Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

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Soundwolf776
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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby Soundwolf776 » Thu 16 Jun 2016 17:40

Regarding the complex fighting for Praha district of Warsaw (that district was on the eastern side of Vistula river).
Darkmil wrote:Initially, the Poles established control over most of central Warsaw, but the Soviets ignored Polish attempts to establish radio contact and did not advance beyond the city limits. Intense street fighting between the Germans and Poles continued. By 14 September, Polish forces under Soviet high command occupied the east bank of the Vistula river opposite the resistance positions; but only 1,200 men made it across to the west bank, and they were not reinforced by the bulk of the Red Army.

As far as I know, the timeline is somewhat like that:
1 aug - AK captures Praha.
by 3rd aug - Wehrmacht takes it back under control - act that basically seals the whole uprising on the other side of Vistula.
by 5th aug - soviet 47th Army takes position in front of Praha, facing - at very least - 73rd Inf Division and 5th SS Pz Division.
20th aug - 1st Armia Wojska Polskiego arrives to reinforce 47th Army's positions.
somewhen before 10th sep - army intelligence spots that elements of 5th SS PzD which was supposed to be around Praha are engaged in fights around Modlin to the north of Warsaw.
10-14 sep - 1st AWP and 47th Army liberate Praha after intense urban combat. Retreating german forces demolish the bridges across Vistula. Attempts to force the river are repulsed.

The "bulk of Red Army" was desperately fighting to the north and south of Warsaw, at that exact moment. Defending two sort-of-estabilished beacheads to the south across Vistula (which - both soviets and germans knew - would be critical for an eventual new offensive) and trying to make another beachhead to the north at Modlin. Which, if you think about it looks a hell lot like soviet command trying to encircle Warsaw instead of trying to bash directly into it. Except neither prong really did manage to advance much until a proper offensive was made in January.

P.S. Everyone knows that soviet "Army" formation was way smaller than Wehrmacht "Army" formation, right? Just so you understand that 47th Army vs 2 divisions in urban terrain wasn't having any sort of "overwhelming advantage" in force.

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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby Darkmil » Thu 16 Jun 2016 17:50

Soundwolf776 wrote:...

I don't deny that the mainproblem was an absolute lack of coordination between AK and the allies and lead them to start the uprising to soon.
Still supply by russian started late in the uprising, and since they at first refuse to help the British help the resupply of the AK.
And finally on the fact that more than 90% of the supply was falling in German hands it was well known and mostly due to the fact that it started too late and by the time American resupply (which came later than the British) began the German already took back control of most of the city.

Anyway I think I've stated my stance, as said Shadoko I might have a anti-soviet bias. Plus the fact that I learned about the Warsaw Uprising with P. Clostermann who as I said was not too found of soviets.
Anyway I believe the soviet army could have done more without compromising their forces (resupply run from soviet airfields was easy since they were at about 10 minutes of flight from the city), like starting resupply run as soon as British asked for help.
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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby Soundwolf776 » Thu 16 Jun 2016 18:07

Still supply by russian started late in the uprising, and since they at first refuse to help the British help the resupply of the AK.

What would be the point? For soviet command, it was pretty obvious that AK just didn't had a single chance of taking Warsaw by itself: it was closely matched in manpower at best, but just totally outgunned in every aspect: from small arms to artillery and armor. You can't airdrop tanks and heavy artillery, and army artillery and aviation can't knock out a few divisions worth of german armor in the streets of Warsaw (that would be a feat even for a modern army).
Would it be wise to risk limited air assets to drop limited supplies into, basically, enemy hands?

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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby Darkmil » Thu 16 Jun 2016 18:10

Well guerilla tactics even when outgunned in heavy equippment can do the trick long enough. And soviet might have exploited this weakness in the city to take the city. I maybe idealist though...
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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby delfo » Thu 16 Jun 2016 18:12

At this point we might need some maps .

https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powstanie_warszawskie

I went through the Polish wiki ( after a bit I switched to google translate into English because attempting to read Western Slavic hurts my brain, no offense, it just does something to me ). It does look like the order to start the uprising overlooked the ability to carry it out and the data on soviet movements.

Also it features a map which shows that the uprising failed to capture the key buildings and junctions to prevent armor and troops just criss crossing through. One of the boulevards was contested but even then I'd say an armor convoy would just go through. Which is what happened on the 4th of August on that same Jerusalem Boulevard.

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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby Soundwolf776 » Thu 16 Jun 2016 18:47

Well guerilla tactics even when outgunned in heavy equippment can do the trick long enough. And soviet might have exploited this weakness in the city to take the city. I maybe idealist though...

