Polish WWII Fighter Aces.

Here you will find the most complete list of Polish WWII aces on the entire World Wide Web. The Polish defenition of an ace was a pilot who achieved at least five (5) confirmed victories (as opposed to probable victories) in air-to-air combat (as opposed to destroying planes on the ground). Therefore, the Polish definition of ace is not much different from that used in many other countries. The final point the reader should keep in mind is the fact that the Poles never counted probables in order to gain the status of an ace; probables were counted seperately (see the list below), and they were never taken into account.

All in all, there were more than 40 Polish pilots who achieved the status of an ace during WWII. The pilots are all ethnic Poles.

This is only a list and not a ranking of the Polish WWII aces. A few of the aces listed below have identical results, but have different numbers (for instance Belc and Karubin have the same results, but they were assigned nrs. 24 and 25 respectively).

The list below contains the aces' data in the following order:

Military Rank (Polish) - Name - Confirmed Victories - Probable Victories - Damaged Enemy Planes

For example the following result:

--------------- 8 and 1/2 ---- 2 ---- 1

should be read as follows: eight and one-half confirmed victories, two probable victories, and one damaged enemy plane. The one-half (1/2) indicates that an enemy plane was jointly downed (in this case) or damaged (in case of some other pilots) by two Allied aircraft. Likewise, a one-third (1/3) means that an enemy aircraft was collectively downed or damaged by three Allied pilots.

The * symbol is used to indicate a zero.

All the damaged planes are confirmed damages, albeit there might be various degrees of damage inflicted.

List of Polish WWII Aces.

The results are from the period starting on 1 September of 1939, and ending on 6 May of 1945. The list below contains only victories over enemy planes, and does not include downings of V-1s, balloons, flying saucers, or anything of that sort.

The military ranks might have changed due to post-war promotions (like in case of Skalski who became a general in the Polish Air Force following the war). There is a table of Polish Air Force ranks and their English translations below the list.

Unless specifically mentioned, this list only includes air-to-air combat victories and not ground kills.

1) Lieutenant-Colonel - Gabreski F. --------------- 30 and 1/2 ---- * ---- 1 (during the Korean War he scored additional 6 and 1/2 victories)

A U.S. ace of Polish parentage. At the beginning of 1943 he joined RAF's 315-th (Polish) Fighter Squadron "Deblinski" (the Americans believed he was not good enough to join any of their air units). In early 1944 he conceived the idea of temporarily assigning Polish pilots to American air units. He became the top U.S. ace of the war in the European Theater of Operations, with 28 air-to-air combat victories and 2 and 1/2 enemy planes destroyed on the ground. In 1967 he retires from the USAF with the rank of a colonel. He is probably the only Pole to become an ace in two different wars.

2) Pulkownik - Urbanowicz W. --------------- 29 ---- 1 ---- * (he also downed a Soviet recon plane back in 1936, for a career total of 30 confirmed victories)

He never participated in neither the Polish Campaign of 1939, nor in the Western European Campaign of 1940. When the war erupted he was an instructor at the Centrum Szkolenia Lotniczego (Aviation Training Center). With a platoon of 50 junior officers-trainees under his command he made his way (on the ground) to Romania by 17 September. Leaving his subordinates in that country, he went back to Poland to rejoin the struggle, was captured but managed to escape back to Romania on the very same day. In August of 1940 he was already 34 years old, nevertheless, he volunteered for active flying duty. In 1942 he was send to U.S. as an assistant to the Polish air attache. In September of 1943 he was send, on his own request, to fight against the Japanese in China. Of his confirmed victories 21 were achieved in air-to-air combat (17 of them were over German planes), and nine were enemy planes destroyed on the ground. He, along with Jozef Frantisek, achieved the best result of any Allied fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain.

3) Major - Skalski Stanislaw --------------- 21 ---- 1 ---- 4 and 1/3

During WWII Skalski made 321 sorties. He fought in 1939 over Poland, and between 1940 and 1945 over Great Britain, Western Europe, Mediterranean, and North Africa. Shortly after the war he came back to Poland and joined the Polish Air Force, in which he ended up being a general. In 1968 he became a general secretary of the Polish Aviation Club. He retired from the Polish Air Force in 1972. He is the top Polish-born ace, but only when just the air-to-air combat results are taken into account.

