On February 14, 1942, the Supreme Commander of the Polish Armed Forces Władysław Sikorski issued an order to transform the Union of Armed Struggle into the Home Army (AK), considered by many the largest and best organized underground army operating in Nazi German-occupied Europe during WWII.
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It was an underground military organization, subordinate to the Supreme Commander and the Polish Government in exile, that was an integral part of the Polish Armed Forces.
The AK’s main task was to fight for independence by organizing and carrying out self-defense actions, and preparing an underground army for the uprising, which was to break out in Poland during the military collapse of Germany.
81 years ago, by order of Gen. Władysław Sikorski, CINC of Poland's armed forced and PM, the Union of Armed Struggle was renamed the Home Army.
It grew to become one of the largest and best-organized resistance armies in German-occupied Europe. pic.twitter.com/QqbhROZena
— Institute of National Remembrance (@ipngovpl_eng) February 14, 2023
The number of its enlisted soldiers at the beginning of 1942 was about 100,000, while in the summer of 1944, at its peak, about 380,000.
AK would carry out sabotage-subversive actions, engage in skirmishes with Nazi German armed forces, as well as the Nazi German police, and execute Nazi high-ranked officers, traitors, and provocateurs.
Today marks the 81st anniversary of the transformation of the Union of Armed Struggle into the #HomeArmy. The Home Army was the largest underground movement in occupied Europe during #WW2 #onthisday pic.twitter.com/G64KQZc28m
— Karol Darmoros 🇵🇱 (@KarolDarmoros) February 14, 2023
The culmination of the armed AK effort was the Warsaw Uprising (1944). After its failure, the AK units, in the territories where the Red Army had already arrived, were demobilized.
On January 19, 1945, the Commander-in-Chief, Leopold Okulicki, issued an order for the disbanding of the Home Army. The AK’s losses amounted to around 100,000 killed and murdered soldiers, while around 50,000 were deported to the USSR and imprisoned.