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WILD HORSES


by Piotr Gorka


North American Mustang III J-QP on which Polish volounteer Michael Sobanski died in 6 June 1944.

In this time he was a commander of the 334th FS, 4th FGUSAF.


L/E 380 Limited Edition signed & numbered prints


Each of these editions are individual numbered

Overall print size: 33 3/4"wide  26"high    86 x 66 cm

Image size: 29"wide  20"high    74 x 51 cm

Printed on HQ Acid Free Permanent Paper 250 Gr


PRICE 149 €  plus postage



Signed by


Wing Commander FRANK SPEER (Sobanski's friend)







       Dear Piotr

      I admire your paintings and your desire to portray life as a fighter pilot. I am very happy to have flown as Mike Sobanski’s wingman a few times. I admired his ability and  determination to make our Squadron (334) disciplined and aggressive. He was a good leader and I was saddened by his death on D-Day...


Frank Speer







   'In the 4th FG in England where I flew Spitfires, and which was formed from the Eagle Squadrons, was a Pole named Mike Sobanski, who transferred from the RAF to the USAAF and became a US citizen. A nice guy, he spoke English with a Polish accent'

       

L.W.Chick, Jr, P-47 ace.

 

     ‘Mike was room-mate and closest friend to me: probably the closer friend I ever had. After the war, I was peruaded to write a book, and I devoted a chapter to him’

James A Goodson, P-51 ace.

 

      

    Born on 29 July 1919 to a Warsaw family, Waclaw Michal  was wounded in 1939 whilst serving in the infantry. In order to leave his German-occupied country, he managed to obtain an American passport throught family connections. Arriving in the USA in summer of 1940, Sobanski went to Canada to join the RAF but failed his English exam, although after further study he managed to complete the flying training. Strange as it may seem, he would never serve a PAF unit, although in May 1942 he spent brief periods with the RAF’s Nos 132 and 164 Sqns, flying with Poles (in the latter unit he met ‘Charlie’ Blok). With his new American citizenship, Sobanski transfered to the Eight Air Force and flew with the 4th Fg, commanding the 334th FS from mid-April 1944 until his deth on D-Day whilst leading the squadron on its second mission of the day. Accordin to 4th FG documentation, he was credited with five and shared kills (including one on the ground) - it is possible that his official USAAF score was later changed to five and two shared destroyed, three of which were ground kills.



 Maj. Waclaw 'Mike' Sobanski was photographed

while commanding the 334th FS/4th FG in  1944.

 


FRANK SPEER'S WARTIME RECOLLECTION

 

 

          Mike found the 4th to be what he wanted. He had the desired opportunity to flight and kill Germans. He had a particular driving hatred because of what they had done to him, to his home, and to his Poland. Mike was a strict taskaster and drilled his squadron with a firm hand. On days with no combat, he led Balbos. these were low level, formation practice missions. With Mike, they never became easier or less dangerous...

          ...In addition to Mike’s zeal for destruction of the Nazis, he found time to keep a diary, written in Polish, and a log book with very comprehensive records and notes, and was able to maintain a fair amount of social life. Both Polish andlEnglish wommen found him to be attractive and desirable. He also did many precise drawings and cartoons of various facets of his training. He was very proud of Polish soldiers he met in England and enjoyed their company.  They tried to get him to join a Polish squadron but he thought of himself as an



 American and  expected to gothere  to go there to live after the war. Unfurtunately, he never got to return to the States, having been shot down and killed on D-Day. He was leading a saction of four Mustangs strafing a truck convoy near Rouen, when they were attacked by over fifteen Me-109s and Fw-190s. All four of his section were shot down and killed.

 

Frank Speer 'One Down-One Dead'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Frank Speer in his home in Emaus




JAMES GOODSON'S WARTIME RECOLLECTION


               Each night after a mission, without fail, Mike performed a solemn rite. He would take out a large black-

-paged photograph album and painstakingly print in white ink, the events of the day. Whenever posssible the narrative was illustrated by photographs, which coverred every phase of his service life: the planeshe had flown, people he had known, and mission he had accomplished. Each time he had destroyed an enemy aircraft, either on the ground or in the air, he included a combat report, culminating in his fifth, when he wrote in letters;

‘To-day I am Ace!’ 

One night, he seemed to be taking longer than usual.

‘For God’s sake come to bed. We’ve got an early briefing tomorrow. You can do that any time!’

‘No,’ he said in his slow deep voice. ‘This is important.’

‘What the hell is important about it?’

My family and friends in Poland don't know where I am, or what I’m doing. It’s OK for you gays. Every time you shoot one down, or get promoted or decorated, it’s in your local newspaper. As far as my people know, I just ran away. That’s why this is important. I’ll show it to them after the war!’

‘I’m sure your family don’t think you goofed off!’

'No, but they don’t know I’m a captain in the leading fighter group in the US Air Force.’

Then. after a pause,

‘Besides, ther’s the girl I’m going to marry. I want her to see all this!’

‘If it’s that important to you, maybe you’d better give me her name and address, just in case.’

‘No,’ he said with conviction.

‘I know I’m going to survive this war. I know!’...


  ...It was in the dark morning hours of 6 June 1944 that Mike and I dressed for our part in the invasion. As I waited for Mike at the door, he put his precious album on my bed, and handed me a scrap of paper: It contained a name and an addres in Cracow, Poland. I looked at him. He shrugged his shoulders and smiled. It was the last time I saw him...


  ...I thougt of what Mike had once said to me when I talked of the succes of the Russian army. ‘Poland,’ he said, ‘has always been attaced by Russia to the east or Germany from the west. Both aggressions have been brutal and vicious, but we Poles know that, of the two, the eastern enemy is by far the worst.’ As I looked around at the confusion, misery and fear pervading post-war Poland, i understood. I felt it as I sat in the drab cafe in Cracow. The girl had been hard tontrace and harder still to persuade to come to a meeting. When she finally came into the cafe, she was ill at ease. She recognise me easily by my clothes, and came to my table. Her English was poor, so we spoke in German. Almost her only comment was:

‘Don’t speak german so loud.’

She may have been nervous, but she showed little emotion of and kind. I told her Mik’s story. I explained his desire  for her to know about it,  and went throught his album page by page. Before  I had finished, I saw her lookin around. She obviously

wanted to leve. I closed the book, stood up and handed it to her. She shook her head. ‘Es ist alles vorbei! - It’s all over!’

‘Yeas, and we won!’

'No,’ she said.

‘You won your war, we lost ours!’...


James Goodson  'Tumult in the Clouds'













                                     

                                       Mr.James Goodson















Piotr Górka © 2007