April 9, 2018




Battle of Legnica:  Mongol armies defeated the Polish and German armies. Just days days earlier a combined force of Poles and Moravians under the command of the Polish Duke Henry II the Pious of Silesia, supported by feudal nobility and a few knights from military orders sent by the Pope, attempted to halt the Mongol invasion of Europe. But the Mongol victory over the Hungarians came later at the much larger Battle of Mohi. The Mongols had much success in the battle by feigning their retreat. After the Polish knights detached from the main body of allied forces in pursuit of the fleeing Mongols, the invaders were able to separate the knights from the infantry and defeat them one by one. Henry II was struck down and beheaded while attempting to flee the battlefield with three bodyguards, and the Mongols paraded his head on a spear before the town of Legnica.


The National Defense Fund (Poland) was established by special decree of Polish President Ignacy Mościcki.  Its objective was to collect additional sources of money, necessary for supplying shortfalls in equipment of the Polish Army. The response was overwhelming. The Fund collected over 1 Billion Zlotys. Forty million of it was given by patriotic Polish citizens from their personal savings, jewelry, precious coins, gold earrings, valuable plates and utensils, and other precious belongings.  Even school children gave their pocket money.


The Battles of Narvik were fought from April 9 to June 8, 1940. The first phase was a naval battle in the Ofotfjord, followed by a battle in the mountains surrounding the north Norwegian city of Narvik (part of the Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War).  Two naval battles were fought on April 10 and 13 April  between the British Royal Navy (and its Allies) against Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.  Among others, the Polish destroyers Grom, Burza and Błyskawica took part in these operations. Tragically,  Grom was sunk by German aircraft on May 4, 1940, with the loss of 59 Polish sailors. The other Battle of Narvik was a land campaign, two-months in duration, fought between Norwegian, French, British, and Polish Allied troops against German sailors, mountain troops and paratroopers. Although they were defeated at sea off Narvik, and lost control of the town of Narvik (being pushed back towards the Swedish border) the German forces eventually prevailed. ( due to the Allied evacuation from Norway in June 1940 following the Battle of France.)


Exterminations at Chelmno ceased temporarily. The camp would be reactivated in the spring of 1944 to liquidate ghettos. In all,  the deaths of prisoners in Chelmno would reach 300,000.  The SS of the camp began extermination processes on December 8, 1941. Among the first transports were Jewish and Romani populations of Koło, Dąbie, Sompolno, Kłodawa, Babiak, Izbica Kujawska, Bugaj, Nowiny Brdowskie and Kowale Pańskie. A total of 3,830 Jews and around 4,000 Romani were killed by gas before February 1942. From January 1942 the transports included hundreds of Poles and Soviet prisoners of war. In addition, they included over 10,000 Jews from Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia and Luxembourg, who had first been deported to the ghetto in Łódź an detained there already for weeks. In late February 1942, Stanislaw Kaszynski,  the secretary of the local Polish council in Chełmno, was arrested for trying to bring public attention to the killings in the camp. He was interrogated and executed three days later on February 28, 1942, near a church along with his wife. He wrote a secret memorandum  but it was intercepted by the SS-Sonderkommando. Today, there is an obelisk to his memory erected at Chełmno.


German cruiser Admiral Scheer was sunk in a general RAF bombing raid by over 300 allied aircraft which struck the harbor in Kiel. Admiral Scheer was hit by bombs and capsized. After the end of World War Two,  she was partially broken up for scrap though part of the hull was left in place and buried with rubble from the attack in the construction of a new quay. The number of casualties from her loss is unknown.

German submarines U-804 was attacked and sunk:  (Note:  After her second patrol  U-804 returned to the port of Flensburg after 116 days at sea. Five days later she left  for Kiel, where she remained until April 4, 1945 then left for occupied Norway. The U-804, accompanied by U-843 were spotted on April 9, 1945 at Skagerrak Strait,  and attacked by over 30 De Havilland Mosquito aircraft from RAF Squadron No. 143.   Another German sub, U-1065 succeeded in shooting down one of the Allied attacking aircraft before being hit by several rockets fired by 10 Mosquitos from RAF Squadron 143 and Squadron 235. The U-boat exploded and sank with the loss of her crew of 45.

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