AL Brigade "Synowie Ziemi Mazowieckiej"

Polish Designation: Brygada AL "Synowie Ziemi Mazowieckiej"


Brigade Commander: Major Wladyslaw Marchol ("Mazur")

Chief of Staff: Kapitan Edmund Bobinski ("Roman")

Chief of Staff's Operational Deputy: Kapitan Lucjan Markowski ("Czolg")

Chief of Staff's Political Deputy: Kapitan Jan Ptasinski ("Wiarus")

Special Assignments Officer: Podporucznik Jan Rypinski ("Maly")

Order of Battle:

Brigade Headquarters
- Operational Section (commander: Kapitan Czeslaw Wisniewski "Wicher" - he was killed on 20 VIII 1944 near Pokrytki, Powiat of Ciechanow)
- Informational Section (commander: Kapitan Wladyslaw Tokarski "Kruk")
- Mobilization and Propaganda Section (commander: Kapitan Mieczyslaw Bodalski "Mietek")
- Weapons and Supplies Section (commander: Kapitan Eugeniush Suroviov "Staryk" - a Soviet officer, one of the 25 Soviet POWs freed by the AL partisans at Gutowo, East Prussia, in late June of 1944)

1st Battalion "Imienia Ziemi Plockiej"
(commander: Porucznik Wladyslaw Rypinski "Michal"; operational officer: Podporucznik Feliks Soldek "Skiba"; informational officer: Sierzant Aleksander Smolinski "Kot"; training officer: Sierzant Jan Meler "Koziel" - gravely wounded in the middle of December and subsequently transferred to Mlynsk, Powiat of Rypin, to recuperate, but shortly afterwards committed suicide in order to escape being captured; field communications officer: Sierzant Jan Matianowski "Dzik")
- 1st Platoon
- 2nd Platoon (commander: Sierzant Tadeusz Chrzanowski "Wezyk")
- 3rd Platoon (commander: Sierzant Jakub Krajewski "Kuba")
The battalion operated since May of 1944, in the Powiat of Plock.

2nd Battalion "Imienia Ziemi Rypinskiej"
(commander: Porucznik Jozef Guminski "Dab" - he was killed on 20 VIII 1944 near Pokrytki, Powiat of Ciechanow)
This battalion was dispersed on 20 August of 1944, during a battle fought at Pokrytki, Powiat of Ciechanow. Subsequently, the battalion was disbanded.

3rd Battalion "Myszyniecki"
(commander: Porucznik Ignacy Siedlich "Czarny"; commander's deputy for political matters: Porucznik Kazimierz Gwiazdowicz "Bolek"; commander's deputy for operational matters: Porucznik Edward Kazmierkiewicz "Sokol"; chief of staff: Podporucznik Stanislaw Wisniewski "Cichy"; staff officers: Podporucznik Zenon Strzesniewski "Zenek", Podporucznik Leon Puchta "Susek", "Twardy" - rank and real name unknown)
- 1st Platoon (commander: Teodor Smigielski "Leszek")
- 2nd Platoon (commander: Boleslaw Kapuscinski "Bednarz")
- Soviet Platoon (commander: "Strajkow" - rank and real name unknown)
The battalion's Soviet Platoon had an interesting story; it originated from the 25 Soviet POWs who were freed at the end of June in 1944 by the 1st AL Battalion "Imienia Ziemi Plockiej" during an action on a German POW camp at Gutowo, East Prussia, on territory that was part of Germany before the war. The platoon's original commander, at the time before the formation of the brigade, was Kapitan E. Suroviov.

4th Battalion "Nadwislanski"
(commanders: Porucznik T. Dabrowski "Tadek", Porucznik Franciszek Pintara "Samko")
The battalion was formed in late October of 1944. It existed only in an embryonic form.

5th Battalion "Narew"
(commander: Porucznik Szczepan Kowalczyk "Malik")
This battalion was an embryonic unit, in the process of being formed. In December of 1944, with the arrival of difficult winter conditions, it was disbanded.

Headquarters Company
(commander: Porucznik Franciszek Bloch "Bogdan")

History: Formed in August of 1944 (on the basis of an order issued by the AL's Supreme Command from 22 July, and the commander of the Obwod from 10 August). Its creation was achieved by a formal merger of three already existing AL (Armia Ludowa - People's Army) partisan battalions (1st Battalion "Imienia Ziemi Plockiej", 2nd Battalion "Imienia Ziemi Rypinskiej", and 3rd Battalion "Myszyniecki").

