1st Polish Army

From Academic Kids

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The 1st Polish Army (Polish Pierwsza Armia Wojska Polskiego, 1 AWP for short) was a Polish Army unit formed in the Soviet Union in 1944, from previously existing 1st Polish Corps.

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Gen. Zygmunt Berling, commander of the 1st Polish Army

It operated under the auspices of the Red Army. It first entered combat in the summer of 1944, fighting in the battles during the Soviet crossing of the river Vistula. In September 1944 it was involved in fighting around Warsaw in an attempt to support the Warsaw Uprising. However, those efforts received minimal Soviet support and ended in failure. In the winter of 1945 the army fought in Pomerania, breaking through the Pommernstellung fortified line and capturing Kolobrzeg. In the Spring of 1945 the army, now numbering 78,556 soldiers, was shifted to the front on the river Oder in preparation for the final Soviet offensive of the war in Europe. During the offensive it crossed the river on April 16 and joined the Battle of Berlin. In it, among other actions, the Polish units of the 1st army crossed the Hohenzollern Canal and advanced on Kremmen, Flatow, Paaren and Nauen. They ended their campaign by participating in the capture of the Brandenburg Gate. The army was disbanded after the war, on 22 August, 1945. Its constituent units went on to serve in the armed forces of the newly created Polish People's Republic.


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Polish artillery units on the Byelorussian front

The 1st Polish Army was very similar in organisation to other standard general purpose armies making up the bulk of Red Army's order of battle. It had a good mix of infantry units and artillery together with other support arms. Its armor capability was considerably weaker, with only one tank brigade permanently attached. In manpower it was broadly equivalent to an American infantry corps. At the end of the war in 1945, it consisted of the following large units (honorific names given in brackets)

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  • 6th infantry division
  • 1st cavalry brigade
  • 3rd howitzer artillery brigade
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Russian and Polish sign "to Berlin"
  • 5th heavy artillery brigade
  • 1st anti-aircraft artillery division
  • 1st engineer brigade
  • 1st mortar brigade (attached from High Command Reserve))
  • 1st fighter aviation regiment (Warszawa)
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Polish soldier in front of the Brandenburger Tor
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Polish II Howitzer Brigade passing the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin.
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Polish soldiers in Berlin

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