The Polnische Wehrmacht (Polish: Polska Siła Zbrojna, English: Polish Army Forces), also called unofficially the White Eagle's Legion (Polish: Legion Orła Białego), were the Wehrmacht forces composed of Polish volunteers.
Origin[edit | edit source]
The Polnische Wehrmacht originated in operations "Weisser Adler" and "Berta", supported by Hans Frank, confirmed October 23, 1944 by OKH, and next day by Adolf Hitler. Around 700 soldiers were recruited, carrying German uniforms with tabs reading "In service of German Wehrmacht" ("Im Dienst der Deutschen Wehrmacht") and the tabs in form of hussar wing or Polish white-red flag. Soldier's pay: private 90 zlotys, NCOs 150-210 zlotys. Polnische Wehrmacht was formed in reality in 1944 and the idea was to eventually transform it to in "Waffen SS Polen".
Location and training[edit | edit source]
The forces stationed in Radom, in the former barracks of 72nd Infantry Regiment of Polish Army. Over barracks on high pole blew Polish white-red flag, as well as a great inscription reading "Wehrmacht waits for you! Lets fight together against Bolsheviks!". When joining the force, a Pole signed the following obligation which was equivalent with the text of oath :
I oblige myself to fight against Bolshevism in voluntary service of German armed forces. I will put all diligence into guarding against Bolshevism my nation, as well as European and whole civilized world. I oblige myself to unconditionally and obediently execute my military superiors' orders and to be a good colleague...
Soldiers from Polnische Wehrmacht supplied the Wehrmacht forces in Kozienice area (amongst others to Holendry, Piotrkowice, Kuźmy, Opatkowice near Wisła, to various guard troops and small groups of the Volkssturm). It the beginning of December 1944 the Polish team leaders were equipped with Walther P38 or Luger P08 pistols. The first platoon was fully armed with Mauser 1898 rifles. Recruits intensively practiced shooting. In December 1944, 300 additional Poles volunteered from Radom district alone.
In first days of 1945 whole Polish legion was transported to Prague, then capital city of Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The training camps for Russians, Latvians and different were located in the same area. On beginning of February 1945 the Poles were lectured by the SS-Sturmbannführer Julius Stein. He began lecture from the subject of philosophy - affirming that Friedrich Nietzsche is his favourite philosopher. Stein mentioned the Polish light cavalry organized at the beginning of the 17th century by Aleksander Lisowski (called "Lisowczycy") which fought in favor of Habsburg emperor Ferdinand II. He stated "You are not mercenaries! You will be paid exactly the same as German soldiers! We will train you, we will arm you, and we will drop you behind the Soviet lines!". SS-Sturmbannführer stated, that Polish groups transported behind enemy lines have an enormously important political and military role to fulfill. "In this struggle, one should apply the principle of "übermacht und gewalt" (superior force and violence), like Friedrich Nietzsche pointed out".
Polish soldiers were trained to perform diversion, to spread political unrest, and for espionage, guerrilla warfare, as well as political agitation. The intended result was the anti-Bolshevik uprising. The training included setting explosives on electric poles, cutting telephone lines, and even cross-bow shooting. One trainer, Dereux-Michalski, taught how to set up contact boxes in enemy's areas, encryption and codes. In half of March 1945, Obersturbanführer trained the Polish Sonderverband (the special formation) to use the radio and the radiotelegraph.
Later Germans assigned another man, an expert in constructing the hiding places for supplies and weapons. Some sources say he was high officer of the Armia Krajowa, however his surname has not been established. In April 1945, part of Polish Sonderverband (special formation) was dropped from Ju-52 airplane behind enemy lines about 50 km from Kielce. Their fate remains unknown. At least one of them managed to run away a few months after the war to Argentina with the help of ODESSA. Little is known about remains of Polonische Wehrmacht. Some sources claim that volunteers' part could participate in defence of Berlin.
Formations[edit | edit source]
- Voluntary Air Detachment "Flakhelfer" – nearly 100 men.
- Sonderabteilung Weis und Rot (Special Section White and Red), amongst others:
Weaponry[edit | edit source]
- Walther P38 pistol
- Luger P08 pistol (i.e. Parabellum 1908)
- Bergmann 1928 machine gun
- Bergmann MG15 nA Gun light machine gun
- Mauser '98 rifle
- TT pistol
- PPSh machine gun
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- "Inne Oblicza Historii" nr.13 pp. 14–33, 02-03/2007
- Henryk Kawka, "Inne Oblicza Historii - magazyn miłośników historii", no. 02-03/2007
- "Beutekameraden. Polnische Soldaten in der Wehrmacht" (documentary) ARD/MDR 2004
- Hans Werner Neulen "An deutscher Seite. Internationale Freiwilige in der Wehrmacht und Waffen SS", University of Munich, 1992
- Jarosław Gdański. "Polacy po stronie Niemców. Inne oblicza historii", 02/2005
- Jerzy Kochanowski "Polen in die Wehrmacht" (reading in Katholische Universität Eichstätt - Ingolstadt)
- Jerzy Kochanowski "Wyrwy w szeregu. Polacy do Wehrmachtu, czyli pomysły na kolaboracje", Polityka 07/2001
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