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Poles at WW2

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Falcon, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. Falcon

    Falcon Member

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    I'm interested in how much people living in the West know about Polish influence in the World War II history.

    How much do you know about the German-Polish fights on September 1939? Have you heard about Westerplatte, or Bzura Battle?

    Can you mention some of the biggest battles of Polish Army (on the all fronts of WW2), or which Polish Army had fought in?

    Do you know what Polish Home Army was? Can you say what operation "Burza" ("Storm") was? Or the Warsaw Uprising in 1944? Or the uprising in Warsaw Getto?

    Have you ever heard about the Polish submarine "Orzel" ("Eagle") and its escape from Baltic Sea?

    Do you know what happened in Katyn?

    And, finally, have you known that THE POLES deciphered German Enigma code?

    I want only to check up how much do you know about Polish forces in the WW2. If you answered me, it would be nice [​IMG]

    PS. I wanted to post that in the "WW2 GENERAL" forum, but it was some kind of error and I had to post it here.

    [ 27. January 2004, 04:05 AM: Message edited by: Falcon ]
     
  2. BratwurstDimSum

    BratwurstDimSum Member

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    This is a duplicated thread Falcon, you've posted the same question in the General thread, can someone please close/remove this one?
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Well, it's a tall order but I'll have a go ( deep breath ) : -

    Not too much Yes No Not enough time Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes
     
  4. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    1.) Something. Less than about the EF, more than about Battle of the Bulge Westerplatte yes, Bzura yes
    2.) a few will come to my mind, yes
    3.) yes no yes yes
    4.) yes
    5.) yes
    6.) yes

    Hope that will do. Didn't know that the Poles won 'em Limeys the BoB, though. ;)

    Suggested:
    http://www.funtrivia.com/quizdetails.cfm?id=129595&origin=780

    Cheers,
     
  5. Falcon

    Falcon Member

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    Oh... ehem... I see that I have posted 4 posts of the same theme... Eh... I'm really sorry and embarassed and I also ask moderator to close 3 of them...

    I tried to post it in the General thread few times, but each time it was some kind of error, and it hasn't been shown in the list of discussion themes. But now there are... Strange world... :confused:

    Sorry for my mistake one more time...
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Thanx for the trivia Andy!

    Got 11/15, but to my shame I missed the Finland question totally....

    [​IMG] ;)
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Here´s something I found and posted earlier:

    The Polish and Iran 1942 ( Yes, the Polish!)

    http://www.polandsholocaust.org/1942.html

    March 1942

    Over 70,000 Polish ex-POWs and exiles assemble at Buzuluk, USSR, as members of Anders' Army. Evacuated to Iran, they will be equipped by the British and will
    form the Polish 2nd Corps which will fight in the Middle East and Italy.

    April

    First mass evacuation of Poles from the USSR. Overcrowded Soviet ships ferry them across the Caspian Sea from Krasnovodsk to Iran. Some 77,200 soldiers and 37,3000 civilians, including 15,000 children, are released by the USSR.

    September 12 Polish Army is formed in Iraq from Command in the Middle East
    and Polish Military Forces in USSR evacuated to Iran. In 1943 the army is transferred
    to Palestine in preparation for the Italian Campaign, and the Polish 2nd Corps leaves
    here for Europe.

    --------------

    http://www.immi.gov.au/research/publications/langfitt/langfitt52.htm

    ----------

    http://www.netiran.com/Htdocs/Clippings/Social/020430XXSO01.html

    -----------

    Exile and Identity: Polish Women in the Soviet Union During World War II, 356 pages, published in 2002 by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

    http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2003/february5/exile-25.html

    After the Red Army invaded and annexed eastern Poland in 1939, Communist authorities began a series of carefully orchestrated deportations. Similar events took place in the Baltic states and to many ethnic groups within the USSR. Of those, about 600,000 were women.

    What is unusual about the Polish experience, compared to that of the other deported groups, is that an estimated 115,000 people were permitted to leave Soviet territory in 1942. After the German army invaded the USSR, the Soviets turned to the Poles as allies. The 1941 Sikorski-Maiskii Pact called for the formation of a Polish army in the USSR to fight the Nazis and it promised an amnesty to all Polish citizens inside the country.

    Jolluck explains that a Polish general, Wladyslaw Anders, was released from a Moscow prison to form what became known as the Anders army. In the summer of 1941, waves of Poles began arriving in the southern portions of the USSR in search of the military outposts.

