Polish contribution to World War II

Polish contribution to World War II

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The European theater of
European Theatre of World War II
The European Theatre of World War II was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe from Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 until the end of the war with the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945...

 World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 opened with the German
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 invasion of Poland
Invasion of Poland (1939)
The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

 on September 1, 1939. The Polish Army was defeated after over a month of fighting. After Poland had been overrun, a government-in-exile (headquartered in Britain), armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

, and an intelligence service were established outside of Poland. These organizations contributed to the Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 effort throughout the war. The Polish Army was recreated in the West, as well as in the East (after German invasion of the Soviet Union).

Poles provided crucial help to the Allies throughout the war, fighting on land, on the seas and in the air. Notable was the service of the Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force
The Polish Air Force is the military Air Force wing of the Polish Armed Forces. Until July 2004 it was officially known as Wojska Lotnicze i Obrony Powietrznej...

, not only in the Allied victory in the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

 but also the subsequent war in the air. Polish ground troops were present in the North Africa Campaign (siege of Tobruk
Siege of Tobruk
The siege of Tobruk was a confrontation that lasted 240 days between Axis and Allied forces in North Africa during the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War...

); the Italian campaign (including the capture of the monastery hill at the Battle of Monte Cassino
Battle of Monte Cassino
The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies against Germans and Italians with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome.In the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans...

); and in battles following the invasion of France (the battle of the Falaise pocket
Falaise pocket
The battle of the Falaise Pocket, fought during the Second World War from 12 to 21 August 1944, was the decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy...

; and an airborne
Airborne forces
Airborne forces are military units, usually light infantry, set up to be moved by aircraft and 'dropped' into battle. Thus they can be placed behind enemy lines, and have an ability to deploy almost anywhere with little warning...

 brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

 parachute
Parachute
A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating drag, or in the case of ram-air parachutes, aerodynamic lift. Parachutes are usually made out of light, strong cloth, originally silk, now most commonly nylon...

 drop during Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden
Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time....

). Some Polish contributions were less visible, and most notably included the prewar and wartime decyphering of German Enigma machine
Enigma machine
An Enigma machine is any of a family of related electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines used for the encryption and decryption of secret messages. Enigma was invented by German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I...

 codes by cryptologists Marian Rejewski
Marian Rejewski
Marian Adam Rejewski was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who in 1932 solved the plugboard-equipped Enigma machine, the main cipher device used by Germany...

 and his colleagues. The Polish intelligence network also proved to be of much value to the Allied intelligence.

As Poland never made a general surrender or produced a collaborative puppet government unlike France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, it was directly governed by a purely German administration known as the Generalgouvernement
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

. This administration was in turn opposed by the Polish Underground State, which not only fielded one of the three largest partisan forces in existence, but was a rare example of an underground government, a phenomenon not witnessed in many other occupied countries.

The Polish forces as a whole are considered to have been the 4th largest Allied army in Europe.

Invasion of Poland




The invasion of Poland by the military forces of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, the Soviet Union and a small German-allied Slovak contingent marked the beginning of World War II in Europe
European Theatre of World War II
The European Theatre of World War II was a huge area of heavy fighting across Europe from Germany's invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 until the end of the war with the German unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945...

.

In keeping with the terms of the Secret Additional Protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 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. On September 17 the Soviets invaded eastern Poland
Soviet invasion of Poland (1939)
The 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland was a Soviet military operation that started without a formal declaration of war on 17 September 1939, during the early stages of World War II. Sixteen days after Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west, the Soviet Union did so from the east...

, forcing the Polish government and military to abandon their plans for a long-term defense in the Romanian bridgehead
Romanian Bridgehead
The Romanian Bridgehead was an area in southeastern Poland, now located in Ukraine. During the Polish Defensive War of 1939 , on September 14 the Polish Commander in Chief Marshal of Poland Edward Rydz-Śmigły ordered all Polish troops fighting east of the Vistula to withdraw towards Lwów, and...

 area. The last remaining Polish Army units capitulated
Capitulation (surrender)
Capitulation , an agreement in time of war for the surrender to a hostile armed force of a particular body of troops, a town or a territory....

 in early October.

In accordance with their treaty obligations, the United Kingdom and France declared war
Declaration of war
A declaration of war is a formal act by which one nation goes to war against another. The declaration is a performative speech act by an authorized party of a national government in order to create a state of war between two or more states.The legality of who is competent to declare war varies...

 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
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 containing a secret protocol for the division of Northern
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

 and Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 into German and Soviet spheres of influence
Sphere of influence
In the field of international relations, a sphere of influence is a spatial region or conceptual division over which a state or organization has significant cultural, economic, military or political influence....

. It ended on October 6, 1939, with Germany and the Soviet Union occupying the entirety of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. German and Soviet units went on a joint victory parade in the streets of Lwow.

Further cooperation between German and Soviets took the form of an exchange of Polish POWs : following order by Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was a Georgian Soviet politician and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and Deputy Premier in the postwar years ....

 to the NKVD of October 3, 1939, Polish prisoners detained in soviet camps were traded against POWs released by the Germans.

German losses included approximately 16,000 Killed in Action
Killed in action
Killed in action is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own forces at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to...

, 28,000 wounded, over 200 aircraft, and 30% of their armored vehicles. The Polish casualties
Casualty (person)
A casualty is a person who is the victim of an accident, injury, or trauma. The word casualties is most often used by the news media to describe deaths and injuries resulting from wars or disasters...

 were around 66,000 dead and 694,000 captured. Though the German attack was successful, losses were greater than expected. 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 aid to the Jews



There was a substantial group of Poles who risked their lives during the German occupation to save Jews. Poland was unique among the German-occupied countries to establish an organization which specifically aided the Jewish people.

Known as the Żegota
Zegota
"Żegota" , also known as the "Konrad Żegota Committee", was a codename for the Polish Council to Aid Jews , an underground organization of Polish resistance in German-occupied Poland from 1942 to 1945....

 (Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

: "Council for Aid to Jews") the organization provided shelter, food, medicine, money and false documents for Jews across the country who could pass as Christians. Most of Żegota's funds came directly from the Polish government, then in exile. Individual Poles, both clerical and secular, also offered various forms of aid to the Jewish people. For example, the children's section of Żegota led by Irena Sendler
Irena Sendler
Irena Sendler was a Polish Catholic social worker who served in the Polish Underground and the Żegota resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II...

 saved 2,500 Jewish children with cooperation of Polish families and the Warsaw orphanage of the Sisters of the Family of Mary, Roman Catholic convents such as the Little Sister Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary Conceived Immaculate.

Most Jews who survived the German occupation of Poland were saved by Poles unconnected with Żegota. Estimates of Jewish survivors in Poland range from 40,000-50,000 to 100,000-120,000. Scholars estimate that it took the work of ten Poles to save the life of one Jew. Of the individuals awarded medals of Righteous among the Nations
Righteous Among the Nations
Righteous among the Nations of the world's nations"), also translated as Righteous Gentiles is an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis....

(given by the State of Israel to non-Jews who saved Jews from extermination during the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

) those who were Polish citizens
Polish Righteous among the Nations
Polish citizens have the world's highest count of individuals awarded medals of Righteous among the Nations, given by the State of Israel to non-Jews who saved Jews from extermination during the Holocaust...

 number the greatest. There are 6,266 Polish men and women recognized as "Righteous" to this day, amounting to over 25 per cent of the total number of 22,765 honorary titles awarded already.

Polish resistance



The main resistance force in German-occupied Poland
General Government
The General Government was an area of Second Republic of Poland under Nazi German rule during World War II; designated as a separate region of the Third Reich between 1939–1945...

 was the Armia Krajowa
Armia Krajowa
The Armia Krajowa , or Home Army, was the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II German-occupied Poland. It was formed in February 1942 from the Związek Walki Zbrojnej . Over the next two years, it absorbed most other Polish underground forces...

