The Home Army

The Home Army

 


41_cc-Tobie-Ojczyzno-grupa-250x139 Armia KrajowaTable of Contents


 

Orzel_AK-244x300 Armia Krajowa

The Home Army (Armia Krajowa) was the official name for the Polish Armed Forces of the Polish Underground State operating on the territory of the Polish II Republic which were occupied by the Nazi Germany and the URSS.

It has its roots in the Service for Poland's Victory (Służba Zwycięstwu Polski) founded on September, 27 1939 and the Union of Armed Struggle (Związek Walki Zbrojnej) founded on November, 13 1939. It came into existence on  Feb, 14 1942 upon the order issued by gen.  Władysław Sikorski Commander in Chief Home Army – Armia Krajowa.

It was the most numerous, the longest lasting armed formation which also used the most diverse types of combat in occupied Europe. It was the underground Polish army. What made it so unusual was the fact that its aim was to fight for Poland’s independence above political and party prejudice.

It comprised Home Army (pol. Armia Krajowa) the units of National Military Organisation (Narodowa Organizacja Wojskowa) since 1942, Confederation of the Nation (Konfederacja Narodu) since 1943, a part of National Armed Forces (Narodowe Siły Zbrojne) since 1944, a part of Polish Farmers’ Battalions (Bataliony Chłopskie) since 1943 and People’s Guard (Gwardia Ludowa) since 1940.

Zanim kraj upadł, polskie władze położyły fundament pod rozległą organizację zbrojnego oporu. W kraju pozostało dziewięciuset Polaków wyszkolonych w walce partyzanckiej, a w trzystu podziemnych schronach w całym kraju zmagazynowano materiały wybuchowe, granaty, karabiny i pistolety. Polska spośród wszystkich okupowanych krajów najbardziej odrzuciła kolaborację. Jej Armia Krajowa (od 14 lutego 1942 roku, wcześniej od listopada 1939 – Związek Walki Zbrojnej) – największy, najbardziej zaawansowany i najlepiej zorganizowany ruch oporu w całej Europie – nie pozostawiła żadnej wątpliwości, że oczekuje od Polaków, że przeciwstawią się Niemcom w każdy możliwy sposób – poczynając od odmawiania współpracy, a kończąc na dywersji i sabotażu
Lyne Olson, Wyspa ostatniej nadziei. Anglicy, Polacy i inni, s. 188

 

The phenomenon of the Polish Underground State

polskie-panstwo-podziemne-300x215 Armia KrajowaFunctioning during the Second World War, St. in occupied Poland, the conspiratorial structures of the Polish state, subordinate to the government in exile (first in France, then in Great Britain), are a phenomenon on a global scale. There has never been such an extensive and efficiently functioning structure anywhere in the world

Occupied Poland had its own government in London and its own Polish Armed Forces in the West. There were underground courts in the occupied country, issuing sentences that were enforced by Home Army soldiers

Secret schools, i.e. underground schools, operated throughout the occupation. About 2 thousand. secondary schools. Underground universities during the war trained around 10,000 in the underground. students. Throughout the occupation, underground press (about 1,400 titles) and books were published. At the turn of 1943/44, the total circulation of the underground press amounted to approx. 250 thousand. magazines, 65.5 thousand. brochures and approx. 120 thousand. flyers. There were also underground theaters, concerts, poetry evenings ...

Marek Ney-Krwawicz – Fenomen Polskiego Państwa Podziemnego
w: Biuletyn informacyjny AK nr 1 (237) styczeń 2010, s. 12 – 16

 

Marek Ney-Krwawicz – Armia Krajowa w strukturach Polskiego Państwa Podziemnego
w: Biuletyn informacyjny AK nr 2 (262) luty 2012, s. 7 – 10

 

The underground Home Army

The Home Army, active in the underground, consisted only of volunteers, and at its peak it had as many as 390 000 soldiers! It was larger than the Polish Army at the beginning of 1939. It was an army without barracks. In 1944, 10.8 thousand people served in it. officers, mostly professional soldiers. Commanding positions, at various levels, also included civilians. With this size of the army, there was a shortage of professional commanders. Silent and Unseen they were to help greatly in the preparation and conduct of a general uprising in the country! They were to support the implementation of the strategic and tactical goal of the Home Army.

Polish authorities aimed at restoring independence and reconstructing the country within its borders as they were in August 1939 as well as joining the area if East Prussia, Gdansk, Pomerania and Opole’s region of Silesia to the Polish state.

