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View Full Version : Excerpt from public domain book - Squadron 303 by Arkady Fiedler.



Waldo.Pepper
03-10-2009, 04:34 AM
Does this sound like anything we have seen before - perhaps online?

"Jan Donald pulled up his machine slightly and fired a burst ahead of the Messerschmitt at a range of 300 yards, with plenty of correction. His calculation was perfect. The enemy flew across the field of death, began to smoke, and soon went spinning down, like a shot partridge. He dropped helplessly towards the ground, a victim of his own impudence. "Good luck!" thought Donald cheerfully, and he made a mental note of the fifth German he had shot up that week.

Just as he was drawing alongside his leader he gave another casual glance at the falling enemy— and was flabbergasted. Donald is an ace fighter pilot, but he is also fiery and explosive in temperament: he swore like a trooper, A thousand yards below, the German who he thought was finished had pulled out of the spin and was flying along on a level keel, heading for France at full pelt. He was not even smoking any more.

"The artful dog!"

There was an ominous note in Donald's voice. Diving, he furiously gathered speed, swiftly overtaking the fugitive. When the German noticed his pursuer, he went into a spin again. But he did not trick Donald this time. The Hurricane hung firmly on to the tail of the Messerschmitt and followed it down, firing again and again.

Donald's bullets did not seem to have any effect—to hit an airplane in a spin is always shear luck—but he went on firing with increasing impetuosity. Thus they dropped from 18,000 feet to 10,000. Then Donald suddenly came to his senses: this was idiotic! If he carried on like this he would use up all his ammunition, and still not hit the enemy; then he might well become the Messerschmitt's victim. The German's seemingly naive maneuver was in reality a cunning trap.

So Donald held his fire. He trailed the Messerschmitt, relentless and silent as a shadow, watching and waiting. Now he was very calm. He knew that there was no escape for the German, who must either pull out of the spin or crash on the ground. And if he did pull out . . .

The day was sunny enough, but clumps of clouds, like white islands, floated here and there. There were also small clouds a few hundred yards above the ground and, as the two fighters feU past them, the Messerschmitt again pulled out sharply from his spin. Was he intending to try one last trick and seek safety in the clouds? Nobody will ever know. As soon as the Messerschmitt flattened out, Donald's guns went into action. Then the German unexpectedly did a roll—an amazing, useless evolution, often resorted to by German flyers at moments of danger. Donald had to pull up rapidly, to avoid a collision. He was back again in a flash, once more on the enemy's tail. Now the German neither wriggled nor fought, Donald gave him a few more bursts and finished him off properly, as though killing a mad beast. This time there was no trickery or pretense: the Messerschmitt went down in flames. . . ."

The entire book is available as a pdf. There is NO copyright infringement in this case.

Despite its wartime provenance, first published in 1942, it is not a bad read.
It was originally made available by the Universal Digital Library.

Squadron 303 (http://www.archive.org/download/squadron303006829mbp/squadron303006829mbp.pdf)

Skoshi Tiger
03-10-2009, 06:22 AM
Thanks,

I've downloaded it and will have a read of it as time allows. Although often dismissed as subjective, or even worse as biased propoganda by some, I find this sort of text gives a good 'feel' of the times these people lived in.

Cheers!

Woke_Up_Dead
03-10-2009, 02:19 PM
I have the book in its original Polish version. The language is definitely a little "flowery" and the translation makes it even more so, but the descriptions of the battles themselves are very sharp.

This appears to be the translation from the original, war-time version where the names of the pilots were changed to protect them and their families back in occupied Poland. However, Jan "Donald" in the text above must be Jan Zumbach, who had Donald Duck as his personal insignia on all his planes.

Waldo.Pepper
03-10-2009, 05:14 PM
Thank you Woke_Up_Dead. Here is the man himself.

http://www.ww2incolor.com/d/45282-1/kaczortr4

Aaron_GT
03-10-2009, 06:24 PM
Is there any sort of memorial to 303 Squadron in the UK?

Woke_Up_Dead
03-10-2009, 06:51 PM
Originally posted by Aaron_GT:
Is there any sort of memorial to 303 Squadron in the UK?

I don't know if there is a memorial to the 303rd specifically, but the Polish War Memorial (designed by a Polish artist released from a concentration camp in 1945) for Poland's airmen is at Northolt, the 303rd's former base: http://www.web-mouse.co.uk/rem...-ai-bwm-polishwm.htm (http://www.web-mouse.co.uk/remembrance/additionalinfo/britishwarmemorials/hf-ai-bwm-polishwm.htm)

Frequent_Flyer
03-10-2009, 10:11 PM
This site may be of interest as well.

http://www.polishsquadronsremembered.com/

Aaron_GT
03-11-2009, 02:31 AM
I don't know if there is a memorial to the 303rd specifically, but the Polish War Memorial (designed by a Polish artist released from a concentration camp in 1945) for Poland's airmen is at Northolt, the 303rd's former base: http://www.web-mouse.co.uk/rem...-ai-bwm-polishwm.htm

I think that does the job. I am very grateful to the pilots from Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, USA, the Commonwealth and other nations that fought in the RAF, especially in the critical period in 1940.