 ("Home Army"; abbreviated "AK"), which numbered some 400,000 soldiers at its peak as well as many more sympathizers. Throughout most of the war, AK could be considered one of the three largest resistance movements in the war. The AK coordinated its operations with the exiled Polish Government in London
Polish government in Exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...

 and its activity concentrated on sabotage, diversion and intelligence gathering. Its combat activity was low until 1943 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
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 in the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

. Then the AK started a nationwide uprising (Operation Tempest
Operation Tempest
Operation Tempest was a series of uprisings conducted during World War II by the Polish Home Army , the dominant force in the Polish resistance....

) against Nazi forces. 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 The AK also conducted "punitive" operations to assassinate Gestapo officials responsible for Nazi terror. Following the 1941 German attack on the USSR
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

, 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 After 1943, its direct combat activity increased sharply. German losses to the Polish partisans averaged 850-1,700 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
Gwardia Ludowa
Gwardia Ludowa or GL was a communist armed organisation in Poland, organised by the Soviet created Polish Workers Party. It was the largest military organization which refused to join the structures of the Polish Underground State. It was created in 1942 and in 1944 it was incorporated by the...

, a communist resistance movement. From 1944, the advancing Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 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, sympathizers and civilians
Soviet partisans in Poland
Poland was annexed and partitioned by Germany and the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the invasion of Poland in 1939. In the pre-war Polish territories annexed by the Soviets the first Soviet partisan groups were formed in 1941, soon after Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet...

, all non-communist Polish formations were (to an increasing extent) becoming involved in actions against the Soviets.

The Armia Ludowa
Armia Ludowa
Armia Ludowa was a communist partisan force set up by the Polish Workers' Party during World War II. Its aims were to support the military of the Soviet Union against German forces and aid the creation of a pro-Soviet communist government in Poland...

, a Soviet proxy fighting force was another resistance group that was unrelated to the Polish Government in Exile
Polish government in Exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...

, allied instead to the Soviet Union. As of July, 1944 it incorporated a similar organization, the Gwardia Ludowa
Gwardia Ludowa
Gwardia Ludowa or GL was a communist armed organisation in Poland, organised by the Soviet created Polish Workers Party. It was the largest military organization which refused to join the structures of the Polish Underground State. It was created in 1942 and in 1944 it was incorporated by the...

, and numbered about 6,000 soldiers (although estimates vary).

There were separate resistance groups organized by Polish Jews: the right-wing Żydowski Związek Walki ("Jewish Fighting Union") (ŻZW) and the more Soviet-leaning Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa
Zydowska Organizacja Bojowa
The Jewish Combat Organization was a World War II resistance movement, which was instrumental in engineering the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. ŻOB took part in a number of other resistance activities as well...

("Jewish Combat Organization") (ŻOB). These organisations cooperated little with each other and their relationship with the Polish resistance
Polish resistance movement in World War II
The Polish resistance movement in World War II, with the Home Army at its forefront, was the largest underground resistance in all of Nazi-occupied Europe, covering both German and Soviet zones of occupation. The Polish defence against the Nazi occupation was an important part of the European...

 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 General Government (Generalna Gubernia), a semi-state under the full control of 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
Wladyslaw Studnicki
Władysław Gizbert-Studnicki, a Polish politician and publicist, was born in 1867 in Daugavpils and died in 1953 in London. Throughout his life, Studnicki was famous for his strongly pro-German stance....

 etc.).
Throughout the war the German state was forced to divert a substantial part of its military forces to keep control over Poland:
Number of Wehrmacht and police formations stationed in General Gouvernment
(does not include annexed territories of Poland and parts of Kresy
Kresy
The Polish term Kresy refers to a land considered by Poles as historical eastern provinces of their country. Today, it makes western Ukraine, western Belarus, as well as eastern Lithuania, with such major cities, as Lviv, Vilnius, and Hrodna. This territory belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian...

)
Timeperiod Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

Police and SS
(includes German forces only)
Together
October 1939 550,000 80,000 630,000
April 1940 400,000 70,000 470,000
June 1941 2,000,000
(high number due to imminent invasion of Soviet Union)
50.000 2,050,000
February 1942 300,000 50,000 350,000
April 1943 450,000 60,000 510,000
November 1943 550,000 70,000 620,000
April 1944 500,000 70,000 570,000
September 1944 1,000,000 80,000 1,080,000

Sabotage and diversionary actions of the Union of Armed Combat (ZWZ) and Home Army (AK) from 1 January 1941 to 30 June 1944
Action type Totals
Damaged locomotives 6,930
Delayed repairs to locomotives 803
Derailed transports 732
Transports set on fire 443
Damage to railway wagons 19,058
Blown up railway bridges 38
Disruptions to electricity supplies in the Warsaw grid 638
Army vehicles damaged or destroyed 4,326
Damaged aeroplanes 28
Fuel tanks destroyed 1,167
Fuel destroyed (in tonnes) 4,674
Blocked oil wells 5
Wagons of wood wool destroyed 150
Military stores burned down 130
Disruptions of production in factories 7
Built-in faults in parts for aircraft engines 4,710
Built-in faults into cannon muzzles 203
Built-in faults into artillery missiles 92,000
Built-in faults into air traffic radio stations 107
Built-in faults into condensers 70,000
Built-in faults into (electro-industrial) lathes 1,700
Damage to important factory machinery 2,872
Various acts of sabotage performed 25,145
Planned assassinations of Germans 5,733

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
Marian Rejewski
Marian Adam Rejewski was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who in 1932 solved the plugboard-equipped Enigma machine, the main cipher device used by Germany...

, Henryk Zygalski
Henryk Zygalski
Henryk Zygalski was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who worked at breaking German Enigma ciphers before and during World War II.-Life:...

 and Jerzy Różycki
Jerzy Rózycki
Jerzy Witold Różycki was a Polish mathematician and cryptologist who worked at breaking German Enigma-machine ciphers.-Life:Różycki was born in what is now Ukraine, the fourth and youngest child of Zygmunt Różycki, a pharmacist and graduate of Saint Petersburg University, and Wanda, née Benita. ...

) at the Polish General Staff's Cipher Bureau
Biuro Szyfrów
The Biuro Szyfrów was the interwar Polish General Staff's agency charged with both cryptography and cryptology ....

 in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

 had developed a number of techniques and devices including the "grill" method, Różycki's "clock
Clock
A clock is an instrument used to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". A silent instrument missing such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece...

", Rejewski's "cyclometer
Cyclometer
The cyclometer was a cryptologic device designed, "probably in 1934 or 1935," by Marian Rejewski of the Polish Cipher Bureau's German section to facilitate decryption of German Enigma ciphertext.-History:...

" and "card catalog", Zygalski's "perforated sheets", and Rejewski's "cryptologic bomb" (in Polish, "bomba," precursor to the later British "Bombe
Bombe
The bombe was an electromechanical device used by British cryptologists to help decipher German Enigma-machine-encrypted signals during World War II...

", named after its Polish predecessor) to facilitate decryption of messages produced on the German "Enigma
Enigma machine
An Enigma machine is any of a family of related electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines used for the encryption and decryption of secret messages. Enigma was invented by German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I...

" cipher machine. Just five weeks before the outbreak of World War II, on July 25, 1939, near Pyry
Pyry
Pyry is one of the southernmost neighborhoods of the city of Warsaw. Administratively part of the Ursynów district, it was originally a separate village located along ulica Puławska , which links downtown Warsaw with the town of Piaseczno...

 in the Kabaty
Kabaty
Kabaty is the southernmost neighborhood of the city of Warsaw, located in its Ursynów district. Until the late 1980s it was a small village located south of Warsaw, between Warsaw and the Kabaty Woods...

