Polish Wings No. 16 Supermarine Spitfire XVI

Polish Wings • 2013
AuthorsWojtek Matusiak
IllustratorRobert Grudzien
Release date2013-01-08
SeriesPolish Wings
Cat. No.PW016
CategoryAvailable CategoryDostępne
FormatA4, 88 pages (44 in colour)
Price75.00 PLN Price17.00 GBP

Ciąg dalszy historii samolotów Spitfire, tym razem XVI w PSP. Opisuje samoloty Spitfite XVI używane przez polskich pilotów w Wlk. Brytanii, zarówno w polskich dywizjonach jak i w dywizjonach RAF oraz jednostkach pomocniczych.

Ponad 200 zdjęć oraz ponad 30 kolorowych sylweteck doskonale uzupełnia jej zawartość.

Film przedstawiający zawartość książki

The book is the story of Spitfire XVIs used by Polish pilots in Britain, both in Polish squadrons and in RAF and auxiliary units. It includes listings of losses and of officially credited victories.

There are nearly 200 photographs (about half of which have not been published before) and about 30 colour profiles (plus top and bottom views for one representative aircraft).

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  • Model Airplane International 04/2013 • 2013-09-18
  • Internetmodeler.com • 2013-09-18

    By Chris Banyai-Riepl

    The latest in the Stratus Polish Wings series continues their examination of Polish pilots flying Spitfires in the RAF, with this volume covering the late-war Spitfire XVI variant. The Spitfire XVI arrived in 1945, and the Polish pilots transitioned to the type with relative ease, having experience in previous Spitfire variants. The Spitfire XVI operated in 302, 308, and 317 Squadrons of 131 Wing in Germany from January 1945 through to the end of the war. This book provides photographic and written documentation of aircraft from all three Squadrons, as well as post-war operations.

    For those not familiar with the Polish Wings series, these books focus on the aircraft of the Polish Air Force, with an emphasis on specific aircraft. These are presented in a collection of photographs of the specific aircraft, with one or two color profile illustrations complementing the photographs. The captions are quite thorough, providing a great source of supplemental information beyond the regular text.

    As the Spitfire XVI continued on beyond the end of the Second World War, this book makes for an interesting transition from wartime to peacetime, and how the Polish aviators dealt with that switch. While some returned to Poland, others remained with the RAF and continued to fly the Spitfire in England. This book covers that post-war usage, as well as covers the surviving Spitfire XVI that is currently on display in Poland.

    This is a nice addition to the other Polish Wings Spitfire books, helping to complete the story of Polish pilots in the cockpits of Supermarine's finest piston-engined fighter aircraft. My thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review copy.

  • Scale Aviation Modeller International 2013/03. • 2013-09-18
  • AIR Modeller 47 • 2013-09-18
  • Hyperscale.com • 2013-09-18

    Reviewed by Brad Fallen

    F i r s t R e a d

    With its Packard Merlin engine, bubble canopy and in many cases clipped wings, the Spitfire Mk.XVI is amongst the most aesthetically appealing of all Spitfires. The Mk.XVI was also a numerically important RAF fighter during the last months of World War 2 and the first years of peace, with just over 1,000 examples built during a 12-month production run from September 1944.

    One of the units equipped with Mk.XVIs was No.131 Wing of the 2nd Tactical Air Force, comprising three of the eight Polish Air Force day fighter squadrons – Nos. 302, 308 and 317 – which were at the time fully integrated with the RAF. These squadrons flew Mk.XVIs between early-mid 1945 and their disbandment in late 1946, and their aircraft are the main focus of (appropriately enough) Volume 16 of Stratus/MMP’s long-running ‘Polish Wings’ series.

    Polish Wings 16: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image Polish Wings 16: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image Polish Wings 16: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image Polish Wings 16: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image Polish Wings 16: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image Thumbnail panels:1 2 Polish Wings 16: Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XVI Book Review by Brad Fallen: Image (1 of 6)

    This is the first book in the series I’ve had the opportunity to examine, and I like the balance the author has struck between detailed photographic descriptions of individual Spitfires, and the background information that’s needed to put these photos in context. The result is a series of photo essays in the following order:

    No.131 Wing HQ/No.302 Squadron/No.308 Squadron/No.317 Squadron. This section takes up 60 of the book’s 88 pages and provides a wealth of information about the Wing’s aircraft, particularly during the immediate post-war period when the unit was based in Germany.

    Warsaw – this brief but fascinating section describes 131 Wing’s efforts to send two Mk.XVIs to an RAF exhibition in Warsaw in October 1945.

