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Westerplatte - here WWII started.

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  • Westerplatte - here WWII started.

    On September 1, 1939, at 0445 local time, as Germany began its invasion of Poland, Schleswig-Holstein started to shell the Polish garrison with its 280 mm and 150 mm guns. This was followed by an attack by German naval infantry who were hoping for an easy victory, but were repelled with Polish small arms and machine gun fire. Another two assaults that day were repelled as well, with the Germans suffering unexpected losses. However, the only Polish 75 mm gun was destroyed after firing 28 shells at German positions across the channel.

    Battleship Schleswig-Holstein firing Westerplatte

    Over the coming days, the Germans repeatedly bombarded Westerplatte with naval and heavy field artillery (including 210 mm howitzers) along with dive-bombing raids by Junkers Ju 87 Stukas. Repeated attacks by German marines, SS Heimwehr Danzig (Danzig SS and police group) and Wehrmacht's combat engineers were repelled by the Poles for seven days. On September 7th when major Henryk Sucharski reclaimed some of his mental stability he decided to surrender. Even though his officers and soldiers were against the idea and even though there was enough supplies to hold Germans for 5 more weeks he surrendered the Military Transit Depot on September 7th.

    Approximately 2,600 German soldiers were engaged in action against the 205 strong Polish garrison. The exact number of German losses remains unknown or undisclosed, but are estimated to be in range of several hundred. Polish casualties were much lower - 15 killed and 53 wounded. An additional victim, Sergeant Kazimierz Rasiński, the radio telephone operator, was murdered after the capitulation after refusing to give the radio codes to the Germans.


    Maj. Sucharski surrendering the Westerplatte post. In recognition of the bravery of Sucharski's men, General Friedrich-Georg Eberhardt allowed Sucharski to officially surrender with his officer’s sabre.

    The transit depot


    In 1925 the Council of the League of Nations allowed Poland to keep 88 soldiers on Westerplatte. By September 1939 the crew of Westerplatte had increased to 182 soldiers. They were armed with one 75 mm field gun, two 37 mm Bofors antitank guns, four mortars and a number of medium machine guns. There were no real fortifications, only several concrete blockhouses hidden in the island's forest.



    The Polish garrison was separated from Freie Stadt Danzig (Gdańsk) city by the harbour channel, with only a small pier connecting them to the mainland. In case of war, the defenders were supposed to withstand a sustained attack for 12 hours.

    Today view on Westerplatte internet camera

    Westerplatte reenactment group:


    - Your Highness, the enemy is so numerous... they outnumber your army.
    - My friend, first I beat 'em then I'll count 'em
    (Polish King Jan III Sobieski during his campaigns)

    Historia Wojskowa Portal Historyczno-Wojskowy phw.org.pl

  • #2
    Thank you for this detaild report about this WW2's episode! I knew about the german manoeuvres but I ignored the polish reaction exactly.
    Historia Magistra Vitae.
    M. T. Cicero

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Warlord View Post
      Thank you for this detaild report about this WW2's episode! I knew about the german manoeuvres but I ignored the polish reaction exactly.

      Outstanding and very well written! Good stuff!.
      "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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      • #4
        Propably the reall reason to surrended Westerplatte were the wounded soldiers.There was no hospital at Westerplatte,after 5 weeks long battle more soldiers would die from wounds than would be killed in action.
        Guerrero contra marxismo

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        • #5
          Films on YouTube:
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUz31-s8xNQ
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVvTNqXOLAk
          - Your Highness, the enemy is so numerous... they outnumber your army.
          - My friend, first I beat 'em then I'll count 'em
          (Polish King Jan III Sobieski during his campaigns)

          Historia Wojskowa Portal Historyczno-Wojskowy phw.org.pl

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice videos. Thanks for the links.
            "Artillery lends dignity to what might otherwise be a vulgar brawl." - Frederick the Great

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