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Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

Article about: Hello, I am trying to find reference books for Polish medals, insignia, badges and awards but have had no luck. The Stela reference would be my first choice. A copy of Decorations et Ordres

  1. #1

    Question Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

    Hello,

    I am trying to find reference books for Polish medals, insignia, badges and awards but have had no luck. The Stela reference would be my first choice. A copy of Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska, Warsaw 1989 is available. It is in French but I'm in Canada so I think I can get by with my smattering of school French. Would anyone recommend this book or venture an opinion? I will kept looking for Stela but would like to have a reference book in the meantime.

    Thank you,
    Mike

  2. #2

    Default Re: Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

    Hi,
    Army Badges and Insignia of World War 2
    Book one
    Guido Rosignoli
    Has a basic Polish section covering 15 pages of plates.
    You should be able to pick one up on ebay for not much coin.
    Cheers
    Dave

  3. #3

    Default Re: Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

    Hi Mike,

    The Bigoszewska reference provides basic general information covering the main national decorations right up through the communist years. Most of this information is available in the internet though. All decorations pictured are ‘artists renditions’, no actual photographs. There’s no discussion of what collectors thirst for, such as manufactures, variants, etc.

    The most comprehensive general reference on Polish decorations from 1705 through the Polish Exile Government up to 1990 is the revised (2009) Oberleitner book pictured below. It does not cover the post war communist era or post communist 3rd Republic. Only available in Polish text though.

    The Stela book is a worthwhile acquisition for badges and decorations awarded for the 1914-1921 period where Poland was reborn after 123 years of partition, and then the wars with neighboring nations to establish her borders. Pictures are all in black and white, the text is trilingual (Polish, English, German). The book provides a good general history of each of the border wars that spawned the various commemorative badges. There are interesting sections devoted to fakes / fantasy badges as well as patriotic jewelry.

    There are also books devoted to specific decorations, containing more in depth information:

    - Order Virtuti Militari by Krzysztof Filipow
    - Cross of Valour by Grzegorz Krogulec
    - Cross/Medal of Independence by Z. Puchalski / T. Wawrzynski
    - Cross/Medal of Independence by Krzysztof Filipow
    - Cross of Merit by Zbigniew Krotke

    And books devoted to the various regimental / commemorative and cap badges:
    - Badges – 1918-1945 by Z. Sawicki / A. Wielechowski
    - Badges and Documents 1918-1945 by Z. Sawicki / A. Wielechowski
    - Polish Armed Forces in the West by Jan Partyka
    - Eagle Hat Eagles 1917-1919 by Tomasz Zawistowski
    - Eagle Hat Eagles 1919-1939 by Tomasz Zawistowski
    - Eagle Hat Eagles 1939-1945 by Tomasz Zawistowski
    - Polish Military School 1908-1939 by W.B. Mos; W. Soszynski

    Once again, only Polish language.

    By far the best book of this latter group is the recently released “Cross of Merit” by Zbigniew Krotke. It absolutely sets the standard for all to follow as far as thoroughness. Superb book. The collecting hobby cries out for similar efforts covering the other major Polish decorations such as the Virtuti Militari, Polonia Restituta, and Cross of Valour (although the Krogulec book does a commendable job, but is in desperate need of updating and reorganization).

    Lastly, re. uniform insignia I’d recommend the Guido Rosignoli books “Army Badges and Insignia of WW2” and “The Allied Forces in Italy 1943-45”. Also essential is "The Polish Armed Forces in the West 1939-1947" by Z. Sawicki / B. Wojciechowski.

    Obligatory disclaimer: this is a general list of published books and by no means comprehensive!

    Cheers,
    Tony
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    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  4. #4

    Default Re: Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

    Thanks for the heads up Tony. I've decided to pass on Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska.

    I appreciate your list of general reference books. My area of interest (as you may glean from my posts) is the Polish Army of the 2nd Republic, specifically but not limited to the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade and the 10th Dragoons of the 1st Polish Armoured Division, both of which my late father was a member of. I am also interested in the Polish military in WW1 and during the fight for independence. I would not describe myself as a collector of Polish medals and badges but more as a Polish milsurp collector. I am intending to create a display in memory of my father.

