At 1:50pm today in Warsaw, Polish insurgents launched an Uprising in Zoliborz in a desperate attempt to liberate the capital city from German hands. Skirmishes broke out simultaneously in various boroughs including City Centre Sector and Wola. Within moments after the first shots were fired, the Poles had broadcast their first radio telegraph message to London stating emphatically “We Are Fighting!”
Plans for the Uprising had been in the works since German and Soviet troops had invaded and partitioned Poland in September 1939. These heroic Polish soldiers have come from every level of society, representing all political ideologies. They are men, women, and even children as young as 8 years old. They share one common goal: to oust the hated Nazi Germans out of Poland. In addition to the Armia Krajowa (the Polish Home Army) there is massive civilian mobilization among Polish engineers, draughtsmen, technicians, scientists, university professors, students, former government officials, artists, priests, manual labourers, and even known criminals. The youngest and the oldest are actively serving as well, albeit doing voluntary guard duty. There are reports of 16 year old insurgents doing guard duty in front buildings. One was bearing only a scythe for a weapon while another young guard was carrying a blunderbuss.
Warsaw 1944: Warsaw Uprising Part I (00:05:28m)
Polish insurgents have been able to destroy one building that was being held by the Germans. Working in cooperation with the fire-brigade, the insurgents used the motor pumps of the fire-engine to spray flammable liquids on the building, quickly envelopping it in flames. There are no reports on the number of German casualties. Morale among the civilian population and the soldiers of the Armia Krajowa (AK) is at an all-time high. The Polish people of Warsaw have rallied together to assist the AK in building barricades, and anticipate Soviet intervention in a very few short days from now.
There is every reason to believe that with Soviet assistance, Warsaw will be liberated from the Nazi scourge. Polish fighters launch aggressive attacks against the Germans. Of the major objectives, the insurgents manage to capture the food and uniforms warehouse on Stawki Street, the barracks located in the building of St. Kinga School on Okopowa treet, the Military Geographic Institute on Aleje Jerozolimskie Street, the building of the Municipal Transport Company on the corner of Swietokrzyska and Marszalkowska Streets, the city's highest building, the Prudential, in Napoleon Square, and the Railway Head Office building at Targowa and Wilenska Streets in Praga. The largest area cleared of enemy forces is the Old Town.
|Unidentified Polish Fighter (Red and White AK armband)|
Appeal to Warsaw: Fight The Germans!No doubt Warsaw already hears the guns of the battle which is soon to bring her liberation. Those who have never bowed their heads to the Hitlerite power will again, as in 1939, join battle with the Germans, this time for decisive action. The Polish Army now entering Polish territory, trained in the Soviet Union, is now joined to the People's Army to form the Corps of the Polish Armed Forces, the armed arm of our nation in its struggle for independence. Its ranks will be joined tomorrow by the sons of Warsaw. They will all together, with the Allied Army pursue the enemy westwards, wipe out the Hitlerite vermin from Polish land and strike a mortal blow at the beast of Prussian Imperialism. For Warsaw, which did not yield but fought on, the hour of action has already arrived. The Germans will no doubt try to defend themselves in Warsaw and add new destruction and thousands of victims. Our houses and our parks, our bridges and our railway stations, our factories and public buildings will be turned into defence positions. They will expose the city to ruin and its inhabitants to death. They will try to take away all the most precious possessions and turn into dust all that they have to leave behind. It is, therefore, a hundred times more necessary than ever to remember that in the flood of Hitlerite destruction all is lost that is not saved by active effort; that by direct, active struggle in the streets of Warsaw, in its houses, factories and stores, we not only hasten the moment of final liberation, but also save a Nation's property and the lives of our brothers.
And at precisely 4:10 this morning the Soviet commander of the Second Armoured Army ordered that by noon today, troops were to take defensive positions outside Praga (a suburb of Warsaw. This occurred an hour before the Poles even fired the first shots.
|Polish patriots in Praga District|
Sources indicate that the 6th Soviet Air Army has about 1,465 combat planes in its fleet. Moreover, just the left wing of the Byelorussian Front has 1,750 tanks as well as self-propelled artillery, 7,600 artillery and mortars and 416,000 soldiers. The total strength of the First Byelorussian Front is estimated to be at 1.5 million soldiers. General Tadeusz Komorowski pseudonym “Bor”, Commander-in-Chief of the Armia Krajowa. has issued the order for the Uprising to begin at 5pm today however because of miscommunication among field units, the Uprising started too early. The Commander of the District of Warsaw, General Antoni Chrusciel, pseudonym Monter, while subordinate to General Bor, has complete command over the activities of the AK, including its logistics and intelligence. The Polish forces are confident that with Allied help, victory is within reach.
|General Tadeusz Komorowski|
The Polish Underground has been stockpiling massive quantities of weapons and ammunition long before the Uprising began, and rely on 4 main storage areas. Two in Warsaw and 2 in Praga. But just a couple of weeks ago German soldiers came across two enormous secret caches of weapons hidden in basements, one stockpile containing over 70,000 hand-grenades, and the other had 450 flame-throwers. According to AK Command, this was only a small portion of their supplies, there being an additional 320,000 grenades hidden in numerous other locations throughout Warsaw. German soldiers immediately flooded the basements destroying all weapons and drowning any Polish insurgents that may have been hiding there at the time.
|Polish Resistance - Production of Grenades|
|Polish soldiers from Kolegium A - Kedyw on Stawki Street Wola District|
|Warsaw Uprising - unexploded shell|