Polish contribution to World War II


Polish contribution to World War II

Campaign
name=Main engagements of Polish forces during World War II
battles=WesterplatteMokraBzura – Enigma – Narvik – France - Battle of BritainTobruk - "Crusader"GazalaDieppeTunisia - LeninoMonte Cassino - Caen - Osuchy"Ostra Brama" – Lublin–Brest - Lwów - V2 CaptureWarsaw Uprising - "Totalize" - Studzianki - FalaiseGothic Line - "Market Garden"ScheldtVistula–Oder - Poznań - East Pomerania - Kolberg - Italy (spring 1945) - Seelow HeightsBerlin -BautzenPrague

The European theater of World War II opened with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. The Polish Army was quickly pushed back. In keeping with the terms of the [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Molotov-Ribbentrop_Pact#Secret_Additional_Protocol Secret Additional Protocol] of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Germany informed the Soviet Union that its forces were nearing the Soviet interest zone in Poland and so urged the Soviet Union to move into its zone. The Soviets had been taken by surprise by the speed of the German advance as they had expected to have several weeks to prepare for an invasion rather than merely a few days. They did promise to move as quickly as possible. [ [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/nazsov/ns069.htm The Avalon Project : Nazi-Soviet Relations 1939-1941 ] ] On September 17 the Soviets invaded eastern Poland, forcing the Polish government and military to abandon their plans for a long-term defense in the Romanian bridgehead area. The last remaining Polish Army units capitulated in early October.

After Poland had been overrun, a government-in-exile, an armed forces, and an intelligence service were established outside of Poland. These organisations contributed to the Allied effort throughout the war. As Poland never made a general surrender or produced a collaboratory puppet government, it was directly governed by a purely German administration know as the "Generalgouvernement". This administration was in turn opposed by the underground Polish Underground State.

Poles provided important help to the Allies throughout the war. Some of these actions included the prewar and wartime decyphering of German Enigma machine codes by cryptologists Marian Rejewski and his colleagues; the service of the Polish Air Force, not only in the Allied victory in the Battle of Britain but also the subsequent war in the air; the defense of Tobruk; the capture of the German-held monastery hill of Monte Cassino; a role in the battle of the Falaise pocket; and an airborne brigade parachute drop during Operation Market Garden.

Invasion of Poland

The Invasion of Poland by the military forces of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and a small German-allied Slovak contingent marked the beginning of World War II in Europe. In accordence with their treaty obligations, the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany on September 3. Hitler had gambled incorrectly that France and Britain would allow him to annex parts of Poland without military reaction. The campaign began on September 1, 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact containing a secret protocol for the division of Northern and Central Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. It ended on October 6, 1939, with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying the entirety of Poland.

German losses included approximately 16,000 Killed in Action, 28,000 wounded, over 200 aircraft, and 30% of their armored vehicles. The Polish casualties were around 66,000 dead and 694,000 captured. Though the German attack was successful, losses were greater than expected. Because of this, Germany was forced to postpone war operations in the West until the spring of 1940 to replenish its losses. It has been estimated that, during the September campaign in Poland, the Wehrmacht needed to use more than twice the ammunition they used in France the following spring.

Polish resistance

The main resistance force in Nazi-occupied Poland was the Armia Krajowa ("Home Army"; abbreviated "AK"), which numbered some 200,000-300,000 soldiers at its peak as well as many more sympathizers.cite book | author =Steven J Zaloga | coauthors = | title =Polish Army, 1939-1945 | year =1982 | editor = | pages = | chapter = The Underground Army| chapterurl = http://books.google.com/books?ie=UTF-8&vid=ISBN0850454174&id=AAdYFeW2fnoC&vq=underground+army&dq=isbn:0850454174&lpg=PA21&pg=PA22&sig=H6LtSaIykABOAqyMzEy801szmEk| publisher =Osprey Publishing| location = Oxford | id =ISBN 0-85045-417-4| url =http://books.google.com/books?ie=UTF-8&vid=ISBN0850454174] The AK coordinated its operations with the exiled Polish Government in London and its activity concentrated on sabotage, diversion and intelligence gathering [http://encyklopedia.pwn.pl/3802_1.html] . Its combat activity was low until 1943 [http://books.google.com/books?ie=UTF-8&vid=ISBN0850454174&id=AAdYFeW2fnoC&vq=communist&dq=isbn:0850454174&lpg=PA22&pg=PA23&sig=EhCtexiNNMx4PfUnWfaqA7Tjw6c] as the army was avoiding suicidal warfare and preserved its very limited resources for later conflicts that sharply increased when the Nazi war machine started to crumble in the wake of the successes of the Red Army in the Eastern Front. Then the AK started a nationwide uprising (Operation Tempest) against Nazi forces [http://encyklopedia.pwn.pl/3802_1.html] . Before that, AK units carried out thousands of raids, intelligence operations, bombed hundreds of railway shipments, participated in many clashes and battles with the German police and Wehrmacht units and conducted tens of thousands of acts of sabotage against German industry [ [http://www.polishresistance-ak.org/2%20Article.htm M. Ney - Krwawicz, The Polish Underground State and Home Army ] ] The AK also conducted "punitive" operations to assassinate Gestapo officials responsible for Nazi terror. Following the 1941 German attack on the USSR, the AK assisted the Soviet Union's war effort by sabotaging the German advance into Soviet territory and provided intelligence on the deployment and movement of German forces [ [http://encyklopedia.pwn.pl/3802_1.html Encyklopedia PWN ] ] After 1943, its direct combat activity increased sharply. German losses to the Polish partisans averaged 850-1700 per month in early 1944 compared to about 250-320 per month in 1942.

