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First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Discussions on WW2 in Eastern Europe.

First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby PF on 01 Sep 2008 13:55

In several reference books of WW II there is a photograph of a young Polish girl praying over her sister who has been killed by aircraft gunfire. Reportably this was taken September {1?} 1939 near Warsaw. Is the ID of the victium and her sister known?
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby K_Pax on 03 Sep 2008 23:49

I think I know what photo you are talking about. This particular photo, as far as I know, was taken in Warsaw during the siege of Warsaw.
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby Peter K on 04 Sep 2008 14:14

First war casualties were taken soon after midnight or even soon before midnight, as in fact first German units - and sabotage groups - crossed the Polish borders and started to act in Poland around midnight.

The first city - civilian target - to be bombed in World War II was not Warsaw - most probably Wielun was the first.
Last edited by Peter K on 04 Sep 2008 14:22, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby K_Pax on 04 Sep 2008 14:22

Exactly. It's difficult to say, who was the first victim of campaign in Poland, 1939. But probably, it was a victim of "the fifth column", diersion groups, or an air strike at town Wielun.
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby Peter K on 04 Sep 2008 14:31

Subversion units striked first – not only „V Column” but also sabotage groups from Germany. But also some army units striked before 4:45 – for example Aufklarungs unit with armoured cars from 44. Infanterie-Division – it striked together with unit of “V Column” at 4:30.

Also for example in Greater Poland in towns Rawicz and Leszno fights started very soon.

Polish border posts of Silesian insurgents were being attacked by subversion units, and posts of Polish army were being attacked by sabotage and army unit simultanously.
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby tigre on 21 Sep 2008 16:04

Hello to all :D; a little more on this subject...............................

First Casualties – Westerplatte 01 Sep 1939.

In late evening 31 August 1939 on the desk of the Chief of the Executive No.3, Division II, Chief Staff Pomorze rung the phone. Die Gäste kommen durch die Brücke... - Major Jerzy Żychoń barely recognized his agent's voice breaking from the excitement. The man on the other end of the wire whispered the phrase on one breath, and hung up.

At dawn 1 September 1939 on Westerplatte soldiers from the detachment of Warrant-Officer Jan Gryczman were getting ready to march out to the barracks after a tiresome night duty. The soldiers were collecting their weapon when suddenly a shot resounded. Its echo bounced from the red-brick wall surrounding the tiny peninsula of Westerplatte, flew over the port canal and farther to the sleeping city, to the mouth of Vistula, and vanished somewhere over Mottlau. Gryczman instinctively looked at his watch. The time was 4:17.

Gryczman did not neglect the sudden alarming signal. He ordered his soldiers to re-assume their action stations. Intuition did not fail him. Exactly at 4:45 Schleswig-Holstein's eighteen guns of calibres ranging from 88 to 280 mm opened fire at Westerplatte. Their salvos covered the barracks, outposts, storages, as well as the railway siding; under its rubble was buried its supervisor, Stefan Najsarek - probably the first casualty of the Second World War. The artillery fire and explosions on Westerplatte merged in one hellish roar, which overwhelmed even the invaders.

The Poles did not let to catch them by surprise. Germans' first attack cost them dearly. Few returned back beyond the red-brick wall.

“Huge 280mm shells needed to go 600m to explode, while in fact they made only 400m. During the fights we found a lot of such "chests" and we used them as a cover. The first attack ended at 1000hr. Our company lost 127 men out of 225. [...]” Heinz Denker.

Source: http://2ndww.tripod.com/cgi-bin/index.htm

Defense of the Polish Post Office in Danzig – 01 September 1939.

On Sep 01 1939, at 03:30 hours all the communications lines with Warsaw were broken also the phone and the energy lines were cut, shortly before 05:00 hours sounded the first shots. Two assault groups belonging to the Danziger Schutzpolizei jumped off against the main entrance but were repelled with heavy machinegun fire, although the Germans managed to break through the entrance and briefly enter the building. The fight lasted only a few minutes but two attackers were mortally wounded and five were severely wounded.

Source: Die Glocken der Marienkirche. Freitag, Lutz Herden
http://www.freitag.de

War – 01 Sep 1939.

The preparations at the airfield of Nieder Ellguth lasted all night. The first plane to take off was the machine of Oberleutnant Mertz who was a staffel’s commanding officer. At the airfield of Balice the personnel of the III/ DM2 were violent woken up by bombs, Captain Medwecki rushed into the pilot’s quarter and shouted to ppor (Leutnant) Wladyslaw Gnys “you’re coming with me”. Both polish pilots took off at 06:00 hours but shortly after reaching an altitude of 300 meters were fired upon by a German Ju-87 flown by Frank Neubert (pilot) and Franz Klinger (gunman). The ppor Gnys could escape the enemy’s fire but Cpt Medwecki was shot down.

