September 24, 2011

Warsaw Uprising 1944: September 24 - Polish Heroes: The Cichociemni - "Silent Dark Ones"

German forces have intensified attacks on the three remaining centers of insurgent resistance: Zoliborz, Srodmiescie and Mokotow. Throughout the day Mokotow was the main focus of German attacks. A general assault was launched early this morning by German infantry supported by artillery, air force and armoured units. Insurgents have been able to fight off most of the attacks. After a fierce struggle in the southern and southeastern sectors, the Germans have captured Krolikarnia Palace. They destroyed an advance insurgent position at 162 Pulawska Street and have reached the line of Ksawerow Street. By nightfall Home Army troops attacked and attempted to recapture the area but failed. In the eastern sector of Mokotow defense, German tanks have forced the insurgents to retreat to the line of Konduktorska Street. The remaining insurgent positions are still in Polish hands. Casualties are high on both sides.

German Cannon "Ferdinand" fires on Polish Insurgent positions Warsaw 1944
Wounded Polish Officer - background buildings of Lower Mokotow
                "Krawiec" Company from "Rys" Battalion at 134 Pulawska Street in Mokotow district during inspection by Stanislaw Kaminski "Daniel". "Krawiec" Company just came from Kabacki Forest through Wilanow to Mokotow district bringing arms for "Baszta" Regiment. On the left company commander StanisÅ‚aw Milczynski "Gryf". From the right in the first row: Wladyslaw Zyganski "Zuk" and Tadeusz Kozlowski "Kozak".            

Radio communication with Soviet Command has peaked these past few days. Just two days ago two Soviet soldiers under the command of Captain Kolos have parachuted into Warsaw with Soviet radio transmitters. The radio set provided by Soviet Major Chernuhin has established a vital communication link between the AK commander of Mokotow Sector and a Soviet artillery post. Captain Wieckowski, of the Soviet-backed Armia Ludowa has been dispatching messages from a Soviet radio transmitter in Zoliborz Sector. An AK (Armia Krajowa) officer with access to the radio set at Berlings Headquarters has also been transmitting to and receiving messages from the AK Headquarters in Warsaw. The high intensity communication gives every indication that Soviet forces will soon advance.
Cichociemni parachuting into Poland WW2
A special intelligence unit of the Polish Army General Staff Headquarters in London, England, called "Barnes Lodge" has been on round the clock surveillance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, listening to radio messages coming in from Polish Home Army Command in Warsaw. There are currently about twelve transmitters in the units, the last delivered by Polish agents of the SOE who had parachuted into Poland just before the Uprising broke out.  Polish agents are risking their lives. If at any time during the transmission of messages, or receipt of them, a Polish operative, or cichociemni, can be discovered by the enemy and shot on the spot.

Franek Rymaszewski, one of the operators, listens for underground messages from Poland
 in one of the radio telegraph stations in "Barnes Lodge" near Kings Langley, North London.  

Polish conspiratorial transmitter and receiver, type AP1, called "peepshtock"

Cichociemni (the "Silent, Dark Ones") are an elite special operations division of the Polish army in exile. They were created in Great Britain to be a crack team in partisan warfare in occupied Poland, and are highly skilled at espionage and sabotage activities. They are all expert marksmen irregardless of the weapons used - be they British, Polish, Russian, German, or Italian weaponry. All soldiers who pass training are sworn in as members of Armia Krajowa.

Cichociemni are entirely independent of the British army, though the unit was organized in collaboration with SOE (Special Operations Executive). The Cichociemni is the only one in the SOE which is free to chose its own men and operate its own radio communication with an occupied country. The identities of these heroic men are kept secret and are known only to the Polish General Staff. The oldest of them is 54 years of age, while the youngest is only 20.  All members of the Special Unit are promoted one rank upwards at the moment of their jump.


Emblem of Cichociemni

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