In addition to the Home Army, there was an underground ultra-nationalist resistance force called Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (NSZ or National Armed Forces), with a fiercely anti-communist and chauvinist stance. It participated in fighting German units, winning many skirmishes. From 1943 onwards, some units took part in battling the Gwardia Ludowa, a communist resistance movement. From 1944, the advancing Red Army was also seen as a foreign occupation force, prompting skirmishes with the Soviets as well as Soviet-backed partisans. In the later part of the war, when Soviet partisans started attacking Polish partisans, symphatisers and civilians, all non-communist Polish formations were (to an increasing extent) becoming involved in actions against the Soviets. [ [http://www.ruf.rice.edu/%7Esarmatia/406/262choda.html Sowjetische Partisanen in Weißrußland: SR, April 2006 ] ]

The Armia Ludowa, a Soviet proxy fighting force [ [http://encyklopedia.pwn.pl/3804_1.html Encyklopedia PWN ] ] was another resistance group that was unrelated to the Polish Government in Exile, allied instead to the Soviet Union. As of July, 1944 it incorporated a similar ogranization, the Gwardia Ludowa, and numbered about 6,000 soldiers(although estimates vary). [ [http://encyklopedia.pwn.pl/3804_1.html Encyklopedia PWN ] ]

There were separate resistance groups organized by Polish Jews: the right-wing Jewish Fighting Union (ŻZW) and the more Soviet-leaning Jewish Combat Organization (ŻOB). These organisations cooperated little with each other and their relationship with the Polish resistance varied between occasional cooperation (mainly between ZZW and AK) to armed confrontations (mostly between ŻOB and NZS).

Other notable Polish resistance organizations included the Bataliony Chłopskie (BCh), a mostly peasant-based organization allied to the AK. At its height the BCh included 175,000 members.

On the other hand the role of the Polish Police force ('Granatowa Policja') in the illegal General Gouvernment ('Generalna Gubernia', a semi-state under the full control of Nazi Germany) remains a debatable issue. There was some co-operation between the Polish Police and the Nazis in persecuting the Jewish community while at the same time some officers secretly supported the underground resistance movement.

There were single instances of military and political co-operation between the Polish ultra-nationalist resistance movement and the Nazis ('Brygada Swietokrzyska', the attempts of professor Wladyslaw Studnicki etc.).

Intelligence

During a period of over six and a half years, from late December 1932 to the outbreak of World War II, three mathematician-cryptologists (Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Różycki) at the Polish General Staff's Cipher Bureau in Warsaw had developed a number of techniques and devices — including the "grill" method, Różycki's "clock", Rejewski's "cyclometer" and "card catalog", Zygalski's "perforated sheets", and Rejewski's "cryptologic bomb" (Polish term: "bomba", precursor to the later British "Bombe", named after its Polish predecessor) — to facilitate decryption of messages produced on the German "Enigma" cipher machine. A few weeks before the outbreak of World War II, on July 25, 1939, near Pyry in the Kabaty Woods just south of Warsaw, Poland disclosed her achievements to France and the United Kingdom, which had, up to that time, failed in all their own efforts to crack the German military Enigma cipher.

Had Poland not shared her Enigma-decryption results at Pyry, the United Kingdom would have been delayed at the least a year or two in its reading of the Enigma cyphers or might even have been unable to read them at all. In the event, intelligence gained from this source, codenamed ULTRA, was extremely valuable in the Allied prosecution of the war, though the exact influence of ULTRA on its course remains a subject of debate. Some have argued that ULTRA decided the very outcome of the war, though a view has also found broad acceptance that ULTRA hastened Germany's defeat by between 6 months and 4 years.

