world war 2: warsaw uprising 1944

Andrzej Rafal Ulankiewicz 'Warski II'. Battalion 'Parasol' (Umbrella).

Reprinted with author's permission from unpublished manuscript.

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parasolBattalion ‘Parasol’ was an elite special forces unit of the Polish Home Army organized by the underground High Command in 1943. Its commander, major Adam Boris, had been detached from Polish Armed Forces fighting with the British in the Western theater. He had prepared for his command through extensive commando training while still in England. Major Boris had been parachuted from a British plane in the year 1942 into German occupied Poland. He recruited his soldiers and officers within the City of Warsaw from amongst the young but already experienced and highly dedicated resistance fighters.

Throughout the years 1943-1944 battalion ‘Parasol’ executed numerous assassination missions. Key Gestapo officers and high ranking Nazi officials responsible for acts of extreme brutality and terror were killed. An undercover intelligence unit, internal to the Battalion, painstakingly prepared all the missions for the shock units. Highjacking German cars and trucks, and destroying enemy transport trains heading to the Eastern Front through sabotage were also ‘Parasol’ assignments.

Battalion ‘Parasol’ also secured numerous drop zones into which Allied planes parachuted ammunition, explosives, various weapons, and other war supplies. The Battalion was designated to ultimately join with the Polish Paratroop Unit from Britain expected to land in Warsaw during the course of the planned uprising. Hence its name ‘Parasol’, designating the battalion as a parachute unit. Despite undergoing months of rigorous parachute training from towers constructed in forests outside of Warsaw, this aspect of its mission never materialized. Instead, the battalion fought as an elite unit in the most critical districts of the city, subjected to the heaviest concentrations of German attack.
The battalion sustained losses of about 70% of its original strength. After the Uprising surrender on October 2, 1944, a small number of ‘Parasol’ fighters, dressed in civilian clothing, evacuated the burning city along with the general population. The majority of ‘Parasol’ survivors, however, were transported to POW camps within Germany proper.
In recognition of its valor, battalion ‘Parasol’ was awarded the highest military medal – Virtuti Militari [ medals ], by the London-based Polish government-in-exile after the end of World War II.
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