First Allied Victory in WW2.
by: Dariusz Tyminski
Photographic credits: A. Glass,
T. Kopanski, and T. Makowski. Photographs are also courtesy of the publisher
AJ-PRESS, where you can contact them at there
e-mail. These photographs came from
AJ-PRESS' Monografie Lotnicze No 36, No 37 (series) "PZL P.11" part 1&2, 1997.
ISBN 83-86208-63-5, ISBN 83-86208-64-3
Probably the first Allied victor in aerial combat during
World War Two was Lieutenant (Lt.) Wladyslaw Gnys. In May of 1939, Gnys was
directed to the 121st Eskadra Mysliwska (Fighter Squadron) in the city
of Krakow. On the 31st of August, that Squadron was assigned to fly in
conjunction with and part of the III/2 Pulk (Regiment), and was
relocated to a reserve-battle airfield in Balice.
In the early morning of 1 September 1939, Gnys was
awakened by bomb explosions. German bombers were just making a bombing run
over Krakow. After a few minutes, Gnys was in his pilot's helmet and ready
for battle. "Wladek! Fly with me!" ordered Cptn. Mieczyslaw Medwecki, the
At about 7:00 A.M., while other sources say 5:30 A.M.,
two P-11c fighters moved onto the runway. Just after take off, and at about
300 meters altitude, the Polish fighters were suddenly attacked by a pair of
German Ju 87B dive-bombers from I/StG2 "Immelmann". Unteroffizier (
Uffz., Staff Sergeant) Frank Neubert, piloting a "Stuka" coded "T6+GK",
successfully shot at Medwecki and scored probably the first aerial victory of
WWII. The "Jedenastka" ("Eleventh" - popular Polish name of the P-11)
flown by Capt. Mieczyslaw Medwecki fell away having suffered serious battle
damage. The commander of the "City of Krakow" Regiment was killed. Gnys was
now also under attack, but a few seconds later he shot at a "Stuka" piloted
by Lt. Branderburg. From the German aircraft there appeared some smoke, but
the aircraft managed to escape into the clouds and returned to Nieder-Ellguth
Gnys did not return to his airfield, but instead flew
directly to the German border. A few minutes later, Gnys noticed a formation
of two Do-17E bombers from KG 77, probably returning from the Krakow bombing.
The Polish fighter pilot attacked the bombers with the advantage of altitude.
After a few passes, both Do-17E bombers crashed in the country village of
Zurada, near the city of Olkusz. One of the German bombers had the call sign
"3Z+FR" on its fuselage. All six German crew members were killed, one was
later identified as Uffz. Klose. On his return home to base Gnys met a
lone He 111, but his guns were out of ammunition.
Again in September of 1939, Sec.Lt. Wladyslaw Gnys
personally scored again, this time a He-111. On the sixth of the month, while
other sources give the date as the morning of the ninth of September,
Sergeants Leopold Flanek and Tadeusz Arabski were engaged in an aerial combat.
During this engagement Flanek's plane was heavily damaged but was able to
return to Kraczewice airfield. Tadeusz Arabski was able to share a single
kill of a He-111 bomber.
The P.11c from the 121
Eskadra piloted by Wladyslaw Gnys - probably the first air Allied winner
The author of this article, Dariusz Tyminski, can be
reached directly at either his E-mail
or his e-Mail. This author also
has two stunning websites that have similar material as this page. These sites
are: WW2AceStories and his
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