August 11, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: August 11 - German Attacks Break Polish Resistance

Polish Defenders of Warsaw
Units of Armia Krajowa continue to fight fiercely against the German troops from the area of Wola to the Old Town. The last Polish units from Ochota have left their posts for City Centre. At dawn Reinefarth's units under the cover of heavy artillery, aircraft, tanks and mortars have attacked insurgent positions in the Old Town. The raw force of German fire power has not diminished the will of the Polish insurgents to fight despite enormous odds. In an effort to quash the Uprising, the Germans have engineered a new weapon in their arsenal – the Goliath. It is a small remote-controlled demolition vehicle which the Allies have dubbed the "beetle tank" owing to its small size - just 11.4 centimeters. However there are indications that this contraption is not without obvious limitations. It advances at a snails pace of just above 6 mph (or 9.5 km/hr) and its thin armour and exposed command cables make it vulnerable to anti-tank fire.

Allied planes made another airdrop of weapons and ammunition over Warsaw during the night but due to poor visibility and inaccurate co-ordinates the containers landed in enemy territory. Insurgents were able to recover only about 20 percent of the containers. Over the past two weeks several previous missions ended disastrously as allied planes carrying supplies for Warsaw were shot down by enemy fighter planes. Most of the missions are being flown by Polish squadrons, in particular No. 1586 the Polish Special Duty Squadron, as well as teams of Canadian, British and South African squadrons.
German units launched a direct general attack at Okopowa Street, amid the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto and sprawling cemeteries. German fire power is relentless and insurgents have had to retreat. Troops commanded by Lt. Col. Jan Mazurkiewicz "Radoslaw" retreated towards Stawski Street amidst very heavy losses.

Graves of Polish fighters line the streets Warsaw Aug 1944

German troops attacked the Old Town from Mariensztat and the ruins of the Castle, and from Teatralny Square.  In addition to daily air bombing, the Old Town is being hit hard by German artillery fire from the Praga bank of the Vistula.  Ochota was the last point of Polish resistance. The “Wawelska Redoubt” has collapsed.

Troops commanded by Sec. Lt. Jerzy Gołembiewski(pseudonym “Stach”) have retreated through the sewers and are heading for Srodmiescie and Mokotow. Units of the RONA have captured Ochota and are advancing down Aleje Jerozolimskie Street towards Starynkiewicza Square.

Lt. John Ward, a British soldier and member of the AK is reporting on the daily events during the Uprising. In a dispatch sent to London today, this is what he wrote:

Despite all efforts of AK the Germans are continuing their ruthless terror methods. In many cases they have burnt whole streets of houses and have shot all the men belonging to them and turned the women and children out into the street, where battles are taking place, to find their way to safety. In Krolewska Street many private houses have been bombed out. One house was hit by four separate bombs. In one house where lived old, retired professors of Polish universities, the SS troops forced an entrance and killed many of them. Some succeeded in escaping through the cellars to the other houses. The morale of AK and the civil population is of the highest standard. The watch-word: Death to the Germans.

The German tank forces during last night made determined efforts to relieve some of their strong-points in the city. This is no light task, however; on the corner of every street are built huge barricades mostly constructed of concrete pavement slabs torn up from the streets especially for this purpose. In most cases the attempts failed, so the tanks' crews vented their disappointment by setting fire to several houses and shelling others from a distance. In many cases they also set fire to the dead, who litter the streets in many places. They have begun to have a great respect for the Polish barricade, for they know that behind each one wait determined troops of AK with petrol bottles. The same petrol bottles that have caused the destruction of so many of their comrades.

Weapons of special types are badly needed inside the area limited by Jerozolimska Avenue – Emilia Plater – Noakowski – August 6th Street – Mokotowska – Three Crosses Square – Bracka. Anti-tank weapons-grenades, rifles, machine guns, pistols, ammunition. Note: Anti-tank weapons are specially important. At the moment there is no means of engaging tanks at a distance greater than 15 yards.

German advance
German SS in Old Town District of Warsaw

Polish Insurgents Warsaw Uprising

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