August 15, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: August 15 - Eyewitness Reports Polish attack on German tank

German tank captured by Polish insurgents 1944

The following is an account of a battle between Polish insurgents and German action on Grzybowska Street on Tuesday, August 15,1944, told by Captain Lech Zagorski,  Commander of a Polish fighting unit.

At five o'clock this morning, the Germans threw in everything they had.  Wave after wave of Junkers and Stuka dive bombers flew over, and Tiger and Panther tanks moved towards us along the surrounding streets.  The din of bombs and shrapnel, the roar of engines, the thunder of tons of metal crashing down, all mingled with the rumble of falling walls and roofs, the rattle of machine guns and the shriek of bullets overhead, like a storm gone mad.

Begrimed runners  hurried along in the shelter of walls with messages from officers on the barricades. They all told what they had seen. On one street, tanks smashed through one of our barricades. Then, Captain Proboszcz appeared as though he'd risen out of the ground; he hurled a grenade at a tank, wrenched open the lid and shot the German driver at point-blank range from his revolver.  Then, he grabbed the German's gun and hurried on....

Polish Barricade on Napoleon Square using captured German tank Aug 44

The tanks on Rynkowa and Ciepla streets were moving along behind a crowd of civilians, who were being driven ahead to provide cover for the Germans.  I gave the order to fire. Some of the civilians were hit and were left lying on the pavement...Then, Major Zagonczyk asked for me: I know you are in trouble; I'll do what I can to help with ammunition. But you have got to hold your street. You have got to! Can you do it? I replied, We will hold out, Sir!

I started along the street.; The smoke had died down a little. To my left was a deserted barricade; immediately below the corner block of apartments, the shell of a tank half-buried in a trench was smoldering The firing had died down. I crossed the street and cautiously went up the barricade. I looked over the top and saw a powerful Tiger tank snarling halfway down Ciepla Street. But I could hardly believe my eyes: It was retreating.  Another tank stood near Krochmalna Street motionless. Its tracks had been ripped off.  And near the barracks I saw a third tank dead with its cover open.... From across the battlefield two men appeared, clumsily scrambling past the smoldering tank. I hardly recognized Tadeusz and Puchacz, for they looked as if they'd dug themselves out of a heap of cement. Somehow they'd survived, hidden by the heavy balustrade of a balcony on the first floor immediately above the barricade. They'd let the tank come up to the barricade so they could not miss; for, although they were half-buried in rubble,  their arms were free...I reported back to Major Zagonczyk by telephone: We have held our street. The Germans are retreating. We ought to send patrols out after them and try to man the barricades again. We ought to bring the wounded and bury the dead. But there are only six of us left. We have not a single bullet or grenade...

STURMTIGER Tiger-Mörser Sturmmörser Sturmpanzer VI (00:01:55m)

Suggested Link:
Tiger Information Center (complete data on history, production, specifications, photos, and more)

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