A report on First Polish Army (1944–1945)

Marking new Polish-German border on Oder River in 1945
The Polish First Army on their way to Berlin, 1945

Army unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the East.

- First Polish Army (1944–1945)
Marking new Polish-German border on Oder River in 1945

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Emblem worn by LWP soldiers; the "Piast eagle" without the crown

Polish People's Army

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The Polish People's Army (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie, LWP) constituted the second formation of the Polish Armed Forces in the East in 1943–1945, and in 1945–1989 the armed forces of the Polish communist state (from 1952, the Polish People's Republic), ruled by the Polish Workers' Party and then the Polish United Workers' Party.

The Polish People's Army (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie, LWP) constituted the second formation of the Polish Armed Forces in the East in 1943–1945, and in 1945–1989 the armed forces of the Polish communist state (from 1952, the Polish People's Republic), ruled by the Polish Workers' Party and then the Polish United Workers' Party.

Emblem worn by LWP soldiers; the "Piast eagle" without the crown
Polish troops, 1943
The Polish First Army on their way to Berlin, 1945
Polish flag raised on the top of Berlin Victory Column on 2 May 1945
T-55A tanks of the Polish People's Army (Martial law in Poland)

What became the LWP was formed during World War II, in May 1943, as the 1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division, which developed into the First Polish Army, unofficially known as Berling's Army.

The "Piast eagle" worn by Polish Army Formations in the East, 1943–1945

Polish Armed Forces in the East

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The Polish Armed Forces in the East (Polskie Siły Zbrojne na Wschodzie), also called Polish Army in the USSR, were the Polish military forces established in the Soviet Union during World War II.

The Polish Armed Forces in the East (Polskie Siły Zbrojne na Wschodzie), also called Polish Army in the USSR, were the Polish military forces established in the Soviet Union during World War II.

The "Piast eagle" worn by Polish Army Formations in the East, 1943–1945
Polish volunteers to the army of Władysław Anders, released from a Soviet POW camp
Generals Karol Świerczewski (front), Marian Spychalski and Michał Rola-Żymierski
Soldiers of the Polish Second Army in the area of the Lusatian Neisse River after fording it in April 1945
Polish Army tanks riding to Berlin in 1945.

It was enlarged and reorganised into the Polish First Army (Berling's Army) and the Polish Second Army.

General Zygmunt Berling (wearing the uniform of a colonel)

Zygmunt Berling

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Polish general and politician.

Polish general and politician.

General Zygmunt Berling (wearing the uniform of a colonel)
1928 army document signed by Berling when he was a major - Krakow.
General Berling in Warsaw, 1947
Berling gravestone at Powązki Military Cemetery

Berling was a co-founder and commander of the First Polish Army, which fought on the Eastern Front of World War II.

Soviet troops enter Łódź, led by an ISU-122 self-propelled gun

Vistula–Oder offensive

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Red Army operation on the Eastern Front in the European theatre of World War II in January 1945.

Red Army operation on the Eastern Front in the European theatre of World War II in January 1945.

Soviet troops enter Łódź, led by an ISU-122 self-propelled gun
Disposition of forces and advance of the Soviet Army
Delegation of German officers arriving to negotiate for the capitulation of Festung Breslau
Vistula–Oder offensive
World War II Eastern Front during the 1945 Vistula-Oder offensive; the map also shows the East Prussian offensive, Lower Silesian offensive, the East Pomeranian offensive, and the battles in Courland. See here for an accurate map.
Tree carving in Bielinek (Bellinchen), Pomerania, immediately east of the Oder. It reads, in Russian, "March 1945, Death to the Germans."

1st Polish Army (General Stanislav Poplavsky)

Clockwise from top left: 
Civilians construct an anti-tank ditch in Wola district; German anti-tank gun in Theatre Square; Home Army soldier defending a barricade; Ruins of Bielańska Street; Insurgents leave the city ruins after surrendering to German forces; Allied transport planes airdrop supplies near Holy Cross Church.

Warsaw Uprising

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Major World War II operation by the Polish underground resistance to liberate Warsaw from German occupation.

Major World War II operation by the Polish underground resistance to liberate Warsaw from German occupation.

