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The Polish armed forces in Western Europe, the Mediterranean and Atlantic in 1939-1945.



POLSKIYE ARMED FORCES IN THE WEST In 1939-1945

S.M. Monin *

Article is devoted to the analysis of participation of the Polish armed forces in the West in 1939 — 1945. The author opens a role of the Polish paramilitary groups in battles on three battlefields: North European (1940), Western European (1940 i1944 — 1945) and Mediterranean (North Africa in 1941 - 1942 and Italy in 1944 — 1945), showing the significant contribution of the Polish armed forces to a general victory over fascist Germany.

The national accident which comprehended Poland in September, 1939 did not paralyze will of Poles to fight, did not break their belief in revival (next!) Polish state. Hopes of Poles were pinned on England and France now in spite of the fact that London and Paris just actually betrayed Poland, having thrown it on worry to much more powerful opponent - Germany.

FRANCE 1939 — 1940

After defeat of Poland in September, 1939 some Polish military divisions of the general the number of 43 thousand people managed to leave the country to Romania, Hungary and also to Lithuania and Latviyu1. Many military personnel made the way abroad independently. The center of gravity for

them there was France. There joined them

20 one thousand volunteers from semi-million Polish emigration. VoFrantsiya the obosnovalosyemigrant-sky Polish government headed by the general Vladislav Sikorsky which intended to create new Polish army. It already happened in the history: thousands of Poles served Napoleon, and in the years of World War I the Polish parts worked in France.

Creation of new Polish army in the French territory was difficult business. Paris, maybe, feeling the guilt for inaction in September events, gave the consent. Legally it was recorded in the Polish-French military contract of September 9 and in the executive protocol of September 21, 1939 later supplemented with the contract of January 4, 1940. But fields -

* Monin Sergey Mikhaylovich is a candidate of historical sciences, the associate professor of the world and national history of MGIMO (U) the MFA of Russia, e-mail: grand@mgimo.ru.

Kam it was necessary to rehabilitate still itself in the opinion of the patrons. The French public quite often very was skeptical about the idea of reconstruction of the Polish army. All fall and winter of 1939 — 1940 Poles prepared in camps, having received from owners only a uniform and some weapon. One of the Polish officers remembered: "The French, without caring for us at all, allocated us very bad barracks which are not equipped with the most necessary for normal existence. Behind water it was necessary to go several hundreds of meters. With heating the situation was even worse. Despite a winter time, barracks were not heated. Weapon for training was available a little and that outdate" 2. And all this occurred during "strange war", in rather quiet situation when the host, apparently, had enough forces and means for support to the reviving army of the ally.

Spring of 1940 the number of the Polish troops in France reached 84 thousand people. Two Polish divisions (1st grenadierial and 2nd shooting) were almost created, and two more (the 3rd and 4th) were in training camps. Also two separate crews, four aviation squadrons, forces of air defense and other divisions were created.

Formation of the Polish parts and connections still continued when the Anglo-French command found for them application especially as Poles expressed readiness to battle.

NORWAY 1940

Norway became the first battlefield on which Poles had to be at war outside the country.

However, first Poles nearly went to be at war against the Red Army in the Polar region. From the beginning of the Soviet-Finnish war England and France began to be preparing for assistance of Finland actively. For these purposes they intended to send the 150-thousand forwarding case to the battlefield. Along with British and the French it was supposed to include in its structure also the Polish soldiers ready "to settle accounts" with the Soviet Union for its actions in September, 1939

One of versions of the Anglo-French plans included disembarkation of allied troops in the Finnish port Petsamo on the coast of the Barents Sea. Further they had to move ahead on the Soviet city of Kandalaksha with the purpose to cut off the railroad Murmansk — Leningrad and to create threat to Leningrad from the North. However defeat of Finland in March, 1940 removed this option from the agenda.

Soon the North of Europe was embattled again. Germany was going to take Denmark and Norway. At the same time the western allies, planning sending the forwarding case to Finland, assumed that "therein" their troops will occupy nonfreezing port Narvik in the north of Norway through which the Swedish iron ore went for export to Germany and also the North of Sweden where there were fields of this ore. At the same time especially were not interested in opinion of Oslo and Stockholm. Plans of disembarkation in Narvik remained also after the end of the Soviet-Finnish war.

