Note: Stanislaw Wandzilak was a well known pilot among the Polish Air Force officers. He wrote his No. 308 Squadron's history in London, September 1946, drawing from his fresh memories. He was a part of this unit for most its existence. After the war, Stanislaw Wandzilak had a very prominent career with the RAF. Read more about him here. Translated by Rudolf Falkowski and Wilhelm Ratuszynski.
WhenBoleslaw Orlinski flew his famous flight Warsaw-Tokyo-Warsaw in 1926, the fuselage of his plane was adorned with the insignia of the 308 Squadron, the golden winged arrow closed in a black square. This emblem was designed at 121 Eskadra (squadron) of the 11th Pulk (air regiment) in Lida, northeastern part of Poland. At that time pattern was silver on the blue background.
In 1929 Polish Air Force was reorganized and 121, together with 122 (emblem of origami-type pony), were moved to Krakow. With additionof 123 Eskadra (emblem of seagull in square) they formed Krakow's 2nd Fighter Regiment. At this moment, the true history of the 308 Squadron begins.
In peacetime, this unit distinguished itself with two things: it was very proud of its city and crowded with excellent fighter pilots. The badge of the 2nd Fighter Regiment was composed of three PZL fighter planes over "Mariacki" Cathedral, with Polish checker and pilot's wings underneath. That shows fighter squadrons to be integral part of the air regiment and city of Krakow. The pilots of the 122 Eskadra were nicknamed "Ikacycks", after first syllables of Krakow's newspaper: "Illustrated Courier". First-rate acrobatic teams of Laskowski, Łaszkiewicz and Kosinski were Krakow and regiment's proudest and best-known symbols. On many occasions, its pilots honorably represented Air Force and city. Captain Bajan's victory in the famous Challenge Race was one of those moments. The Air Force annual shooting competition was won five times and C-in-C personally chained the trophy cup in squadron's locum, as a permanent award. Being proud of its pilots, citizens of Krakow established a new trophy, which was never won by anybody as the war broke out.
* * *
The squadron entered the war without 123 Eskadra,
which was transferred to strengthen the Warsaw's Pursuit Brigade. On September
1st, 1939, at 6 am, scrambled for the first time to intercept group of Do-17s
He-111s, which was attacking from low altitude Krakow Central Station. Taking
off from Balice airfield, Polish aircraft were attacked by German planes, and
during this attack squadron's commander, mjr. Medwecki was killed. Ppor. Gnys retaliated few minutes later shooting down two Do-17s near Cieszyn. It was
the squadron's first victory and probably the first one in the World War Two.
During the first three days of conflict, the unit flew from Balice and Igolomnia
airfields, and its pilots fought many battles, in which they managed to destroy
nine German bombers. They were overwhelmed by more numerous and better-equipped
enemy. In those days distinguished themselves: L. Flanek, A. Narkiewicz, J.
Kremski and W. Majchrzyk.
* * *During the short French campaign, pilots of the Krakow squadron shot down 15 German aircraft. One of them, W. Chciuk, showed great deal of tenacity, when shot down three times always returned to his unit in a record time, even from behind the front line.