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Words of main Russian official military historian about Warsaw Uprising in 1944

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Redwolf
    I think some of you mix up the Warshaw uprising when the Soviets troops were near and the earlier yewish Ghetto uprising.

    What is AK?
    AK - Polish armed groups which were called divisions, brigades and so on and were under command of Polish government in London.
    AK didn't cooperate with Soviet Army. AK used Polish officiakl military uniform of 1939 and was most powerful anti-German force in Poland.

    Also Polish anti-German forces contained Communist AL (Armiya Liudova) and GL (Guardiya Liudova) units which cooperated with Red Army.
    Last edited by Andrey; 20 Sep 04, 09:42.

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    • #17
      found that by none other than Col. D.M. Glantz

      http://rhino.shef.ac.uk:3001/mr-home/rzhev/rzhev2.html

      Soviet (1st Belorussian Front's) Actions East of Warsaw in August-September 1944

      No Eastern Front action has generated more heated controversy then Soviet operations east of Warsaw in August and September 1944, at the time of the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis by the Polish Home Army. Western historians have routinely blamed the Soviets for deliberately failing to assist the Poles, and in essence, aiding and abetting destruction of the Polish rebels by the German Army for political reasons. Soviet historians have countered that every attempt was made to provide assistance but that operational considerations precluded such help. No complete single Soviet volume exists which recounts in detail these operations on the approaches to Warsaw. The historian is forced to reconstruct events by referring to a host of fragmentary sources. Ironically, German archival materials, in particular Second Army records and other materials (and probably the records of Ninth Army, captured by the Soviets and unavailable to Western historians), help to justify the Soviet argument.

      Operational details about Soviet combat on the approaches to Warsaw can be reconstructed from fragmentary Soviet and German archival sources (see map 15). On 28 July 1994, Maj. Gen. A. I. Radzievsky's 2d Tank Army, which had been turned north from the Magnuszew region to strike at Warsaw, with three corps abreast, engaged German 73d Infantry Division and the Hermann Goering Parachute Panzer Division 40 kilometers southeast of Warsaw. A race ensued between Radzievsky, who was seeking to seize the routes into Warsaw from the east, and the Germans, who were attempting to keep these routes open and maintain possession of Warsaw.33 The nearest Soviet forces within supporting range of Radzievsky were 47th Army and 11th Tank and 2d Guards Cavalry Corps, then fighting for possession of Seidlce, 50 kilometers to the east. On 29 July Radzievsky dispatched his 8th Guards and 3d Tank Corps northward in an attempt to swing northeast of Warsaw and turn the German defender's left flank, while his 16th Tank Corps continued to fight on the southeastern approaches to the city's suburbs.

      Although 8th Guards Tank Corps successfully fought to within 20 kilometers east of the city, 3d Tank Corps ran into a series of successive panzer counterattacks orchestrated by Field Marshal W. Model, new commander of Army Group Center. Beginning on 30 July, the Hermann Goering and 19th Panzer Divisions struck the overextended and weakened tank corps north of Wolomin, 15 kilometers northeast of Warsaw. Although the corps withstood three days of counterattacks, on 2 and 3 August, 4th Panzer Division and SS Panzer Division Viking joined the fight. In three days of intense fighting, 3d Tank Corps was severely mauled, and 8th Guards Tank Corps was also severely pressed. By 5 August 47th Army forces had arrived in the region, and 2d Tank Army was withdrawn for rest and refitting. The three rifle corps of 47th Army were now stretched out along a front of 80 kilometers from south of Warsaw to Seidlce and were unable to renew the drive on Warsaw or to the Narew River. German communications lines eastward to Army Group Center, then fighting for its life north and west of Brest, had been damaged but not severed.

      Meanwhile, on 1 August the Polish Home Army had launched an insurrection in the city. Although they seized large areas in downtown Warsaw, the insurgents failed to secure the four bridges over the Vistula and were unable to hold the eastern suburbs of the city (Praga). During the ensuing weeks, while the Warsaw uprising progressed and ultimately failed, the Soviets continued their drive against Army Group Center northeast of Warsaw. For whatever motive, 1st Belorussian Front focused on holding firmly to the Magnuszew bridgehead, which was subjected to heavy German counterattacks throughout mid-August, and on driving forward across the Bug River to seize crossings over the Narew River necessary to facilitate future offensive operations.