British began to mine territorial waters of Norway even before invasion into this country of fascist troops. The Polish ships which managed to break in the fall of 1939 to the British ports also participated in operations of their fleet. The Polish destroyers "Burza", "Grom" and "Blyscawi-ca" patrolled the water area between Scotland and the southern coast of Norway. On April 8

1940 at 11:45 the Polish Orzel submarine under command of the captain Jan Grudzinsky sank near the Norwegian city of Kristiansand the German transport vessel "Rio de Janeiro" with 400 soldiers onboard. The Germans who are picked up by the Norwegian rescuers told that they went for disembarkation in Bergen. However both the Norwegian, and allied military command was not used properly by these data got thanks to the Polish submariners. So, the British fleet which was at coast of Norway could work more quickly and cause a big loss to Germans at the time of transportation of their troops by sea. British as disembarkation of the German landing was planned at 05:15 on April 9 had enough time. In practice invasion of Germany in many respects took her opponents unawares. For several days the fascists took the southern and central parts of Norway.

Otherwise events in the north of this country where first Germans appeared too developed. Since April 14 the British troops for which delivery the Polish transport vessels "Batory" and "Chrobry" were used, in particular, began to land there. After British in the north of Norway the French and Polish parts appeared.

Poles in this operation were presented by mountain crew, or as it was called, team of podgalsky shooters. The brigadier general Zygmunt Bogush-Shishko ordered it. Formation of this military unit began in France in February, 1940. Though her officers were participants of a September campaign, but ordinary structure, was generally presented untrained kind

rollers or elderly reservists from families of the Polish emigrants in France. Fighting firing practice was practically not carried out, and training came down only to battle marches and garrison exercises. Actually the crew was not ready to fighting yet and suffered an acute shortage of weapon and equipment. But "the enthusiasm and desire were huge, - the Polish eyewitness of these events remembered subsequently, - therefore considered what everything be all right. Especially as it was demanded by allies" 3.

Confusion and a disorder were felt also when sending to the battlefield. So, because of the French quartermasters who did not organize properly loading and unloading of crew, one of battalions went to the front without fuses for grenades and tapes for easel machine guns. To the place of conducting military operations of profit

4 778 Polish soldiers. Thereby Poles showed readiness to battle against Germans contrary to statements of fascist promotion that the Polish army is destroyed.

Total number of allied troops reached 25 thousand people. In May as a part of forwarding forces 12 battalions acted: 3 British,

5 the French and 4 Polish.

Allies at some point managed to press the opponent and to come to advantageous positions for capture of Narvik. But the begun approach of fascist troops on the Western front mixed all plans. With active participation of under-galsky shooters Narvik nevertheless was taken on May 28

1940 , but only to create more favorable conditions for evacuation of allied troops. A conclusion began on June 4. The Polish transatlantic vessel "Sobieski" onboard which 2 Polish battalions accommodated was used for transportation of troops among others. The Polish divisions were among the allies covering withdrawal. The last of Poles the general Z. Bogush-Shishko with the headquarters left on June 7 Narvik. Before it he received an official message of thanks from the chief, the French general A. Betuar, and from the Norwegian military for high fighting qualities and discipline of soldiers of his crew.

In the Norwegian campaign of loss of the Polish team of podgalsky shooters 97 dead (189 wounded and 28 missing persons of them 66 during the heaviest fighting for Narvik on May 28 — 29) made. After the end of war the Norwegians put a monument to the Polish soldiers who fell near Narvik in places of fights.

In April — June in the Norwegian waters the Polish warships and grazh-actively worked

Don vessels. Three Polish destroyers supported from the sea of army of allies. On May 4 the destroyer "Grom" which the day before released about 500 shells on the German positions was sunk as a result of the attack of fascist bombers. Together with the ship 59 members of its crew died. The destroyers "Burza" and "Blyscawica" till May 10 were at coast of Norway and shot down at the same time 2 German planes. When bombing the Polish Chrobry transport vessel transporting battalion of the Irish guard was lost on May 14. Any Polish sailor did not leave the post during arisen by the sinking panic ship. As a result the most part of soldiers was saved. For the actions 16 crew members for the first time in the history of the Polish merchant fleet were awarded with the Cross for courage (Virtuti Militari)4.

