Karol Pniak (1910–1980) was a Polish World War II flying ace of the Battle of Britain. Originally a pilot for the Polish Air Force in the September Campaign of 1939, he later flew with No. 32 Squadron of the Royal Air Force, during the Battle of Britain, where he was known by the nickname "Cognac." Karol Pniak claimed five victories in the Battle.
Pilot Officer K. Pniak then served with 257 Squadron, and was involved in the dogfight with Regia Aeronautica aircraft on 11 November 1940. He attacked one Fiat BR.20M bomber that began to smoke and burn and then turned onto its back before it dived into the sea 10 miles east of Harwich after one man had baled out. He then attacked another, which glided in towards the coast, trailing smoke. Pniak then transferred to 306 Squadron, serving from November 1940 to November 1941. Two months at the AFDU followed, before a return to 306 until January 1943. Pniak then served for five months in North Africa with the Polish Fighting Team. Aspell at OTU in a training role ( September 1943-November 1944) then saw Pniak serve as commander of the No. 308 "Cracow" Squadron from 29 November 1944 until 30 June 1945.
After the war he was assigned to Headquarters, Polish Air Force in July 1945 and the Polish No. 131 Wing in November 1945. In August 1946, he returned to 308 Squadron as a supernumerary commander, receiving a Bar to his Polish Cross of Valor and the Dutch DFC.
He left active service in 1947 and returned to Poland, where he died in 1980.
Pniak's final tally was 7 aircraft claimed destroyed, 2 shared destroyed, 2 "probables", 1 damaged, with 2 shared damaged.
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