Home Army (Polish: Armia Krajowa) AK intelligence was vital in locating and destroying (18 August 1943) the German rocket facility at Peenemünde and in gathering information about Germany's flying bomb and V-2 rocket. The Home Army delivered to the United Kingdom key V-2 parts, after a V-2 rocket, fired on 30 May 1944, crashed near a German test facility at Sarnaki on the Bug River and was recovered by the Home Army. On the night of 25-26 July, 1944, the crucial parts were flown from occupied Poland to the United Kingdom in an RAF plane, along with detailed drawings of parts too large to fit in the plane (see "Home Army and V1 and V2"). Analysis of the German rocket became vital to improving Allied anti-V-2 defenses (see Operation Most III).

Polish intelligence cooperated with the other Allies in every European country and operated one of the largest intelligence networks in Nazi Germany. Many Poles also served in other Allied intelligence services, including the celebrated Krystyna Skarbek ("Christine Granville") in the United Kingdom's Special Operations Executive. 43 per cent of all the reports received by the British secret services from continental Europe in 1939-45 came from Polish sources.Kwan Yuk Pan, [http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0d441dfa-ecf1-11d9-9d20-00000e2511c8.html Polish veterans to take pride of place in victory parade] , Financial Times, July 5, 2005. Last accessed on 31 March 2006.] Until 1942, most of British intelligence from Germany came from AK reports; until the end of the war AK would remain the main British source for news from Central and Eastern Europe. Among other topics, Armia Krajowa intelligence provided the Allies with information on German concentration camps, as well as intelligence concerning the V-1 flying bomb and the V-2 rocket. As early as 1940, Polish agents (see Witold Pilecki) penetrated German concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and informed the world about Nazi atrocities.

Polish Forces (West)

Army


Polish Armed Forces in the West
at the height of their power

Source: [ Dr Mark Ostrowski: "To Return To Poland Or Not To Return" - The Dilemma Facing The Polish Armed Forces At The End Of The Second World War." [http://www.angelfire.com/ok2/polisharmy/chapter1.html Chapter 1] ]

After the country's defeat in the 1939 campaign, the Polish government in exile quickly organized in France a new army of about 80,000 men. In 1940 a Polish Highland Brigade took part in the Battle of Narvik (Norway), and two Polish divisions (First Grenadier Division, and Second Infantry Fusiliers Division) took part in the defense of France, while a Polish motorized brigade and two infantry divisions were in process of forming. A Polish Independent Carpathian Brigade was formed in French-mandated Syria, to which many Polish troops had escaped from Romania. The Polish Air Force in France comprised eighty-six aircraft in four squadrons, one and a half of the squadrons being fully operational while the rest were in various stages of training. After the fall of France, numbers of Polish personnel had died in the fighting or been interned in Switzerland. Nevertheless, General Władysław Sikorski, Polish commander-in-chief and prime minister, was able to evacuate many Polish troops to the United Kingdom. In 1941, following an agreement between the Polish government in exile and Joseph Stalin, the Soviets released Polish citizens, from whom a 75,000-strong army was formed in the Middle East under General Władysław Anders ("Anders' Army").The Polish armed forces in the west fought under the British command and numbered 195,000 in March 1944 and 165,000 at the end of that year, including about 20,000 personnel in the Polish Air Force and 3,000 in the Polish Navy. At the end of World War II, the Polish Armed Forces in the west numbered 195,000 and by July 1945 had increased to 228,000, most of the newcomers being released prisoners of war and ex-labor-camp inmates.

Air Force

The Polish Air Force fought in the Battle of France as one fighter squadron GC 1/145, several small units detached to French squadrons, and numerous flights of industry defence (in total, 133 pilots, who achieved 53-57 victories at a loss of 8 men in combat, what was 7,93% of allied victories) [Bartłomiej Belcarz counts 53 victories, including 19 shared with the French, or 57 according to data given by Jerzy Cynk. 53 victories makes 7,93% of 693 allied victories - Bartłomiej Belcarz: "Polskie lotnictwo we Francji", Stratus, Sandomierz 2002, ISBN 83-916327-6-8] .