The strategic objective of the Home Army was organizing a victorious national rising at the ending phase of the war. Celem taktycznym było prowadzenie walki bieżącej: wywiad, sabotaż, represje, dywersja. According to a classified British report as of Nov, 25 1941 there were 121 000 soldiers with 3,800 officers within the structures of the Union of Armed Struggle. Only 35,000 were armed…

 

Patryk Pleskot – W różnorodności siła. Pluralizm ideowy Armii Krajowej
w: Biuletyn informacyjny AK nr 2 (262) luty 2012, s. 25 – 29

 

 

Diversion and Intelligence

The activities of the Home Army focused in detail on diversion, sabotage and intelligence. In the years 1942-1945, troops of Fighting Poland soldiers carried out over 110 000 armed and sabotage actions, with 2,3 thousand aiming at transportation targets (1,3 thousand armed trains were derailed). Zabito w walce ponad 150 thousand niemieckich żołnierzy i policjantów oraz kolaborantów.

Wywiad AK incl. obtained information about the construction and determined the place of production V1 and V2 rockets in Peenemünde on the island of Usedom. The most significant success of Polish intelligence was the development of the German information encryption system, known as "Enigma”. As early as 1942, Poles provided documents describing the structure of the entirety of the German land and air forces.

„(…) I express my appreciation of the Home Army for the effort made in the last year and I assure you that today we consider it the best organized and most efficient underground army in Europe

gen. Collin Gubbins (SOE) in a letter of May 1, 1943 to gen. Tadeusz Klimecki (Chief of Staff of the Commander-in-Chief)

 

The contribution of Polish intelligence to the efforts of the Allies in 1945 was assessed by the MI6 liaison officer (1940-1946), Commander Wilfred Dunderdalea MI6 liaison officer (1940-1946) who said: “out of 45 770 intelligence reports sent from occupied Europe which were delivered to the Allies, 22 047 (48%) came from the Polish sources. (…) It follows that over the last five years Polish agents in Europe have been working continuously and that they have provided, despite the great danger to themselves and their families, a great amount of material of all kinds and covering many topics ”..

In 2004 and 2005, the findings of the Polish-British Historical Commission were published. "Polish-British intelligence cooperation during World War II" (published by the Supreme Directorate of State Archives, Warsaw 2004, 2005 ISBN 83-89115-11-5 and ISBN 83-89115-37-9. In 2005, the British government officially confirmed that approx. that about half of all secret reports for the Allies from occupied Europe came from Poles.

 

Subversive formations

Armia_krajowa_struktury-256x300 Armia KrajowaIn the course of its actions the HA would create special sabotage units: (20-04-1940) Union of Retaliation - Związek Odwetu,  (sierpień 1940) Wachlarz (eng. folding fan), (maj 1942) Organisation for the Special Combat Actions OSAOn Jan,22 1943 Directorate of Diversion of the HA (KEDYW) KG AK. He gathered the Union of Retaliation, Fan, Secret Military Organization and battle groups of the Gray Ranks (pol. Szare Szeregi).

In June 1943 it was established Agat was founded (acronym in Polish: anti-Gestapo) with Adam Borys “Pług” (one of the Silent and Unseen) as the head. In January the unit changed its name for Pegaz (acronym in Polish: against-Gestapo) and in June 1944 for Parasol (Polish word for umbrella).The unit took pride in spectacular actions eg. against Nazi dignitaries such as the assassination of Franz Kutschera (the Butcher of Warsaw).

 

Silent and Unseen

The Silent and Unseen who were sent to Poland were high level specialists who were trained in intelligence, diversion, sabotage and communications. They would take on responsibility at all levels of the Command, the Head of the HA included. Podstawowym zadaniem Cichociemnych było wsparcie Armii Krajowej w konspiracyjnej walce w okupowanej Polsce, także przygotowywanie powstania powszechnego, które planowano rozpocząć w ostatniej fazie wojny w Polsce oraz odtworzenie Sił Zbrojnych R.P. po wojnie – także w Polsce.

Cichociemni, although not a formally existing unit, became the precursors of modern special units. Airborne operations, special operations, carried out with the use of specially trained, elite commando formations, are now a key element of all strategies and military doctrines in the world.

 

 

Kazimierz Iranek-Osmecki – Charakter i oblicze polskiego podziemia wojskowego
Londyn 1951 r.  w: Biuletyn informacyjny AK  nr 2 (262) luty 2012, s. 14 – 24

 

Legal status of the Home Army
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pomnik Armii Krajowej i Polskiego Państwa Podziemnego w Warszawie

The Union of Armed Struggle, and later the Home Army, had a rather specific legal status. Some historians mistakenly consider the Home Army to be an integral part of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, and even place an equal sign between them, introducing the term PSZ/AK. Some politicians publicly accept even the obvious nonsense that Cichociemni soldiers of the Home Army "They were at the head of the Allied military operations." These are wrong simplifications.

