Reviewed by Rob Baumgartner
Kościuszko Squadron 1919-1920 Book
is available online from Squadron.com
After Poland gained her independence after World War I, she still had to
endure bitter fighting to protect her borders. Both the Bolsheviks and
the Ukraine were involved in these disputes, which lasted until a Peace
Treaty was signed in 1921.
Poland was not alone in the struggle and there were many volunteers,
which for a range of reasons, rushed to her aid. A small gathering of
airman that had tasted battle on the Western Front was part of this
Mushroom Model Publications have chosen this much-neglected subject as
their latest addition to the “Blue Series”. It is the story of the
American volunteers that fought against the Bolsheviks in the newly
established Polish air force.
This small sized soft cover book contains a total of 80 pages. Contained
therein are over 120 black and white photographs. The choice of images
and the glossy paper on which they are printed, helps maintain a high
quality of reproduction with the selected pictures.
The chapters start off with a brief description of the part played by American
airmen in the First World War. It continues with the subsequent joining of the
volunteers with a Polish squadron which was later renamed as the 7th Combat
Squadron “Tadeusz Kościuszko”.
Other chapters relate to the fighting that occurred on the “Bolshevik Front”,
including a remarkable incident that happened to Capt. Crawford.
His plane was hit in the fuel tank when strafing ground troops and the engine
soon stopped. Switching to the upper tank he tried to restart his engine, but
was unable to do so. Having made a forced landing, he got out and tried again
but still the motor was silent.
By this time the enemy was getting too close for comfort so Crawford starting
running for the nearby woods, helped by Ltn Corsi who was strafing the
approaching cavalry from above.
While running, Crawford heard his aircraft start up and although pilotless,
started to taxi along the ground. He turned around, ran to his plane and jumped
in with just enough time to take off in front of the arriving Cossacks!
A chapter is then devoted to Capt. Cooper and his story provides an even more
amazing escape from execution.
Finally the reader is told the sad tale of the monument erected to these airmen
and this is followed by a biography of the pilots that were awarded the Virtuti
Militari and the Cross of Valour.
A definite highlight of the book is the included artwork. This takes the form of
27 colour profiles, many with additional views where necessity demands. The
aircraft featured are the Albatros (Oef) D.III 253 series, Ansaldo Balilla, and
Sopwith Camel. Naturally some very exotic and unusual schemes are presented and
most wear the Ltn. Elliot Chess designed squadron badge. This was a peasant hat
with crossed scythes superimposed on some stars and stripes. The latter two
items being a reference to the pilots’ origins of course.
Although the book can be a bit “dry” in the reading at times, the authors
have done an admirable job of relating the story of this little-known group of
All Mushroom Model
Publications books are
available direct from
who now accept credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex, Switch)
distributors are Squadron/MMD, Australian distributors are Platypus
Publications. In Europe, the books are available from any good bookshop (via our
UK distributors, Orca). Contact MMP direct in case of difficulties.
Roger at Mushroom Model
Review Copyright © 2005 by
Page Created 09 April, 2005
Last updated 08 April, 2005
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