4) Kapitan - Gladych B. -------------- 18 ---- 2 ---- 1/2

He achieved 11 of his victories while flying with an American air unit, as part of Gabreski's exchange program (see above). He also destroyed a few more planes on the ground.

5) Major - Horbaczewski E. --------------- 16 and 1/2 ---- 1 ---- 1

Five of his confirmed victories took place over North Africa. He was killed in 1944 when 12 Polish fighters very successfully attacked a group of 60 German fighters, achieving 16 confirmed victories, one probable victory, and they damaged an additional three German planes (16 ---- 1 ---- 3). He was the only Polish loss in this spectacular engagement. He was posthumously promoted from Kapitan to Major.

6) Major - Zumbach J. --------------- 12 and 1/3 ---- 5 ---- 1

He was downed near the end of the war and spent its remainder as a POW.

7) Major - Pisarek M. --------------- 12 ---- 1 ---- 2

During the Polish Campaign of 1939 he downed two German planes and damaged one more. He was killed in 1942 over France.

8) Podpulkownik - Gabszewicz A. --------------- 9 and 1/2 ---- 1 and 1/3 ---- 3

During the Polish Campaign of 1939 he downed one of the first German planes.

9) Podporucznik - Maciejowski M. --------------- 9 and 1/2 ---- 1 ---- 1

10) Major - Szczesny H. --------------- 9 and 1/3 ---- 1 ---- 2

11) Porucznik - Feric M. --------------- 9 and 1/3 ---- 1 ---- 1

He was killed in an accident in 1942.

12) Starszy Sierzant - Chudek A. --------------- 9 ---- 1 ---- 1

13) Major - Falkowski J. --------------- 9 ---- 1 ---- *

14) Porucznik - Brzeski S. --------------- 8 and 1/2 ---- 2 ---- 1

15) Kapitan - Henneberg Z. --------------- 8 and 1/2 ---- 1 ---- 1

He was killed in a combat sortie.

16) Major - Krol W. --------------- 8 and 1/2 ---- 1 ---- 1/3

After the war he returned to Warsaw, Poland, and joined the Polish Air Force.

17) Kapitan - Glowacki A. --------------- 8 and 1/3 ---- 3 ---- 4

On 24 August of 1940, he scored five confirmed victories.

18) Porucznik - Szaposznikow E. --------------- 8 and 1/3 ---- * ---- 1

19) Podporucznik - Pietrasiak A. --------------- 8 and 1/10 ---- * ---- 2/5

20) Kapitan - Lokuciewski W. --------------- 8 ---- 3 and 1/2 ---- *

21) Porucznik - Jeka J. --------------- 7 and 1/2 ---- * ---- 3

22) Kapitan - Pietrzak H. --------------- 7 and 1/2 ---- 1 ---- 1

23) Kapitan - Drobinski B. --------------- 7 ---- 1 and 1/3 ---- *

24) Podporucznik - Belc M. --------------- 7 ---- * ---- *

25) Sierzant - Karubin S. --------------- 7 ---- * ---- *

26) Kapitan - Pniak K. --------------- 6 and 3/4 ---- 2 ---- 2 and 5/6

Served in the Polish Air Force ever since 1932. During the Polish Campaign of 1939 he downed a Do 17 and a Ju 87. On 24 August of 1940, he bailed-out twice within a space of two hours.

27) Major - Lapkowski W. --------------- 6 and 1/3 ---- * ---- 1

28) Major - Janus S. --------------- 6 ---- * ---- 1

29) Kapitan - Paszkiewicz --------------- 6 ---- * ---- *

On 30 August of 1940, he scored the very first victory (over a Do 17Z) for RAF's 303-rd (Polish) Fighter Squadron "Kosciuszkowski". This victory was achieved just prior to the squadron became officially operational on the next day. He was killed during a combat sortie on 27 September of 1940. All of his victories were achieved in the Battle of Britain.

