Chapter 15: Bombing and Battle of Warsaw.


Significant year 1939.

Map of initial ground attacks on Warsaw.Poles,blue,Germans ,red.

Juliusz Karol Wilhelm Rómmel.

Juliusz Karol Wilhelm Rómmel.

Juliusz Karol Wilhelm Rómmel (born 3 June 1881 in Grodno – died 8 September 1967 in Warsaw) was a Polish military commander, a general of the Polish Army and a member of the civil rights movement.

He graduated from the Corps of Cadets in Pskov and the Military School of St. Petersburg. During World War I he served as a Tsarist army officer and fought in the 1st Artillery Brigade of the Russian Army. In 1917 he joined the Polish Army. During the Polish-Bolshevik War, he gained great fame for achieving a decisive victory in the Battle of Komarów, the largest cavalry engagement of the 20th century. A commander of two Polish armies during the Polish Defensive War of 1939, Rómmel was one of the most controversial of the generals to serve during that conflict. After the invasion he was captured by German troops and interned in a POW camp in Murnau. After the liberation by the Americans he returned to Poland to serve as Commander in Chief. After 1956 Rómmel worked in the Association of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy.

He was a distant relative of the future German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel


Although the Rummel family felt Polish and spoke Polish at home,[3] they were in fact heirs to one of the oldest German families in Central Europe, tracing its roots to certain Matthias Heinrich Freiherr von Rummel, a Livonian Brother of the Sword who in 1332 owned the Getzingen castle near Julich in Westphalia and settled in Courland to support the Teutonic Knights in their struggle against the pagan Balts.

Early career and World War 

Juliusz Karol Wilhelm Józef Rómmel graduated from the Konstantin's Artillery School in St. Petersburg in 1903. He served in the Russian Army under Tsar Nicholas II. In September 1903 he was appointed second lieutenant and in September 1909 vice-captain. He participated in the Russo-Japanese War between 1904 and 1905, for which he received the Medal of the Red Cross. He also attended the College of Physical Education.

During the Great War, he served as the commanding officer of the 1st Artillery Brigade. He was wounded twice: first time in October 1914 and in May 1915 near the town of Dęblin. In February 1915 he was promoted to the rank of captain and in July 1916 he came the colonel of the Tsar's army. After the February Revolution of 1917 he was elected as a delegate to the Congress of Polish Military in the South-Western Front and to the Congress of Polish Military in Petrograd. He later joined the Polish Army Corps in Minsk. From there he was sent to Kiev and Żytomierz as he was responsible for the formation of Polish troops in Eastern Europe. In 1917, he was transferred to the Polish II Corps being formed in the area of Ukraine and became one of its organizers. From January to early February of 1918 on the order of General commander Eugene de Henning Michaelis, Rómmel was in charge of all Polish troops stationing in Kiev. During this period he formed a separate Artillery III Corps consisting of three batteries, which he later commanded in Central Europe. During the Russian Civil War, he commanded the Polish Light Brigade, a part of General Żeligowski's 4th Rifle Division. Interned by Austria-Hungary, in 1918 he joined the newly established Polish Army of the Second Polish Republic governed by its Chief of State, Marshal Józef Piłsudski.

The Polish-Bolshevik War and interwar years.

On 3 November 1918, he joined the Polish army and instantly became a colonel of the Armed Forces. With the help of his subordinates, he was responsible for the disarmament of the German troops in the city of Rembertów. He was then appointed commander of the artillery camp in Rembertów, and using the captured weapons (4 batteries of cannons) he organized and established the 8th Artillery Regiment. He attended the 3-week course at the Artillery Training Center in Warsaw. During the Polish-Soviet War between 1919 and 1920, he took part in the fighting in the Vilnius region and also was a participant in the Latvian offensive (during which he captured Dvinsk). From 17 June 1920 until 10 July he commanded the 1st Infantry Division of Legionów. Although initially a commanding officer of the 1st Legions Infantry Division he created and commanded the 1st Cavalry Division. In that post, he won a striking victory against Semyon Budyonny in the Battle of Komarów on 30 August 1920, in which Budyonny lost an estimated 4,000 men.Rómmel's victory in the largest cavalry battle in the 20th century later added to his popularity and fame in Poland. In September 1920, he also fought with distinction in the ranks of Haller's Operational Group of Sikorski's 3rd Army during the Battle of the Niemen River. After the war he published many books where he described his experiences before and following the battles in the east. From February 28 until April 16, 1921 he took part in an information exchange for senior commanders in Warsaw. On June 22, 1921 he was appointed inspector of Vilnius. On May 3 of 1922 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general on the order of Marshal Piłsudski. On 1 June 1924 he was appointed commander of the 1st Division of Cavalry based in Białystok. On 11 September 1926 he was appointed the General Inspector of the Land Forces. In 1928 he was promoted to the rank of Major General. From June 27, 1929 until September 1939 he was the General Inspector of the Armed Forces. Rómmel was an enthusiastic both political and military writer. He was the author of novels and published several newspaper articles about his past experiences about modern warfare.

World War II and retiremen.

In March 1939, he was given command of the Łódź Army, a Polish tactical group that was to link the southern and northern flanks of the Polish Army during the probable war with Germany. He positioned his forces close to the border with Germany. When the Polish Defensive War finally broke out on 1 September 1939, this proved to be a fatal move. Without any natural defences, Rómmel's army was easily outmaneuvered and cut out from the rest of the Polish forces, without much chance to act as a pivot of the Polish defences or even withdraw. Under still uncertain circumstances, Rómmel and his staff were separated from his army and headed for Warsaw, arriving on the night of 7–8 September. The Commander-in-Chief, Edward Rydz-Śmigły, (then in Brześć), gave him command over all the Polish forces in the ad hoc Warsaw Army, which included the Warsaw Defense Force under General Walerian Czuma and the Modlin Fortress defense force under General Wiktor Thommée. Rydz-Śmigły gave him a signed order to "..defend the city as long as ammunition and food lasts, to hold as many of the enemy forces as possible." He signed all the proclamations to the civilian population. Before the surrender, Rómmel authorized Gen. Michał Karaszewicz-Tokarzewski to create the Służba Zwycięstwu Polski. On September 27 Rómmel started negotiations with Nazi Germany regarding the surrender of Warsaw. Rómmel allowed Michał Tokarzewski-Karaszewicz to engage in further battles and operations to maintain the independence and the integrity of the borders, which became the nucleus for the Polish underground organization.

Rommel with cap and Czuma right, signing the capitulation of Waesaw with German commande Blaskowitz..

He spent the rest of the war interned in German POW camps, among them Oflag IV-B Koenigstein, and the final years of the war in Oflag VII-A Murnau. Liberated by the US 12th Armored Division in April 1945, he was not welcome in the Polish II Corps and decided to return to Poland. Because of that, he was praised by communist propaganda as a war hero. He was also awarded with the Commander's Cross of Virtuti Militari.

In 1947, he retired from the army and spent the rest of his life writing books. His role during the September Campaign and after has been a subject of controversy.

In the United Kingdom in far later years.

Personal life.

According to Marshal Józef Piłsudski, Rómmel was a "vigorous and pious man, with a strong character and also very distinguished. He was a good type of soldier, fit for the further development of innate abilities and ideal for protecting his own military units." 46 years later, former chief of staff Aleksander Pragłowski wrote that "Although skilled and talented, Rómmel was full of surprises. It was shocking that he didn't make an effort to aid the Poznań Army or at least keep Warsaw free from Nazi slaughter for another month."