All soldiers (on active military service) in occupied Poland constituted the Home Army (although not all of them surrendered to the Home Army, not all organizations were merged) and were subordinate to the AK commander (and not directly to the Commander-in-Chief, commanding the PES in the West). Of course, that was also the case Cichociemni (eng. Silent Unseen).

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Siedziba Naczelnego Wodza – hotel Rubens, Londyn

The Commander of the Home Army had the rights of the Commander-in-Chief over the soldiers of the Home Army until the arrival of the NW operating in a foreign country on the territory of the Republic of Poland - this was the decree of the President of the Republic of Poland of September 1, 1942 "On the temporary organization of authorities in the territory of the Republic of Poland" (repeated with changes on April 26, 1944). Polish soldiers in occupied Poland were therefore soldiers of the Home Army, not soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces; subordinated to the commanders of the Home Army. It does not appear from the decree that the Home Army was part of the PES, but it does appear that the Commander of the Home Army was subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief in London (nota bene, he was appointed by him).

Art. 12 sec. 1 of the decree of the President of the Republic of Poland constituted:
"During the absence of the Commander-in-Chief, the command of the Armed Forces in the territory of the Republic of Poland is exercised by the Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, who is directly subordinate to him".

The road to the final adoption of this decree perfectly illustrates the reality of "commanding the Home Army" by the Commander-in-Chief in London - the President of the Republic of Poland signed this decree September 1, 1942in October 1942 he was sent to the Government Delegate for Poland, after receiving amendments from occupied Poland, the decree was issued ... April 26, 1944, i.e. after almost twenty months ...

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Siedziba Oddziału VI

The commander of the Home Army had an extremely wide autonomy of action. In practice, he commanded the Home Army on his own, although he carried out the orders of the Commander-in-Chief. His "autonomy" was mainly the result of a realistic approach, ie the technical impossibility of the time to command conspiratorial structures in the occupied country directly from abroad.

Indirectly, this autonomy of the Home Army commander was also emphasized by his status Division VI (Special) from the tabernacle of the Commander-in-Chief in London, which was a kind of "Home Army embassy" in the staff of the Commander-in-Chief. It was THE LISTENING INSTITUTION between the Commander-in-Chief and the Commander of the Home Army. It is worth noting in this context that it was initially even called the "Independent National Department".

As one of his bosses emphasizes, Col. Marian Utnik:

"In relation to the underground military organizations in Poland, gen. Sosnkowski was the general commander of the ZWZ, and in the country there were his subordinates (...) Division VI played the role of the operational staff of the chief commander of the ZWZ." After Germany's aggression against the USSR, "the role and task of Division VI fundamentally changed, which from the command body became in fact the liaison body of the main commander of the Home Army at the commander-in-chief in London (...). As a liaison between the military conspiracy in Poland and the NW Staff in London, Division VI he has performed many jobs, some of which are permanent and others periodic or only one-off.
Marian Utnik - Liaison Branch of the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Army at the Supreme Commander in exile (VI Branch of the Chief Staff of the Commander-in-Chief), part I, in: Military Historical Review, Warsaw 1981, No. 3 pp. 130 - 158)

The Supreme Commander only September 3, 1941 (after two years of occupation) in a message to the AGM and the Government Delegate for the Country, he stated that he CONSIDERED the military organization in the country as part of the Polish Armed Forces he commanded. From a formal and legal point of view, the message from NW cannot be considered a source of law, even in the then war situation. Its content shows that the Supreme Commander only expressed a personal view.

Before the Home Army started carrying out Operation Storm, the Home Army commander asked the Commander-in-Chief to make the Allies recognize the Home Army as part of the allied forces. Despite opposition from the USSR, the Western Allies, the USA and Great Britain, reacted favorably. In the British declaration of August 29, 1944, announced on BBC radio, it was stated that "The Polish Home Army, currently mobilized, is a veteran force, an integral part of the Polish Armed Forces". Political declarations on the radio of foreign countries, although allied, cannot be considered the source of Polish law, even in the reality of war. The status of the Home Army as part of the PES was not recognized by the USSR and the Germans, who, however, exceptionally respected it only towards some of the Home Army soldiers who went into captivity after the capitulation of the Warsaw Uprising.

