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Swedish power metal band singing praises of Polish soldiers (see video)
| Elzbieta Krajewska
Posted on 08/24/2008 1:25:25 PM PDT by lizol
Swedish power metal band singing praises of Polish soldiers
A song recorded by a power metal band from Sweden tells the story of a heroic stand by Polish soldiers in World War II.
Presented by Elzbieta Krajewska
"Baptised in fire, 40 to 1 Spirit of Spartans Death and glory; Soldiers of Poland Second to none" goes the song by the Swedish power metal band Sabaton. They tell the story of the Battle of Wizna, when over four days of September 1939, 720 Polish soldiers under the command of Władysław Raginis held off an attack by more than 42 thousand Nazis. The death statistics were 40 to 1 the title of the song. I spoke to bass player of Sabaton Pär Sundström about the genesis of the song:
This is what we do, we write songs about historical war themes. Basically we did nothing different, besides that we asked our fans worldwide to send in ideas for songs for a new album. Since we had a lot of Polish fans that were very enthusiastic they sent in ideas for several historical things from Poland. One of them was the history of Wizna. We thought when we made our research that it was very interesting event in your history and something worth writing a song about.
Since the song's premiere at the turn of June on the disc The Art of War, more than half a million fans have seen a video set to the music, with Polish subtitles, on youtube. But Sabaton itself has no Polish connections at all... Pär Sundström:
No more than we have a lot of Polish friends and this is the connection we have in Poland. Also whenever we go on tour we love to be in Poland because people are very friendly and hard rock fans are very very good!
Sabaton will be on tour with their album which also has a song about the battle of Monte Cassino, in which Polish soldiers too played no small part for two concerts in Poland this autumn. This fan will be going to see them...
They're great, my boyfriend thinks they're really great. But it's a bit strange, or perhaps it's good that a Swedish band is so interested in Polish history.
TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: 1939; poland; polisharmy; sabaton; sweden
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posted on 08/24/2008 1:25:26 PM PDT
I’m getting goose bumps, when listening to this piece.
posted on 08/24/2008 1:27:43 PM PDT
>”Baptised in fire, 40 to 1 Spirit of Spartans Death and glory; Soldiers of Poland Second to none”<
They should have a longer title for the song.
But the song rocks. Sweden, home of Ace of Base and Abba, right?
To: max americana
<< They should have a longer title for the song. >>
Still has a way to go to beat the record holder...
“I’m a Cranky Old Yank, in a Clanky Old Tank, on the Streets of Yokahama with My Honolulu Mama, Doing Those Beat-o, Beat-o, Flat on My Seat-o, Hirohito Blues.”
posted on 08/24/2008 1:35:25 PM PDT
To: max americana
posted on 08/24/2008 1:35:40 PM PDT
posted on 08/24/2008 1:35:48 PM PDT
(Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. St. Jerome)
These guys have really struck a vein. The YouTube video in question has 3,024 hits and very few of the comments are in english.
Ya’ll should have a gander at their “Primo Victoria” video drawn from “Saving Private Ryan” footage.
That said, Sweden’s own post-18th century martial history is notoriously snoozable. Dare they put out some numbers about their islamic occupation?
posted on 08/24/2008 1:42:47 PM PDT
Battle of Wizna (sometimes referred to as the Polish Thermopylae) was fought between September 7 and September 10, 1939, between the forces of Poland and Germany during the initial stages of Invasion of Poland.
Eve of the Battle
Before the war the area of the village of Wizna was prepared as a fortified line of defence. It was to shield the Polish positions further to the south and guard the crossing of Narew and Biebrza rivers. The 9 kilometres long line of Polish defences was subordinate to the Polish Narew Corps shielding Łomża and providing defence of northern approach to Warsaw. The Wizna fortified area was one of the most important nodes in the area, providing cover of both the river crossings, and the roads Lomza-Białystok and roads towards Brzesc Litewski on the rear of Polish forces.
The first construction works were started in April 1939. The spot was chosen carefully: most of the concrete bunkers were built on hills overlooking a swampy Narew River valley. They could be reached either through direct assault through the swamps or by attack along the causeway leading from the bridge in Wizna. Until September 1, 1939, 12 bunkers were built altogether. Six of them were heavy concrete bunkers with reinforced steel cupolas (8 tons of weight) while the other six were machine gun pillboxes. Additional four heavy bunkers were under construction at the moment the World War II started. In addition, the area was reinforced with trenches, anti-tank and anti-personnel obstacles, barbed wire lines and landmines. There were also plans of breaking the dams on the Biebrza and Narew rivers to flood the area, but the Summer of 1939 was one of the most dry seasons in Polish history and the level of water was too low.
