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 Post subject: First shot 1939.
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017 04:59 
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Joined: 18 Nov 2008 21:50
Posts: 2736
Location: South Pacific
The first shot of World War II in Europe was fired 20 years, 9 months, 19 days and 18 hours after the last shot of World War I was fired.  It was fired from the 13,000 ton German gunnery training battleship Schleswig Holstein (Captain Gustav Kleikamp) which was on a visit to Poland to honour the sailors lost on the German cruiser Magdeburg sunk in 1914, some of whom were buried in Danzig. It was anchored in Danzig (now Gdansk) harbour at the mouth of the River Vistula. At 4.30 am on September 1, 1939, the ship moved slowly down the Port Canal and took up position opposite the Westerplatte (an area containing Polish troop barracks, munition storage and workshops) and at 4.47 am, at point blank range, the order to "Fire!" was given. World War II had begun. Seven days later, on September 7, after a heroic defence by Major Henryk Sucharski and his troops, and a devastating attack by Stuka dive bombers, the 209 man strong Westerplatte Garrison surrendered. Losses were 14 men killed and 53 wounded. A Polish soldier, Staff Sergeant Wojciech Nazsarek was killed by machine gun fire, becoming the first Polish victim of the war.

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