309 kg)
Loaded weight: 6,622 lb (3,000 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 6,770 lb (3,071 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 supercharged V12 engine, 1,470 hp (1,096 kW) at 9,250 ft (2,820 m)

Performance
Maximum speed: 378 mph, (330 kn, 605 km/h)
Combat radius: 410 nmi (470 mi, 760 km)
Ferry range: 991 nmi (1,140 mi, 1,840 km)
Service ceiling: 35,000 ft (11,300 m)
Rate of climb: 3,240 ft/min (13.5 m/s)
Wing loading: 27.35 lb/ft² (133.5 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 0.22 hp/lb (0.36 kW/kg)

Guns:
2 × 20 mm (0.787-in) Hispano Mk II cannon, 60 rpg (drum magazine)
4 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns, 350 rpg
Bombs
: 2 × 250 lb (113 kg) bombs


Spitfire MK IIa P7350
The oldest airworthy Spitfire in the world, and the
only one left that had fought in the Battle of Britain

RAF pilots scramble to Spitfires  - Battle of Britain




THIS CONCLUDES THE SPECIAL SERIES ON
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN
THANK YOU FOR VISITING




Sources and Suggested Links:

Wikipedia
Allied Aircrew in the Battle of Britain (British and other nations)

Untold Battle of Britain - Interview with Witold Urbanowicz

Polish Pilots of Battle of Britain - List of Victories (in Polish)


Ace Pilots

No. 308 Polish Fighter Squadron List


Fighter Ace Pilots of WW2  (Comprehensive List)

Supermarine Spitfire Aviation History

Supermarine Spitfire - Classic Warbirds of WW2

Spitfire Performance Testing

Aviation Gallery - paintings of Spitfires

 

July 22, 2011

Battle of Britain: Part III - Famous Polish Ace Pilots

Polish Air Force - Battle of Britain
Introduction

When Poland was invaded on September 1st, 1939 by German and Soviet troops thousands of Polish servicemen of the Army, Navy and Air Force evacuated Poland and made a perilous journey through Romania and Hungary to France. Many Polish Squadrons were re-created under the auspices of the French Air Force though in very small groups. However, the largest squadron formed was the Groupe de Chasse Polonaise I/145 stationed at Mions. Nine months later the Polish squadrons were finally equipped with planes, though they were obsolete Caudron C.714 fighters. Reports by Polish pilots indicated that these planes were hopelessly outdated and were no match for the far superior Messerschmitts. A week later French Minister of War M. Guy la Chambre ordered all Caudrons to be removed from service. Irregardless the Poles continued to fly them as there were few replacements available. Other Polish units were flying a somewhat more reliable fighter, the Morane-Saulnier M.S.406.

What is quite remarkable is that despite the limitations of the aircraft Polish pilots were able to chalk up record scores. Between June 8 and June 11, 1940, the Poles scored 12 confirmed kills and 3 unconfirmed kills, with an additional 9 airborne hits and 9 ground hits. Incidentally, the planes shot down were 4 Dornier Do 17 bombers, 3 Messerschmitt Bf 109s, and 5 Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighter planes. During the Battle of France, Polish pilots flew 714 sorties and shot down over 50 enemy aircraft, although they lost 44 planes in either combat or aerial and ground accidents.

Witold Urbanowicz`Hurricane
When France fell to the Germans on May 10, 1940, many of the Polish Squadrons scrambled to evacuate France and made their way to Great Britain to join the RAF. At first Air Marshall Sir Hugh Dowding was "a little doubtful" that the Polish pilots were capable of flying combat. Instead Dowding relegated the Polish airmen to the RAF Volunteer Reserve and obliged them not only to don the British uniforms, fly British flags and take an oath to England's King and Government, but each Polish pilot had to accept a British "counterpart". To add insult to injury these experienced Polish pilots were given the lowest rank for an CO in the RAF, that of "pilot officer". Valuable time was wasted by RAF Command in drilling experienced Polish pilots in the fundamentals of aerial combat, though English language courses were essential prerequisites. In the meantime, the RAF were experiencing particularly heavy losses due to a lack of experienced British pilots.

