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Old 23 January 2003, 03:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
kaczusia
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According to some sources, I recently read, the first victories of the American 94th Aero squadron were indeed Poles impressed into the German Air Force wanting to escape to the Allies. On April 14 1918 two planes approached the Gengoult aerodrome. They were Antoni Wroniecki flying a Pfalz DIII of Jasta 64 and an Albatross of Ufz. Simon. Just before landing they were attacked by the newly arrived Americans. Alan Winslow shot down Ufz. Simon and Wroniecki was shot down by Douglas Campbell, all though some sources claim the two planes and pilots were switched. The Pfalz caught fire and the pilot crash landed it and was hospitalized, but after recuperating joined the French Air Force under the changed name Wroblewski. Ufz. Simon was able to walk away from his wrecked Albatross.
I was wondering if any of you gentlemen know of this and would have any further info on the two Poles and their planes. Artur
 
Old 23 January 2003, 05:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Artur,

There was an article in OTF some years back which went into this topic in quite some detail. I don't have it at my fingertips. Anyone? R.
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Old 23 January 2003, 05:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Probably, you know it. Eddie Rickenbacker written about this episode in his book Fighting the Flying Circus. But he does not call names of the pilots.
See: www.wtj.com

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Old 30 January 2003, 04:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I just read a half page article on the last page of the March 2003 issue of Aviation History on this fight. Here's what it said.

"85 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH

Gengoult aerodrome, France, April 14, 1918-First Lietenant Douglas Campbell and 2nd Lt. Alan Winslow were in the right place at the right time when two German aircraft were spotted at 9:40 a.m. near Toul, France. They promptly jumped into their nearby Nieuport 28s-newly embellished with the "Hat in the Ring" insignia of the U.S. Army Air Service (USAS) 94th Squadron-and took off in pursuit of the enemy planes.

Within minutes, the two American pilots had shot down both aircraft, an Albatros D.Va flown by German Staff Sgt. Heinrich Simon and a Pfalz D.IIIa piloted by Polish Sgt. Maj. Antoni Wroniecki. Those victories went into the history books as the first scored by USAS pilots. Campbell, who had trained with the USAS and seen no previous combat, was acclaimed as the first American-trained airman to down as enemy plane (Winslow had previously served in French Escadrille Spa. 152, as a volunteer of the Lafayyette Flying Corps).

Military History Magazine author Tomasz Goworek notes that after both enemy pilots were taken into custody, one of them-officially identified as the Polish pilot Wroniecki-died of injuries sustained in combat and his subsequent crash. In reality, Goworek says, there is ample evidence to suggest that it was the German pilot who died. The names of the downed pilots were deliberately interchanged in the official records to protect Wroniecki. Anxious to escape forced service to the kaiser, the Pole had been shot down while he was trying to escape to the French lines. On explaining to the French and American authorities that he wanted to defect, Wroniecki was declared dead so that he could avoid charges of treason if he was subsequently recaptured by the Germans. The Polish aviator then joined the French air service under an assumed name, Wroblewski."

Hope this helps. Seems like the last paragragh adds some additional info to whats been posted.

Jim
 
Old 31 January 2003, 04:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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>>According to some sources, I recently read, the first victories of the American 94 Aerosquadron were indeed Poles impressed into the German Air Force wanting to escape to the Allies.<<

German pilots were volunteers therefore I donīt think anybody forced poles to serve as pilots in the GAF. Why should the German Army trust polish pilots "impressed" into the Air Force - the risk of deserting was simply too high (at least in the west - the east was possibly different). But *a pole who was intending to use his service in the German Air Force for training himself in flying and "going on leave" to fight for an independent Poland - that makes more sense to me. So the Polish pilot was either planning the escape since a long time or "turned the need into a virtue" as the Germans say.

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Old 31 January 2003, 05:00 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Exactly. Goworek goes on to say that Wroniecki after recuperating from his wounds, actually joined the French Air Force and still flew during the war!
While service in the Air Force was voluntary, military service was compulsory in the Prussian state, therefore it would make sense that Wroniecki, once impressed into the army volunteered for the Air Force as the best chance to get away. Artur
 
Old 31 January 2003, 05:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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100 % agreement, Artur.
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