FRANCE 1940

On May 10, 1940 fascist troops began approach on the Western front. Allies were not ready to reflection of German "blitzkrieg" at all. Their retreat more often turned into panic flight. The British troops were hastily evacuated home. The French in the eyes lost the fighting capacity. The Polish formations were ready to battle, but in the conditions of full paralysis and disorder of the French army they just had no such opportunity or could be involved only in transient fights.

the 1st the Polish grenadierial division engaged already at the end of a campaign, covering withdrawal of the Frenchman-skogoHHarmeyskiy case. At the same time the commander of a division general Bronislav Dukh, wishing to avoid reproaches in cowardice, too late gave the order on evacuation to England. As a result only from June 17 to June 21 the division lost 45% of staff.

the 2nd the rifle division deployed in the Region of Belfora on border with Switzerland after several collisions with the opponent passed on June 17 to the Swiss territory and was interned. the 3rd division which did not complete the formation and training yet was involved in fights in Brittany where it was broken. the 4th division, without engaging, it was evacuated to England.

Caused a stir unless the 10th mechanized cavalry crew of the colonel Stanislav Machek. It was the only completely mechanized part of the Polish army. Because of black overcoats which were carried by her soldiers and officers the nickname of "Black crew" was assigned to it. She with firmness battled in September

1939 in Poland also managed to go almost in full strength through Romania to France. There it was reformed, having received spring of 1940

to the technician for two tank battalions. During the French campaign the Polish tankmen conducted persistent battles in Champagne during which hectares of staff and all tanks were lost.

To the aid of the perishing France the Polish troops from Norway were transferred. The team of under-galsky shooters was landed on June 14 in Brest, but without artillery, logistic support and almost without ammunition. She had to participate in defense of Brittany, but in the conditions of full decomposition and disorganization of the French army it was already impossible to make it. At approach of the German tanks the general Z. Bogush-Shishko gave the order to the soldiers to disperse and make the way on the South, for Loire, or in the nearest ports. Thus, the crew as a military unit ceased to exist, however its battle flag managed to be transported to the British Isles.

From the Polish troops which were in France about 50 thousand people were involved in fights. Losses of Poles were 1.4 thousand the killed and 4.5 thousand wounded. The Polish fighter pilots shot down about 50 planes of the opponent.

In the middle of June, 1940 the prime minister of government in exile and the commander-in-chief of armed forces of Poland general VladislavSi-korskiy, seeing that the result of fight is predetermined, it ordered to the Polish troops to be evacuated to England. However, could make it only about 20 thousand people (according to other data, 30 thousand). Thus, less than in a year the Polish army suffered the second crushing defeat.

GREAT BRITAIN 1940 — 1945

For the second time the Poles began to recreate vigorously the armed forces, this time in Great Britain. The Anglo-Polish military contract of August 5, 1940

became a legal basis for this purpose

First there were problems. Communications of Poles with British were not so versatile and close, as with the French. There was no so numerous emigrant community here and. However gradually the relations were improved. The British prime minister At Churchill supported V. Sikorsky's intention to restore the Polish army as efficient force. Several negligence of owners to the allies quickly came to naught against the background of shameful escape of British from the continent and resolute intention of Poles to battle against fascists.

Large-scale formation of the Polish ground forces in Great Britain in 1940 was impossible. There was not enough staff. So, for example, from podgalsky crew some hundreds managed to move from France to England

the soldier headed by the general Z. Bogush-Shishko. In the summer of 1940 in Scotland the battalion was created from soldiers of crew. On July 17 the general V. Si-korsky attached the award Virtuti No. of N-1yap to his banner and awarded many soldiers and officers. Later the battalion was included in structure of the 1st Polish armored division.

The surplus of officers was one more problem when forming the Polish parts. Two officers, besides often unusable to service with troops on age were the share of seven privates and subofficers. At the beginning the corps of incomplete structure (about 14 thousand servicemen) were created. He received the name of the 1st Polish case. In view of threat of invasion of fascists to the British Isles, it was offered to it to bring protection of the 200-kilometer site on east coast of Scotland. The coastal zone was protected also by 12 armored trains which crews were formed of "supernumerary" Polish officers. A part of officers seconded for service in the English colonial troops.