To sum up, an underground military organization in occupied Poland - The Home Army - was a structure subordinate to the Commander of the Home Army, and the Commander of the Home Army had the powers of the Commander-in-Chief over it, although he himself was subordinate to him. From the content of the decree of the President of the Republic of Poland, also the legal status Division VI (Special)established by a legal order of the Commander-in-Chief, it is clear that The Home Army was a military structure separate from the Polish Armed Forces in the West (though supported by them) and was subordinate only to her Commander. The Commander of the Home Army, on the other hand, was subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief, although in practice he had an extremely wide autonomy in the command of the Home Army. The thesis about the Home Army as a "part" of the PES was formed for political use ...

Silent Unseen (pol. Cichociemni) were soldiers of the Home Army in special service
They were soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces before, before being transferred to Poland ...

Marek Ney-Krwawicz – Polskie Państwo Podziemne. Aspekty wojskowe

 
Finance of the Home Army

500_zł_1940_awers-300x167 Armia KrajowaThe activities of the Home Army were initially financed (until the end of 1941) by the Polish Ministry of the Treasury in London, approx. 100 thousand dollars. From the spring of 1940 to the end of 1942, an underground organization operated in the German-controlled Polish Security Printing Works in Warsaw, which produced banknotes and other documents for the German occupier - Underground Banknotes Factory (PWB) A group of PWPW employees, commanded by Sec.zesława Lecha ps. Biały, for the needs of the Polish Underground State, secretly produced banknotes, legalization documents, food stamps, shoe vouchers, etc. According to historians, by the end of 1942 PWB "produced" for the Home Army (actually it took over from PWPW production for the Germans) 18 milionów (!!!) "miller" (colloquial name for baknotów after the president of the Bank of Issue in Poland Feliks Młynarski). On August 12, 1943, the Home Army won in action "Górał" (eng. Mountaineer) until approx. 105 mln zł, the equivalent of about one million dollars at the black market rate. In July 1943, by a courier, plates of banknotes 50, 100 and 500 zlotys were delivered to Great Britain, as well as samples of papers, watermarks and paints, which made it possible to produce at the center SOESTS 38 in Briggens (Great Britain) approx. 50 million occupation zlotys for the Home Army.

In April 1942, the American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt donated for domestic underground organizations 1,5 mln grant dollars. In February 1943, the US president donated a subsidy in the amount of 2,5 million dollars; in June 1944 the London government received 10 mln American subsidy dollars. British SOE was commissioned by the Home Army intelligence service, opening to the operation "Big Scheme" (Wachlarz (eng. folding fan)about 3 mln loan dollars. From January 1944 to the end of March 1945, British intelligence - Intelligence Service passed through the Second Department (intelligence) of the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief 0,5 mln quarterly subsidy dollars for conducting Polish intelligence; in total, approx. 3 mln dollars. All donations in dollars and gold for shipment to occupied Poland totaled approx. 20 mln dollars; some of it was transferred to the Government Delegation for Poland (pol. Delagatura Rządu na Kraj)..

The main source of financing for the Home Army were these funds, initially transferred to the country by couriers via land routes (approx. 12 per cent), after the discharges by air were launched by Cichociemni (eng. Silent Unseen). Later, foreign currencies were transferred mainly by air, while occupation zloty was mostly transferred by land routes. The money from the drops did not reach the IV Division (quartermaster) of the Home Army Headquarters only after a few weeks. Foreign currency amounts had to be slowly exchanged on the "black market" in order not to bring down prices. Overall, the amounts shifted by couriers and Cichociemni were not sufficient for all needs.

The budget of the ZWZ in 1941 was approx. 517 tys. USD, in 1942 the expenses were estimated at the amount USD 4 million!In 1943, the Home Army's budget was approx. USD 10 million. In 1944, approx. USD 20 Million (Studium Polski Podziemnej - Armia Krajowa in documents 1939–1945, Gryf Printers, London 1990, vol. II, p. 147; Instruction No. 10, in: Armia Krajowa in documents ..., vol. II, p. 175).

Grzegorz Rutkowski – Środki pieniężne przerzucone drogą lotniczą
dla Polskiego Państwa Podziemnego
w: Dzieje Najnowsze 2018, nr 2, s. 5 – 20

 

Preparation for the national rising

The idea of a national armed rising that was to supersede the return of the Polish regular army on the Polish territory appeared as early as in November 1939. Gen. Sosnkowski’s Bureau was in charge of this project when the Polish Government operated still in France. The name of the bureau would camouflage the real Command of the Union of Armed Struggle which had gen. Sosnkowski at its Head.

powstanie-powszechne-227x350 Armia Krajowa

„Zasady walki powstańczej”, druk: Tajne Wojskowe Zakłady Wydawnicze KG AK, kwiecień 1943

In the last decade of December 1939 the first internal conference of the Union of Armed Struggle in Paris on the future national rising. Among others Col. Stanisław Sosabowskiwas one of the participants. On Dec, 30th 1939 Cpt. Jan Górski sent to gen. Sosnkowski the first report on creating air bridges with occupied Poland. He prepared a study on “The use of aircrafts for communications and transport to support the rising in Poland. Formation of airborne units ”. As there was no response to that, he sent it again on Jan, 21 1940.