The brigade's numerical strength was as follows: 15 August of 1944 - 360, October 1944 - about 240, December 1944 - around 250 partisans. The brigade had at its disposal about 3 500 part-time soldiers in the garrisons, but these were not called up to serve in it due to a lack of weapons. Organizationally, it followed a "battalion" structure, with being one of very few AL brigades to also have staffs for each of its battalions, with the exception of its 4th and 5th Battalion, which only existed in an embryonic form. Each battalion staff consisted of five to seven officers.

The brigade has the distinction of being the only AL brigade to have operated entirely outside of the General Governorship, or more precisely on the Polish territory that was "incorporated" to the Third Reich in 1939 (in this case the south of the 1939-1945 period Gau of East Prussia, and the south-eastern part of the Gau of Gdansk-West Prussia*). Consequently, of all of AL's partisan brigades, it was possibly this brigade that operated in the most difficult conditions. Also, the communication links between this brigade and the rest of the AL were more difficult to maintain because of the artificial border separating the General Governorship from the Reich.

The brigade operated in the following powiaty found across all of northern Mazowsze in north-eastern Poland: Plock, Plonsk, Sierpc, Rypin, Mlawa, Pultusk, Ciechanow, Przasnysz, and especially in the Puszcza Myszyniecka forest complex in the direct rear areas of the German armies fighting on the Eastern Front.

One of the earliest actions undertaken by the brigade's units after its formation (if it is counted since 22 July) was an ambush on German military trucks staged on 27 July of 1944, by 10 partisans led by Edward Kazmierkiewicz ("Sokol") near the town of Bartniki, Powiat of Przasnysz, on the Przasnysz-Ostroleka Highway. The action had the following course: the partisans opened fire on an oncoming truck filled with 20 armed Germans. Fire from a machine-gun forced the truck to stop a by road-side ditch; the German soldiers jumped out of it into the nearby ditch, except for six that were killed in or near the truck. Hiding in the ditch, the Germans started to fire back. A second truck filled with Geman troops arrived shortly; in this situation the partisans became both outnumbered and outgunned, and they left the scene of the ambush with one wounded (the partisans' only casualty).

The brigade fought many other engagements; among others, parts of the brigade's 1st and 2nd Battalion fought against two motorized SS battalions near the town of Okalewko (on 02 August) fighting their way out of encirclement. On 15 August in vicinity of the town of Rogowo 30 of the brigade's soldiers from the 2nd Battalion (commander: Porucznik E. Kopka "Jaszczur") fought against German Gendarmerie (Rural Police) conducting an anti-partisan operation. On 18 August sub-units of the 1st and 2nd Battalion, active in the Powiat of Mlawa in northern Mazowsze, conducted five armed operations during which stations of the German Gendarmerie (Rural Police) were destroyed, firearms were confiscated from the local German settlers, and a military protection unit of the Radzimowice Land Estate was destroyed. On 20 August, 1st and 2nd Battalion fought a full-day engagement at the town of Pokrytki, Powiat of Ciechanow, which had the following course: during a march into the area of the Jednorozec-Parciaki Forest, where the partisans were to receive air drops with weapons, the two AL units stopped for a rest at Pokrytki. The AL grouping numbering around 100 partisans was commanded by Major Wladyslaw Marchol ("Mazur"). On that very day two Waffen-SS battalions along with units of the German Army's Field Gendarmerie and of Vlasovites, encircled the partisans. The Germans attacked supported by armoured cars and artillery. Luftwaffe planes observed every move of the trapped Poles and showered them with grenades. In order to break-out of the encirclement, the partisans split into three separate groups, which were supposed to pierce the ring in the direction of Budy Sulkowskie. The first group managed to fight their way out of the cauldron at 14:30, while the second and third group did not do so until 20:00. The German operation ended in failure. The Germans suffered 15 killed and 20 wounded; the partisans had seven killed and five wounded.

