The Warsaw Uprising- August 1, 1944

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by v2, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    There were many different opinions on whether the “Burza” should take place in Warsaw because of the experiences from the East and fears that a combat would cause the destruction of the city and losses among the civil population,. Eventually, it was decided that the battle of Warsaw would not be only of military significance but also of political one. The emotional tension among the citizens and a hearty will to fight expressed by the AK soldiers were also taken into consideration. Finally the decision about starting the uprising in Warsaw was made (with participation of the Government Delegate Home and the head of RJN) on July 31, when the advancing Red Army units were coming close to the city district of Praga, lying on the eastern bank of the Vistula River. Some 23 000 of the AK soldiers started the uprising in the afternoon of August 1, 1944, under the Warsaw Region Commanding Officer, colonel Antoni Chruściel (aka “Monter”). Although during the first few days of combat the insurgents captured a lot of strategic objects, and as the days went by the ranks were increasing (together there fought some 34 thousands of soldiers), the Home Army was unable to fully drive the Germans out of the downtown, nor to seize the main communication routes and bridges. The 16-thousand-strong German garrison was significantly reinforced (including the troops specializing in fighting partisans) and on August 5, 1944, the Germans began to counter-strike, using tanks, heavy artillery and assault aircraft. In the first of recaptured districts (Wola), the German troops committed a mass slaughter of civilians. This was to happen again later a few more times. The attacking German columns split Warsaw into the “insurgent islands”, the contact between which was managed by secret passages through cellars and sewers. In these areas the authority was taken over by Polish administration, newspapers were published, a radio station broadcast (“Błyskawica”, or the “Lightning”), municipal services worked.
    It was expected that the battle would last a few more days, until the Red Army entered the city. Despite many pleas, including the ones from the Polish prime-minister who was paying a visit in Moscow since July 31, sometime before August 8, Stalin ordered to delay offensive actions nearby Warsaw. He did not even agree for the allied transport airplanes to land on Soviet airfields which practically precluded helping the uprising by airdropping the supplies, because the nearest airfields were located in England and Italy. Not till the middle of September, when the uprising was already on the verge of disaster, a mass air-drop was possible but the insurgents took over only some 47 tons of it. The battle dragged on, the death toll among the civilians increased, there lacked food, water and medicines. Capturing Praga by the Red Army and unsuccessful attempts of the Polish troops commanded by General Berling to establish a bridge-head in the left-bank Warsaw did not change the situation. On October 2, 1944, the insurgents capitulated. Some 150 000 civilians were killed, most of the city was utterly ruined (later on special German squads kept destroying the remaining buildings), 520 000 citizens expelled of the city. 17 000 insurgents were taken prisoners.
    The Warsaw Uprising was the greatest battle fought by the Polish army in WW2: 10 000 soldiers were killed, 7 000 more were missing in action. Major losses were inflicted to Germans – 10 000 killed, 6 000 MIA, 300 tanks, guns and armored vehicles lost.
    The uprising did not reach its military nor political objectives, yet for the generations of Poles to come it became a symbol of courage and determination in the struggle for independence
     

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  2. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    Timeline.
    August 1- 2, 1944:
    Before 'W-Hour' (W for wybuch, outbreak in Polish), thousands of mobilized Home Army soldiers are moving into their planned concentration points. In several City Centre, Wola and Zoliborz locations, the fighting begins ahead of schedule.
    Insurgents attack 180 German military installations and the town's key strategic positions. After bloody battles, their attacks upon the bridges, airports, train stations and main military and police installations are repelled.
    However, significant areas of the city's left bank districts are captured including: the Prudential high-rise building, the main post office, and the state mint. Gas, electric, and water works are in Polish hands. The Warsaw Power Plant in the Riverside district will be restored to operation providing electrical power for hospitals, printing presses, weapon production facilities, and other services until September, 1944. Communication through the crucial west-east front supplying arteries is severed.
    In Wola, insurgents capture a large Waffen-SS food and military uniforms warehouse. Many Polish units chose to wear these uniforms embellished with white and red armbands to represent the national colors. The first day of fighting killed 2,000 insurgents and 500 Germans. At nightfall, a network of street barricades is constructed, blocking the most of the city's arteries.
    The first issue of Information Bulletin (Biuletyn Informacyjny) newspaper is published. Overall, over 130 different newspapers and periodicals are published in Warsaw during the Uprising.
    The Soviet eastern front offensive stops within twelve miles of Praga, the suburb on Warsaw's right bank; it will not resume until September 11, 1944. The Soviet air force abandons the skies over Warsaw to the Luftwaffe.
     