    I have just purchased a copy of Polski Mundur Wojskowy by Z. Zygulski and Henryk Wielecki and would like to obtain a copy of Wielecki's Polski mundur 1918-1939 as well as the Stela reference and a good reference on Polish Eagle cap badges.

    I already have Army Badges and Insignia of World War 2 Volume One by Guido Rosignoli as well as Invincible Black Brigade by Jerzy Majka, Black Devil's March by McGilvray, Doomed Soldiers (in Polish), two Polish language books on bayonets used by Poland and Poles on the Fronts of WW2 by Baluk. I also have the short Osprey books on the Polish Army and Polish Armour in WW2. I'm hoping Osprey will release a book on the Polish Legions in WW1 and one on the border conflicts between Germany, Lithuania, the Soviet Union and the Free Ukrainian forces. My Polish grandfather died fighting as a soldier in WW1.

    Where would one obtain the books you recommended:
    - Badges – 1918-1945 by Z. Sawicki / A. Wielechowski
    - Badges and Documents 1918-1945 by Z. Sawicki / A. Wielechowski
    - Polish Armed Forces in the West by Jan Partyka
    - Eagle Hat Eagles 1917-1919 by Tomasz Zawistowski
    - Eagle Hat Eagles 1919-1939 by Tomasz Zawistowski
    - Eagle Hat Eagles 1939-1945 by Tomasz Zawistowski

    Lastly, do you have an opinion on this book: "Wojsko Polskie 1921-1939, Organizacja i Odznaki Artylerii" by By H. Wielecki and R. Sieradzki. Its short, 124 pages, but described as 'presenting the organization and badges of the artillery units in the period. Color pictures of the badges. Very detailed analysis of each item'.

    My apologies for the long post.
    Mike

  5. #5

    Default Re: Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

    Hi Mike,

    You’re most welcome. The acquisition of a reference library is one of the best investments you’ll make. I can see that you are also adding books about the history as well. Armed with these resources you’ll not only be safer with your purchase decisions, but will also enjoy the hobby that much more knowing the history behind what these items represent.

    The past five or so years has seen the arrival of several new and exciting books geared to the collector, so the situation with lack of information has greatly improved. The publishing of these books is an indication of just how the hobby has taken off.

    Quote by dastier View Post
    Where would one obtain the books you recommended:
    - Badges – 1918-1945 by Z. Sawicki / A. Wielechowski
    - Badges and Documents 1918-1945 by Z. Sawicki / A. Wielechowski
    - Polish Armed Forces in the West by Jan Partyka
    - Eagle Hat Eagles 1917-1919 by Tomasz Zawistowski
    - Eagle Hat Eagles 1919-1939 by Tomasz Zawistowski
    - Eagle Hat Eagles 1939-1945 by Tomasz Zawistowski
    All but the Partyka one are readily available on the web. Just type in the titles to the search engine of your choice. These titles are also regularly listed on Allegro. Alternately, Tomasz Zawistowski has his own web site from where you can purchase his excellent series of books on hat eagle badges. The Partyka book is out of print, so will prove more of a challenge to find.

    Quote by dastier View Post
    Lastly, do you have an opinion on this book: "Wojsko Polskie 1921-1939, Organizacja i Odznaki Artylerii" by By H. Wielecki and R. Sieradzki. Its short, 124 pages, but described as 'presenting the organization and badges of the artillery units in the period. Color pictures of the badges. Very detailed analysis of each item'.
    It's part of a series of four books, pictured below. There are two similar sized books picture there as well. All of them are well worth acquiring as they provide a succinct regimental history as well as a brief commentary on the known makers for the badges. I believe all are out of print, but keep an eye out on Allegro as copies do pop up there.

    Regards,
    Tony
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    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  6. #6

    Default Re: Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

    Tony, thank you so much for your prompt reply.

    I know where I can get a copy of Wojsko Polskie 1921-1939, Organizacja i Odznaki Artylerii" by By H. Wielecki and R. Sieradzki so I will contact the seller right away. I'll ask if he has the other books in the series. Thank you so much for sharing. You must have quite the impressive reference library.

    I used a source in Poland to obtain Polski Mundur Wojskowy but a copy of Wielecki's Polski Mundur 1918-1939 is too expensive for me at this time. He is also going to keep a look out for Stela's books but again he informed me that these would be quite expensive. I'll seek out some of the other books you recommend.