 Woods south of Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, 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
Enigma machine
An Enigma machine is any of a family of related electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines used for the encryption and decryption of secret messages. Enigma was invented by German engineer Arthur Scherbius at the end of World War I...

-decryption results at Pyry, the United Kingdom would have been unable to read Enigma ciphers. In the event, intelligence gained from this source, codenamed Ultra, was extremely valuable to the Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 prosecution of the war. While ULTRA's precise influence on its course remains a subject of debate, ULTRA undoubtedly altered the course of the war.


Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK) intelligence
Intelligence (information gathering)
Intelligence assessment is the development of forecasts of behaviour or recommended courses of action to the leadership of an organization, based on a wide range of available information sources both overt and covert. Assessments are developed in response to requirements declared by the leadership...

 was vital to locating and destroying (18 August 1943) the German rocket facility at Peenemünde
Peenemünde
The Peenemünde Army Research Center was founded in 1937 as one of five military proving grounds under the Army Weapons Office ....

 and to gathering information about Germany's V-1 flying bomb
V-1 flying bomb
The V-1 flying bomb, also known as the Buzz Bomb or Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile....

 and V-2 rocket
V-2 rocket
The V-2 rocket , technical name Aggregat-4 , was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. The liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known...

. The Home Army delivered to the United Kingdom key V-2 parts after a rocket, fired on 30 May 1944, crashed near a German test facility at Sarnaki
Sarnaki
Sarnaki is a village in Łosice County, Masovian Voivodeship, in east-central Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Sarnaki. It lies approximately north-east of Łosice and east of Warsaw....

 on the Bug River
Bug River
The Bug River is a left tributary of the Narew river flows from central Ukraine to the west, passing along the Ukraine-Polish and Polish-Belarusian border and into Poland, where it empties into the Narew river near Serock. The part between the lake and the Vistula River is sometimes referred to as...

 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
Home Army and V1 and V2
Aside from the military operations, the Polish Armia Krajowa was also heavily involved in intelligence work, including work done with regard to the German "Wunderwaffe" - the V-1 flying bomb and the V-2 rocket...

). Analysis of the German rocket became vital to improving Allied anti-V-2 defenses (see Operation Most III
Operation Most III
Operation Most III or Operation Wildhorn III was a World War II operation in which Poland's Armia Krajowa provided the Allies with crucial intelligence on the German V-2 rocket.-Background:...

).

In July 1941 Mieczysław Słowikowski (using the codename "Rygor" — Polish for "Rigor") set up "Agency Africa," one of World War II's most successful intelligence organizations. His Polish allies in these endeavors included Lt. Col. Gwido Langer
Gwido Langer
Lt. Col. Karol Gwido Langer was chief of the Polish General Staff's Cipher Bureau from at least mid-1931.-Life:...

 and Major Maksymilian Ciężki
Maksymilian Ciezki
Maksymilian Ciężki was the head of the German section of the Polish Cipher Bureau in the 1930s, during which time the Bureau decrypted German Enigma messages....

. The information gathered by the Agency was used by the Americans and British in planning the amphibious November 1942 Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

 landings in North Africa. These were the first large-scale Allied landings of the war, and their success in turn paved the way for the Allies' Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 campaign.

Polish intelligence operated in every European country and ran one of the largest intelligence networks in Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

. Many Poles also served in other Allied intelligence services, including the celebrated Krystyna Skarbek
Krystyna Skarbek
Krystyna Skarbek, GM, OBE, Croix de guerre was a Polish Special Operations Executive agent. She became celebrated especially for her daring exploits in intelligence and irregular-warfare missions in Nazi-occupied Poland and France....

 ("Christine Granville") in the United Kingdom's Special Operations Executive
Special Operations Executive
The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

. Of all reports received by the British secret services from continental Europe in 1939-45, 43 percent came from Polish sources. Until 1942 most of Britain's intelligence from Germany came from Polish Home Army reports; until war's end, the AK
Armia Krajowa
The Armia Krajowa , or Home Army, was the dominant Polish resistance movement in World War II German-occupied Poland. It was formed in February 1942 from the Związek Walki Zbrojnej . Over the next two years, it absorbed most other Polish underground forces...

would remain Britain's main source of intelligence from Central and Eastern Europe. Polish Home Army intelligence provided the Allies information not only on the V-1 flying bomb
V-1 flying bomb
The V-1 flying bomb, also known as the Buzz Bomb or Doodlebug, was an early pulse-jet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile....

 and the V-2 rocket
V-2 rocket
The V-2 rocket , technical name Aggregat-4 , was a ballistic missile that was developed at the beginning of the Second World War in Germany, specifically targeted at London and later Antwerp. The liquid-propellant rocket was the world's first long-range combat-ballistic missile and first known...

 but also on German concentration camps. As early as 1940, Polish agents (including Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki
Witold Pilecki was a soldier of the Second Polish Republic, the founder of the Secret Polish Army resistance group and a member of the Home Army...

) penetrated German concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and informed the world about Nazi atrocities.

Army




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
Division (military)
A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. In most armies, a division is composed of several regiments or brigades, and in turn several divisions typically make up a corps...

 (First Grenadier Division, and Second Infantry Fusiliers Division
Second Infantry Fusiliers Division
Polish 2nd Fusilier Division or 2nd Rifle Division was part of the recreated Polish Army in France in 1940.The division was commanded by Brigadier-General Bronisław Prugar-Ketling, and was based from late December 1939 to May 1940 at Parthenay in Eastern France...

) took part in the defense of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

, while a Polish motorized brigade
Brigade
A brigade is a major tactical military formation that is typically composed of two to five battalions, plus supporting elements depending on the era and nationality of a given army and could be perceived as an enlarged/reinforced regiment...

 and two infantry divisions were in process of forming. A Polish Independent Carpathian Brigade was formed in French-mandated
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

 Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, to which many Polish troops had escaped from Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

. The Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force
The Polish Air Force is the military Air Force wing of the Polish Armed Forces. Until July 2004 it was officially known as Wojska Lotnicze i Obrony Powietrznej...

 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 (some ) or been interned in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 (some ). Nevertheless, General Władysław Sikorski, Polish commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 and prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

, was able to evacuate many Polish troops to the United Kingdom. In 1941, following an agreement between the Polish government in exile
Polish government in Exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...

 and Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

, the Soviets
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 released Polish citizens, from whom a 75,000-strong army was formed in the USSR under General Władysław Anders. Without any support from the Soviets to train, equip and maintain this army, the Polish government in exile
Polish government in Exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...

 followed Anders' advice for a transfer of some (and around civilians), in March and August 1942, across the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 to Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. In the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, this "Anders' Army" joined the British 8th army
Eighth Army (United Kingdom)
The Eighth Army was one of the best-known formations of the British Army during World War II, fighting in the North African and Italian campaigns....

, where it became the Polish II Corps
Polish II Corps
Polish II Corps , 1943–1947, was a major tactical and operational unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II. It was commanded by Lieutenant General Władysław Anders and by the end of 1945 it had grown to well over 100,000 soldiers....

.

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
Polish Air Force
The Polish Air Force is the military Air Force wing of the Polish Armed Forces. Until July 2004 it was officially known as Wojska Lotnicze i Obrony Powietrznej...

 and 3,000 in the Polish Navy
Polish Navy
The Marynarka Wojenna Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej - MW RP Polish Navy, is the branch of Republic of Poland Armed Forces responsible for naval operations...

. At the end of World War II, the Polish Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces
Siły Zbrojne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej are the national defense forces of Poland...