      Soviet 47th Army remained the only major force opposite Warsaw until 20 August, when it was joined by 1st Polish Army. Soviet forces finally broke out across the Bug River on 3 September, closed up to the Narew River the following day, and fought their way into bridgeheads across the Narew on 6 September. On 13 September lead elements of two Polish divisions assaulted across the Vistula River into Warsaw but made little progress and were evacuated back across the river on 23 September.34

      Political considerations and motivations aside, an objective consideration of combat in the region indicates that, prior to early September, German resistance was sufficient to halt any Soviet assistance to the Poles in Warsaw, were it intended. Thereafter, it would have required a major reorientation of military efforts from Magnuszew in the south or, more realistically, from the Bug and Narew River axis in the north in order to muster sufficient force to break into Warsaw. And once broken into, Warsaw would have been a costly city to clear of Germans and an unsuitable location from which to launch a new offensive.

      This skeletal portrayal of events outside of Warsaw demonstrates that much more needs to be revealed and written about these operations. It is certain that additional German sources exist upon which to base an expanded account. It is equally certain that extensive documentation remains in Soviet archival holdings. Release and use of this information can help answer and lay to rest this burning historical controversy.
      “Die in peace my brothers, but die quietly, so that we hear nothing but the faintest echo of your suffering…”

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      • #18
        Yes, as I recall, the Polish Home Army, Under General Bor-Kamorowski, accused the Red Army of sitting on the east Bank of the Vistula and watching as the battle raged. Even with my very limited knowledge of Marshall Zhukov and General Rokossovsky, they would not have hesitated for even a second to cross the Vistula and strike the Nazis. Something must have stopped them - the only reason I recall reading was that they were undergoing re-supply. Other possibilities are:

        Vistula River bridges were down, and the Vistula is a large river cutting through a deep ravine - bridging it would have taken days.

        They may have been awaiting orders. Granting the ability and professionalism of these officers, still, you took your life in your hands if you acted without Stalin's approval, especially if you fail.

        They may not have had adequate intelligence, about the uprising, about the Nazi troops facing them, about any enemy forces in the area, or about supporting forces to protect their flanks.

        From my knowledge, the Warsaw Uprising was ill-planned and ill-timed. They had no chance of success. Finally, although no doubt they suffered horribly at the hands of the Nazis - they faced nothing like the liquidation of the Jewish Ghetto in 1942. The Nazis did not plan any punitive action against Warsaw before they retreated to the west. For me, it was inconcievable that the Russians would willfully delay their advance. Every day the war continued, they lost more soldiers - and they had lost far too many. A tragic and senseless as the Warsaw Uprising was, it had nothing to do with the Red Army.
        Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
        (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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        • #19
          Actually, my best pal's grandmother was one of the polish uprisers. She and her family got deported to Germany, but all survived... pretty lucky if you ask me, even if she never returned to see Warsaw again. She had lots of crazy stories about life under german occupation. my friend even have a photo of her with a rifle in her hands!
          “Die in peace my brothers, but die quietly, so that we hear nothing but the faintest echo of your suffering…”

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          • #20
            The problem is that people starting the uprising didn't know that Poland was sold by USA and UK to the soviets

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            • #21
              No, the problem was that people who started the uprising were almost as hostile towards Soviets as they were toward Germans and everything that followed is a direct result of that.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Oleg Grigoryev
                No, the problem was that people who started the uprising were almost as hostile towards Soviets as they were toward Germans and everything that followed is a direct result of that.
                And the were right because Russia occupied Poland for the next 50 years.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by menel
                  And the were right because Russia occupied Poland for the next 50 years.
                  That's gotta be some kind of new discovery - since Russia became and independent state only in 1991 and consequently could not occupy anybody prior to that date

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by hogdriver
                    Even with my very limited knowledge of Marshall Zhukov and General Rokossovsky, they would not have hesitated for even a second to cross the Vistula and strike the Nazis. Something must have stopped them - the only reason I recall reading was that they were undergoing re-supply. [...]

