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Czechoslovakian Air Force during WWII

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Goral View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 Oct 2013 at 08:43

I just find out an article about  Battle of England leading pilot.

It will be a nice starter for discussion about Czechoslovakian Air force during WWII period. 

lone wolf

 


František, Josef (1913–1940), officer in the Polish air force, was born on 7 October 1913, at Otaslavice, near Prostejov in Moravia, a region that became the central province of Czechoslovakia when the nation gained independence in October 1918. The son of Josef František, a carpenter, and his wife, Alzbeta, he was first apprenticed to a locksmith before joining the Czechoslovak air force in 1934. Although he was a gifted pilot, his career was constantly under threat because of poor self-discipline, and he incurred various punishments, including demotion in rank. On more than one occasion he was threatened with dishonourable discharge from the service, yet it was his fiery temperament that helped to earn him so much acclaim when fighting for his country in the Second World War.

František had been stationed with his squadron near Prague when the Germans invaded in March 1939. Along with several hundred other professional soldiers and airmen he fled east to Poland, joining the Polish air force as an instructor. When war broke out in September 1939, František saw action against the Luftwaffe before participating in the general retreat from the Blitzkrieg. A last-minute flight to Romania brought instant internment, but he and two colleagues escaped after three weeks. In Bucharest they managed to obtain travel documents, then boarded a steamer for Beirut. Anxious days were spent in hiding until the opportunity arose for a forward passage to Marseilles, where they arrived in late October 1939.

It was at this point that František's Polish connections worked to his advantage. The French government were wary of Czechoslovak service personnel for mainly political reasons, but František avoided the general suspicion and used his contacts to enlist with the Polish aviation units in exile. When the Germans attacked in the west in May 1940 he saw more successful active service, possibly as many as eleven victories, though the exact number of enemy aircraft shot down by him has never been established. Even so, he was soon involved in a second retreat when France fell in June. As part of the general scramble to reach Britain, František boarded a Swedish freighter bound for Falmouth from Bordeaux. He arrived on 21 June 1940 and was immediately sent to the Polish air force depot in Blackpool, Lancashire.

In the frantic weeks that followed, the British government tried to reorganize the thousands of foreign troops and airmen who had landed on British soil. Czechoslovak air personnel were drafted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, but a few, František included, were claimed by the Poles because of their experience and abilities. On 2 August 1940 František was part of the original complement of 303 (Polish) fighter squadron based at Northolt, Middlesex. They were equipped with the ageing Hurricane mark I fighters, but František soon mastered the machine. Within four weeks the squadron became fully operational. František harnessed his aggression and disregard for convention to pitch himself headlong into the fight for the skies over England. By the end of September 1940 he had scored seventeen confirmed victories, making him the most successful fighter pilot in the Polish air force during the battle of Britain.

Without doubt, František was reckless with his own safety. He frequently left formation to hunt down enemy aircraft alone, often waiting over the coastline for German aircraft returning to base, his own machine low on fuel and ammunition. His superiors tried several times to rein in this maverick, but the British recognized the vast propaganda value in the man. František was decorated by the Polish, Czechoslovak, and British governments, the latter awarding him the Distinguished Flying Medal and Bar during his period of active service in Britain. He was also promoted in the media as a symbol of European resistance and the justness of the allied cause. The ‘Lone Wolf’, as he was dubbed, featured in newsreels and several press articles during his golden month of September 1940. He took off on a routine patrol at 9.05 a.m. on 8 October 1940, but he soon disappeared from the view of the other members of the flight. A little over half an hour later, his Hurricane crashed on Cuddington Way, near Ewell in Surrey. No clear reason was ever established for the accident, but František died instantly from a broken neck. He was buried at the Polish air force cemetery at Northolt. Close friends maintain that battle exhaustion may have caused him to lose concentration for an instant, while others suggest that he attempted an acrobatic display to impress his girlfriend who lived nearby. The former is the most likely reason; the latter is more attractive, for such a stunt would have been thoroughly in keeping with the character of a man who came to represent, albeit briefly, the struggle of the peoples of Europe against the Nazi regime.

