Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Book review

Just a quick hit here.

A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron

I wasn't sure what to make of this, as it was a Christmas gift from my in-laws. My father-in-law reads historical books like I do, but I suspect our worldviews are a little different (though we both agree: Nazism = bad).

This book details the heroics of Polish pilots from the Blitzkrieg through the Battle of Britain. Apparently, the Poles had quite the air academy. Unfortunately, thanks to WWI and the Polish-Soviet War of 1919, Poland did not have the industry to crank out modern fighting craft. That later turned to an asset, as the pilots developed better air combat skills to compensate.

Warsaw held out to the bitter end, and a number of pilots and soldiers escaped to France, ducking the Gestapo in Czechoslovakia and Romania. They pressed the French to take the German threat seriously, but to little avail. They again fled, lastly to Britain. Britain was skeptical of the Poles' abilites, but necessity gave the Poles a chance to prove themselves in combat. The 303 Squadron, an all-Polish squadron, shot down about twice as many German aircraft than any other RAF squadron during the Battle of Britain.

Later, the Poles were denied the opportunity to march in Britain's victory parade, so as to avoid pissing off Stalin.

I was afraid this book would have dry parts, but it reads very well. Lots of action.

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