30) Major - Glowczynski Cz. --------------- 5 and 1/2 ---- 2 ---- 1

31) Major - Rutkowski K. --------------- 5 and 1/2 ---- 2 ---- 1

32) Podpulkownik - Witozenc S. --------------- 5 and 1/2 ---- * ---- 2

33) Podpulkownik - Mumler M. --------------- 5 and 1/2 ---- * ---- 1 and 1/2

34) Kapitan - Cwynar M. --------------- 5 and 1/2 ---- 1 ---- *

35) Kapitan - Wlasnowolski W. --------------- 5 and 1/2 ---- * ---- *

36) Porucznik - Adamek M. --------------- 5 and 9/20 ---- 1 ---- *

37) Porucznik - Surma F. --------------- 5 ---- 3 and 1/3 ---- 1

38) Kapitan - Blok S. --------------- 5 ---- 1 ---- 3

39) Sierzant - Bargielowski J. --------------- 5 ---- * ---- 3

40) Major - Poplawski J. --------------- 5 ---- * ---- 2

41) Kapitan - Sporny K. --------------- 5 ---- 1 ---- 1

He was either killed almost at the very end of the war, or just after the war.

42) Porucznik - Sollogub G. --------------- 5 ---- 1 ---- *

Polish Air Force Ranks (Post-WWII).

The ranks are listed in descending order (from the highest to the lowest). The Polish ranks are in italics on the left, while their English translations are on the right.

General Broni - Air Force General

General Dywizji - Divisional General

General Brygady - Brigadier-General

Pulkownik - Colonel

Podpulkownik - Lieutenant-Colonel

Major - Major

Kapitan - Captain

Porucznik - First Lieutenant

Podporucznik - Second Lieutenant

Starszy Chorazy Sztabowy - Senior Staff Ensign

Chorazy Sztabowy - Staff Ensign

Starszy Chorazy - Senior Ensign

Chorazy - Ensign

Mlodszy Chorazy - Junior Ensign

Starszy Sierzant Sztabowy - Senior Staff Sergeant

Sierzant Sztabowy - Staff Sergeant

Starszy Sierzant - Senior Sergeant

Sierzant - Sergeant

Plutonowy - Platoon Commander

Starszy Kapral - Senior Corporal

Kapral - Corporal

Starszy Szeregowy - Senior Private

Szeregowy - Private

Polish Contribution to the Battle of Britain.

RAF's 303-rd (Polish) Fighter Squadron "Kosciuszkowski"

Formed on 2 August of 1940, and became officially operational on 31 August of 1940.

Highlights of the Battle of Britain:

On 30/08/1940 the sqaudron scores its first victory over a German Do-17Z bomber.

On 07/09/1940 the squadron downs 14 enemy planes, and losses only one of its aircraft in the process.

On 11/09/1940 the squadron downs 17 enemy planes, and losses only two of its aircraft in the process.

On 15/09/1940 the squadron downs 15 enemy planes, and losses only one of its aircraft in the process.

On 26/09/1940 the squadron downs 13 enemy planes, without suffering any losses.

On 27/09/1940 the squadron downs 15 enemy planes, and losses only two of its aircraft in the process.

The squadron's results in the Battle of Britain (Polish pilots only): 110 ---- 9 ---- 6


RAF's 302-nd (Polish) Fighter Squadron "Poznanski"

Formed on 13 July of 1940, and became officially operational on 15 August of 1940.

Highlights of the Battle of Britain:

On 20/08/1940 the squadron scores its first victory over a German Ju-88 bomber.

On 15/09/1940 the squadron downs eight enemy planes, and losses only one of its aircraft in the process.

The squadron's results in the Battle of Britain (Polish pilots only): 16 ---- 10 ---- 1


Polish Fighter Pilots in RAF's Other Squadrons

During the Battle of Britain only the two above-mentioned Polish fighter squadrons were formed. Meanwhile, many Polish fighter pilots were assigned to RAF's British squadrons.

Here are their collective results for the Battle of Britain: 77 and 1/2 ---- 16 ---- 29


The grand total result for Polish fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain was:

203 and 1/2 ---- 35 ---- 36


The Battle's Top Guns.

All in all, the Polish fighter pilots downed 8.5% of the 2 375 enemy planes that were claimed to have been destroyed (by all means, including anti-aircraft artillery and etc.) during Battle of Britain, according to the data released by the British Air Ministry. The share of the Polish victories achieved only in air-to-air combat is considerably greater.

