WW2 - Photograph of Polish Commando


Paper, 10.7 cm x 7 cm

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The picture shows Polish commandos during training. The soldier on the left, has the patches of the Polish Commando on the left shoulder very visible, in addition he has a special lanyard for the members of the 1st Independent Brigade of Podhalań Rifles, awarded to the brigade for merits in the battles for free Norway.

On the right shoulder of the second soldier also visible Polish patches of the Commando. The soldier wields Bren machine gun with the magazine removed. The reverse of the photograph has a legible inscription (number?).

The Independent Commando Company was an elite unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, which became famous among Allied forces in Bravery and perseverance in battle.

The company was approved by order of August 28, 1942. The commander of the company was Capt. Władysław Smrokowski. The company commanded by Capt. Smrokowski, anticipated five officers and 81 soldiers.

The entire company was formed from the soldiers of the 2nd Rifle Battalion. On December 1, 1943, 1 Commando Company was directed to the Italian front, where it participated in battles, its first combat took place on the night of December 21 to December 22 in Pescopennataro, where the company successfully resisted the attack of about 250 German Alpine shooters.

On  17th January 1944, the Company suffered its first severe losses while forcing the Garigliano River, in which 4 commandos were killed and 25 soldiers were wounded. In recognition of the merits and courage, 21 commandos were decorated with the Virtuti Militari order from General Sosnkowski.

Polish Commandos after completing personal losses, were directed to the Battle of Monte Cassino, the fourth battle begins on the night of May 16-17. Commandos assigned to the 5th Kresowa Infantry Division were sent to fight for the Castellone and San Angelo hills. In the battles of Monte Cassino until May 18, units of the elite unit suffered heavy losses of 52 wounded and 8 killed.

On June 3, 1944, Polish commandos were transferred to the Campobasso area, together with the 2nd Commando Company they created a new grouping. After the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, the possibility of dropping a smaller Commando companion into the Warsaw region was being considered, thus symbolically strengthening the strength of the Insurgents.

Unfortunately, on August 5, the order to form was withdrawn. On August 15, 1944, 1st Independent Commando Company was transformed into a Battalion of commandos, receiving in the later the name of the 2nd Motorized Commandos Battalion.