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First Kills: The Illustrated Biography of Fighter Pilot Władysław Gnyś

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Polish pilot Władek Gnyś was credited with shooting down the first two German aircraft of World War II on September 1, 1939. On 2 September 1939, as Gnys' squadron took off near Krakow to intercept the German invaders, German Stuka pilot Frank Neubert attacked, killing the captain. Władek, who barely survived himself, evaded the pursuing Stukas and went on to make the firs Polish pilot Władek Gnyś was credited with shooting down the first two German aircraft of World War II on September 1, 1939. On 2 September 1939, as Gnys' squadron took off near Krakow to intercept the German invaders, German Stuka pilot Frank Neubert attacked, killing the captain. Władek, who barely survived himself, evaded the pursuing Stukas and went on to make the first Allied kills, while Neubert was credited with the first aerial kill of the war. An experienced fighter pilot, Gnyś fought in the Battle of Poland with the Polish Air Force, the Battle of France with the French Air Force and the Battle of Britain and beyond with the Royal Air Force. During Operation Overlord in June 1944, Władek was shot down over France and crash landed. Wounded, he was taken prisoner but then escaped, his life spared by the enemy on more than one occasion. Fifty years after the invasion of Poland, in the summer of 1989, Gnyś and Neubert met and shook hands, making news around the world. They reconciled their differences and remained friends until their deaths. This event symbolized the prevailing friendly coexistence between Poland and Germany. Drawing on his logbooks and his own words, this highly illustrated book tells Wladek's story from his childhood in rural Poland, through his time flying in three Allied air forces during World War II, to his reconciliation with Neubert and his commemoration as a national war hero in Poland.


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Polish pilot Władek Gnyś was credited with shooting down the first two German aircraft of World War II on September 1, 1939. On 2 September 1939, as Gnys' squadron took off near Krakow to intercept the German invaders, German Stuka pilot Frank Neubert attacked, killing the captain. Władek, who barely survived himself, evaded the pursuing Stukas and went on to make the firs Polish pilot Władek Gnyś was credited with shooting down the first two German aircraft of World War II on September 1, 1939. On 2 September 1939, as Gnys' squadron took off near Krakow to intercept the German invaders, German Stuka pilot Frank Neubert attacked, killing the captain. Władek, who barely survived himself, evaded the pursuing Stukas and went on to make the first Allied kills, while Neubert was credited with the first aerial kill of the war. An experienced fighter pilot, Gnyś fought in the Battle of Poland with the Polish Air Force, the Battle of France with the French Air Force and the Battle of Britain and beyond with the Royal Air Force. During Operation Overlord in June 1944, Władek was shot down over France and crash landed. Wounded, he was taken prisoner but then escaped, his life spared by the enemy on more than one occasion. Fifty years after the invasion of Poland, in the summer of 1989, Gnyś and Neubert met and shook hands, making news around the world. They reconciled their differences and remained friends until their deaths. This event symbolized the prevailing friendly coexistence between Poland and Germany. Drawing on his logbooks and his own words, this highly illustrated book tells Wladek's story from his childhood in rural Poland, through his time flying in three Allied air forces during World War II, to his reconciliation with Neubert and his commemoration as a national war hero in Poland.

49 review for First Kills: The Illustrated Biography of Fighter Pilot Władysław Gnyś

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Roger Howe

    First kills Good read.Very brave men,pity they were treated so badly after the war by the countries they risked their lives for.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heather Clarke

  3. 4 out of 5

    Samuel C. Davis

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    M D Murray

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    Alexander W.I. Routh

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    GERARD MOORE

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    Jerry Althoff

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  9. 4 out of 5

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  10. 5 out of 5

    Bruno Blasche

  11. 4 out of 5

    Juanita L.Miller

  12. 5 out of 5

    JAMES MILLER

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mr D J Clare

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    Anthony

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    Mike DiFilippo

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    Paul Novak

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  48. 5 out of 5

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  49. 4 out of 5

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