However the greatest contribution to fight against fascist Germany at that moment was made by the Polish pilots. At first they were taken not really willingly in destructive aircraft, and trusted to fly only by outdated planes. But fighting experience of the Polish pilots who were in time to do some fighting in the homeland and in France, and their bravery in fight made the business. Especially as in the summer — in the fall

1940 air "fight for England" on which result in huge degree the fate of Great Britain depended ran high.

Poles were the most numerous and most skilled group of foreigners which came to the Royal Air Force. Some Polish pilots battled in the British parts. But in August, 1940 the Polish squadrons of destructive aircraft were created (the 302nd and 303rd). Both of them caused a stir at reflection of raids of Luftwaffe to the British Isles, and the 303rd squadron was the most productive on number of downed aircrafts of the opponent. In the sky over England one of the best Polish experts of World War II Stanislav Skalsky continued the account of the fighting victories. Later he as a part of the Polish fighting (destructive) group was at war in North Africa (group called TsirkSkalskiy) 5.

During "fight for England", according to the Polish data, 7 shot-down German planes (in actually British parts this ratio was 1:3) were the share of one died Polish pilot. During the most intense period of fights every eighth English plane lifted in

air Polish pilot. In total for August — October, 1940 Poles brought down 203 cars of the opponent over England that made nearly 12% of all German losses in this air battle which ended with defeat of Germany.

The government and the public of Great Britain highly appreciated feats of arms of the Polish pilots, noting them "unprecedented assertiveness and determination".

Besides destructive aircraft the 300th and 301st squadrons of bombing aircraft were created from Poles. By June, 1941 the Polish Air Force included already 8 squadrons of fighters and 4 squadrons of bombers.

In the subsequent the Polish aircraft continued to protect the British Isles, including from blows of German "wonderful weapon" (Poles brought down 193 FAU-1 also FAU-2), participated in raids to Germany and on other countries of the continent, in fight against the German ships, in transfer of cargoes for a resistance movement, covered ground forces of allies during opening of the second front in 1944

In 1940 — 1945 the Polish pilots who were based on the British Isles shot down 621 planes of the opponent, and taking into account campaigns of 1939 in Poland and 1940 in France this number makes about 900.

The MEDITERRANEAN 1939 — 1943

the Polish armed forces were first presented to

On the Mediterranean battlefield by Separate Carpathian crew (about 5,800 people) under command of the general Stanislav Kupansky. The crew was created in Syria from the Polish military personnel who after defeat of Poland made the way through the Balkans there. The name of this part happened an otzhe-laniye of the Polish soldiers to bring release to the homeland, coming from the South, from the Carpathians.

After defeat of France in 1940 the vishistsky administration of a vsiriya tried to subordinate itself crew, and business nearly reached the armed opposition. As a result Poles were relocated to Palestine, and then to Egypt and turned into submission to the British command.

To British it was very opportunely. The situation for them was very disturbing in connection with attempts of Germany and Italy to establish the domination in all Mediterranean. The only thing that first pleased them, is a full helplessness of Italians who, having failed the approach from Libya to Egypt, addressed then in panic flight, masses being given in captivity. British joked that supposedly they took prisoner of "5 acres of officers and 200 acres of privates" 6. But was to appear in Libya enough in

the beginning of 1941 only to two German divisions under command of the general E. Rommel as became British not before laughter.

In March the italo-German troops suddenly took the offensive, cleared the territory of Libya of British and even crossed the border with Egypt. In the back the troops of the countries of "axis" had only important fortress - porttobruk, withheld by the Australian division. Together with the British parts in August, 1941 on change by the sea from Alexandria the Polish team of the Carpathian shooters was transported to it.

Poles played a noticeable role in defense of this strategically important point on approaches to Egypt. At some point they made over 30% of defenders of the city. When in the end of the year the British deblocked Tobruk, together with them the Polish troops went to approach to the West. They especially caused a stir in December, 1941 in break of defense of the opponent around El-Gazzal and a victory over Italians. In March, 1942. The Carpathian crew which lost by then 200 killed and 424 wounded was recalled to Palestine. There it was transformed to the 3rd Carpathian division.

After defeat of France in June, 1940 and prior to the beginning of 1944 the actions of the Carpathian crew were the only a little noticeable contribution of the regular Polish forces submitting to the London government to real combat operations against the countries of "axis" in the land.

