September 20, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 20 Polish Forces Re-Organize

Wilanowska Street
In Zoliborz last night another group of soldiers of the 6th infantry regiment crossed the Vistula, strengthening the beachhead seized in Kepa Potocka (“Potocki Woods”). But only today did the commander of Zoliborz, Lt. Col. Mieczyslaw Niedzielski “Zywiciel” learn of the presence of soldiers from the 6th infantry regiment on the left bank of the Vistula. Cut off, the decimated defenders of the Czerniakow Beachhead continue to repel enemy’s attacks. Fierce battles continue for individual houses on Wilanowska, Idzkowskiego and Solec Streets.

Mieczyslaw Niedzielski Zywiciel
Commander-in-Chief of the Home Army General “Bor” has given the order to reorganize the insurgent units of the Home Army into regular units of the Polish Army. The Warsaw Corps of the Home Army (Polish: Warszawski Korpus Armii Krajowej) was created under the command of Brigadier General Antoni Chrusciel "Monter". Monter was promoted to General on September 14, 1944). His second-in-command is Col. Karol Ziemski “Wachnowski.”

The three infantry divisions have joined the Corps: the 8th infantry division, called the “Romualda Traugutta”, formed from units fighting in Zoliborz and in the Kampinowski Forest, under the command of Lt. Col. “Zywiciel”; the 10th infantry division, called the “Macieja Rataja”, formed from units fighting in Mokotow, under the command of Lt. Col. Jozef Rokicki “Karol”; and the 28th infantry division, called the “Stefana Okrzei”, formed from units fighting in Srodmiescie, under the command of Col. Franciszek E. Pfeiffer “Radwan.” Initially Polish troops were divided into eight areas of Warsaw, but General Monter has consolidated them into the three zones still held by Polish insurgents. Individual regiments have retained their numbering from 1939as well as the regiment names that have long been established.

The Home Army Headquarters and District Headquarters has released the names of Polish officers in an effort to abandon any secrecy and thus save them from execution after capitulation. The names will be reported in tomorrow's insurgent press.

During the day fighting continued. Polish insurgents obtained additional supplies from allied airdrops as well as having captured valuable material from the enemy (including several armoured vehicles, most notably two Panther tanks and two SdKfz.251 APCs. Despite the shortage of weapons and ammunition, insurgents' workshops have been producing home-made makeshift weapons since the start of the Uprising: weapons include submachine guns. K pattern flamethrowers, grenades, mortars, and even an armoured car, named Kubus.





Lt. John Ward
Lt. John Ward is a British solider, and member of the Armia Krajowa.  Since the start of the Uprising he has been dispatching secret radio messages to London in the hopes that the Allies would provide them not only with arms and ammunition but military assistance as well. Despite several supply missions to Warsaw most of the containers fell into German hands.

A large formation of Liberators flew over Warsaw yesterday afternoon and dropped many containers with arms, ammunition and food. Unfortunately a large proportion fell outside the Polish lines and fell into German hands. The first direct help that they had seen from the Allies evoked enormous enthusiasm amongst the civil population and the armed forces. Disregarding the shrapnel bursts over the city, people ran out into the streets and courtyards to get their first view of Allied aircraft. It must be borne in mind that previous deliveries had been during the night so that the planes had been invisible.

Addressed to Colonel P…
Sir, owing to loss of personnel due to enemy action and the destruction of the radio station I have been unable to send messages during two days. I believe that from now on work will go forward normally. The food situation in Warsaw is critical.
 The only water available is from freshly dug wells. Epidemics are beginning to appear. An enormous percentage of the population is wounded, and many killed.  I am, Sir your obedient servant....

Am officially informed that Home Army forces captured written orders giving the number of armed forces that were to be used against the Old Town area in Warsaw on the 19th August. Details as follows:

Ten battalions of infantry, two battalions of engineers, one company of nine 'Tiger' tanks, twenty 75 mm. self-propelled guns, fifty 'Goliath' mobile tanks, six 75 mm. guns, two mortars 280 mm. calibre, two 380 mm. guns, one 600 mm, mortar, one platoon of mine-throwers and a number of flame-throwers, one armoured train with eighteen heavy machine guns and a battery of 105 mm. guns.

These forces were used to begin the attack on the Old Town on August 19th and that district was defended until September 2nd. It should also be borne in mind that German planes bombed the district from five to twelve times daily. 

The Germans are showing greater activity in the north riverside district end. The German positions in the city have been bombed by Soviet planes as has also the Okecie airfield on the outskirts of the city, where the runway was completely put out of action by heavy Soviet bombs, some German planes destroyed and some hangars set on fire. One Soviet plane was observed to be shot down over Warsaw today by German anti-aircraft artillery. Polish Home Army forces destroyed twenty-four enemy tanks during the period September 13th to 16th.

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