Author:  Kenneth K. Koskodan
ISBN: 13: 978 1 84603 365 0
Publisher: Osprey Publishing

Click Here To Purchase No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland's Forces in World War II (General Military)

The title of this book says everything: the U.S., Britain, and France had no greater ally than Poland during WWII and yet the story of the Poles’ fierce loyalty to the Allies cause during that war has been, up till now, almost completely untold.

Why is that?  Why do history books always paint a pathetic picture of Poland’s mounted cavalry defense against the blitzkrieg, inferring by that image that the invasion was over in a matter of days because the Polish defense was apparently laughable? Why does no one ever mention that nearly 20 percent of the RAF airmen were Poles?  Why does no one seem to know that Polish servicemen supported the Allies in nearly every major conflict during WWII?

It is very possible that stories of the major Polish contributions to the Allied cause were swept under the rug out of sheer embarrassment. If the stories got out, the obvious question would be, “why then did the Allies hand over Poland to the Soviet Union at the end of the war?  Why didn’t we fight for their freedom as they had fought for ours?”

As one reads through the extremely well-written, well-researched, and well-organized text of Kenneth Koskodan’s book, that heartbreaking question, though not actually posed by the author, comes to mind again and again.

Koskodan’s narrative – which focuses on military specifics while remaining immensely readable – generally follows the timeline of the war and clearly delineates the contributions of the Polish armed services along that timeline. For instance, in chapter two– “French Misfortunes -- Koskodan reveals how Polish troops, having escaped to France during the invasion of Poland, and waiting through the “Drole de Guerre,” were shocked at the naïvety of the French military leaders (who ignored the Poles’ hard-earned advice regarding the nature of the new German lightening war) and at the slack unpreparedness of the French troops.

Nevertheless, Polish troops assisted in the French during the Battle of France -- incredulous at the quick French surrender -- and after the evacuation at Dunkirk, many of them ended up in Britain. In chapter four – “On Wings of Eagles: The Polish Air Force” – Koskodan gives details regarding air war between the German Luftwaffe and the Polish air force during the Polish invasion. He relates how Britain recruited hundreds of already-trained Polish airmen to fly with the RAF where the air-borne Poles gained almost celebrity status because of their incredible courage in the air.

Some military Poles remained in Poland and fought in the “Armia Krajowa” (Home Army, or AK). Chapter three – “Everything was in Secret” – discusses in detail, the organization and military activities of this impressively large and well-organized underground army which worked against Poland’s enemies, both Germans and the Soviets.

But in the end, the real enemies of Poland turned out to be their supposed friends, the Allies who had accepted and benefited greatly from their help but then in the end, betrayed them into the hands of the Soviets, which act Koskodan points out very simply but eloquently at the end of chapter nine, “Glory and Heartbreak: The Warsaw Uprising, 1944”: “This time, the invasion had come with the consent of the rest of the free world.  There was no hope of an ally coming to Poland’s aid, and there was not even talk of the Polish Army returning to free its countrymen. This time, the AK harbored no illusion of harassing the enemy while biding its time until it could fight for liberation.  This time, the invaders, with their mighty army and their mightier politics, had won. The world would not fight for Poland.”

Koskodan spent years researching his subject, which included many hours of interviews with Polish veterans, and his immensely readable book is a giant leap towards an increased understanding of the incredible and heartbreaking story of the Polish contributions to the Allied cause during WWII

Click Here To Purchase No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland's Forces in World War II (General Military)