August 14, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: August 14 - Polish Fighters Capture German Strongholds

``One Bullet One German``
Home Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Tadeusz Komorowski "Bor" sent a radio message to London informing them that the fight for Warsaw will continue despite “overwhelming enemy power”. Although allied planes have been making supply airdrops there is still a drastic shortage of ammunition and weapons and the situation is urgent. Bor has also sent a radio message at 10:30 am to local units of the AK to join the fight and ordered them to them head toward Warsaw and its surrounding areas.

Polish insurgents succeeded in destroying two German tanks today in the Old Town. Meanwhile in the City Centre Sector, insurgents are effectively fighting off all German attacks and seizing food storehouses on Ceglana Street. In Powisle, after a fierce skirmish, Polish combatants have captured a German SS Viking division's armored military vehicle. Since the Uprising began, Polish fighters have been able to capture a substantial number of weapons and ammunition from the enemy as well as numerous tanks.  Though Polish units have been successful in the capture of several strongholds throughout the city they have not been able to connect the Center and Northern districts nor break the German siege on the Old Town.

German units continue to attack the Old Town from the west while other units are striking from Leszno along Tlomackie towards Bielanska Street. Fierce exchange of gunfire continues for a barricade and the PAST building on Tlomackie Street. By evening troops of Maj. Gustaw Billewicz “Sosna” and Captain Stefan Kaniewski “Nałecz” have succeeded in pushing back the enemy behind the line of Przejazd Street.

Polish Insurgents Capture German Tank SdKfz 251

Polish capture of German Tank positioned at barricade

Polish Insurgents examine German tank

On Bartoszewicza Street soldiers of the “Krybar” group have captured a German armored personnel carrier which they nicknamed “Jas”. But they changed the name to honour the memory of their fallen commander - by his nom de guerre "Szary Wilk".

Around noon the enemy attacked Muranw striking from the Traugutt Fortress, Gdanski Railway Station and Stawki Street towards the streetcar depot on Sierakowska Street. The Germans managed to “wedge in” between the “Radosław” group and a group commanded by Lt. Col. Jan Szypowski “Leśnik”.  Around 4 p.m., the insurgents recaptured the lost positions but suffered severe casualties.

Meanwhile in the Kampinos Forest, Captain Jozef Krzyczkowski “Szymon” received orders from Col. Karol Ziemski “Wachnowski”. He was ordered to put his troops on standby and move to initial positions for attack from the area of the Powazki and Jewish cemeteries. The maneuver is aimed at joining the forces from the Kampinos Forest with those fighting in Muranów.

There was a dramatic evacuation of the Maltanski Hospital from Senatorska Street to Srodmiescie today. An SS company of soldiers under the command of Obersturmfuhrer Lagna entered the hospital and ordered, in his word,  the "evacuation of this dump" threatening that in two hours it would be set on fire. The head doctor, Jerzy Dreyza protested but to no avail. All the doctors, nurses and even some more able-bodied patients began to carry the gravely wounded outside in front of the hospital. Soonafter the German Commander ordered that they vacant the courtyard as the sight of the patients and staff "bothered" him. The directorate of the Maltese Hospital wanted to transfer all the patients to the closest facility at Ujazdowski Hospital but were not permitted to do so.  The Germans began to set up grenade launchers among the hospital beds of the remaining patients and began to shell the insurgents.  Meanwhile the sick and wounded were led, under German escort through a long and ardous path through Bankowy Square, Przechodnia Street, Iron Gate Square, Saski Garden to the barricade blocking Marszalkowska Street.  Along the route robbers attacked the doctors and patients and took from them any valuables they were carrying.

Maltański Hospital
Prime Minister Mikolajczyk has returned to London. As the days pass it becomes clear that Stalin may not have any intention of providing assistance to Polish insurgents, despite plentiful assurances. The British Foreign Office had sent a letter to the Polish Government in exile in London stating that “The decision for a general Uprising in Warsaw has been undertaken without previous consultation with His Majesty’s Government which, because of that, found itself unable to prepare plans for co-operation in advance.”Polish authorities have confirmed that a letter had been sent to the British government on July 27, 1944 by Polish Ambassador Edward Raczynski informing them of such plans. However on a pretext for inaction the British government maintains that the Uprising was not co-ordinated with the Soviet government. Despite denials by the British and Soviet governments, the fact remains that Radio Moscow transmitted broadcasts to Poland just days before the outbreak of the Uprising urging the Polish Home Army to fight.

Avrell Harriman
In an effort to circumvent political bickering the American Ambassador to Russia, Avrell Harriman sent Molotov an urgent letter requesting “approval from the Red Air Force for a shuttle mission of American bombers to drop arms on Warsaw for the resistance forces and then proceed to bases in the Soviet Union." The Soviet government has not issued a response as yet.

Harriman attended the Tehran and Yalta Conferences with the Big Three where he encouraged Churchill and Roosevelt to take a stronger line against the Soviet Union, especially on questions related to Poland. Churchill expressed distrust in the Soviet government but is intent on carving the post-world war into spheres of influence while the US is committed to the principles of self-determination as outlined in the Atlantic Charter. Harriman cautioned that if the spheres approach were used it would give Stalin a free hand in eastern Europe.

The municipal waterworks ceased operation today. German bombers have destroyed the main water lines, leaving the Varsovians to ration the meager supplies available from city wells. Polish authorities have ordered that construction of all water wells must be supervised in order to prevent the spread of epidemics. 

German bombing unearthed water mains Warsaw Uprising

Lt. John Ward
Lt. John Ward, a British soldier, and member of the AK has been dispatching secret coded messages from Warsaw to London reporting on the daily events of the Uprising.  Several messages were sent today describing the battle and overall morale of the Polish insurgents.