Although not all bunkers were ready by the beginning of the war, the Polish lines of defences were well-prepared. The walls of an average bunker, 1.5 metres thick and reinforced with 20-centimetre-thick steel plates, could withstand a direct hit from even the heaviest guns available to the Wehrmacht at the time. The bunkers were situated on hills which gave good visibility of all the advancing forces. First phase On September 1, 1939, the Polish Defensive War of 1939 started. The German 3rd Army was to advance from East Prussia towards Warsaw, directly through the positions of Polish Narew Corps. On September 2 Captain Wladyslaw Raginis was named the commander of the Wizna area. As his command post he chose the "GG-126" bunker near the village of Góra Strękowa. The bunker was located on a hill in the exact centre of the Polish lines. His forces numbered approximately 700 soldiers and NCOs and 20 officers armed with 6 pieces of artillery (76mm), 24 HMGs, 18 machine guns and two Kb ppanc wz.35 anti-tank carbines.
After initial clashes at the border, the Podlaska Cavalry Brigade operating in the area was forced to withdraw and on September 5 left the area. On September 3 Polish positions were spotted from the air and strafed with machine gun fire from enemy fighters. Later that day one of the German bombers returning from a bombing raid over Warsaw was shot down by machine gun fire.
On September 7, 1939, the reconnaissance units of the 10th Panzer Division of general Nicolaus von Falkenhorst captured the village of Wizna. Polish mounted reconnaissance squads abandoned the village after a short fight and retreated to the southern bank of Narew. When the German tanks tried to cross the bridge, it was blown up by Polish engineers. After dark, patrols of German infantry crossed the river and advanced towards Giełczyn, but were repelled with heavy casualties.
On September 8 general Heinz Guderian, commander of the XIX Panzer Corps, was ordered to advance through Wizna towards Brześć. By early morning of September 9 his units reached the Wizna area and were joined with 10th Panzer Division and "Lötzen" Brigade already present in the area. His forces numbered some 1 200 officers and 41 000 soldiers and NCOs, equipped with over 350 tanks, 108 howitzers, 58 pieces of artillery, 195 anti-tank guns, 108 mortars, 188 grenade launchers, 288 heavy machine guns and 689 machine guns. Altogether, his forces were some 60 times stronger than the Polish defenders.
In the early morning German planes dropped leaflets asking the Poles to give up and claiming that most of Poland is already in German hands and further resistance is futile. In order to strengthen the morale of his troops, Wladyslaw Raginis swore that he will not leave his post alive and that the defence will continue. Soon after that an artillery barrage started. Polish artillery was several times weaker and soon was forced to retreat towards Białystok. After the preparations, the Germans attacked the northern flank of the Polish forces. Two platoons defending several bunkers located to the north of Narew were attacked from three sides by German tanks and infantry. Initially the losses among German infantry were high, but after heavy artillery fire commander of the Gielczyn area First Lieutenant Kiewlicz was ordered to burn the wooden bridge over Narew and withdraw to Bialystok. The remnants of his forces broke through German encirclement and reached Białystok, where they joined the forces of general Franciszek Kleeberg.
At the same time an assault on the southern part of Polish fortifications came to a stalemate. Polish bunkers were lacking adequate anti-tank armament, but were able to rain the German infantry with machine gun fire. However, at 6 o'clock in the evening the infantry was forced to abandon the trenches and field fortifications and retreat into the bunkers. The German tanks could finally cross the Polish lines and advance towards Tykocin and Zambrow. However, the German infantry was still under heavy fire and was pinned down in the swampy fields in front of Polish bunkers.
Although Raginis was subordinate to Lt.Col. Tadeusz Tabaczynski, commander of the Osowiec fortified area located some 30 kilometres to the north, he could not expect any reinforcements. On September 8 Marshal of Poland Edward Smigły-Rydz ordered the 135th Infantry Regiment that constituted the reserves of both Osowiec and Wizna, to be withdrawn to Warsaw. When the order was withdrawn and the unit returned to Osowiec, it was already too late to help the isolated Poles at Wizna.
Heavy fights for each of thenow isolatedbunkers continued. Several assaults were repelled during the night and in the early morning of September 10. At approximately 12 o'clock the German engineers with the help of tanks and artillery finally managed to destroy all but two Polish bunkers. Both of them were located in the centre of Gora Strekowa and continued the defence despite having much of the crew wounded or incapacitated and most of the machine guns destroyed. It is alleged that Heinz Guderian, in an attempt to end the Polish resistance, threatened the Polish commander that he would shoot the POWs if the remaining forces did not surrender. (No captives were shot.) Captain Władysław Raginis then ordered his men to abandon the bunker and committed suicide by throwing himself on a grenade.
After the Battle
After the Polish resistance ended, the XIX Panzer Corps advanced towards Zambrów and Wysokie Mazowieckie finally encircling and destroying the Polish Narew Corps. Later it advanced further southwards and took part in the Battle of Brzesc.
