6 Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego
Tiger Unit Data
The 6th Fighter Squadron’s roots date back to the establishment of the Polish Air Force’s 6th Attack Regiment on 12 October 1944. Based in Bielyj Kolowiec (Former Soviet Union territory), the regiment was commanded by Lt.Col Edward Wiik and flew the IL-2M3 Sturmovik. At this time Regiment was equipped with 30 aircraft.
On 19 October 1944, the regiment forward deployed to the Ujazd airfield, near Tomaszów Mazowiecki, Poland. The deployment was completed on 12 April 1945, and on 25 April the regiment began combat operations in support of the Allied effort in World War II.
The 6th Attack Regiment’s first combat tasking was to destroy a railway station in Bergsdorf, Germany, in support of the Battle of Berlin. The Polish pilots successfully destroyed seven railway carts and ten military vehicles. In all, the 6th Attack Regiment contributed to the Allied war effort with 134 total combat missions, credited with the destruction of 14 tanks, 175 vehicles, 19 railway cars, 15 field artillery pieces, 23 anti-aircraft artillery pieces, and six ammo stockpiles with no losses. Combat operations ceased on 3 May 1945, and on 10 May 1945, the regiment returned to Ujazd airfield.
In preparation for peacetime operations, the Polish Air Force enlarged the 6th Attack Regiment to four squadrons totaling 60 IL-2M3 aircraft and 60 pilots. Ujazd airfield served as the regiment’s permanent home until relocation to Wrocław-Strachowice airfield in 1947. In 1950, the 6th Attack Regiment transitioned to the IL-10 aircraft. In October 1952, the regiment once again changed its location to Piła airfield, where it would call home for the next 45 years.
While based at Piła, the regiment underwent several aircraft changes. Between 1955 and 1957, the Polish Air Force began replacing the IL-10 with Polish-manufactured MiG-15 and MiG-15 bis (Polish designations, LIM-1/LIM-2). With the added capabilities of these aircraft, the regiment changed from the 6th Attack Regiment to the 6th Fighter Attack Regiment. Continuing to upgrade its capabilities, the MiG-15s were replaced with Polish-manufactured MiG-17s (Polish designations LIM-5M and LIM-6 bis) during the 1960s.
In 1982, the 6th Fighter Attack Regiment was selected as the first Polish Air Force unit to fly the Su-22 Fitter. By 1984, the regiment no longer operated MiG aircraft. The fighter-bomber capabilities of the Fitter required modernization of Piła airfield, to include surface renovations of the runway and taxiways. The first 11 Fitter aircraft arrived at Piła in November 1984. The delivery process continued until 1985, by which the regiment totaled 40 Fitters divided among three squadrons.
The mascot of each squadron was a flying tiger, with the wing colors varying by squadron. The first squadron of the 6th Regiment painted its tigers wings in pink, second in black and third in blue. For the first time tiger mascot was painted on Fitter number 3005, which was the first Fitter delivered, and the last to leave the regiment.
The 6th Fighter-Bomber Regiment was deactivated in 1998 as part of the Polish Air Force’s reorganization. The pilots and aircraft joined the Fitter crews of the 7th Fighter-Bomber Regiment at Powidz airfield. The Polish Air Force began to downsize in 2000 and deactivated the 7th regiment to form two tactical squadrons: the 6th and 7th Tactical Fighter Squadrons, both located at the newly designated 33rd Tactical Air Base at Powidz.
The majority of the former 6th regiment personnel became part of the 6th TFS and elected to return to its historical logo, the flying tiger. In 2005, one of the squadron two-seaters, Su-22UM3K number 707, received a unique tiger painting. This aircraft took part in displays and exercises all over Europe including MINI-TIGER MEET 2005 in Belgium, RIAT 2005 Fairford, and other major air shows.
In 2002, the Polish Air Force selected the Lockheed Martin Block 52+ as its newest combat aircraft. Pilots and maintenance personnel selected to transition to the F-16 began training in the United States, while the remaining 6th TFS Su-22 personnel became part of the 7th TFS. The 6th TFS moved to Poznan-Krzesiny Air Base to receive the newly trained F-16 personnel.
Poznan-Kresiny Air Base officially became the 31st Tactical Air Base on 1 April 2008. F-16 pilots requested that previous 6th Attack Regiment squadron designations be used for the base. As such, the 3rd and 6th Fighter Squadrons are once again active within the Polish Air Force.
The 3rd FS is tasked with Poland’s F-16 Basic Course training. The 6th FS is an operational combat squadron with a multi-role tasking.