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A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II Paperback – October 12, 2004
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Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Poland fought a little known war with the Soviet Union in 1919-1920 in which they embarrassed the Soviets and in particular Stalin, who would later get his revenge. When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Nazi propaganda portrayed them as easy prey, using cavalry against tanks and running from battle. To some extent, this vision of the Poles still is believed to this day. This book goes a long way to dispel that misinformation. Although greatly out-gunned, the Poles put up a valiant fight with antiquated equipment, killing over 16,000 German soldiers, destroying 1/4 of their tanks, and shooting down 1/5 of their planes.Read more ›
While the pilots of the Kosciuszko Squadron are its chief protagonists, this book has a much larger scope. More than half its pages are devoted to other aspects of Poland's fight in World War II and to that country's betrayal by its supposed allies, the British and the Americans.
The Poles fiercely resisted the German invasion, killing over 16,000 German soldiers, destroying more than 25% of their tanks and shooting down over 20% of their aircraft. Later, over 200,000 Polish soldiers, airmen and sailors made their way to Western Europe and North Africa, the 3rd largest allied force in those theaters behind the Americans and British. Back at home, over 350,000 underground fighters continued to resist the Germans. In both cases, the Poles vastly outnumbered their counterparts from all other occupied nations combined. Moreover, Poland was the only occupied nation that would not form a collaborationist, puppet regime under the Nazis.
Other vignettes in the book include the key role of Polish cryptographers in cracking Germany's Enigma codes and the Polish underground's critical contributions to spreading disinformation about allied war plans, including the invasion of Normandy.
When Britain "stood alone" against Hitler, it actually depended greatly on the Poles, who constituted over 20% of the RAF's pilots. During the Battle of Britain, they not only contributed an even greater percentage of RAF "kills," but also taught the British superior aerial combat tactics. Without the Poles, it is likely that Germany would have won air superiority over Britain and launched an invasion.Read more ›
POLES, NOT BRITS, BREAK THE NAZI ENIGMA CODE. AND MORE
Gordon Welchman, one of Ultra's top cryptographers, acknowledges that, without the Poles' breaking of the "invincible" German Enigma code, British efforts would never have gotten off the ground (p. 39). Numerous British military and political figures are cited who recognized the skill and effectiveness of Polish pilots. Pointedly, Ronald Kellett, Air Chief Marshall Frederick Rosier, British air minister Sir Archibald Sinclair, and Sir Hugh Dowding all state that (p. 163), without Polish help, the RAF would have lost the Battle of Britain! British parliamentarian Sir Douglas Savory is quoted as saying that Polish sabotage of German transports to the eastern front had contributed greatly to the collapse of the German offensive (p. 278). Field Marshall Viscount Alanbrooke (p. 374) asserted the indispensability of Anders' army in the Allied advance through Italy.
WWII MYTHS ABOUT POLES
Several anti-Polish myths are refuted, including the tale of Polish cavalry charging German tanks and the Polish Air Force being promptly destroyed (p. 71). The long-lived caricature of Poles as an emotional and ungovernable people is shown to have originated from Poland's conquerors two centuries ago (p. 24).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Husband is reading this and he likes it. Says lots of info. he never knew about the Polish people and all that went on behind the scenes.Published 20 days ago by Marsha Hastings
This is an excellent history of WWII focused mostly on the lives of determined, underestimated, heroic Polish fighter pilots, and also a fascinating explanation of the complicated... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michael Travis
fabulously written, historically thorough, a great read that truly makes a difference.Published 4 months ago by zaza
Well researched and written by an expert on this time period. How the Allies sat idly by and back stabbed these heroic Polish flyers and their comrades also ranks among the War's... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Head Man
Something that we all should read. What we, the allies, did with/about Poland was appalling, how we turned our back on them, but yet they fought just as hard or harder for the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Dr. D A Dworaczyk
Great story, Great and very sad history lesson! Another good lesson why we should always distrust politicians. Re-election no matter the cost to innocents is always the goal. Read morePublished 6 months ago by ms
Cloud/olsen's attechnent to detail amongst the pilots of the kosciusko squadron was simply marvelous. Read morePublished 6 months ago by joe kane