Finally, on Feb, 14 1940 together with Cpt Maciej Kalenkiewicz they submitted a third report. Cpt. Jan Górski underlined that “the main objective of the Polish armed forces in France is the most effective and the most direct military duty for Poland. Airborne actions conducted by Polish soldiers operating in France would be a the best form of the support granted.”

In April 1940 Cpt. Kalenkiewicz worked on „The Plan to support and cover a possible rising in Poland”. In the last decade of April 1940 both capitaines were transferred to the office of gen. Sosnkowski where they were developing plans of airborne missions to support the rising in the country. In May they presented a memorandum on that subject.

On June 29, 1940 when the Command of the Union of Armed Struggle was dissolved, a part of its staff was transferred to the Independent Country Department (Samodzielny Wydział Krajowy) within the structures of the offices of the Commander in Chief. It was named due to security reasons Department VI and then a Special Department of the Commander in Chief’s HQ. On October 10 1940 Władysław Sikorski , the Commander in Chief of the Polish Armed Forces issued an order – L.408/III . The order revolves around the preparation of the Polish Armed Forces to the possibility of being airdropped to the country, to directly support the uprising..

On July, 17th 1940 the British Intelligence MI (R) sent a report to War Office on the short and long-term strategy for cooperation with Poles. It stated that there is a possibility to incite a rising in Poland and recommended a tight cooperation between the British intelligence services and the 2nd Department of the Commander in Chief’s HQ.

In March 1941 Cpt. Jan Górski and Cpt. Cpt. Maciej Kalenkiewicz  submitted a strategic study: Uderzenie powierzchniowe [powietrznodesantowe] jako nowa forma walki zaczepnej.

 

The HQ of the HA declared in the document entitled: The rules of an insurgent fight” (Zasady walki powstańczej”):

“The rising has to be characterized by a long, precise preparation and a short, sudden, common and simultaneous strike which might prove successful within a few hours of the insurgent night thanks to a daring now-or-never attitude.”

 

Operational Report no. 54

AK-okregi-250x223 Armia KrajowaThe first plan of a popular rising, known as “Operational Report no. 54” was ciphered and sent to the HQ of the Commander in Chief in Feb 1941. When the report was being prepared Poland was occupied by Nazis and Soviets. When it reached the HQ, Germany attacked the USSR (June, 22 1941). The military cooperation which was initiated then between Great Britain and USSR was the reason why the plans on the popular rising in Poland were impeded and military help for the Home Army limited.

For some time, the Polish HQ was not conscious of the change that happened in the British priorities. To meet the requirements of the planned popular rising, a restructuring of the Polish air forces was prepared. There were plans to create 12 fighter and 4 bomber divisions till the end of 1942.

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The Eagle of the Polish Army

A vital part of the plan was to prepare 2-3 battalions of special units. Some of them were to be sent to Poland even before the popular rising. Among them:

  • Mining units to detonate roads, railways and plant explosives to destroy tanks
  • Special assault units to attack and take over airfields and its facilities
  • Partisan units trained in diversion to destroy enemy’s communication facilities and key military objects
  • Communications units to support an effective system to command the insurgent forces.

In the Operational Report no. 54 it is said that at least one paratroopers battalion was to be parachuted in 4 key regions as far as the scope of the rising is concerned. These were areas of the ethnic Polish origin which had well developed conspiracy structure: the area of General Government (without East Galicia), Zagłebie Dąbrowskie (Dąbrowa Górnicza Mine District), former Łodź Voivodship, the western part of the Białystok Voivodship, Płock region and the region of Brześć upon Bug. Taking over the area between Warsaw, Łódź, Cracow, Rzeszów and Lublin was deemed crucial for rising to be successful. At the same time focal points of the battle i.e. key targets were to be seized.

 

On Dec, 27 1941 Maj. Jan Górski noted in his diary:

“Our Polish plan to face the final battle against Germans was approved twice by the Commander in Chief and signed (orders 408/II ie. 40 oraz 841/III ie. 41.1 ), which meant that all resources were to be allocated for the rising purposes.