No 303 Polish Fighter Squadron (00:02:10m);



Finally on June 11, 1940 an agreement was signed by British and Polish governments allowing for the creation of two bomber squadrons and a training centre as part of the RAF. The first Polish squadrons formed were the 300 and 301 bombers, and the 302 and 303 fighters. By August 1940 Polish pilots in the fighter squadrons were the first to see action during the latter phase of the Battle of Britain, and flying their Hawker Hurricanes they proved themselves to be highly skilled and effective combat pilots. (Incidentlaly, the Poles had already demonstrated their expertise in flying skills during the Invasion of Poland. Though their planes were vastly outnumbered and outclassed by those of the Luftwaffe, the Poles flew with such daring as to be considered almost reckless yet they scored many confirmed kills!)

The Polish Squadrons of the RAF were quite superior to the less-experienced British pilots.  In fact, the 303 Squadron, also known by the name of "Kosciuszko Squadron" became the most efficient RAF unit during the Battle of Britain. However many excellent Polish pilots flew in other RAF squadrons as well. Their talent and prestige is evident in the numerous Polish squadrons created by the RAF in subsequent years - the 304 bomber, 305 bomber, 306 fighter, 307 night fighter, 308 fighter, 309 reconnaissance, then fighter; 315 fighter, 316 fighter, 317 fighter, 318 fighter-reconnaissance and 663 air observation and artillery spotting.

303 Squadron Polish Air Force Battle of Britain



Initially the Polish fighter squadrons flew Hurricanes, and then Supermarine Spitfires though some airmen flew North American Mustangs.  The 307 used the night fighter Boulton-Paul Defiant, Bristol Beaufighter and the de Havilland Mosquito. Among the first planes flown by No. 300 Polish bomber squadron were the Fairey Battles, Vickers Wellingtons, followed by the Avro Lancasters; No. 301 flew Handley Page Halifaxs and Consolidated Liberators; No. 305 Squadron flew de Havilland Mosquitos and North American Mitchells; and the 663 flew Auster AOP Mk Vs.

Finally an agreement was reached on April 6, 1944 whereby the Polish Air Forces in England came under Polish Command - without RAF officers. As a result a PAF staff college was established at RAF Weston-super-Mare and continued to operate until April 1946 after which equipment was returned to the British. Due to the political circumstances after the war, few of the pilots returned to Poland choosing instead to remain in exile.

During the Battle of Britain the Polish Squadrons shot down 203 enemy aircraft constituting 12% of the Luftwaffe, and also destroyed 193 V-1 and V-2 German Flying Bombs. Among the non-British aircrew, the Polish Squadrons were the largest contingent of the RAF comprising over 150 pilots.  While few in comparison to RAF numbers, the Poles' contribution was immense. Twenty-nine Polish pilots were killed in action, and many more wounded.  They were fearless and fought with deadly accuracy. 

Bienkowski and Zumbach Displaying War Trophy
The British have not forgotten these amazing heroes.  The Polish Memorial was erected at RAF Northolt to commemorate their great contribution during the Battle of Britain. There is also a large memorial on the floor of the north aisle of the reconstructed Wren church St Clement Danes, London. According to Prime Minister Churchill it was " one of the decisive battles of the war". The Battle of Britain would have been lost were it not for the contribution of the Polish airmen.