Operating from the forests in vicinity of the towns of Jednorozec and Parciaki (Powiat of Przasnysz) the 3rd Battalion, along with Soviet airborne units of Major "Orlov" and Major "Siergieyev" during the August-October of 1944 period carried-out 25 military actions; among others, a German regiment's headquarters protection platoon stationed at a manorial house at Romany was destroyed during an engagement that lasted for over two hours in the course of which seven German troops were killed (including one officer) and another seven were wounded, while the partisans did not suffered any casualties; many weapons were captured as well, along with two planes. Also, in a forest near Parciaki a platoon of German sappers guarding Polish forced labourers was dispersed - the Germans suffered casualties and the partisans captured weapons. On the Chorzele-Wielbark railway a German military train was derailed. The Germans grew weary of the AL partisans and on 26 October they decided to deal with them; the Germans surrounded the forest near the Parciaki Railway Station with the forces of a Vlasovite brigade and motorized German Gendarmerie, which amounted to 2 500 troops. In addition to that, these forces were supported by artillery and armoured units from the ground, and the Luftwaffe from the air. The encircled Polish-Soviet grouping numbered 170 fighters; they were the 3rd AL Battalion "Myszyniecki" and the Soviet para units of "Orlov", "Siergieyev", and Captain "Gregor". During the full-day battle that ensued the attacked partisans repulsed several German attacks until the evening; subsequently, under the cover of darkness they pierced the encirclement ring and moved to the forests near the town of Jednorozec. The Germans lost 11 killed and 20 wounded, while the Polish-Soviet grouping lost seven men. On 01 November the Germans launched a second attempt to destroy the partisans in the forests near the towns of Parciaki and Jednorozec. In this operation took part an Waffen-SS division, a battalion of tanks, and three air flights of the Luftwaffe. On the targeted territory, aside from the above-mentioned Polish-Soviet grouping, was also present an AK (Armia Krajowa - Army of the Land) detachment under the command of Kapitan Rozek ("Przeboj"). Thanks to the timely intelligence about the enemy's intentions, all the partisan forces managed to evacuate themselves from the endangered area, while the Germans made assualts on the empty forests.

On 06 August a sub-unit of the 5th Battalion "Narew" attacked a German platoon of a few dozen sappers near the town of Gaj, Powiat of Nasielsk, under the the command of Podporucznik Boleslaw Stepniewski ("Bolek") in order to disrupt the construction of German fortifications. The partisans failed to surprise the Germans, who managed to repulse their first attack. Two hours of heavy fighting followed, and when it became clear that the Germans had superiority in both numbers and firepower, the partisans withdrew. Among the Germans there were killed and wounded. A much more important action was crowned with success when on 01 September an attempt by the Germans to blow up a vital bridge on the Narew River near the town of Karniewek was prevented, thus allowing the Red Army units to establish very important bridge-heads in the environs of the towns of Serock, Kacice, and Winnica.

The 1st, 3rd, and 4th Battalion continued their combat activities until January of 1945, attacking the occupier's railway transports, and fighting engagements against his military and police units.

One of the last more interesting engagements fought by the brigade's elements was carried-out by the Headquarters Company. On 10 January of 1945, the company commanded by Podporucznik Wlodzimierz Ziemiecki ("Zelazny") and accompanied by a unit of Soviet paras of Major "Siergieyev" made a daring attack on an artillery sub-unit of the Wehrmacht in vicinity of the town of Gojsk, Powiat of Sierpc. On that day the company was tasked with conducting a recon of the forests in the area of Szczytowo, Okalewo, and Ruda, where the brigade intended to transfer its forces to. During the fulfillment of this assignment, the partisans encountered near Gojsk a German artillery sub-unit. The partisans attacked it by surprise, and after a few hours of fighting the Germans suffered 35 killed and wounded and were put to flight. The AL partisans captured two cannons along with many infantry weapons and lots of other equipment and supplies.

The AL Brigade "Synowie Ziemi Mazowieckiej" ended the struggle against the Germans at the latest date of all of AL's brigades, having done so until as late as 20 January of 1945, when liberation finally came and thus its combat history ended.

After the liberation, the brigade's soldiers participated in the establishment and organization of the administrational government and the Milicja Obywatelska in the north of Mazowsze.

Armament: From the sources listed below, no specific information concerning the brigade's armament was given. One thing looks certain with regard to this brigade is that armaments were in short supply, and that was true of vast majority of other AL units. During the fall of 1944 (and possibly starting in August) the brigade apparently received a small number of air drops with weapons and ammunition, from the Soviets and/or the Polish Partisan Headquarters.

* - Quite a mis-leading designation, since the so-called "West Prussia" was actually Eastern (or Gdansk) Pomerania.


Mieczyslaw Wieczorek, Armia Ludowa; Powstanie i Organizacja, 1944-1945, Wydawnictwo MON, Warszawa, 1979.

Encyklopedia Drugiej Wojny Swiatowej, Wydawnictwo MON, Warszawa, 1975.

Boleslaw Dolata & Tadeusz Jurga, Walki Zbrojne na Ziemiach Polskich, 1939-1945; Wybrane Miejsca Bitew, Walk i Akcji Bojowych, Wydawnictwo MON, Warszawa, 1970.

Other AL Brigades:

1st AL Brigade "Imienia Ziemi Lubelskiej"

1st AL Brigade "Imienia Ziemi Kieleckiej"


AL - People's Army

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