Guerilla warfare implies ability to evade overwhelming enemy force. In a surrounded city, there wasn't that much space to evade. It was honest to god urban combat and AK was woefully underequipped for that.
The problem eventually lies with the five Pz Divisions that were transfered to Warsaw area. AK failed to cut their communications and never really tied down much of their forces - fighting mainly rear-echelon forces. While 1st Belorussian Front wasn't anywhere up to the task of defeating them in a fast and decisive manner. Even with perfect coordination it would've been an extremely difficult operation. With no coordination at all, it ended up in a catastrophe.

P.S. Interestingly enough, according to Штеменко С.М. Генеральный штаб в годы войны. — М.: Воениздат, 1989. (Shtemenko S.M. "High Command during the years of war" - Voyenizdat, 1989), STAVKA received clear requests for airsupply drops only at the 9th of august, and even at that point nobody knew for sure where to drop it.

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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby delfo » Thu 16 Jun 2016 19:00

Soundwolf776 wrote:
Well guerilla tactics even when outgunned in heavy equippment can do the trick long enough. And soviet might have exploited this weakness in the city to take the city. I maybe idealist though...

Guerilla warfare implies ability to evade overwhelming enemy force. In a surrounded city, there wasn't that much space to evade. It was honest to god urban combat and AK was woefully underequipped for that.
The problem eventually lies with the five Pz Divisions that were transfered to Warsaw area. AK failed to cut their communications and never really tied down much of their forces - fighting mainly rear-echelon forces. While 1st Belorussian Front wasn't anywhere up to the task of defeating them in a fast and decisive manner. Even with perfect coordination it would've been an extremely difficult operation. With no coordination at all, it ended up in a catastrophe.

P.S. Interestingly enough, according to Штеменко С.М. Генеральный штаб в годы войны. — М.: Воениздат, 1989. (Shtemenko S.M. "High Command during the years of war" - Voyenizdat, 1989), STAVKA received clear requests for airsupply drops only at the 9th of august, and even at that point nobody knew for sure where to drop it.


In the polish wiki you have things that are pointed out like ignoring the positions of the Soviet forces, the intelligence dispatches seem to have been cherry picked by the leaders. The order to start preparation was sent to the runners less than one hour before the curfew. The initial group of uprising soldiers with weapons being listed as a few thousands due to lack of preparation.

It doesn't seem well prepared or executed in terms of the order to start. And while the fighting was going on it indeed mentions regiments and brigades passing through to the front via the city.

Guerilla like units can have a strong effect holding forces in place inside a city in a grindy manner but unless you have a way to bring a punch on those held forces it's not going to contribute and the failure to sieze the main roads and strong points makes that difficult to accomplish. The other side of the river had no noticable Polish pressence by the 4th.

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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby Soundwolf776 » Thu 16 Jun 2016 19:24

The initial group of uprising soldiers with weapons being listed as a few thousands due to lack of preparation.

Also note the list of equipment AK had at the onset of uprising at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Uprising#Poles, "Polish Military Supplies". Just about 1.5k of proper weapons.

And while the fighting was going on it indeed mentions regiments and brigades passing through to the front via the city.

And if I understand everything correctly, basically, the main mass of German 39th Panzer Corps (XXXIX.Panzerkorps) was already across the Vistula on the east side and handily stopped the soviet 2nd Tank Army during Battle of Radzymyn. That makes me wonder what would've happened if the uprising actually managed to catch 39th Corps on the west side of Vistula. Pretty unique - armored meeting engagement in a city, anyone?

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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby LoneRifle » Thu 16 Jun 2016 20:03

I mean, the Paris uprising was just as forlorn a hope as the Polish one. No way the rebels could beat the German garrison if the latter was allowed to reinforce unmolested. The allies "could" have ignored Paris and pressed on to the German border and Low Countries as planned. And taken Paris at their own pace and set up their allied government. But politics and the FF changed all that. Allies got dragged down to that sideshow which fortuitously only cost a few lives and was best in the long run politically.

Why? Because at the end of the war, France as nation was sitting at the victors table as an unoccupied (sort of) nation. The FF were recognized by all 3 major powers as being the legitimate government of France and entitled to a spot at the victors table and a chance to join in the occupation,

If Stalin had decided to help the Polish Home Army (which he could have) it would have destroyed his chance to impose his puppet government on what was Poland. And probably led to something similar to what happended to France post Paris liberation. It's not like Stalin would have been able to liquidate the home army after all that and still been on speaking terms with the western allies. So I'm really not buying this concept that the Russians were "to busy" to help. They could have done a lot more, but it was in their best interests to let the Poles get crushed and use the "our men are exhausted" line.
Last edited by LoneRifle on Thu 16 Jun 2016 20:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Greece goes Poland: The aftermath of WW2 resistance

Postby Killertomato » Thu 16 Jun 2016 20:08

If Stalin had decided to help the Polish Home Army


He would've just smashed them after the war. We could've done the same thing in France and chose not to.

We weren't on speaking terms with the Russians four years after '45 anyway. What would liquidating the Home Army have done except move that a few years earlier?
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