Kosciuszko Squadron 1919-1921 Book Review
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||March 2005||Title||Kosciuszko Squadron 1919-1921|
|Author||J. Kopanski & Zygmund Kozak||Publisher||Mushroom Model Publications|
|Format||96 pages, softbound||MSRP (USD)||$19.95|
This new book by MMP (Mushroom Model Publications) is a departure from earlier books that I have reviewed for them previously. Those books were all on WWII subjects.
This one is about between the two World Wars.
The book is in MMP’s usual 9 ½” x 6 ½” soft-cover format. It is 80 pages long. It tells the little-known story of the American volunteers who fought with the air forces of the newly-established Polish state immediately after WWI.
Poland had to defend its independence from threats by both the Bolsheviks and the Ukraine. There was fierce fighting until a peace treaty was signed between Poland and the USSR in 1921.
A small group of American airmen, who had fought over the Western Front in 1918, volunteered to fight in Poland. In September of 1919, they were officially accepted as a unit within the Polish Air Force.
Flying Albatross (Oef) D- III and then Ansaldo Balilla fighters they served with the 7 th Polish-American (Kosciuszko) Squadron and distinguished themselves in action. Nine of them were awarded the Order of Virtuti Melitari (one of the highest Polish awards for valor) and 3 of them were killed in Polish service.
The book tells the story of the unit and its personnel and the sad history of the memorial raised to their memory in Lvov, Poland. The contracts they signed provided for medical care, pay, allowances per their ranks, and all the rights and privileges and duties of Polish Armed Forces officers. Their contracts were signed for a period of 6 months and automatically extended for 3-month periods if neither party renounced it a month before expiration of the current period. When commencing their service in the Polish Armed Forces the American flyers would retain their current ranks.
The main reason why the Americans joined the Polish Air Force was their wish to continue to serve in the air, and the choice of Poland was, to some extent, a result of the tradition of Polish participation in the American War of Independence. The name of their squadron comes from the name of the Polish officer Tadeusz Koscuiszko, who became a general in the American War of Independence and then returned to Poland at the end of the 18 th century to lead an anti-Russian uprising.
The book is profusely illustrated with 123 black and white photos of the airmen and their aircrafts. There are also 15 full-color side profile paintings and 4 3-view profiles of their aircrafts. These should serve as an inspiration to modelers wanting rather DIFFERENT markings on their WWI aircrafts. The book also should be of great interest to all WWI and between-the-wars aviation enthusiasts. Also to students of European history to some degree.