In the spring — summer of 1942 in the middle of the Stalingrad battle the Soviet Union to Iran was left by the Polish army of the general Vladislav Anders, numbering over 76 thousand people. It consisted of 4 infantry divisions, armored brigade and other parts and divisions.

Withdrawal of the Polish army from the USSR had serious long-term consequences. Practically for two years the participation of so numerous regular Polish forces in large fights with the opponent was removed. An opportunity to make the contribution to the fastest liberation of Poland was missed, and moving on the shortest way, from the East the West. A serious blow to cooperation of the USSR and Poland in fight against the general enemy which arose with such work was struck. Of course, many Poles who especially passed through Stalin prisons and the camp did not take a special liking for the Soviet power. The unknown at that time the fate of many Polish officers who were "gone" after September, 1939 and in general the difficult nature of the relations between two countries affected. Moscow, certainly, knew about the moods reigning in the Polish troops, but after all counted on joint fight

against fascist Germany. Now willy-nilly it was necessary to look for other allies among Poles, and Stalin, naturally, relied on the left, communistic forces.

Emergence in Iran of new allied forces in itself had considerable value. The Polish parts together with the Soviet and British troops which were already in the country could be used for prevention of activity proger-manskikhsit local oil fields for protection. Especially important task of allies was safety of one of the main routes of cargo delivery going on a lend-lease to the Soviet Union from the USA and Great Britain. It is known that through the Persian Gulf and Iran in the USSR there passed nearly a quarter of all deliveries of allies.

From Iran the Polish troops were transferred to Iraq where their presence, in principle, too was useful. It was necessary to protect the Iraqi oil fields and the pipeline very important for supply with fuel of the British fleet going the kpoberezhyyusredizemny sea. And the situation in Iraq was difficult: not so long ago, in the spring

1941 , British had to suppress the open mutiny directed against them.

But all these tasks did not come within miles of direct participation in fights against Germany - the general terrible enemy for the USSR and Poland.

A part of the servicemen from Anders's army was transferred to the British Isles where they joined structure of the 1st Polish case. But most of the Poles who left the USSR served under the British beginning in Iran and Iraq where they since August, 1942 made the Polish army in the east.

In August, 1943 these troops were transferred to Palestine where together with the 3rd division of the Carpathian shooters which was already there were reduced to the 2nd Polish building under command of the general Anders. In Palestine, by the way, 3 of 4 thousand soldiers of the Jewish origin serving in the Polish army deserted. Many of them (among them there are M. Begin, future prime minister of Israel) joined ranks of podpolnykhter-roristicheskikhorganization of the anti-British orientation. In November of the same year the case moved to Egypt. At this time it consisted of two infantry divisions, two armored brigades, artillery group, a prospecting regiment and other parts and divisions with a total number about 52 thousand people.

ITALY 1943 — 1945

At the end of 1943 the 2nd Polish case began a re-deployment on the South of Italy where was a part of the 8th British army. At this time allied voice-

prepared for break of the German strengthened "Gustav's line" which blocked a way to Rome. Monte-Kassino - the well-known monastery of Benedictines which was on the high Rocky Mountains and was an ideal defensive position became key point of defense of fascist troops. The monastery was considered as an outstanding monument history (it was based by vVI of century) and cultures.

Around Monte-Kassino the German parachutists defended. Since January, 1944, allied troops undertook approach on this site three times, but every time with heavy losses were rolled away back. British, Americans, the French, New Zealanders, Indians replaced and supplemented each other, but could not overcome Germans.

Still there are disputes whether allies correctly arrived, having subjected the monastery - it is the site, holy for Christians, - massive bombing from air, having turned it into a heap of ruins and having killed many civilians who were at that moment in abbey. Apparently, the German soldiers in the monastery were not, and allies would owe it the nobility. After bombing when the survived monks left the monastery, the German parachutists just also arranged in ruins fine defensive pozitsii7.

Allied command planned break of "Gustav's line" for May, 1944, and at once in four places (operation "Diadem"). To fresh troops which recently arrived on front-2-mu Polish case - the most important task - to seize the monastery was set.

The fourth approach to Monte-Kassino was undertaken on May 11 — 18. Poles advanced to the first attack after powerful shelling from 1600 tools which began in May 23.0011. However because of strong fire of the opponent the Polish soldiers were forced to depart, having lost nearly a half of staff.