 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
Polish Air Force
The Polish Air Force is the military Air Force wing of the Polish Armed Forces. Until July 2004 it was officially known as Wojska Lotnicze i Obrony Powietrznej...

 first fought in 1939 Invasion of Poland. Significantly outnumbered and with its fighters outmatched by more advanced German fighters, remained active up to the second week of the campaign, inflicting significant damage on the Luftwaffe. The Luftwaffe lost, to all operational causes, 285 aircraft, with 279 more damaged, while the Poles lost 333 aircraft.

After the fall of Poland many Polish pilots escaped via Hungary to France. The Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force
The Polish Air Force is the military Air Force wing of the Polish Armed Forces. Until July 2004 it was officially known as Wojska Lotnicze i Obrony Powietrznej...

 fought in the Battle of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

 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).

Later, Polish pilots fought in the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

, 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
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF) had welcomed foreign pilots to supplement the dwindling pool of British pilots. On 11 June 1940, the Polish Government in Exile
Polish government in Exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...

 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
No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron
No. 300 "Land of Masovia" Bomber Squadron was a Polish World War II bomber unit. It was fighting alongside the Royal Air Force and operated from airbases in the United Kingdom.- History :...

 and 301
No. 301 Polish Bomber Squadron
No. 301 Polish Bomber Squadron "Land of Pomerania" was a Polish World War II bomber unit. It was fighting alongside the Royal Air Force and operated from airbases in the United Kingdom and Italy.-History:...

 Bomber Squadrons; 302
No. 302 Polish Fighter Squadron
No. 302 Polish Fighter Squadron RAF was a Polish fighter squadron formed in Great Britain as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom in 1940...

 and 303
No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron
No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron was one of 16 Polish squadrons in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. It was the highest scoring RAF squadron of the Battle of Britain....

 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
Tadeusz Kosciuszko
Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko was a Polish–Lithuanian and American general and military leader during the Kościuszko Uprising. He is a national hero of Poland, Lithuania, the United States and Belarus...

, 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 These Polish pilots, constituting 5% of the pilots active during the Battle of Britain, were responsible for 12% of total victories in the Battle.

The Polish Air Force
Polish Air Force
The Polish Air Force is the military Air Force wing of the Polish Armed Forces. Until July 2004 it was officially known as Wojska Lotnicze i Obrony Powietrznej...

 also fought in 1943 in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 (Polish Fighting Team, so called "Skalski's Circus"
Polish Fighting Team
The Polish Fighting Team , also known as "Skalski's Circus" , was a Polish unit which fought with the British Commonwealth Desert Air Force in the North African Campaign of World War II, during 1943...

) 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
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

 (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 the end of the war, around 19,400 Poles were serving in the RAF.

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
    No. 302 Polish Fighter Squadron
    No. 302 Polish Fighter Squadron RAF was a Polish fighter squadron formed in Great Britain as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom in 1940...

     (Poznański)
  • No. 303 "Kościuszko" Polish Fighter Squadron (Warszawski imienia Tadeusza Kościuszki
    Tadeusz Kosciuszko
    Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko was a Polish–Lithuanian and American general and military leader during the Kościuszko Uprising. He is a national hero of Poland, Lithuania, the United States and Belarus...

    )
  • 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
    No. 306 Polish Fighter Squadron
    No. 306 Polish Fighter Squadron was a Polish fighter squadron formed in Great Britain as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom in 1940...

     (Toruński)
  • No. 307 "City of Lwów" Polish Fighter Squadron (Lwowskich Puchaczy)
  • No. 308 "City of Kraków" Polish Fighter Squadron (Krakowski)
  • No. 309 "Czerwien" Polish Fighter-Reconnaissance Squadron
    No. 309 Polish Fighter-Reconnaissance Squadron
    No. 309 Polish Fighter-Reconnaissance Squadron was a Polish squadron formed in Great Britain as part of an agreement between the Polish government-in-exile and the United Kingdom in 1940...

     (Ziemi Czerwieńskiej)
  • No. 315 "City of Dęblin" Polish Fighter Squadron
    No. 315 Polish Fighter Squadron
    No 315 Polish Fighter Squadron was a Polish fighter squadron formed in Great Britain as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom in 1941. It was one of several Polish fighter squadrons fighting alongside the Royal Air Force during the World War II...

     (Dębliński)
  • No. 316 "City of Warsaw" Polish Fighter Squadron (Warszawski)
  • No. 317 "City of Wilno" Polish Fighter Squadron
    No. 317 Polish Fighter Squadron
    No. 317 "Wilno" Polish Fighter Squadron was a Polish fighter squadron formed in Great Britain as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom in 1941...

     (Wileński)
  • No. 318 "City of Gdańsk" Polish Fighter-Reconnaissance Squadron  (Gdański)
  • No. 663 Polish Artillery Observation Squadron
    No. 663 Squadron RAF
    No. 663 Squadron RAF was an Air Observation Post unit of the Royal Air Force , which was officially formed in Italy on 14 August 1944. Numbers 651 to 663 Squadrons of the RAF were Air Observation Post units working closely with Army units in artillery spotting and liaison. A further three of...

  • Polish Fighting Team
    Polish Fighting Team
    The Polish Fighting Team , also known as "Skalski's Circus" , was a Polish unit which fought with the British Commonwealth Desert Air Force in the North African Campaign of World War II, during 1943...

     (Skalski's Circus){attached to No. 145 Squadron}
  • No. 138 Special Duty Squadron Polish Flight "C"
  • No. 1586 Polish Special Duty Flight

Aircraft shot down by Polish squadrons in the West during World War II
1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 total
destroyed 266 1/6 202 90 114¾ 103 38½ 769 5/12
probable 38 52 36 42 10 2 177
damaged 43⅔ + 3/5 60½ 43 66 27 18 252 1/6

Navy





Just on the eve of war, three destroyers — representing most of the major Polish Navy
Polish Navy
The Marynarka Wojenna Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej - MW RP Polish Navy, is the branch of Republic of Poland Armed Forces responsible for naval operations...

 ships - had been sent for safety to the British Isles (Operation Peking
Peking Plan
The Peking PlanThe "Peking" in the name is the traditional English spelling of the former name of the city that is now the capital of China, which is now spelled in the pinyin system 'Beijing'. At the time, the city was not the capital, and its name was Peiping. Before the Second World War in the...

). There they fought alongside the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

. 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
German battleship Bismarck
Bismarck was the first of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the German unification in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched nearly three years later...

. 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.
  • Cruiser
    Cruiser
    A cruiser is a type of warship. The term has been in use for several hundreds of years, and has had different meanings throughout this period...

    s:
    • ORP Dragon– Dragoon (British Danae class
      Danae class cruiser
      The Danae or D-class was a class of light cruiser built for the Royal Navy at the end of World War I and that survived to see service in World War II.-Design:...

      )
    • ORP Conrad (British Danae class)
  • Destroyer
    Destroyer
    In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast and maneuverable yet long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller, powerful, short-range attackers. Destroyers, originally called torpedo-boat destroyers in 1892, evolved from...

    s:
    • ORP Wicher– Gale (Wicher class
      Wicher class destroyer
      Wicher-class destroyers served in the Polish Navy during World War II. Two ships of this class were built for the Second Polish Republic by Chantiers Naval Français during the late 1920s...

      ) sunk September 1939
    • ORP Burza
      ORP Burza
      ORP Burza was a of the Polish Navy which saw action in World War II.-History:ORP Burza was ordered on 2 April 1926 from the French shipyard Chantiers Naval Francais together with her sister ship Wicher...

      – Storm (Wicher class)
    • ORP Grom– Thunder (Grom class
      Grom class destroyer
      The Grom-class destroyers were two destroyers, built for the Polish Navy by the British company of J. Samuel White, Cowes. They were laid down in 1935 and commissioned in 1937...