After 1956 Rómmel became active in the ZBoWiD and was appointed a member of the Supreme Council. He took part in carrying out the verification of degrees and awards given to soldiers and officers in the year. He belonged to the Committee for the Reconstruction of the Garrison Church on Puławska Street in Warsaw. Rómmel left 9 volumes of Memoirs dating from as early as 1881 to 1939, which are currently located in the Department of National Archives in Wrocław. But his military collection dating from the sixteenth to the twentieth century was given, in 1968 by his wife Janina, to the National Museum in Warsaw.

Juliusz Rómmel died on September 8, 1967 in a military hospital and was buried in the (former Military) Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw. He was, among others, awarded with Order of Virtuti Militari, Commander's Cross, Order of Polonia Restituta Commander's Cross with Star, Order of the Cross of Grunwald II class, Cross of Valour, Gold Cross of Merit, Grand officier de la Légion d'honneur and Order of Lāčplēsis II class.

Rómmel was married three times: from 1905 until 1932 with Maria Zofia Gobertów, then with Irene Elvira Dębska until 1947 and finally to Maria Puchała-Puchalska (1911-1973). From his first marriage he had a son, Wiktor (1908-1970), who was an officer in the Polish People's Army.

Rommel died at the old age of 86, on 08-11-1967 and is buried on the cemetery Powazki, in Warsaw..

Honours and awards,

Order of the Virtuti Militari,Commander's Cross

Order of the Virtuti Militari,Golden Cross

Order of the Virtuti Militari, Silver Cross

Order of Polonia Restituta, Commander's Cross with Star

Order of Polonia Restituta, Commander's Cross

Order of the Cross of Grunwald II class

Cross of Valour, IV award

Cross of Valour, I award

Gold Cross of Merit

Grand officier de la Légion d'honneur

Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur

Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur

Order of Lāčplēsis II class

Walerian Czuma .

Walerian Czuma.

Walerian Czuma (24 December 1890 – 7 April 1962) was a Polish general and military commander. He is notable for his command over a Polish unit in Siberia during the Russian Civil War, and the commander of the defence of Warsaw during the siege in 1939.


At the outbreak of World War I Walerian Czuma joined the Piłsudski's Polish Legions. He was taken POW by the Russian Army and imprisoned in the infamous Butyrka prison. Later he was sentenced to forced resettlement in Siberia. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 he started to organise Polish military units in Siberia, which eventually became known as the Polish 5th Rifle Division.

After the collapse of Kolchak's anti-Bolshevik movement, the Polish 5th Rifle Division, stranded in Siberia, was forced to surrender to the Red Army and Czuma was again imprisoned in Moscow. After the Riga Peace Treaty he was allowed to return to Poland, where he rejoined the Polish Army.

From 1922 he served as the commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Division. Between 1927 and 1928 he was the commander of the Wilno Fortified Area. Later he was the commanding officer of the 5th Division. In March 1938 he was assigned to the Ministry of Internal Affairs as the commanding officer of the Border Guards (Polish Straż Graniczna). Between the wars Czuma was also an active member of several social organisations, among them the Guards of the Graves of Polish Heroes society which initiated the construction of Lwów Eagles mausoleum in Łyczaków Cemetery in Lwów.

Tomb of Walerian Czuma and his brother at Warsaw's Powązki Military Cemetery

After the outbreak of the Polish Defensive War of 1939 he declined to leave Warsaw together with the government and the civilian authorities. On September 3 Marshal of Poland Edward Śmigły-Rydz ordered the creation of an improvised Command of the Defence of Warsaw (Dowództwo Obrony Warszawy) and Czuma became its commander. He commanded all the units fighting in the Siege of Warsaw, for which he was awarded the Virtuti Militari medal.

On 28 September 1939, Czuma was taken POW by the Germans and remained in various POW camps for the rest of World War II. After he was liberated from the Oflag VII-A Murnau POW camp in Murnau am Staffelsee, Germany, by the American forces, he joined the Polish Army in the West. The new communist authorities deprived him of Polish citizenship and Czuma chose to remain an emigre in the United Kingdom, where he died at Penley near Wrexham in 1962. He was initially buried at Wrexham Cemetery but in July 2004 his remains and those of his brother Władysław were moved to Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw.

He is an uncle of Andrzej Czuma, Polish politician..

Military awards.

He received several of the highest military awards of the Allied countries, including:

Polish Virtuti Militari (3rd, 4th and 5th class)

Polish Cross of Independence with Swords

Cross of Valour (four times)

Polonia Restituta (4th class)

Gold Cross of Merit

Commander of the Légion d'honneur (France)

Grand Cross of Leopold[clarification needed] (Belgium)

Tadeusz Roman Tomaszewski.


                                                                                        Tadeusz Roman Tomaszewski.

Tadeusz Roman Tomaszewski  (born December 10, 1894 in Jabłonowo Pomorskie, k. Kolomyia – 3 December 1967 in London)  was a General of the Polish Army, participant in the Polish struggle for independence during World War I and the Polish-Ukrainian war, Polish-Soviet war and World War II. He Was Awarded The Virtuti Militari.


 in August 1914 after finishing high school in Trembowla joined the Polish I Brigade of the Polish legions. He served in the 1st Infantry Regiment, and then 1 Ciechanów artillery regiment.of Marshal Józef Piłsudski. In April 1917 in Góra Kalwaria he enrolled in the Cadet School of artillery. Commandant was captain. Franciszek Kleeberg, and General tactics taught. Wacław Stachiewicz. After the oath crisis he was conscripted into the Austro-Hungarian army, where he graduated from officers ' school of artillery.

2 November 1918 joined the Polish Army. He commanded the artillery platoon in the defense of Lviv. In January 1919, he returned to native Regiment, where he served as an officer 4 battery, and then commanded the 8 battery. 1 November 1919 was commissioned in the Artillery Officers School in Poznań-Sołaczu as a battery Commander. Commandant was the former Commander of the 1st Regiment of Artillery, Maj. Edmund Knoll-Kownacki. In January 1921 he was transferred to the field artillery Regiment 14 Wielkopolska and appointed commander of the 1st battery. In June 1922, he took over the command of the pułkową school bomberbot. In September 1923 he enrolled in Military School in Warsaw. 1October 1925, he received the title of general staff officer and was assigned to the WSWoj. as an Assistant. At school he taught tactics and led the Second Yearbook of listeners. In January 1930 he was given command of a squadron in the 21st light artillery regiment in Bielsko. In October 1932, assumed responsibilities of the Chief of Corps District No. V in Krakow. In February 1936, he was entrusted with the command of the 6th heavy artillery Regiment in Lviv. There he developed contacts with the then Commander of the 5th Infantry Division, Brig. Walerianem Czumą. In December 1937, he was entrusted with the function of the Chief Commander of the Legion of the academics.

At the same time from May 1939 was a delegate of the Minister of military affairs, Gen. Tadeusz Kasprzycki, the Minister in charge of religious and public enlightenment. 2 September 1939 zdemobilizował Academic Legion. September 3, was summoned to the General Brig. Kazimierz Sawicki, Director of the State Office of physical education and the adoption of the military and national defense, Units commanders who ordered him to go to Pomerania and to arrange the evacuation of 150 thousand of reservists. He refused to execute the command, considering them to be unenforceable, then went to Gen. Kasprzycki,. In the Cabinet of the Minister, instead of the expected criminal report was appointed Chief of staff Gen. Czuma, entrusted with the task of the defence of Warsaw. In this position he remained until 29 September. He was the closest collaborator of Gen. Czuma. For his activity he was awarded by Gen. Julius Rómmel  The Silver Cross Of The Virtuti Militari. After the surrender of the capital was captured by the Germans. After the surrender of the capital was captured by the Germans. By April 1945, he was qa prisoner  in Hohnstein and VIIa in Murnau. After the liberation he was admitted to the PES in the West, and appointed commander of the former Polish prisoners camps in Bavaria and delegate of the Polish II Corps Commander in Germany. From November 1946 to December 1948, he served on the staff of the main WP and General Inspectorate of the Polish resettlement Corps deployment.  After demobilization he settled in London. Work in an environment kombatanckim. In 1961, he published his memoirs entitled I was Chief of staff of the Defence of Warsaw in 1939, 11 November 1966 President August Zaleski promoted him to the rank of General of Brigade. He died on 3 December 1967 in London. He is buried in Martlake.

