Tanks T-34 of the 1st Army of the Polish Army during the Warsaw-Poznan offensive operation
The Agony of the Third Reich. 75 years ago, on January 17, 1945, the troops of the 1st Belorussian Front under the command of Marshal Zhukov, including the 1st Army of the Polish Army, liberated the capital of Poland - Warsaw. The city was ruled by the Nazis on September 28, 1939. Now the feat of Soviet soldiers in Poland is slandered or forgotten.
General situation before the battle
In September 1939, Poland was occupied by German troops. Some regions of Poland (Poznan, Polish Pomerania, etc.) were annexed and included in the Reich, the Governor-General was created in other Polish territories. Some Poles put up with the occupation and even joined the Wehrmacht, the police, while others tried to resist. For the liberation of Poland fought the formation of a different political orientation: Guard Ludov (military organization of the Polish Labor Party); the pro-Soviet Army of Ludov (formed on January 1, 1944 on the basis of the Guard of Ludova); Craiova Army (subordinate to the Polish government in exile in London); Peasant battalions (cotton battalions); various partisan detachments, including under the command of Soviet officers.
The Polish resistance was guided either by the West - the Army of Craiova (AK), or by the USSR - the Guard and then the Army of Ludov. The attitude of AK representatives towards the Russian troops entering Poland was hostile. Marshal Rokossovsky recalled that Akovo officers wearing Polish uniforms held themselves arrogant, rejected the offer of engaging in battles against the Nazis, claiming that the AK was subordinate only to the Polish government in London. The Poles said: “Against the Red Army weapon We’ll not use it, but we don’t want to have any contacts. ” In reality, Polish nationalists were repeatedly noted in opposition to the Red Army, committed terrorist acts and sabotage in the Soviet rear. Akovtsy obeyed the instructions of the government in London. They tried to liberate part of Poland with Warsaw and restore the Polish state.
On August 1, 1944, the Craiova Army, in accordance with its plan, code-named "The Tempest", raised an uprising in Warsaw in order to free it without the help of the Russians and to provide the Polish émigré government with the opportunity to return to the country. If the uprising was successful, the Polish government in London could get a strong political argument against the pro-Soviet Craiova Rada Narodova - the organization of Polish national-patriotic forces, created in January 1944 and the Polish Committee for National Liberation, created in Moscow on July 21, 1944 as a friendly interim government Poland after the entry of Soviet troops into its territory. The Polish Committee planned to build a people's democratic Poland. That is, there was a struggle for the future of Poland. Part of Polish society advocated the past: “The West will help us”, Russophobia, restoration of the old order with the rule of the former “elite”, the class of owners. Another part of the Poles looked to the future, saw in the USSR a model for a new people's democratic Poland.
As a result, the adventure of the Polish government in exile and the AK command failed. The German garrison showed strong resistance. It was reinforced by parts of the SS and the police, brought to 50 thousand groupings. The 1st Belorussian Front, bloodless by heavy fighting in Belarus and the eastern regions of Poland, with extended communications, lagging behind, could not force the Vistula and render substantial assistance to the uprising in Warsaw. On October 2, the AK command surrendered. The uprising, lasting 63 days, collapsed. Left-bank Warsaw was almost completely destroyed.
Warsaw-Poznan offensive operation
The Soviet Headquarters in the framework of the strategic Wisla-Oder operation prepared the Warsaw-Poznan operation. In early January 1945, the troops of the 1st Belorussian Front, under the command of Marshal Zhukov, occupied the line along the Vistula River (from Serotsk to Yuzefuv), holding bridgeheads on its western shore in the areas of Magnushev and Pulawy. The 1st BF included: 47th, 61st, 5th Assault, 8th Guards, 69th, 33rd and 3rd Attack Army, 2nd and 1st Guards Tank Armies , 1st Army of the Polish Army, 16th Air Army, 2nd and 7th Guards Cavalry Corps, 11th and 9th Tank Corps. In Warsaw, the German 9th Field Army from the Army Group A defended.
The Soviet command planned to dismember the enemy group and defeat it in parts. The main blow was inflicted from the Magnushevsky bridgehead in the direction of Kutno - Poznan, by the forces of the 61st, 5th Shock, 8th Guards Armies, 1st and 2nd Guards Tank Armies and the 2nd Guards Cavalry Corps. To develop success in the main direction, a second echelon of the front — the 3rd strike army — was advanced. The second blow was to be delivered from the Pulawski bridgehead in the direction of Radom and Lodz of the 69th and 33rd armies, the 7th Guards Cavalry Corps. The 47th Army was advancing north of Warsaw, it was to bypass the Polish capital in the direction of Blon. The 1st Army of the Polish Army received the task, in cooperation with the troops of the 47th, 61st Armies and the 2nd Guards Tank Army, to defeat the Wehrmacht of Warsaw and liberate the Polish capital. The first to enter the city were the Polish units.
