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Warsaw 1944: Poland's Bid for Freedom (Campaign) Paperback – 10 Mar 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (10 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846033527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846033520
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 0.6 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 353,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Throughout the book, author Robert Forczyk has used available archival materials to bring this story to us. Thanks to a goodly number of period photos from all sides of the conflict as well as the superb illustrations of Peter Dennis, we are able to visualize what it was like during the insurrection. It is a gripping tale of bravery, tactical errors, and a look that what could have been were not the Allies so callous in their unwillingness to provide assistance. It is a book that I think every scholar of WWII should have on their shelves." -Scott Van Aken, "www.modelingmadness.com" (April 2009) "Reading this book is a humbling experience. It gives one strong insight into what courage and defiance are all about... This highly recommended book is a must-read for students of modern history as well as anyone interested in German armor." -Peter Terry, "Toy Soldier and Model Figure"

About the Author

Dr Robert A. Forczyk has a PhD in International Relations and National Security from the University of Maryland and a strong background in European and Asian military history. He is currently a lieutenant colonel in the US Army Reserves and has served 18 years as an armor officer in the US 2nd and 4th Infantry Divisions and as an intelligence officer in the 29th Infantry Division (Light).

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Maciej TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 April 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Warsaw uprising in 1944 is a page of history still hardly known in the western world - most people never heard of it and easily confuse it with Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943. Publications in English on this topic are still surprisingly scarce. This Osprey Campaign is therefore particularly precious, especially considering its high quality level.

Robert Forczyk, who already wrote the highly successful titles on "Sevastopol 1942" and "Moscow 1941", reached here a new high. This book is particularly well written, making its lecture an easy and yet passionate experience. The account of events is very clear and easy to follow. The quite complicated agendas of Polish Home Army and Stalin are very well analyzed and explained (German agenda was in comparison simple - destroy the city, kill the population, have a schnapps). Illustrations are excellent, maps very precise and the three color plates by Peter Dennis simply splendid - although the first one, showing the extermination of Polish civilians in Wola quarter of Warsaw on 5 August by the SS, is also horribly shocking. Military enthusiasts will certainly appreciate the second plate, showing the incredibly intense close quarter street fight between Polish Home Army insurgents and Waffen SS soldiers from the Dirlewanger brigade. Even more surprising is the third plate, showing insurgent armored vehicles (yes, Home Army insurgents in Warsaw had some armor, including two Panther tanks!) attacking at night a German fortified position in center of Warsaw.

This book stresses very well the fact, that Stalin left Polish insurgents without any help, as their destruction by Germans suited him well, in order to better submit Poland after war.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Barter on 21 May 2009
Format: Paperback
Warsaw 1944 is the latest Osprey Campaign volume by Robert Forczyk, as can be guessed by the title it is about the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, where the Polish Home Army (along with other, smaller Polish resistance movements) took up arms against their German occupiers to show them and the world that Poland was still very much alive.
I find Osprey volumes provide a nice mix of (usually) decent but easily-digestible information along with lovely pictures I can ogle at. Having a great interest in all things Eastern Front I'm admittedly quite desperate for Osprey volumes that relate to it and as far as I can tell Mr. Forczyk is currently the only author catering to that.

The best thing about this volume is that the ease of following the day-by-day events described, this is partly due to the relatively small scale of the battle but also down to the author's writing style and attention to detail which really allows you to visualise events. The maps only add to this and I could only look on in despair as I witnessed the gradual wearing down and loss of the ground that was gained by the Polish Home Army in the initial days of the Uprising.
I'm afraid I can't really comment on the accuracy of the information provided, this being the first book I've read on this battle, although I can definitely say Robert Forczyk is an author I trust to give a thoroughly researched and balanced account.

