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Warsaw Uprising 1944 Day-by-Day.
Reprinted from "The Warsaw Voice" (http://www.warsawvoice.pl/) website.
Aug. 1, 1944
The uprising is slated to begin at 5 p.m. However, skirmishes start much earlier: the first clash in Zoliborz starts at 1:50 p.m. In City Centre and Wola, fighting also breaks out before the fixed hour at about 4:30 p.m.
The State Securities Printing House (PWPW) is captured in the Old Town, the Germans having been totally forced out of the district by then. In City Centre, the third assault battalion Kilinski captures the Main Post Office building, Arbeitsamt on Malachowskiego Square and a number of smaller facilities. In Wola, many barricades are raised during the night, closing the city from the west. In Mokotow, Germans murder about 500 prisoners in the prison on Rakowiecka Street and Jesuits from the seminary. A skirmish of Ochota units near Pecice. Germans murder all the hostages taken there.
Thanks to the capture of Blank Palace, Teatralny Square becomes the southern defense line of the Old Town. In City Centre, Second Lieutenant 'Zdunin' unit captures Pocztowy Station on Zelazna Street. The first bombing of Wola takes place. In Ochota, the few AK units to remain in the city take positions in buildings.
First German relief units under SS-Gruppenführer Heinz Reinefarth appear in Wola and Ochota. Massacre of districts' residents starts. Home Army Main Headquarters (KG AK) gives the order to save ammunition and proceed to 'active defense', thus ending the AK offensive. The first airdrop of weapons and ammunition is made by allied aircraft stationed at a base in Brindisi, Italy. Krzysztof K. Baczynski 'Krzys', 23, poet and battalion Parasol soldier, perishes in Blank Palace. End of the uprising in Praga.
British Halifax planes drop containers with weapons and ammunition at night in the region of cemeteries in Wola. With the use of two trophy tanks, battalion Zoska liberates the Gesiowka camp, part of the Warsaw Concentration Camp, freeing 348 Jews from various countries. In Wola 10,000 residents are executed. Germans also murder the patients and personnel of Wolski Hospital: about 360 people, and of St. Lazarus Hospital: about 1,000 people.
In Pruszkow, Germans set up a transitional camp, through which about 600,000 capital residents have passed since the Uprising's outbreak. Of this number 60,000 are transported to concentration camps. From dawn, heavy fighting in Wola is reported. Germans, sustaining considerable losses, break through in the direction of City Centre and seize the Karola i Marii Hospital, murdering over 100 patients.
Insurgents' battalions Parasol and Zoska keep fighting in Wola with Reinefarth's units that continue to murder civilians. In City Centre, a barricade is raised - the only connecting passage between the northern and southern part of the city through the end of the uprising. The Scouts Field Post Office starts functioning. On the first day, young couriers deliver over 900 letters.
A failed sortie by insurgents on the railroad line in order to destroy a German armored train takes place, with heavy artillery fire destroying Polish posts in Wola, Old Town and Zoliborz. Germans attack the Old Town from many directions, setting fire to historic houses. The radio station Błyskawica begins broadcasting; it continues through the end of the Uprising.
In the Old Town, a German attack is halted. A connection with the German 'governmental district' engineered by SS brigade Dirlewanger troops enables the evacuation of Ludwig Fisher, the General Governor's District governor. The convoy of automobiles is fired upon by insurgents. Fisher suffers a minor injury and one of his deputies is killed. Some insurgent units fight their way through to the Chojnowskie Forest.
Insurgents capture the Water Works and Sewage System building on Starynkiewicza Square and Haberbusch's brewery on Grzybowska Street. Brigade SS-RONA continues killing residents of Ochota. In City Centre, Germans try to clear the East-West artery, meeting with effective resistance.
KG AK fights doggedly through Wola to the Old Town. The last units from Ochota leave posts for City Centre. Germans introduce a new weapon: the Goliath controlled vehicle filled with explosives. Reinefarth's units – under the cover of heavy artillery, aircraft, tanks and mortars – charge the Old Town from dawn.