    "Although the Soviets were supposedly amnestying everyone, they tried to hold people back by not giving travel documents or money," Jolluck said. "Soviets would divert trains to collective farms and force people to pick cotton. Women sold their last possessions -- like a sweater -- to buy food. Many of those people were stuck there for good."

    As part of the amnesty, two evacuations took place in 1942 from Soviet territory across the Caspian Sea to Iran. More were promised but did not materialize because Soviet-Polish diplomatic relations broke down following the 1943 discovery of the massacre in Katyn, Ukraine, where Soviet authorities murdered 4,400 Polish army officers in 1940.

    Shortly after arriving in Iran, evacuees were asked by Polish officials to write about their experiences under the Soviet regime. The objective was partly to collect information that would be used to help nullify the annexation of eastern Poland after the war ended. The exiles also formed the first large group of people in about 20 years who were exposed to life in the Soviet Union and then allowed to leave. "The testimonies may constitute a precious source enabling us to reveal to world opinion the truth about Russia," one official noted in the book. Of the tens of thousands of handwritten reports collected, about 20,000 ended up in the Hoover Institution, including at least 2,000 written by women.
     
  8. Wojtix

    Wojtix Member

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  9. Wojtix

    Wojtix Member

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    Warsaw Uprising

    The Warsaw Uprising was the armed struggle started by AK against Nazis in Warsaw, capitol of Poland, during World War II. It started August 1 1944 and lasted until October 2.

    The uprising was part of larger AK operation codenamed Operation Tempest. It was intended as both direct operation against German occupiers as well as political manifestation of influences of Polish Government-in-Exile, sparked by fear, that in the aftermath of the war allies would omit the legal London-based government (Soviet Union was not recognising Government-in-Exile and it was clear that Poland will be liberated by Red Army). The operation came to a halt due to Soviet politics of collaboration with Home Army only on a tactical level and then shooting or sending the Home Army soldiers to Siberia. There were many different opinions as to what should be the polish response, but it became clear that the all-national Uprising would be too costly and would end the same way as Lwow Uprising and Wilno Uprising ended. However, on July 29 1944 Soviet Radio Moscow called Poles in Warsaw to revolt. The underground civil and military authorities decided that it would be better to start the Uprising in Warsaw on a fixed date than to let separate groups start it on their own. There was also a huge pression to prove the Soviet propaganda stating that the Poles do not fight wrong. Moreover, for the last several days before the start of the Uprising, large german units were retreating westwards through Warsaw. This gave an impression that the city will be abandoned soon.

    There were approximately 50.000 AK soldiers in Warsaw, of which 10% were properly armed, almost exclusively in hand arms. But order of starting uprising reached only 23,000 of them in time, mostly due to organisational problems.

    18,000 of them were killed, 8,000-25,000 were heavily wounded, about 15,000 went into captivity. About 180,000-250,000 Polish civilians died as well, mostly as result of mass-executions - e.g after taking Wola (one of Warsaw districts) German soldiers executed approximately 40,000 civilian inhabitants.

    Before Warsaw uprising it is believed that some 25,000 Jews were hiding in Warsaw. Vast majority of them died together with other Polish civilians. Many Jews (maybe as many as 1000), including those released by AK from Warsaw concentration camp (Gęsiówka), joined the Home Army.

    Initial German garrison was about 20,000 ill-equipped soldiers, not enough to break through Polish lines, 'though there were at least 90,000 soldiers in the area at the start of hostilities. However, when the Uprising started, Heinrich Himmler ordered the city to be recaptured and burnt to the ground, probably for ideological reasons. By mid-September German troops were reinforced up to 50,000 men under SS general Erich von Bach-Zelewski. German losses were about 10,000-17,000 killed, 6,000 MIA and 9,000 wounded plus 300 armoured cars and tanks.

    Until half of September Germans were shooting in place all caught insurgents. Main protagonists of the drama were Oskar Dirlewanger and Bronislaw Kaminski, who commited the most cruel attrocities. After von dem Bachs arrived to Warsaw (September 7), it became clear that attrocities only stiffen the resistance and that some political solution should be found due to small forces at the disposal of german commander. The basic idea was to gain a significant victory to show the Home Army the futility of further fight and make them surrender. This did not succeed, but from the end of September on, some of the captured polish soldiers were treated like PoWs.