      ) sunk 1940
    • ORP Błyskawica– Lightning (Grom class)
    • ORP Garland
      ORP Garland
      HMS Garland, also known by her Polish designation ORP Garland, was a G-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy in the mid-1930s. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939 the ship spent considerable time in Spanish waters, enforcing the arms blockade imposed by Britain and France on both sides of...

       (British G class
      G and H class destroyer
      The G- and H-class destroyers were a class of twenty-four destroyers of the Royal Navy launched in 1935–1939. They served in World War II and sixteen were lost, with a seventeenth being written off as a constructive total loss...

      )
    • ORP Orkan
      ORP Orkan
      ORP Orkan formerly HMS Myrmidon was an M-class destroyer of the Polish Navy during World War II. The name translates as "windstorm". She was sunk by U-378 on October 8, 1943 in the Barents Sea...

       (British M-class destroyer Myrmidion
      L and M class destroyer
      The L and M class was a class of sixteen destroyers which served in the British Royal Navy during World War II. The ships of the class were launched between 1939 and 1942.-Design details:...

      ) sunk 1943
    • ORP Ouragan
      ORP Ouragan
      Ouragan was a French Bourrasque class destroyer, commissioned in 1927. During World War II, she served with a Polish crew from 18 June 1940 until 30 April 1941....

      , sometimes called Huragan– Hurricane (French Bourrasque class)
    • ORP Piorun
      ORP Piorun (G65)
      ORP Piorun was an used by the Polish Navy during the Second World War. The name is Polish for "Thunderbolt".-History:The ship was built by John Brown & Company of Clydebank, Glasgow. She was laid down in July 1939, launched on 7 May 1940 and completed on 4 November 1940...

      – Thunderbolt (British N class
      J, K and N class destroyer
      The J, K and N class was a class of 24 destroyers of the Royal Navy launched in 1938. They were a return to a smaller vessel, with a heavier torpedo armament, after the Tribal class that emphasised guns over torpedoes. The ships were built in three flotillas or groups, eight each of ships with...

      )
  • Escort destroyer
    Escort destroyer
    A Escort Destroyer is a US Navy post World War II classification for destroyers modified for and assigned to a fleet escort role. These destroyers retained their original hull numbers...

    s:
    • ORP Krakowiak
      ORP Krakowiak
      ORP Krakowiak was a British Hunt II-class destroyer escort, used by the Polish Navy during World War II. Initially built for the Royal Navy, it bore the name of HMS Silverton during British use..-History:...

      – Cracovian (British Hunt class
      Hunt class destroyer
      The Hunt class was a class of Destroyer escort of the Royal Navy. The first vessels were ordered early in 1939, and the class saw extensive service in World War II, particularly on the British East Coast and Mediterranean convoys. They were named after British fox hunts...

      ) 1941–1946
    • ORP Kujawiak
      ORP Kujawiak
      The ORP Kujawiak was a British Hunt-class destroyer escort, formerly named the HMS Oakley. It was laid down on 22 November 1939 and launched on 30 October 1940. It was commissioned to the Polish Navy in June 1941. The destroyer was sunk on 16 June 1942 after running into a mine near Malta while...

      – Kujawian (British Hunt class)
    • ORP Ślązak– Silesian (British Hunt class)
  • Submarine
    Submarine
    A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

    s:
    • ORP Orzeł
      ORP Orzeł
      Three boats of the Polish Navy have been named ORP Orzeł :* ORP Orzeł was an commissioned in 1939 and lost in 1940.* ORP Orzeł was a commissioned in 1962 and decommissioned in 1983....

      – Eagle (Orzeł class) lost 1940
    • ORP Sęp– Vulture (Orzeł class) interned Sweden
    • ORP Jastrząb
      ORP Jastrzab
      ORP Jastrząb was an old Holland-type S-class submarine, originally of the United States Navy, in Polish service between 1941 and 1942, when she was lost to friendly fire....

      – Hawk (British S class
      British S class submarine (1931)
      The S-class submarines of the Royal Navy were originally designed and built during the modernisation of the submarine force in the early 1930s to meet the need for smaller boats to patrol the restricted waters of the North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea replacing the British H class submarines...

      )
    • ORP Wilk
      ORP Wilk
      ORP Wilk was the lead boat of her class of mine-laying submarines of the Polish Navy. The ship saw service in the Polish Navy from 1931 to 1951. Her name meant "Wolf" in Polish.-History:...

      – Wolf (Wilk class) to reserve 1942
    • ORP Ryś
      ORP Rys
      ORP Ryś was a which saw service in the Polish Navy from 1931 to 1955. Her name meant Lynx in Polish.-History:Ryś was laid down in 1927 in Nantes, France; launched in 1929; and entered service in 1932. When World War II began on September 1, 1939, she took part in the Worek Plan for the defense...

      – Lynx (Wilk class) interned Sweden
    • ORP Żbik
      ORP Zbik
      ORP Żbik was a which saw service in the Polish Navy from 1932 to 1955. Her name means "wildcat" in Polish.Żbik was laid down in 1927 in Caen, launched in 1930, and entered service in 1932. When World War II began on 1 September 1939, she took part in the Worek Plan for the defense of the Polish...

      – Wildcat (Wilk class) interned Sweden
    • ORP Dzik
      ORP Dzik
      ORP Dzik was a U-class submarine built by Vickers-Armstrong at Barrow-in-Furness. She was laid down on 30 December 1941 as P-52 for the Royal Navy, but was transferred to the Polish Navy during construction. Launched on November 11, 1942, ORP Dzik was commissioned into the Polish Navy on December...

      – Boar (British U class
      British U class submarine
      The British U class submarines were a class of 49 small submarines built just before and during the Second World War...

      ) 1942–1946
    • ORP Sokół
      ORP Sokół
      One ship and three submarines of the Polish Navy have been named ORP Sokół :* Sokół, a tugboat launched in 1920 and disposed of in 1957....

      – Falcon (British U class) 1941–1945
  • Heavy minelayer
    Minelayer
    Minelaying is the act of deploying explosive mines. Historically this has been carried out by ships, submarines and aircraft. Additionally, since World War I the term minelayer refers specifically to a naval ship used for deploying naval mines...

    s:
    • ORP Gryf– Griffin (Gryf class) sunk 1939
  • Light minelayer
    Minelayer
    Minelaying is the act of deploying explosive mines. Historically this has been carried out by ships, submarines and aircraft. Additionally, since World War I the term minelayer refers specifically to a naval ship used for deploying naval mines...

    s ("ptaszki"– "Birds"):
    • ORP Jaskółka– Swallow, sunk 1939
    • ORP Mewa
      ORP Mewa
      ORP Mewa was a of the Polish Navy at the outset of World War II. Mewa participated in the defense of Poland during the Nazi German invasion of 1939. The ship was damaged on 1 September 1939 by a Nazi bomb. On 3 September she was again hit by bombs and sank. The ship was later refloated and...

      – Seagull
    • ORP Rybitwa
      ORP Rybitwa
      ORP Rybitwa was a Jaskółka class minesweeper of the Polish Navy at the outset of World War II. Rybitwa participated in the defence of Poland during the Nazi German invasion of 1939. The ship was damaged by a German bomb on 14 September 1939...

      – Tern
    • ORP Czajka
      ORP Czajka
      ORP Czajka was a Jaskółka class minesweeper of the Polish Navy at the outset of World War II. It was built by the riverine shipyard at Modlin. Czajka participated in the defense of Poland during the Nazi German invasion of 1939....

      – Lapwing
    • ORP Żuraw
      ORP Żuraw
      ORP Żuraw was a of the Polish Navy at the outset of World War II. Żuraw participated in the defense of Poland during the German invasion of 1939.-Construction and service 1939:...