Plaque commemorating General Valerian Czume and Gen. Tadeusz Tomaszewski on Church St. Charles Borromeo on Powązki.

Honours and AwardS.

 Lieutenant Lieutenant Captain-3 May 1922 verified since June 1, 1919, in the body of the artillery officers 

major – 1 December 1924 since August 15, 1924, and 95. in the body of the artillery officers 

Lieutenant Colonel-since January 1, 1931, in the body of the artillery officers 

Colonel-since March 19, 1938, in the body of the officers of the artillery brigade-since November 11, 1966, 

Honours and Awards.

  Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari 

Knight's cross of the order of the rebirth of Poland.

 Polish cross of independence 

Cross of Valor (four times), 

Golden cross of merit

Stefan Starzynski.


 Stefan Starzyński .

Stefan Starzyński (August 19, 1893 - c. October 17, 1943[1]) was a Polish politician, economist, writer and statesman, President of Warsaw before and during the Siege of Warsaw in 1939.


Starzyński was born on August 19, 1893 in Warsaw. After graduating from gymnasium, he enrolled in the Department of Economics at the Higher School of Trade (Wyższe Kursy Handlowe), a private-run university. In 1909 he also joined various patriotic organizations, including the Riflemen's Association (Związek Strzelecki).

In August 1914, after the outbreak of the Great War, he joined Piłsudski's Polish Legions and became an ordinary soldier in the 1st Brigade. He took part in all battles and skirmishes of his Brigade and was quickly promoted to officer. After the Pledge Crisis in 1917 he was arrested and, together with most of his colleagues, interned in Beniaminów. In November 1918 he joined the Polish Army and became the Chief of Staff of the 9th Polish Infantry Division. During the Polish-Bolshevik War he was transferred to the 2nd Department of the General Staff, which carried out mostly intelligence tasks.


As a soldier.

Politician and economist

After demobilization he remained in public service. He supervised one of the repatriation commissions in Moscow and later one of the departments of the Ministry of Treasury. In the years 1929-30 and 1931-32 he was a deputy minister of the treasury. In 1930 he became a member of Polish Sejm for a three years period as a member of the Nonpartisan Bloc for Cooperation with the Government (BBWR). He was also a deputy president of Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, one of the biggest Polish banks.

During his life he published several academic papers on the economy.


In the early 1930s Warsaw had a huge hole in its budget. The city's development had been halted by a lack of funds while the population continued to grow rapidly. On August 1, 1934, Starzyński was chosen by the Sanacja régime to become the president of Warsaw, and was given special powers. Local authorities were disbanded and Starzyński became responsible only to central government.

At first Starzyński was viewed by the majority of Varsovians as yet another Sanacja stooge imposed on a city that mostly supported the opposition. But he soon gained popularity, even among his former enemies. He initiated a plan for fast-track reform of the financial system. The money saved thanks to these reforms was reinvested in public works that reduced unemployment. He managed to electrify the suburbs of Wola and Grochów, pave all the major roads out of Warsaw, and to connect the city centre with the newly-built northern district of Żoliborz through a bridge over the northern railway line. These actions earned him the nickname "president of the suburbs".

He became popular among the inhabitants of borough of Śródmieście (city centre) for his action of planting trees and flowers along the main streets. Starzyński also ordered the creation of a huge park in Wola and several minor green areas in other parts of the city. During his presidency Warsaw was also enlarged to the south. The area of former airfield on Pole Mokotowskie in the borough of Mokotów was cut in two parts by Aleje Niepodległości (Avenue of Independence), nowadays one of the main streets of Warsaw. Among the most important facilities opened during his presidency were the National Museum, new building of the city library, new building of his alma mater, now renamed to Warsaw School of Economics and the Powszechny theatre, which became one of the most influential scenes of Warsaw. Other initiatives of Starzyński include complete reconstruction of boulevards along the Vistula and partial reconstruction of the barbican in the Old Town area.

In 1934 he was chosen as a president of Warsaw for a four-year term. On December 18, 1938 he was elected in democratic elections for his second term. Starzyński held his office until the World War II broke out. During his presidency:

• 2 000 000 km of paved roads were built

• 44 schools were opened

• National Museum was built

• 2 major parks were opened to the public (one of them is now a National Reserve)

• construction of Warsaw Metro started

Defense of Warsaw

After the start of Polish Defensive War of 1939 Starzy

ński refused to leave Warsaw together with other state authorities and diplomats on September 4, 1939. Instead he joined the army as a major of infantry. The Minister of War shortly before his departure created the Command of the Defense of the Capital with general Walerian Czuma as its commander. On September 7 the forces of 4th German Panzer Division managed to break the Polish lines near Częstochowa and started their march towards Warsaw. Most of the city authorities withdrew together with a large part of the police forces, fire fighters and military garrison. Warsaw was left with only four battalions of infantry and one battery of artillery. The Headquarters of general Czuma had barely any forces to organize the defense of the city. Also, the spokesman of the garrison of Warsaw issued a communique in which he ordered all young men to leave the city.

To counter the panic that started in Warsaw, general Czuma appointed Stefan Starzyński as the Civilian Commissar of Warsaw. Starzyński started to organize the Civil Guard to replace the evacuated police forces. He also ordered all members of the city's administration to retake their posts. In his daily radio releases he asked all civilians to construct barricades and anti-tank barriers at the outskirts of Warsaw. According to many sources from the epoch his daily speeches were a crucial factor in keeping the morale of both the soldiers and the civilians high during the Siege of Warsaw. Starzyński commanded the distribution of food, water and supplies as well as fire fighting brigades. He also managed to organise shelter for almost all civilian refugees from other parts of Poland and houses destroyed by German aerial bombardment. Before the Siege ended he became the symbol of the defence of Warsaw in 1939.

On September 27 the commanders of the besieging German forces demanded that Starzyński be present during the signing of the capitulation of Warsaw. Before the capitulation he was offered to leave the city several times. The pilot of the prototype PZL.46 Sum plane that managed to escape from internment in Romania and landed safely in besieged Warsaw offered himself to evacuate Starzyński to Lithuania. He was also proposed to go underground and receive plastic surgery in order to escape the city. He refused.

After the Germans entered the city on September 28, 1939, Starzyński was allowed to continue his service as the president of Warsaw. He was active in organisation of life in the occupied city as well as its reconstruction after the German terror bombing campaign. At the same time he became one of the organizers of Służba Zwycięstwu Polski, the first underground organisation in occupied Poland that eventually became the Armia Krajowa. Among other things he provided it with thousands of clean forms of ID cards, birth registry forms and passports. Those documents were later used in validation of false identities of many members of the resistance.