                    Finally, although no doubt they suffered horribly at the hands of the Nazis - they faced nothing like the liquidation of the Jewish Ghetto in 1942. The Nazis did not plan any punitive action against Warsaw before they retreated to the west. For me, it was inconcievable that the Russians would willfully delay their advance. Every day the war continued, they lost more soldiers - and they had lost far too many. A tragic and senseless as the Warsaw Uprising was, it had nothing to do with the Red Army.
                    It was more complicated than that. The decision to stop on the East bank of Vistula or to attempt crossing the river was not Zhukov's or Rokossovskiy's. That was Stalin's decision alone. He was hostile to the independist Poles and thus a reluctant ally at best. His long-term plans were to eradicate Polish armed underground, as he had done earlier in Eastern part of Poland, where the NKVD troops disarmed and arrested Polish partisans en masse. It made much more sense from Stalin's standpoint to see how the situation in Warsaw develops and to let the Germans do the dirty work.

                    The Polish independists were in turn hostile to the USSR, which joined forces with Hitler in September 1939 and subsequently ethnically cleansed large parts of the occupied territories, deporting hundreds of thousands of Poles to Siberia. Since Stalin's response was quite predictable, Bor-Komorowski took a huge gamble, hoping to liberate Warsaw or to at least hold some parts of it. He failed. Had Stalin allowed Americans to refuel in Soviet-held territory, the uprising could have been prolonged, but it is improbable that the outcome of the Warsaw Uprising would be any different than what it turned out to be.

                    Civilian losses during the Warsaw uprising were in excess of 70,000 and the city was systematically razed by German troops, which committed unspeakable atrocities in the process.

                    The Warsaw Uprising was a major military operation, with its leaders genuinely believing they had a chance to succeed. In that sense it began as a different scenario from the 1943 uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, which was predominantly an act of heroic defiance. Anielewicz and his handful of ZOB fighters had no chance to defeat the Germans, there were no Soviet troops across the river and assistance coming from the Polish underground was limited to rather symbolic dimensions, as it had to be.

                    One can debate whether the Soviets could have successfully crossed Vistula in August 1944. After all, Stalin did not pay much attention to human losses, as illustrated by Malinovskiy's and Tolbukhin's taking of Budapest or Zhukov's and Konev's relentless drive to Berlin.

                    Ultimately, the Warsaw Uprising turned out to be just what the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was - the final act of incredibly brave defiance, resulting in massive loss of life and a destruction of a city.
                    Henryk

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Henryk
                      One can debate whether the Soviets could have successfully crossed Vistula in August 1944. After all, Stalin did not pay much attention to human losses, as illustrated by Malinovskiy's and Tolbukhin's taking of Budapest or Zhukov's and Konev's relentless drive to Berlin.
                      Do not mix it with Warsaw situation. In Budapest and Berlin everyone understood that it was LAST battle! There was no necessity to preserve soldiers fo future combats.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Andrey
                        In Budapest and Berlin everyone understood that it was LAST battle! There was no necessity to preserve soldiers for future combats.
                        In Berlin it certainly was, I agree. But in Budapest? It seems to me that the city had largely symbolic value as opposed to a military one. Its defenses were strong, the Germans counterattacked and Soviet casualties were high. But unlike in Poland, there had been no armed anti-Soviet resistance in Hungary. Although communists were not a popular group, Stalin could move swiftly to place Hungary in its orbit, as it had been agreed at the Tehran and Yalta conferences with his Western allies.

                        Polnd was not just fiercely anti-Soviet, but anti-Russian, with a history of anti-Russian uprisings in the 19th century and the Soviet-Polish war of 1920. Independist Poles believed in the theory of two enemies - Germany and USSR. That belief played a major, or possibly even the dominant role in the thinking of Polish government in exile and the large and well-organized Polish underground administration. In Eastern Poland, already taken by the Soviets in 1944, Polish partisans openly fought Soviet troops.