Clockwise from top left: 
Civilians construct an anti-tank ditch in Wola district; German anti-tank gun in Theatre Square; Home Army soldier defending a barricade; Ruins of Bielańska Street; Insurgents leave the city ruins after surrendering to German forces; Allied transport planes airdrop supplies near Holy Cross Church.
Clockwise from top left: 
Civilians construct an anti-tank ditch in Wola district; German anti-tank gun in Theatre Square; Home Army soldier defending a barricade; Ruins of Bielańska Street; Insurgents leave the city ruins after surrendering to German forces; Allied transport planes airdrop supplies near Holy Cross Church.
A captured German Sd.Kfz. 251 from the 5th SS Panzer Division, being used by the 8th "Krybar" Regiment. Furthest right; commander Adam Dewicz "Grey Wolf", 14 August 1944.
Polish Home Army positions, outlined in red, on the western bank of the Vistula (4 August 1944)
Warsaw Old Town in flames during Warsaw Uprising
Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, commander of Polish Home Army
Weapons used by the resistance, including the Błyskawica submachine gun—one of very few weapons designed and mass-produced covertly in occupied Europe.
Kubuś, an armoured car made by the Home Army during the Uprising. A single unit was built by the "Krybar" Regiment on the chassis of a Chevrolet 157 van.
The 535th platoon of Slovaks under the command of Mirosław Iringh, part of the 1st company of the "Tur" battalion from the "Kryśka" Group fought in Czerniaków and Praga district during the uprising.
German soldiers fighting the Polish resistance at Theater Square in Warsaw, September 1944
Commanding officers of the collaborationist Freiwillige (the Waffen-SS volunteers) brigade R.O.N.A. during the Warsaw Uprising, August 1944
Resistance fighter armed with a flamethrower, 22 August 1944
The city's sewer system was used to move resistance fighters between the Old Town, Śródmieście and Żoliborz districts.
Home Army soldiers from Kolegium "A" of Kedyw formation on Stawki Street in the Wola District of Warsaw, September 1944
Home Army soldier armed with Błyskawica submachine gun defending a barricade in Powiśle District of Warsaw during the Uprising, August 1944
Jewish prisoners of Gęsiówka concentration camp liberated by Polish Home Army soldiers from "Zośka" Battalion, 5 August 1944
German Stuka Ju 87 bombing Warsaw's Old Town, August 1944; the rebels were unable to capture the airfields and only 6 German aircraft could make a large number of sorties, causing great destruction to the city
Warsaw's Old Town, August 1944
Monument to General Berling in Warsaw
Tadeusz Rajszczak "Maszynka" (left) and two other young soldiers from "Miotła" Battalion, 2 September 1944
Home Army soldiers Henryk Ożarek "Henio" (left) holding a Vis pistol and Tadeusz Przybyszewski "Roma" (right) firing a Błyskawica submachine gun, from "Anna" Company of the "Gustaw" Battalion fighting on Kredytowa-Królewska Street, 3 October 1944; the use of pistols in street battles indicates a very poor equipment of weapons of the rebels
Captured German Panther tank by resistance fighters from "Zośka" Battalion under the command of Wacław Micuta, 2 August 1944
Home Army soldiers from "Zośka" Battalion liberating Gęsiówka concentration camp. Only Juliusz Deczkowski (centre) survived. Tadeusz Milewski "Ćwik" (right) was killed later in the day and Wojciech Omyła "Wojtek" (left) was killed several days later, 5 August 1944
Soldier from the "Kiliński" Battalion pictured aiming his rifle at the German-occupied PAST building, 20 August 1944
Soldier from "Pięść" Battalion led by Stanisław Jankowski "Agaton", pictured on a rooftop of a house near the Evangelic Cemetery in Wola District of Warsaw, 2 August 1944
Polish-controlled areas of Warsaw after the fall of the Old Town, around 10 September 1944
Picture of the Uprising taken from the opposite side of the Vistula river. Kierbedź Bridge viewed from Praga District towards Royal Castle and the Old Town, 1944; the rebels were unable to capture the bridges over the Vistula river and thus lost a light hope of connecting with the Red Army
Home Army soldier from the Mokotów District surrenders to German troops.
Surrender of the Warsaw Uprising resistance, 5 October 1944
Warsaw Old Town; after the Warsaw Uprising, 85% of the city was deliberately destroyed by the German forces.
Warsaw c. 1950, still witness to the massive World War II destruction of the city. Northwest view of the Krasiński Gardens and Świętojerska Street.
Mały Powstaniec ("Little Insurrectionist") Monument erected just outside Warsaw's medieval city walls in 1981, commemorates the children who fought in the Warsaw Uprising, against the German occupation.
Monument to the resistance fighters who fought in the Warsaw Uprising.
Bunker in front of gate to University of Warsaw converted to a base for Wehrmacht viewed from Krakowskie Przedmieście Street, July 1944
Members of the SS-Sonderregiment Dirlewanger fighting in Warsaw, pictured in window of a townhouse at Focha Street, August 1944
German SS-Gruppenführer Heinz Reinefarth, the "Butcher of Wola" (left, in Cossack headgear) with Jakub Bondarenko, commander of Kuban Cossack Infantry regiment, Warsaw Uprising
Azerbaijani SS volunteer formation during the Warsaw Uprising; even the collaborationist units were well armed
Resistance fighters from "Chrobry I" Battalion in front of German police station "Nordwache" at the junction of Chłodna and Żelazna Streets, 3 August 1944; only one rebel has a weapon
Barricade erected such on Napoleon Square. In background: captured Hetzer tank destroyer. 3 August 1944
One of the German POW's captured during the fighting at the PAST building located on Zielna Street, 20 August 1944
German soldier killed by the resistance during the attack on Mała PAST building. 23 August 1944
Home Army soldiers from "Ruczaj" Battalion (after a fire fight for the Mała PAST building) take pictures at the main entrance at Piusa Street next to a bunker, 24 August 1944
Polish victims of the Wola massacre burned by members of Verbrennungskommando.
People of Wola leaving the city after the uprising
Soviet advances from 1 August 1943 to 31 December 1944:
to 1 December 1943
to 30 April 1944
to 19 August 1944
to 31 December 1944

