Hour ‘W’ – the code name of the day and time of the beginning of the ‘Storm’ action in Warsaw. (Warsaw Uprising), i.e. 17:00 on Tuesday, August 1, 1944.
Because the order specifying the date and time of the beginning of the fight was given by ‘Monter’ about 7 p.m. – shortly before the beginning at 8 p.m. – it started to be given on August 1 from 7 a.m. The commanders received it between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., groups between 9 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. In the afternoon the number of women liaison officers and messengers distributing the mobilization orders exceeded 6000.
The order to start the uprising on August 1 surprised the majority of commanders. Apart from the insufficient amount of weapons, there was also the problem of lack of time to get them out of hiding places and to gather soldiers, who were often scattered all over Warsaw. At ‘W’ hour, i.e. at 5 p.m., the mobilization of the insurgent units reached 60% of their personnel in the city scale.
Not all units managed to keep the preparations in secret until 5 p.m. First shots were fired around 1.50 p.m. at Krasińskiego Street in Żoliborz to patrol German airmen by soldiers of Zdzisław Sierpinski’s team transporting weapons for the regional unit of the ‘Reaper’ Group. The Germans quickly brought a tank and several cars with machine guns to the place of the skirmishes. While clearing the surrounding area around 15.30 they surprised at Suzina Street a group of insurgents from the IV Battalion of Jarosław Dąbrowski Polish Socialist Party (OW PPS) and the Socialist Combat Organization (SOB) taking weapons in the WSM boiler room. The commander of the SOB, Włodzimierz Kaczanowski, died during the battle. The clashes caused the Germans to occupy the crossroads of the most important streets in Żoliborz, the viaduct by the Gdański Railway Station and alarmed the units stationed in the Citadel and at the Bielany airport.
The ‘W’ hour was not kept by at least half an hour in 8 other points of the city.
The staff of the Warsaw District of the Home Army with Antoni Chrusciel pseudonym ‘Monter’ at 3 p.m. was located at 20 Jasna Street, in order to get to the captured Victoria Hotel building (no. 26) at 5 p.m. The ‘W’ hour was not kept for at least half an hour yet. The headquarters together with Tadeusz Komorowski a.k.a. ‘Bor’ was located in the Kamler’s furniture factory at 72 Dzielna Street.
The incoming reports prompted the commander of the Warsaw military general Reiner Stahel to announce an alarm for the Warsaw garrison around 4.30 pm. However, the Germans did not manage to prevent the outbreak of the uprising anymore. photofree exgif stockphoto