Battalion Parasol (Umbrela) was the scouting element of the Armia Krajowa, the main Polish Resistance movement in World war II.
From 27th of September 1939 onwards, Grey Ranks (Szare Szeregi) the code name of the Polish Scout organization contributed to field the ranks of Parasol Battalion.
The unit was first organized by Adam Borys “Plug” a former Paratrooper coming from England in fall 1943. After bearing several names, the unit adopted her final one “Parasol”, Umbrellain 1944. . In the plan to liberate Poland, Parasol was due to meet and join the Polish 1st Independent parachute Brigade once landed.
Before the Uprising, the unit was renowned for numerous assassination missions, especially against Gestapo and High rank Nazi officials.
When the Polish government in London and the AK command decided – pressed by the rapid Soviet advance and the attitude of the “liberators” toward the underground units in freed Poland – to launch Operation Tempest – Burza., Parasol joined the famous Kedyw (Directorate for Diversion) units, the elite formations of the Warsaw uprising forces.
The second company - Batallion Parsol, under Captain Jerzy Zapadko “Mirsky”was tasked with scouting and assisting the Polish paratroopers Brigade.
In the early hours of the 06th of August, they deployed around the DZ located in the Plac Copernicus in the Old town.
General Bor visits the Company at the early hours of the 06th...
2. Company under
1st Platoon – Kopec
- Squad A - Luty
- Squad B – Mors
- Squad C - Bors
the heroic Girls of Warsaw, serving as scouts, messengers and Sewer rats.
Any and all crew weapon captured is immediately re-used... MGS
but also Mortars, flametrowers, not to mention the too few canisters received...
The First Independant Parachute Brigade, under the command of Major-General Stanislaw Sosabowski was created in Septembrer 1941 in Scotland with the exclusive mission to be dropped into occupied Poland in order to help liberate the country. The British government, however, pressured the Polish into allowing the unit to be used in the Western theater.
Whatever, during his meeting with Premier Stalin on August the 4th, Prime Minister Mikolajczyk gets permission from his to fly over Soviet territory –in other words avoid as much as possible to fly over the liberated territories to reach the olish capital. In fighting Warsaw, time is running fast, and every minute counts.
Back to England, informed in the middle of the night of this expected development, General Sosabowski orders the 02nd Parachute Battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel Ploszewski to be ready to take off the same day, August the 05th at 18h00. Planes will have to reach Warsaw via Brindisi, where they will be refueled.
At 19h24 on the 5th of August, despite all British attempts to delay their departure, Poles are finally on their way to Warsaw. As per flight schedules, the 2nd Battalion and one recon unit (with its jeeps) are the first wave.
They land in Brindisie the day after in the early morning hours.
Relations with the British planners and the NKVD representatives are terrible, both allies are trying to stop the Polish on track. Late morning, despite a very dense fog and the staunch refusal of the Russians to let the planes carry on their mission, carriers, with the 5ftParachute Company on board takes off. Due to the dense fog – rather unusual on this part of Italy – all further missions are postponed. Early morning the 07th of august, while planning the day missions, Brindisi high command receives a teletext advising that all flights to Warsaw are cancelled until further notice. They will never resume! The Brigade iso rdered back to Scotland, just in time to be involved into Market Garden . .
5th Parachute Company, less two carriers missing over Soviet territories will jump on warsaw late afternoon on the 06th of August 1944..
Shortly after the Warsaw uprising outbreak, OKH ordered the Schwehrer Batterie 638 to crush the insurgents. The Batterie will be part of the 9. Armee
Despite being labelled Batterie, i twill only include one Mortar -600mm caliber – Karl Greät 040, also called Mörser. This one ‘s name is “Ziu”, son of Odin in the North Germany mythology . Transported by train to Pruszkow station where it is reassembled.
On August the 16th, the M örser is fieled on a concrete structure in the Parc Wolski. The concrete structure is still visible nearby the general Jozef Sowinski’s statue..
A second firing position will be prepared close to the Western station, south of Ulica Dworsa.
“Ziu” will shell the old town and the city center for 10 days.
Several unexploded shell will be collected during and after the Uprising. Altogether eight shells will be collected after war’s end. Two will be displayed at the entrance of the Warsaw Army museum until 1949, when a Check visitor will realize that one of them was still filled with 500kgms explosives. Both shells will be destroyed.
For the German High Command, several changes are planned to increase the efficiency of the Mörser. The short barrel –Kurze AZ I -is definitely adopted as more accurate than the “long one”. A new detonator is developed, exploding on impact, whatever the surface of the target is.
The OKH is so satisfied with “Ziu” that they decided to dispatch it against Paris uprising in order to crush the Resistance..
The 28 and 32 cm rockets could also be fired from their packing cases (Packkiste) which had short hinged legs to adjust elevation. They could also be mounted in groups of four on wooden (schwere Wurfgerät 40 - heavy missile device) or tubular metal (schwere Wurfgerät 41 (sWG 41)) launch frames. The external dimensions of the packing cases were identical so no adapter was needed for the smaller rockets. The packing cases could also be mounted on schwere Wurfrahmen 40 (sWuR 40) frames attacked to the sides of Sd.Kfz. 251/1half-trackarmored personnel carrier or various captured French tracked vehicles. The sWuR 40 was nicknamed the Stuka-zu-Fuß (Stuka on foot).
an act of desperation or a show of German inginuity?
An Italian M14/31 re-used by German Police troops after Italy had surrended in 1943. In Warsaw, the German Police used a handfull of these Vehicles. This one has been destroyed on the first day of the Uprising at Ulica (street) Piusa XI
Dr Oskar Dirlewanger, flanked by two Rona Officers and his radio transmitter.
"cleaning" detachment, due to burn the buildings once cleared from any resistance and potential loot..
the besieged garrison of Warsaw , W-SS soldiers
heavy support unit, MG-42 with crew
Rona Renegade Squad #1
Rona Renegade Squad #2
Dirlewanger Squad #1
Dirlewanger squad #2
Dirlewanger Squad #3..
In a future post, we'll have a look at elements from the 5th Independant Polish Para Company (Polish para Brigade) , who actually landed in Warsaw on the 06th of August and was annihilated during the harsh combats of August and September.. I know what you mean... that never existed.. Well, who knows..