December 8, 2011

Secret Polish Forces of WW2: The "Silent & Dark Ones" PART II: MISSIONS Operation Belt



Szare Szeregi (00:03:34m)

OPERATION BELT

One of the largest Polish Operation against the Nazis was Operation Belt. In August 1943 Polish Command gave the order to Kedyw Division of the Armia Krajowa to launch an attack against German border guarding stations located on the frontier between the territory of the German General Government, and the territories annexed by Germany. By February 1943, the Polish secret forces were able to destroy 13 of these German outposts, with minimal losses among Polish units.

The Kedyw Division were specialists in sabotage of all genre, anti-Nazi propaganda, and armed action directed towards Nazi German forces and their collaborators. Most notable among their Operations was the sabotage of rail lines, bridges and roads, burning of trains and fuel depots, and the destruction or damage of German weapons' factories.  They were also instrumental in liberating hundreds of prisoners and hostages held by the Nazis.

Polish Underground derailed trains WW2
Polish Underground WW2 Grenade Production

Most of the members of Kedyw were recruits from Zwiazek Harcerstwa Polskiego, the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association. After the invasion of Poland, the Nazis condemned this group as criminals and executed many of them. They came to be nicknamed "Szare Szeregi" (Gray Ranks).  The Division was grouped into several infantry battalions, most notable among them the famous "Zoska" battalion, the "Parasol" battalion, and the "Miotla" battalion.


Kolegium B unit of Kedyw AK during training in Celestynowski Forest near Warsaw
May 1944: L-R: unknown "Grot", Eugeniusz Domanski "Mis", Zbigniew Mlynarski "Kret", Ryszard Jablonowski "Wawrek", Tadeusz Borek, Jozef Lapinski "Chmura".

The Wachlarz (the "Fan") was another organization among many others which specialized in sabotage behind German-Soviet frontlines. Between January 1, 1941 and June 30, 1944, they derailed 732 trains, set fire to 443 German transports and over 4,000 vehicles, damaged 19,000 train carriages, 6,900 engines, set fire to 1,200 gasoline tanks, blew up 40 railway bridges, destroyed 5 oil shafts, froze 3 blast-furnaces, conducted about 25, 000 sabotage acts in war factories, burnt 130 magazines of weapons and equipment, made 5,700 assassination attempts on various officer ranks of the German Wehrmacht, soldiers and police as well as the Volksdeutschs (Polish citizens of German descent who collaborated with the Nazi Germans.) In addition, the Wachlarz rescued and set free inmates held in 16 prisons. As of 1943 partisan troops began conducting missions - fighting more than 170 battles and in the process killing more than 1,000 Germans. By the start of 1944, there were approximately 60 AK partisan groups in operation, some of them numbering up to a few hundred soldiers  each, and about 200 sabotage squads.


Polish Partisan Troop
Polish Partisans Preparing for Battle
Polish Snipers - 1st Armoured Division 1944


Tadeusz Zawadzki
One of the most notable figures in the Polish Underground,  was Tadeusz Zawadzki, code-named Zoska.  He was a Scoutmaster, resistance activist and second lieutenant of the Armia Krajowa.

During the night of August 20-31, 1943, he was killed during the "Tasma" action - an suprise attack against the Grenzschutzpolizei building in Sieczychy, near Wyszkow. The fight was quick and Polish fighters succeeded in wiping out the Germans. There was only one Polish casualty. It was Tadeusz Zawadzki. He was 22 years of age.





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