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Thread: B-24's repaired by Polish 2nd Armoured Brigade mechanics?

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    Default B-24's repaired by Polish 2nd Armoured Brigade mechanics?

    Hello my name is Chris and I just joined the forum.

    The event mentioned in the subjest line and currently researched by myself is unusual because it involves tank mechanics of the Polish 2nd Armoured Brigade, Polish 2nd Corps in Italy being utilized or volunteered as skilled labor to overhaul and repair landing gear on SAAF B-24 (No.31 or 34 Squadron) and commonwealth Spitfires and Wellingtons (Squadrons unknown). Would like to know if anyone has information, can direct to a source, or has heard mention of such a story?

    This story was related to me by my late uncle Michal Krzywoszanski who was one of those individuals and I am researching his life during the war. He was a tank mechanic in the LAD (Light Aid Detachment, "czolowka naprawcza") of the Polish 4th "Skorpion" Armoured Regiment. He never mentioned where or when this happened in Italy or the circumstances. Kindly asking if anyone knows of a recollection, mention or record existing of Polish armoured vehicle mechanics from the Polish 2nd Armoured Brigade being temporarily utilized or volunteered as skilled labor to a Squadron, an MU or RSU of the RAF or SAAF in Italy in 1944/45?

    The only clue I have recently came from an inquiry at another website. A Flight Engineer from RAF No.178 Squadron recalled seeing Polish mechanics working on his squadron's B-24 Liberators. There was no mention if they were airforce or army.

    It's only a theory but I believe this may have been part of a larger unofficial expression of Polish gratitude for SAAF No. 31 & 34 and other commonwealth squadron efforts during the Warsaw uprising (I know Spitfires and Wellingtons did not fly to Warsaw). These maintenance units may have found themselves shorthanded and some skilled labor helped make up the shortfall. I have enquired to the Polish Institute & Sikorsky Museum in London and the SANDF Doc Centre in Pretoria South Africa; they unfortunately could find no information regarding this event. The UK Archives in London (Kew) have an extensive list of MUís and RSUís but I need to narrow it down considerably. Am currently waiting on information from RAF Northolt records. Also, would anyone know which SAAF or RAF MU's and RSU's were stationed in Italy and if they serviced any squadrons who participated in the Warsaw flights? Would anyone know which MU or RSU serviced No. 1586 Flight (301 Flight)?

    Any information you can provide or other resources/persons to enquire of would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for your patience.
    Best regards
    Chris..............
    Alberta Canada

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    Chris
    I've sent your post to a Polish man involved in Warsaw flights research [though it's unlikely he'd know about servicing of the SAAF Libs in Italy] also to an ex 178 RAF & South African friend . I'll try an ex 148 man who was ground crew in Italy WW2.
    Most of the allied bomber squadrons were based at or around Foggia ,Italy so it's likely the Polish could be servicing different RAF & SAAF sqdns .The SAAF had South African ground crew as well.
    178 RAF ,31 & 34 SAAF,148 RAF & the Polish SD sqdns flew to Poland & often dropped SOE agents .31 & 34 SAAF ,148 & 178 RAF & later some USAAF sqdns flew to Warsaw in August ,Sept & Oct.1944 to drop supplies -losing many planes & crews.

    I hope I can help but it depends on replies, if any ,from my contacts, which may take some time .

    Regards
    Anne

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    Chris .
    One reply from a friend of mine ,a former 148 RAF ground crewman ---

    Although I do not personally know of any Polish engineers working on aircraft, I do know that 110 MU was with us at Brindisi and that some Polish army men assisted us on 148 in loading the containers into the aircraft. 110 MU did major inspection on our a/c and would almost certainly have done so for 1586. so could this possably form a lead, however remote. ?