  3. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    August 3- 4

    Heinrich Himmler, head of SS and Gestapo, dispatches relief troops to Warsaw headed by SS Lt. Gen. Heinrich Reinefarth and consisting of SS and police units from Poznan, Dirlewanger penal brigade, Kaminski RONA brigade, Azerbaijan infantry battalion, and others. Units of Hermann Göering division are also arriving.
    SS General Erich von dem Bach assumes command of all German forces suppressing the Uprising.
    Himmler's gives the order to kill all of the city's inhabitants, not take prisoners, and level Warsaw as an example for the rest of Europe.
    The first German aerial bombardment by Ju-87 Stuka which will bomb the city daily. The insurgents have no anti-aircraft weapons to defend the city from the attack.
    The uprising in Praga fails because of the overwhelming size of the German forces and the end of the Soviet offensive. The remaining insurgents units return underground or crossing into insurgent-controlled areas inside the city.
    In the liberated districts, civil administrative structures operating within the framework of the Polish Underground State start functioning.
     

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  4. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    August 5– 7

    A major German offensive with fresh relief troops sent to open east-west thoroughfares begins with attacks on the Wola and Ohota districts.
    German troops conduct mass executions of approximately 65,000 civilians in the captured districts. Poles, without regard for age or gender, are rounded up house by house and shot. More than 1, 360 patients and staff of Wola and St. Lazarus hospitals are murdered. The Special Group 'verbrennung-kommando' is collecting and burning the bodies.
    In Mokotow, female civilians are used as shields in front of tanks that are attacking insurgents' positions. This practice will continue throughout the Uprising.
    The insurgent battalion Zoska, aided by two captured Panther tanks, liberates 350 Polish and European Jewish prisoners from the Goose Farm concentration camp. Many of the freed Jews join the insurgents.
    Making a round-trip from Brindisi, Italy the first Allied nighttime airdrop of supplies by Halifax and Consolidated B24 Liberator planes reaches Warsaw.
    The siege of Brühl Palace, a government complex near Saxon Garden is lifted by German forces breaking through Wola district. The German Governor of Warsaw region Ludwig Fischer, and Warsaw garrison commander general Reiner Stahel leave the building escorted by tanks. With the fall of Wola, the Old Town quarter is cut off from the City Centre and surrounded.
    In Warsaw's Pruszkow suburb, a Durchgangslager 121 selection camp is established. Before the end of 1944, 600,000 deported inhabitants of Warsaw will pass through.
    In the liberated areas, Scout Postal Service starts distributing mail, newspapers, and messages even to the areas under German control.
     
  5. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    August 8–16

    Home Army clandestine radio station 'Lightning' (Blyskawica) starts broadcasting at the frequency of 32.8 and 52.1 meters, followed on August 9 by a civilian Polish Radio at the frequency of 43.4 meters. Both stations will remain on the air until the end of the Uprising.
    A German leaflet titled 'Ultimatum' and signed by a Supreme Commander is dropped from planes. It urges the Warsaw inhabitants to leave the city, promising accommodations, jobs, and medical care, while threatening 'consequences' to those who disobey the call.
    The main German offensive against the Old Town starts with 8,000 soldiers; it will continue unabated until the quarter falls on September 2. The offensive's objective is to isolate insurgent defenses, push them away from a strategic area overlooking one of the city's bridges, and liquidate them.
    The first of four Home Army newsreels produced during the Uprising is shown to insurgents and civilians in the Palladium theatre.
    In City Centre, insurgents repel a major tank attack. Nine tanks and other armed vehicles are destroyed. Heavy fighting occurs around Gdansk train station in an attempt to link up insurgent forces in Zoliborz and Old Town. The attacks are repelled with the use of an armored train.
    Germans shut down the water supply after taking over the city's water filtering station. Water rationing and well digging begins. By the end of September, the City Centre district has more than 90 functioning wells.
    A German B-IV vehicle mine abandoned near an Old Town barricade is brought inside the Polish defensive positions. Its sudden and massive explosion kills over 300 insurgents and civilians.
     
  6. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    August 17–23

    German forces introduce new types of weapons into Warsaw: Karl Morser heavy mortar, Wufrrehmen incendiary rockets, and Goliath, a remote-controlled vehicle mine. These weapons will play a crucial role in the German offensive: isolated areas are bombarded non-stop by planes, heavy artillery and rockets, then Goliaths and tanks are sent in, followed by the infantry.
    Von dem Bach issues a proposal to surrender, which is ignored. Additional German forces attack Old Town. Artillery and armored train are shelling the district. During heavy aerial bombing some buildings are completely destroyed; the Polish Bank is struck by 10 bombs.
    Insurgents capture isolated German strongholds in the City Centre district. The strategic high-rise telephone exchange building 'PASTA', a significant number of weapons, and 115 German soldiers are captured.
    A 750-strong insurgent group breaks into the city's northern Zoliborz district. Another group enters the city from the south. The cargo train station, the Church of Holly Cross, the Police Headquarters, and another telephone exchange building are taken. However, an attack upon the Warsaw University campus, launched with the help of two armored vehicles (one of them insurgent-made 'Kubus') fails.
    Two Home Army attempts to break the siege of Old Town by attacking the Gdansk train station defended by an armored train, fail.
    A Ju-87 Stuka plane is shot down by a insurgent heavy machine gun crew which violates the official ban not shoot at planes in order to conserve ammunition.
     