But Poles were not going to give up on the purpose. In the morning on May 17 the second attack in parallel with approach of other parts of allies began. After all, the general V. Anders collected all forces which were available at its order for a decisive throw. But in the morning on May 18 it became clear that the German parachutists left the monastery for fear to get to an environment (on the neighboring sites the allies already broke through the German defense). Over monastery ruins the soldiers of the 12th regiment Podolsk the lancer set up a white-red Polish flag.

Under Monte-Kassino the 2nd Polish building lost 924 persons the killed and 4,199 wounded.

Fights for Monte-Kassino is the most known and heroic episode of a fighting way of the Polish army in the West. About them songs are put, the set of articles and knig8 is written.

Many Polish soldiers are based upon the cemetery near the place of battle. Among them and the general Anders who was buried here in 1970 according to its will. On a simple commemorative plaque the epitaph is traced:

We, Polish soldiers,

For our and your freedom Gave our souls to God,

Our bodies - Italy,

A our hearts - Polshe9.

After capture by Monte-Kassino's allies and break of "Gustav's line" Germans without fight left Rome where the American troops entered on June 4, 1944. Hitlerites began to depart orderly on a new defensive boundary - the "Gothic line" passing north of the capital of Italy. Allies pursued them. the 8th English army as a part of which there was the 2nd Polish case struck the main blow along the coast of Adriatic Sea, meaning then to turn from the sea (from the district of Rimini) deep into the Apennines, to Bologna. In the summer of 1944 Poles occupied Ancona port, then together with other allied troops put in "The gothic line". However, approach was too slow. As a result allies broke through the strengthened line of the opponent, but in December when to Bologna remained very little, their approach stood. The task to leave to the valley of the Po River in the north of Italy was not solved.

New approach of allied troops in Italy began on April 9, 1945. By this time they surpassed the opponent on this battlefield in staff by 3 times, on tanks - almost by 8 times and had absolute domination in air (30:1). So, on the 30-kilometer site of breakthrough of the 8th army near Bologna five divisions of the 5th English and the 2nd Polish cases and to six detached tank battalions were resisted by only 2 German divisions. At first allies carried out 4-hour artillery preparation which periodically was interrupted for 10 minutes that the aircraft could strike bombing and assault attacks directly to a first line of defense of the opponent. Then the infantry and tanks of British and Poles moved vpered10. Germans first still tried to resist, especially at river boundaries, but then their defense began to collapse. It was clear that war comes to an end, and therefore the will of the opponent was cracked.

21 April, 1945 allied troops entered Bologna. In the forefront liberators there were Poles. They were heartily welcomed by the local community which with relief dumped a fascist yoke. Seventeen Polish officers were entitled honourable citizens of Bologna, and to several Polish soldiers later handed medals with an inscription "To the liberators, the first entered Bologna - on April 21, 1945, - in honor from success".

Anglo-American troops went further, to Northern Italy, and the 2nd Polish case finished the fighting way in Bologna. For the Italian campaign the building lost 2,301 persons the killed and 14,830 wounded (more than 36% of staff) 11.

After the end of war of army of the general Anders remained in Italy as a part of occupational forces. Most of the Polish soldiers did not want to be restored to Poland which got under the power of communists. In 1946 they were transported to Great Britain where remained on permanent residence.

WESTERN EUROPE 1944 — 1945

By the time of opening of the second front on July 6, 1944 on the British Isles from structure of the 1st Polish case in readiness for participation in fighting there were the 1st armored division (about 16 thousand soldiers and officers and about 400 tanks) and the 1st separate parachute crew.

Having successfully performed Norman landing operation, allied command sought to broaden the occupied base and to increase the forces on the continent. Among the new connections which landed in Normandy there was and 1ya the Polish armored division. This connection submitted to the 1st Canadian army which was a part of the 21st group of armies of allies (the commander - the English general, then the field marshal B. Montgomery).

At the end of July the allies developed approach in Northwest France. Soon the large group of fascist troops (up to 20 divisions) appeared under the threat of an environment near the cities of Falez and Arzhantan. From the South it was covered by the 12th American group of armies, from the North - the 21st Anglo-Canadian group of armies.