The orders above need a substantial effort to be executed. A question of a strategic nature arises which revolves around the choice of a united leadership and the best military forces we dispose of. Looking at the British-American effort the European campaign on the continent will play a most serious role. The way to conduct the above mentioned campaign is covered in the orders above. Till the very day one misses another perspective. Among those who see the solution in the Russian victory (…) there’s a despair that the orders were given but there is a vague idea about the actions”.

Unpublished source:  The family archive of Michał Górski.  We express our thanks for the Family to be so kind as to allow us to publish the above excerpts here.

 

raport-154-234x300 Armia Krajowa

The first page of a deciphered ‘Report No. 154’. SPP Archive

Operational Report No. 154

After the German aggression on Russia, the HA HQ prepared a modified plan of the rising, known as Operational Report No. 154. It was sent to London in September 1942 and it covered also requirements as for the air support for the possible rising action.

On 26, Feb 1943 the Head of the HQ of the Commander in Chief approved variant no.2 of the Plan for the Aerial Support for the Rising. In March 1943 the Operational Report No. 154 was deciphered in the HQ of the Commander in Chief. At its basis a presentation was prepared which covered the key aspects of the plan.

After the tragic death of gen. Sikorski the preparations to support the rising from air continued at its pace. They were conducted in cooperation with the leaders of the HA. To the plans of the rising a plan of the reconstruction of the Polish Armed Forced was added.

W 1943, po przełomie stalingradzkim na froncie wschodnim, w sytuacji pogarszania się stosunków radziecko – polskich, w tym wobec ujawnienia w kwietniu 1943 grobów polskich oficerów w Katyniu, kwestionowania granicy wschodniej przez ZSRR, dowództwo AK sygnalizowało potrzebę zmiany koncepcji powstania. Miałoby ono być przeprowadzane strefami, poczynając od wschodu. Wyodrębniono dwie strefy: od Wilna po Lwów oraz na terenach od linii Białystok – Brześć – Bug – San, na których wybuch powstania miał być zależny od wkraczania wojsk sowieckich.

Dla przygotowania planowanego powstania powszechnego w okupowanej Polsce założono zrzucenie 300 zestawów zasobników OW („Ognisko Walki”) oraz 40 zestawów MD (minersko – dywersyjnych); łącznie ok. 200 ton  zaopatrzenia. Założono straty w zrzutach ok. 25 proc. (85 zestawów), czyli łącznie zapotrzebowano 425 zestawów zasobników, co wymagało 450 lotów z zaopatrzeniem.

Przewidywano, że realnie możliwe będzie wykonanie ok. 200 lotów w operacjach specjalnych SOE. Plan zakładał zrzucenie także w tych operacjach ok. 800 spadochroniarzy (po 4 skoczków w każdej operacji). Pozostałe 250 lotów miało być zorganizowane dzięki pomocy amerykańskiej, w 3-4 operacjach masowych zrzutów z ok. 30-40 samolotów (8-12 zasobników na samolot). Wszystkie te plany pokrzyżowała prosowiecka postawa brytyjskiego Foreign Office (od którego było zależne SOE)…

 

Marek Ney-Krwawicz – Organizacja prac nad powstaniem powszechnym w kraju
w Sztabie Naczelnego Wodza na obczyźnie. Zarys problemu
Kwartalnik Historyczny, Warszawa 1995, tom 102, nr 2-3 s. 197-208, ISSN 0023-5903

 

Instructions for the country

October 26, 1943 the government of R.P. led by the Commander-in-Chief, adopted the "Instruction for the Country", which envisaged two alternatives for the uprising:

  • The Polish government, after agreeing with the Allies, comes to the conclusion that it is necessary to give the order to the uprising ", its main goal is to" take control of the largest possible area of the Republic of Poland, as a basis for restoring the sovereignty of the Polish State on Polish soil and recreating the Armed Forces in the country "
  • in the event of disagreement with the Allies, in the event of the collapse of the German front, summoning the Country"for increased sabotage and subversive action against Germany. This action, however, is then only of a political-demostational and protective character "„.

 

In the "Instructions" it was assumed that:

  • in the event of establishing diplomatic relations with the USSR, the government was to reveal the Polish underground administration, recreate the Polish Armed Forces and cooperate with the Soviets. In the case of "restoring (...) the state of unlawful incorporation"in the eastern territories [the incorporation of the whole of Poland was not planned - ed. RMZ] the government was to file a protest "at the United Nations ".„.;
  • in the absence of diplomatic relations with the USSR, the entry of Soviet troops was to be preceded by armed protests against Germany. In the event of Soviet arrests of "representatives of the underground movement" and repressions against Poles, underground organizations had "go to self-defense action".„.