On October 5 he was arrested by the Gestapo and, together with several other prominent inhabitants of Warsaw, held hostage as a warrant of safety of Adolf Hitler during a parade of victory held in Warsaw. The following day all of them were released. On October 27, 1939 he was again arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned in the Pawiak prison. In December he was yet again offered to escape, but he again refused claiming that it would be too costly to those involved in his escape. His fate remains unknown. According to the most probable version he was transferred to Moabit prison in Berlin and then to Dachau concentration camp where he died. However, several accounts assume that he was either transferred to a potash mine in Baelberge or that he was held hostage in Warsaw until the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. The most probable date of his death is October 17, 1943 (shot to death in the Dachau concentration camp), although other versions mention August 1944 (Warsaw), 1944 (Baelberge), 1943 (Spandau prison) or January 1940 (Dachau).

In 1957, a memorial was erected to his memory in the Powązki cemetery in Warsaw.


After the war the rebuilt Warszawa II radio station was named after him. Currently there are several monuments to Starzyński in Warsaw as well as a street and several schools named after him. His September 1939 radio broadcasts are now considered to be a part of popular culture in Poland. Starzyński's silent, hoarsened voice and the texts of his speeches are nowadays easily recognizable by most Varsovians. In 2003 the readers of Gazeta Wyborcza and the spectators of the Warsaw branch of the public television elected Starzyński as the Varsovian of the Century by a huge majority of votes.

In 1978 his popularized story was filmed by Andrzej Trzos-Rastawiecki in his movie Gdziekolwiek jesteś, panie prezydencie (Wherever You Are, Mr. President).



 1st September,the first air battle of World War Two.




          A colour photo of a street in pre war Warsaw.  



                                        Polish civilians including women and children digging a trench to defend Warsaw.

    6 year old  boy in the ruins of Warsaw 1939.



                                                  Adolf Hitler,centre,  near a sign pointing to Warsaw with some of his staff.


      Polish PZL 11 fighters lined up on an airfield and above in combat with a German fighter.

Before the beginning of the Second World War, which started on 1 September 1939, the Polish Air Forces had seven fighter squadrons (Dywizjon Mysliwski) equipped with about 20 planes each. These squadrons were grouped in two Eskadra (sections) in each Squadron. In operational use at that time were practically only the PZL P.11 fighters in either the 'a' or 'c' versions. Only three Eskadrilles were armed with the older version of the PZL P.7 fighter. With the wartime mobilization order being issued on 26 September 1939, all combat units were ordered to move field airbases.


                 These Warsaw boys are watching a Luftwaffe air raid as the Germans launched World War II (September 1939). 



                                                                                        Crashed PZL P7 or PZL 11 fighter.


Most fighter squadrons were divided to the Army's command structure, to support and defend the Army's ground forces. Only the units of the 1st Warsaw Air Regiment (Sq No: III/1 and IV/1) were bound to the Brygada Poscigowa (Pursuit Brigade) with the assigned task of the defence of the Polish capital. Just before the German attack, the IV/1 Squadron was strengthened with the addition of the 123rd Eskadra Mysliwska (Fighter Eskadrille) of the 2. Krakow Air Regimment. This fighter Eskadrille was equipped with P.7 fighters. Colonel (Col.) Stefan Pawlikowski, the veteran of French skies in the period of WW1 and the Polish-bolshevist war of 1920, took command of the Brigade.




                                                                                                  Stefan Pawlikowski


On 1 September 1939, at 6:30 A.M., from observation points in Mlawa city, there arrived at the Brigade HQ a message about incoming enemy bomber groups attacking Warsaw. Colonel Pawlikowski ordered the launch of the entire Pursuit Brigade. After take-off, the Polish fighters joined formation over Legionowo. At about 7:00, in the Bugo-Narew area, the Brigade attacked a group of about 80 He 111s of the LG 1 and KG 27 "Boelcke". This German bomber formation was given fighter protection by 20 Bf 110s from the I(Z)/LG 1. In this very intense aerial engagement, which lasted over a 40 minute period, combat took place between 154 aircraft from both sides.

The first Polish pilot to engage the enemy formation was from the section led by Lieutenant (Lt.) Aleksander Gabszewicz, the tactical officer of IV/1 Squadron.



    Aleksander Gabszewicz.


After machine-gun fire from both Gabszewicz and Corporal Andrzej Niewiara, one of the damaged He 111s came down in a northerly direction and soon crashed during an emergency landing, hitting one of its wing in a tree.


                                                                             German bombers He 111 flies over Poland


In the area of Wyszkow, Second Lieutenant (Sec.Lt.) Jerzy Palusinski attacked a formation of twelve (12) Luftwaffe bombers. After shotting down one of the bombers Palusinski was wounded in the hand, his wrist-watch saved him from more serious injuries. Palusinski was forced to make an emergency landing near the village of Kobylka.




                                                                                                   Jerzy Palusinski.


 There were also other Polish fighter pilots that achieved their first kills. Some of those that scored aerial victories were Captains (Cpt.) Adam Kowalczyk, commander of IV/1 F.Sq, and Juliusz Frey, the Escadrille leader. Second Lieutenant Hieronim Dudwal also gained his first victory, which would amount to four in the September campaign.



                                                          Warsaw during the bombing 1939.Destroyed apartment building.

 Polish PZL 11 fighter shoots down a Dornier 17 bomber.



                                                                                                   Adam Kowalczyk,



In this first aerial combat there were only three P.7 fighters from the 123rd Eskadrille that took part. The reason for so few P.7 fighters to be committed to this first combat was because the commander of IV/1 FS decided to check the ability this old fighter's ability in air combat against the Luftwaffe. Pilots from the Krakow Regiment attacked a group of seven He 111 bombers.





                                                                                                      Jerzy Czerniak.

Second Lieutenant Jerzy Czerniak, together with Corporal Stanislaw Widlarz shared one of the He 111 bombers.

The Polish side did not avoid losses. Boleslaw Olewinski bailed out from his flamming P.11 fighter, both with injuries and burns. Second Lieutenant Stanislaw Szmejl was forced to amke an emergency landing with a damaged fuel tank.




                                                                                                 Stanislaw Szmejl.


A number of the Polish planes received combat damage from machine-gun and cannon fire and needed service and repair. On the German side in these combats, Major (Maj.) Walter Grabmann, one of the famous "Legion Condor" from Spain and the commander of I(Z)/LG 1, was wounded.



                                             PZ11 fighters ready to take off from one of the Polish airforce dispersal airfields.


At about 12:00 P.M., another group of German bombers flew in the direction of Warsaw. Two sections of P.11 fighters from the 112nd Escadrille took off to intercept the German intruders. The two groups clashed over Wilanow. A formation of nine Do 17 bombers were intercepted by the Polish fighters and a running fight ensued. The German planes attempted to escape in the direction of East Prussia.




                                                                                             Stefan Stanisław Okrzeja



German Stuka dive bombers over Poland.

 After the attack of Lt. Stefan Okrzeja, one of bombers exploded in the air. Evidence of Okrzeja's victory was established when small pieces of the exploded bomber were found between the cylinders of his victorious P.11's engine.

The second big air combat that first day of the war started in the Modlin area about 16:30. This time Polish aviators battled against 30 He 111 and Do 17 bombers and nine Ju 87 Stukas, which were escorted by 20 Bf 109 and Bf 110 fighters. Second Lieutenant Jan Borowski was patroling over teh Las Kabacki (Kabacki Forest) area.






                                                                                            Polish PZL P11 fighters.



 Borowski intercepted a single Bf 109 piloted by Oberst (Colonel) Henschke, another veteran of the "Legion Condor". Another Bf 109 was shot down by Cadet Jerzy Radomski,
                                                                                           Cadet Jerzy Radomski.
who after landing reported that he shot down an "avionette" (a sporting light plane!). Not so luckily were Cadet Janusz Macinski, who emergency landed near Sulejowek, and Lt. Gabszewicz, who was forced to bail out.



