First Kills

The Illustrated Biography of Fighter Pilot Władysław Gnyś

Stefan Gnyś

Written by his son Stefan and drawing from his logbooks, this highly illustrated biography of Władek Gnyś, the first Allied pilot to score aerial kills in WWII, is the most in-depth account of the Polish hero's life.
Publication date:
December 2017
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Illustration :
highly illustrated
Format Available     Quantity Price
Hardback
ISBN : 9781612005560
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+
£25.00
Unfortunately, due to sales rights restrictions, we cannot offer First Kills for sale in your country.

Overview
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• The experience of the first Allied ace of World War II, flying for first the Polish Air Force, then the French Air Force and finally the Royal Air Force is emblematic of the determination of Polish forces to continue the fight even after Poland fell
• The book draws on logbook entries and his written accounts, and illustrated with unique commissioned illustrations and contemporary photography
• A story not only of bravery and determination but also of reconciliation and friendship between former enemies

Polish pilot Władysław (Władek) Gnyś was credited with shooting down the first two German aircraft of World War II on September 1, 1939. On this day, as Gnyś' squadron took off near Kraków 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 the latter part of Operation Overlord (D-Day), Władek was shot down over France in August 1944 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.





Written by his son Stefan and drawing from his logbooks, this highly illustrated biography of Władek Gnyś is the most in-depth account of the Polish hero's life. It tells Władek'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.