                        In the Warsaw Uprising, Stalin was presented with a fait accompli - the Poles did not attempt to engage the Soviets in any previous dialogue and to my best knowledge, no notice of the uprising was given. It would be difficult to expect Stalin to show sympathy to the movement which contained a considerable anti-Soviet component.
                        Henryk

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Henryk
                          In Berlin it certainly was, I agree. But in Budapest? It seems to me that the city had largely symbolic value as opposed to a military one. Its defenses were strong, the Germans counterattacked and Soviet casualties were high. But unlike in Poland, there had been no armed anti-Soviet resistance in Hungary. Although communists were not a popular group, Stalin could move swiftly to place Hungary in its orbit, as it had been agreed at the Tehran and Yalta conferences with his Western allies.
                          Battle for Budapest happened in the end of war. Those soldiers who fought in Budapest had no other target after end of this battle. They were not necessary in Berlin.

                          And what are you speaking about? You spoke about unnecessary losses? But how dies it related to German offensive? If Germans began advance and Red Army suffered heavy losses so how does it prove that Red Army command didn't think about soldier's lifes? It was in result of powerful German offensive not in result of wrong order of Soviet Command.

                          Polnd was not just fiercely anti-Soviet, but anti-Russian, with a history of anti-Russian uprisings in the 19th century and the Soviet-Polish war of 1920. Independist Poles believed in the theory of two enemies - Germany and USSR. That belief played a major, or possibly even the dominant role in the thinking of Polish government in exile and the large and well-organized Polish underground administration.
                          You repeat that opinion which is widely known in West. But it was not so simple like you speak. Do you remember guys from movie "Four tankmen and dog"? These guys were Poles. And they fought (with Russian weapon and in Polish uniform) together with Red Army against common enemy - Germans. Popel, deputy of commander of 1st Guard Tank Army, writes in his memoirs that local Poles mainly helped for Soviet tankmen and were happy when Red Army liberated them. So it is incorrect to show all Poles like they were anti-Russian biased.

                          If Poles were so anti-Russian biased so how did new pro-Soviet Polish authorities could organise two pro-Russian Polish Armies (1st and 2nd). And more these Armies were good enough for fighting with Germans like regular Red Army units, it was not crowd of former peasants who were mobilized under the lash and didn't want to fight.

                          In Eastern Poland, already taken by the Soviets in 1944, Polish partisans openly fought Soviet troops.
                          You use term "Polish partisans". It is incorrect, correct term is "AK partisans". There were other Polish partisans which supported Russians.

                          And more, many Soviet Commanders write in memoirs that ordinary AK partisans were ready to be friends with Red Army, problem was in leaders of AK partisans which carried out anti-Russian orders from Polish government in London.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Andrey
                            Battle for Budapest happened in the end of war. Those soldiers who fought in Budapest had no other target after end of this battle. They were not necessary in Berlin. [...]

                            If Germans began advance and Red Army suffered heavy losses so how does it prove that Red Army command didn't think about soldier's lifes? It was in result of powerful German offensive not in result of wrong order of Soviet Command.
                            The battle of Budapest took place in December 1944. Actually, there was another target - the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts pushed on to Vienna. Hitler designated Budapest as Festung, fortress, and ordered the city defended at all costs. Although the Russians crossed the Danube south of the city and could have easily circumvented it, they decided to storm it.

                            I am not suggesting that Stavka did not care about soldiers' lives, or that their orders were wrong. But I am saying that when Stalin decided to take a city, he did it. Such was not the case in Warsaw in 1944.



                            Popel, deputy of commander of 1st Guard Tank Army, writes in his memoirs that local Poles mainly helped for Soviet tankmen and were happy when Red Army liberated them. So it is incorrect to show all Poles like they were anti-Russian biased.
                            No, not ALL Poles were anti-Russian. All of them certainly wlecomed the defeat of Germany - but that does not mean they welcomed permanent Soviet presence in Poland or the Soviet-imposed administration.

