Friday, February 3, 2012

Poland 1920-1293 Morane-Saulnier A-1 MoS-30

Polish Advanced Trainers

When Poland became an independent nation, one of the important needs was the creation of an effective air force. In the beginning the core was composed of veterans serving with the Germans and Austrians during the First World War. Soon aviators from many nations joined them to create a formidable fighting force. Still more aviators were needed to defend the promise of independence for this fledgling nation. To meet this need flight schools were created to swell the ranks of combat pilots who would defend their country and eventually fight for freedom during the Second World War.

The Morane-Saulnier A-1 had very modern lines and was very streamlined. Even though 1,210 were produced it never made a big impact at the front during the Great War. By mid-May 1918 it was withdrawn to serve as an advanced trainer, designated MoS 30. When France began aiding Poland in their efforts for independence the Morane-Saulnier A-1 was a perfect fit for use in the Polish Advanced Flying Schools.

When the MS A1 was deployed in Poland many of them retained their French markings. I am not sure if they retained the roundels on the wing or if they carried Polish markings.

This is another example of the standard French camouflage pattern. Notable it the lack of wheel covers and color change of the MS logo on the cowling.

In ths profile you see the French camouflage scheme still in use but there is a the shift to use of Polish national insignias.

This example has the dark green color we associate with interwar aircraft. One obvious change is the wide pale blue area on the fuselage. This is fairly atypical. Most late Polish aircraft use gray on the lower surfaces.


kingsleypark said...

I've always liked the Polish national insignia - a lot more striking than a roundel.

Any clues Will, on how the insignia came about?

W. I. Boucher said...

The design of the Polish Air Force chessboard insignia came from the Polish pilot Stefan Stec, who had a version of it painted on his Fokker EV's Stec flew with the 7th Kosciuszko Squadron at the time. Stec was a pilot in the Austrian Air Force in WWI who also had a red and white insignia (Polish national colors) of some type on some of his aircraft.

Stec's markings were noticed by Colonel Lassowski from the Polish Air GHQ who championed the idea of adopting the chessboard as the national insignia for the Polish Air Force. The Polish Air Force GHQ formally adopted the official marking in December of 1918 - General Order Item 204.

The border was a later version of the insignia. In most cases the upper right border was red. However it was not always the case. When painting the insignia you have to look at the reference source beforehand to make sure it is correct.

I hope this is some use.



kingsleypark said...

Cheers Will. I knew I could rely on you to clear up that little query so quickly!

Sorry for being away for so long but hopefully some semblance of normality has returned

Jon said...

Looks Great Will,

On the last aircraft what is significant of the "1".


W. I. Boucher said...

@Jon, The number one is an identifier used by the unit it is assigned to. It is fairly common practice in most of the air forces of the Great War. It is not the serial number.