By 14 September, the eastern bank of the Vistula River opposite the Polish resistance positions was taken over by the Polish troops fighting under the Soviet command; 1,200 men made it across the river, but they were not reinforced by the Red Army.

Motorcyclists of the 2nd Polish Army during the Lusatian operation, April 1945

Second Army (Poland)

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The Polish Second Army (Druga Armia Wojska Polskiego, 2.

The Polish Second Army (Druga Armia Wojska Polskiego, 2.

Motorcyclists of the 2nd Polish Army during the Lusatian operation, April 1945
Memorial stone in Bautzen
Karol Świerczewski (front). The two other officers are Marian Spychalski and Michał Rola-Żymierski

The first plans called for the formation of Polish Second Army and Polish Third Army, which were to be joined with the Polish First Army into a Polish Front (at that time the Polish forces were part of the 1st Belorussian Front).

The Brandenburg Gate amid the ruins of Berlin, June 1945

Battle of Berlin

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One of the last major offensives of the European theatre of World War II.

One of the last major offensives of the European theatre of World War II.

The Brandenburg Gate amid the ruins of Berlin, June 1945
Main thrusts of the Red Army and its eastern allies
German counter-attacks
Berlin offensive
Gotthard Heinrici
April 1945: a member of the Volkssturm, the German home defence militia, armed with a Panzerschreck, outside Berlin
Polish Army on their way to Berlin in 1945
Volkssturm men armed with Panzerfausts
Battle for the Reichstag
2nd Lt. William Robertson, US Army and Lt. Alexander Sylvashko, Red Army, shown in front of sign East Meets West symbolizing the historic meeting of the Soviet and American Armies, near Torgau, Germany.
Raising a Flag over the Reichstag, a photograph taken during the Battle of Berlin on 2 May 1945
A devastated street in the city centre just off the Unter den Linden, 3 July 1945
German women washing clothes at a water hydrant in a Berlin street. A knocked-out German scout car stands beside them, 3 July 1945.
Red Army soldiers celebrating the capture of Berlin, May 1945
Victory Banner raised on the roof of the Reichstag on 1 May 1945
Polish flag raised on the top of Berlin Victory Column on 2 May 1945
Soviet soldiers' graffiti made on a historical French gun in Berlin, now back in Paris

The three Soviet fronts had altogether 2.5 million men (including 78,556 soldiers of the 1st Polish Army), 6,250 tanks, 7,500 aircraft, 41,600 artillery pieces and mortars, 3,255 truck-mounted Katyusha rocket launchers (nicknamed 'Stalin's Pipe Organs'), and 95,383 motor vehicles, many manufactured in the US.

Karol Świerczewski in 1946.

Karol Świerczewski

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Polish and Soviet Red Army general and statesman.

Polish and Soviet Red Army general and statesman.

Karol Świerczewski in 1946.
Michał Rola-Żymierski, Marian Spychalski and Karol Świerczewski (from left to right)
Świerczewski's monument near his place of death, in Bieszczady mountains. It has since been demolished.
Popular scientific conference on Karol Wacław Świerczewski in Stężnica in Gmina Baligród

In 1943 he became one of the generals charged with the creation of the Soviet-controlled Polish Armed Forces in the East, the 1st Polish Army.

