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Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

Article about: by dastier PPsh 41 in use during the Warsaw Uprising. Where would AK battle group "GURT" have sourced these Russian weapons? During the Rising or earlier from Russian partisan grou

  1. #71

    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    Its also interesting to see the assortment of uniforms and equipment: British Battledress, Polish uniforms, a map case, 6x30 binoculars, a flashlight, Polish ammo pouches, German MP38/40 stick magazine pouches, German and Polish helmets, and possibly a German issue holster for the Radom VIS 35.

    Besides several Stielhandgranates, does anyone know what types the other grenades are? What is the sleeve insignia on the arm of the soldier with the stick magazine pouches in the last photo and is that a fur cap on his head or what?

  2. #72

    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    Facinating pics. Thanks Stefan!

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  3. #73

    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    ***Updated***

    Seeing the AK armed with M31 Suomi SMGs was a bit of a puzzle so with 4th Skorpion's assistance and after doing a bit of research, I made a list of possibilities as to how Polish AK units may have come to be so armed...

    1. M31 Suomi SMGs captured during Winter and Continuation Wars by Soviet troops then given to AK partisans by the Soviet Union.

    Its a given that the Soviets would have captured some Finnish weapons. But is there evidence that the Soviets ever supplied their own partisans with captured M31 Suomi SMGs? Did the Soviets ever supply the AK at all? Anyone know?

    2. M31 Suomi SMGs supplied to Polish AK units by Finland.

    Highly unlikely as Finland was a co-belligerent with Nazi Germany during the Continuation War. Not in Finland's interests to arm the AK since Polish partisans were trying to defeat Nazi Germany and help liberate Poland.

    3. M31 Suomi SMGs supplied to AK by British and Americans (SOE and OSS).

    While its known that the British Sten and other weapons were provided to the Home Army, its doubtful that they would provide M31 Suomi SMGs - where would the SOE and OSS obtain these submachineguns? Soviet captured weapons? Seems unlikely that captured Finnish weapons would be transferred to the western Allies by the Soviet Union.

    4. M31 Suomi SMGs captured, bought or stolen by the Home Army or by other Poles.

    Although this was a method used to obtain German weapons, at first I thought this unlikely for Finnish ones.

    Finland is too far away; I doubt there were any contacts between Finnish troops and AK units, friendly or otherwise. However Finns did serve in SS Wiking Division - would Finnish volunteers have brought their own weapons? Highly unlikely that the Finnish Army would allow badly needed weapons to be taken by Finnish volunteers to Germany.

    Nazi German military... at first I also thought this unlikely. Where would Nazi Germany obtain the Suomi SMG? German troops that fought in Finland?

    But after doing some research on FINNISH ARMY 1918 - 1945: MACHINEPISTOLS PART 1 as well as Wikipedia, I learned that Finland made several exports of the M31 Suomi to Nazi Germany as well as Estonia, Bulgaria and Croatia. Some of the Bulgarian and Croatian orders are suggested to have ended up in Nazi Germany. Further according to Jaeger Platoon "Large number of the submachineguns sold to Germany seems to have ended up to SS and Waffen-SS, as they were typically issued more mixed weaponry than Wehrmacht (German Army)." So its quite possible the M31 Suomi SMGs used by the AK were captured/stolen/bought from the Waffen SS or other German Police, military or security units.

    5. M31 Suomi SMG obtained from Poland.

    I seem to recall reading something about the Policja Państwowa being equipped with the M31 Suomi SMG. Further Jaeger Platoon states that twenty M31 Suomi SMGs were sold to Polish State Police in 1933. So its possible these are Polish issued not Finnish issued submachineguns. (does anyone know more about the use of the M31 Suomi by the Policja Państwowa? What was its designation in Polish service?)

    Here's a link to an interesting site on the State Police of the Second Republic.

    Policja Pastwowa II RP

    I found a reference to a Pistolet Suomi (kal. 9mm) but Google translates it as Suomi gun (caliber 9 mm) which I had initially presumed meant the 9 mm Lahti pistol (with Suomi meaning Finnish). But I now believe this is a reference to the M31 Suomi submachinegun.

    And the answer is...

    IMHO, of all possibilities #4 and #5 are most likely, #1 perhaps, #2 and #3 unlikely or not at all. Does anyone have more info or more photos of the M31 Suomi SMG used by the Policja Państwowa, the Home Army or other Polish partisan units?

    'Seek and Ye Shall Find'

  4. #74

    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    According to the Finnish Army weblink you kindly provided it states by early June 1944 total number of Suomi M/31 submachineguns in use of Finnish Armed Forces had peaked to bit over 52,600. This sounds like very small production numbers indeed. So a Finnish submachinegun in the AK ranks must have been quite a rare weapon!

