September 14, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 14 SOVIETS WIPE OUT GERMANS IN PRAGA

For the past four days Soviet artillery and Soviet Red Air Force have been bombarding the city of Warsaw. The battle in Praga ended today with the complete elimination of German troops from that bank of the Vistula. Polish forces of the Tadeusz Kosciuszko First Division took part in the attacks. Meanwhile In Czerniakow, Lieutenant Colonel 'Radoslaw' has concentrated his units closer to the Vistula to secure the area, thereby allowing the Soviet Army to set up a beachhead. In Southern City Centre, efforts by Polish insurgents to recapture St. Lazarus Hospital have stopped.  

Soviet tanks and soldiers
Russian soldiers in trenches firing on Germans
3 Zagorna Street Warsaw
Czerniakow continues to be the main target of enemy fire. In response to this situation, Lt. Col. Jan Mazurkiewicz “Radoslaw” has shifted his forces closer to the riverbank in order to hold the beachhead. According to plan, all Polish units have been concentrated in a small area between Okrag, Czerniakowska and Zagorna Streets. The building at 3 Zagorna Street was founded in 1915 by Wojciech Sawicki, a famous Warsaw magnate and philanthropist. It was built to shelter poor orphaned children from the Powisle Czerniakowskie district  The land on which the building was erected used to be the oldest botanical garden in Europe. In the 18th century the gardens of Prince Kazimierz Poniatowski (the brother of King Stanislaw August) extended towards the Vistula River.  Current day streets of Ksiazeca, Rozbrat, Gornoslaska and Wiejska now cover the areas where the gardens used to be. When Poland became independent after WWI, the building housed State School Number 29 which was managed by Jozef Wojcik, a famous educator.  The school grounds extended along Zagorna Street from Czerniakowska to Solec Street. Nearby was the sports field, complete with running tracks, shot-put, discus ranges and pitches for playing ball.  The school garden exhibited many botanical specimens and was situated in the rear of the building.  Many of the resistance fighters in this Uprising were graduates of the school, foremost Jan Bytnar "Rudy", hero of the Armia Krajowa (Polish Home Army). In 1940 the building was taken over by a motorized unit of the German Wehrmacht. Since the start of the Warsaw Uprising it has been the scene of a battlefield by Polish soldiers of the Kryska Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Zygmunt Netzer; Polish soldiers of the 3rd Armoured Division (Kosciuszkowcy) are also fighting there.  The building has been serving as a Polish field hospital.   Many of the wounded were executed by German troops and the remainder arrested and taken to Gestapo headquarters (on Szucha Avenue). AK units have attacked enemy positions near the entrance to Aleje Jerozolimskie and have taken control of the ruins of the “Cristal” restaurant. Polish insurgents succeeded in driving the Germans back from the even-numbered side of Aleje Jerozolimskie to the “CafĂ© Club” at the corner of Nowy Swiat. German forces continue to exert strong pressure on Marymont in the area of Zoliborz. They have conducted a simultaneous attacks from three sides: from Bielany, Slowackiego and Gdanska Streets.   The insurgents have lost a vast amount of territory from Bielany to Krasinskiego Street. In Mokotow, German planes have bombed the “Alkazar” redoubt at the corner of Odynca and Aleje Niepodleglosci Streets. Despite the overwhelming force, Polish defenders continue to hold their position. Reports indicate that 20 German tanks converged from the direction of Bielany and opened fired on several houses. Several SS men rushed the courtyard and tossed hand grenades into the open windows forcing survivors to come out. At around 2pm the Germans rounded up about a hundred civilians which included men, women with small children and infants and led them to an abandoned burned-out building where they were machine gunned to death.  

Young Polish Insurgents Warsaw Uprising
The Germans blew up the Central Railway Bridge and the Poniatowski Bridge over the Vistula yesterday afternoon. This leaves only the old Northern Railway and foot Bridge. The two bridges blown up by the enemy had been in any case locked by the Polish positions in Warsaw ever since the uprising began and thus record nor practical use for movements of troops.  

Poniatowski Bridge 1915 blown up by the Russians

The Poniatowski bridge has often been targed for destruction.  During the First World War retreating Russian troops blew up  four of the spans ot the bridge in an effort to slow down the German pursuit.  The Germans quickly rebuilt the bridge but soonafter it was destroyed again by an accidental fire. After the end of WWI, the new Polish government started plans to rebuild the bridge completing it in five years.  The Poniatowski Bridge was the meeting place of the President of Poland, Stanislaw Wojciechowski, and Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, the leader of the coup. (May Coup)  Now, the Germans have demolished the bridge - only the lower piers remained  intact. The Office of the Commander-in-Chief in London has informed Gen. Tadeusz Komorowski “Bor” by cable that Col. Antoni Chrusciel “Monter” has been promoted to the rank of brigadier general.  

Soviet Air Force
In an urgent radio telegram to the Polish Government in Exile in London, General Bor reported the desperate situation of Polish civilians and insurgents. He stated, "We are no longer issuing food. After 50 days of fighting, we are starving." The Soviet Air Force has commenced dropping supplies over Warsaw, but eye witnesses report that none of the containers had parachutes and containers were smashed to pieces when they hit the ground rendering their contents utterly useless.  Poles are desperate for help and increasingly bitter towards their so-called allies. The water shortage has reached a crisis point.   In August the water supply was enough for about 300,000 people but now there is barely enough for the 30,000 people in the southern part of Warsaw.  
Kazimierz Wojcik 'Krzysztof'"
Kazimierz Wojcik 'Krzysztof, a soldier of the Baszta and Golski Battalions talked about the terrible hardships Poles have endured during the Uprising.  With food shortages dwindling Polish civilians and insurgents are desperate.  The Baszta and Golski Battalion had only stored enough food for two weeks, and when that was gone they had to subsist on whatever they could find left in abandoned shops and storehouses. In order to preserve the food stupply daily rations were strictly imposed, reducing caloric intake to less than 1,000 calories per day. Wojcik stated that the major food source was the "Haberbusch brewery located some two miles north of us, on the other side of Aleje Jerozolimskie that was under German control. Hence, the transports had to be done at night through special underground passages."  Its storage comprised of wheat and barley which was made into a kind of soup.  Fresh produce was available from a piece of vacant land about 20 acres in area where civilians grew their own vegetables, but it was right in the middle between German and Insurgent lines.  Any attempt to try to reach the area would have been risky, if not fatal. "The only time we could venture there, was at night....because of the almost constant machine gun fire and flares."  Wojcik has escaped enemy fire on more than a few occasions.  

The Warsaw Council of National Unity which represents the opinions of the populace and its civilian administration has strongly recommended that Warsaw must capitulate. However, military leaders refuse to comply believing that diplomatic efforts to rally the Soviet Union to their assistance will soon materialize.  But there is the underlying fear that if Warsaw surrenders, civilians and insurgents alike will be completely annihilated. They say that the fighting must continue. On August 6, 1944 the Chief Government Delegate Jan Stanislaw Jankowski, and Chairman of the Council of National Unity,Kazimierz Puzak dispatched this radio transmission to the Prime Minister of the Government-in-Exile, Stanislaw Mikolajczyk. The message describes the progress of the Uprising and calls on allies to supply the Home Army with immediate aid. Since the start of the Uprising messages of this kind had been frequently dispatched to London.  However very few air drops have been made by the allies, the majority of containers landing in enemy hands.   


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