The colour plates by Peter Dennis are excellent and the descriptions manage to provide just that little bit more in-depth info, however I can't deny that after falling in love with Howard Gerrard's style I was slightly disappointed to see he didn't illustrate this particular volume.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Connolly on 28 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Few countries suffered more than Poland during the Second World War. Invaded by Germany and subsequently by the Soviet Union, their occupation was brutal in the extreme. Nothing improved when the Germans subsequently invaded the Soviet Union. Indeed they got worse because the Soviet Union as an allied power was able to unilaterally move Poland's western and eastern boundaries and get the western powers to accept this. All this was clear by mid 1944 and left the Polish Government in exile with a terrible dilemma. They had created a large and well organised resistance movement in Poland but as the Soviet forces crossed the Polish border they disarmed and sometimes imprisoned the Polish AK resistance fighters and replaced them with their own tame communist polish allies.
The Warsaw Uprising was a somewhat desperate attempt to wrest the initiative, seize the capital and create the reality of an independent Polish Government. Unfortunately a combination of the insurgents own mistakes, poor support from the west, malevolent inaction from the Soviets and Hitler's own irrational fury all meant that the Uprising would not succeed. This book is a clear and concise account of the course of the Uprising and its aftermath. The Poles fought hard but were ground down by superior firepower and resources and in the end achieved none of their strategic objectives. In truth they may never have been achievable because even if they had forced the Germans out it is unlikely that Stalin would have allowed a genuinely independent Poland to emerge.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 14 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant book - to read absolutely! 7 April 2009
By Maciej - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Warsaw uprising in 1944 is a page of history still hardly known in the western world - most people never heard of it and easily confuse it with Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943. Publications in English on this topic are still surprisingly scarce. This Osprey Campaign is therefore particularly precious, especially considering its high quality level.

Robert Forczyk, who already wrote the highly successful titles on "Sevastopol 1942" and "Moscow 1941", reached here a new high. This book is particularly well written, making its lecture an easy and yet passionate experience. The account of events is very clear and easy to follow. The quite complicated agendas of Polish Home Army and Stalin are very well analyzed and explained (German agenda was in comparison simple - destroy the city, kill the population, have a schnapps). Illustrations are excellent, maps very precise and the three color plates by Peter Dennis simply splendid - although the first one, showing the extermination of Polish civilians in Wola quarter of Warsaw on 5 August by the SS, is also horribly shocking. Military enthusiasts will certainly appreciate the second plate, showing the incredibly intense close quarter street fight between Polish Home Army insurgents and Waffen SS soldiers from the Dirlewanger brigade. Even more surprising is the third plate, showing insurgent armored vehicles (yes, Home Army insurgents in Warsaw had some armor, including two Panther tanks!) attacking at night a German fortified position in center of Warsaw.

This book stresses very well the fact, that Stalin left Polish insurgents without any help, as their destruction by Germans suited him well, in order to better submit Poland after war. Author is very right to remind that many Polish resistance fighters, who survived five years of German occupation and helped Red Army in its progress through Poland, were then arrested and executed by Soviet secret police NKVD. The situation of Home Army, trapped between two equally dangerous foes, was dire indeed and this book shows it very well.

All the important episodes of the 63 days of uprising (1 August - 2 October) are described in this book, none being forgotten: the horrible Wola massacre (5-8 August 1944), in which us much as 30 thousand Polish civilians were exterminated, the use of Polish civilians as human shields by German troops, the capture of PASTA fortified complex by the Home Army insurgents thanks to the massif use of flamethrowers, the ordeal of insurgents and civilians using the sewers to evacuate from areas taken back by Germans, and many many others.

For any military equipment passionate, this book will be a delight, as it describes the use of such weapons as remote controlled armored mobile mines ("Goliaths"), super heavy 600 mm siege mortar "Karl" or gaseous explosives "Taifun". On insurgent side you will be probably surprised by the Polish submachine gun "Blyskawica" (Lightning), produced by hundreds in hidden underground facilities during Nazi occupation (together with pistols, grenades, flame throwers and 80 mm mortars).

