- 111th Fighter Escadrille (Poland)
The 111th Fighter Escadrille of the
Polish Air Force( _pl. 111. eskadra myśliwska) was one of the fighter units of the Polish Army. Created in 1921, immediately after the end of the Polish-Soviet War, the unit inherited the traditions of the famous war-time Polish 7th Air Escadrille(known as the Kościuszko Squadron), in which both Polish and American volunteers served.
The unit was created on
May 19, 1921Fact|date=May 2008 out of two previously-existing units, the Polish 7th Air Escadrilleand the Polish 18th Air Escadrilleof the 1st Air Regiment. Initially it was manned mostly by the American veterans of the earlier unit, including Cedric Fauntleroy. However, soon afterwards most of the American pilots returned home and the unit was manned with Polish officers. Nonetheless, it retained the roundel and the traditions of the Polish-American unit. In 1934the unit was the first to receive the then-modern PZL P.11cfighterscite web | author=Pavel Soukup | title =PZL P11 | publisher=Letectvi.wz.cz | year=2005 | work=Letectvi.wz.cz website | url= http://letectvi.wz.cz/polsko/p11/ | accessdate=2006-04-14 cs icon ] . In 1936the escadrille was stationed in Sarnyand was providing air cover for a construction of border fortifications at the frontier with the Soviet Union. During one of the sorties Lt. Witold Urbanowicz, later to become one of the fighter aces of World War II, downed a Soviet Polikarpov R-5 biplane reconnaissance aircraft flying a reconnaissance mission over the areacite web | author=Artur Gołębiewski | title=Witold Urbanowicz | publisher= | year= | work=Polska Witryna Modelarska | url= http://www.old.modelarstwo.org.pl/lotnicze/dokumentacja/piloci/urbanowicz/index.html | accessdate=2006-04-14 pl icon] .
1939it was attached to the Pursuit Brigade, a large fighter unit held in reserve of the Commander in Chief. As part of the Polish 3rd Squadron of the 1st Air Regiment( _pl. III/1 dywizjon myśliwski) under Zdzisław Krasnodębski, the unit was stationed at the airfield at Zielonkaand provided air cover for the nearby city of Warsaw. During the Polish September Campaignthe first sortie — and the first success of the escadrille — took place on September 1, at 4 in the morning, that is roughly an hour before the fights for Westerplattestarted, an event which is usually taken as the starting point of World War II. The escadrille was scrambled to intercept a large formation of enemy bombers escorted by Messerschmitt Me110heavy fighters. Over the area of Bugo-Narewthe enemy formation was intercepted and forced to retreat, dropping their bombs on uninhabited areas. Lt. Palusiński downed one enemy Dornier Do17and probably damaged another plane of that type cite book | author =Izabela Wieczorek | coauthors = | title =Użycie lotnictwa we wrześniu 1939 r. | year = | editor = | pages = | chapter = | chapterurl = | publisher =www.ogniskowiec.znp.edu.pl | location = | id = | url =http://www.ogniskowiec.znp.edu.pl/publikacje/szkolysrednie/uzycielotnictwawewrzesniu.htm | format = | accessdate =2006-04-14 pl icon ] . Palusiński himself was wounded by enemy fire.
Later that day another bombing raid on Warsaw was intercepted, this time covered by
Messerschmitt Me109fighters. During the air battles over Warsaw the escadrille's commanding officer managed to down one enemy fighter, but was then shot down and wounded. The command was taken over by his deputy, Lt. Januszewicz. The following day the escadrille did not encounter any enemy formations. On September 3 a flight from the escadrille, providing air cover for Col. Stefan Pawlikowskiintercepted a formation of enemy Me110 fighters over Wyszków. Lt. Januszewicz and Corporal Karubin downed two enemy fighters. However, at the same time another flight lead by Ferić was dispersed and had to return to base. One of its pilots did not return to the escadrille until September 10.
On September 4 the escadrille was transferred to the
Zaborówairfield near Leszno. Its commanding officer downed a Junkers Ju87(other sources mention a Dornier Do17). The following day Strzembosz and Januszewicz scored another two victories, this time over a Me110 and Ju87, respectively. On September 6 Januszewicz scored yet another Ju87. On September 7the escadrille was evacuated to eastern Poland and was stationed in the Kierzairfield near Lublin. It briefly operated from the airfield of Ostrożecnear Łuck, but returned to Lublin area the following day (Strzelce and Werba airfields). The last confirmed victories were over a reconnaissance Henschel Hs 126on September 9 (Ferić) and Heinkel He 111on September 11 (Wróblewski) cite web | author=Grzegorz Adios | title=111 Eskadra Myśliwska | publisher= | year= | work=Myśliwcy | url=http://www.psr.netfriend.org/mysliwcy/1939/111_eskadra_mysliwska.htm | accessdate=2006-04-14 pl icon] . Altogether during the campaign the unit downed 8 enemy planes (other sources mention 7 1/2) while losing 9 of its own PZL P.11cfighters.
Sovietinvasion of Polandon September 17, the unit was evacuated to Romaniatogether with its 4 remaining fighters. From there the majority of the pilots were able to get to Franceand the United Kingdom, where many joined the Polish Air Forcesin exile. The traditions of the escadrille, as well as its predecessor, was then continued by the No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, one of the most successful Allied fighter units of the war.
Crew and equipment
September 1, 1939the escadrille had 9 planes, including 7 PZL P.11c and 2 PZL P.11a. Throughout the war it received an additional PZL P.11c as reinforcement. The air crew consisted of kapitan (Captain) Gustaw Sidorowicz, his deputy porucznik(Lieutenant) Wojciech Januszewiczand 16 other pilots:
# ppor. Janusz Łabicki
# ppor. Jerzy Palusiński
# pchor. Władysław Drecki
# pchor. Zbigniew Janicki
# pchor. Janusz Maciński
# pchor. Mieczysław Rozwadowski
# st. sierż Jan Kołcon
# plut. Ignacy Lendzion
# kpr. Stanisław Karubin
# kpr. Eugeniusz Szaposznikow
# st. szer. Bogdan Cichocki
# st. szer. Henryk Szope
# st. szer. Stefan Wojtowicz
# st. szer. Kazimierz Wünsche
# st. szer. Kazimierz Wróblewski
Notes and references::In-line:::General:
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