Stanisław Skalski

Stanisław Skalski

Infobox Military Person
name=Stanisław Skalski

rank=Generał brygady
born=birth date|1915|11|27|mf=y
placeofbirth=Kodyma near Odessa, Russia
died=death date and age|2004|11|12|1915|11|27|mf=y
placeofdeath=Warsaw, Poland
serviceyears=1938-1945, 1956-1972
commands=Wing Commander in 316 PAF, CO of 317 PAF, PFT, 601 RAF, 131st Fighter Wing, 133rd Fighter Wing
battles=Polish Defensive War, World War II

Stanisław Skalski (November 27, 1915November 12, 2004) was a Polish fighter ace of the Polish Air Force in World War II and general. Stanisław Skalski was the top Polish fighter ace of WW II, credited, according to official list, with 18 11/12 victories and two probable. Some sources, including Skalski himself, give a number of 22 11/12 victories.


Stanisław Skalski was born on October 27 1915 in Kodyma near Odessa, Russian Empire. After completing Pilot Training School in 1938, Skalski was ordered to the 142nd Fighter Squadron in Torun. On September 1 1939, he attacked a German Henschel Hs 126 reconnaissance aircraft, eventually shot down by Marian Pisarek, and then landed next to it and helped to bandage a crew. By 16 September Skalski reached "ace" status, by claiming a total of six German aircraft: one Junkers Ju 86, two Dornier Do 17, one Junkers Ju 87, two Hs 126s and one Hs 126 shared (official list credits him with four aircraft: two Do 17s, one Hs 126, one Ju 87 and one Hs 126 shared). Soon after he fled the country with other Polish pilots to Romania, and from there via Beirut to France , and after went on to fight with the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain.

In August 1940, Pilot Officer Skalski joined No. 501 Squadron RAF. From August 30 to September 2 1940, he shot down a He 111 bomber and three Messerschmitt Bf 109s. On September 5 1940, Skalski himself was shot down. [According to some sources, he shot down a He 111 bomber and two Bf 109s in that flight, but there are no firm evidence, these victories were not acknowledged officially, and several pilots claimed these Bf 109s.] Skalski bailed out with severe burns that hospitalised him for six weeks. He returned to his unit in late October 1940. During the Battle of Britain, Skalski was credited with four planes shot down and one shared.

In March 1941 he was assigned to the Polish No. 306 Polish Fighter Squadron, flying in "Circus" operations. [Circus missions aimed to draw out enemy fighters in response to a perceived bombing attack] missions over France. On March 1 1942, he became a flight commander in No. 316 Polish Fighter Squadron. On April 29 1942, Flight Lieutenant Skalski was made Commanding Officer of the No. 317 Polish Fighter Squadron for five months. From November 1942 he was an instructor in No. 58 Operation Training Unit.

In October 1943 he was given command of the Polish Fighting Team (PFT), or so called "Cyrk Skalskiego" (Skalski's Circus) - a Squadron consisting of best Polish fighter pilots selected from volunteers. The Poles arrived at Bu Grara airfield, west of Tripoli in March 1943. They at first were attached to No. 145 Squadron RAF. The PFT took part in actions in Tripolitania and in Sicily. On May 6 1943, the "Skalski Circus" fought its last combat. During its two months on operations, the Polish pilots had claimed a total of 26 German and Italian aircraft shot down. Flight Lieutenant Skalski scored four aircraft, and Pilot Officer Eugeniusz Horbaczewski claimed five confirmed victories.

Skalski then became commander of No. 601 (County of London) Squadron RAF, the first Pole to command an RAF Squadron. He then took part in the invasion of Sicily and invasion of Italy. From December 1943 to April 1944, Wing Commander Skalski commanded 133(Polish) Fighter Wing . On April 4 1944, he was appointed commander of the another Polish Fighter Wing; No. 133. On June 24 1944, Skalski scored two air victories over Rouen.

After the war he returned to Poland in 1947 and joined the Air Force of the Polish Army. In 1948 however he was arrested by the communist regime under the false charge of espionage. Sentenced to death, he spent three years awaiting the execution, after which his sentence was changed to life imprisonment. After the end of Stalinism in Poland, in 1956 he was released, rehabilitated, and allowed to join the military. He served at various posts in the Headquarters of the Polish Air Forces. He wrote memoires of the 1939 campaign "Czarne krzyże nad Polską" ("Black crosses over Poland", 1957). On May 20, 1968, he was nominated the secretary general of the Aeroklub Polski and on April 10, 1972, he retired. On September 15, 1988, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. In 1990 he met with the German pilot he had rescued on the first day of war.

Stanisław Skalski died in Warsaw on November 12, 2004.


* Virtuti Militari, two times (Golden and Silver Cross)
* Krzyż Walecznych, four times
* Distinguished Flying Cross, three times
* Distinguished Service Order




* Cynk, Jerzy Bogdam. "Polskie lotnictwo myśliwskie w boju wrześniowym" (in Polish). Gdańsk, Poland: AJ-Press, 2000.
* Cynk, Jerzy Bogdam. "Polskie Siły Powietrzne w wojnie tom 1: 1939-43 (Polish Air Force in War pt. 1: 1939-43)" (in Polish). Gdańsk, Poland: AJ-Press, 2001.
(Updated and revised edition of "The Polish Air Force at War: The Official History, Vol.2 1939-1943". Atglen, PA: Schiffer Books, 1998. ISBN 0-76430-559-X.)
* Cynk, Jerzy Bogdam. "Polskie Siły Powietrzne w wojnie tom 2: 1943-45 (Polish Air Force in War pt. 2: 1943-45)" (In Polish). Gdańsk, Poland: AJ-Press, 2002.
(Updated and revised edition of "The Polish Air Force at War: The Official History, Vol.2 1943-1945". Atglen, PA: Schiffer Books, 1998. ISBN 0-76430-560-3.)
* Grabowski, Franciszek. "Gen. bryg. pil. Stanisław Skalski". in: "Militaria i Fakty" 2/2005 (Polish)
* Grabowski, Franciszek. "Stanisław Skalski". Sandomierz, Poland/Redbourn, UK: Mushroom Model Publications, 2007. ISBN 83-89450-11-9.
* Gretzyngier, Robert. "Poles in Defence of Britain: A Day-by-day Chronology of Polish Day and Night Fighter Pilot Operations - July 1940 - June 1941". London: Grub Street, 2005. ISBN 1-90494-305-5.
* Ochabska, Katarzyna. "Stanisław Skalski". Gliwice, 2007.
* Skalski, Stanisław. "Czarne krzyże nad Polską" (in Polish). Warszawa, Poland, 1957 (New edition: De Facto, 2006).

Further reading

* Cynk, Jerzy Bogdam. "History Of The Polish Air Force 1918-1968". UK: Osprey Publications, 1972.
* Koniarek, Dr. Jan. "Polish Air Force 1939-1945". Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc.,1994. ISBN 0-89747-324-8.
* Kornicki, Franciszek. "Polish Air Force- Chronicle of Main Events". UK: Polish Air Force Association of Great Britain, 1993.
* Lisiewicz, Mieczyslaw (Translated from the Polish by Ann Maitland-Chuwen). "Destiny can wait - The Polish Air Force in the Second World War". London: Heinemann, 1949.
* Zamoyski, Adam. "The Forgotten Few: The Polish Air Force in The Second World War". UK: Leo Cooper Ltd., 2004. ISBN 1-84415-090-9.

External links

* Krajewski, Wojciech. [,%20as%20polskiego%20lotnictwa.pdf&mine=application/pdf "Generał brygady pilot Stanisław Skalski as polskiego lotnictwa"] :

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