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   Born on 17 May 1918 in Warsaw. In early 1938 he  joined the Polish Air Force College in Deblin. By September 1939 Gladych had completed his fighter pilot's training, having begun flying PWS-10, PZL P.7 and PZL P.11 fighters as early as May 1939. Escaping from the Rumanian internment camp Turnu Severin he reached France, where he joined the recently formed the volunteer "Finland" Squadron, intended to take part in the Finnish-Soviet war. Except for two French pilots all the volunteers were Polish. It must be kept in mind that Poland, following the Soviet aggression of 17 September 1939, practically was at war with Soviet Russia. Anyway this expedition was never realised and the squadron was reformed into an all-Polish unit named Groupe de Chasse I/145. After the French surrender 2/Lt Gladych arrived in the British Isles. On 21 April 1941 he finished training on British fighters and was posted to 303 Sqn (Polish). On 23 June 1941, the squadron took part in two missions over France. On both occasions Gladych was involved in combat and he claimed 3-1-0 victories in total, but he was injured during these missions and his damaged Spitfire II crash landed on the British coast. In October of 1941 Gladych claimed one confirmed kill, and then another one in June 1942.During the period 9 July 1942 - 16 September 1942, Gladych was a member of 302 Squadron "City of Poznan". Following an operational break, he returned to the same unit on 4 December 1942. In mid-May 1943 he was appointed Flight commander. He ended his combat tour with 302 in early January 1944. One day Gladych met Capt. Francis Gabreski (or rather Franciszek Gabryszewski, in Polish), who had previously flown with Polish 315 Squadron "Deblin". Gabreski asked him to fly P-47 Thunderbolts with the 56th FG. Having obtained permission from the Polish Air Force HQ, in early 1944 Gladych was among a few experienced Polish pilots who joined the 61 FS 56 FG USAAF (the 61st Fighter Squadron was commanded by Gabreski). Gladych proved his skills when within seven months (21 February to 21 September) he shot down 10 German aircraft and destroyed some on the ground. He was known among his American friends as 'Mike Killer' and the 'Mad Pole'. Gladych continued to fly with the USAAF until the end of the war, although formally he was still a serving officer of the Polish Air Force. Notably, his pay was obtained by passing the hat among his American pilot colleagues. He was one of the top scoring pilots of the Polish Air Force in WW2.After the war he emigrated to the USA, where he 

 

 

 

 

His decorations included

the Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari War Order (no. 08421) ,

the Cross of Valour and two bars,

the Distinguished Flying Cross,

And American

the Golden Star,

the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar,

the Air Medal and two bars.

 

 







23.06.1941    SpitfireII   (P8338)      RF-?         303 dyon                           1-0-0 Me 109

23.06.1941    SpitfireII   (P8338)      RF-?         303 dyon                           0-1-0 Me 109

23.06.1941    SpitfireII   (P8330)      RF-D        303 dyon                            1-0-0 Me 109

23.06.1941    SpitfireII   (P8330)      RF-D        303 dyon                           1-0-0 Me 109

24.10.1941    SpitfireVB (W3764)     RF-Q        303 dyon                            1-0-0 Fw 190

05.06.1942    SpitfireVB (AD198)      RF-W       303 dyon                            1-0-0 Fw 190

25.06.1942    SpitfireVB (AA939)      RF-?         303 dyon                            0-0-1/2 Ju 88

10.06.1943    SpitfireVB (AR377)      WX-M       302 dyon                            1-0-0 Fw 190

08.09.1943    SpitfireVB (EE683)       WX-?       302 dyon                           1-0-0 Me 109

08.09.1943    SpitfireVB (EE683)      WX-?        302 dyon                           0-1-0 Fw 190

21.02.1944    P-47                           HV-S         61sqn USAAF                     1-0-0 Me 109

21.02.1944    P-47                           HV-S         61Sqn USAAF                     1-0-0 Me 109

08.03.1944    P-47     (4275140)      HV-U        61Sqn USAAF                     1-0-0 Fw 190

27.03.1944    P-47                           HV-O        61Sqn USAAF                     1-0-0 Me 109

06.06.1944    P-47                           HV-V         61Sqn USAAF                     1-0-0 Me 109

07.06.1944    P-47                           HV-L         61Sqn USAAF                     1-0-0 Me 109

05.07.1944    P-47     (4226044)     HV-Z         61Sqn USAAF                     1-0-0 Me 109

12.08.1944    P-47     (4226044)     HV-Z         61Sqn USAAF                     1-0-0 Ju 88

21.09.1944    P-47     (4419718)     HV-M         61Sqn USAAF                    1-0-0  FW109

21.09.1944    P-47     (4419718)     HV-M         61Sqn USAAF                    1-0-0  FW 109







 


Boleslaw Gladych was the top-scoring  Polish Air Force  pilot  flying with

US units. According to official American listings he was credited with 10 confirmed victories by the USAAF although for obscure reasons three

of these were not accepted in official Polish Air Force listings.