    Sensitivities between the UK and Russia meant that Polish pilots weren’t able to fly the Spitfires into Poland, and even then the first aircraft selected for the task – flown by British pilots – were turned back before reaching Warsaw. Two different Spitfires then made the journey successfully, and were subsequently donated by the RAF to the Polish Military Museum (only to be destroyed by the Polish communist government several years later). Detailed photographs of all four Spitfires involved in this effort are included. Mk.XVIs flown by Polish pilots in the RAF between 1945 and the early 1950s. This section is a miscellany of aircraft from different units that neatly captures the Mk.XVI’s transition from front-line fighter to rear echelon workhorse during this period. The most striking images are of some No.17 Squadron aircraft painted with German markings – including Balkenkreuz, Hakenkreuz and yellow spinners and forward engine cowlings – for a display at Farnborough in July 1950. Now that would make for a different looking Spitfire Mk.XVI model!

    A short postscript that describes how the Polish Aviation Museum in Cracow obtained a Mk.XVI (SM411) from the RAF Museum Hendon in 1977, in exchange for the only surviving AMC D.H.9a. A number of photos show SM411 at various stages in its career, including colour images from the museum at Cracow.

    MMP’s website states that the book contains almost 200 photographs, nearly half of which are previously unpublished. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this claim, but the photos are definitely the stars of the book. While not all are of excellent quality – some are definitely showing signs of age – they are all interesting and worthy of inclusion.

    The photos are supplemented by over 30 full colour port or starboard profiles, and two beautiful illustrations of Polish Spitfire XVIs in flight (which are reproduced on the book’s front and back covers).

    The supporting text is well written, with the photo captioning both detailed and clear. Production qualities are high, with crisp image reproduction and no obvious typographic or other errors in the text.


    You should seriously consider this volume if you have any interest in either the Spitfire Mk.XVI or World War 2 Polish aviation. If you’re planning a Mk.XVI model build – particularly of the 1/32 Tamiya kit – the book will provide all of the walkaround photos you need, as well as numerous tempting schemes in which to finish your model.

    Highly recommended.

  • Amazon.uk Bestseller list • 2013-09-18
  • www.aerostories.org • 2013-09-18
    A new pictorial issue of the great Polish Wings series is now available. Over 200 photos are here published, many for the first time. They are accompanied by around thirty colour profiles of very good quality drawned by Robert Grundzen, who is among the best artist able to make such high quality profiles on the Spitfire, making in all a very nice publication. I just regret the author has stopped writing on the operations, something he did for a previous title (Spitfire I/II published by Mushroom) making for the latter a balanced book so a very interesting book. So for anyone who wants to know more about the operations carried out by the Polish units in 1945 (302 and 308 Squadrons, the third one, 317 Squadron didn’t become operational before VE-Day), he will have to look at the other way for that, the summary of the small number of the operational losses (eight – but without any details) being only a shiny start. The only point added is the fact that no claims were reported by the Polish units in 1945 but even that the Poles perfomed well globally on the Spitfires, so it would have been interested to get more about them vs the Spitfire XVI. Despite this this book give to anyone interested on the Spitfire a good reason to purchase it at least for the number of photos included. Highly recommended. Phil H. Listemann
  • Kitmaniac.com • 2013-09-18

    The traditional and very nicely edited Polish Aircraft Service Series from MMP Books, The Polish Wings announces the release of your 16thIssue. This series became famous by the high quality of text and images and by the fact that is the most comprehensive guide about the operational life of aircrafts utilized by the Polish Air Force. This 15th issue has as the theme, the operational service life of the Spitfire MK. IX with Polish units in WWII and after the conflict


    The history of Spitfire and Polish pilots starts in 1940 when many polish pilots goes to England and choose to keep your fight against the Nazi War Machine. Many of these Airmen’s lost your lives defending the worlds freedom. During this time the polish pilots are under RAF’s command and receive the British aircrafts to fight. At this moment starts the Spitfire and polish wings history, a history very nicely covered in this MMP Books series.

    The Book:

    The new book from the famous Polish Wings series is a comprehensive research about the operational life of the Spitfires MK.XVI variants in hands of polish pilots during the last WWII years and after the end of the war. A book that give us the opportunity to know about all stages of the operations, tactics, challengers and commanding problems find by polish Spitfire IX units that served with RAF during the WWII.

    A pretty cover art is presented, with a pair of polish spitfires in a low flight. The book comes in A4 format with 88 pages and Inside of him we find a long Image research with nice texts explaining all details of the Polish Spitfire Units in RAF Service. From the organization and commanding structure at to Missions and tactics, all are vastly detailed in this book. A vast quantity of the photos of the unit Planes, markings, colored profiles and awesome artwork are present in the book. Great full page photos are amazing.

    A great work of recuperation of images and history details was made by the Author Wotjek Matusiak resulting in another pretty book from the Polish wings series. The Profile arts present in the book are very interesting for modelers and aviation art artists. All camouflage, paint schemes are represented on awesome profiles. Both operational and personal special markings are highly documented on this nice book. The work on B&W photos make it looks like take yesterday and not 70 years ago.


    The book has A4 format and count with 88 pages, hard covers and an excellent quality of text, images and diagrams. This book is an essential reading for aviation enthusiasts and modelers interested in the Polish aviation history and Spitfire lovers. I have other titles of this Series and I could confirm that the high quality of this Series is present in this excellent book. Highly recommended.

