Monday, January 23, 2012

Lucia Bloody Foreigners: The Untold Battle of Britain




I really enjoyed watching the above dramatisation on Polish Squadron 303, the men of whom flew in defence of Britain during the Battle of Britain. Despite losing raw recruits left, right and centre, the British were most reticent in allowing the very experienced Polish pilots into the air, and they were only allowed up when one of the pilots broke off from a training run to engage with the enemy. Even then, it was only when their British commander flew with them did he believe they were actually devastatingly effective.

So cool to see it, I highly recommend it.

15 comment(s):

KG said...

Weren't the Polish fighters (not just the pilots) wonderful, courageous men?
My father has several in his regiment when they evacuated at Dunkirk and later at Normandy and the long fight through Belgium. He always spoke of them with admiration and respect.

KG said...

(He also mentioned that they all seemed to have a drinking problem) :)

Andrei said...

People forget the Poles fought under British command in WW2. I sometimes think the Brits used them as cannon fodder.

The Brits betrayed the Poles in 1947 - pulled the pin on them as it were.

The great General Sosabowski ended his days as a factory hand in London which is kind of sad.

I have seen the Polish cemetery at Monte Cassino - over 1000 buried there I think.

There's Catholics, Orthodox and Jewish graves, you can tell by the marker who is who - all Poles

KG said...

Brit generals used everybody as cannon-fodder, Andrei.

James Stephenson said...

You're confusing your world wars KG. Monty in particular used nobody as cannon fodder - that's the very basis of his fame. It was the Russians that took the concept to its ultimate in that conflict.

leftrightout said...
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KG said...

James, Brit generals had a history of using various units as cannon-fodder.
And I'm not confusing my world wars. An exception to a trend means damn-all.

Andrei said...

Monty in particular used nobody as cannon fodder - that's the very basis of his fame

I wonder
Battle of Caen

and let's not mention Market Garden

KG said...

Andrei, I believe that the Brit's adoration of Montgomery was almost entirely unfounded.
Eisenhower and Patton held him in some contempt and they certainly didn't trust his judgement.
But these are arguments that have gone on since WW2 and I doubt people will be convinced to change their minds now.

Andrei said...

It was the Russians that took the concept to its ultimate in that conflict.

Oh by the way James just as a minor matter of interest the Red Army won the war by defeating the Germans.

I believe the number is 4 out of 5 German battle deaths came at Russian hands.

James Stephenson said...

Our adoration of Montgomery is based on his success in the desert at a time when the Germans had yet to be defeated and his emphasis on the moral of his troops. The Americans can get stuffed because it was Monty that turned their isolated holding operations at the Bulge into a coherent counter-offensive.

Yeah the Russians "won the war" by killing more Germans (doesn't change the fact that they had callous disregard for the lives of their troops) and the Americans "won the war" too aparently but both may have been shit out of luck if Britain hadn't held out initially and cracked Enigma with the help of the Polish resistance.

Andrei said...

at a time when the Germans had yet to be defeated

Wrong again - they had been stopped in their tracks a Leningrad, turned back from Moscow and driven out of Rostov (which they re-took six months later and had to be driven out again to be sure) just off the top of my head.

At the time of El Alamein the Germans were engaged in a Death struggle at Stalingrad and we know how that turned out - no?

KG said...

"..it was Monty that turned their isolated holding operations at the Bulge into a coherent counter-offensive."
You have a reputable source for that claim?

KG said...

I can recommend John Eisenhower's "The Bitter Woods" (1969) for a detailed account of the Battle of the Bulge.
He also doesn't share the Brit's estimation of Montgomery.

KG said...

Still waiting for that source of your claim about Montgomery turning "isolated holding operations" into a "coherent counter-offensive" James.

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