The No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, natively named Kosciuszko Squadron, was named after the Polish and U.S. hero General Tadeusz Kosciuszko who was a military engineer and defensive mastermind. Conceived a year into the war in 1940 as part of an agreement between the Polish and British, this squadron was originally comprised of just 156 Polish military personnel, 8 of whom were pilots. Their training started immediately after arriving in Britain, while one of the initial hurdles faced by both sides was the language barrier. Despite that, the Poles quickly picked up on the necessary military terminology they needed and were ready to go up and fight.
During their five years of active service, No. 303 Squadron was credited with destroying approximately 300 enemy aircraft while deployed on 9,900 sorties and logging in just under 16,000 hours of flight time.
The effectiveness of this squadron was attributed largely to a simple human factor, which was anger. Though the scrambled squadron proved to be comprised of quite capable pilots, their drive to defend their homeland and get back at the invading German army fed their desire to fight harder than most. During the onset of the Battle of Britain, the squadron was equipped with Hawker Hurricanes which faired well against the Luftwaffe’s Bf 109s. Later, they were upgraded to the Spitfires and towards the end of the war given P-51 Mustangs. Overall, the 303 Squadron became the most effective Polish outfit during World War II.