                                                                                                    Janusz Macinski,


Hanging from his parachute, Gabszewicz was attacked by an agressive Bf 110 fighter. The attacking German fighter left a lot of holes in his parchute. Flying nearby was Sec.Lt. Tadeusz Sawicz,

                                                                                               Sec.Lt. Tadeusz Sawicz,
who arrived with help and at the last moments saved Gabszewicz's life.





                                                                                           Captured German pilots.



The German pilot was forced to retire from the scene. Bofore reaching ground surface defenseless Gabszewicz was covered by another pilot, Wladyslaw Kiedrzynski.

Because these morning missions were so successful, the pilots of the 123rd Escarlille, flying P.7 fighters, decided that the next time they started on aerial combat missions, they would not fly with just sections, but all their planes. On this unit's next combat mission they were bounced by Bf 110s. During the initial attack, Cpt. Mieczyslaw Olszewski, the Escadrille commander was killed.



                                                          Bridges over the River Vistula ,Warsaw  blown up by Polish Engineers


                                                                                                Mieczyslaw Olszewski.


 Olszewski's P.7 crashed near Legionow. Other pilots that survived this combat by parachute were: Sec.Lt. Stanislaw Czternastek,




                                                                                               Stanislaw Czternastek.



                                                                                                 Lt. Feliks Szyszka.


Sec.Lt. Feliks Szyszka  and Cadet Antoni Danek. Stanislaw Czternastek, the first pilot just mentioned above landed safely in the Nowy Dwor Mazowiecki area. The other two pilots were attacked by the Luftwaffe pilots. Szyszka, while hanging in his parachute, was hit sixteen times and landed on the bank of the Wisla river. After receiving help from civilians Szyszka was transported to the hospital. Another two P.7 pilots, Sec.Lt. Erwin Kawnik and Corp. Henryk Flamme were forced to emergency land near Zakroczyn in heavily damaged planes.




                                                                                           View of Warsaw in ruins.


The Luftwaffe's adversaries, Bf 110s of I.(Z)/LG 1, claimed 5 PZL-fighters shot down - 3 by Hauptmann Fritz Schleif, one each by Unteroffizier Sturm and Unteroffizier Lauffs.

In another aerial combat Lt.Col. Leopold Pamula, second commander of the Pursuit Brigade, also took part. Pamula arrived directly from HQ and immediately ordered one of pilots to leave the cockpit of his fighter. Lieutenant Colonel Leopold Pamula directly entered the battle. In a duel with two Bf 109s he was shot down and bailed out. Also wounded during this aerial combat was also pilot Zdzislaw Horn, who entered into a comma just after returning, upon landing Horn could not exit his cockpit. Over Praga Cpt. Gustaw Sidorowicz, commander of the 111 F.Esc., clashed with pair of Bf 109 fighters. The result of this combat was 1:1 -- one of the Germans was probably shot down, but the injured Sidorowicz was forced to make an emergency landing.





                      Adolf Hitler watches the destruction of Waesaw through a periscope with some of his officers and generals.



During most of the day of 1 September 1939, most of the German bombers were not able to reach their targets of the Polish capital city. The German bombers were forced to drop their bombs on fields near Warsaw and then made their return to East Prussia. In Warsaw itself, very few bombs fell on the city. During the entire day's combats, the Pursuit Brigade lost one pilot killed, and another eight were hospitalized. Ten aircraft were lost, while another 24 were heavy damaged. At 20:00, the Brigade had only 20 fighters ready for take off. Aviators of the Brigade downed twelve Luftwaffe planes and four were shared with the 152nd Escadrille pilots, which took part in the afternoon battle. Another five kills were claimed as probable and ten enemy planes were damaged.



                                                                                      German bombers over Poland .


a Polish fighter attacking German bombers.


                                                                   German Henkel 111 bombers bonbing a target in Poland.

The pilots of the 152nd Fighter Eskadrille awaited for their take off signals since the early morning. The first message about enemy aerial activity arrived at about 16:00, with a large formation of Luftwaffe aircraft coming toward the direction of the Modlin area. To defend the city immediately, nine P.11 fighters took off. When the Polish pilots spotted the enemy group they forgot about their main task, the defence of the city.



                                                                                                    Anatol Piotrowski.


Sections led by Lt. Marian Imiela and Sec.Lt. Anatol Piotrowski entered in pursuit. The Polish fighters caught the German planes far of Warsaw, in the Jablonna and Legionow area.




                                                                 Trying to put out flames in a Warsaw Street.Warsaw Castle.


First to attack was Sec.Lt. Piotrowski who bounced a He 111 with a good targeted series of shots. The German plane went down, however the defencive gunner's fire hit the Polish fighter. The P.11 came down in an attempted forced landing. Unfortunately for Piotrowski, Bf 109s then come out from clouds, and at a very low altitude, they flammed the defenceless P.11. The Polish pilot had no chance so survive. Another aviator of the 152nd Eskadrille was Sec.Lt. Jan Bury-Burzymski. In a vertical atack in the Buchnika area, Bury-Burzymski was able to down a He 111. This Eskadrille, together with the Pursuit Brigade, scored four additional kills. After this battle, which lasted over one hour, the Polish pilots returned to their airfield.


                                                                                                  The Bombing.




  Polish anti aircraft gun with range finding equipment in the background.


                                                                          Polish anti aircraft artillery just before the war.

 Polish range finding equipment.


Polish machine gun crew wait for German bombers.

The Bombing of Warsaw in World War II refers both to the terror bombing campaign of Warsaw by the Luftwaffe during the siege of Warsaw in the Invasion of Poland in 1939 and to the German bombing raids during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. About 1150 bombing sorties by German aircraft were flown against Warsaw on September 25 1939 in an effort to terrorize the defenders into surrendering. 500 tons of high explosive bombs and 72 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped on the city in all. The Germans did not hesitate to bomb civilian targets and hospitals marked with the Red Cross symbol.


                                                             Polish soldiers and a civilian inspect parts of a shot dwn plane.
During the September campaign the Luftwaffe used all available aircraft to drop bombs on Warsaw, including even obsolescent Junkers Ju-52/3m bombers[1]. However, not all bombs found their intended target as some bombers dropped their load in error on German troops in the northwestern suburbs of the city.

In the course of the war approximately 84 % of the city was destroyed largely due to German mass bombings but heavy artillery fire was also responsible.


The Germans launched their attacks on Polands with air assaults. German Stuka bombers were instrumental in leaing the assualt and forcing the eventual surrender of Warsaw.


                                                                                              In defence of Warsaw.

                                                                                  Destroyed German PZK2 near Warsaw.




                                                  A column of Polish armoured cars in a village on the outskirts of Warsaw.


                                                                       Polish Army order of battle for the defence of Warsaw.

Col Porwit,General Zulauf.Sector commanders.

German Army order of battle for the attack on Warsaw.

General Baskowitz.Generla Von Kuchler.Herman Goring.

Map of the Battle of Warsaw.Germans red,Poles,blue.

                                                                                              The siege of Warsaw.




  Polish heavy machine gun crew.


                                                                             German troops and tanks attacking Warsaw.

The 1939 Battle of Warsaw was fought between the Polish Warsaw Army (Armia Warszawa) garrisoned and entrenched in the capital of Poland (Warsaw) and the German Army. It started with huge aerial bombardments by the Luftwaffe starting on September 1, 1939.



                                                      A destroyed PZ11 fighter..Germans inspecting a PZ11 on a Polish airfield.


                                                                           A Polish policeman conforts a frightened child.


German heavy artillery bombards Warsaw.

