Polish contribution to World War II

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The main resistance force in German-occupied Poland was the Armia Krajowa ("Home Army"; abbreviated "AK"), which numbered some 400,000 soldiers at its peak as well as many more sympathizers.[10] The AK coordinated its operations with the exiled Polish Government in London and its activity concentrated on sabotage, diversion and intelligence gathering.[11] Its combat activity was low until 1943[10][12] as the army was avoiding suicidal warfare and preserved its very limited resources for later conflicts that sharply increased when the Nazi war machine started to crumble in the wake of the successes of the Red Army in the Eastern Front. Then the AK started a nationwide uprising (Operation Tempest) against Nazi forces.[11] Before that, AK units carried out thousands of raids, intelligence operations, bombed hundreds of railway shipments, participated in many clashes and battles with the German police and Wehrmacht units and conducted tens of thousands of acts of sabotage against German industry[13] The AK also conducted "punitive" operations to assassinate Gestapo officials responsible for Nazi terror. Following the 1941 German attack on the USSR, the AK assisted the Soviet Union's war effort by sabotaging the German advance into Soviet territory and provided intelligence on the deployment and movement of German forces[11] After 1943, its direct combat activity increased sharply. German losses to the Polish partisans averaged 850-1,700 per month in early 1944 compared to about 250-320 per month in 1942.

In addition to the Home Army, there was an underground ultra-nationalist[10] resistance force called Narodowe Siły Zbrojne (NSZ or "National Armed Forces"), with a fiercely anti-communist and chauvinist stance. It participated in fighting German units, winning many skirmishes. From 1943 onwards, some units took part in battling the Gwardia Ludowa, a communist resistance movement. From 1944, the advancing Red Army was also seen as a foreign occupation force, prompting skirmishes with the Soviets as well as Soviet-backed partisans. In the later part of the war, when Soviet partisans started attacking Polish partisans, sympathizers and civilians, all non-communist Polish formations were (to an increasing extent) becoming involved in actions against the Soviets.[14]

The Armia Ludowa, a Soviet proxy fighting force[15] was another resistance group that was unrelated to the Polish Government in Exile, allied instead to the Soviet Union. As of July, 1944 it incorporated a similar organization, the Gwardia Ludowa, and numbered about 6,000 soldiers (although estimates vary).[15]

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