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Krakow plane exhibition marks WW1 centenary

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 28.07.2014 12:35
An exhibition of planes used in World War I has opened in Krakow to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict.

A British Sopwith Camel. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk

The Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia on 28 July 1914, one month after Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the imperial throne, was assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June by a Bosnian-Serb nationalist.

“It was a terrible war,” commented Krzysztof Radwan, director of the Aviation Museum in Krakow.

“At the beginning, aircraft were only used for observation, up until the moment when one was shot down,” he noted.

“And then the horrendous air fights began,” he added.

Among the planes on show is a British Sopwith Camel (pictured above) which shot down 11 enemy planes, as well as a LFG Roland D.VI, a Halberstadt CL.II, and various Albatros models used by the Austro-Hungarian and German air forces.

Some of the planes on show are the only surviving examples of their kind.

An Aviatik C III. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk

Dr Krzysztof Mroczkowski of the Aviation Museum has said that in reality, “there was no romance in the day-to-day lives.

“It emerges from the memoirs of these people that they were drunk on adrenaline, mania and alcohol.

“They were children whose first occupation was killing,” he said

Poles fought under three armies (German, Austrian and Russian) in the war, and 400,000 Polish soldiers died during the conflict. Poland regained its independence amidst the collapse of the three empires at the close of the war. (nh)

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