303 Squadron North American Mustang

Published on
December 20, 2017
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Steve Brooking, Wojtek Matusiak, Piotr Sikora
Other Publication Information
Illustrator: John Melson, Cover Paintings: Zbigniew Kolacha, Soft Cover, Square Bound, A4 [8.1” x 11.6:], 64 pages
Product / Stock #
Polish Wings 23
Front Cover

This is the latest installment in the Polish Wings series. I was not able to locate any information on author Steve Brooking other than references to this current tome. Wojtek Matusiak lives in Warsaw, Poland. He is a well-known Polish aviation history author. He is a specialist on the Spitfire and has published both in English and Polish. He has authored, or co-authored the following books: Classic Warbirds 11: Merlin PR Spitfires In Detail (2009); Polish Wings 6: Supermarine Spitfire I/II (2007); Polish Wings 13: Spitfire IX (2011); Polish Wings 15: Spitfire IX 1944-1946 (2012); Polish Wings 16: Spitfire XVI (2013); Polish Wings 21: MiG-29 ‘‘Kościuszko Squadron’ Commemorative Schemes (2016).

Piotr Sikora was born in 1970 and now lives in Great Britain. He is a historian primarily specializing in Polish World War II aviation. He has been published in industry historical magazines and authored biographies of Grzegorz Sologub and Pawel Niemec. He has authored several books on polish aviation, including a 412 page hard cover book, Bitwy Polskiego Lotnictwa (Battles of Polish Aviation) 1918-1945, that was published by Almapress in 2016.

No. 303 ("Kościuszko") Polish Fighter Squadron gained fame as the highest scoring Hawker Hurricane squadron during the Battle of Britain, as well as holding the best ratio of kills to losses. One of sixteen Polish Squadrons, No. 303 was formed on August 2, 1940 and served till December 11, 1946. The nickname "Kościuszko" was to honor the famous Polish "Kościuszko" of the 1920 Polish – Soviet War. No. 303 Squadron gave up their Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXs for twenty-nine Mustang IVs (plus six Mustang Is as transition trainers and squadron hacks) on April 4, 1945. Coming late in the war, very few sorties were flown and the Mustangs primarily were utilized in post war training. The unit was disbanded on December 9, 1946.

The front and back covers are by Zbigniew Kolacha. The front cover depicts a trio of 303 Squadron Mustang IVs in flight during April, 1945. The rear cover shows off KH663 ‘RF-M’, of the few camouflaged Mustang IVs operated by 303 Squadron. I counted 121 black and white photographs along with 3 color photos. John Melson contributes 24 color side views as well as top and bottom views as appropriate. A table lists all the Mustangs used by No. 303 Squadron complete with variant, RAF number, USAF serial number, codes, service timing, and any special notes. The great part of these color side views is they are backed up with period photos of the aircraft that is being portrayed. Mushroom Model Publications’ has provided a page by page preview at: http://mmpbooks.biz/ksiazki/378 .

The Table of Contents focuses on the following sections:

  • Acknowledgements
  • No. 303 ‘Kościuszko’ Squadron [Page 3]
  • Polish Mustang Units
  • No. 303 Squadron On Mustangs [Page 9, 19, 31, 44, 60]
  • North American Mustangs Used By No.303 Squadron [Table]

Polish Wings 23 provides an interesting view into a lesser known chapter in aviation history. The North American Mustang did not play a major role in No. 303 Squadron’s notable history, but it is covered well here. The color profiles are supported with clear, well captioned photographs that make this a great reference for some interesting modeling.

My thanks to Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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