The scope of tragedy that was Warsaw uprising is illustrated the best by the number of civilians massacred by SS and killed by shelling and bombing by German artillery and aviation - no less than 220 000 (two hundred and twenty thousand). This is more than the combined number of civilians killed in Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Dresden bombing in 1945! This book stresses this point well, together with the fate of survivors, many of whom were deported to concentration camps, most of the remaining having been send to Germany as slave laborers. The book ends with the description of systematic destruction of Warsaw, once emptied from its population by the SS, house by house. Before WWII, Warsaw had one million habitants - 17 January 1945 advancing Soviet soldiers found a city destroyed at 95% and only two hundred hiding survivors...

This is a precious and brilliantly written book about a great tragedy - to buy, read and keep. If you want to know more about Warsaw uprising, I recommend Norman Davies book "Rising 44" and also the incredible movie "Kanal" (Canal) by Oscar winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda (part of "War Trilogy").
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Excellent and readable book 19 Jun. 2009
By lordhoot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I must say that I totally agreed with the previous reviewer regarding this book. I have just finished reading Rising '44 by Norman Davies and that book gave me an excellent understanding of the Warsaw Uprising. But it took that book 635 pages plus another 100 pages of appendix to do the job that Robert Forczyk did in 93 pages. I am continually amazed at Dr. Forczyk's ability to write so much in so little space as he has shown in the past Osprey books that bears his name. He definitely does not waste words in his narrative. While this book may not be as detail as Davies' book, any reader who read Dr. Forczyk's book will have a clear understanding of the Warsaw Uprising 1944. If they wish, they can move on to the more detail version by Davies. I am also pleased that this author choose to keep the Polish names intact in its narrative, a direct contrast to Davies' book (and Davies' contention that English speaking readers will be turned off by Polish names).

This book allows you to followed step by step the military actions of this uprising that saw the utter destruction of the city of Warsaw and its huge civilian losses. Mistakes made by both sides were clearly pointed out in the book and I found the conclusion made by the author to be in agreement with what I believe. I found the maps, photographs and colorful prints to be quite excellent in portraying and supporting the narrative. Only distraction I can see for some people about this book, probably has to do with the fact that majority of the narrative take the perception from the German point of view then the Polish.

Overall, this book is an excellent addition to the Osprey Campaign series. Anyone who even have a passing interest in this subject will no doubt find the book quite readable and informative in nature.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Concise History of the Warsaw Uprising in Outline Format 5 Dec. 2009
By Jan Peczkis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This work is quite compact. There are separate chapters on the origins of the campaign, the opposing forces, the opposing leaders, the opposing plans, the battle itself, etc. The actual 63-day combat is divided into 2-5 day segments. Old pictures are included, as well as novel 3-D block diagrams depicting some of the combat actions.

Forczyk unmasks the argument about Poland being "too far" from England for substantive airdrops of arms and ammunition. He points out that 170 Lancaster bombers had recently traversed the 1,354 km distance from Lincolnshire to Koenigsberg, each dropping 2.5 tons of bombs, then returning home. The distance was only 74 km less than that of Lincolnshire to Warsaw. (p. 62).

Now consider the Soviet betrayal of the Uprising. Forczyk rejects any attempts at creating a false ambiguity about Soviet conduct towards it. The fact that the Soviets wanted the Uprising to fail is obvious by such things as their refusal (until the very end, when the Uprising was already doomed) to allow Uprising-aiding Allied planes to land on Soviet-held territories. (p. 37). Also, temporary setbacks for the Red Army, just east of Warsaw in early August 1944, were no excuse for them not taking Warsaw long before the Uprising ended. (p. 50).

As soon as the Uprising began, the Germans began murderous reprisals against Polish civilians. Forczyk puts this in perspective: "During the course of 5-6 August, Reinefarth's troops murdered between 30,000 and 40,000 civilians at Wola--exceeding the total of 33,741 Jews killed at Babi Yar outside Kiev in two days in September 1941. The Wola Massacre was the worst single battlefield atrocity committed in Europe in World War II, but it did not produce the effect that Hitler had intended. Instead of terrorizing the population, the indiscriminate murder of thousands of civilians drove the rest of the population into full-hearted support of the AK." (p. 54). The Germans subsequently scaled back their murders of Polish civilians, realizing that the Varsovians would not surrender if they knew that they would all die anyway.

