End of July we made a trip around our beautiful neighbour country, Poland. Here are some impressions, which might be interessing from a wargamer's perspective with a little bit of illustrating commentary. Our first stop was the capital of Warsaw:
|The old city walls of Warsaw with bastion. An example of the so-called Brick-Gothic.|
The monument in memory of the Warsaw Uprising during WW2 in front of the (at the moment highly debated) Polish Supreme Court. From 1. August to 3. October 1944 the partizan forces of the Polish Home Army rose up against the Nazi occupation forces. Although the Red Army was already waiting(!) on the other bank of the Vistula, the Polish fighters were beaten back and massacred by SS and German security forces.
|The monument depicts the retreat of the partizans into the sewers of Warsaw|
After two days in the Masurian Lake District and East Prussia, where I saw, why Poland was such excellent cavalry country (lots of flat hills and wide plains, only broken up by some dense woods), we arrived at THE WW2 TOURIST MAGNET in Poland: The Wolfsschanze. This was the HQ of Adolf Hitler and High Command of the German Wehrmacht during the campaigns against Soviet Russia.
WARNING: Visitors beware! The Wolfsschanze l lies deep in a swamp areal with A LOT of HUGE aggressive insects! But we were told, that these are very democratic insects, they sting everyone (except Japanese, who are too fast)!
|Some American Reenactors with an old BTR|
|Flak bunker at the entrance of the Wolfsschanze|
|Former Officers' mess|
|Memory plaque of the failed assasination attempt on Hitler by Col. Count Stauffenberg on the 20th of July 1944.|
|A look inside the destroyed bunkers|
|The personal bunker of the Führer himself|
|A cut through the thick bunker walls of steel and concrete. Ironically built by the firm, my father used to work for.|
Now the highlight of our trip, a visit of the Marienburg or Malbork. This was the HQ of the Ordensstaat of the Teutonic Order and the biggest fortress made of bricks worldwide. This is the incarnation of the so-called brick-gothic style, because there were not enough rocks in the region, the Teutonic Order built its fortress out of clay bricks.
|Some preserved medieval cannon balls made of stone.|
|A medieval helmet and shield in the quarters of the Hochmeister|
|The horses of some Teutonic Order reenactors|
|The Author on the chair of the Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order|
The final stop of our trip was the free city of Danzig/Gdansk. After some sights of the nightmares of every German Literature teacher (Günther Grass, Buddenbroks, Martin Opitz), we eplored the city for ourselves. Sadly it was raining cats and dogs, so the boat tour to the Westerplatte, the first battle of WW2, could not be made. But we saw the other place, where the first shots of WW2 were fired:
|Memorial for the defenders of the Danzig Postal Office|
|Me posing with a giant rifle|
|Front view of the Danzig Postal Office|
The battle of the Danzig Postal Office of some 50 Polish Militia, lead by Lt. Konrad Guderski, versus elements of the SA and SS Danzig-Heimwehr might be a scenario for me to stage on the tabletop with my Bolt Action Polish Army. The scenario is included in Warlord's "Germany Strikes!" campaign supplement.
|The Danzig Museum of World War 2 is indeed a sellout!|
|The Author in a childrens' T-34 Tank!|
After returning from Poland, I sat down at the painting table and had the inspriration to finally finish the last units of my Bolt Action Polish forces, which were waiting for one-and-a-half years. 12 Polish Cavalry Lancers of the 3rd Silesian Uhlans Regiment and a P11c Fighter.