King George VI meeting Polish Heroes


In Westminster Cathedral there is a commemorative plaque which reads:

IN MEMORY OF ALL RANKS OF THE POLISH ARMY NAVY AND AIR FORCE WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR POLAND
AND THIS COUNTRY
IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939-1945



Polish War Memorial at Northolt London

Polish airforce memorial, St Clement Danes, London




FAMOUS POLISH ACE PILOTS IN THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN

Caption reads: "Skalski: He was a great commander and a brilliant leader and we would follow him to hell if necessary"
(Newspaper source unknown)

W/Cdr STANISLAW SKALSKI ("Stan")

Stanisław Skalski was the top Polish fighter ace of WW II and the first Allied fighter ace of the war.
 Officially credited with 18 11/12 victories and two probable kills, 4 damaged planes.
Other sources, including Skalski himself, give a number of 22 11/12 victories.
Stanislaw Skalski was decorated with Virtuti Militari Golden Cross, Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Polonia Restituta Knight's Cross, Cross of Valour(4x), Cross of Grunwald, Distinguished Service Order (UK)Distinguished Flying Cross (UK), 1939-1945 Star, Italy Star




W/Cdr WITOLD URBANOWICZ

17 confirmed kills and 1 probable kill.
Witold Urbanowicz was awarded several decorations, including Virtuti Militari Silver Cross
Cross of Valour (4x), Distinguished Flying Cross (UK).




F/ Sgt JOSEF FRANTISEK

Josef Frantisk was a Czechoslovak pilot who so admired the Poles that he would not fly with any other squadron. He is famous for being the Top Ace Pilot in the Battle of Britain

17 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill
Josef Frantisek was decorated with Virtuti Militari 5th class, Cross of Valor (3x),
Distinguished Flying Medal and Bar (UK) and Croix de Guerre.




S/Ldr EUGENIUSZ HORBACZEWSKI ("Dziubek")

16.5 confirmed kills (16 individual and one shared, 1 probable kill, 1 damaged plane
Eugeniusz Horbaczewski was decorated with several medals including Virtuti Militari IV class (posthumously) and V class, four times Polish Cross of Valour, Distinguished Service Order (posthumously)
and Distinguished Flying Cross (2x)




F/Lt BOLESLAW GLADYCH ("Mike")

17 confirmed kills,  2 probable kills, 1 shared damaged, and 5 ground kills
Boleslaw Gladych was decorated with the Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari, Cross of Valor - Poland (3x),
Distinguished Flying Cross (UK), Silver Star and two clusters (USA),
Distinguished Flying Cross (USA) 2x, Air Medal and three clusters (USA),
 and Croix de Guerre (France)




W/Cdr JAN EUGENIUSZ ZUMBACH

12 (and 2 shared) confirmed kills, five probable kills, 1 damaged plane.
Jan Zumbach was decorated with Virtuti Militari, Polish Cross of Valour (4x)
and Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.




W/Cdr MARIAN PISAREK

12 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill, 2 damaged planes
Marian Pisarek was decorated with the Gold Cross of Virtuti Militari (posthumously),
Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari, Cross of Valor (4x),  Air Force Medal (1939-1945),
Field Pilot Badge,and Distinguished Flying Cross (UK)




EUGENIUSZ NOWAKIEWICZ

11 confirmed kills
Eugeniusz Nowakiewicz was decorated with Virtuti Militari, Merit Cross of the French Croix de Guerre,
English Cross of Valour,the Medal of the Air Battle of Britain,Aircrew Europe Star,
and Defence and War Medals.




G/Cpt ALEKSANDER GABSZEWICZ

9½ confirmed kills, 1-1/3 probables, 3 damaged planes.

Aleksander Gabszewicz was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Golden Cross, Virtuti Militari Silver Cross,Distinguished Flying Cross, Distinguished Service Order (with bar),Commander's Cross with Star of the Order of Polonia Restituta, and Cross of Valour(4x)




P/O MICHAL MACIEJOWSKI
(Michael "Mickey" Manson "Mickey Mouse")

9.5 confirmed kills , 1 probable and 1 damaged plane
No information available regarding Medals




F/Lt MIROSLAW FERIC

9-1/2 confirmed kills, 1 probable kills, 1 damaged plane
Miroslaw Feric was decorated with Virtuti Militari - Silver Cross, Cross of Valor (2x)
and Distinguished Flying Cross (UK)




