Home Army (Armia Krajowa) or Armed Forces in the Country, secreted armed forces of the Polish Underground State in the years of World War II, operating on the territory of the Republic of Poland, occupied by Germany and the USSR. The Armed Forces in the Country were an integral part of the Polish Armed Forces, subordinated to the Supreme Commander.
Contribution of the Home Army to the victory of the Allies
- 44 percent of all information which the British received from continental Europe from 1939 to the end of the war came from Polish sources (according to the findings of the British-Polish intelligence cooperation committee);
- production of V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets in Peenemünde, V-2 in Bliźno was “worked out” by the Polish underground; they managed to steal the V-2 rocket, the most important parts of which were sent to Great Britain;
- U-boat bases have been located all over Europe;
- the plans of the German Operation Zitadelle (Battle of the Kursk Arch) were obtained and handed over to the allies;
- together with the French resistance movement, 162 V-1 launchers in France were located;
- all Focke-Wulf plants were located;
- the plans to defend Gdynia were handed over to the command of the Red Army;
- the plans of the German “Middle” army group were obtained
- the fortification plans of one of the sections of the Atlantic Wall were acquired, with Kazimierz Leski disguised as a general of technical troops, Julius von Hallman.
Genesis of the Home Army
It was created from the renamed the Union of Armed Struggle (established in November 1939) by the order of the Commander-in-Chief, general Władysław Sikorski, dated February 14, 1942. In the end, the military character of the armed forces of the underground, the army, was acknowledged, as underlined by Sikorski in the order: all soldiers in active service in the country .
Tasks of the Home Army
- creation of military and organizational structures during the occupation for the mobilization of society for the current battle;
- protection of the Polish Underground State;
- reconstruction of the army during the open struggle for independence, that is, preparing the country for a general uprising.
Activities of the Home Army
- subversive and combat diversion;
- retaliatory and protective actions;
- expropriation campaigns;
- production of weapons;
- combat operations for the protection of the population;
“Burza” (Storm) Plan
At the end of 1943, the planned general uprising was replaced by the “Burza” plan, taking into account the situation that will occur after the entry of the Red Army.
Home Army in numbers (years: 1942-45)
- around 380,000, the number of sworn AK soldiers in the summer of 1944; including: approx. 10.8 thousand officers, 7.5 thousand cadets and 87.9 thousand non-commissioned officers;
- over 150,000, so many German soldiers and policemen and collaborators were killed in combat;
- over 110,000, so many larger armed-subversive actions were carried out, of which 6,243 were carried out by larger guerrilla forces;
- about 100,000, so many AK soldiers died or were murdered;
- about 50,000, so many AK soldiers were deported to the USSR and imprisoned, among others General Okulicki, tried in the process of sixteen leaders of the Polish Underground State, which took place in Moscow;
- over 2,300, attacks on transport;
- around 1,300, so many trains transporting soldiers or supplies to the front were derailed;
- 1278, in so many anti-Partisan actions, Wehrmacht, including armored units and air forces, took part, supporting special forces of the police and gendarmerie.
Home Army – impossible to forge
In 1944, Heinrich Himmler’s Reichssicherheitshauptamt established a special cell of the Gestapo to study the structure and activities of the Home Army. The Germans formed the Werwolf organization basing on the AK formula. The structure could be copied, although it turned out not to be effective.
The Home Army had to fight for the status of soldiers
Soldiers of the Home Army were considered combatants after about a month of fighting in the Warsaw Uprising (1944); by the United Kingdom on August 29, 1944, and by the United States on September 3, 1944.