      – Crane
    • ORP Czapla– Heron
  • Polish River Fleet


This does not include a number of minor ships, transports, merchant-marine auxiliary vessels, and patrol boats. Polish Merchant Navy
Polish Merchant Navy
The Polish Merchant Navy was created in the interwar period when the Second Polish Republic regained independence.During World War II, many ships of the Polish Navy joined the Allied merchant navy and its convoys, as part of the Polish contribution to World War II.After the war, the Polish...

 contributed about 137 Gross Register Tonnage
Gross Register Tonnage
Gross register tonnage a ship's total internal volume expressed in "register tons", one of which equals to a volume of . It is calculated from the total permanently enclosed capacity of the vessel. The ship's net register tonnage is obtained by reducing the volume of non-revenue-earning spaces i.e...

s to Allied shipping; losing 18 ships (with capacity of 76 BRTs) and over 200 sailors during the war.

Eastern forces


Broadly speaking, there were two formations among the Polish Armed Forces in the East. First was the Polish government-in-exile-loyal Anders Army
Anders Army
The Anders Army was the informal yet common name of the Polish Armed Forces in the East in the period 1941-1942, in recognition of its commander Władysław Anders...

, created in the second half of 1941 after German invasion of the USSR
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

. In 1943 this formation was transferred to the Western Allies
Western Allies
The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the Second World War. It generally includes the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Soviet Union,...

 and became known as the Polish II Corps
Polish II Corps
Polish II Corps , 1943–1947, was a major tactical and operational unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II. It was commanded by Lieutenant General Władysław Anders and by the end of 1945 it had grown to well over 100,000 soldiers....

. Additionally, remaining Polish forces in USSR were reorganized into the Soviet-controlled Polish I Corps in the Soviet Union, which in turn was reorganized in 1944 into the Polish First Army
First Polish Army (1944-1945)
The Polish First Army was a Polish Army unit formed in the Soviet Union in 1944, from the previously existing Polish I Corps as part of the People's Army of Poland . The First Army fought westward, subordinated to the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front, during the offensive against Germany that led to...

 (Berling Army) and Polish Second Army
Polish Second Army
The Polish Second Army was a Polish Army unit formed in the Soviet Union in 1944 as part of the People's Army of Poland. The organization begun in August under the command of generals Karol Świerczewski and Stanislav Poplavsky, and the formation under command of general Świerczewski entered active...

, 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
Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

, Stalin agreed (Sikorski-Mayski Agreement
Sikorski-Mayski Agreement
The Sikorski–Mayski Agreement was a treaty between the Soviet Union and Poland signed in London on 30 July 1941. Its name was coined after the two most notable signatories: Polish Prime Minister Władysław Sikorski and Soviet Ambassador to the United Kingdom Ivan Mayski.- Details :After signing...

) to release tens of thousands of Polish prisoners-of-war held in Soviet camps from whom a military force was formed. The Anders Army
Anders Army
The Anders Army was the informal yet common name of the Polish Armed Forces in the East in the period 1941-1942, in recognition of its commander Władysław Anders...

, as the formation became known, was loyal to the Polish government in exile
Polish government in Exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...

, 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
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, becoming the Polish II Corps
Polish II Corps
Polish II Corps , 1943–1947, was a major tactical and operational unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II. It was commanded by Lieutenant General Władysław Anders and by the end of 1945 it had grown to well over 100,000 soldiers....

 and part of the Polish Armed Forces in the West
Polish Armed Forces in the West
Polish Armed Forces in the West refers to the Polish military formations formed to fight alongside the Western Allies against Nazi Germany and its allies...

.

To utilize the potential of the remaining Polish soldiers in USSR, without actually allowing them to become independent from Soviet control, a fact which allowed Anders Army to leave USSR, the Soviet Union created a Union of Polish Patriots
Union of Polish Patriots
Union of Polish Patriots was a political body created by Polish communists and Joseph Stalin in Soviet Union in 1943...

 (ZPP) in 1943 as communist puppet counter-government to the Polish government in exile
Polish government in Exile
The Polish government-in-exile, formally known as the Government of the Republic of Poland in Exile , was the government in exile of Poland formed in the aftermath of the Invasion of Poland of September 1939, and the subsequent occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which...

. 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
Armia Ludowa
Armia Ludowa was a communist partisan force set up by the Polish Workers' Party during World War II. Its aims were to support the military of the Soviet Union against German forces and aid the creation of a pro-Soviet communist government in Poland...

 was integrated with the Polish People's Army at the end of the war. These Soviet controlled units on the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of World War II between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union, Poland, and some other Allies which encompassed Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945...

 included the First
First Polish Army (1944-1945)
The Polish First Army was a Polish Army unit formed in the Soviet Union in 1944, from the previously existing Polish I Corps as part of the People's Army of Poland . The First Army fought westward, subordinated to the Soviet 1st Belorussian Front, during the offensive against Germany that led to...

, the Second
Polish Second Army
The Polish Second Army was a Polish Army unit formed in the Soviet Union in 1944 as part of the People's Army of Poland. The organization begun in August under the command of generals Karol Świerczewski and Stanislav Poplavsky, and the formation under command of general Świerczewski entered active...

 and the Third Polish Armies (the latter was later merged with the second), and Air Force of the Polish Army
Air Force of the Polish Army
The Air Force of the Polish Army , unofficially known as the People's Polish Air Force was the name of the Soviet-controlled Polish Air Force in the USSR between 1943 and 1947 created alongside the Polish People's Army , a subordinate to the Red Army...

 with 10 infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 divisions, 5 armored brigades and 4 divisions of air force.

The Polish First Army was integrated in the 1st Belorussian Front
1st Belorussian Front
The 1st Belorussian Front was a Front of the Soviet Army during World War II...

 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
Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...

. It took part in battles for Bydgoszcz, Kolobrzeg
Kolobrzeg
Kołobrzeg is a city in Middle Pomerania in north-western Poland with some 50,000 inhabitants . Kołobrzeg is located on the Parsęta River on the south coast of the Baltic Sea...

 (Kolberg), Gdańsk
Gdansk
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast, at the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.The city lies on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay , in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the...

 (Danzig) and Gdynia
Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

 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
Battle of Berlin
The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

. The Polish Second Army fought as part of the Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front
1st Ukrainian Front
The 1st Ukrainian Front was a front—a force the size of a Western Army group—of the Soviet Union's Red Army during the Second World War.-Wartime:...

 and took part in the Prague Offensive
Prague Offensive
The Prague Offensive was the last major Soviet operation of World War II in Europe. The offensive, and the battle for Prague, was fought on the Eastern Front from 6 May to 11 May 1945. This battle for the city is particularly noteworthy in that it ended after the Third Reich capitulated on 8 May...

. In the final operations of the war the losses of the two armies of the LWP amounted to 32,000. catie was X.

Battles


Major battles and campaigns in which Polish regular forces took part:
  • Invasion of Poland
    Invasion of Poland (1939)
    The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

     (1939)
    • Battle of Kock
      Battle of Kock (1939)
      The Battle of Kock, was the final battle in the Invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II. It took place between 2–5 October 1939, near the town of Kock, in Poland....

       (1939)
    • Battle of Mokra
      Battle of Mokra
      The Battle of Mokra took place on September 1, 1939 near the village of Mokra, 5 km north from Kłobuck, 23 km north-west from Częstochowa, Poland...

    • Battle of the Bzura River
    • Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski
      Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski
      Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski took place from 17 September to 26 September 1939 near the town of Tomaszów Lubelski. It was the second largest battle of the Invasion of Poland and also the largest tank battle of the campaign. It resulted in the destruction of the Polish forces...

    • Battle of Warsaw
      Siege of Warsaw (1939)
      The 1939 Battle of Warsaw was fought between the Polish Warsaw Army garrisoned and entrenched in the capital of Poland and the German Army...

