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Target for TonightWarsaw! (B-24 Liberator)

June 30, 2022 · in Aviation · · 34 · 1.4K · on youtube

This is history about veteran of 31 squadron.

Gentlemen! Target for tonight is Warsaw. Said the impeccably dressed Wing Commander revealing a large map hanging on the wall. A black line zigzagged across half of Central and Eastern Europe and reached high up to Warsaw. There was a murmur, some coughing, soft laughter ... One of the officers gathered in the room, a slim, tall brunette in a tightly fitting tropical uniform raised his hand in gesture of inquiry.
Please, Lieutenant Lis.
Should we bomb Warsaw?
Wing Commander took a few steps across the room with his hands folded behind his back. He reached the desk, as if avoiding an answer, put the riding crop in his hand and took off the elegant leather gloves ...
No Mr. Lieutenant ... He spoke ... And a slight hum moved around the room, as if everyone had puffed out of their lungs in a gesture of calming down. Squadron 31 and 178 supports Polish Flight 1586 in order to make a drop for the insurgent Warsaw fighting against the Nazis ... Why can't the Soviets help? Their armored forces are already in eastern Poland ... Some undefined voice from the room ...
The Wing Commander made a gesture of silence with his hand. The door opened.
Attention! Said Wing Commander in a loud voice. The hall sprang to its feet and suddenly a medium-tall man appeared on the stage, a skimpy, slim man, smoothly combed to the side and briefly cut off at the ears. He had a pipe in his mouth, he was wearing a greenish field battle dress with the markings of the General of the Air Force ...
Wing Commander saluted the general, he saluted and motioned him to continue his briefing ...
Wing Commander nodded at the general and continued. Gentlemen ... General of the Polish Air Force in the Middle East ...
The general gestured with his hand for the officers to sit down and, seeing this, the Wing Commander gave the appropriate command. The whole hall sat down ...
General Rayski, puffing his pipe, studied the map hanging behind the auditorium.
As I said, tonight all squadrons are flying to Warsaw ... General will lead a further briefing ... Wing commander nodded towards the general ...
Please, General ...
General Rayski walked along the hall ... And he said briefly ... Help me save my country ... He said it so poignantly that it became so quiet in the hall that you could hear cicadas playing their concert among the grasses of the field airport.
The Soviets are indeed close, but I think personally that we have nothing to count on them ... In 1939, when I retreated towards Romania, I almost died at the hands of Soviet soldiers in the forests near Lviv, who treacherously attacked my country on September 17 ...
The general seemed to revive ... He took a few steps towards the desk, put his hands on the table top and, looking at the room, he said in an emphatic voice ... I'm flying with you ... And I ask the Wing Commander to indicate the crew with whom I can fly.
Now there is a real buzz in the room ... How is it general? Commander? He's going on a combat flight that will take ten hours? Some sneered slightly, others were in awe ...
Lieutenant Lis was sitting enchanted and felt that he was alternately feeling cold and musical ...
Mr. General ... Said Wing Commander ... Lieutenant Lis' crew does not have a co-pilot who is wounded in the hospital ...
Mr. Lieutenant ... please see us ...
Lis got up and walked amok to the general, standing at attention ...
You look good in this uniform, the general said, smiling ... addressing him in Polish. When was the last time we saw you? The general asked again in Polish ...
General, September 22, 1939 at the Polish-Romanian border ...
I know ... I remember ... He replied in Polish with a smile, putting the pipe on the table, which the adjutant of the Wing Commander had silently took to clean and re-fill ...
They did not receive you in the west ... Again in Polish, general ...
For the same reasons as your general ... replied Lieutenant Lis.
The general nodded and spoke in English ...
I'm flying with Mr. Lieutenant as co-pilot ...
Then he turned to the auditorium and said.
Drop is from 400-500 feet to cross-shaped illuminated signs. From Krakow, we descend to a height of 4500 feet and then we descend to the very ground and flying along the Vistula river we go to Warsaw?
What course? Someone said from deep in the room ...
The general replied calmly, taking from the hand of Wing Commander aide a loaded pipe ...
It is enough to head towards the glow of the burning city ... A Ju 88 night fighter unit is stationed near Krakow. This is our greatest enemy ...
Lis walked along the plane, took off his cap and said ... Collect for a package from the crew ... He walked in front of his people, who were throwing in packets of cigarettes, packets of sweets, canned fruit, biscuits and other small things that were then packed, with the inscription "from the crew" will be dropped during the drop along with the weapons and ammunition containers. The general was standing nearby smoking a pipe ...
Finally, the order is given to the plane ...
Everyone takes their seats.
Lieutenant Lis glances at the general, who is also getting ready to fly. He fastens his seat belts and takes the checklist from the cockpit.
The fox begins to celebrate a litany of aviators.
Flaps ... The general moves a lever and replies. Checked...
Rudders ... Proven ...
Shuttlecocks ... Checked ...
hydraulic systems ... operational
Finally, on the end of the list, Lieutenant Lis speaks over the intercom. Traffic control tower can you hear us? Z for Zebra! We are ready to go!
I recived You clear Z-for Zebra ... You have permission to start ... Taxi to the runway.
Over and out control tower!
We start the engines ... said Lis, watching the general without a word switch the number one engine switch and looking at starboard as if in a cloud of exhaust gases the propeller spins faster and faster and after a while it becomes a uniform surface with a yellow edge of the propeller blade tips ... With an interval of several seconds all the engines are running ... The general is talking as if to himself. Oil pressure is correct ... We can move ... Their hands meet next to each other on the engine power lever ... The bass of the motors increases, after a while the ground crew releases the blocks from under the wheels and the machine gains speed, rolling evenly on the belt ... Nose the machines come in a circle on a smooth runway, the full power of the engines ... and the plane accelerates, at first slowly, giving the impression that it will not be able to accelerate to a speed sufficient to take off from the ground and will disappear along with the load in the exuberant waves of the Adriatic ... . but this illusion ... They are already in the air ... After a while General Rayski reports ... Chassis retracted, flaps retracted. we gain altitude ... Lis curls the wings to make sure that the red control rods protruding from the wings are hidden and that the landing gear is for sure hidden ... He involuntarily turns his head towards the general, not knowing that he is looking at him .. You are doing well ... The general replies with a smile ...
Lieutenant Lis feels ashamed. When you were already flying by plane, I would go under the table without bending down ... Lieutenant Lis replied as if in a joke ... The general smiled under his breath ... Lis pretended to focus on the controls of the desktop, but his head was confused. He blamed the general from the old days for not preparing the air defense when Nazi Germany attacked Poland ... And it turns out that the general himself is flying with him on a mission that is neither simple nor safe. And on top of that, no one told him to do it ... No RAF officer so high would ever fly in combat ... It cannot be concealed. Even if the general did something wrong in his opinion. It was today that he did not lack courage.
Lieutenant ... The general turned to him, snapping him out of his lethargy ... There is a storm front in front of us ... I propose to rise and pass him. He said with a smile ... He will hide us ...
Lis has the impression that all anti-aircraft artillery is hitting them. The fire of the burning city blinds ... Every now and then the missiles hit the hull, buzzing like intrusive wasps. This is the third time they are approaching, and no target can be seen in these flames. You can see that there are other planes circling nearby ... The atmosphere is thickening ... They are flying at minimum speed with flaps and landing gear extended to reduce the speed of the machine. In the end, the bombardier sgt Sawyer is yelling to the top of his throat ... Cross! You can see the cross of light! People wave! Attention! we are on target!
Lieutenant Lis feels shivers down his spine ...
Bomb bay open! Screams over the intercom as if the crew were at least half deaf ...
On my command! Yells a bombardier ... three, two, one ... Load overboard! He screams almost with joy.
jerks upwards as if with joy, relieved of the load ... Listen to the creaking of the closing shutter of the bomb hatch ...
Full power, says Lieutenant Lis, and together with the general they move the power lever all the way ... Fortunately, the hydraulics work and the chassis retracts easily ... After a while they fall into the darkness of the night and slip south ...
Crew check in! he speaks calmer now, although there is emotion in his voice, Lieutenant Lis.
Rear gunner present!
Dorsal shooter present!
Bombardier present!
Navigator present!
radio operator present!
We're all together ... Time to go home ...

