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Our Aircraft of the Aces relaunch is just around the corner, with ACE 127: Polish Spitfire Aces available from 20 July 2015. To tide you over until then here are two combat reports from Polish pilots during World War II.

Flg Off Henryk Szczęsny, nicknamed ‘Sneezy’ by his commonwealth colleagues who could not pronounce his name, scored the first Spitfire victory credited to any Polish ace whilst flying Spitfire I K9871/ZP-O.

‘I saw three [Dornier] Do 17s in front of me. I went to attack No 3 of the formation when he swung round to the right. I broke away to the left and came round behind the Dos onto their tails. One of the machines was out of formation and I attacked it from astern. At this point the Do dropped several bombs in the sea. I got a good burst in from very close range and the Do started to dive towards the sea. He tried to land there, but as he flattened out he burst into flames and toppled straight into the water. This must have been somewhere in the Estuary east of the Isle of Sheppey. I did not know where I was and managed to force-land at Maidstone with my undercarriage up, as I could not get it down.’

 Flg Off Henryk SzczęsnyFlg Off Henryk 'Sneezy' Szczęsny - photo courtesy of Wojtek Matusiak

9 hours later, Flg Off Tadeusz Nowierski opened his Spitfire score whilst flying with No 609 Squadron, credited with one ‘Me 109’ destroyed and another damaged.

‘I was Green 2, and we sighted a large number of enemy aircraft coming from the South. We circled above them, and Green 1 dived to attack. At that moment I saw one Me 109 [i.e. Bf 109] above me and ahead. I climbed up behind him and fired three bursts at fairly close range and dead astern. White smoke appeared from his fuselage and he turned over and started to dive. Some large object, probably the cockpit door or roof, flew away and the pilot got out and opened his parachute. I then saw two Me 109s behind me and I dived and pulled out in a violent left hand turn and “blacked out”. Ten minutes later I saw another Me 109 ahead and approached him from behind and gave him a good burst at very close range. White smoke appeared from the fuselage and he dived steeply into a cloud and disappeared. I dived through the cloud and a minute or so later saw another aircraft dive into the sea. This occurred too late for it to be my victim. Before attacking my first Me 109 I saw a Spitfire attack and shoot down an Me 109. This was probably Plt Off Crook.’

Aircraft of the Aces 127: Polish Spitfire Aces is packed full of great combat accounts, illustrations and historic photographs from Wojtek Matusiak's own collection! It is currently available for preorder, and will be released on 20 July 2015.

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