       (1939)
    • Battle of Wizna
      Battle of Wizna
      The Battle of Wizna was fought between September 7 and September 10, 1939, between the forces of Poland and Germany during the initial stages of Invasion of Poland. It was arguably the most heroic battle in the campaign, in which 720 Poles defended a fortified line for three days against more than...

  • West forces 1940-1945
    • British campaign in Norway (Battle of Narvik)
    • French Campaign
    • Battle of Britain
      Battle of Britain
      The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

    • Battle of the Atlantic
    • Battle of Tobruk
    • Operation Jubilee (Battle of Dieppe)
    • Battle of Normandy (D-Day
      D-Day
      D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

      )
    • Battle of Monte Cassino
      Battle of Monte Cassino
      The Battle of Monte Cassino was a costly series of four battles during World War II, fought by the Allies against Germans and Italians with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome.In the beginning of 1944, the western half of the Winter Line was being anchored by Germans...

    • Battle of Falaise
    • Battle of Arnhem
      Battle of Arnhem
      The Battle of Arnhem was a famous Second World War military engagement fought in and around the Dutch towns of Arnhem, Oosterbeek, Wolfheze, Driel and the surrounding countryside from 17–26 September 1944....

       (part of Operation Market Garden
      Operation Market Garden
      Operation Market Garden was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time....

      )
    • Battle of Ancona
      Battle of Ancona
      The Battle of Ancona was a battle involving forces from Poland serving as part of the British Army and German forces that took place from 16 June–18 July 1944 during the Italian campaign in World War II...

    • Battle of Bologna
      Battle of Bologna
      The Battle of Bologna was fought in Bologna, Italy from 9–21 April 1945 during the Second World War, as part of the Spring 1945 offensive in Italy. The Allied forces were victorious, with the Polish 2nd Corps and supporting Allied units capturing the city on 21 April.-Background:In March 1945 the...

  • East forces 1943-1945
    • Battle of Lenino
      Battle of Lenino
      The Battle of Lenino was a tactical World War II engagement that took place between October 12 and October 13th, 1943, north of the village of Lenino in the Mogilev region of Byelorussia...

    • Battle of Bydgoszcz
    • Battle of Kolobrzeg,
    • Battle of Gdańsk (Danzig)
      Battle of Gdansk (Danzig)
      Battles near or Sieges of Danzig took place several times in the history of Danzig. The most notable are:* Teutonic takeover of Danzig in 1308. This event involved several parties...

    • Battle of Gdynia
      Battle of Gdynia
      Battle of Gdynia was one of the major battles in northern Poland during the Invasion of Poland of 1939. The Germans' main push towards Gdynia began on 8 September and they captured Gdynia less than a week later on 14 September.- Before the battle :...

    • Battle of Berlin
      Battle of Berlin
      The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

    • Prague Offensive
      Prague Offensive
      The Prague Offensive was the last major Soviet operation of World War II in Europe. The offensive, and the battle for Prague, was fought on the Eastern Front from 6 May to 11 May 1945. This battle for the city is particularly noteworthy in that it ended after the Third Reich capitulated on 8 May...

  • Polish underground actions:
    • Zamość Uprising
      Zamosc Uprising
      The Zamość Uprising refers to the actions by Polish resistance against the forced expulsion of Poles from the Zamość region under the Nazi Generalplan Ost...

       1942-1944
    • Operacja Główki
      Operacja Główki
      Operation Heads was the code name of a series of assassinations of Nazi officials by the Polish Resistance during World War II. Those targeted for assassination had been sentenced to death by the Special Courts of the Polish Underground for crimes against Polish citizens during the World War II...

       1943-1944
    • Operation Tempest
      Operation Tempest
      Operation Tempest was a series of uprisings conducted during World War II by the Polish Home Army , the dominant force in the Polish resistance....

       (Burza) 1944
      • Operation Ostra Brama
      • Lwów Uprising
        Lwów Uprising
        The Lwów Uprising was the armed struggle started by the Polish resistance movement organization Polish Home Army against the Nazi occupiers in Lviv, during World War II. It began on July 23, 1944 as a part of a plan of all-national uprising codenamed Operation Tempest. The uprising lasted until...

      • Warsaw Uprising
        Warsaw Uprising
        The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...


Technology




  • Józef Kosacki
    Józef Kosacki
    Józef Stanisław Kosacki was a Polish professor engineer, inventor, and an officer in the Polish Army during World War II. He is best known as the inventor of the Polish mine detector, the first man-portable mine detector, whose basic design has been in use with various armies for over 50...

     invented the Polish mine detector
    Polish mine detector
    The Mine detector Mark I was a metal detector for landmines developed during World War II in the winter of 1941–1942 by Polish lieutenant Józef Kosacki.- History :...

    , which would be used by the Allies throughout the war.
  • The Vickers Tank Periscope MK.IV
    Vickers Tank Periscope MK.IV
    The Vickers Tank Periscope MK.IV, invented by Polish engineer Rudolf Gundlach, was first patented in 1936 as Gundlach Peryskop obrotowy. It was the first device to allow the tank commander to have a 360-degree view from his turret, with a single periscope...

     was invented by engineer
    Engineering
    Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

     Rudolf Gundlach
    Rudolf Gundlach
    Rudolf Gundlach was a Polish engineer, inventor and tank designer. He headed the design division of the Armored Weapons Development Office .He was the chief designer of the Ursus wz...

     and patented in 1936 as the Gundlach Peryskop obrotowy. Initially it was mounted in Polish tanks such as the 7TP
    7TP
    The 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...

     and TKS
    TKS
    The TK and TKS were Polish tankettes during the Second World War.-Design and development:The TK tankette was a Polish design 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...

    . Subsequently the design patent was bought by the British and used in most tank
    Tank
    A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

    s of World War II, including the Soviet T-34
    T-34
    The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II...

    , the British Crusader
    Crusader tank
    The Tank, Cruiser, Mk VI or A15 Crusader was one of the primary British cruiser tanks of the early part Second World War and perhaps the most important British tank of the North African Campaign...

    , Churchill
    Churchill tank
    The Tank, Infantry, Mk IV was a heavy British infantry tank used in the Second World War, best known for its heavy armour, large longitudinal chassis with all-around tracks with multiple bogies, and its use as the basis of many specialist vehicles. It was one of the heaviest Allied tanks of the war...

    , Valentine
    Valentine
    Valentine may refer to:* Valentine's Day, a holiday, or a card or gift given on that day-People:* Valentine , the pseudonym of Archibald Thomas Pechey* Saint Valentine, the name of several martyred saints of ancient Rome* Pope Valentine...

     and Cromwell
    Cromwell tank
    Tank, Cruiser, Mk VIII, Cromwell ,The designation as the eighth Cruiser tank design, its name given for ease of reference and its General Staff specification number respectively and the related Centaur tank, were one of the most successful series of cruiser tanks fielded by Britain in the Second...

     tanks, and the American M4 Sherman
    M4 Sherman
    The M4 Sherman, formally Medium Tank, M4, was the primary tank used by the United States during World War II. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and Soviet armies, via lend-lease...

    . 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.
  • pistolet wz. 35 Vis, often simply called the Radom in English sources, is a 9 mm caliber, single-action, semi-automatic pistol. It was adopted in 1935 as the standard handgun of the Polish Army. The design was appropriated by the Germans and from 1939–1945, 312,000 - 380,000 VIS pistols were produced and used by the German paratroopers and police as the 9 mm Pistole 35(p).
  • PZL.37 Łoś was a Polish twin-engine medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at the PZL factory in Warsaw by Jerzy Dąbrowski
    Jerzy Dabrowski
    Jerzy Dąbrowski was a Polish aeronautical engineer. He was the lead designer of the famed PZL.37 Łoś medium bomber....

    , 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.