Later, Polish pilots fought in the Battle of Britain, where the Polish 303 Fighter Squadron claimed the highest number of kills of any Allied squadron. From the very beginning of the war, the Royal Air Force (RAF) had welcomed foreign pilots to supplement the dwindling pool of British pilots. On 11 June 1940, the Polish Government in Exile signed an agreement with the British Government to form a Polish Army and Polish Air Force in the United Kingdom. The first two (of an eventual ten) Polish fighter squadrons went into action in August 1940. Four Polish squadrons eventually took part in the Battle of Britain (300 and 301 Bomber Squadrons; 302 and 303 Fighter Squadrons), with 89 Polish pilots. Together with more than 50 Poles fighting in British squadrons, a total of 145 Polish pilots defended British skies. Polish pilots were among the most experienced in the battle, most of them having already fought in the 1939 September Campaign in Poland and the 1940 Battle of France. Additionally, prewar Poland had set a very high standard of pilot training. The 303 Squadron, named after the Polish-American hero, General Tadeusz Kościuszko, claimed the highest number of kills (126) of all fighter squadrons engaged in the Battle of Britain, even though it only joined the combat on August 30, 1940 [Despite a number of 126 kills was overestimated, but according to recent British historians, 303 Squadron was fourth best fighter squadron with at least 44 kills, and the best Hawker Hurricane-equipped squadron. According to Jerzy Cynk, it however scored some 55-60 victories - see No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron.] These 5% of Polish pilots were responsible for 12% of total victories in the Battle.The Polish Air Force also fought in 1943 in Tunisia (Polish Fighting Team, so called "Skalski's Circus") and in raids on Germany (1940-45). In the second half of 1941 and early 1942, Polish bomber squadrons were the sixth part of forces available to RAF Bomber Command (later they suffered heavy losses, with little replenishment possibilities). Polish aircrew losses serving with Bomber Command 1940-45 were 929 killed.Ultimately 8 Polish fighter squadrons were formed within the RAF and had claimed 629 Axis aircraft destroyed by May 1945.By war's end, there were 14,000 Polish airmen in 15 RAF squadrons and in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).

Polish squadrons in the United Kingdom:
* No. 300 "Masovia" Polish Bomber Squadron ("Ziemi Mazowieckiej")
* No. 301 "Pomerania" Polish Bomber Squadron ("Ziemi Pomorskiej")
* No. 302 "City of Poznań" Polish Fighter Squadron ("Poznański")
* No. 303 "Kościuszko" Polish Fighter Squadron ("Warszawski imienia Tadeusza Kościuszki")
* No. 304 "Silesia" Polish Bomber Squadron ("Ziemi Śląskiej imienia Ksiecia Józefa Poniatowskiego")
* No. 305 "Greater Poland" Polish Bomber Squadron ("Ziemi Wielkopolskiej imienia Marszałka Józefa Piłsudskiego")
* No. 306 "City of Toruń" Polish Fighter Squadron ("Toruński")
* No. 307 "City of Lwów" Polish Fighter Squadron ("Lwowskich Puchaczy")
* No. 308 "City of Kraków" Polish Fighter Squadron ("Krakowski")
* No. 309 "Czerwień" Polish Fighter-Reconnaissance Squadron ("Ziemi Czerwieńskiej")
* No. 315 "City of Dęblin" Polish Fighter Squadron ("Dębliński")
* No. 316 "City of Warsaw" Polish Fighter Squadron ("Warszawski")
* No. 317 "City of Wilno" Polish Fighter Squadron ("Wileński")
* No. 318 "City of Gdańsk" Polish Fighter-Reconnaissance Squadron ("Gdański")
* No. 663 Polish Artillery Observation Squadron
* Polish Fighting Team ("Skalski's Circus"){attached to No. 145 Squadron}
* No. 138 Special Duty Squadron Polish Flight "C"
* No. 1586 Polish Special Duty Flight

