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Old 08-01-2018, 16:37   #1
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Warsaw Uprising

74 years ago today - good battled evil to the death for 63 days.

Excerpts from link below.


The WARSAW UPRISING was a struggle of the Polish underground which, between August 1, 1944 and October 2, 1944, conducted an armed struggle aimed at liberating Warsaw and its 1,000,000 inhabitants from the German occupation at the time the Soviet army was approaching the city limits from the east. The 38,000 Polish Home Army augmented by 2,000-strong nationalist and communist units initially controlled a majority of Warsaw's left bank. However, with the German determination for a complete destruction of the city and its Home Army, the Warsaw Uprising ended after 63 days of struggle at the cost of 15,200 dead or missing and 5,000 wounded insurgents and over 200,000 Polish civilians dead. German losses were 16,000 dead and missing and 9,000 wounded.

All of the surviving inhabitants were expelled from the city and many of them sent to death, labor or POW camps. The remaining, still-standing, buildings were systematically destroyed. More than three months later, in January of 1945, the Red Army and Gen. Berling's Polish First Army entered a deserted and ruined city.

General 'Bor' Komorowski, commander of the Polish Underground Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK), sets the beginning of the uprising in Warsaw against the German occupying forces at 'W-hour'; 5:00 p.m. on August 1, 1944. The uprising is expected to last about a week and have the character of mopping up and disarming operation. The insurgents, however, are unaware that the Germans have decided to defend 'fortress' Warsaw and to counter-attack Red Army forces to the east of the city.

Warsaw's insurgents an estimated 40,000 soldiers, including 4,000 women, have only enough weapons for 2,500 fighters. They are facing a 15,000-strong German garrison which will grow to a force of 30,000, armed with tanks, planes, and artillery.

The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil.

Marcus Tullius Cicero
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Old 08-02-2018, 14:55   #2
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I lost relatives during that battle.

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Old 08-02-2018, 19:22   #3
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Unfathomable and chilling at man's inhumanity...and the courage of those trapped was unparalleled. Leaves one numb trying to imagine surviving...Thanks for posting T
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Old 08-03-2018, 07:14   #4
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Originally Posted by Cobwebs View Post
Unfathomable and chilling at man's inhumanity...and the courage of those trapped was unparalleled. Leaves one numb trying to imagine surviving...Thanks for posting T
The duplicity of the Soviets in delaying their offensive till the uprising was complete and the resistance was crushed is also remarkable.

Not that the Brits didn't treat the Poles poorly in their own dealings.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - President Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

De Oppresso Liber 01/20/2025
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Old 08-03-2018, 08:24   #5
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Hope and Betrayal

Additional insight into the bravery exhibited by the Poles, the single minded destruction waged by the Germans against the Poles, and as TR rightly points out the betrayal exhibited by the Soviets.


The two months of bitter urban combat that followed would become one of the war’s most courageous, disastrous, and ultimately misunderstood episodes. In their desperation to reclaim their freedom, the Poles failed to fully grasp the weakness of their geopolitical situation; theirs was a country with few friends. The Soviets preparing to supplant the Germans in Warsaw had scant regard for Poland or its independence, while Britain and the United States were caught up in an alliance with the Soviet regime in an effort to defeat the Nazis and not in a strong position to help. As a result, Warsaw was left hanging, the Rising turned ruinous, and Poland was dropped by one totalitarian neighbor into the hands of another—an outcome that shaped the perception of the battle for decades after the war.

In Berlin, the mood was far different. News of the Rising had reached the German high command within the first half hour. Heinrich Himmler, commander of the SS, informed Hitler personally—and with a certain degree of satisfaction. “The action of the Poles is a blessing,” he told the führer. “Warsaw will be liquidated, and this city, which is the capital of a sixteen- to seventeen-million-strong nation that has blocked our path to the east for seven hundred years…will have ceased to exist.”

On August 3, Himmler issued orders to wipe Warsaw from the map. Every inhabitant was to be killed, every house to be blown up and burned. In the Nazi mindset of racial cleansing and Lebensraum, military defeats were mere temporary setbacks; the elimination of Poland would be forever.

To bolster the beleaguered German garrison in Warsaw, Himmler threw together a motley collection of units, including some of the most notorious in the SS. Cossacks, Azerbaijanis, and antipartisan SS units recruited from the Belarusian and Ukrainian countryside entered Warsaw five days after the Rising began. Militarily, their involvement was near meaningless. Their job was merely to kill—indiscriminately.