Attention to the headlights on the right! Yells Lieutenant Lis as he puts the machine into a bend ...
Fighter from the moon! Attention!
I see Mr. Lieutenant! I see! The tail gunner, Sergeant Major Van Haaken, speaks.
Dodge Left! Screams the dorsal gunner, Sergeant Upton, and the machine flies down to the wing ... and the noise of the engines is cut by the sound of whistling airborne cannons ...
Dodge right! Another scream on the intercom ... Lieutenant Lis feels that he is all wet and looks at the general, who seems stoically calmly performs every maneuver with the controls ... Bullets hit the fuselage somewhere and suddenly a scream ... It is on fire! The bastard is on fire! Goes away! He got a right engine! now shouts the shooter from the top turret ...
Let's You case of beer for that! Lis says, and after a while he remembers that the general is sitting next to him ...
I'm sorry, General ... He replied.
On this general ... I count on one bottle with you ... he replies with a smile ...
the atmosphere relaxes. Everyone in an instant is shouting at the intercom ... Some jokes are falling. The plane is holding together, even though an air cannon shell passed right through the fuselage without somehow exploding. There is no need to count the holes from small-caliber weapons ... The most important thing is that the plane obeys the controls and there is enough fuel to go home ... They are already passing the Carpathians, rising, now no one will find them in this darkroom ... Lieutenant Lis is looking at watch. It took more than three-quarters of the mission time ... Praise God, the fuel should be enough ...
Flight control tower can you hear me? Z-for zebra announces arrival and asks for permission to land ...
This is the control tower. Z-for Zerba, the runway is ready ... Do you have technical problems?
From for zebra to the control tower ... Thank God, everyone's okay ...
The plane lays down gently on the wing, and in the distance, the runway looms in the morning light ...
Flaps! Lis speaks and general Rayski responds with an echo ... There are flaps!
Chassis! Released!
They just look to see if the red control rods have come out ... Everything is in place ... the machine gently touches the runway wheels and brakes
This is the control tower ... Welcome home ...
However, the house was thousands of miles from here ...