I observed the dropping of supplies by British aircraft last night. The Germans on the outskirts of the city have some light ack-ack and about 15 searchlights. All the ack-ack was considerably higher than the aircraft. It is, in my opinion, much safer to fly as low as possible.

The British aircraft which flew over Warsaw on the night of 13th/14th was enthusiastically greeted by the population, despite the shrapnel that was falling on the streets. They cried: "They are ours; they are British."

The morale of the cut-off population of Warsaw is today 10 per cent. better than it was yesterday. One aircraft dropped a wreath with the inscription: "From the British soldiers to our fighting comrades of the Polish Army."

Fighting continues to be very bitter in Warsaw. The Germans fight for every inch of ground: It is reported that in some places whole districts have been burnt and the inhabitants either shot or taken to Germany. The soldiers of AK continue to repeat: " When we get weapons from England we will pay them back." The Polish population have an unshakeable faith in Great Britain as their liberator.

Snipers on the roofs of houses in Warsaw are still taking a heavy toll of human life. Most of these snipers that have been caught have turned out to be Ukrainian. They are usually armed with hand machine guns with a plentiful supply of ammunition.

Allied planes continue to make air drops over Srodmiescie. The first supply sorties to Warsaw were manned by Polish crews.  They consider it their highest duty to help their countrymen irregardless of the danger. On August 4th, seven Polish crews as well as another seven from British No. 148 squadron took off for Warsaw. The flights ended in tragedy. Five British Halifaxes were shot down by enemy fire and another was lost during a crash landing. The remainder of aircraft were damaged by German fire and only three Polish bombers managed to drop their load.

One of the Halifaxes was  a JP-162 "S" of RAF 148 Squadron that crashed in the village of  Wojnarowa in southern Poland on August 4, 1944 at 1:30 a.m. The pilot F/O James Girven McCall was killed. He was 23. Air/GNR Sgt. John Frederick Cairney Rae was killed. Age 33; Air/GNR Sgt.Clifford Aspinall was killed (age unreported). But Sgt. Peterson, F/O Anderson, F/O Jolly, and Sgt. Underwood survived by parachuting from the aircraft.

Thought to be Halifax JP162 FS-S
The mission was a fiasco and all further flights to Warsaw were suspended by Air Marshal Sir John Slessor. After a violent protest by the Poles Slessor permitted flights to resume and the Polish crews managed to complete their missions without suffering any losses. Though allied planes continue to make supply drops the risks are perilous. The operation calls for absolute precision which is always technically extremely difficult and the difficulty is compounded by diminished visibility. Vast columns of billowing smoke obscure the dropping points, a situation exacerbated by night flying. For the parachutes to open, drops have to be made from an altitude of at least 300 to 400 feet. Any lower makes it impossible to release the supplies. Moreover, dense flak around the southern approaches in the area of Nowy Targ, Tarnow, Krakow and Nowy Sacz have made losses inevitable as planes have to fly over the area twice.

German Anti-Aircraft Artillery

Few supply containers were recovered by insurgents from Krasinski Square but it provided the Poles with some relief and strengthened their morale. One of the main eye witnesses is Jack Warren, an RAF (Royal Air Force) pilot who had been shot down over Poland and has gone to ground in the circles of the Polish Resistance.  He sent two radio messges to London today stating, "The British aircraft which flew over Warsaw on the night of 13-14 were enthusiastically greeted by the population, despite the shrapnel that was falling on the streets. They cried, ‘They are ours; they are British.’...."The morale of the cut-off population of Warsaw is today 10% better than it was yesterday. One aircraft dropped a wreath with the inscription: ‘From the British soldiers to our fighting comrades of the Polish Army.’... His closing message is most forboding... "The Polish population have an unshakable faith in Great Britain as their liberator."

Powstanie Warszawskie - Hymn Srodmiescia (00:01:28m)

Hymn Śródmieścia - utwór funkcjonujący w czasie powstania warszawskiego pod tą nazwą, choć oficjalnie nigdy nie został tak określony. Powstał w pierwszym tygodniu powstania, prawdopodobnie 7 sierpnia. Autorem słów był Eugeniusz Żytomirski, natomiast melodii - Zbigniew Krukowski.
Hymn Srodmiescia
I znów walczy dzielna stolica,
Znów ją spowił pożogi dym
I na krwią zbroczonych ulicach
Znów wolności rozbrzmiewa hymn! Choć mundury nie zdobią nam ramion,
Choć nie każdy posiada z nas ma broń -
Ale ludność Warszawy jest z nami,
Każdy Polak podaje nam dłoń! Bo my - walcząca Warszawa,
Złączona ofiarą krwi...
Nasz cel - to wolność i sława,
Potęga przyszłych dni!
Nieznane nam jest słowo "trwoga",
Nie uśpi nas podstępny wróg!
Kto żyw, ten z nami, na wroga!
Tak nam dopomóż Bóg!
Srodmiescie Anthem was written in the first week of  the Uprising, probably on August 7. The lyrics were written by Eugene Żytomirski while the music was composed by Zbigniew Krukowski.
Srodmiescie Anthem And again the brave fighting the capital, Again conflagration enveloped her in smoke And on the streets with blood zbroczonych Again, freedom rings out anthem! While the uniforms do not decorate our arms, Although not everyone has of us has a weapon - But the population of Warsaw is with us; Every Pole gives us a hand! Because we - the fighting Warsaw, Joined by the blood sacrifice ... Our goal - a freedom and fame, The power of future days! Unknown to us the word "fear" Not us, but the last Sleep insidious enemy! Who is alive, that with us, the enemy! So help us God!


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