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75th Anniversary of the First Drop of the Cichociemni Paratroopers
The first group of the Cichociemni (Silent Unseen)
– the soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces
trained in the United Kingdom and redeployed
into the territory of occupied Poland as support
for the cadre of the Union of Armed Struggle
(ZWZ), later to become the Home Army (AK) –
lands on the territory of occupied Poland in the
night of 15 and 16 February 1941. This is, at the
same time, the first redeployment of paratroopers
from the United Kingdom to the Continent. The
operation, known under the cryptonym “Adolphus”,
is experimental – the goal is to achieve
maximum efficiency while minimizing the losses.
The drop is planned at a post situated 7.5 km
south of Włoszczowa. By mistake the plane drops
the paratroopers in the Cieszyn area, just outside
the village of Dębowiec near Skoczów, onto a
territory incorporated into the Reich. Among the
paratroopers there are Maj. Stanisław Krzymowski
aka “Kostka”, Captain of Cavalry Józef Zabielski
aka “Żbik” and Courier to the Government Delegate
for Poland, Bombardier Czesław Raczkowski
aka “Orkan”. The first two manage to get to
Warsaw on their own, but all the equipment and
codes are intercepted by the enemy. The third,
“Orkan”, gets arrested by the Germans when
crossing the border of the General Government.
He is, however, taken for an ordinary smuggler
and spends only three months in prison in Wadowice.
This pioneer flight, despite the difficulties
encountered, proves that deployment operations
to the occupied countries are feasible and can
be effective. By December 1944, 316 Cichociemni
paratroopers and 28 couriers are deployed to
Poland. Following sabotage and diversion training
courses, they are assigned to such organizations as
Wachlarz, the Union of Retaliation and Kedyw, and
they fight in the partisan units too. Others work in
intelligence, document legalisation and in communications.
Over 90 take part in the Warsaw Uprising.
In every area of the fighting, they stand out as being
superbly trained and exhibiting a valorous attitude
and professionalism. Since 1995, the GROM Military
Unit has preserved the heritage and continued the
traditions of the Cichociemni Paratroopers.
Col. Piotr Gąstał