Medal “For Liberation of Warsaw” to Polish officer, Warsaw bridgehead POW

Hi guys
Not sure whether it’s correct section but as long as medal and documents are Soviet decided to post it here.
Was looking for nice "Liberation of Warsaw" set and finally found it, but history behind this one is more than amazing…
Medal with document were geaven in April 1946 to lieutenant (porucznik) Adam Czyżowski, signed by general-major Mikhail Grigoryevich Yurkin, commander of 1st Infantry School of Polish Army.
Tried what could I find on Adam Czyżowski on Pamyatnaroda,(name was misspelled in award document and on reports) and to my amazement (there are rarely document for Polish soldiers) found four reports saying he was reported "missing without a trace" on September 20th 1944, while serving as commander of heavy machine gun platoon, machine gun company, 1st battalion, 8th infantry regiment, 3rd "Romuald Traugutt" infantry division.
Immidiately came to my mind what I have read before that this regiment took part in one infamous action, which to entire world in rather unknown in context of Warsaw Uprising but it’s entirely known in Poland.
Also googled his name and turned out that his memories were printed in book about Polish Army in the East in 1992!
So let me tell about this action and medal recipient.

Adam Czyżowski was born in 1922 in Bielsk Podlaski, (current eastern Poland).
When Nazi Germany invaded Poland he was 17. Wehrmacht entered his home town on 15 September and on 23rd they handed town to Red Army which was annected as "Western Belarus". Some time later NKVD came to his home, arrested his father Stefan, pre-war engineer, as Polish inteligent. His family never saw him again.
In winter 1940 NKVD started deporting Poles to the east. Adam’s family was deported in last wave- on June 20th 1941. After journey in cattle carts casting few weeks they arrived at settlement Soloneshnoye, in Altay. He recalls that when his family arrived, already about 200 Poles were living there.
He worked in local kolkhoz, did not decided to leave his mother and sister as only adult man left.
In September 1943 he received mobilization card and was sent to 4th reserve infantry regiment of Polish Corps in USSR.
After basic training due to pre-war education (he graduated with 4 classes of secondary shool), was sent to officers course in Ryazan. He recalled aniversary of school, seing marshal Voroshilov (patron of school), Wanda Wasilewska and poor food rations.
After graduating with rank of 2nd lieutenant (podporucznik) was sent as heavy machine gun platoon commander (M1910 Maxim), HMG company, 8th infantry regiment, 3rd infantry division which was being formed in Seltsi, Ryazan oblast.
In spring 1944 division moved west as part of 1st Polish Army under gen. Zygmunt Berling, stationed some time in Volyn, Ukraine, underwent firing training and crossed Bug river in late July. Through Lublin and Puławy marched along Vistula right bank and in August crossed river at Warka-Magnuszew bridgehead. At night replaced exhausted Soviet units in positions near Warka passing it’s baptism of fire.

On September 10th 1944 1st Belarussian front renewed it’s offensive towards Warsaw entering district Praga. In second echelon came 1st Polish Army (except 1st division which participied in liberating Praga with 47th Army).
Shocking for Polish soldiers was sight of burning left side of Warsaw where they already knew, Uprising lasted for more than month.
1st Polish Army get some intelligence documents of situations of Home Army and Warsaw insurgents which was dramatic, only in one place they were holding the Vistula bank, in district of Czerniaków.
Having received 1st army reports Berling was geaven order by Chief of Staff of 1st Belarussian front to conduct Vistula crossing operation to meet with insurgent forces. Berling was geaven only one day to do all preparations and almost no suport from 1st BF. forces destined to cross vistula lacked boats, artillery and pioneer suport. Only get some help from Soviet air force.
On 16th september first Polish units, two battalions from 9th regimetn, 3rd infantry division crossed Vistula and landed at Czerniaków meeting with Home Army and started attack enlarging held bridgehead.
On September 18th elements of 6th infantry regiment from 2nd division started forcing Vistula at district Żoliborz but quickly operation was abborted due to concentration of German tanks on division’s right flank. Here soldiers didn’t reached insurgents and were pushed to Vistula bank not even reaching urban area.

On September 19th two battalions of 8th regiment stationed in I. Paderewski park in Praga in front of district Powiśle also started Vistula crossing operation.
At 15:45 capt. Władysław Baranowski gave command "to pontoons!" which were already prepared behind sandbar. Smokescreen was put on river but Germans not able to see what was going on started shelling river causing high looses. At 17:45 2nd battalion started forcing Vistula but suffered heavy losses, almost all officers were killed or drowned, same as battalions only radiostation, there was only 1st battalions radio on bridgehead which was quickly knocked out.
1st battalion irrupted into German trenches taking 8 POWs and attacked west, along Poniatowski bridge, despite orders to attack south and meet 9th regiment and insurgents.
Soldiers crossed Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie and Solec streets and some groups even reached fortified Polish Army museum.
However, commander of German forces destined to crush Uprising, SS general Erich von dem Bach Zelewski seing danger ordered to counter attack. Battalion of "Hermann Goering" grenadiers with strong suport of tanks attacked 8th regiment bridgehead from north as Angriffsgruppe Schmidt (police combined regiment under command of col. Willy Schmidt which was to personal Bach-Zelewski disposition) attacked from north and by midnight occupied whole Vistula bank in 8th regiment area.
Elimination of last Polish groups in buildings lasted till September 20th, some probably manager to reach insurgents and fought till the fall of Warsaw Uprising.

Click to enlarge the picture





Comments are closed.