The 303-rd Fighter Squadron "Kosciuszkowski" was the single most successful Allied unit in the Battle of Britain. The significant discrepancy between the 303-rd's and 302-nd's results, is due to the former's more busier geographical location, which offered more opportunities to down enemy aircraft. It must also be mentioned that the 303-rd achieved the best result despite of having been committed to the Battle of Britain for one of the shortest periods of time of all the Allied air units involved. It is also important to know that the 303-rd was not some sort of an elite "show-off" unit with specially pre-selected personnel, that was designed to outshine all the other units on the battlefield. The selection of personnel for this squadron was in no way different from the personnel selections of the RAF's other Polish squadrons, and during the Battle of Britain the squadron flew the unfancied Hawker Hurricane aircraft, and not the famous Spitfires.

On average the Polish fighter pilots scored more victories than their British counterparts, and, at the same time, they suffered fewer casualties. For example, the 303-rd Squadron downed three times as many enemy aircraft as the avarage Allied squadron, and it suffered three times fewer casualties in the process.


The Battle's two most successful Allied individual pilots were:

Jozef Frantisek and Witold Urbanowicz, who both had a Battle of Britain result of 17 ---- 1 ---- *

Frantisek had a career result of 31 ---- 1 ---- * (he had three confirmed victories over Poland, 11 over France and Belgium, and 17 in the Battle of Britain).

Frantisek was a very gifted and determined fighter ace. When the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia, he took his machine and flew to Poland, attacking a column of German troops on the way. While in Britain he served, in spite of being an ethnic Czech, in the 303-rd Fighter Squadron "Kosciuszkowski". He scored his very first Battle of Britain victory on 2 September of 1940. He was killed during a landing accident on 8 October of the same year. In spite of such a short participation in the Battle, only Urbanowicz managed to match his Battle of Britain result. Also, with a career result of 31 ---- 1 ---- * he was also the top Allied fighter ace of the first year of the war.

Urbanowicz scored his first Battle of Britain victory in the middle of August, when he volunteered for active flying duty with a British RAF squadron. Shortly afterwards he was assigned to the 303-rd Squadron. On 5 September of 1940, when the squadron's original Polish commander, Major Krasnodebski, was wounded in combat, Urbanowicz was nominated as his replacement. He scored his last three Battle of Britain victories on 30 September, and soon later the British seconded him to the command of a fighter group.


What a Polish Vet thinks of the 'Battle of Britain' Movie.

A fragment of the foreword to the 16-th edition of Dywizjon 303 by Arkady Fiedler:

"I saw the movie titled 'Battle of Britain', which was filmed around 1970 by the British at an immense financial cost and promoted by a massive advertising campaign, and - I must admitt - that I felt a little troubled after seeing it. Maybe even dis-tasted. After years of Cold War era silence in England on the subject of Polish fighter pilots, who participated in the as decisive for the British as the Battle of Britain was (...), this silence was ended with the showing of the Polish fighter pilots in that movie.

But how bizarrely they were shown!

I have lived with them day and night for several months, I was in constant contact with them, I watched them closely, I listened to their conversations, therefore, I know in great detail what kind of people they really were and how they conducted themselves. I know that when they entered combat in the last days of August, 1940, they spoke fairly fluent English. I also remember well that they never made much noise during combat sorties, like some kind of loud gathering of geese (...). They did not resemble a bunch of unruly slow-witted pupils, which required constant vigilence and disciplining of the British officer (like it was shown in the movie).

Unfortunetly the movie does not show the exceptionally fine qualities, both military and interpersonal, that were the hallmark of the Polish fighter pilots in Great Britain (...).

The British film-makers unpleasently screwed-up in the movie; their own memories have failed them.

Poznan, January, 1973

Arkady Fiedler"


Arkady Fiedler is one of the best known modern Polish authors. His books have been translated into numerous languages. Two of his books, Dywizjon 303 and Wiek Meski Zwycieski deal with Polish fighter pilots in RAF during WWII.

Translator's Comment:

Very well said! What in the world could the Poles have expected from people who pretend to be the friends of Poles by trumpeting like hell about Katyn (even Nazis did that, and at the same time they killed Poles by the millions), and simultaneously protect and praise as so called "freedom fighters" the mass murderers of these very same Poles?!

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