Veterans salute crack troops of Polish Resistance
Seventy years ago today, a crack force of Polish troops was parachuted into the Nazi-occupied country.
The so-called Cichociemni (The Dark and Silent) were trained in England under the auspices of SOE (Special Operations Executive) and Poland's Army in exile.
The purpose of the elite force was to swell the ranks of Poland's underground Home Army (AK), conducting specialist operations in the field.
“Go to the country as an advance guard,” General Sikorski, leader of the Poles in exile told the troops. “You are to prove that contact with Poland is possible under these conditions.”
The first soldiers of the unit were dropped into the Upper Silesia region, near Debowiec. Initial detachments were flown from London, but from 1944 supplementary troops were sent from Brindisi, Italy, which had by then fallen into Allied hands.
The members of Cichociemni were active on all fronts of struggle against the occupiers, taking part in armed combat, sabotage, intelligence gathering and diversion.
Several members took key roles in the doomed Warsaw Rising that began in August 1944
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