Joining the FightBy kenwas
No. 303 Squadron claimed the greatest number of aircraft destroyed of the 66 Allied fighter squadrons engaged in the Battle of Britain, even though it joined the fray two months after the battle had begun. Its success in combat can be attributed to the years of extensive and rigorous pre-war training many of the long-serving Polish veterans had received in their homeland and surviving previous encounters with the Luftwaffe in inferior aircraft; far more than many of their younger and inexperienced RAF comrades being thrown into the battle. In its first seven days of combat, the squadron claimed nearly 40 enemy aircraft. Withdrawn from battle for a rest on the 11 October, the squadron had claimed 126 kills in six weeks.
During 1941–43, No. 303 Squadron flew on Fighter Command's offensive sweeps over North West Europe, flying various marks of the Spitfire. Forming cover for the Allied raid on Dieppe, 303 Squadron claimed the highest number of aircraft shot down of all Allied squadrons participating. On 11 April 1942, when an aerial gunnery contest was staged within No 11 Group RAF, the three competing Polish squadrons— 303, 316 and 315 — took the first three places out of all 22 air squadrons, 303 Squadron coming first by a very healthy margin (808 hits, while 316 Squadron scored 432 hits, and the best British squadron 150 hits).
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