Morning attacks on Old Town positions fended off. Heavy fighting by insurgents to recover warehouses on Stawki Street. Pocztowy Station remains in Polish hands – the only outpost shutting off the strategic artery of Jerozolimskie Avenue.
A dozen Halifax aircraft make drops above Warsaw. A powerful German attack is directed at the Old Town's northern and western defense lines. In the afternoon, insurgents capture a German armored vehicle, which turns out to be a trap: the explosion on Kilinskiego Street in the Old Town kills 350, mostly civilians. An attack by insurgents on Hale Mirowskie, aimed at connecting City Centre-North with the Old Town, fails.
AK Chief Commander Gen. Tadeusz Komorowski 'Bor' calls on AK local units by radio to come to Warsaw's aid. In the Old Town, insurgents destroy two tanks. In City Centre, they effectively fight off all attacks, seizing food storehouses on Ceglana Street. In Powiśle, combatants win a German SS Viking division's armored military vehicle.
The top-heavy German mortar Karl, caliber 600 mm, arrives in Warsaw. In City Centre, individual buildings and streets change hands. During fights with Major 'Zagonczyk' grouping, Germans lose nine tanks, an armored car, a cannon and about 150 soldiers. Germans lead into action the heavy launchers called by Varsovians 'cows', to shell City Centre.
The number of units in the Old Town drops below 5,000 soldiers, who defend an area of about 10 square kilometers. The Germans seize the Water Filters Station and block the water supply network. Poet and AK soldier Tadeusz Gajcy 'Topor' perishes on Leszno Street. The Russians stop their assault on Warsaw.
A positional struggle continues in individual districts, which are cut off from one another. The chief German thrust focuses on destroying the Old Town.
Heavy bombing of the Old Town from the morning. Fierce clashes in the region of St. John's Cathedral, including hand-to-hand fighting. In the afternoon, German envoys raise a white flag to Polish positions near Saski Garden and deliver a letter from Gen. Erich von dem Bach Zelewski to the uprising commander with a capitulation proposal to the AK. 'Bor' orders that the letter remain unanswered.
Germans begin a general offensive on the Old Town. Ten infantry battalions and two minesweeper assault battalions supported with substantial amount of heavy equipment are brought. In City Centre, insurgents leave the region of the Warsaw University of Technology after one day of fighting. AK units from Kampinos Forest and Kabacki Forest reach Warsaw, sustaining heavy losses.
In City Centre, battalion Kilinski captures the strategically situated building of the Polish Telephone Joint Stock Company (PAST-a), to win considerable supplies of weapons and ammunition and taking 115 hostages. The seizure was one of the insurgents' major successes.
Attacks by Kampinos Group and Zoliborz units on Gdanski Station bloodily repelled by German units supported by an armored train. In the Old Town, grenadiers from the 5th SS Armored Division Viking attack barricades from the Royal Castle. Fighting shifts to St. John's Cathedral that remains in Polish hands.
A second attack on Gdanski Station at 2 a.m. fails. Insurgents suffer huge losses, some units withdraw to Kampinos. In City Centre, AK scores another success, the capture of so-called small PAST-a, taking 76 captives, liberating 20 hostages and winning three cars and a considerable amount of weapons and ammunition.
Operators of an insurgents' heavy machine-gun in the Old Town manage to shoot down a German bomber Ju-87-the only one downed throughout the Uprising as a result of a ban on targeting aircraft due to lack of ammunition.
Insurgents ward off numerous attacks on the Old Town's southern barricades. The Germans are dislodged from Radziwillow Palace on Bielanska Street. In City Centre, the grouping Belt recaptures the area between Marszałkowska and Poznanska Streets.
At night AK commanders travel through sewers from the Old Town to City Centre. Defense is reorganized in Mokotow; new district commander Col. 'Karol' divides the area. The Mokotow unit has a total of 5,500 soldiers, including approx. 3,000 on the front line.