Forczyk traces the battles step by step. He also comments: "Polish snipers became adept at firing from concealed positions within buildings, which made them very difficult for the Germans to spot and suppress." (p. 61). In the end, the overwhelming German superiority in arms and ammunition and the absence of substantive outside assistance made the defeat of the Uprising an inevitability. Forczyk believes that the Uprising softened the intensity of the Communist puppet government subsequently forced on Poland. (p. 92).

The end of the book contains a list of books and websites devoted to the Uprising. [For additional materials, see the Peczkis Listmania: THE FORGOTTEN WARSAW UPRISING (POLES AGAINST GERMANS) IN 1944].
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A very good look inside one of the most overawing facts in WWII 24 Nov. 2009
By Hector Manuel Cabral Betancor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is merely about an EXCELLENT work, said without wishing to seem subjective! The awesome deeds which took place during the most difficult fighting ever undergone and experienced by the Poles throughout their entire history, are actually thoroughly detailed in Mrs. Forczyk and Dennis book.
Congratulations for both authors! The quality of the text and illustrations is simply EXCELLENT!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Brave, But Doomed, Uprising 14 Oct. 2010
By WryGuy2 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Warsaw 1944: Poland's bid for freedom (Campaign), by Robert Forczyk, is an entry in the Osprey "Campaign" series dealing with the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 against the German occupation forces during World War II. The book follows the typical Osprey Campaign format - typically about 96 pages long, consisting of analysis of the campaign, commanders, forces and styles of warfare, pictures, illustrations, and maps.

As usual, Mr. Forczyk does an outstanding job of explaining the origin and chronology of the battle and well as describing each side's strengths, weaknesses, and the commanders involved for both sides and strategies for both sides. Most non-Polish people and non-historians are not familiar with this uprising, and are far more familiar with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943, when the Germans began deporting the remaining Jews from Warsaw, and the Polish-Jewish population desperately fought back. As such, this is one of the few books in English on the uprising in 1944, when the Poles attempted to overthrow the Germans just before (they assumed) the liberating Soviet forces could enter Warsaw. (The only other recent works on this battle that I'm aware of are "Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw", by Norman Davies, and "The Warsaw Uprising of 1944", by Wlodzimierz Borodziej and translated from Polish.)

Mr. Forczyk shines a bright light over the numerous duplicities and mistakes on all sides, such as the Soviet refusal to aid the rebellion, the British and Americans giving only token support to the uprising to avoid antagonizing the Soviets, and the many mistakes made by the Polish resistance movement itself. Although given the Soviet desire to see the uprising fail, it is improbable that the uprising could have succeeded no matter how well the Poles implemented their plans, but the many mistakes they made seems inexplicable given that they were planning rebellion for at least two years. While they may not have been able to win, they could have caused the Germans much more pain and heavier casualties than they did historically.

As it turned out, the citizens of Warsaw paid a heavy price for their rebellion ... over 200,000 people died and 85 percent of the city was razed. Many, if not most, of those killed were murdered in cold blood by the Germans. However, Mr. Forczyk believes that uprising probably led to the Soviets taking a softer line in Poland after the war, reasoning that the Poles would likely rebel again if pressed too hard.

Osprey's campaign series are not meant to be the ultimate book on a given campaign, they're meant more as a detailed overview. Mr. Forczyk achieves more than that, primarily due to his mastery of his subject matter and his ability to distill large amounts of information into a small, but interesting, package. The Poles initially believed that "With Germany we lose our freedom, but with Russia we lose our soul." Sadly for the Polish people, they ended up being a pawn between the great powers and would lose virtually everything. If you have an interest in this part of World War II, this book belongs on your bookshelf.

Highly recommended.
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