“For two days they concentrated on massacring every man, woman, and child in sight,” historian Norman Davies wrote in his sweeping history Rising ’44: The Battle for Warsaw. Tens of thousands of civilians were killed in just a few days in neighborhoods on the western edge of the city. John Ward, a British lieutenant who found himself in Warsaw after being liberated from a POW camp, began sending radio dispatches back to London on behalf of the Home Army. “The German forces make no difference between civilians and troops of the Home Army,” he reported. “Ruthless destruction of property goes on unhindered by any scruples. There are thousands of civilian wounded men, women, and children suffering from the most horrible burns and in some cases from shrapnel and bullet wounds.”

Elsewhere, the Wehrmacht deployed its full arsenal against the Home Army. Sixty-eight-ton Tiger II tanks rumbled toward makeshift barricades made of torn-up flagstones manned by boys with rifles and homemade grenades. On rail lines around the city, armored trains equipped with heavy artillery rolled back and forth, seeking out the best angles of attack. Several massive “Karl” siege mortars capable of launching two-ton shells for miles trundled around the city, followed by dedicated cranes and ammunition carriers.

The most effective weapons were far more modest. Civilians were tied to tanks or forced to walk in front of advancing German infantry as human shields. To deal with barricaded streets and dug-in defenders, the Wehrmacht deployed tracked mines called Goliaths. Like remote-controlled minitanks, the Goliaths packed 200 pounds of explosives. Using a joystick, operators guided them up to a target and detonated the payload, all from a safe distance. (Polish soldiers soon learned to cut the minitanks’ long guidance cables.)

Across much of the city, the Poles fought the German army to a near standstill. The Home Army units took shelter in cellars, knocking down walls to create tunnels leading from building to building. They moved through the city’s sewers and from rooftop to rooftop, eluding and evading German patrols. Women served as nurses, stretcher-bearers, and messengers. Polish Boy and Girl Scouts created a postal service for the resistance, running letters through the war zone.

To conserve ammunition, commanders instituted a “one bullet, one German” rule and fighters were to fire only when a kill was guaranteed. As a result, more Germans were killed than wounded. Home Army platoons with too few rifles passed weapons off between watches. “They showed themselves far superior in the arts of entrapment and surprise, frequently nullifying or reversing laborious German offensives that were highly predictable,” Davies wrote. “After the first week…, Warsaw became the scene of a long, relentless battle of attrition.”

Unbeknownst to the beleaguered Home Army, the diplomatic front was seeing some fierce fighting as well. Komorowski had badly misjudged the Soviet Union’s desire for control over Eastern Europe. Stalin had no interest in an independent Poland, and recognized an opportunity to let the Germans do his dirty work for him. In telegrams to Churchill and Roosevelt, the canny Soviet leader referred to the Home Army as a poorly led “gang of criminals who embarked on the Warsaw adventure to seize power,” and who had “exploited the good faith of the citizens of Warsaw, throwing many almost unarmed people against the German guns, tanks, and aircraft.”

Even worse, Soviet generals halted their troops within a few miles of the city and held their positions for most of August—a suspicious move that caught Churchill’s eye. “It is certainly very curious that at the moment the Underground Army has revolted, the Russians should have halted that offensive against Warsaw and withdrawn some distance,” the prime minister told one of his aides. “For them to send in all the quantities of machine-guns and ammunition required by the Poles for their heroic fight would involve a flight of only 100 miles.”

Stalin’s antipathy went still further. He also declined British and American requests to allow planes flying in ammunition and supplies for the Home Army to land and refuel in Poland’s Soviet zone. On August 18, after weeks of diplomatic wrangling, the Soviets made their position plain. The American ambassador in Moscow reported that “the Soviet Government cannot of course object to English or American aircraft dropping arms in the region of Warsaw. But they decidedly object to British or American aircraft…landing on Soviet territory, since the Soviet Government do not wish to associate themselves either directly or indirectly with the adventure in Warsaw.” This meant Allied planes had to fly from and return to Brindisi, Italy—a round trip of more than 1,600 miles, crossing not only the Alps but much of Germany and Austria. In the skies over Warsaw, they faced antiaircraft fire from the Germans—and, quite possibly, from their Soviet allies as well.


The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil.

Marcus Tullius Cicero
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Old 08-03-2018, 12:47   #6
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Have been to Warsaw. Although 80% of it was destroyed by the time WWII ended you can still see what a beautiful city it once was.

Last edited by mojaveman; 08-03-2018 at 17:41.
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