    After the uprising Germans systematically razed most of Warsaw to the ground. 85% of buildings were destroyed: 25% as result of uprising, 35% as result of systematical German actions after uprising, the rest as result of ealier Warsaw ghetto uprising and other fightings including September 1939 campaign.

    Controversial is role of Soviet Red Army, which stood on the other bank of Vistula River, and who haven't allowed pilots from RAF and Polish Airforces to land on Soviet landings. After the initial radio and leaflet propaganda campaign, the Moscow-backed Wanda radio station remained silent until the very end of the fights. It has been argued that the Soviets deliberately allowed the Germans defeat the AK in order to eliminate a force in Poland which would oppose the communist puppet government which the Soviets planned to instal in Poland.

    More information at:
    http://www.whatfor.prv.pl
    (Polish)
     
  10. Falcon

    Falcon Member

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    Hmm - Wojtix, I have wanted to check out the level of knowledge of NON-Poles ;)
     
  11. Wojtix

    Wojtix Member

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    Sorry [​IMG]
     
  12. Falcon

    Falcon Member

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    Doesn't matter, it's good that you present Polish themes to the foreigners. Keep doing that, I think it's interesting and can show the size of Polish influence into the World War 2 [​IMG]
     
  13. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    'Foreigners' - don't you just hate 'em !? :rolleyes:
     
  14. Falcon

    Falcon Member

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    Is there the meaning of word "foreigners" which I don't know? I meant people living outside of my country...

    Why do you think we hate them??? :confused: :confused: :confused:
     
  15. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    True, I was being flippant - although in my defence, I'll say that that is an English trait, now as in 1940.

    Let me try to explain - on this forum, we are all 'foreigners'. Or rather, none of us are.

    By my own quick calculation, we have representatives of about a dozen different countries regularly involving themselves in discussion here.

    WWII, of all subjects, can be controversial and emotive. We do try to remain fairly objective for the sake of rational discussion - generally speaking, there is no 'us', no 'them'. ( We make an exception of course for Veterans ).

    I think I can speak for all members here when I say that we are delighted to see a number of Polish contributors appearing here - something which should enrich the quality and breadth of discussion overall.

    But it does seem that certain new members are over-emphasizing slights, whether perceived or real, against Poland's contribution to the Allied war effort - hence the bemusement of some regular contributors.

    It almost seems that forum members are being 'damned' as ignorant bigots whereas, I can assure you, whenever Poland or Polish forces have been mentioned on the forums over the last two years, I can only recall respect and admiration being expressed. ( There is a posting somewhere where I admit to blushing with shame whenever I read of Sosabowski's treatment at the Valberg conference during Market-Garden, for instance ).

    So that's why a note of irritation is starting to appear in some replies.

    Gentlemen, please....don't overstate your case !
     
  16. Falcon

    Falcon Member

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    I see. I understand that there are many members of different nationalities, and I respect it.

    But my post, which I have used the word "foreigners" in, was said to Wojtix - he is the Pole, as I am.

    If that word has sounded a little bit strange or if it has annoyed you, I'm sorry.

    PS. I'll try not to use "us" and "them" phrases, but please understand, that on the English forum, I identity myself with my nation (and I'm still finding myself as a guest here).

    [ 28. January 2004, 03:16 PM: Message edited by: Falcon ]
     
  17. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    WE all do! The thing with the Forums is that we try to understand history not throw it into each other´s faces.
     
  18. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    If a posting is directed purely at one other forum member, the 'pm' ( private message ) facility may be more appropriate.
     
  19. Wojtix

    Wojtix Member

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    More informations about Armia Krajowa "AK" (Polish Home Army)

    Armia Krajowa (Home Army) was the underground military organization in occupied Poland, which functioned in all areas of the country from the fall of 1939 until its disbanding in January 1945. The Home Army was the largest underground resistance army during World War 2. It formed the armed wing of what is now refferred to as the underground state (panstwo podziemne).


    Origins
    -The AK originated from the Sluzba Zwyciestwu Polski (Polish Victory Service), created in September 27th 1939 by Gen. Michael Torkarzewski-Karaszewicz. November 17th, Gen. Wladyslaw Sikorski replaced this organization with the Zwiazek Walki Zbrojnej (Union for Armed Struggle), which became after joining with the Polski Zwiazek Powstanczy the AK in February 14th 1942. The AK's first commander was Stefan Rowecki (known as Grot, or "arrowhead"), until his arrest in 1943; he was succeeded by Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, from July 1943 until the latter's capture in September 1944. The last commander was Leopold Okulicki, known as Niedzwiadek ("bear cub"). The AK was officially dissolved January 19th 1945.