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  7. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    August 24–September 2

    The battle for Old Town, which begin on August 14, continues until September 2. With heavy fighting and air bombardment, as often as every 30 minutes, the perimeter of Polish Old Town defenses is reduced to 10 square miles. The State Mint falls into German hands. The fighting becomes ruthless. Some buildings are repeatedly capture, lost , and recaptured; tanks fire at point-blank range.
    Insurgents' attempt to break through the Old Town siege into the City Centre overnight fails. Only one group, disguised in Wehrmacht uniforms, marches in three soldier column through the German positions in Saxon Garden into City Centre.
    With the Old Town military situation becoming critical, between September 1 and September 2, insurgents escape through sewers into City Centre and Zoliborz. Left behind are 7,000 gravely wounded soldiers and 30,000 civilians. Advancing Germans forces execute most of the wounded, old and disabled. Some wounded insurgents are burnt alive in field hospitals.
    Polish casualties in Old Town are 30,000 civilian dead and 7,500 dead and wounded insurgents (77 percent), German casualties were 3,900 dead and wounded (54 percent).
    After much delay, the governments of Great Britain and the United States grant Allied combatant rights to the Home Army. It was hoped to end the summary executions of Polish POWs by German troops.
    The Soviet Union refuses to issue a similar statement.
     
  8. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    September 3–10

    After the fall of the Old Town, the brunt of the German attack centers on the Riverside district; its objective is to push the insurgents away from the Vistula River. Heavy artillery barrage and air bombardment concentrate on the Warsaw Power Plant—the insurgents' central stronghold. Its destruction cuts off the electricity for the City Centre. After four days of bloody fighting, the Riverside district falls; insurgents and civilians withdraw to City Centre.
    Airplanes drop leaflets signed by General von dem Bach urging civilians to leave the city on September 9 and September 10. The Polish Red Cross opens negotiations with Germans regarding the evacuation of elderly, wounded and underage civilians. Several thousand civilians leave the city during a two-hour cease fire.
    A German offensive concentrates on the northern section of the City Centre, which is shelled by a 600mm mortar every eight minutes, inflicting in heavy casualties. Bombing destroys the City Centre printing plant, interrupting the publishing of Information Bulletin and other newspapers. Civilians flee into City Centre south.
     
  9. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    September 11- 23

    Between September 11 and September 14 Red Army resumes its offensive towards Warsaw. German and Soviet airplanes engage in dog fights over the city. Soviet artillery shells German positions in Praga, Saxon Garden and Okenche Airport.
    With the fall of Praga to the Red Army on September 16, German forces evacuate to Warsaw proper and dynamite remaining Vistula bridges. The Red Army is relieved by Soviet-sponsored General Berling's Polish First Army.
    Retreating from Praga, German front line troops augment Gen. von dem Bach's forces. To prevent the establishment of bridgeheads, the main German effort concentrates on shattering the resistance in Czerniakow and Zoliborz districts along the the river.
    From September 14 to September 16, bloody fighting erupted in Zoliborz with General Hans Lallner 19th Panzer Division. Berling's troops cross the river between September 16-17 in an abortive attempt to link up with Zoliborz insurgents. Civilians are executed in Marymont, a quarter of the Zoliborz district.
    /15-09/23. For three consecutive nights, 1,600 soldiers from Berling's army cross the Vistula and join insurgents in the Czerniakow district. The attempted landing between September 17-18 in the Riverside district fails with most of the 1,050 soldiers killed or captured. Heavy fighting in Czerniakow continues until September 23. Some defenders evacuate across the river, others reach the City Centre. Germans execute all captured insurgents and take Berling's soldiers as POWs.
    09/18. First and last massive American day-time, high altitude airdrop; insurgents recover 16 tons, or 20 percent of the cargo; the rest falls into German hands.
    Heavy bombardment of the City Centre by Karl Morser mortar on September 16 brings massive casualties, including 100 German POWs.