    By the time the photo was taken circa 1944 in Radom- Kielce area the Soviets had been dropping parachutists and weapons into Poland behind German lines to develop partisan units in readiness for the Red Army advances. So these Finnish weapons may have been part of these supply drops also? But I don't think there was any direct supply of arms to the AK (loyal to the Polish governemnt-in-exile in the West) by the Soviets.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  5. #75

    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    By the time the photo was taken circa 1944 in Radom- Kielce area the Soviets had been dropping parachutists and weapons into Poland behind German lines to develop partisan units in readiness for the Red Army advances. So these Finnish weapons may have been part of these supply drops also? But I don't think there was any direct supply of arms to the AK (loyal to the Polish governemnt-in-exile in the West) by the Soviets.
    Its possible that these supply drops were intercepted by the Home Army or the Soviet parachutists and partisans were ambushed. So any weapons that they had may have been acquired by the Poles.

    But keep in mind that the Soviets were armed with their own version of the M31 Suomi submachinegun, the PPSh-41, which did not use 9mm Parabellum ammo but used the same 7.62mmx25 pistol round as in the Soviet TT33 Tokarev pistol. I would think that if the Soviets were to supply communist Polish partisans with any 9mm submachinegun, they would use the German MP38/40 'Schmeisser'.

    They would have captured plenty of those at Stalingrad!

    You really don't want to introduce an unfamiliar weapon to your troops whether your own soldiers or partisans. Right now I'm just speculating, we won't know for sure until someone can offer proof either way.

    I rather think the captured Finnish Suomi submachineguns were melted down and made into a platoon of T-34 tanks.

  6. #76
    3mk
    3mk is offline
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    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    Hi guys, sorry I haven't been able to post for a few days! Thanks for sharing these amazing items and photos Stephan. I really love the marked Ryngraf

    The M31 Suomi really has me scratching my head on how it got into the arms of the resistance. I wonder what other un-common foreign weapons they may of had in their arsenals.

    Photo of a display in the Home Army Museum in Krakow, examples of some armbands

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #77

    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    3mk - any M31 Suomi SMG, Finnish or otherwise, on display in the Home Army Museum in Krakow? Any Polish museum - anyone?

  8. #78

    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    Hi Emil,

    I am glad you liked the ryngarf images!

    Another photo with an interesting array of weapons and variety of insignia

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A handwritten caption on the reverse says: 'Wydra's' ('gang') detachment (Wydra means otter) and is dated 1945.

    Serafin Kamilewicz 'Wydra' (is the first left standing) was a soldier of NSZ "Zemsty" and "Boruty", in 1946
    his "gang" became part of WiN unit. 'Wydra' was arrested by the UB in March 1948 and executed in October of that year.

    Great website (Polish) Zaporczycy - Hieronim Dekutowski i jego

    Does anyone know where to get a copy of:

    Rafał Wnuk, Lubelski okręg AK, DSZ i WiN 1944-1947, Warszawa 2000.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  9. #79

    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    Quote by 4thskorpion View Post
    Another photo with an interesting array of weapons and variety of insignia Click image for larger version. 

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    Otter's gang is packing a lot of firepower!! I see two Tokarev SVT40 or AVT40 automatic rifles (semi auto or full auto depending upon model) plus three Degtyaryov DP light machine guns (Pulemyot Degtyaryova Pekhotny). The partisan standing in the middle probably has a PPSh-41 (Pistolet-Pulemyot Shpagina submachinegun) and another one can be seen at the bottom left.

    I can't make out the pistols holster to suggest what pistols they may have, but given that Otter's gang is equipped with Soviet weapons, I'd guess Tokarev TT30 or TT33 pistols.

    I don't known Polish partisan groups all that well. Was the NSZ affiliated with the Polish communists?

  10. #80

    Default Re: Uniforms and Insignia of the Polish Underground State

    Quote by dastier View Post
    Otter's gang is packing a lot of firepower. I see two Tokarev SVT40 or AVT40 automatic rifles (semi auto or full auto depending upon model) plus three Degtyaryov DP light machine guns (Pulemyot Degtyaryova Pekhotny). The partisan standing in the middle probably has a PPSh-41 (Pistolet-Pulemyot Shpagina submachinegun.
    Great information!


    Quote by dastier View Post
    I don't known Polish partisan groups all that well. Was the NSZ affiliated with the Polish communists?


    Sorry dastier, but I couldn't resist!

    The Narodowe Sily Zbrojne (NSZ National Armed Forces) were a vehemently nationalistic force and as totally opposed to communism as one could possibly be. Now I could imagine these weapons being captured from the Polish and Soviet communist partisans whom the NSZ fought many battles against
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

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