General Ludomił Rayski was the highest commander of the RAF who carried out such hard combat missions. In total, he made five drop missions as co-pilot and eighteen missions as a Spitfire IX pilot. Decorated with the highest British decorations, such as the Distinguished Service Order and many others. According to some historians, he was responsible for the poor equipment preparation of the Polish aviation in 1939. At the end of his life, he was completely cleared of the charges. He died in 1977 in London. He never returned to Poland. For political reasons, it was not until 1943 that the general was admitted to the Polish Air Force in RAF under the clear pressure of the highest RAF command. He showed great courage and proved himself to be a good pilot.
Liberator EW166 Z for Zebra survived all combat flights and, after exhausting the mission life of 500 hours of combat flight, was put into reserve. It was scrapped in 1947. All crew members survived the war ... After two weeks in missions on Warsaw 31 squadron have 50% looses in planes and crews… Heaviest in all history of 31 squadron.

Few words about model. Build as OOB. It's very good kit, and I recommend it for all experienced modelers. It was painted by Mr Color paints (very good)! It was very fun build, with minor shortcomings as fragile engine covers that have to be glued to thin wing airframe. Fuselage needs some puttying and sanding in undersurfaces. But It was acceptable. Nose turret don't fits good, and in the end I need to some sanding to correct fitting. Eduard masks didn't have pieces for two F6-A turrets. Only One! So you need two sets of masks. Set have pieces of mask for A-15 turret, so if you make version with A-15, and F6-A turret you are in right site. Decals are good set of DK-Decals Liberators in Comonwealth service (I bought it in hobby shop in Australia!).
PS. I am surprised that no company has yet come up with a kit with airdrop containers for airplanes.
I hope You like my story. Some facts are real.
Lieutenant Lis will return on his next dangerous mission into enemy territory.

Reader reactions:
15  Awesome

35 additional images. Click to enlarge.

34 responses

  1. Well done build. I enjoyed following along through your build, and think you have accomplished an overall excellent finish. It looks well used, but not too abused, the color is excellent. I agree, I have come to really enjoy Mr Color paints. I hope my current B-24 project turns out this nice.

  2. Wow! What a great story to compliment an excellent build, my friend! This was a wonderful thread to follow, the result is superb!

  3. Indeed a fantastic story supporting an even more fantastic build, Bernard @lis
    It was a pleasure to follow your thread and see your persistance to turn this into an amazing Liberator.
    Lots of compliments.

  4. @johnb @fiveten @luftwaffe-birdman I added a video with an interview with a veteran of the mission to Warsaw from the 31st squadron.

  5. Great build @lis Love that you took on this project and it definitely produced excellent results! Well done!

  6. @dbutlr Thank You! I invite You to Bomber Command Group!

  7. Great story and always a pleasure to see SAAF aircraft on here! Nice result!

  8. Immaculate model, Bernard (@lis). Nice job building and painting such a cool plane. I have always liked B-24s. Thanks for the video and the story. Cheers.

  9. Well done, Lis!

  10. Nice work. Very good result, @lis.

    Actually, the Soviets sat on the east side of Vistula and watched the Germans smash the Polish Home Army, on orders from Stalin. He was fine with having the Nazis destroy what he knew would be his opponents to the planned takeover of Poland.

    • This was also Stalin's logic that caused the Katin massacre of Polish soldiers and officers.

    • @tcinla
      The mentality of soviet russia continues to this day as we can see on Ukraine. Absolutely nothing has changed. A poet Jozef Szczepinski who fought in the Warsaw Uprising wrote a poem entitled "Czerwona Zaraza" which can be explained by the red plague. I don't know if I can translate poetry well, but it is a very telling piece

      We are waiting for you, red plague,
      that you would save us from the black death,
      that you would have torn our country into quarters beforehand,
      it was a salvation greeted with disgust.