Land fighting started on September 8, when the first German armoured units reached the Wola area and south-western suburbs of the city. Despite German radio broadcasts claiming to have captured Warsaw, the attack was stopped and soon afterwards Warsaw was under siege. The siege lasted until September 28, when the Polish garrison under Gen. Walerian Czuma capitulated.


                                                             Polish civilians walk past a horse stripped of its meat.

                                                                      Worn out Polish cavalrymen riding through Warsaw.


The following day approximately 100 000 Polish soldiers left the city and were taken POW. On October 1 the Wehrmacht entered Warsaw, which started a period of German occupation that lasted until the Warsaw Uprising and later until January 17, 1945.



                                                                         A Polish hospital ward crowded with wounded.


                                                                     A Polish soldier looks to the skies for enemy aircraft.




                                                                               German soldiers carry their wounded.


                                                                                                       Air Defence.


Okęcie airfield,Warsaw 1939 .Polish fighters.




                                                                               Polish infantry at a Warsaw barricade.

  German bomber unloads its cargo over Warsaw.


From the very first hours of World War II, Warsaw, the capital of Poland, was a target of an unrestricted aerial bombardment campaign by the German Luftwaffe. Apart from the military facilities such as infantry barracks and the Okęcie airport and aircraft factory, the German pilots also targeted civilian facilities such as water works, hospitals, market places and schools. In addition, civilians were strafed from the air with machine gun fire in what became known as a terror bombing campaign.



A Polish camera man  taking pictures in a street in Waesaw.

          Dead Polish soldiers having been stripped of most of their equipment most probably for use by their comrades.


                                                                       Polish cavalry moving through a street in Warsaw.




                                                          Polish infantry during the heat of battle on the outskirts of Warsaw.



German infantry fight their way into Warsaw.



The Anti-Air defence of the city was divided into active and passive parts. The former was composed mostly of units of the Pursuit Brigade (Brygada Pościgowa) under colonel Stefan Pawlikowski,

                                                                                         Colonel Stefan Pawlikowski.
and anti-aircraft artillery and anti-aircraft machine guns detachments under colonel Kazimierz Baran. The Pursuit Brigade was equipped with 54 fighter aircraft, mostly the PZL P.7 and PZL P.11 types. The AA artillery had 86 pieces of anti-aircraft artillery, as well as an unknown number of anti-aircraft machine guns. The latter was composed mostly of fire-fighter brigades and volunteers and was supervised by colonel Tadeusz Bogdanowicz and Julian Kulski, the deputy president of Warsaw.


                                                                                                      Julian Kulski,.



                                                                               German troops on the outskirts of Warsaw.


                                                               Polish soldiers search for documents in a shot down plane.

                                                                             A dead Polish infantry man lies near a tree.


Initially the air defence of Warsaw was fairly successful. By September 6, 1939, the Pursuit Brigade had managed to shoot down 43 enemy aeroplanes, while anti-aircraft artillery had shot down a similar number of enemy bombers. In addition, there were also 9 unconfirmed victories and 20 damaged planes. However, the brigade also suffered losses, and by September 7 it had lost 38 machines, or approximately 70% of its initial strength.

 Polish troops run out to surrender on the outskirts of Warsaw.

    Polish civilians in a dugout hide from the shells and bombs.


The AA defence started to crumble when on September 5 by order of the military authorities 11 AA batteries were withdrawn from Warsaw towards Lublin, Brześć and Lwów. Also, as the war progressed, the German high command redirected more bombers to attack the city. At the peak of the initial bombing campaign on September 10, there were more than 70 German bombers above Warsaw.

Civilians digging an anti tank ditch .


   Polish soldiers digging a trench.


                                                        A Polish column crosses the Praga Bridge over the River Vistula. 
 During that day, nick-named "Bloody Sunday", there were 17 consecutive bombing raids. It is to be noted that the German pilots failed to destroy the most important targets of military value in Warsaw - the bridges over the Vistula.


                                Unusual picture: Orthodox Jews digging trench under supervision of Polish soldier, Warsaw


                                                       Polish infantry passing through a Waesaw street during the siege.



                                                                    Polish troops take cover in a trench in a Warsaw street.

A street blocked by derailed trams.


A Warsaw street during the siege..

  Eve of the Battle.



                                                                 Volunteer fire-fighters watching an air duel over Warsaw.


                                                                                     Destruction in a Warsaw street.


                                                                     Polish soldiers crossing a bridge over the Vistula river.




                                                                         German Major general Georg-Hans Reinhardt.

                                                                                  German artillery bombards Warsaw.

On September 3 the forces of German 4th Panzer Division under major general Georg-Hans Reinhardt managed to break through positions of the Polish Łódź Army near Częstochowa and started their march towards the river Vistula and Warsaw. The same day Polish Commander in Chief, Marshal of Poland Edward Śmigły-Rydz ordered the creation of an improvised Command of the Defence of Warsaw (Dowództwo Obrony Warszawy). General Walerian Czuma, the head of the der Guard (Straż Graniczna), became its commander and colonel Tadeusz Tomaszewski its chief of staff.


                                                                  General Walerian Czuma .   Colonel Tadeusz Tomaszewski.


                                                                            Polish TKS tankette and Bofors anti tank gun.

Polish anti aircraft gun and crew.

Initially the forces under command of General Czuma were very limited. Most of the city authorities withdrew together with a large part of the police forces, fire fighters and military garrison. Warsaw was left with only 4 battalions of infantry and one battery of artillery. Also, the spokesman of the garrison of Warsaw issued a communique in which he ordered all young men to leave Warsaw. To coordinate civilian efforts and counter the panic that started in Warsaw,


                                                                  Polish cavalry in a Warsaw street trench during the siege.
Czuma appointed the president of Warsaw Stefan Starzyński as the Civilian Commissar of Warsaw.

                                                                                                   Stefan Starzyński.

 Starzyński started to organize the Civil Guard to replace the evacuated police forces and the fire fighters. He also ordered all members of the city's administration to retake their posts. In his daily radio releases he asked all civilians to construct barricades and anti-tank barriers at the outskirts of Warsaw.


                                                           Polish cavalry which managed to break into encircled Warsaw.

On September 7 the 40th Infantry Regiment "Children of Lwow" (commanded by Lt.Col. Józef Kalandyk} - transiting through Warsaw towards previously assigned positions with Army Pomorze - was stopped and joined the defence of Warsaw.



  Royal Castle in Warsaw after the German bombing of the city, 


Initial clashes




                                                           German forces during their failed assault on Wola on September 9.





                                                               German anati aircraft crew manning a small anti air craft gun,




                                                                           Polish equipment destroyed near Warsaw.

                                                                                             Polish troops at a barricade.
The field fortifications were constructed mostly to the west of the city limits. Gradually, the forces of General Czuma were reinforced with volunteers, as well as rearguard troops and units withdrawing from the front. On the morning of September 8 the suburbs of Grójec, Radziejowice, Nadarzyn, Raszyn and Piaseczno were captured by forces of German XVI Panzer Corps.

A railway bridge across the Vistula river ,Warsaw is blown up by Polish engineers.


                                                             Polish soldiers manning a sandbagged road block in Warsaw.
At 5pm the forces of German 4th Panzer Division attempted an assault on Warsaw's western ough of Ochota. The assault was repulsed and the German forces suffered heavy casualties. The following day the division was reinforced with artillery and motorised infantry, and started another assault towards Ochota and Wola. The well-placed Polish anti-tank guns and the barricades erected on main streets managed to repel this assault as well.

Polish nurses looking after the wounded during the siege.



                                                                                       Polish Bofors anti aircraft guns.