Although all the bunkers were destroyed and the Polish resistance was finally broken, the fortified area of Wizna managed to halt the German advance for three days. The heroic struggle against overwhelming odds is nowadays one of the symbols of the Polish Defensive War of 1939 and is a part of Polish popular culture.
3rd Army - von Kuechler
XIX Panzer Corps - Guderian
3rd Panzer Division - Stumpff
20th Motorised Division - von Wiktorin
10th Panzer Division - Falkenhorst "Lötzen"
Fortress Brigade - Offenbacher
42 000 men, 350 tanks, 108 howitzers, 58 pieces of artillery, 195 anti-tank guns, 108 mortars, 188 grenade launchers, 288 heavy machine guns and 689 machine guns
Narew IOG Mlot-Fijalkowski
Odcinek Obrony "Wizna" - Raginis
8th company of 135th Infantry Regiment - Schmidt
3rd heavy MG company of Osowiec fortress batt. - Raginis
Battery of positional artillery - Brykalski
136th company of engineers Platoon of engineers and platoon of field artillery of 1st Infantry Regiment
Platoon of mounted reconnaissance of 135th Infantry Regiment
720 men, 12 bunkers, 6 pieces of artillery (76mm), 24 HMGs, 18 machine guns and two anti-tank carbines
Exact Polish losses are unknown, mostly because very little is known of the soldiers that were taken POW by the Germans. It is estimated that most of Polish soldiers were killed in action, with some 40 successfully withdrawing and additional 40 taken POW. Those numbers however are not certain.
German losses are not known either. In his diaries general Heinz Guderian understated the number of German soldiers killed in action. It is certain, however, that the Wehrmacht lost at least 10 tanks and several other AFVs in the struggle.
posted on 08/24/2008 1:47:20 PM PDT
Captain Wladyslaw Raginis
posted on 08/24/2008 1:48:46 PM PDT
God Bless Poland. Such bravery. Such valor! Poland truly understands what it means to fight for freedom!
I’m told we still have relatives there, though I don’t know who they are.
posted on 08/24/2008 1:51:30 PM PDT
(Liberty is the answer to the human condition.)
Wow, I thought the socialist feminazis had successfully castrated every male in Sweden. I guess a couple are still in hiding to bring us stuff like this.
posted on 08/24/2008 1:56:12 PM PDT
Wicked vid. It synced perfectly with the Prvt Ryan sequence.
To: max americana
Also check out “Powstanie Warszawskie” (Warsaw Uprising) by the Polish band “Lao Che”, it’s all songs about the ‘44 Warsaw Uprising, plenty of videos on YouTube.
posted on 08/24/2008 2:10:58 PM PDT
( This tag blank until football season.)
Cool! Thanks for the post.
This band reminds me of another band that I used to enjoy, ManOWar, who wrote most of their songs about mythological Norse battles. They categorize themselves as "viking metal" lol
posted on 08/24/2008 2:20:34 PM PDT
posted on 08/24/2008 2:22:20 PM PDT
(The FReeper Foxhole. America's history, America's soul.)
posted on 08/24/2008 2:24:22 PM PDT
To: dfwgator; max americana; Matt_Rel; snippy_about_it
Like this one:
Lao Che - Barykada
The pity is, that I have no lyrics in English.
posted on 08/24/2008 2:32:35 PM PDT
You should, when time permits, research your relatives. Poland has a rich culture, history and an outstanding line of folk music. Could be very interesting and enjoyable.
Any chance of tracing your kin?
I just read he committed suicide at the end of the battle. That’s a shame.
posted on 08/24/2008 2:48:29 PM PDT
("If the angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion." -M. Kolbe)
To: lizol; snippy_about_it
Re cpt Raginis:
I have a small piece of concrete from cpt.Raginis’s bunker on the most exposed, honorable shelf in the living room in my house. I carved it out with my swiss-knife and took as a souvenir when I was at scout trip in Vizna many years ago.
It gave me POWERFUL STRENGTH to survive the communist horror of the martial law and Soviet occupation. It was like a dagger of conscience whenever I was stricken with the feeling of helplessness and thinking of giving up the fight.
Facts about cpt. Raginis:
Cpt.Raginis - Polish Leonidas - the legendary commander of Vizna - POLAND'S THERMOPYLAE.
For three days, together with his 800 soldiers put up a heroic and truly spirited defense of Vizna and was successfully stopping 42,000 soldiers of Gen. heinz Guderian's Panzer Armee charging towards Warsaw.
NOT A SINGLE POLISH SOLDIER SURRENDERED!
Cpt. Raginis blew himself up with a grenade when German tanks were approaching his position and there was no means to stop them (the ammo was over). The few heavy wounded, about 40 soldiers, were taken POWs unconscious from the battle field by Germans.Some of them didn't survive till the morning after...
P.S. I remember all my schoolmates were teary-eyed when the tour guide was telling the story. UNFORGETABLE!
posted on 08/24/2008 4:16:07 PM PDT
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