                            With the exception of the tiny communist party even the Polish left, mostly socialdemocratic before WWII, was decidedly unfriendly toward the USSR. The war didn't diminish those tendencies - it amplified them. When Hitler attacked the USSR in June 1941 and German troops moved into the formerly Polish territories occupied by the Soviets since September 1939, there were great many cases of Poles greeting nazi troops as liberators. It's not widely known because Poland didn't publicize it, but extensive documentation exists.

                            You use term "Polish partisans". It is incorrect, correct term is "AK partisans". There were other Polish partisans which supported Russians.
                            The pro-communist underground in Poland was very small, certainly no more than 5% of the overall numbers. In the Warsaw Uprising, AK, or the independists, fielded 50,000 soldiers. The pro-Soviet forces had less than 1000 men, and perhaps no more than 500.

                            Other large partisan formations in Poland (NSZ), affiliated with the radical right, were much more anti-Soviet than the AK. Some of them evacuated to the West alongside retreating Germans. Some stayed in Poland, where they formed the core of the armed anti-communist resistance movement and stayed active into the late 1940s.
                            Henryk

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Henryk
                              I am not suggesting that Stavka did not care about soldiers' lives, or that their orders were wrong. But I am saying that when Stalin decided to take a city, he did it. Such was not the case in Warsaw in 1944.
                              Yes, and Gareev also speaks about it (if I remember correctly).

                              May be, it was possible for Stalin to breakthrough to Warsaw Rebels if he concentrated additional huge forces there. But it could be done only at the cost of many lives of Soviet soldiers, at the cost of huge strategical success in the South, at the cost of future successful breakthrough in Germany in January of 1945.

                              But it is strange that people demand such actions from Stalin in spite of fact that leaders of Warsaw Uprising in a pointed manner refused to cooperate with Red Army and showed that Russians are also their enemies like Germans.

                              Imagine that in August of 1944 leaders of Paris Uprising refused to cooperate with Allied troops and declared that Western Allies are their enemies who want to conquer France. Did Western Allied Command MUST to break all these military plans and to help for Paris Uprising in this case at the cost of lifes of 100,000 of American soldiers?

                              No, not ALL Poles were anti-Russian. All of them certainly wlecomed the defeat of Germany - but that does not mean they welcomed permanent Soviet presence in Poland or the Soviet-imposed administration.

                              With the exception of the tiny communist party even the Polish left, mostly socialdemocratic before WWII, was decidedly unfriendly toward the USSR. The war didn't diminish those tendencies - it amplified them.
                              I speak not about the highest ranks of Polish political parties, I speak about ordinary Poles. Ordinary Poles supported Red Army.

                              When Hitler attacked the USSR in June 1941 and German troops moved into the formerly Polish territories occupied by the Soviets since September 1939, there were great many cases of Poles greeting nazi troops as liberators. It's not widely known because Poland didn't publicize it, but extensive documentation exists.
                              It is well known fact and it was made not only by Poles but and by large amount of Ukrainians and Byelorussians in former Eastern Poland. But they did it because they didn't know who are Germans. Later they stopped to support Germans. Poles in Poland knew who are Germans.

                              The pro-communist underground in Poland was very small, certainly no more than 5% of the overall numbers. In the Warsaw Uprising, AK, or the independists, fielded 50,000 soldiers. The pro-Soviet forces had less than 1000 men, and perhaps no more than 500.
                              I speak not about pro-Comunist underground. I speak about those anti-German forces which supported Red Army. And ratio of these forces in Warsaw diesn't mean that this ratio was the same in all territory of Poland.

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Andrey
                                But it is strange that people demand such actions from Stalin in spite of fact that leaders of Warsaw Uprising in a pointed manner refused to cooperate with Red Army and showed that Russians are also their enemies like Germans.
                                You certainly have a point there. There are no easy answers to that tragic story. The real purpose of Warsaw Uprising was political rather than military, with Poles desperate to welcome advancing Russians as sovereigns in their capital city. In reality, it wouldn't have changed anything. The map of Europe had already been decided among the Big Three and the poeple of Eastern Europe had no say in that.
                                Henryk

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