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

shot down by Gnys on 1 September 1939, 55k

   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 Regiment Commander.

shot down by Gnys of 1 September 1939, 55k

   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 airfield.

shot down by Gnys of 1 September 1939, 55k

   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.

PZl.11 fighter, 39k
The P.11c from the 121 Eskadra piloted by Wladyslaw Gnys - probably the first air Allied winner in WW2.

   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 ModelHomePage.


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