Falezsky operation took place from August 8 to August 25. At the very beginning of battle, August 8, the best-known tankman of Germany M. Vittmann on whose account, allegedly, there were 138 padded enemy tanks and self-propelled guns and also 132 artillery pieces died. Circumstances of his death are still not clear. Often his death charge to Canadians. But there is also other version. M. Vittmann alone attacked on "Tiger"

the whole platoon of the Sherman tanks from the Polish division, lined several cars, but someone from Shermanov, having come a styla, in a volley German "Tiger" with his crew on kuski12 over open sights carried.

The Americans who were quickly moving ahead in the first days of operation borrowed Arzhantan and stopped, without having begun to break a boundary line with the 21st group of armies to avoid confusion in management of troops and dangers to strike a blow to allies. The last happened near Falez repeatedly when the allied aircraft bombed positions of the troops, and Poles by mistake fired kanadtsev13.

Approach of the Anglo-Canadian troops on which edge there was the Polish armored division developed more slowly. At some point a division, having been ahead of allies, bypassed Falez and already was closed "a falezsky copper". Germans desperately tried not to allow to slam to an environment ring, attacking from the outside of and from within "copper".

Poles appeared in the epicenter of heavy fighting, just in a corridor through which Germans withdrew the troops. The fighting spirit of the Polish soldiers was fed with broadcast messages on a revolt in Warsaw against fascists. It is not sophisticated that Poles battled especially with firmness and furiously. After all, Americans united to Poles, but 8 German divisions which were not in time to depart remained in "a falezsky copper". A part of surrounded managed to leave, the others were captivated.

In general falezsky operation became outstanding success of allies. B. Montgomery concerning these events said that allies caught Germans in a bottle, and Poles served as a stopper. In fights near Falez the Poles lost about 2 thousand people and about 100 tankov14.

Further the Polish division remained as a part of the 21st group of armies, participated in approach along the coast of the North Sea, on the left flank of allied troops on the Western front. So, together with Canadians in the fall of 1944 Poles tried to take the mouth of Scheldt under control without what allies could not use occupied by them still

4 September the largest port Antwerp extremely important for supply of allied forwarding forces (it was open only at the end of November). The Polish armored division acted on the territory of Netherlanders which release dragged on from fall of 1944 to spring of 1945. At the beginning of May, 1945 the Poles reached the German naval base Vilgelmskhafen15.

the 1st separate parachute crew under command of the general Stanislav Sosabovsky originally intended for disembarkation to territories of Poland for the purpose of interaction with si-

Lamy of the Army Craiova (AC) submitting to government in exile in London. Still it was provided in the forefront prepared by joint stock company in 1941 — 1942 that at the time of crash of Germany in Poland the Polish parts created in Great Britain will land. In October, 1943 the commander of joint stock company general T. Komorowski, developed the plan of an armed revolt in Warsaw. It was supposed that after the capital is occupied by sudden blow of insurgents, within several days the Polish parachute crew will be landed there. Thus, conditions for moving to Warsaw of government in exile from Londona16 will be prepared.

The same plan repeated also in the summer of 1944 when Army Craiova by all means sought to take the power in Warsaw before arrival of the Red Army which was already in close proximity to the Polish capital. However responded to requirements to provide transfer of the Polish parachute crew to the aid of risen the British committee of chiefs of headquarters that "allied operations in Poland can be performed only at full coordination with the Russian approach" (that the London Poles were not going to do). As for transfer of polskikhde-santnik to Warsaw, British quite reasonably considered this plan impossible because flight through the territory of Germany inevitably would lead to heavy poteryam17.

The 1st separate Polish parachute crew accepted baptism of fire on the Western front. Allies at the end of August — the beginning of September, 1944 high rates moved ahead across Northern France, Belgium and Luxembourg. But attempts straight off to break through the strengthened "Siegfried's line" covering Germany from the West were not successful. Then it was conceived to bypass this line from the North, from the Netherlands (operation "Market Garden"). The crucial role at the same time was assigned to airborne troops which had to occupy bridges through Bas-Rhin and other rivers and channels and to provide, thus, conditions for invasion of allied armies directly on the territory of "the third Reich". It happened to participate in realization of this plan of allied command also to Poles.

The operation "Market Garden" (on September 17 — 26) did not bring, however, the expected result. If the American parachutists, generally, solved postavl?

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