In Mokotow, insurgents in vain try to break the German ring in the vicinity of Łazienki Park to gain a connection with Upper Czerniakow. At night two companies from the Baszta regiment capture the Holy Family of Nazareth convent on Czerniakowska Street, evacuating the nuns, injured and civilians under their care.
Units under Captain 'Boncza' foil an attempt to blow up the Cathedral, capturing around 100 kg explosives and taking captives from the SS brigade Dirlewanger. Eventually the Cathedral falls into German hands. 'Bończa' is severely wounded.
Before dawn, a German unit of 1,600 soldiers launches a final offensive on the insurgents holed up in PWPW. By 8:30 a.m., Germans capture the whole building. In the basement they murder the injured, field hospital staff and civilians sheltered there. City Centre is shelled by the mortar Karl. Intense fighting for Pocztowy Station, Bormann's factory and warehouses on Towarowa Street takes place. At night, insurgents stop a powerful attack from Saski Garden.
Air raids on the Old Town about every 15 minutes. Artillery pulls down the AK-manned Fiat works and Blessed Virgin Mary's Church, whose ruins repeatedly change hands. Germans murder old people and invalids from a captured municipal shelter.
The BBC reports in the afternoon that HRH Government has granted war veteran rights to Warsaw AK units. The British add a warning that they will treat Wehrmacht soldiers the same way as insurgents taken hostage by the Germans in Warsaw. In the Old Town at night AK units attempt to fight their way towards Northern City Centre.
An attempt to connect the Old Town with City Centre fails. An attack from Bielanska Street breaks down, with serious losses – about 150 soldiers. From morning, Germans renew their attack on the Old Town. At night, evacuation of the Północ Group through sewers from the Old Town to City Centre and Zoliborz begins.
Evacuation of soldiers through sewers to City Centre continues. Hundreds emerge from a manhole on Nowy Swiat street after nearly five hours underground.
At night, Germans damage King Sigismund's Column on Zamkowy Square. Evacuation of the Old Town lasts all night. During the day, the Germans enter the rubble of the Old Town. The civilian population and the injured – about 7,000 victims, including patients of most Old Town hospitals-are murdered. Von dem Bach orders the 'cleansing' of further districts on the Vistula.
German offensive on Powisle and Northern City Centre supported by heavy artillery fire. Insurgent forces in the districts are supported with units evacuated from the Old Town.
The City Power Plant in Powiśle stops working, destroyed by artillery fire and raids. Captain 'Krybar' orders the evacuation of the civilian population from endangered regions of Powisle to the area of Northern City Centre. AK commanders redeploy to Upper Czerniakow.
Powisle under heavy fire. The Germans attack from three directions. German infantry takes position in the PZUW insurance company building on Kopernika Street.
By evening all of Powisle is in German hands. Insurgents withdraw to City Centre. Germans drop leaflets calling on the civilian population to leave Warsaw. Signed by von dem Bach, they read that Germans will cease fire during the evacuation.
A general offensive by Germans on Northern City Centre begins and heavy fighting breaks out in the region of Nowy Swiat and Chmielna Streets and Napoleona Square. The Germans try to destroy the barricade on Jerozolimskie Avenue – the only link between Northern City Centre and the southern areas of the city.
From 12 noon-2 p.m., German artillery is silent, enabling thousands of Varsovians to flee the city. After the cease-fire, Germans attempt a surprise attack on City Centre.
KG AK recognizes the hopelessness of the city's defense and consents to negotiations by Polish Red Cross (PCK) representatives with the Germans concerning evacuation of the civilian population. Thanks to the cease-fire, a total of 8,000 people leave Warsaw.
Across the Vistula, an offensive by the First Belarussian Front begins, including the First Polish Army commanded by Gen. Zygmunt Berling. Fierce fighting in City Centre. The Germans attack the Main Post Office and are repelled by counterattacking insurgents.
German attack on Upper Czerniakow starts. AK units forced to abandon their most advanced outposts. Attacks halted on Ksiazeca Street – the only connection between Czerniakow and City Centre.
