Kosciuszko Squadron; brothers-in-arms 85 years ago...

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v2

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Nov 9, 2005
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Kosciuszko Squadron was the name given to the 7th Squadron of the Polish Air Force during the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1921. Formed in late 1919 from American volunteers, it became the most successful Polish squadron in the war.
In late 1919 several American volunteers, including Major Cedric Fauntleroy and Captain Merian C. Cooper, arrived in Poland and joined the 7th Squadron. More pilots arrived during the following weeks. Meanwhile the Polish Air Force underwent reorganization. Even though most volunteers asked to be sent to the frontlines as soon as possible, the Polish high command delayed their deployment in view of the coming Polish offensive.
The Kosciuszko Squadron was first used in the Kiev Offensive in April 1920, rebasing from Lwów to Polonne. Most of the Squadron's flights were directed against Semyon Budionny's First Cavalry Army. The Squadron developed a tactic of low-altitude machine-gun strafing runs. Polish land commanders highly valued the contribution of the Kosciuszko Squadron. General Puchucki of the 13th Infantry Division wrote in a report: "The American pilots, though exhausted, fight tenaciously. During the last offensive, their commander attacked enemy formations from the rear, raining machine-gun bullets down on their heads. Without the American pilots' help, we would long ago have been done for."
Merian Cooper was shot down but survived. Budionny had put half a million rubles on Captain Cooper's head, but when he was caught by the Cossacks he managed to convince them that he was a mere corporal. A few months later he escaped from a POW camp near Moscow to Latvia.
In August 1920 the Koœciuszko Squadron took part in the defense of Lwów, and after the climactic Battle of Warsaw it participated in the epic Battle of Komarów which crippled Budionny's cavalry.
After the Polish-Soviet War, the 7th Koœciuszko Squadron was reorganized as the 121st Squadron and later as the 111th Squadron, each bearing the "Kosciuszko" eponym. The 111th Squadron fought in the Polish September Campaign. Perhaps the most famous successor to the original Koœciuszko Squadron would be the World War II No. 303 "Kosciuszko" Polish Fighter Squadron (Warszawski im. Tadeusza Kosciuszki), one of the most successful fighter squadrons in the Battle of Britain.
In 1920 the Kosciuszko Squadron made over 400 combat flights.
Cedric Fauntleroy and Merian C. Cooper received Poland's highest military decoration: the Virtuti Militari.

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Merian Cooper and Cedric Fauntleroy


Below (top), Oeffag-Albatros D.III, 13 Squadron, 1919-20, painted in green and brown mottled "summer-leaf" camouflage,
Oeffag-Albatros D.III, Kosciuszko Squadron, 1919-20, Capt. Cedric Fauntleroy

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More pics...
 

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V2 - a little trivia for you - I'm sure Les has crossed this bridge on occasion...

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The Kosciuszko Bridge is a truss bridge that spans Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens. It is a part of Interstate 278 or the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. The bridge opened in 1939 and was named in honor of Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish volunteer who was a General in the American Revolutionary War. Two of the bridge towers are surmounted with eagles, one is the Polish eagle, and the other the American eagle.
 
Nasi tu byli ....
(Our people here were)
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Some colour profiles of aircrafts used by 111 and 303 squadron with T.Kosciuszko Sqn emblem.

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Monument in Lvov in '30 and now...
 

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