Navy

Just on the eve of war, three destroyers - representing most of the major Polish Navy ships - had been sent for safety to the British Isles (Operation Peking). There they fought alongside the Royal Navy. At various stages of the war, the Polish Navy comprised two cruisers and a large number of smaller ships. The Polish navy was given a number of British ships and submarines which would otherwise have been unused due to the lack of trained British crews. The Polish Navy fought with great distinction alongside the other Allied navies in many important and successful operations, including those conducted against the German battleship, Bismarck.cite book
last = Peszke
first = Michael Alfred
authorlink = Michael Alfred Peszke
title = Poland's Navy, 1918-1945
publisher = Hippocrene Books
month = February | year = 1999
pages = 37
isbn = 0781806720
] During the war the Polish Navy, which comprised a total of 27 ships (2 cruisers, 9 destroyers, 5 submarines and 11 torpedo boats, sailed a total of 1.2 million nautical miles, escorted 787 convoys, conducted 1,162 patrols and combat operations, sank 12 enemy ships (including 5 submarines) and 41 merchant vessels, damaged 24 more (including 8 submarines)) and shot down 20 aircraft. 450 seamen out of the over 4,000 who served with the Navy lost their lives in action. [http://navy.mw.mil.pl/index.php?akcja=archiwum&years=2004&months=11&id=1626 86 years of the Polish Navy] . Retrieved on 31 July 2007.] [http://www.ww2.pl/The,Battle,of,the,Atlantic,and,the,Polish,navy,139.html The Battle of the Atlantic and the Polish Navy] . Retrieved on 31 July 2007.]
* Cruisers:
** ORP "Dragon" (British "Danae" class)
** ORP "Conrad" (British "Danae" class)
* Destroyers:
** ORP "Wicher" — Gale ("Wicher" class) sunk September 1939
** ORP "Burza" — Storm ("Wicher" class)
** ORP "Grom" — Thunder ("Grom" class) sunk 1940
** ORP "Błyskawica" — Lightning ("Grom" class)
** ORP "Garland" (British G class)
** ORP "Orkan" (British M class destroyer "Myrmidion") sunk 1943
** ORP "Ouragan", sometimes called "Huragan" — Hurricane (French "Bourrasque" class)
** ORP "Piorun" — Thunderbolt (British N class)
* Escort destroyers:
** ORP "Krakowiak" — Cracovian (British Hunt class) 1941-1946
** ORP "Kujawiak" — Kujawian (British Hunt class)
** ORP "Ślązak" — Silesian (British Hunt class)
* Submarines:
** ORP "Orzeł" — Eagle ("Orzeł" class) lost 1940
** ORP "Sęp" — Vulture ("Orzeł" class) interned Sweden
** ORP "Jastrząb" — Hawk (British S class)
** ORP "Wilk" — Wolf ("Wilk" class) to reserve 1942
** ORP "Ryś" — Lynx ("Wilk" class) interned Sweden
** ORP "Żbik" — Wildcat ("Wilk" class) interned Sweden
** ORP "Dzik" — Boar (British U class) 1942-1946
** ORP "Sokół" — Falcon (British U class) 1941-1945
* heavy minelayers:
** "ORP Gryf" — Griffin ("Gryf" class) sunk 1939
* Light minelayers ("ptaszki" — "Birds"):
** "ORP Jaskółka" — Swallow, sunk 1939
** "ORP Mewa" — Seagull
** "ORP Rybitwa" — Tern
** "ORP Czajka" — Lapwing
** "ORP Żuraw" — Crane
** "ORP Czapla" — Heron
* Polish River Fleet

The above list does not include a number of minor ships, transports, merchant-marine auxiliary vessels, and patrol boats. Polish Merchant Navy contributted about 137 Brutto Register Tonnages to Allied shipping; losing 18 ships (with capacity of 76 BRTs) and over 200 sailors during the war. [pl icon [http://www.wspolnota-polska.org.pl/index.php?id=pb15 Pod polską banderą na morzach i oceanach 1939-1945] , Świat Polonii]

Polish Forces (East)

Broadly speaking, there were two formations among the Polish Armed Forces in the East. First was the Polish government-in-exile-loyal "Anders Army", created in the second half of 1941 after German invasion of the USSR. In 1943 this formation was transferred to the Western Allies and became known as the Polish II Corps. Additionally, remaining Polish forces in USSR were reorganized into Soviet-controlled Polish I Corps in the Soviet Union, which in turn was reorganized in 1944 into Polish First Army ("Berling Army") and Polish Second Army, both part of Polish People's Army ("Ludowe Wojsko Polskie", LWP). In 1944, following the takeover of Poland by Soviets from Nazi Germany, the Polish People's Army was reorganized into a Poland-based military formation.

In the aftermath of the Operation Barbarossa, Stalin agreed (Sikorski-Mayski Agreement) to release tens of thousands of Polish prisoners-of-war held in Soviet camps from whom a military force was formed. The Anders Army, as the formation became known, was loyal to the Polish government in exile, and as such its formation was obstructed by the Soviets. Eventually, with about 40 000 combatants and 70 000 civilians, it was transferred to the British command in the Middle East, becoming the Polish II Corps and part of the Polish Armed Forces in the West.

To utilize the potential of the remaining Polish soldiers in USSR, without actually allowing them to become independent from Soviet conrol, a fact which allowed Anders Army to leave USSR, the Soviet Union created a Union of Polish Patriots (ZPP) in 1943 as communist puppet counter-governmentcite book | author =Steven J Zaloga | coauthors = | title =Polish Army, 1939-1945 | year =1982 | editor = | pages = | chapter = The Polish People's Army| chapterurl = http://books.google.com/books?ie=UTF-8&vid=ISBN0850454174&id=AAdYFeW2fnoC&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=first+polish+army&vq=counter-government&sig=qPA6i-Gms1D-8JEiRw58CNeDmvc| publisher =Osprey Publishing| location = Oxford | id =ISBN 0-85045-417-4| url =http://books.google.com/books?ie=UTF-8&vid=ISBN0850454174&id=AAdYFeW2fnoC&dq=isbn+0850454174&pg=PP1&printsec=0&lpg=PP1&sig=ajafnskh3BRg59sdnerIgirmLBc| format = | accessdate = ] [http://encyklopedia.pwn.pl/84252_1.html] to the Polish government in exile. At the same time a parallel army (Polish People's Army or LWP) was created which, by the end of the war, numbered about 200,000 troops. The Soviet created guerilla force called Armia Ludowa was integrated with the Polish People's Army at the end of the war. These Soviet controlled units on the Eastern Front included the First, the Second and the Third Polish Armies (the latter was later merged with the second), and Air Force of the Polish Army with 10 infantry divisions, 5 armored brigades and 4 divisions of air force.