    Structure
    -The executive branch of the AK was the operational command, which was composed of many units. Estimates of the AK membership in the first half of 1944 range from 250,000 to 350,000, with more than 10,000 officers. Most of the other Polish underground armies were incorporated into the AK, including the Konfederacja Narodu (1943) Bataliony Chlopskie (Peasants' Battalions), a large military organization of the Stronnictwo Ludowe (People's Party); the Socjalistyczna Organizacja Bojowa (Socialist Fighting Organization), established by the Polska Partia Socjalistyczna (Polish Socialist Party); the Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa (National Army), established by the Stronnictwo Narodowe (National Party); and, from March 1944, part of the extreme right-wing organization, the Narodowe Sily Zbrojne (National Armed Forces).

    -The AK divided itself organizationally in Poland into sixteen regional branches, subdivided in turn into eighty-nine inspectorates, which were further divided into 278 districts. The supreme command defined the main tasks of the AK as preparation for action and, after the termination of the German occupation, general armed revolt until victory. Power was then to be seized in Poland by the delegatura establishment, the representatives of the London-based polish government-in-exile; and by the government-in-exile, which would return to Poland.

    Informations about the Polish September Campaign

    The Polish September Campaign (the German attack of Poland in September 1939 - known in Polish also as the Defense War of 1939) was the military operation which started World War II.

    On September 1, 1939, 04:45 local time, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein began taking the Polish enclave Westerplatte in Gdansk by the Baltic Sea under fire. Soon, German troops attacked Poland alongside its Western, Southern and Northern borders, while German aircraft started raids on Polish cities. Despite some Polish successes in minor border battles, the German technical and numerical superiority made the Polish armies withdraw towards Warsaw and Lwow. The largest battle during this campaign took place near the Bzura river west of Warsaw from September 9 to September 18 - it was the Polish attempt at a counterattack, that failed after an initial success. Warsaw, under heavy aerial bombardment from the first hours of the war, was first attacked on September 9, then got under siege from September 13 until its capitulation on September 28.

    From September 17, 1939, the Red Army occupied the Eastern regions of Poland which had not yet been involved in military operations. The fortress Modlin north of Warsaw, capitulated on September 29.

    Until October 2 lasted a defence of the Hel peninsula on the Baltic Sea. The capitulation of the town of Kock (near Lublin) on October 6, after the 4-day battle, marked the end of the September Campaign.

    The September Campaign was codenamed Fall Weiß ("Case White") by the German Wehrmacht. Polish historians call it Wojna obronna 1939 ("Defense War of 1939"). Tanks and aircraft (particularly fighters and ground attack aircraft like the famous Junkers Ju 87 Stuka) played a major role in the fighting. Bomber aircraft also attacked whole cities (Warsaw, for instance) causing huge losses amongst the civilian population.

    At the end of the September Campaign, Poland was divided between Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, Lithuania and Slovakia.

    About 65,000* of the Polish troops were killed, several hundred thousands were captured by the Germans or Soviets. A number of the Polish troops withdrew to neutral Romania and Hungary, from where most escaped to France or Great Britain.

    The invasion of Poland lead to Britain and France declaring war on Germany, on September 3.

    There are some common myths about the Polish Campaign. Although Poland had 11 Cavalry Brigades, the Polish cavalry never charged on German tanks. Secondly, the Polish airforce, though obsolete, was not destroyed on airfields, and remained active in the first two weeks of the campaign, causing some harm to the Germans.

    Note also that Poland, fulfiling her alliance with the United Kingdom and France, had not surrendered in 1939 - there was Polish Government-in-Exile and underground civil authorities, legal successors to pre-1939 government.

    *200 000

    [ 29. January 2004, 09:41 AM: Message edited by: Wojtix ]
     
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Thanx for that Wojtix,

    BTW, one thing that I´d like to hear the Polish view on:

    For Warsaw 1944 uprising did the Russians send messages to start the rioting or not? If they did do you have some kind of version of the message? Or did the Home Army start the uprising on its own trying to make the city theirs so that the government in London could come back instead of the Stalin´s government for Poland?

    :confused:
     

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