VITE History Channel. Part 3. WW2. Start of World War II or Polish Thermopylae

  • On September 1, 1939, the Polish Defensive War and World War II started. The German 3rd Army was to advance from East Prussia towards Warsaw, directly through the positions of Polish Narew Corps. On September 2 Captain Władysław Raginis was named the commander of the Wizna area. As his command post he chose the "GG-126" bunker near the village of Góra Strękowa. The bunker was located on a hill in the exact centre of the Polish lines. His forces numbered approximately 700 soldiers and NCOs and 20 officers armed with 6 pieces of artillery (75mm), 24 HMGs, 18 machine guns and two Kb ppanc wz.35 anti-tank rifles, with just 20 bullets.

    Polish captain Władysław Raginis

    The Battle of Wizna was fought between September 7 and September 10, 1939, between the forces of Poland and Germany during the initial stages of invasion of Poland. According to Polish historian Leszek Moczulski, between 350 and 720 Poles defended a fortified line for three days against more than 40,000 Germans. Although defeat was inevitable, the Polish defence stalled the attacking forces for three days and postponed the encirclement of Independent Operational Group Narew fighting nearby. Eventually the tanks broke through the Polish line and German engineers eliminated all the bunkers one by one.


    The last bunker surrendered around midday on September 10.

    the last.jpg

    Because the battle consisted of a small force holding a piece of fortified territory against a vastly larger invasion for three days at great cost before being annihilated, Wizna is sometimes referred to as the Polish Thermopylae in Polish culture. One of the symbols of the battle is Captain Władysław Raginis, the commanding officer of the Polish force, who swore to hold his position as long as he was alive. When the last two bunkers under his command ran out of ammunition, he ordered his men to surrender their arms and committed suicide by throwing himself on a live grenade.

    Ruins of one of the bunkers, now a memorial site

    "Always remember a fallen soldier,
    Always remember fathers and sons at war..." - words from song "40:1" about the Battle of Wizna.
    Song with subtitles
    Very high quality content about the Battle of Wizna

    //All information is collected specifically for VITE History Channel. See you soon!

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