The Polish First Army was integrated in the 1st Belorussian Front with which it entered Poland from Soviet territory in 1944. Ordered to hold position by the Soviet leadership, it did not advance towards Warsaw as Germans suppressed the Warsaw Uprising. It took part in battles for Bydgoszcz, Kolobrzeg (Kolberg), Gdańsk (Danzig) and Gdynia losing 20,000 people in the winter of 1944-45 battles. In April-May 1945 the 1st Army fought in the final capture of Berlin. The Polish Second Army fought as part of the Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front and took part in the Prague Offensive. In the final operations of the war the losses of the two armies of the LWP amounted to 32,000.

Battles

Major battles and campaigns in which Polish regular forces took part:
*Invasion of Poland (1939)
** Battle of Kock (1939)
** Battle of Mokra
** Battle of the Bzura River
** Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski
** Battle of Warsaw (1939)
** Battle of Wizna
*British campaign in Norway (Battle of Narvik)
*French Campaign
*Battle of Britain
*Battle of the Atlantic
*Battle of Tobruk
*Operation Jubilee (Battle of Dieppe)
*Battle of Lenino
*Battle of Normandy (D-Day)
*Battle of Monte Cassino
*Battle of Falaise
*Operation Market Garden (Battle of Arnhem: "A Bridge Too Far")
*Battle of Ancona
*Battle of Bologna
*Battle of Berlin
*Prague Offensive
*Polish underground actions:
** Operation Tempest ("Burza")
*** Operation Ostra Brama
*** Lwów Uprising
*** Warsaw Uprising