    This may not be your area of expertise but have you ever come across a book on the Polish production of small arms in the 2nd Republic. I have acquired a Polish K98 made in 1927 by P.W.B. Radom and would like to learn more about thie history of the factory and other production facilities, the trials and tribulations, successes and failures, rifle conversions, exports, experimental weapons, etc. Unfortunately I don't read Polish so English books would be best but I'd welcome knowing that such a topic is covered even in Polish. Thanks.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

    Hi again Mike,

    Quote by dastier View Post
    . . .You must have quite the impressive reference library.
    Well, I’m not sure impressive is the word as there are too few reference books out there devoted to Polish militaria of the period of my interest (pre-war 2nd Republic and Armed Forces in the West) to fill my bookcase! So the empty shelves had to be filled with other things. Truth be told though I have another smaller shelf that holds the Piechota (Infantry) 1939-1945 series from the early 1970’s which contain a wealth of information, and also almost the majority of “The Polish Review” bi-weekly periodicals issued through the war years by the New York based Polish Information Center. All in all I’ve managed to acquire all of the main reference books published over the past 40 years. At least the ones I know of. And I’m always on the lookout for anything that has eluded my radar, especially limited release museum catalogues which are often chock full of great pictures and good information.

    Quote by dastier View Post
    . . . a copy of Wielecki's Polski Mundur 1918-1939 is too expensive for me at this time. He is also going to keep a look out for Stela's books but again he informed me that these would be quite expensive. . . .
    Keep watching Allegro. Both books are out of print, but they do come up for sale every one in a while. A copy of Stela’s book recently came up on ebay and sold for around $10.

    Quote by dastier View Post
    . . . have you ever come across a book on the Polish production of small arms in the 2nd Republic. . . .
    Only the ones pictured below. Three focus on the Vis wz.35 pistol, with the remaining one (Broń strzelecka i sprzęt artyleryjski formacji polskich i Wojska Polskiego 1914-1939 by Andrzej Konstankiewicz) deals with all aspects of arms used by the Polish Armed Forces during the 2nd Republic era. It covers pistols and rifles through to artillery equipment. The text is Polish language though, but still worth acquiring for the drawings and photograph section.

    Cheers,
    Tony
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    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

  8. #8

    Default Re: Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

    Hi Tony. Very, very nice library you have there. I noticed we have a few books in common but you have many more books on Polish military history than I. My library concentrates more on the war between the Nazis and the Soviet Union with some branching out to the war in the west, Poland and Finland. The pride of my Polish collection is F. S. Kurcz's book on the operations of the 10 BK in Poland 1939 and France 1940. Are you familiar with it?

    Getting back to your books on Polish small arms - I do have Lapins book on the Vis 35. Does Berger's book have anything to add? I think the book by Andrzej Konstankiewicz would be what I'm looking for re Polish rifles and production. Too bad I don't read Polish. Do you buy your books locally, use Amazon, ABE etc or purchase from Poland? (online or in person?) Thanks.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Opinions wanted: Decorations et Ordres Polonais by Wanda Bigoszewska

    Hi Dastier, Yes, I have a copy of the Kurcz book you are referring to "Black Brigade". An excellent account from Stanislaw Maczek's chief of staff.

    Quote by dastier View Post
    I do have Lapins book on the Vis 35. Does Berger's book have anything to add?
    Robert J. Berger's book is from 1981 was the was the precursor to Lapin’s book, by over two decades. Personally, I was disappointed with the Lapin effort. A new book on this very fine pistol was just issued several weeks ago. This may be the worthy successor to the Berger booklet that Vis pistol enthusiasts have been awaiting. Hopefully this new book will do this pistol justice. I am eagerly awaiting my copy in the mail any day now.

    http://www.fn-browning.com/vis_radom_pistols_book.htm

    Quote by dastier View Post
    Do you buy your books locally, use Amazon, ABE etc or purchase from Poland? (online or in person?)
    All of the above, and wherever else I can find them! I put as much effort into acquiring books as I do to anything else in my collection. In fact, I started with books. One cannot have too much information!

    I particularly treasure the books pictured here on post #87 of this thread:

    Books

    Regards,
    Tony
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    All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.

    "Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne

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