Alan Brown

Sources 

A. C. Brown, ‘The Czechoslovak air force in Britain, 1940–1945’, PhD diss., U. Southampton, 1998 · A. Brown, Airmen in exile: the allied air forces in the Second World War (2000) · M. A. Liškutin, Challenge in the air: a Spitfire pilot remembers (1988) · R. Darlington, Night hawk: the biography of Flight Lieutenant Karel Kuttelwascher (1985) · Hawker Hurricane Society website, www.battle-of-britain.com, accessed 6 July 2004 · Czechoslovak airmen in the Royal Air Force, cz-raf.hyperlink.cz, accessed 8 July 2004 · WW II ace stories, www.elknet.pl/acestory, accessed 8 July 2004 · www.letadla.cz, accessed 10 July 2004 · Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum, www.spitfire-museum.com, accessed 6 July 2004




Edited by Goral - 08 Oct 2013 at 23:22
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Goral View Drop Down
Earl
Earl


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Oct 2013 at 12:57




This Czechoslovak single seat and double wing fighter ranked among the best and most popular machines in the Czechoslovak air force during the years 1935-1938: Its prototype was test flown in 1934, and first completed aircraft took off on February 2, 1935. Avia completed a total of 566 machines B-534.

Specification;

Height: 3,1m 
Briefing surface: 23,5m2 
Weight: 
Take off weight: 1985kg 
Armament: 
4x vz. 30 7,62mm machine guns with 250-300 cartridge machine each. 

Performance: 
Max. speed: 406km/h 
Climbing ability: 16m/sec. 
Ceiling: 10000m 
Max. range: up to 600km.



Edited by Goral - 15 Oct 2013 at 13:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2013 at 13:55

”On 29 and 30 September 1938, the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the French Prime Minister Edouard Daladier met at Munich with the German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and the Italian Duce Benito Mussolini. An agreement was reached on Nazi Germany’s territorial claims against democratic Czechoslovakia, but no representative of the Czechoslovak Government was present.

At the time, most of the British regarded the Munich Agreement as having bought peace; subsequently they all came to learn that it was a false peace; but what most British people to this day do not fully comprehend is the territorial price that was paid by the Czechoslovaks for that all too temporary peace.

In total, Munich and its aftermath – once the Hungarians and Poles had pressed their claims – resulted in Czechoslovakia losing over a quarter of its entire territory and about a third of its population. In strategic terms, the most serious loss was the German acquisition of the mountains, which provided the Czechoslovaks with a natural protective barrier, together with a line of special fortifications. In effect, this annexation guaranteed that Czechoslovakia could not effectively defend itself against Germany.

< ="TOOLBAR_" id="0.21048977063037455" border="0" scrolling="no" extensionid="cflheckfmhopnialghigdlggahiomebp" name=""proname":"default","viewId":0.21048977063037455" ="chrome-extension://cflheckfmhopnialghigdlggahiomebp/js/Host.#viewId=0.21048977063037455" ctid="CT3289075" fixedid="TOOLBAR_-CT3289075" style="border-bottom-color: rgba0, 0, 0, 0.294118;border-bottom-style:solid;border-bottom-width:1px; left:0px;line-height:0;:;visibility:;width:1137px; height:35px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-top: 0px;top:0px"> Six months later, on 15 March 1939 - the fateful Ides of March – German troops marched into Czechoslovakia and the Czechoslovak armed forces were ordered to offer no resistance, since any such opposition would have been futile.

In the weeks that followed the occupation, thousands of Czech soldiers and airmen managed to leave Czechoslovakia, most of them escaping to neighbouring Poland before sailing to France. Until war was formally declared, the French assigned them to the Foreign Legion in north Africa but, on the commencement of hostilities, the Czech airmen were drafted into the Armée de l’Air and, in May 1940, took part in the short-lived Battle of France. The rapid fall of France then led to some 4,000 Czechoslovak soldiers and airmen leaving France to sail to Britain – the last line of defence between democracy and fascism.”

http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/czechsinraf.html

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