At 06:00 hours the Luftwaffe bombed the Navy’s main aerial station at Putzig; among the killed was the Commanding Officer of the Navy Flight Division Lt Commander Szystowski. He was the first navy officer killed in the war.

Source: Luftflotte IV – 1939. Krzysztof Janowicz.
The Zweite Weltkrieg. Janusz Piekalkiewicz.

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby Richard Hargreaves on 26 Sep 2008 13:06

This is probably the image:

Image

I use it in my Polish campaign book. There's no caption with the original, sadly.

As for the first casualty of WW2, some people argue for Franz Honiok, a 41-year-old agent for a farm machinery firm, who was arrested in Hohenlieben on August 30, drugged by the Gestapo and shot outside the Gleiwitz radio transmitter.

There's also Stanislaw Szarek, a Polish rail worker, who fired a flare from the window of the station hut at Szymankowo to alert the garrison on the Dirschau bridge of the impending coup de main by the Germans. He was shot dead as the train passed...

What is certain is that the Schleswig-Holstein did not fire the first shots of WW2. I would probably argue for Szarek as the first casualty because he was killed by troops on a military operation rather than by some police unit for a political purpose (ie Honiok).
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby PolAntek on 17 Oct 2008 04:54

PF wrote:In several reference books of WW II there is a photograph of a young Polish girl praying over her sister who has been killed by aircraft gunfire. Reportably this was taken September {1?} 1939 near Warsaw. Is the ID of the victium and her sister known?


This famous and tragic photograph that accurately captures the criminal work of the Luftwaffe during the September Campaign was taken by Julien Bryan and pictures 10-year old Kazimiera Mika – more info here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michellesoemoe/2903702661/

Regards,
AJZ
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby Jan-Hendrik on 17 Oct 2008 07:07

the criminal work of the Luftwaffe


Wasn't Warsaw declared as Fortress? :wink:

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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby Njorl on 17 Oct 2008 11:18

Jan-Hendrik wrote:Wasn't Warsaw declared as Fortress? :wink:


Jan, you mean Festung Warschau, right? Werent they Germans that coined this term? :wink:

Regards,
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby Richard Hargreaves on 17 Oct 2008 12:25

PolAntek wrote:
PF wrote:In several reference books of WW II there is a photograph of a young Polish girl praying over her sister who has been killed by aircraft gunfire. Reportably this was taken September {1?} 1939 near Warsaw. Is the ID of the victium and her sister known?


This famous and tragic photograph that accurately captures the criminal work of the Luftwaffe during the September Campaign was taken by Julien Bryan and pictures 10-year old Kazimiera Mika – more info here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michellesoemoe/2903702661/

Regards,
AJZ


Many thanks for that link AJZ. I wish I'd known that when writing the caption for my book. :( Oh well... I took mine from a contemporary book which had none of that detail/information. :(
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby PolAntek on 17 Oct 2008 19:08

Richard Hargreaves[list] wrote:Many thanks for that link AJZ. I wish I'd known that when writing the caption for my book. :( Oh well... I took mine from a contemporary book which had none of that detail/information. :(


Hi Richard,

Sorry I didn’t catch this thread earlier. I don’t visit this site as frequently as in past years.

May I trouble you for more info on your book?

Cheers,
Tony
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby Richard Hargreaves on 12 Nov 2008 23:09

Hi Tony,

Yes, no problem. There are threads on it here and also at the Feldgrau forum, and it's also now out in the UK and USA:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blitzkrieg-Unle ... 755&sr=8-1
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby Peter K on 17 Feb 2009 22:50

I have just found this:

According to this site:

http://www.konflikty.pl/a,1685-0,II_woj ... _roku.html

Corporal Piotr Konieczka was the first Polish military casualty.

He was KIA at 1:40 during the night from 31st of August to 1st of September by German saboteurs from "V Column", who attacked his post in village Jeziorki at 1:20. At 1:35 after 15 minutes of fierce combat few Polish defenders withdrew, only Konieczka with his machine gun remained. Around 1:40 he was heavily WIA by a single enemy bullet and fell down. Soon after that German bayonets finished him off.

ImageImage

But in my opinion he was not the first military casualty of WW - as far as I know some Germans were killed before him.

On 26th of August 1939 (it was the first date of the German invasion of Poland, but in the last moment Hitler changed his mind and cancelled the attack - however, some small units did not receive his order, and they crossed the border) some incidents took place - and as far as I know there were casualties on the German side (also KIA probably - but I'm not shure about that).

We can consider it as WW2, but we can also consider it as some military incidents which took place along the Polish-German border few days before WW2 started. It depends on point of view probably.
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Re: First War Casualty in Poland 1 September 1939?

Postby Peter K on 24 Feb 2009 12:43

First POW of the Second World War - Hauptmann Kurt Pfeifer captured on the road Bojkow - Gliwice at 2:00 AM on 1st of September.
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