December 10, 2011

Secret Polish Forces of WW2: The "Silent & Dark Ones" PART II: MISSIONS Operation Burkl - Operacja Burkl

Operation Burkl, the second phase of Operation Heads was carried out by the "Anti-Gestapo" Agat unit of the Kedyw Divison of the Armia Krajowa on September 7, 1943.  Their objective was to assassinate specific SS Nazi officers in Warsaw. It was a success.

Franz Burkl
Franz Burkl, a notorious Gestapo officer, was responsible for ordering numerous executions of the Polish people including Polish Jews, and prisoners of the infamous Pawiak prison in Warsaw. Between 1941 and 1943 he personally murdered several dozen people, both in and outside prison installations.  In his trips inside the Warsaw Ghetto, he conducted shootings of people at random. During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a gang of Pawiak criminals under Burkl's command was sent to hunt down and kill the Jewish insurgents.  According to reports, Burkl was alleged to have been addicted to morphine. He was always accompanied by Kastor, his German Shepherd, which he routinely trained to terrorize the Pawiak convicts. He was a deranged sadist and mass murderer.  The Secret Polish Underground Court sentenced him to death by for crimes committed against the Polish nation.

In the action, Burkl was ambushed by five young fighters of the Armia Krajowa armed with Sten submachine guns and Filipinka hand grenades. The attack took place in broad daylight on Marszalkowska Street. The AK group led by 21 year old Jerzy Zborowski, consisted of recruits from the Polish scouting organization called Szare Szeregi.


 L-R Grenades Sidolowka and Filipinka,
manufactured by Armia Krajowa
(exhibition in the Museum of Warsaw Uprising)
Jerzy Zborowski

Sten Mk. II (trigger mechanism cover is missing)

The Operation took all of 90 seconds. In that brief moment, Burkl and seven other German policemen were gunned down and killed. Though Group Agat suffered no losses in the mission, the Nazis carried out reprisals by publicly executing 20 Polish inmates of Pawiak prison.

Polish Prisoners Hanged at Pawiak Prison

The British SOE (Special Operation Executive) supplied the Cichociemni, the Secret Polish Resistance forces with various models of Sten sub-machine gun.  Approximately 11,000 Sten guns were delivered to the Armia Krajowa between 1942 and 1944. During this time the Polish Underground was manufacturing variations of the Sten guns in secret workshops throughout Poland. Polish replicas were being made in at least 23 underground workshops. The design was simple. Some workshops manufactured copies of the Mark IIs while others produced the Polski Sten and KIS. The Polski Sten was made under command of Ryszard Białostocki and was built from a combination of components that were legally made in official factories. The main body of the machine pistol consisted of hydraulic cylinders that had been produced for hospital equipment. In order to disguise the origin of the production all the pistols were marked in English. Stens' barrels were also used for SMGs produced in Poland under the name Błyskawica.

PART II MISSIONS:  Operation Kutschera


  1. My father was in the Polish army. He said " I had a rifle that could shoot through RAILROAD TRACKS,I know they had a secret rifle that could shoot through German Panzer Tanks, does anyone have any information about these Polish Snipers?

    1. Thank you for your comments. There is some information available but it is not complete. To read more about the Cichociemni, please visit another one of my blog posts in this Special series. The title is Secret Polish Forces of WW2: The "Silent and Dark Ones" PART III FAMOUS CICHOCIEMNI (Dec 14, 2011). You might also be interested to read "Polish Inventions: WW2 Weapons Development and Technology" (Dec. 2, 2010) Just use the Search Box in the right margin or check the Archive list for this and many other posts. Thank you for your interest!

  2. That rifle was a Polish Wz. 35 anti-tank rifle.

    1. Yes indeed! Polish scientists designed many variations of weapons during the interwar years. There is a You Tube video which presents a slideshow of photos of many of these weapons. It is fascinating and I highly recommend you watch it! Pass it on! Visit