      We are waiting for you, you mighty crowd
      petty under your rule with a knout
      we are waiting for you to crush us with your shoe
      his deluge and slogans of noise.

      We are waiting for you, you eternal enemy,
      murderous bloody crowd of our brothers,
      we are waiting for you, not to pay
      but to greet with bread on the family threshold.

      That you would know, hateful savior,
      what kind of death do we wish you to thank
      and how we clench our hands helplessly
      help asking, tricky torturer.

      That you would know the grandfathers of our executioners,
      Siberian prisons grim legendo,
      how your goodness will all curse here,
      all Slavs, all your brothers

      That you would know how terribly it hurts
      us, children of the Great, Independent, Saint
      chained your accursed grace in the chains,
      stinking with the yoke of age-old slavery.

      Your victorious red army is here
      at the foot of the bright glow of burning Warsaw
      and weary the soul, it is satisfied with bloody pain
      a handful of madmen who die on the rubble.

      A month has already passed since the Uprising of the moment,
      you deceive us with your guns,
      knowing how horrible it will be again later
      tell yourself that they have mocked us again.

      We are waiting for you, not for us soldiers,
      for our wounded - we have thousands of them,
      and children are here and nursing mothers,
      and the plague spreads through the cellars.

      We are waiting for you - you procrastinate and procrastinate,
      you are afraid of us and we know it.
      You want us all to fall down here
      you are waiting for our extermination near Warsaw.

      You do nothing to us - you have the right to choose,
      you can help us, you can save us
      or wait and leave death ...
      death is not terrible, we know how to die.

      But know that from our grave
      A new Poland is born - the victorious one will be born.
      And you will not walk on this earth
      red lord of a broken power.

  11. Thank you VERY MUCH for posting this model of a SAAF B-24 that flew mercy missions to Warsaw. As a South African, I take pride in the role my countrymen played in WW II. South Africa also accommodated and provided a safe haven for many Polish war orphans in a town called Oudtshoorn. Your model is AWESOME Lis and a fine testimony to this dark chapter in world history.

    • @mornem It was pleasure for me to build this SAAF Liberator. South Africa was home for polish civilians and veterans, as Australia or many another countries. I am glad that, although so late, the Polish government awarded the still living heroes of those times.

  12. @luftwaffe-birdman @dbutlr @gblair @mornem @tcinla @neillroos @fiveten @fiveten

    Thank You! I'm glad that You like my work! the topic of aerial support for the Warsaw Uprising is little known, in particular in terms of the participation of SAAF forces. After 1990, the living veterans were invited to Poland and decorated. It is a pity that it was necessary to wait with decorations for the heroes until communism collapsed.

    There is another good vid about veterans from 31 Squadron SAAF. This missions was nighmare. A lot of this brave people loses they lives...

    since I learned that the Warsaw Uprising was supported by SAAF squadrons - I had a great desire to make a model of this plane. Several years have passed since this event, but I managed to achieve this goal and I hope that it will not be the last Liberator associated with this operation. Interestingly, it turns out that there is a photo of Liberator who forcibly landed at the Warsaw Okęcie airport and then seized by the Germans. This is the machine from the first movie. I wish I will make another B-24 in the future. If You know any B-24 decals for RAF 148 or 178 squadron it will be of great help to me. Also Correct B-24 H version model.

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  13. Lis,

    I read the back round story several times . I enjoyed reading the Polish side of events that took part during the Second World War. Human interest stories are always more interesting than reading dry numbers. All people have a story to tell. Your comments about Ukraine are true. The Wolf is still at the door.

    B-24 turned out to be superb.

    Two thumbs up.

    • @stephen-w-towle Thank You! Thank You that You follow my thread and like my story! This motivate me to work!

      • As of late I've been absent or slow in responding at looking at a lot of good modeling . Life gets in the way and at times you have to walk a way from the bench and attend to other matters. However, Lis I make it point to look at your work and work of others keeps to things centered and on course. Your efforts and adventures in modeling are always a motivator.

  14. Terrific B-24 and build thread, Lis @lis. I enjoyed that poem. Very relevant today.

  15. @eb801 @stephen-w-towle @luftwaffe-birdman @dbutlr @gblair @mornem @tcinla @neillroos @fiveten @fiveten

    I found interesting photo. General Rayski after combat flight. And with his crew on second photo (center). They was staying under BZ965 Liberator (called "The death and Mercury with torpedo")

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  16. Looks great - nicely done!

  17. Very nice workmanship @lis… it’s a very good looking Liberator. All of your builds I have seen are excellent.

  18. thank you my friend,,first rate work,,

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