Such an account about a Polish airmen - survivor from the crew of "Karas" reconnaissance / light bomber plane, which was shot down by friendly fire of Polish AA defence over Plock on 6 September 1939. The town of Plock and nearby villages fell victim to Luftwaffe bombings several times before that day:I'm sure that some were killed on both sides. People tend to get angry when their cities are bombed.
- on 01.09.39 in the morning Plock was bombed by Do-17Z bombers from II./KG2 (as the result 10 civilians were killed and 14 wounded; 1 policeman was killed; 1 soldier was killed and 12 wounded; buildings destroyed, etc.)
- on 01.09.39 in the evening the town was bombed by 19 Do-17Z bombers from I./KG3
- on 03.09.39 the area around the town was under air attacks
- on 04.09.39 one of bridges in Plock and other places in the Plock County were under air attacks
- on 05.09.39 in the early afternoon Plock was bombed by 20 Ju-87B dive bombers from II./StG1, many civilians were killed or wounded, several artillery units were wounded; buildings including the Cathedral destroyed, etc.
- on 05.09.39 45 minutes after that Stuka attack, a Do-17P was sent to photograph the damage inflicted
- on 06.09.39 - roughly at the same time when that Polish plane was shot down
From memoirs of general Wladyslaw Anders, commander of Nowogrodzka Cavalry Brigade:
6 September 1939:
"(...) Germans bomb Plock. We shot down 4 planes, including unfortunately 1 Polish. (...)"
That plane was PZL-P23 "Karas" light bomber-recon plane from 65. bomber squadron, the crew of which was Lieutenant Observer Kazimierz Stangret (died in a crash), Corporal Pilot Walerian Nowakowski (jumped with a parachute) and Corporal Gunner Janusz Sawicki (died in a crash). They were performing a recon task.
Below I quote an excerpt from this account (it is from the book "Plock 1939" by Piotr Wodtke - he doesn't provide his primary source for this account, but it appears from both context and text of the account, that - if it is authentic - its author is corporal pilot Nowakowski, who speaks about himself mostly in the third person singular):
"(...) A Polish soldier with a rifle ready to fire appeared in the gate. Apparently he was searching for the parachutist. Nowakowski in full gear, only without his parachute, came out of hiding.
- Hands up! - the infantryman shouted.
Protest and explanations of the pilot did not help. A shot rang over the airman's head. Another order given by that soldier was to throw away the pistol. Second soldier came and asked his companion with pretense:
- What, you are still playing with this Krauthead?
Nervous pilot asked to call an officer. One of soldiers replied:
- What do you need an officer for, we can deal with you on our own...
Fortunately a Lieutenant from Nowogrodzka Cavalry Brigade, stationing in Plock, came. Officer demanded a service identity card from the pilot, not knowing, that airmen performing combat duties were forbidden to have documents with them. Steel colour of uniform, buttons with eagles, "gapa", Polish Vis pistol and Polish anti-gas mask convinced the officer. Under escort of the Lieutenant and two armed soldiers the convoy left the farm.
On the road a police leader and a woman carrying a heavy stone came close to me. The policeman, snarling from anger, stammered:
- You Krauthead swine.
The woman aimed a punch at the airman with her stone. Hostile attitude of that couple suddenly changed after the statement of the Lieutenant:
- This is a Polish airman.
The stone fell from woman's hands, she burst into tears and the policeman opened his mouth with astonishment.
Nowakowski asked the officer to lead him to the place where the plane crashed. They passed 400 meters and found themselves on the area of the seminary. Near the building one of clergymen asked the pilot in German:
- Bist du deutsche Flieger?
Nowakowski of course denied. He saw his "Karas". The plane fell on a library in the corner between both wings of the building and caused a fire (apart from fire brigade also alumni, secular personnel of the seminary and local civilians participated in fighting that fire). Ammo heated by fire exploded. A pile of iron left on the ground. (...)"