September 7, 2010

Westerplatte Surrenders To Germans

Westerplatte 7 dni chwaly (00:03:56m)

September 7, 1939

At 04:30 Germans opened fire again at Westerplatte while flamethrowers decimated Guardhouse 2 and damaged 1 and 4.  According to Polish Captain Mieczyslaw Slaby the WST Medical Officer, the garrison is running out of water and medical supplies and he is unable to provide medical care to his soldiers.
At 09:45 the white flag appeared. The Polish garrison at Westerplatte has surrendered to the Germans after enduring a week of vicious fighting. Since the initial attack by the Schleswig-Holstein on September 1st a small Polish garrison led by Major Henryk Sucharski were heroic in their ability to repell German attacks and managed to maintain control of Gdansk Post Office enclave for several days before losing it to the Germans. After capitulation the Germans arrested wireless operator Kazimierz Rasinski and interrogated him. He was executed moments later for his refusal to reveal Polish radio codes.

Polish Major Sucharsi (with saber) surrendered to General Eberhardt

Polish POWs

The city of Lwow, an important cultural center located in eastern Poland is in danger of a German assault. Polish General Wladylsaw Langner urgently started plans to defend the city. Initially Polish forces were to defend the Belzec, Rawa Ruska, Magierow line against the advancing Germans. No defence was considered for Lwow, as the Polish Command assumed the city was safe deep behind Polish lines, and that Lwow was too important to be risked in warfare.

After only one day of proclaiming control of the Narew River Polish Command has issued orders for troops to pull out and relocate to the Bug River.

Luftwaffe bombing continues unabated. Polish brigades in Warsaw are suffering losses after a week of fighting the enemy.  Polish forces have only 38 artillery machines left reducing their strength by over 50 percent.

The Schleswig-Holstein has begun bombing the Polish Naval Base at Hela. Over 3,000 soldiers of the Grupa Obrony Wybrzeza (Polish Defense Group) unit under Kapitan Stanislaw Zwartynski, defended the area despite overwhelming odds.

The earliest historical record of the Hel Peninsula can be traced to 1198 when it was a Kashubian village and a prosperous centre for herring trade. By the 13th century Hel became the most important trade center of the area and competed with Gdansk. The coastal town was invaded in 1378 and came under the control of the Teutonic Knights. In 1466 King Casimir IV of Poland granted the town as a fief to the rulers of Gdansk ending a century of struggle for economic domination of the area.  In 1526 Polish King Sigismund/The Old withdrew all the privileges previously granted to Hel and sold the town and the peninsula to the authorities at Gdansk. By the 18th century the town was greatly depopulated after over a century of battles and natural disasters, that virtually destroyed the terrain. In 1872, a newly created German state abolished the city rights granted 600 years before.

Hitler met with Admiral Erich Raeder Commander-in-Chief of the Kriegsmarine, giving him orders "not to provoke neutral countries, the United States in particular (as) it is forbidden to torpedo passenger steamers, even when sailing in convoy. Warfare against French merchant ships and mine-laying off French ports is prohibited."   This comes a week after Germans bombed and sank the SS Athenia.  Concurrently the German government decreed the death penalty for anyone "endangering the defensive power of the German people."

In Britain, General Viscount Gort, VC, has been appointed to the take command of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). The first British Atlantic convoys have set out with a fleet of escorts however their presence can only be maintained so far as 12.5 degrees west.  Britain asserts that it provides sufficient protection from U-boats. Britain's faster ships as well as the slowest ones are not expected to be part of this convoy.

Eleven divisions of the French army crossed the border into Germany reaching Saarbrucken.(The Saar Offensive). Spread out along a 32 kilometer area the French met with little German resistance. French mobilization was too slow and inflexible, ruling out any larger future offensive.


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