The 1st Polish Army was formed in March 1944 on the basis of the 1st Polish Corps, which in turn was deployed in August 1943 on the basis of the 1st Polish Infantry Division named after Tadeusz Kosciuszko. The ranks of the army included not only Polish citizens, but also citizens of the USSR (mainly of Polish origin). The Soviet side provided the army with weapons, equipment and equipment. Her first commander was Lieutenant General Zygmunt Burling. By the beginning of the Warsaw operation, the army was commanded by General Stanislav Poplavsky and it numbered over 90 thousand people.
In July 944, the 1st Polish Army (4 infantry and 1 anti-aircraft artillery divisions, 1 armored, 1 cavalry, 5 artillery brigades, 2 air regiments and other units) began military operations, being under operational control of the 1st Belorussian Front. Polish divisions forced the Western Bug and entered Poland. Here, the 1st Army was combined with the partisan Army Ludova into a single Polish Army. In September, the Polish army liberated the right-bank suburb of Warsaw - Prague, and then made an unsuccessful attempt to force the Vistula to support the uprising in Warsaw.
Poles meet warriors-liberators
The liberation of Warsaw
The Warsaw-Poznan offensive operation began on January 14, 1945. The advanced battalions of the Soviet armies attacked on the Magnushevsky and Pulavsky bridgeheads on the front over 100 kilometers. On the first day, units of the 61st, 5th shock and 8th guards armies penetrated the enemy defenses, and parts of the 69th and 33rd armies, 9th and 11th tank corps broke through the enemy defenses to a depth of 20 km On January 15-16, the enemy’s defense was finally breached, the gap was significantly widened.
The 61st Army under the command of Colonel-General Belov bypassed the Polish capital from the south. On January 15, the 47th Army of Major General Perhorovich began an offensive north of Warsaw. On January 16, Perkhorovich’s army threw the enemy over the Vistula River and immediately crossed the river north of Warsaw. On the same day in the strip of the 5th Shock Army from the bridgehead on the left bank of the river. The pilgrim was introduced into the breakthrough by the 2nd Guards Tank Army of Bogdanov. Also, the 2nd Guards Cavalry Corps of Kryukov was introduced into the breakthrough. Our tankers made a swift raid of 80 km, covering the right flank of the German 46th Panzer Corps. Bogdanov’s army went to the Sochaczew district and cutting off the withdrawal routes of the Warsaw Wehrmacht group. The German command began to hastily withdraw troops in a northwest direction.
On January 16, on the Warsaw sector of the front, after artillery preparation, the Polish units also went on the offensive. Units of the 1st Polish Army crossed the Vistula, captured bridgeheads in the Warsaw area, and started fighting on its outskirts. On the right wing of the 1st Army of the Polish Army, the 2nd Infantry Division, using the success of units of the 47th Soviet Army, began crossing the Vistula River in the Kempa Kelpinskaya area and seized the bridgehead on the west bank. Commander Jan Rotkevich quickly transferred the main forces of the division to the west bank. On the left wing of the army, active operations began in the afternoon with an attack by the cavalry brigade (cavalrymen fought like infantry). The advance detachments of the 2nd and 3rd Lancers were able to cling to the opposite shore and squeeze the Nazis, to seize the bridgehead. The main forces of the cavalry brigade Colonel Radzivanovich crossed over them. Polish ulans developed their first success and by the end of the day they liberated the suburban villages of Oborki, Opach, Pyaski. This facilitated the movement of the 4th Infantry Division. At the center of the Polish army was the 6th Infantry Division of Colonel G. Sheypak. Here the Poles ran into a particularly stubborn resistance of the enemy. resisted especially stubbornly. The first attempt to force the Vistula on ice in the afternoon of January 16 was repulsed by the Nazis with heavy machine gun and artillery fire. The offensive was resumed only in the dark.