                                                 A German patrol crosses a street in Warsaw under fire from Polish troops.
One of the barricades erected at the crossing of Opaczewska and Grójecka streets was defended by 4th company of the 40th "Children of Lwów" Regiment. After the war a monument was built on the spot to commemorate the battle. On several occasions lack of armament had to be made up by ingenuity. One of the streets leading towards the city centre was covered with turpentine from a nearby factory. When the German tanks approached, the liquid was set in flames and the tanks were destroyed without a single shot.

                                                                        Damaged blocks of flats in a suburb of Warsaw.


                                                                             Polish soldier in a dugout in Warsaw.



                                                                Captured German soldiers in the district of Praga ,Warsaw.
The German forces suffered heavy casualties and had to retreat. The 4th Panzer Division alone lost approximately 80 tanks out of approximately 220 that took part in the assault.


                                                                            A dejected Polish officer goes into captivity.



                                                                            Trenches being dug on the streets of Warsaw.
Second Phase.


                                                                                      Survivor of bombing of Warsaw.
By then Geneneral Czuma had gathered an equivalent of 2 infantry divisions under his command. His forces were supported by 64 pieces of artillery and 33 tanks (27 of Vickers E, 7-TP and R-35 and 6 TK-3 and TKS tankettes).


                                                                                                 Polish TKS tankette.

Polish soldiers in Warsaw firing at the enemy. 
On September 8 the Commander-in-Chief, Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły ordered the creation of an improvised Warsaw Army (Armia Warszawa) under General Juliusz Rómmel. The newly-created force was composed of the forces defending Warsaw and Modlin Fortress, as well as all Polish units defending the Narew and the Vistula between Warsaw and Pilica river lines. Gen. Czuma continued to be the commander of the Warsaw Defence Force, which he split into two sectors: East (Praga) under Lt.Col. Julian Janowski and West under colonel Porwit.



                                                                            Polish civilians attacked by German aircraft.


                                                                  German infantry battle through the suburbs of Warsaw.

The Army Poznan under general Tadeusz Kutrzeba, and Army Pomorze under general Władysław Bortnowski started an offensive on the left flank of the German forces advancing towards Warsaw. As a result of this offensive that later became known as the Battle of Bzura, German commanders withdrew the 4th Panzer Division and sent it to counter the Polish threat near Kutno. Its positions were replaced by forces of a weakened German 31st Infantry Division. In this sense the desperate attempt to buy time for organisation of defence of Warsaw was a success. The defenders of the city were joined by various units of the routed Prusy Army. In addition, several new units were created in Warsaw out of reserve centres of Warsaw-based 8th Polish Infantry Division and 36th "Academic Legion" Infantry Regiment.



                                                              Polish Jews who fell in 1939 among their gentile colleagues





                                                                                  German General Georg von Küchler.

On September 11 the Polish Commander in Chief ordered that Warsaw was to be defended at all costs. The following day the forces of German 3rd Army (under general Georg von Küchler) broke through Polish lines along the Narew river and started its march southwards to cut Warsaw from the east. It was assaulted by cavalry units under Władysław Anders, but after heavy fights the Polish counter-offensive failed and the forces were withdrawn to the south.


                                                                             Polish anti aircraft  40mm gun in action.
Other Polish units fighting under General Juliusz Zulauf in the Narew River area retreated and reached Warsaw on September 14. They were incorporated as the core of the defence forces of the ough of Praga.


                                                                                                General Juliusz Zulauf.




                                                                   Messerscmitt fighter bomber ME 110 flying over Poland.

On September 15 the German forces reached Warsaw from the east and the capital of Poland was under siege. Only a strip of land along the Vistula leading towards the Kampinos Forest and Modlin Fortress was still in Polish hands. The defence of Modlin fortress was an important relief to the defenders of Warsaw.




                                                                      Geraman prisoners and Polish guards on the right.

                                                                                                      Mikołaj Bołtuć

 Mikołaj Bołtuć (born 21 December 1893 in St Petersburg, killed in battle 22 September 1939 near Łomianki) was a brigadier-general of the Polish Army, commander of the IV Polish infantry Division during World War II.

He was the son of Ignacy Bołtuć, Russian General of Polish descent, and Anna Bołtuciowa, née Łabuńska, of Rzeczyca.


Mikołaj Bołtuć was enlisted in the Russian Kadet officers school in Omsk at age seven.

During World War I Bołtuć served in the Tsarist Army. He fought with distinction in the Finnish Civil War in 1918. After the Bolshevik Revolution He served as captain in the White Russian army during the Russian Civil War until the evacuation of Odessa, where he commanded the last leaving vessel.

He returned to Poland and joined the Polish military. He commanded units near Kamieniec, Podolski and elsewhere. During the Soviet-Polish war of 1920 he commanded the unit Strzelcy Kaniowscy. Bołtuć, still as a captain, took Wyszków, the location of the puppet government organized by the Bolsheviks. He then commanded the defense of Zamość.

In the interwar period he worked for the General Command, and later held command functions in Wilno and Toruń. His nomination to the rank of general were held back for several years, in part due to his anti-religious attitude and reservations about Poland's military spending patterns. He was known for clarity of judgment and leadership skills.

During World War II commanded an Operation Group (a unit short of an army) within the Army Pomorze, the only Polish unit that, for two days, entered German territory (in East Prussia) during the September Campaign, withstanding attacks of much larger German forces. Due to the danger of being flanked Boltuc had to withdraw to Modlin. When the Modlin Fortress was not able to accept his soldiers, only the officers, he demobilized his soldiers, although most refused to leave. He also encouraged volunteers to go with him to try and sneak through the German siege of Warsaw. According to written family records, leaving home before World War II he said "This is not the war we are going to win and I am not the kind of a soldier who would surrender". In the morning of 22 September he was killed in battle on the battle field near Łomianki, from the sniper fire. Most of his soldiers are at the Łomianki cemetery near Warsaw. Gen. Boltuc's tomb, in a form of a field stone, is at the Powązki Military Cemetery in Warsaw.

                                                                                              Colonel Marian Porwit.

Marian Porwit.

Marian Porwit (1895-1988) was a Polish military officer, a Colonel of the Polish Army and a military historian. A commander of one of the sections of the Polish front during the Siege of Warsaw of 1939, after the war he became one of the most renowned historians documenting the history of the Invasion of Poland.[citation needed]

Born September 25, 1895 in Gorlice (then in Austro-Hungarian Galicia), following the outbreak of the Great War Porwit joined the Polish Legions, where he served with distinction. In 1918 he joined the re-established Polish Army and fought in the Polish-Bolshevik War. In 1926 during the May Coup he supported president Stanisław Wojciechowski and the legal government of Wincenty Witos. For this reason when Józef Piłsudski forced the government to resign, Porwit's military career slowed down until World War II. By 1939 he was promoted to the rank of colonel. Attached to the staff of General Walerian Czuma, Porwit became the commanding officer of the Western Area of the defense of Warsaw during the siege of 1939. The troops under his command defended the westernmost approach towards the city center from September 8 to September 28 before collapsing.

Taken prisoner of war by Nazi Germany, Porwit spent the remainder of World War II in POW camps. Liberated in 1945, he moved to London, where he became a member of the Sikorski Institute. However, in 1946 he decided to return to Poland. He settled in Warsaw, where he continued his historical career. He died April 26, 1988 in Warsaw.

Porwit's son, Krzysztof Porwit, became an economist.

                                                                                                       The Siege.




                                                                     A Polish soldirer and civilian refugees in Warsaw.