S/Ldr HENRYK SZCZESNY

9-1/2 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill, 2 damaged planes
Henryk Szczesny was decorated with a Silver Cross of the Order of Military Virtuti Military, English Cross of Valor (4x), and the Distinguished Flying Cross




W/O ALEKSANDER CHUDEK

9 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill, 1 damaged plane
Aleksander Chudek was decorated with Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valour
and British Distinguished Flying Medal (4)




W/Cdr JAN P. FALKOWSKI

9 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill
Jan Falkowski was decorated with many medals including Virtuti Militari and Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1973 he was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame, and in 1996 his profile appeared on a $20 commemorative silver coin struck by the Canadian mint.




F/Lt STANISLAW BRZESKI

8.5 confirmed kills, 2 probable kills, 1 damaged
   Stanislaw Brzeski was decorated with the Virtuti Militari, Cross of Valour (4x)
 and the Distinguished Flying Cross




W/Cdr WACLAW KROL

8.5 confirmed kills,1 probable kill, 1/3 damaged plane
Waclaw Krolwas decorated with Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Polonia Restituta Knights Cross,
Cross of Valour (4x), Croix de Guerre, Distinguished Flying Cross (UK)




S/Ldr ZDZISLAW HENNEBERG

8.5 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill, 1 damaged plane
Zdzislaw Hennenberg was decorated with Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valour English (3x),Distinguished Flying Cross (as one of the first five Poles, 15 December 1940)
and the French Croix de Guerre




S/Ldr ANTONI GLOWACKI

8-1/3 confirmed kills, 3 probable kills, 4 damaged planes.
On August 24,1940 Antoni Glowacki shot down 5 German planes during the Battle of Britain, becoming one of only two pilots who gained "Ace-in-a-day" status during that battle
Antoni Glowacki was decorated with the Virtuti Militari, Cross of Valor, Distinguished Flying Cross,
and Distinguished Flying Medal




F/Lt EUGENIUSZ SZAPOSZNIKOW

8-1/2 confirmed kills, 1 damaged plane

Eugeniusz Szaposznikow was decorated with the Virtuti Militari (5th class), Silver Cross of Merit,
Cross of Valor (4x), and Distinguished Flying Medal




F/Lt ADOLF PIETRASIAK "Archie"

8 confirmed kills, 2 damaged planes
Adolf Pietrasiak was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valor,
and the Distinguished Flying Medal.




S/Ldr WITOLD LOKUCIEWSKI

8 confirmed kills, 3-1/2 probable kills.
Witold Lokuciewski was decorated with Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valour - Poland (3x),
Polonia Restituta Knight's Cross, Polonia Restituta Commander's Cross,
Distinguished Flying Cross (UK), Croix de Guerre (France)




S/Ldr HENRYK J. PIETRZAK

7-1/2 confirmed kills, 1 probable kills, 1 damaged plane, shot 4 V-1 Flying Bombs.
Henryk J. Pietrzak was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valor (4x),
Air Medal for the War 1939-1945, and Distinguished Flying Cross *UK)




S/Ldr JOZEF JEKA

7.5 confirmed kills, 3 damaged planes, and shot down 1 V-1 Flying Bomb.
Jozef Jeka was decorated with many medal including Virtuti Militari Silver Cross,
Silver Cross of Merit (with swords), Cross of Valor (4x), Distinguished Flying Medal, 1939-1945 Star,
Defence Medal,  France and Germany Star, and War Medal 1939-1945




S/Ldr BOLESLAW H. DROBINSKI "Ghandi"

7 confirmed kills, 1-1/3 probable kills
Boleslaw Drobinski was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross,Cross of Valourm, Air Force Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, and many others




P/O MARIAN BELC

7 confirmed kills
Marian Belc was decorated with Virtuti Militari (5th class), Cross of Valour (4x),
Distinguished Flying Cross, and Distinguished Flying Medal Ribbon




