|Reverend Jozef Stanek "Rudy"|
Germans have stepped up the pressure on the district of Mokotow, which is now the chief target of General von dem Bach. They have also prepared to attack Zoliborz. Hermann Göring has selected additional division units to join the campaign. Artillery fire and air raids grow stronger. The area of Aleje Niepodleglosci Street is particularly hard hit.
Polish insurgents are besieged in three areas of the city: Srodmiescie, Zoliborz and Mokotow. The Uprising is now a one-sided war of attrition, or rather a struggle for acceptable terms of surrender.
For the past several days, German attacks near the Vistula have been escalating as they attempt to prevent further landings. But Polish troops continue to hold their positions on the eastern shore in preparation for the expected wave of Soviet landings. Other Polish troops have been making attempts to land since the 15th of September, but with very heavy casualties to men and materiel. Throughout the onslaught, Red Army support was all but non-existent except for intermittent and sporadic artillery fire and air support. Despite attempts by the 1st Polish Army, they were unable to link up with the insurgents.
On the 19th of September, Home Army soldiers and landed elements of the 1st Polish Army had to retreat from their positions on the bank of the river. Of about 900 men who made it ashore, only a handful were able to return to the eastern shore of the Vistula. Berling's Polish Army suffered enormous losses in their attempt to aid the Uprising. Casualties were 5,660 killed, missing or wounded. There were no further attempts at river crossing, and the promised evacuation of the wounded did not take place.
|Zygmunt Berling and troops of the LWP|
During the Invasion of Poland in 1939, Berling did not fight the German invaders. After his town Wilno was occupied by Soviet armies, he was arrested along with many other Polish officers by the notorious NKVD, the Soviet Union's secret police. Berling remained in prison until 1940 initially at Starobielsk and then in Moscow. He agreed to co-operate with the Soviets and thus avoided execution in the Katyn Massacre. After the Sikorski-Maisky Pact,Berling was released from prison on August 17, and appointed Chief of Staff of the newly created 5th Infantry Division. He later became the commander of a temporary camp for Polish soldiers in Krasnowodsk.
|Berlings' troops crossing the Vistula River - 1944|
General Patton and general Anders inspects the Polish troops (00:04:13m)
Stalin created the Polish People's Army in 1943 (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie) and appointed Berling as the
commander of its first unit, the 1st Tadeusz Kosciuszko Infantry Division. He was later promoted to General by Stalin himself.
|1st Polish (Peoples) Army January 19, 1944 parade|
When the Uprising broke out on August 1st, 1944, Berling's army had advanced towards Warsaw and without consulting Soviet Command may have issued his own orders to engage the German forces and aid Polish resistance. The landing received no tactical support from Berling or other Soviet units, and therefore made no significant contribution in helping the Uprising. However, Soviet Command noticed Berling's behaviour and dismissed him from his command. He was transferred to the War Academy in Moscow where he remained until 1947.
1943 Polish Deserters (00:02:02m)
(Editors Note: This video is German propaganda made to sensationalize the event of Polish desertion from the army. But bear in mind that these Polish men are deserting from the Soviet-backed Berling's army)
Translation: "December 1943. Descheg Monatsschau No. 22.Translation by LustitiaPax. About 600 Polish soldiers from the Polish 1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division (which was the Berling Army in service of the Soviets) who succeeded in fleeing from the Bolsheviks and deserting to the German Wehrmacht side of the Eastern front, deep into Axis-occupied Soviet territory. A commission of Polish and German journalists and authors visit the military camp, and are convinced of the immaculate housing, care and nutrition offered to the Poles. Views of soup provided to the Polish deserters who fled the forces of Bolshevism. For the first time after many years (under Soviet atheism), the first Holy Mass in the field offered for these Poles. Views of a field altar, the celebrating priest. Polish soldiers kneeling down in the snow, singing from Polish-Latin hand missals."
The first major engagment of Berling's army was the Battle of Lenino in October 1943. By the following spring Soviet command had increased and strengthened its armor and materiel support and soldiers numbered over 30,000 men strong. The unit was then reorganized into the Polish First Army led by Soviet commanders appointed by Soviet Command. The LWP was later integrated into the 1st Belorussian Front.
|Lt. John Ward|
The inhabitants of Warsaw are now literally living only in ruins. Whole central part of city completely destroyed. In some cases by fires started by Poles to drive out enemy and in others by shell fire, mines and air bombs. Water very difficult to get. I personally today had first wash after six days and am considered lucky. To get one bucket of reasonably clean water it is necessary to stand in queues under fire four or five hours. Food even more scarce. Even front line soldiers get quite inadequate rations, usually about four ounces of boiled barley daily. Bread practically unheard of. Civilians mostly in even worse plight. Private stocks largely burnt or buried under ruins. Hospitals are in what were coal cellars a few weeks ago. Many thousands of wounded there, perhaps more civilians than military. Conditions in which they lie really terrible.