Gallery 4. Freed to Fight
You are in: Room 4c.
Polish 2nd Corps (1943-47)
- Polish 2nd Corps (2 Korpus Polski) 1943-1947 was a major unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, commanded by General Wladyslaw Anders
- The training site for the 2nd Corps in the Middle East was Khanaqin-Quizil Ribat in Iraq (1943-44) and was composed of the soldiers who had been released from exile in the USSR, the Carpathian Rifle Brigade, the 12th Podolski Lancers and the 15th Poznan Lancers
- Re-organised, the Polish 2nd Corps comprised two infantry divisions each of which had 2 brigades and 2 light artillery regiments
- General Anders also formed the Polish Women’s Auxiliary Corps (Pomoczniczna Wojskowa Sluzba Kobiet) and they largely trained as heavy vehicle drivers
- Approximately 80% of the Polish 2nd Corps came from Poland’s pre-war Kresy or Eastern Borderlands
- In 1944 the Polish 2nd Corps were transferred to Italy where they were an independent unit of the British Eight Army under General Oliver Leese
- The Polish 2nd Corps took part in major Italian campaigns – the Battle of Monte Cassino, the Battle of Ancona and the Battle of Bologna
- 3 previous Allied assaults on Monte Cassino had failed and Monte Cassino was a major victory for the Polish 2nd Corps. With it, the road to Rome was open.
- Monte Cassino was one of the most difficult and bloodiest battles of World War II
- The Polish 2nd Corps had 11,379 casualties in the Italian campaign
- In 1944 the Polish 2nd Corps numbered approximately 50,000 soldiers. By 1946 it numbered over 100,000 with reinforcements from freed POWs and Poles forced to fight for the Germans
Soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Company in Giza, near Cairo, 1943 Polish Women’s Auxiliary Service (PWSK) learning to drive lorries in Palestine, 1943 Polish Women’s Auxiliary Service (PSWK) Egypt 1944 Soldiers with Wojtek the bear in the Middle East Photographs TestimoniesPolish 2nd Corps (1942-45) - the script for the audio narration
General Anders, Commander of the Polish 2nd Corps, 1943Anders Army - Map of Anders Army path, from "An Army in Exile".
Deportee aged 15 years old, evacuated with Polish 2nd Corps and served at Monte Cassino