2 Fighter Aviation Regiment in Czyżyny. 1944-1966.
2 Fighter Aviation Regiment in Czyżyny.
The Soviet plans included the creation of the Polish Aviation Association as the 3rd Fighter-Bomber Aviation Division. Due to the lack of appropriate equipment, the 3rd Fighter Aviation Division was formed as part of three fighter regiments, which were given the designations 9 PLM, 10 PLM, 11 PLM. By the way, at that time it was written "fighter aviation regiment" and not "fighter aviation regiment". The basis was the operational order of September 7, 1944, which mentioned the establishment of the 1st Mixed Aviation Corps. The location was the town of Karłówka in Ukraine.
From September 17, 1944, the training of pilots with 9 PLMs began at the Krasnogród airport, and pilots with 10 PLMs and 11 PLMs at the Karłówka airport. The basic plane was the Yak-1 fighter. The readiness to start hostilities was achieved at the beginning of 1945, and on January 20, 1945, the division was transported to Poland. The Russians made sure that the Poles did not fight in the territory of the eastern Polish Republic, and did not start fighting until they crossed the Bug River line. The ferrying was carried out in several aerial and wheeled projections, and was completed in March 1945.
The first fights took place at the end of March 1945, destroying the planes and enemy fortifications. The division took direct part in the battles for Berlin. For the combat effort, the division received the First Class Grunwald Cross and the Brandenburg title.
After the end of hostilities, the division as the 3rd Brandenburg Fighter Aviation Division was ordered to return to the country to the Kutno airport. After some time, 10 PLM was transferred to Krakow to the Czyżyny airport.
In 1946, the regiments; 9 PLM, 10 PLM, 11 PLM were directly subordinated to the Command of the Air Force and on January 24, 1946, by the order of the Supreme Commander of the Polish Army, the 1st Fighter Aviation Division with its composition was established; 1 PLM in Warsaw, 2 PLM in Krakow (previous 10 PLM), 3 PLM (previous 11 PLM).
This organizational system survived until 1950. In connection with the war in Korea, the Russians forced Poland to develop the army to an excessive size in relation to the actual needs. Accordingly, new tactical relationships began to be formed. 2 PLM in Krakow departed from the structures of the 1st DLM and on its basis the 7th DLM Air Force was formed with its staff and headquarters in Krakow. Three fighter regiments were to operate as part of the 7th DLM Air Force; apart from 2 PLM in Kraków-Czyżyny, the newly created 39 PLM in Mierzęcice and 40 PLM also in Mierzęcice.
The era of turbojet airplanes.
By the end of the 1940s it was already known that the end of piston-powered fighters was approaching and the introduction of the first turbojet machines into service. The 2 PLM was one of the first to convert to a new type of fighters. Initially, it was supposed to be the Jak-17.
The main pilot training was to take place in Radom. But the Korean War accelerated the introduction of the new technique. The new Bemowo airport in Warsaw becomes a place to organize a new type of units. The first two hunting regiments (1 PLM with 5 DLM and 2 PLM with 7 DLM) were trained simultaneously. In 1950, fighter units prepared to accept turbojets. It was already known that the plane would be the Jak-23 fighter, the serial production of which was even started in Mielec. To make it easier for pilots to switch to a turbojet, a two-seater Jak-17 W (UTI) was used.
In mid-1951, more modern MiG-15 turbojet fighters began to arrive at the Bemowo airport. Then it was decided that all of the Jak-23 fighters, in the number of around 100 copies, would become armaments of only 7 DLM, i.e. 2 PLM, 39 PLM and 40 PLM.
In the 1950s, the airport had a runway with dimensions of 1,900 m x 45 m, with a concrete surface. Airport coordinates 50.04 N 19.47 E. Runway orientation 08/26. The airport had full facilities. At that time, it was also used as a civil airport for the city of Krakow. Currently (2000), the airport serves as the Aviation Museum. It has a 720 m x 60 m runway, is entered in the register of civil airports and is used occasionally.
Krakow - Czyżyny. 1952.
From 1952, 2 PLMs with Jak-23 planes began their operations at the Czyżyny airport in Krakow. The Błędowska Desert training ground was intensively used in the training process. The commander of the unit at that time was Jan Frej-Bielecki.
On the basis of the manpower of the 2nd PLM, another two fighter regiments were organized, constituting the 7th DLM Air Force together with it. It is 39 PLM and 40 PLM. The Mierzęcice airport near Katowice was expanded for the newly created regiments.
In 1957, the Military Aviation underwent further serious changes on the wave of social movements. Soviet officers left their command positions in the Polish People's Army. In addition, Polish aviation already had a significant number of modern combat aircraft of Polish production. 2 PLM has slowly lost its importance. The first reason was hardware. The regiment belonged to those military units that used the Yak-23 planes the longest, technically outdated. The second reason was the great distance from the potential opponent. The third reason was the creation of a great city - Nowa Huta. The airport in Czyżyny is located between large cities, and actually in the center of the Krakow agglomeration, in the east-west direction. Therefore, it was decided to partially transfer the 2nd PLM to the Balice airport.
Nevertheless, 2 PLM is still part of WOPL OK and WL and safely performs its tasks, improving the level of training of soldiers.
At the beginning of the 1960s, the airport in Czyżyny becomes a base of disused flying equipment and slowly becomes a museum. Its area has been used many times to organize air shows for the inhabitants of Krakow. I myself was a spectator of such shows in 1966, when Lim-1/2 fighters and parachute jumping were demonstrated in the air.
Dismantling of the 2nd PLM in Kraków-Czyżyny.
2 PLM in Czyżyny was disbanded, and its number and traditions were taken over by 4 PLM in Goleniów, which in 1967 was named 2 PLM Kraków in Goleniów. Most of the planes from the disassembled 2 PLM were transferred to the Łask airport.
Written by Karol Placha Hetman