In both of the above-mentioned cases it was stipulated that "active demonstrations [read: armed - ed. RMZ} should be limited to the necessary acts of self-defense ”.

 

The Instruction "also envisaged a rather surreal variant of the" German-Soviet agreement ", naively recommending -"The National authorities and the Armed Forces in the country go deeper underground, suspend military operations, except for the most necessary acts of self-defense, and await further decisions of the Government, reserving their forces for the final uprising when the Allied Armies approach.„.

It was also noted that "the postulate to transport our parachute troops to Poland may be upheld as right, although it is only a detail that does not significantly affect the conditions for starting the uprising".

The Commander-in-Chief and the Country Manual of October 26, 1943
in: documents of the Staff of the Supreme Commander and the Ministry of Military Affairs / MON
source: Polish Institute and the gen. Sikorski, reference number A.XII.1 / 39 pp. 8-10

 

Operation Tempest

Akcja-Burza-297x300 Armia KrajowaThe order issued on Nov, 20 1943 by the Commander in Chief of the HA is on the execution of the Operation Tempestwhich meant a military action of the HA against Germans conducted directly before the Red Army marches onto the pre-war Polish territory. According to the order the HA units were to attack German forces in diverse sabotage actions, transportation lines aimed at first. Neither military action against Soviets was allowed unless in self-defense.

The Home Army was to welcome the entering Red Army units according to the above order.“ The local Polish commander together with administrative civil authorities member are asked to reveal themselves at the Soviet forces and respond to their demands”.„.

Operation Tempest lasted since the Red Army crossed the pre-war Polish border on Jan,4 1944 till January 1945. It embraced ca. 100 thousand Polish soldiers and officers. For more information go to Operation Tempest.

 

Warsaw Uprising

Powstanie-Warszawskie-flaga-300x188 Armia KrajowaThe Warsaw Risins was one of the most important events in the modern history of Poland. Warsaw Uprising It started on  Aug, 1 1944 at. 17.oo, and lasted 63 days till, Oct, 2 1944. Polish insurgents were asked to leave the city till October 3, 1944 after midnight ceasefire. Until October 5, 1944, compact insurgent units were leaving the city captive.

It was one of the largest and fiercest urban battles of World War II, comparable to the battles in Stalingrad. The uprising covered part of the left-bank districts of Warsaw, a small area of the right-bank area of the capital, as well as the Kampinos Forest and Legionowo Forest. It was attended by approx. 50 thousand soldiers of the Home Army (pol. Armia Krajowa)and a few thousand soldiers of NSZ, AL, ZWM, KB, PALforces. 16 000 are declared to have died, 20 000 wounded and 15 000 taken prisoner.

Until today, controversy over the decision to start the Uprising continues. Once the Rising started the Red Army stopped its march in the Warsaw frontline. The USSR did not offer any help for insurgents. As for the support on behalf of the allies – the US and the UK – it was very limited. The Commander in Chief of the HA, gen. Stefan Grot-Rowecki was convinced of the malevolent Soviet intentions towards Poland and Poles. He urged they should be opposed before they entered the territory of the 2nd Republic of Poland. Unfortunately such plans were impeded by the approach of the western allies who cared for their interests and were fed by the Soviet propaganda.

For more information go to - Warsaw Uprising. It fought in the Uprising 95 Silent and Unseen, 18 died. 

 
The Trial of the Sixteen

proces-szesnastu-300x213 Armia KrajowaA puppet‘Temporary Government’composed by Stalin was approved by the USSR, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Since Feb, 1 1945 it installed its administration (calling to office new heads of regions, powiats etc) on the territory that fell in the Soviet hands once the Germans were chased away. In between 4-11 February 1945 the leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition - Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosvelt and Józef Stalin met at a conference in Jalta at the Potocki Palace in Livadia on the Crimea. During this meeting further referred to as the Jalta Conference , the annexation of the Polish lands - Kresy to the USSR was agreed upon. The USSR was to veil upon Poland and 1/3 territory of Germany (Thüringen, Saxony, Mecklenburg, Brandenburg and a part of Pomerania). As the Borderlands were taken over by the USSR, Poland was granted the territory of Lubuskie region, Western Pomerania, East Prussia, Silesia and the Free City of Gdańsk.

