Westerplatte is a peninsula in Gdańsk, Poland, located on Baltic Sea coast at the river mouth of the Dead Vistula (one of the Vistula delta estuaries), in the Gdańsk harbour channel. From 1926 to 1939 it was the location of a Polish Military Transit Depot (WST), sanctioned within the territory of the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk).

It is famous as the place of Battle of Westerplatte, the first major battle of the Invasion of Poland in 1939.

The transit depot

In 1925 the Council of the League of Nations allowed Poland to keep 88 soldiers on Westerplatte. By September 1939 the crew of Westerplatte had increased to 182 soldiers. They were armed with one 75 mm field gun, two 37 mm Bofors antitank guns, four mortars and a number of medium machine guns. There were no real fortifications, only several concrete guardhouses hidden in the peninsula's forest.

The Polish garrison was separated from Free City of Danzig (Gdańsk) by the harbor channel, with only a narrow isthmus connecting the area to the mainland. In case of war, the defenders were supposed to withstand a sustained attack for 12 hours after which a relief from the main units of the Polish Army were to arrive.

The Polish garrison's commanding officer was Major Henryk Sucharski, the executive officer was Captain Franciszek Dąbrowski.

Battle of Westerplatte

On September 1 1939, at 0445 local time, as Germany began its invasion of Poland, "Schleswig-Holstein" started to shell the Polish garrison. This was followed by a repelled attack by German naval infantry. Another two assaults that day were repelled as well. Over the coming days, the Germans repeatedly bombarded Westerplatte with naval and heavy field artillery along with dive-bombing raids by Junkers Ju 87 Stukas. Repeated attacks of 3500 German soldiers were repelled by the 180 Polish soldiers for seven days. On September 7th Major Henryk Sucharski decided to surrender due to lack of ammunition and supplies and realization no help was going to come from the Polish Army. As a sign of honor for the soldiers of Westerplatte, German commander, Gen. Eberhardt, allowed Mjr. Sucharski to keep his officer's sword while being taken prisoner.


The ruins of the defenders' barracks and guardhouses are still there. After the war, one of the guardhouses (#1) was converted into a museum. Two, 280mm, shells from the "Schleswig-Holstein" prop up its entrance.

Polish poet Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński wrote a widely known poem about this battle, A Song of the Soldiers of Westerplatte ("Pieśń o żołnierzach Westerplatte").

See also

*Karol Szwedowski
*The European theater
*World War II
*The German invasion of Poland
*September 1, 1939.
*The Polish Army
*The Lodz Ghetto/Łódź Ghetto
*The Polish Łódź Army
*The German Wehrmacht

Further reading

ources and documents

* cite book
author = Stanisława Górnikiewicz-Kurowska (red.)
title = Znaki pamięci : listy westerplatczyków (1940-1993)
publisher = "Marpress"
year = 1994
id = ISBN 83-85349-21-9

* cite book
author = Jacek Żebrowski (red.)
title = Dziennik działań bojowych pancernika "Schleswig-Holstein" 8.09.-2.10.1939 r.
publisher = Toruń: Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek
year = 2001
id = ISBN 83-7322-123-9


* cite book
author = Franciszek Mamuszka
title = Westerplatte : przewodnik historyczny
location= Warsaw | publisher=Wydawnictwo PTTK "Kraj"
year =1988
id = ISBN 83-7005-192-8

* cite book | author = Rafał Witkowski
title = Westerplatte : informator historyczny
publisher = Gdańsk: Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza
year =1989
id = ISBN 83-03-01772-1


* cite book
author = Mariusz Wójtowicz-Podhorski, Krzysztof Wyrzykowski
title = Westerplatte: Załoga śmierci
publisher = Milton Media
year =2004
id = ISBN 83-920878-0-1


* cite book
author = Zbigniew Flisowski
title = Tu, na Westerplatte
location= Warsaw | publisher=Książka i Wiedza
year =1982
id =

* cite book
author = Zbigniew Flisowski (red.)
title = Westerplatte
location= Warsaw | publisher=Wydawnictwa MON
year =1989
id = ISBN 83-11-07694-4

* cite book
author = Maria and Zbigniew Flisowscy
title = Bastion u wrót Gdańska
location= Warsaw | publisher=Nasza Księgarnia
year =1985
id = ISBN 83-10-08779-9

* cite book
author = Władysław Kluz
title = Honor : mjr Henryk Sucharski
location= Warsaw | publisher=Akademia Teologii Katolickiej
year =1989
id =

* cite book
author = Mirosław Gliński
title = Westerplatte
publisher = Gdańsk: Muzeum Historii Miasta Gdańska : Wydaw. Gdańskie
year =1998
id = ISBN 83-85843-76-0

* cite book
author = Stanisława Górnikiewicz-Kurowska
title = Lwy z Westerplatte
publisher = Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Morskie
year =1988
id = ISBN 83-215-7237-5

* cite book
author = Stanisława Górnikiewicz-Kurowska
title = Westerplatczycy : losy obrońców Wojskowej Składnicy Tranzytowej
publisher = Gdańsk: "Marpress"
year =1999 | id = ISBN 83-87291-53-6

* cite book
author = Andrzej Drzycimski
title = Wojna zaczęła się na Westerplatte | state =
publisher = Gdańsk: Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza
year =1989
id = ISBN 83-03-02403-5

* cite book
author = Andrzej Drzycimski
title = Major Henryk Sucharski
publisher = Wrocław: Ossolineum
year =1990
id = ISBN 83-04-03374-7

* cite book
author = Melchior Wańkowicz
title = Westerplatte | state = Warsaw
publisher = Pax
year = 1990
id = ISBN 83-211-1113-0

External links

* [http://chrito.users1.50megs.com/1939/sep/marinestosskompanie.htm Detailed description of attack]
* [http://www.mission.net/poland/warsaw/literature/poems/westerpl.htm A Song of the Soldiers of Westerplatte]
* [http://westerplatte.pl/ westerplatte.pl/]
* [http://www.concharto.com/search/eventsearch.htm?_tag=westerplatte&_maptype=2 Map of events occurring in Westerplatte]

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