Von dem Bach halts all combat operations in the remaining districts, focusing the thrust on Czerniakow. In the evening, the Germans capture St. Lazarus Hospital on Ksiazeca Street, cutting off Czerniakow from City Centre.
The Germans blow up Warsaw bridges. A KG AK messenger crosses the Vistula at night to establish contact with Berling's army staff.
The Tadeusz Kosciuszko First Division captures Praga. In Czerniakow, Lieutenant Colonel 'Radoslaw' concentrates his units closer to the Vistula to secure the area, in order to enable the Soviet Army to set up a beachhead. In Southern City Centre, insurgents attempting to recapture St. Lazarus Hospital are stopped.
A Kosciuszko division patrol crosses in the morning to Czerniakow, establishing contact with a liaison officer of 'Radoslaw'. At night, 300 well-armed soldiers from the First Division cross to the left bank of the Vistula. The Germans, with support from the air, use everything at their disposal to keep the insurgents from the Vistula.
The first airdrops with assistance for insurgents from Soviet aircraft are made. Czerniakow AK units consolidated with the First Division soldiers fight off strong attacks.
One more party of Kosciuszko Division soldiers, altogether about 1,200, lands during two days. After landing, they assume defensive positions with AK units in Czerniakow, launching counterattacks.
Flying Fortresses appear over Warsaw thanks to the Eighth Airborne Army of the United States; 1,284 capsules with weapons and ammunition are dropped. The insurgents seize only 188.
'Radoslaw' starts partial evacuation of his units through sewers to Mokotow. Some insurgents swim across the Vistula.
KG AK decides to establish the Warsaw AK Corps under the command of Gen. 'Monter', while revealing officers' names and abandoning secrecy. This is to save insurgents from execution after capitulation.
Awaiting the promised landing by the First Army, the insurgents leave burning buildings and take positions in trenches on the banks of the Vistula. The declared aid does not come.
German envoys propose capitulation of the Czerniakow district. Only a cease-fire is finally settled and civilians and the injured are evacuated. The defenders receive promises of evacuation to the right bank of the Vistula, however, no rescue from the First Division comes. Some insurgents try to swim across the river, others fight their way to City Centre.
Upper Czerniakow is captured. SS officers execute by firing squad and hang over 200 injured insurgents, messengers and nurses. Germans step up pressure on Mokotow, now the chief target of von dem Bach. They also prepare to attack Zoliborz. The Hermann Göring select division units join the campaign.
Germans shell Mokotow with their entire arsenal of heavy artillery. The insurgents fight off most of the attacks.
The AK-defended area in Mokotow shrinks and nighttime attacks bring huge losses. Aware that he is fighting a losing battle, Lieutenant Colonel 'Karol' decides to leave Mokotow at night.
Mokotow is evacuated. Germans fill in some sewers and evacuation is suspended until a new route to City Centre can be found.
Mokotow surrenders. Insurgents continue to defend themselves in City Centre and Zoliborz. Schutzpolizei officers murder about 120 AK soldiers, who lost their way in the sewers, exiting a manhole in an area occupied by Germans. The Germans launch the Sternschnuppe (Falling Star) operation aimed at the liquidation of the Kampinos Group.
A general offensive on Zoliborz begins. The district, defended by about 1,500 insurgents, is attacked by over 8,000 soldiers, supported by armored vehicles. KG AK decides to start talks on terms of surrender.
A massive attack is carried out on Zoliborz. Insurgents maintain positions in City Centre. In the region of Jaktorow near Warsaw, Germans fight with Kampinos Group soldiers.
At German headquarters, talks start in the morning with AK envoys concerning surrender in Zoliborz. In the afternoon, Lieutenant Colonel 'Zywiciel' receives the order from KG to lay down weapons. The Polish delegation obtains consent for a cease-fire from dawn to dusk so the civilian population can leave the city. BBC reports that the commander of the Uprising, Gen. 'Bor', has been appointed Chief Commander of the Polish Armed Forces.
In light of the desperate situation, Gen. 'Bor' decides to negotiate a surrender. Immediately after the cease-fire, the Germans resume shelling City Centre with doubled strength.