  • IPMSUSA.org • 2013-09-18

    Reviewed by: Brian R. Baker, IPMS# 43146


    Numerous experienced Polish pilots served in England, and although they were not technically part of the RAF, they served in special units and distinguished themselves in combat. By the time that the Spitfire XVI was available, the war was nearly over, and although the type was not generally flown in combat (one Polish pilot flew Mk. XVI’s with No. 602 Sqdn.), numerous Polish units operated these aircraft in the immediate postwar years. With the disbanding of the Polish Air Force in Britain in 1946-1947, about 500 Poles joined the RAF and served with various units. The Spitfires were eventually scrapped, and of several that were given to the Polish government after the war for museum displays, none survived. The Communist Government wanted to deemphasize the role of Poles in the RAF during the war, as there were also Poles flying with the Soviets. These Spitfires were flown extensively after the war, and this book serves to provide a record of those airmen, along with the aircraft they flew.

    The Book:

    This book was written primarily as a historical account, but it is a goldmine of information for anyone who wants to learn more about the subject or build models of the aircraft. Armed with half a dozen Heller 1/72 Mk. XVI’s, the modeler can build any number of variations. Of course, the XVI was basically a Spitfire IX with an American Packard Merlin engine; other changes included the bubble canopy on most versions, plus the clipped wings which appeared on some models. Most Polish-flown Spitfires carried the Polish insignia on the fuselage, and postwar-type RAF roundels were common. A few were flown in bare metal, but most appeared to be camouflaged. In 1950, a display was put on at Farnborough, and some Polish-flown Spitfires were displayed with pseudo-Luftwaffe markings, albeit with RAF squadron codes.

    There is a lot of information here, with many color profiles, and most of the photos are from personal collections and have never been published before. For the modeler and historian alike, this book is a winner, and if you have any interest in the Spitfire XVI, this book is a must-have.

    Highly recommended.

  • Aeroscale.com • 2013-09-18

    by: Michal Sindera [ MECENAS ]

    Book author: Wojtek Matusiak


    Stratus Publishing keeps on making pleasure to the all enthusiasts of the Polish Air Force. In the series of “Polish Wings” authors focuses on particular types of airplanes which were used in Polish units. After two issues presenting the Spitfire Mk. IX's issue No. 16 takes a look at Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVI's used in Great Britian during and shortly after the World War Two. Content

    Book content does not differ from other of this series. If you have read my two other reviews of Polish Wings about Spitfire IX's you already got the picture. There's no index but it can be divided into the following “chapters”:

    No. 131 Wing and No.131 Wing HQ

    No. 302 Squadron

    No. 308 Squadron

    No. 317 Squadron


    Polish pilots in RAF units


    Idea of the content layout is pretty simple. After the brief foreword in each section you get a lot of archive photographs with the authors detailed description. There are not only strictly technical information about types of equipments but also serial numbers of depicted planes, dates and circumstances of taking the photo (many times), names of people who are captured in the picture and, of course, descriptions of the plane look and its unique characteristics. Wojtek Matusiak have carefully chosen those which are presented in his book. Most of the machines, if not all, are also presented on at least one side profile picture by Robert Grudzień, also a well known artist.

    It is easy to guess what can be found in the first four sections so please let me say few words about last two chapters. “Warsaw” focuses on two machines which were exhibited shortly after the war in Warsaw as a part of RAF Aviation Exhibition. Two Polish machines, JH-Q TB581 from No. 317 Sqn and QH-Z TB292 from No. 302 Sqn were displayed for some time in front of the National Museum and later handed over to the Polish Army Museum. In 1950 these two planes, as politically incorrect, were simply scraped. As the access to these planes was public author managed to gather a lot of photographs presenting these birds in different situations and condition.

    Last section also refers to the post-war times. Although Polish Air Force was disbanded some Poles still remained in His Majesty service, some even kept on flying Spitfires. Few known machines of these very few pilots are depicted and described here. What is more some of these planes even have balkenkreuzes instead of roundels. Look inside the book if you want to know why. Publication is written in English but publisher provides an insert with all texts and descriptions translated into Polish. Summary

    Together with two previous releases depicting Spitfire IX's this is a “must have” for all modellers who are interested in the history of Polish Air Force. This book is a valuable reference and a great inspiration for many models. Value of so many great archive photographs and a load of knowledge in just one book is priceless. Beside I hope that thanks to this book we will see some not very distant future more Mk.XVI's on the Aeroscale or hobby contests as for me this type is very underestimated and rarely seen “in modelling action”.

  • Amazon.co.uk customer review (1st) • 2013-09-18

    5.0 out of 5 stars Spitfire XVI

    11 Mar 2013, By Squeeze46

    This is a welcome addition to previous published books on Polish Spitfire squadrons. Well illustrated with hitherto unpublished photos. Plenty to interest aircraft modellers. I look forward to the next.

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