The advance of the units of the 61st and 47th armies from the south and north facilitated the movement of the Polish army. Gora Kalwaria and Piaseczno were freed. The main forces of the 2nd Guards Tank Army advanced rapidly forward, the Germans began to withdraw troops from Warsaw. At 8 a.m. on January 17, the 4th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Division was the first to break into the streets of Warsaw. After 2 hours, he advanced to the largest metropolitan street - Marshalkovskaya. Other troops also entered the city — the 4th, 1st and 4th divisions, and the cavalry brigade. The Germans put up stubborn resistance in the area of the old citadel and the Main Station. Many Nazis, seeing the hopelessness of the situation, fled or surrendered, others fought to the end. By 3 o’clock Warsaw was liberated.
Thus, bypassed from the south and north by the Soviet armies, the tank army, which closed the encirclement in Sochaczew, the German Warsaw garrison was finished off by the blows of the Polish units. Following the Polish army, units of the 47th and 61st armies entered Warsaw.
The city was very badly destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising and during the last battles. The military council of the front reported to the Supreme Commander: "Fascist barbarians destroyed the capital of Poland - Warsaw." Marshal Zhukov recalled: “With the severity of sophisticated sadists, the Nazis destroyed quarter after quarter. The largest industrial enterprises are wiped off the face of the earth. Residential homes blown up or burned. City economy is destroyed. Tens of thousands of inhabitants were destroyed, the rest were expelled. The city is dead. Listening to the stories of the inhabitants of Warsaw about the atrocities committed by the German fascists during the occupation and especially before the retreat, it was difficult to even understand the psychology and moral character of the enemy troops. ” The city was mined. Our soldiers did a great job of defusing German mines and ammunition.
During the 4-day offensive, the troops of the 1st BF defeated the main forces of the 9th German army. The breakthrough of the enemy’s defense, which began in three directions, merged into a single blow on the entire 17-km section of the front by January 270. The first stage of the Vistula-Oder operation, during which the Polish capital Warsaw was liberated, was successfully completed. The remnants of our troops defeated under the blows hastily retreated west. The German command tried to correct the situation by introducing reserves into the battle (the 19th and 25th tank divisions and part of the forces of the 10th motorized), but they were defeated, they could not seriously influence the outcome of the battle and also retreated. However, the Germans again showed a high combat class - Zhukov’s armies were unable to encircle and destroy the main forces of the German 46th Panzer Corps (in the Warsaw area) and the 56th Panzer Corps (between the Magnuszew and Pulaw bridgeheads). The Germans were able to avoid total destruction.
A column of Soviet soldiers on a march along the destroyed street of Warsaw
Residents of the Polish capital meet their liberators - Soviet soldiers and soldiers of the 1st Army of the Polish Army
Parade of the First Army of the Polish Army in liberated Warsaw. January 19, 1945
Memory of victory
For the liberation of Warsaw on June 9, 1945, the award was established - the medal "For the Liberation of Warsaw". The medal "For the Liberation of Warsaw" was awarded to direct participants in the assault and the liberation of Warsaw from January 14-17, 1945, as well as the organizers and leaders of military operations during the liberation of the capital of Poland.
Interestingly, after the war, Stalin was able to carry out a unique operation and neutralized the "Polish ram", which the West had set against Russia-Russia for centuries. Poland became a friend and ally of the Soviet Union. Two fraternal Slavic peoples flourished in a common socialist camp.
In memory of the victory over a common enemy and as a symbol of the military friendship of two fraternal armies in Prague, a suburb of Warsaw, a granite monument was erected on November 18, 1945. Monument to the Soviet-Polish brotherhood in arms, popularly called "The Four Sleeping". There were depicted two Soviet and two Polish soldiers. In granite, in two languages, Polish and Russian, the words are carved: “Glory to the heroes of the Soviet army — comrades in arms who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of the Polish people!” In 2011, the monument was dismantled.
Unfortunately, at present the Polish government has forgotten the lessons of the past, how the First and Second Polish-Lithuanian Species perished. Poland is again turned into an enemy of Russia, a strategic outpost of the West in eastern Europe against the Russians. Warsaw builds its future by absorbing fragments of the Russian world (parts of Belaya and Little Russia). History The Great War was rewritten and isolated. Now the liberation of Poland by Soviet soldiers is a "new occupation." The victims of almost 580 thousand Soviet soldiers, who in 1944-1945. they gave their lives for the restoration of the Polish state, are forgotten or spit on. Hitler and Stalin, the Reich and the USSR are put on the same board. Crimes of the pre-war Polish elite are forgotten, or are praised.
Medal "For the liberation of Warsaw"
Monument to the Soviet-Polish brotherhood in arms (Warsaw). 2010 year