    The Allied Warsaw Airlift between August 4 and September 18, 1944 was conducted by Polish, British, South African, and American pilots flying from Celone and Brindisi, Italy. Only one airdrop, on September 18, by USAAF pilots, departed from Great Britain, and landed, on its way home, on a Russian airfield in Poltava. Until then Russians had not allowed Allied planes supporting the Warsaw Uprising to land and resupply on their airfields or fly over the territories that they occupied.
    RAF flights from Italy, conducted without fighters' escort, arrived in Warsaw within six hours at the nightfall. The planes had to descent to an altitude of 500 feet at a speed of no more than 140 miles an hour to release their cargo. Drop off areas were marked by insurgents with torches in the form of a diamond and a 'T'. The largest, high-altitude, daytime airdrop consisting of 110 B-17s protected by P-51s fighters took place on September 18, by the USAAF.
    Allied planes dropped a total of 239 tons of supplies in the Warsaw region in the course of 11 missions, with a 45 percent recovery rate by insurgents. An estimated 360 airmen and 34 planes were lost.
     

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  10. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    September 24- 30

    09/24–09/30. Mokotow offensive. Germans attack the suburb of Mokotow, which falls on September 27. Advancing Germans execute wounded soldiers and hospital personnel. The perimeter of the Polish defenses is reduced to several blocks. On September 26, 9,000 civilians leave Mokotow during two-hour cease fire.
    Some Mokotow defenders evacuate through sewers to City Centre. About 150 of them exit into German-held territory and are executed.
    09/27. Mokotow capitulates after General von dem Bach promises to observe the Geneva Conventions. For the first time during the Uprising, captured Home Army members are treated as POWs.
    09/29. Massive attack against Zoliborz with a panzer division and overwhelming number of infantry. Despite insurgents' desperate and bloody fighting, their resistance is broken.
    Zoliborz capitulates on September 30. Several dozens communist unit soldiers attempt to cross the Vistula River; only a few succeed. A small groups of Jewish fighters hide in the cellars. A fortnight later, they are whisked out of the city by Home Army paramedics.
    On September 28 General von dem Bach offers capitulation and the negotiations begin.
     
  11. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    October 1- 5

    On October 1, during a six-hour cease-fire, 8,000 civilians evacuate the City Centre.
    General von dem Bach and emissaries of General 'Bor' Komorowski sign the capitulation declaration. All fighting in Warsaw ceases at 8:00 p.m. on October 2, 1944. The terms of the capitulation agreement guarantees Geneva Conventions treatment for insurgents. Only the Wehrmacht, not the SS or Soviet collaborators, are to handle Polish POWs.
    Final issue of Information Bulletin is published, dated October 4. Last Lighting's radio transmission from Warsaw to London was recorded at 9:40 p.m. on October 4, 1944.
    Insurgents prepare for the surrender by destroying weapons, discarding any German uniforms or helmets in their possession, securing the archives, and issuing Home Army IDs to communists units and forged IDs to Jewish fighters.
    Fifteen thousand insurgents from all districts went into the captivity, 5,000 wounded are evacuated into different prison camps. Evacuation of wounded insurgents from the field hospitals lasts until the second half of October.
    All civilians are forced to leave the city. Among them are some insurgents who decided not to go to POW camps and a few designated by the Home Army to continue the struggle. Approximately 55,000 civilians will end up in the concentration camps as dangerous elements and an additional 150,000 are transported into forced labor camps in Germany.

    EPILOGUE

    Massive and organized looting campaign of the city by Germans began. Delegations from German municipalities were allowed to enter the ruins and strip them of anything that had not already been taken by the Wehrmacht, SS, and Soviet and Ukrainian collaborators.
    Postwar Polish assessments claim that 33,000 railway wagons filled with furniture, personal belongings and factory equipment left Warsaw.
    After everything of value was carried away, entire blocks of abandoned houses were set on fire. Monuments and government buildings were blown up by special German troops known as Verbrennungs und Vernichtungskommando (burning and destruction detachments).
    On January 17, 1945, the Red Army and General Berling's Polish First Army enter the deserted ruins of Warsaw. :(
     
  12. v2

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  14. marshall

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  17. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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  18. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #18 drgondog, Aug 2, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2009

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXHuzSbAH6U

    My father led the Escort to 3rd BD B-17's during Operation Frantic VII. He was more proud of trying to help the Polish Underground than being an ace.

    In the middle of the pic sequence Henry Brown has his combat film in his left hand - one 109 Destroyed, one Damaged and a Ju 87 destroyed at the nearby airfield. All the B-17 pics are in the immediate area of Warsaw. The Forts dropped all the way down to 12-14000 feet in an attempt to make a more accurate drop but only 10-15% made it into the small perimeter.

    The USSR was not briefed on the nature of the drop and cancelled ALL future Shuttle Missions immediately thereafter. Stalin was severely pissed off.
     
  19. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    Great! :salute:
     
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    v2 Well-Known Member

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