No. 303 Squadron: A Little Known Story Of Poland’s Forgotten Few

No. 303 Squadron: A Little Known Story Of Poland’s Forgotten Few | World War Wings Videos

The 303 Squadron Was Credited With The Highest RAF Score During The Battle Of Britain

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.

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One comment on “No. 303 Squadron: A Little Known Story Of Poland’s Forgotten Few

  1. Nice post about 303 Squadron, the highest-scoring Allied fighter squadron in the Battle of Britain!

    Polish fighter pilots were the largest non-Commonwealth group of pilots defending Britain against the Luftwaffe. Their stellar record is even more remarkable in light of the handicaps the Poles had to overcome in just a few short weeks. Not only did they have to learn enough English to understand and respond instantly to operational commands over their radios — they also had to reverse their instinctive reflexes in the cockpit: in their prior Polish and French aircraft, to open the throttle the pilot pulled, in British Hurricanes, the pilot pushed. Speed was measured in miles per hour instead of kilometers per hour. Rate of climb was expressed in feet per minute, and altitude too was in feet, instead of meters. Fuel came in gallons, not liters; units of measurement also differed.

    For more information about this remarkable group of superb fighter pilots, take a look at “303 Squadron: The Legendary Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron” by Arkady Fiedler, the classic book about 303 Squadron, in an all-new translation which identifies the pilots by their real names for the first time in English, published by us for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, http://j.mp/1Ph57FW
    Terry Tegnazian
    President
    Aquila Polonica Publishing
    http://www.PolandWW2.com

    Like

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