  • Swiatecki bomb slip
    Swiatecki bomb slip
    Swiatecki bomb slip - was slip bomb device of Polish inventor Władysław Świątecki used in many allied bombers during World War II.-History:Świątecki designed a bomb-release system in 1923. His invention was patented in 1926 in Poland and abroard. The first use was planned for the Karaś P.23 light...

    , a bomb-release system was invented by Władysław Świątecki in 1925 and patented in the 1926 in Poland and aboard. Some components 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
    Jerzy Rudlicki
    Rudlicki Jerzy was a Polish aerospace engineer who invented and in 1930 patented the V-tail configuration for aircraft combining the ailerons and elevators in one system. He both worked in the World War I and World War II on aircraft...

     for the American B-17 Flying Fortress.
  • Wz. 35 anti-tank rifle, secret project of 7.92 mm anti-tank rifle
    Anti-tank rifle
    An anti-tank rifle is a rifle designed to penetrate the armour of vehicles, particularly tanks. The usefulness of rifles for this purpose ran from the introduction of tanks in World War I and until the Korean War...

     used by the Polish Army during the Invasion of Poland
    Invasion of Poland (1939)
    The Invasion of Poland, also known as the September Campaign or 1939 Defensive War in Poland and the Poland Campaign in Germany, was an invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent that marked the start of World War II in Europe...

     invented by Józef Maroszek. The rifle was development of the Mauser rifle with special develop its own 7.92 mm cartridge with a muzzle velocity
    Muzzle velocity
    Muzzle velocity is the speed a projectile has at the moment it leaves the muzzle of the gun. Muzzle velocities range from approximately to in black powder muskets , to more than in modern rifles with high-performance cartridges such as the .220 Swift and .204 Ruger, all the way to for tank guns...

     of over 1,000 meters per second. Weapon with range 300 metres was very effective against all German tanks of the period (the Panzer I
    Panzer I
    The Panzer I was a light tank produced in Germany in the 1930s. The name is short for the German ' , abbreviated . The tank's official German ordnance inventory designation was SdKfz 101 .Design of the Panzer I began in 1932 and mass production in 1934...

    , II
    Panzer II
    The Panzer II was the common name for a family of German tanks used in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen II...

     and III
    Panzer III
    Panzer III was the common name of a medium tank that was developed in the 1930s by Germany and was used extensively in World War II. The official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen III translating as "armoured battle vehicle". It was intended to fight other armoured fighting vehicles and...

    , as well as the Czech-made LT-35 and LT-38) at 100 meters. At up to 400 meters it could penetrate all lightly armored vehicles. It could penetrate 15 mm of armor, sloped at 30° at 300 m distance, or 33 mm of armor at 100 m. Interestingly, an Italian manual stated maximum penetration as 40 mm.
  • 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. The father of Wacław Struszyński was Professor Marceli Struszyński
    Marceli Struszynski
    Marceli Struszyński was a Polish chemist and Professor of Warsaw University of Technology from 1938-1939 and 1945-1959....

    , a member of the Polish resistance, who analysed the fuel used in the V2 rocket, the formula being subsequently sent to England.
  • A rubber
    Rubber
    Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

     windshield wiper was invented by the Polish pianist
    Piano
    The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

     Józef Hofmann
    Józef Hofmann
    Josef Casimir Hofmann was a Polish-American virtuoso pianist, composer, music teacher, and inventor.-Biography:...

    .
  • Henryk Magnuski
    Henryk Magnuski
    Henryk Władysław Magnuski was a Polish telecommunications engineer who worked for Motorola in Chicago. He was the inventor of one of the first Walkie-Talkies and one of the authors of his company success in the fields of radio communication.-Early years:Magnuski was born on January 30, 1909 in...

    , a Polish engineer working for Motorola
    Motorola
    Motorola, Inc. was an American multinational telecommunications company based in Schaumburg, Illinois, which was eventually divided into two independent public companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions on January 4, 2011, after losing $4.3 billion from 2007 to 2009...

    , 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
    Walkie-talkie
    A walkie-talkie is a hand-held, portable, two-way radio transceiver. Its development during the Second World War has been variously credited to Donald L. Hings, radio engineer Alfred J. Gross, and engineering teams at Motorola...

    .

Weapons


Polish engineers who escaped German occupied Poland contributed to weapon developments during the war. A Polish/Czech/British team brought the Polsten
Polsten
The Polsten was a low cost Polish development of the 20 mm Oerlikon gun. The Polsten was designed to be simpler and much cheaper to build than the Oerlikon without reducing effectiveness.-Development:...

 to fruition as a simpler and cheaper but as effective derivative of the 20 mm Oerlikon gun
Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original design by Reinhold Becker of Germany, very early in World War I, and widely produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others...

.

The Polish Home Army was probably the only World War II resistance movement to manufacture large quantities of weaponry and munitions. In addition to production of pre-war designs they developed and produced during the war the Błyskawica submachine gun, Bechowiec, KIS
KIS (weapon)
Kis was the name of a Polish machine pistol from the time of the Second World War. It was designed and manufactured by engineers in Jan Piwnik's "Ponury" guerrilla unit that was operating in Holy Cross Mountains region...

 and Polski Sten machine pistols as well as the filipinka
Filipinka
Filipinka was an unofficial, yet common name for the ET wz. 40 hand grenade produced for the Armia Krajowa during World War II in occupied Poland....

 and sidolówka
Sidolówka
Sidolówka was an unofficial, yet common, name of the R wz. 42 hand grenade, produced by the Polish resistance organization Armia Krajowa in occupied Poland during World War II....

 hand grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

s. During the Warsaw Uprising
Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising was a major World War II operation by the Polish resistance Home Army , to liberate Warsaw from Nazi Germany. The rebellion was timed to coincide with the Soviet Union's Red Army approaching the eastern suburbs of the city and the retreat of German forces...

 Polish engineers built several armoured cars, such as the Kubuś
Kubus
The term Kubu is a Malay exonym ascribed to mobile, animist peoples who live throughout the lowland forests of Southeast Sumatra. In the Malay language, the word Kubu can mean defensive fortification, entrenchment, or a place of refuge...

, which also took part in the fighting.
The KIS was designed and made in the Jan Piwnik
Jan Piwnik
Jan Piwnik was a Polish World War II soldier, a cichociemny and a notable leader of the Home Army in the Świętokrzyskie Mountains. He used the noms de guerre Ponury and Donat.-Biography:...

'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.

See also

  • History of Poland (1939–1945)
    History of Poland (1939–1945)
    The history of Poland from 1939 to 1945 encompasses the German invasion of Poland as well as the Soviet invasion of Poland through to the end of World War II. On 1 September 1939, without a formal declaration of war, Germany invaded Poland...

  • List of Polish armies in World War II
  • List of Polish divisions in World War II
  • Polish resistance movement in World War II
    Polish resistance movement in World War II
    The Polish resistance movement in World War II, with the Home Army at its forefront, was the largest underground resistance in all of Nazi-occupied Europe, covering both German and Soviet zones of occupation. The Polish defence against the Nazi occupation was an important part of the European...

  • Western betrayal
    Western betrayal
    Western betrayal, also called Yalta betrayal, refers to a range of critical views concerning the foreign policies of several Western countries between approximately 1919 and 1968 regarding Eastern Europe and Central Europe...

  • Janusz Magnuski
    Janusz Magnuski
    __FORCETOC__Janusz Magnuski was a Polish author and military historian. His principal works document the development and deployment of Polish and Soviet armor utilized during World War II and he has been called "the world's most noted historian of Soviet tank history"...

  • Blackhawk (comics)
    Blackhawk (comics)
    Blackhawk, a long-running comic book series, was also a film serial, a radio series and a novel. The comic book was published first by Quality Comics and later by DC Comics. The series was created by Will Eisner, Chuck Cuidera, and Bob Powell, but the artist most associated with the feature is Reed...


External links