    Anne

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    Hello Anne nice to meet you. Thanks for the reply and info!
    Really appreciate the inquires you made, it's quite a minor mystery to say the least. SANDF
    did find this reference to container shipments:

    "On 14 August 1944 31 sqdn records state íA contingent of Poles together with supplies and supply dropping containers had been moved up from Brindisi during the night of 13/14 Augustí. 34 Sqdn records of November 1944 mention Ďthe Airmenís Mess caters for some 9 Poles who guard the containers at our bomb dump during the hours of darkness."

    Unfortunately there is no mention of mechanics. It is likely my uncle's involvement was not during the months of the uprising as his regiment was in combat operations from May 44 at Monte Cassino to Nov 44. The event may have occurred during a lull in the fighting between Dec 44 to Feb 45, or after May 45 when the fate of Poles of 2nd Corps were in limbo until their departure to the UK in July 46.

    Regards
    Chris...........

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    I was just about to write the same. If Polish crew were borrowed to RAF or SAAF, it must have been during the silent period. Have you checked diaries of the Polish units? I presume there might be a note about movement of personnel. Interestingly, during the battle of Monte Cassino some PAF personnel was moved to support ground forces. They have duly returned to their duties some time after.

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    Hello Franek and thank you for that.

    Diaries of Polish AF units, that's next on a growing list of things and areas to investigate. One area of focus are several airfields that were located within 100 km from the 4th Regiment's garrsison town Potenza Picane, some of them may have had an MU or RSU stationed there used by Spitfire and Wellington units. They are:

    - Loreto: 5 km North of Potenza Picena
    - Jesi (or) Iesi: 50 km NW of Potenza Picena
    - Fermo: 25 km North of Potenza Picena
    - Fano: 70 km NW of Potenza Picena
    - Chiaravalle: 34km North of Potenza Picena
    - Piagiolino: 50km North of Potenza Picena
    - Falconara: 33 km North of Potenza Picena
    - Castiglione del Lago: 110km West of Potenza Picena
    - Perugia: 100 km West of Potenza Picena
    - Pescara: 110 km South of Potenza Picena

    Courious if anyone has some background on these airfields?

    Don't know if any of 205 Groups B24's flew out of these bases or used an MU or RSU in these locations, would be significant to learn of that! There are quite a large number of commonwealth Spitfire squadrons and some Wellington squadrons to research as well.

    Patience is a virtue
    Regards
    Chris....................

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    Thanks for that Anne
    Confirms 110 MU serviced 1586.
    Please thank your friend for me!
    Chris.........

    Quote Originally Posted by aestorm View Post
    Chris .
    Quote removed. Read the sticky.
    Ross
    Anne

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    Chris
    I meant war diary of Skorpion Regiment. I would expect a note there that some personnel was moved to other duties. If your uncle worked on Liberators, I would expect Foggia airfield. A SAAF Spitfire Squadron served next to 318, but it excludes Liberators.

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    Hello Franek

    I have read through several books on the Skorpion's, a couple in english the rest in Polish (I don't read Polish but can pick out words and terms) including TARAN and have found nothing. Still waiting on an order for a three volume set titled: Waleczne Skorpiony: Barwa Pulku 4 Pancernego "Skorpion".

    As for regimental diaries I've no idea who posses them? PISM has one copy of No.2 Tank Squadron diary Jan to May 1946 but the hand writing is very difficult to read. I'll be going over that one at some point.

    Regarding 318 and SAAF Spitfire Squadron I'd be curoius to know which MU or RSU serviced them? What is the SAAF Sqdn number?

    From polishsquadronsremembered.com I've learned 318 Squadron spent some time at Fermo, Piagiolino and Falconara which are all close to Potenza Picena.

    Regards
    Chris..............

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    Chris
    Experience shows, that authors often omit interesting information, because they believe it is not interesting. I have never looked for 2 Corps files, but I am surprised there is so little in PISM. Anyway, I would expect a War Diary (in English) of the unit to be held at TNA, former PRO. They have an online catalogue, so you can search for the files from Canada. Unfortunately, I cannot be of more help, definitely not my area.
    The SAAF Squadron was No 40. I cannot help with the support structure, but I hope others will help.

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