Inventions

*Replicas of the German Enigma cipher machine had been produced at the start of 1933 to the specifications of Polish mathematician-cryptologist Marian Rejewski, and two machines of the current model were given to the British and French just before the outbreak of war in 1939. Rejewski and his two cryptologist colleagues also invented the cryptological bomb, perforated Zygalski sheets, and other techniques and devices for breaking Enigma ciphers.
*Józef Kosacki invented the Polish mine detector, which would be used by the Allies throughout the war.
*The Vickers Tank Periscope MK.IV was invented by engineer Rudolf Gundlach and patented in 1936 as the "Gundlach Peryskop obrotowy". Initially it was mounted in Polish tanks such as the 7TP and TKS. Subsequently the design was copied by the British and used in most tanks of WW II, including the Soviet "T-34", the British Crusader, Churchill, Valentine and Cromwell tanks, and the American M4 Sherman. The main advantage of the periscope was that the tank commander no longer had to turn his head in order to look backwards. The design was also later used extensively by the Germans.
*VIS (Polish designation pistolet wz. 35 Vis, German designation 9 mm Pistole 35(p), often simply called the Radom in English sources) is a 9 mm caliber, single-action, semi-automatic pistol. Originally designed by Piotr Wilniewczyc and Jan Skrzypiński in 1930, it was adopted in 1935 as the standard handgun of the Polish Army. Beetwen 1939-1945, 312,000 - 380,000 VIS pistols were produced and used by the German paratroopers and police. The Radom was very accurate, stable and generally regarded as one of the best military pistols of that period. After the war the Soviet TT-33 pistol, considered by many to be inferior to the Vis.
*UR - Anti-tank rifle, model 35 was a Polish 7.92 mm anti-tank rifle used by the Polish Army during the Polish Defensive War of 1939. It was also known by its code name, kb Urugwaj (kb Ur), or by the name of its designer, Józef Maroszek.
*BŁYSKAWICA- a submachine gun produced by the Armia Krajowa- Polish resistance movement fighting the Germans in occupied Poland. An invention of engineer Wacław Zawrotny and Seweryn Wielanier it was based on the design of the British Sten submachine gun.
*Pistolet maszynowy Mors was a Polish submachine gun designed by Piotr Wilniewczyc and Jan Skrzypiński between 1936 and 1938. It was to become the standard SMG of the Polish Army some time in the 1940s. However, its production was halted by the Invasion of Poland and World War II.
*Browning wz.1928 is a Polish version of the FN BAR. It was a light machine gun used by the Polish infantry in World War II.
*Granatnik 46 mm wz.30 and granatnik 46 mm wz.36 was a polish grenade launcher. In September 1939 Polish Army used 3850 p. of this weapon.
*PZL.37 Łoś was a Polish twin-engine medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at the PZL factory in Warsaw by Jerzy Dąbrowski, and used operationally in the Invasion of Poland in 1939. Thanks to the laminar-flow wing it was one of the most modern bombers in the world before World War II.
*7TP was the Polish light tank of the Second World War. A development of the British Vickers 6-ton, it was significantly better armed than its most common opponents, the German Panzer I and Panzer II. A standard tank of the Polish Army during the Polish Defensive War of 1939, its production never exceeded 140 vehicles. Its chassis was used as the base for C7P artillery tractor.
*TKS was a Polish tankette produced from 1931 that was based upon an improved chassis of the British Carden Loyd tankette. The TKS was an improved model with a new hull and a more powerful engine. In 1939, a re-arming of the tankettes with 20 mm guns began, but only about 24 were completed before the outbreak of World War II.
*Samochód pancerny wz. 34 ("armored car 1934 pattern"), was a standard light armored car used by the Polish Army during the September Campaign of 1939.
*Samochód pancerny wz. 29 ("armoured car 1929 pattern"), commonly known as Ursus or CWS, it was a Polish interwar heavy armored car. A handful of these vehicles saw combat during the Polish-German War of 1939.
*C7P was a Polish tracked artillery tractor, used by the Polish Army before and during World War II. The tractor was developed by the design bureau of Witold Jakusz of the PZInż company between 1931 and 1934.
*Kubuś was a Polish World War II armoured car and Armoured personnel carrier (APC), made by the Home Army during the Warsaw Uprising. It was the only armoured car that was manufactured by an underground movement during the Second World War.
*KIS - A Polish machine pistol designed and manufactured by engineers in the Jan Piwnik's "Ponury" ("Grim") guerrilla unit that was operating in Holy Cross Mountains region. It was probably the only kind of modern firearm that could be manufactured in the forest without the need for sophisticated tools and factory equipment during the Second World War.
*A bomb-release system was invented by Władysław Świątecki in the 1930s and was used in the pre-war Polish PZL.37 Łoś ("Elk") bomber. In 1940 Świątecki's invention was taken over by the British, who used it in the Avro Lancaster bomber. In 1943, an updated version was created by Jerzy Rudlicki for the American B-17 Flying Fortress.
*In World War II, there was an important need to take bearings on the high frequency radio transmissions used by the German Kriegsmarine. The engineering of such high frequency direction finding systems for operation on ships presented severe technical problems, mainly due to the effects of the superstructure on the wavefront of arriving radio signals. However, solutions to these problems were proposed by the Polish engineer Waclaw Struszynski, who also led the team which developed the first practical system at the Admiralty Signal Establishment, England. These systems were installed on convoy escort ships, and were very effective against the U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. [ [http://www.xs4all.nl/~aobauer/HFDF1998.pdf HF/DF An Allied Weapon used against German U-Boats 1939-1945 © Arthur O. Bauer] ] The father of Wacław Struszyński was Professor Marceli Struszyński, a member of the Polish resistance, who analysed the fuel used in the V2 rocket, the formula being subsequently sent to England.
*A rubber windshield wiper was invented by the Polish pianist Józef Hofmann.
* Sokół 1000 (also known as CWS 1000 and M 111) was the heaviest Polish pre-war motorcycle manufactured by the PZInż works, both for civilian and military use in the Polish Army.
*Henryk Magnuski, a Polish engineer working for Motorola, in 1940 invented the SCR-300 radio, the first small radio receiver/transmitter to have manually-set frequencies. It was used extensively by the American Army and was nicknamed the "walkie-talkie".
* The Polish Home Army was probably the only World War II resistance movement to manufacture large quantities of weaponry and munitions. In addition to pre-war designs like Vis pistol, there were also the Błyskawica, Bechowiec, KIS and Polski Sten machine pistols, designed and produced by the underground facilities. In addition, large amounts of filipinka and sidolówka hand grenades were developed and manufactured in the underground. Finally, during the Warsaw Uprising Polish engineers built several armoured car which also took part in the fighting.