Warsaw

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Capital and largest city of Poland.

Capital and largest city of Poland.

A paper engraving of 16th-century Warsaw by Hogenberg showing St. John's Archcathedral to the right. The church was founded in 1390, and is one of the city's ancient and most important landmarks.
Warsaw New Town in 1778. Painted by Bernardo Bellotto
Water Filters, designed by William Lindley and finished in 1886
Sea of rubble – over 85% of the buildings in Warsaw were destroyed by the end of World War II, including the Old Town and Royal Castle.
The Warsaw Uprising took place in 1944. The Polish Home Army attempted to liberate Warsaw from the Germans before the arrival of the Red Army.
A tourist standing beside the iconic Palace of Culture and Science, 1965
Warsaw, as seen from the ESA Sentinel-2
View of Grzybowski Square in the central district of Warsaw. The city is located on the mostly flat Masovian Plain, but the city centre is at a higher elevation than the suburbs.
Autumn in Warsaw's Royal Baths
Hotel Bristol is a unique example of Warsaw's architectural heritage, combining Art Nouveau and Neo-Renaissance designs.
Main Market Square in Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
New World Street, one of the main shopping promenades in Warsaw
Łazienki Palace, also referred to as the Palace on the Isle
Saxon Garden with the central fountain
A red squirrel in one of Warsaw's parks
The Lutheran Holy Trinity Church is an important landmark
Neoclassical Commission Palace, the house of the city's government
Embassy of the Netherlands
Hala Koszyki, a former market hall from the early 20th century
The Warsaw Stock Exchange is the largest in Central Europe.
Praga Koneser Center within the former Warsaw Vodka Factory
Main TVP headquarters at Woronicza street
The main gate of the University of Warsaw
Warsaw University Library
S8 in Warsaw
Warsaw Chopin Airport
The edifice of the Grand Theatre in Warsaw. It is one of the largest theatres in Europe, featuring one of the biggest stages in the world.
Warsaw Philharmonic is a venue for the International Chopin Piano Competition
Museum of the History of Polish Jews opened in 2013
The 17th-century Ostrogski Castle (left) houses the Chopin Museum.
Wuzetka chocolate cake originated in Warsaw and is an icon of the city
Interior of the Wedel Chocolate Lounge on Szpitalna Street
Annual procession of the Three Wise Men (Epiphany) at Warsaw's Castle Square
The 1659 coat of arms of Old Warsaw on the cover of one of Warsaw's accounting books
1855 bronze sculpture of The Warsaw Mermaid in the Old Town Market Place
The Interior of the National Stadium before the UEFA Euro 2012 semi-final match between Germany and Italy on 28 June 2012
Stadion Wojska Polskiego, the home ground of Legia Warsaw football club
St. Anne's Church
Holy Cross Church
Carmelite Church has an original 18th-century façade
Wilanów Palace, once a royal residence
Belweder Palace, official seat of the President
Castle Square with the Royal Castle and Sigismund's Column
Krasiński Palace, a branch of the National Library
Canon Square (Kanonia) with the narrowest townhouse in Europe
St. Kazimierz Church at New Town Market Square
Three Crosses Square marks the entry into Old Town
Barbican, a remaining relic of historic fortifications.
Poland's bicameral parliament, the Sejm and the Senate
Chancellery of the Prime Minister
The Presidential Palace, seat of the Polish president
Supreme Court of Poland
Supreme Administrative Court
The seat of the administration of the Masovian Voivodeship
Mostowski Palace, the seat of Warsaw's police headquarters
The main gate of the Ministry of Health
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Finance
Metro Line 2, Nowy Świat-Uniwersytet station
Buses
Tram car
Pendolino high-speed trains at Warszawa Centralna
Warsaw Suburban train
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On 17 January 1945 – after the beginning of the Vistula–Oder Offensive of the Red Army – Soviet troops and Polish troops of the First Polish Army entered the ruins of Warsaw, and liberated Warsaw's suburbs from German occupation.

Divisional insignia

1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division

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The Polish 1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division (1 Polska Dywizja Piechoty im.

The Polish 1st Tadeusz Kościuszko Infantry Division (1 Polska Dywizja Piechoty im.

Divisional insignia
Troops of the Polish 1st Division in 1943
A plaque commemorating the First Polish Army in Berlin-Charlottenburg

Formed in the Soviet Union, it was the first division of the First Army (Berling Army), and of what later became the post-war Polish Armed Forces (Ludowe Wojsko Polskie) after defeating the Nazi regime and liberating Poland.