303 Squadron : The Legendary Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron Paperback
Summer of 1940 and the Battle of Britain -- the darkest days of WWII.
England stood alone, fighting for its life against the powerful German war machine.
The celebrated squadron of Polish fighter pilots whose superb skill in the air helped save England during its most desperate hours -- lionized by the British press, congratulated by the King, adored by the British public--is painted with an immediacy that vividly brings to life those harrowing days.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages, black & white illustrations, maps, frontispiece
- Publisher: Aquila Polonica Publishing
- Publication Date: 15/12/2010
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9781607720058
Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.
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Review by MrsLee
This is the story of a Polish Squadron of pilots during the Battle of Britain in WWII. Written in 1942 by a Polish man, it sounds a bit like a newsreel at times, but it was written to encourage those soldiers in Poland who were fighting underground for their freedom. It was also written to publicize the skill and dedication of the pilots and counteract prejudice of the times. The fact that I had not heard of this squadron before reading this, is testimony that the book is needed. These pilots contributed so much and deserve every bit of praise they received, although most did not survive the war to receive any.This edition has many photos, records and appendices to enhance the story, as well as followup stories on the pilots spoken of. The translator has added footnotes to explain slang and events which might not be readily understood by a modern reader.In addition to telling the story of the pilots, the author gives an exciting insight into what goes on in the air in the midst of battle. He also uses a chapter to give deserved praise to the ground crews without whom there would have been no victory.I appreciated reading this. It was a quick, yet moving insight into the lives of some heroic men.
Review by worcester
This is a lovingly prepared update of Fielder's 1942 account of the exploits of a cadre of Polish flyers fighting for the RAF in The Battle of Britain. Originally written as a tract to boost Allied morale in the darkest days of The Second World War, the book has apparently become a young adults' classic in Poland in the intervening years. While not an exhaustive history of the topic, 303 Squadron vividly describes the day to day exploits of a fearless and skilled group of fighter pilots.This new edition of 303 Squadron is lavishly illustrated with period photos and contains an informative appendix of biographies of the pilots described in the book.This is a fast and entertaining read for the general reader.
Review by antiquary
Very vivid account of a squadron of Polish fighter pilots fighting for the British during the Battle of Britain. It was written at the time by a Polish writer and is understandably enthusiastic for its subjects -- all the Polish pilots are naturally heroic and the Germans naturally arrogant and evil. It was intended originally for general readers, English and (thanks to the Polish underground) Polish, so it is written in a clear popular style which makes the effectiveness of the Polish method of close attack clear without requiring technical knowledge (which I do not have). It stresses that despite the stereotype of Poles as brave to the point of recklessness, in fact the Polish fliers not only inflicted more losses on the Germans but also suffered fewer losses themselves than the British air force typically did during the battle. Despite this, it is sad to see from the biographical appendixes how many of the fliers did eventually die during the war. Those who lived faced the hard choice of making terms with the Communist government or remaining in exile; some made each decision. A few actually lived long enough to be honored in post-Communist Poland, which provides a bittersweet happy ending (added to this revised version of the original book.) The author's enthusiasm may seem a little excessive at times, but on the whole, I think these men deserved it.
Review by jamespurcell
Concise, easy to read and about a part of WW11 that has rarely generated much press or prose. The Polish fliers described in this book had fought in Poland, then France before they arrived in Britain. For each battlefield they had to learn to fly different airplanes and in the UK they had to face the mentality that reached its strategic nadir with Alan Brooke and its tactical equivalent with Montgomery. WE.are the British and have forgotten more about warfighting than you colonials (US and Dominion military) and and everyone (Polish, Czech, etc.) else not from this island. They generally fought under British leadership, at the squadron level, but in spite of this, the 303 fliers was among the most effective airmen that defended England during the Battle of Britain. Their effectiveness was usually played down or they were dismissed as wild, vengeance bound crazy fliers that managed to shoot down so many "Adolfs" by sheer luck. The irony of their part in the allied victory was that Poland was in that part of Europe that was handed to Stalin.
Review by linedog1848
So much fun. This was a great, quick read, written as anti-NAZI propaganda and dropped into occupied Poland to tell them the story of their countrymen fighting their occupiers in the skies over Britain and the English Channel, the language is over-the-top newsreel pomp and embellishment at its finest.This book is written in the epic tone that portrays Poles--and particularly the Polish pilots of Squadron 303--as superhuman, mythic figures.It makes this book an unbelievably energetic, wonderful read, though it's purpose was not to be an objective history but a public relations campaign, with unalloyed biases and soda-straw tunnel vision. But I think this less objective style manages to portray the frenetic emergence of the situation, the drama, the passion of human feeling and the direness of the war much better than more objective accounts of the events.This book--or perhaps its translator--manages to convey much more of the meaning and individual experience of a pivotal moment in history than a mere accounting of events could do. Written with unaccustomed panache and overdrama, I thought it was such a fun read.'
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