Notes

References

* Władysław Anders: "An Army in Exile: The Story of the Second Polish Corps", 1981, ISBN 0-89839-043-5.
* Margaret Brodniewicz-Stawicki: "For Your Freedom and Ours: The Polish Armed Forces in the Second World War", Vanwell Publishing, 1999, ISBN 1-55125-035-7.
* Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski: "Secret Army", Battery Press, 1984, ISBN 0-89839-082-6.
*
*
* Jerzy B. Cynk: "The Polish Air Force at War: The Official History, 1939-1943", Schiffer Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-7643-0559-X.
* Jerzy B. Cynk: "The Polish Air Force at War: The Official History, 1943-1945", Schiffer Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-7643-0560-3.
* Robert Gretzyngier: "Poles in Defence of Britain", London 2001, ISBN 1904943055
* Norman Davies: "Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw", Viking Books, 2004, ISBN 0-670-03284-0.
* Norman Davies, "God's Playground", Oxford University Press, 1981
* Lynne Olson, Stanley Cloud: "A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II", Knopf, 2003, ISBN 0-375-41197-6.
* Józef Garliński: "Poland in the Second World War", Hippocrene Books, 1987, ISBN 0-87052-372-4.
* Jan Karski: "Story of a Secret State", Simon Publications, 2001, ISBN 1-931541-39-6.
* Jan Koniarek, "Polish Air Force 1939-1945", Squadron/Signal Publications, 1994, ISBN 0-89747-324-8.
* Stefan Korboński, Zofia Korbońska, F. B. Czarnomski: "Fighting Warsaw: the Story of the Polish Underground State, 1939-1945", Hippocrene Books, 2004, ISBN 0-7818-1035-3.
* Władysław Kozaczuk, "Enigma: How the German Machine Cipher Was Broken, and How It Was Read by the Allies in World War Two", edited and translated by Christopher Kasparek, University Publications of America, 1984, ISBN 0-89093-547-5. (This remains the standard reference on the Polish part in the Enigma-decryption epic.)
* Władysław Kozaczuk, Jerzy Straszak: "Enigma: How the Poles Broke the Nazi Code", Hippocrene Books; February 1, 2004, ISBN 0-7818-0941-X.
* Michael Alfred Peszke, "Battle for Warsaw, 1939-1944", East European Monographs, 1995, ISBN 0-88033-324-3.
* Michael Alfred Peszke, "Poland's Navy, 1918-1945", Hippocrene Books, 1999, ISBN 0-7818-0672-0.
* Michael Alfred Peszke, "The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II", foreword by Piotr S. Wandycz, Jefferson, NC, McFarland & Company, 2005, ISBN 0-7864-2009-X. [http://books.google.com/books?q=&id=zhb2doihL1wC&vid=ISBN078642009X&dq Google Print]
* Polish Air Force Association: "Destiny Can Wait: The Polish Air Force in the Second World War", Battery Press, 1988, ISBN 0-89839-113-X.
* Harvey Sarner: "Anders and the Soldiers of the Second Polish Corps", Brunswick Press, 1998, ISBN 1-888521-13-9.
* Stanisław Sosabowski: "Freely I Served", Battery Press Inc, 1982, ISBN 0-89839-061-3.
* E. Thomas Wood, Stanislaw M. Jankowski: "Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust", Wiley, 1996, ISBN 0-471-14573-4.
* Steven J. Zaloga: "Poland 1939: The Birth of Blitzkrieg", Osprey Publishing, 2004, ISBN 1-84176-408-6.
* Steven J. Zaloga: "The Polish Army 1939-1945", Osprey Publishing, 1982, ISBN 0-85045-417-4.
* Adam Zamoyski: "The Forgotten Few: The Polish Air Force in the Second World War", Pen & Sword Books, 2004, ISBN 1-84415-090-9.

ee also

* History of Poland (1939–1945)
* List of Polish armies in World War II
* List of Polish divisions in World War II
* Western betrayal
* Many books and articles on Soviet and Polish tanks and armor by author and military historian Janusz Magnuski
* Blackhawk (comics)

External links

* [http://wojsko-polskie.pl/wortal/document,,id,2339.html Military contribution of Poland to World War II] , Polish Ministry of Defence official page
* [http://www.polishembassy.ca/files/Polish%20Armed%20Forces%20in%20WWII%20eng.pdf Polish contribution to the Allied victory in World War 2 (1939-1945)] , PDF at the site of Polish Embassy (Canada)
* [http://www.memorial-montormel.org/ Polish contribution in the battle of Falaise] , website of the Memorial of Montormel
* [http://www.poland.gov.pl/ww2/ The Poles on the Fronts of WW2]
* [http://www.apacouncil.org/ww2/5df.html Polish units in defence of France, 1939-1940]
* [http://www.geocities.com/skrzydla/ Polish Squadrons Remembered]
* [http://www.classicbuffalo.com/VeteransMonument.htm Veterans Monument in Buffalo, NY]
* [http://www.kasprzyk.demon.co.uk/www/WW2.html The History Of Poland: The Second World War]
* [http://www.plav.org/veday.htm Gilbert J. Mros: This V-E Day say 'dziekuje' to the Poles]
* [http://scotsatwar.co.uk/printerv/poles&scotland.htm Polish military activities in Scotland]
* Listen to Lynn Olsen & Stanley Cloud, authors of "A Question of Honor", speak about the "Kościuszko" Squadron and Polish contribution to World War II [http://www.engagingtheword.net/lynnolsenstanleycloud.m3u here.]
* [http://www.opusmedia.fr/kazimierzduda/default_gb.asp Captain Kazimierz DUDA - 1st Polish Armoured Division - C.K.M.]


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