                                                                                            German Gen. Blaskowitz..
On September 16 the forces of Gen. Blaskowitz tried to capture Praga on the march, but the assault was repulsed. After heavy fights for the Grochów area the German 23rd Infantry Regiment was annihilated by the Polish defenders of the 21st "Children of Warsaw" Infantry Regiment under colonel (later promoted to general) Stanisław Sosabowski.


                                                               Colonel (later promoted to general) Stanisław Sosabowski.



                                                          Part of Warsaw burns after German bombing.Polish civilians flee.



                                                                       An aerial view of Warsaw burning, September 1939.

After the Battle of Bzura ended, the remnants of the Poznań Army and the Pomorze Army broke through German encirclement and arrived in Warsaw and Modlin. After that the forces of the defenders amounted to approximately 120 000 soldiers.



 The German forces preparing for an all-out assault numbered some 175 000 soldiers. On September 22 the last lines of communication between Warsaw and Modlin were cut by German forces reaching the Vistula.

German railway gun fires at Warsaw.


As a preparation for the storming, the city was shelled day and night with artillery and aerial bombardment. Among the guns used were heavy railway guns and mortars.


                                                            German infantry in a trench originally dug by Poles in Warsaw.


Two entire air fleets took part in the air raids against both civilian and military targets. Since September 20 the forces on the eastern bank of the Vistula started attacks on Praga on a daily basis. All were successfully counter-attacked by the Polish forces. On September 24 all German units concentrated around Warsaw were put under command of general Johannes Blaskowitz.



                                                                                       General Johannes Blaskowitz.



                                                   Helmets of Polish soldiers collected on Krasiński sq. after the capitulation.
On September 25 the final preparations commenced and the following day in the early morning the general assault was started on all fronts of surrounded Warsaw. Western parts of the city were attacked by 5 German divisions (10th, 18th, 19th, 31st and 46th) while the eastern part was attacked by 4 divisions (11th, 32nd, 61st and 217th). The attack was supported by approximately 70 batteries of field artillery, 80 batteries of heavy artillery and two entire air fleets (1st and 4th), which bombarded the city continuously causing heavy losses in the civilian population.


                                                                          Polish prisoners being marched into captivity.
The attack was repelled and the German forces had to retreat to their initial positions. The following night the Polish forces managed to successfully counter-attack and destroyed several German outposts, especially the Polish positions in oughs of Mokotów and Praga. On September 27 the German High Command organised yet another all-out assault that was yet again repelled with heavy casualties on both sides.



The military situation of Warsaw was relatively good. General Czuma managed to gather enough forces and war material to successfully defend the city for several weeks longer. However, the situation of the civilian inhabitants of Warsaw became increasingly tragic. Constant bombardment of civilian facilities, lack of food and medical supplies resulted in heavy casualties among the civilians.

The water works were destroyed by German bombers and all oughs of Warsaw experienced a lack of both potable water and water with which to extinguish the fires caused by the constant bombardment. Also, the strategic situation became very difficult. The Soviet Union's entry into the war and lack of support from the Western Allies made further defence of the city pointless.


                                                 A unit of German infantry marching through the ruined streets of Warsaw.



                                                                   Wounded Polish  being carried on a stretcher ,right.

Polish armoured unit crews go into captivity.

 On September 26 General Tadeusz Kutrzeba, deputy commander of Warsaw, started capitulation talks with the German commander. On September 27, at 12.00 a cease fire agreement was signed and all fighting halted. Soon afterwards Warsaw capitulated. Several units declined to put down their weapons and cease fire, and their commanding officers had to be visited by generals Czuma and Rómmel personally.



                                                    Adolf Hitler meeting German motorcycle troops after the Battle of Warsaw.

On September 29 the garrison of Warsaw started to hide or destroy their heavy armament. Some of the hidden war material was later used during the Warsaw Uprising. On September 30 the evacuation of Polish forces to German POW camps started and the following day German units entered the city. The siege of Warsaw was over.


                                                                                Polish prisoners march out of Warsaw.


                                                         Some of the captured Polish weapons after the surrender in Warsaw.


Gen. Kutrzeba arriving to negotiate the surrender of Polish capital with General Johannes Blaskowitz, the Commander of German 8th Army, 1939


                                                                 German infantry marching through a capitulated Warsaw.


                                       General Kutrzeba walking towards the railway carriage to surrender Warsaw.


                                              General Kutrzeba near the railway wagon where the surrender was signed.

 The Polish surrender was signed in a railway wagon as was the German surrender  the end of  WW1.The same procedure was done during the surrender of France in 1940.

From the  right,Mayor Stefan Starzyński Gen. Tadeusz Kutrzeba,centre.



                                                                German troops marching into Warsaw after the surrender.



                                                                             German infantry lining a street in Warsaw.



                                                                Adolf Hitler is driven through the ruined streets of Warsaw.


                                                           Adolf Hitler and his generals watch the victory parade in Warsaw.

                                                                                         Major General Juliusz Zulauf.



                                                                                          Major General Juliusz Zulauf.

Juliusz Zulauf (August 20, 1891 – May 21, 1943) was a Polish Army major general (generał brygady). A recipient of the Virtuti Militari, he fought with distinction during World War I, the Polish-Ukrainian War, the Polish-Soviet War, and the 1939 invasion of Poland.

Juliusz Zulauf was born in Lwów, then the capital of Austro-Hungarian Galicia. In 1910, after graduating from a local gymnasium, he joined the Lwów University of Science and Technology. There, at the age of 18, he joined the Związek Walki Czynnej and the Związek Strzelecki. After the outbreak of The Great War, on September 1, 1914, he joined the Polish Legions. In 1915 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and then to Captain. He commanded a company of infantry in the 2nd Legions Infantry Regiment and then in 5th Infantry Regiment. Wounded in July 1916, during the battle of Opłowa he was taken prisoner of war by the Russians. However, Zulauf managed to escape from captivity and cross the front lines to rejoin the Polish Legions. After the Oath Crisis of 1917 he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army.

After Poland was reestablished in 1918, Juliusz Zulauf returned to his hometown, where he joined the Polish Army and took part in the defence of Lwów during the Polish-Ukrainian War. On May 11, 1919, he was given the command of the Polish 4th Legions Infantry Regiment and took part in the opening stages of the Polish-Bolshevik War. Heavily wounded in August of that year, he quickly recovered. However, he did not reassume his former post and instead became the commanding officer of the garrison of Radom on October 1 of that year.

After the cease fire agreement, on March 23, 1921, he became a peacetime commander of the 28th Kaniów Rifles Infantry Regiment and, since September 28 of that year, commanding officer of the 19rd Infantry Regiment. Promoted to colonel in 1923, between 1926 and 1927 Zulauf commanded the 3rd Infantry Regiment, only to be promoted to the commander of infantry of the 5th Infantry Division. He held that post until April 1930, when he was promoted to commanding officer of the prestigious Polish 2nd Legions Infantry Division stationed in Kielce. For his service on January 1, 1932, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. From 1937 on, he commanded the Lwów-based 5th Infantry Division and with that unit he was active during the Invasion of Poland. After heavy fighting, his division was reduced to only one regiment, but managed to break through to Warsaw and took part in the defence of the Polish capital as part of the Warszawa Army. From September 14, Zulauf commanded the eastern perimeter of Warsaw's defences, in the city's easternmost district, Praga.

After Warsaw's capitulation (September 28), Zulauf was taken prisoner of war by the Germans. He died May 21, 1943 at Oflag VIIA in Murnau.

His daughter Irena has donated many of Zulauf's personal belongings to the Kielce municipal museum.


                                                     Diplomatic staff of various countries leaving Warsaw under Gernan escort.



                                                                       Hitler talks to some of his troops after the victory.