On Feb, 13 1945 the Prime Minister of Polish government in Exile Tomasz Arciszewski refuted the Jalta agreements. On Feb, 21 1945 the parliament of the Underground Poland – The Council of National Unityapproved of the Jalta agreements underlining that without participation and approval of the representatives of the Polish State its stipulations inflict severe and harmful conditions onto Poland.At the Jalta Conference the representatives of the world powers decided on the creation of a Temporary Government of National Unity in Warsaw and obliged it to organize free and general elections.

In such an unfavourable political situation the commanders of the HA accepted the Soviet “invitation to talk and meet.” It came out later that it was an operational game set by the NKVD gen. Ivan Sierov who was previously responsible for the Katyn Massacre and Stalinist crimes. The first invitation was sent to a Silent and Unseen gen. Leopold Okulicki who was the last Commander in Chief of the HA and the Head of NIE Organisationat the time. At the meeting on Feb, 21 1945 the Council of National Unity unanimously dissuaded him from accepting the invitation.On March, 4 1945 an initial meeting of the HA delegation with Sierov’s representative, Col. Konstantin Pimienowwas held. According to postwar study he was a counter-intelligence Smiersh officer, the head of the NKVD Operational Group in Radom. He gave his word of honour as for the “pure Soviet intentions”.

Proces_szesnastu_-_tablica_pamiątkowa-300x169 Armia Krajowa

A plaque. The villa where the Sixteen were detained in Pruszków

Meeting with Sierov was to take place on 28 march 1945 at Pęcicka 3 in Pruszków (now Armia Krajowa Street). On March, 27th 1945 the following representatives called up for the meeting: Jan Stanisław Jankowski, the Deputy PM of the Government in Exile, gen. Leopold Okulickithe last Commander in Chief of the HA, one of the Silent and Unseen and the Head of the NIE Organisation; Kazimierz Pużak (PPS „Wolność, Równość, Niepodległość”, the Head of the National Unity Council and Józef Stemler-DąbskiDąbski the Deputy Minister of the Information Department of the Government Delegation For Poland. On the next day they were joined by: Antoni Pajdak (PPS-WRN), Stanisław Jasiukowicz, Kazimierz Kobylański, Zbigniew Stypułkowski and Aleksander Zwierzyński (Stronnictwo Narodowe), Józef Chaciński and Franciszek Urbański  (Stronnictwo Pracy), Adam Bień, Kazimierz Bagiński and Stanisław Mierzwa (Stronnictwo Ludowe) also Eugeniusz Czarnowski and Stanisław Michałowski (Zjednoczenie Demokratyczne). The NKVD arrested all of them and deported to Okęcie airport the next day where they were sent to Moscow on a special flight. They were incarcerated at the NKVD Lubianka Prison.

At the show-trial of the Sixteen (June 18-21 1945) which was conducted contrary to the international law, 12 of them were sentenced and 3 acquitted. Antoni Pajdak was sentenced separately. The western powers accepted the stalinist sentences.

Silent and Unseen, gen. Leopold Okulicki , received the maximum penalty – 10 years of prison. He was incarcerated till December 24 1946 in cell no. 62 at the NKVD’s Lubianka Prison and murdered on that day.

 

One of the few to have a negative opinion on the trial was George Orwell

„Poles were accused of their fight to preserve the sovereignty of their country, opposing at the same time the puppet government which was imposed on them and staying faithful to the Government in Exile in London which was approved by the World countries apart from the USSR.”

 

Gen. Leopold Okulicki codename „Niedźwiadek” on trial in Moscow

 

Andrzej Chmielarz – Moskiewski proces przywódców Polskiego Państwa Podziemnego,  biuletyn AK  marzec 2017

 

 

 

Zobacz także – Zaopatrzenie Armii Krajowej

 

 

Sources:
  • Own sources
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  • Krzysztof A. Tochman: Słownik biograficzny cichociemnych. T. II. ABRES Rzeszów, ISBN 83-902499-5-2
  • Krzysztof A. Tochman: Słownik biograficzny cichociemnych. T. III. OS Ostoja, Zwierzyniec – Rzeszów, ISBN 83-910535-4-7
  • Krzysztof A. Tochman: Słownik biograficzny cichociemnych. T. IV. OS Ostoja, Zwierzyniec – Rzeszów, 978-83-933857-0-6
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  • Tadeusz Dubicki, Daria Nałecz, Tessy Stirling – Polsko – brytyjska współpraca wywiadowcza podczas II wojny światowej. t. I. Ustalenia Polsko – Brytyjskiej Komisji Historycznej, Naczelna Dyrekcja Archiwów Państwowych, Warszawa 2004, s.209, ISBN 83-89115-11-5
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Text translated from Polish to English by Aleksandra Duda.
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