Sgt STANISLAW KARUBIN

7 confirmed kills
Stanislaw Karubin was decorated with Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valor (3x),
Field Pilot Bade, and Distinguished Flying Medal




S/Ldr Karol Pniak
 
6-3/4 confirmed kills, 2 probable kills, and 2 damaged planes
Karol Pniak was decorated with Flying Cross (The Netherlands)
 



S/Ldr WACLAW LAPKOWSKI

6-1/3 confirmed kills, and 1 damaged plane
Waclaw Lapkowski was decorated with the Virtuti Militari (V class).
 KW (total of 3 bars) KW = Kryz Walecznych, and Cross of Valor




W/Cdr STEFAN JANUS

6 confirmed kills, 1 damaged plane
Stefan Janus was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valor (I), Cross of Valor (II),
Cross of Valor (III), Cross of Valor (IV), Air Medal (4), Distinguishe Flying Cross (UK)




F/O LUDWIK WITOLD PASZKIEWICZ
6 confirmed kills
Ludwik Paszkiewicz was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross,
Cross of Valor, and Distinguished Flying Cross




W/Cdr KAZIMIERZ RUTKOWSKI

5-1/2 confirmed kills, 2 probable kills, 1 damaged plane
Kazimierz Rutkowski was decorated with the Virtuti Militari (5th class) and
Distinguished Flying Cross





F/Lt CZESLAW GLOWCZYNSKI

5-1/2 confirmed kills, 2 probable kills, 1 damaged plane.
Czeslaw Glowczynski was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valour (4),
and the French Croix de Guerre




F/Lt MICHAL CWYNAR

5-1/2 confirmd kills, 1 probable kill and shot down 1 V-1 flying bomb (and 4 shared)
Michal Cwynar was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valor (4x),
 the Silver Cross of Merit with Swords, and the British Distinguished Flying Cross.




G/Cpt STEFAN WITORZENC

5-1/2 confirmed kills, 2 damaged planes
Stefan Witorzenc was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross,
 Polonia Restituta Commanders Cross with Star, Cross of Valour, and
Distinguished Flying Cross




W/Cdr MUMLER MIECZYSLAW

5-1/2 confirmed kills, and 1-1/2 damaged planes
Mieczslaw Mumler was decorated with the Virtuti Militari and Double Cross of Valor




F/O BOLESLAW ANDRZEJ WLASNOWOLSKI

5-1/2 confirmed kills
Boleslaw Wlasnowolski was decorated with the Virtuti Militari (5th class), and the
KW (KW = 'Kryz Walecznych) posthumously in Oct 1947




F/O ADAMEK MIECZYSLAW

5 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill
Adamek Mieczyslaw was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valor (4x)
and the Distinguished Flying Medal (2x)




F/O FRANCISZEK SURMA

5 confirmed kills, 3-1/3 probable kills, 1 damaged plane
Franciszek Surma was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valour (3x)
and the Field Pilot Badge.




F/Lt STANISLAW BLOK

5 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill, 3 damaged planes
Stanislaw Blok was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valor (3x) and
Distinguished Flying Cross (UK)




F/Lt  KAZIMIERZ SPORNY

5 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill, 1 damaged plane
Kazimierz Sporny was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Cross of Valor (III),
 and Distinguished Flying Cross

 


F/Lt GRZEGORZ SOLOGUB

5 confirmed kills, 1 probable kill
No Information available regarding Medals




W/O JAKUB BARGIELOWSKI "Kuba"

5 confirmed kills, 3 damaged planes
Jakub Bargielowski was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, Virtuti Militari (V class),
Cross of Valor (3x), Bronze Cross of Merit with Swords, and the Distinguished Flying Medal.




S/Ldr JERZY POPLAWSKI

5 confirmed kills, 2 damaged planes
No information available regarding Medals







NEXT

BATTLE OF BRITAIN: PART IV
LEGEND OF THE SPITFIRE



NB. Sources and Suggested Links will be provided at the end of this series.