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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHuRGEyVhkE

 

 

 

 

 


RANDEZ-VOUS WITH '13'

 

  

   Escaping from the Romanian internment camp Turnu Severin he reached France, where he joined the recently formed volunteer "Finnish" Squadron, intended to take part in the Finnish-Soviet war. Except for two French pilots (Maj. Demarnier and Capt. Pougevain) all the volunteers were Polish. It must be kept in mind that Poland, following the Soviet aggression of 17 September 1939, practically was at war with Soviet Russia. Anyway this expedition never was realised and the squadron was changed to a completely Polish unit named Groupe de Chasse I./145. The appointed commander was Mjr. Kepinski, with Capt. Wczelik and Mjr. Frey as flight leaders. The unit was equipped with Caudron Cr-714 "Cyclone" fighters. This was a new and interesting fighter design, but suffered from many technical troubles. Nevertheless, these were the aircraft the Polish pilots had to fly against the Germans, and they fought bravely with them against the Germans after the May 1940 attack.

 

Participating in "Cyclone" (on 10 June 1940 ?) Gladych had a dramatic air duel with a Bf 109. After a long and tough combat, the German managed to hit the Polish fighter severely. But realizing Gladych's hopeless situation, the pilot of the Messerschmitt - with the call-code "13" - acted with great honour: he simply waved his wings and disengaged.

 

After the French surrender, 2/Lt. Gladych arrived in the British Isles. On 21 April 1941 he finished training on British fighters and was posted to 303 Squadron. Five days later he downed his first enemy plane achieving the 250th air victory among all Polish pilots in the UK. On 23 June 1941, the squadron took part in two missions over France. On both occasions they were involved in combat and claimed 5-4-0 victories in total. Gladych was injured during these missions and his damaged "Spitfire" Mk V had to crash land on the British coast. In October of 1941 Gladych claimed one confirmed kill.

 

During the period 9 July 1942 - 16 September 1942, Gladych was a member of 302nd squadron "City of Poznan", unit call-code "WX". Following an operational break, he returned to the same unit on 4 December 1942. By the beginning of 1943 he was promoted to Flight Leader.


In the spring of 1943, during a heated battle near the town of Lille, France, Gladych downed one enemy fighter. But soon after, an FW 190 scored damaging hits on the "Spitfire". Although severely shot up, Gladych's aircraft somehow remained flying. The German pilot flew close to him, waved his wings and disengaged. Gladych noticed the clearly visible number "13" on the fuselage of the "gentelman's" FW 190!

 

Misfortune hit Gladych hard in the autumn of 1943. He mistakenly almost shot down the aircraft carrying British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The English High Command demanded Flight Lt. Gladych should be punished, and decided to "ground" him - very tough punishment for a fighter pilot.


But one day Gladych met Capt. Francis Gabreski (or rather Franciszek Gabryszewski, in Polish), who previously had been in the Polish Fighter Squadron. By now he was a very well-known fighter pilot. Gabreski offered him flights in the U.S. 56th Fighter Group, outfitted with P-47 "Thunderbolts". Soon, Gladych organized battle training for unexperienced American pilots. With the 61st Fighter Squadron he took part in many combat flights. On 21 February 1944 he downed 2 Bf 109s on one mission.


Gladych's next run-in with the call-code "13" took place on 8 March 1944. On this day American bombers flew to Berlin. In combat with attacking FW 190s, Gladych claimed one. But soon he was left alone with dwindling supplies of both ammo and fuel in his P-47 HV-M "Pengie II", facing another two enemy aircraft. The two Germans, one of them with call-code "13", held their fire and told Gladych to land on the nearby Vechta airfield. The Polish pilot went down, dropped his landing gear and prepared to land. When he was over airfield he suddenly opened fire with his remaining ammunition. Responding intensly, the flak gunners accidently hit the escorting Focke-Wulfs. Gladych gave full throttle and escaped. When he crossed the coast of the English Channel his P-47 ran out of fuel, giving him no choice but to bail out. For that mission he was awarded the Silver Star.


Boleslaw Gladych had no opportunity to fight in Polish (or British) units, and he served in the USAAF until the end of the war. His American friends nick-named him "Mike Killer". Gladych was never officially included in any American unit, he was only a "guest star" of the 56th. A few days after the end of the war he was simply kicked out of the U.S. Armed Forces. Apart from Gladych, a few other Polish pilots flew with success in 61st FS, 56th FG - Witold Lanowski (1 FW 190 on 22.06.1944, 1 Bf 109 on 27.06.1944, 1 Bf 109 on 6.07.1944 and on 18.11.1944) and Tadeusz Andersz (1 Bf 109 on 9.04.1944).


Epilogue. In 1950 Gladych was in Frankfurt, Germany. He accidentally encountered a meeting of the "Gemeinschaft der Ehemailigen Jagdflieger der Luftwaffe". Asked by his wartime adversaries of his war memories, he told the story about the mysterious fighter with the code "13". As he ended his story, he noticed one of the attending German pilots was really touched. It was the pilot of this "13" in all three cases. His name is Georg Peter Eder, an ace with 78 victories who was himself shot down 17 times!



Piotr Górka © 2007