Polish People's Army

Fischer 924-926 | Michel 1069-1071 | Scott 823-825 | Year of issue 1958 | People's Republic of Poland

924
925
926
Partisan Cross
Virtuti Military Cross
Grunwald Cross

Translations

15 lecie Ludowego Wojska Polskiego = 15 years Polish People's Army.
Za polskę wolnośc i lud = For Polish freedom and the People.

Glossary

Fischer 924 shows a gilt bronze cross which was instituted on 26 October 1945 for service with the partisan units. The obverse reads Za polskę wolnośc i lud (For Polish Freedom and People), the reverse shows "Partyzantom" (To the Partisans) and the years 1939 and 1945.
Fischer 925 shows the Virtuti Militari order cross. Originally instituted in 1792, this order was restored a number of times and was even adopted by Russia as a commemorative award. After Polish independence, the order was again reinstituted on 1 August 1919 in five classes, predominantly for gallantry in action although the higher classes were intended for generals who achieved a decisive victory or effected a gallant defence.
Fischer 926 shows the order of the Grunwald cross in the 2nd class. This order was created in three classes on 1 January 1944 to reward outstanding merit in World War II. Afterwards it was also awarded for services in training the Polish armed forces. The obverse shows two swords, relating to an event before the Battle of Grunwald in 1410 when the Polish army and the Teutonic army stood against each other, but none of them was willing to attack. The Teutonic army stood on the open field in their metal armors (and it was July!), so Poles (standing in a forest, hence in shadow) hoped the hot sun will weaken them. Poles themselves knew the forest is a good place to defend. On the other hand, the Teutonics had fought with Lithuanians before and knew that they usually prepare hidden traps like masked holes in ground. So Teutonics expected it from Jagiełło, who was Lithuanian by origin. That's why they didn't want to attack. Teutonic messengers brought two bare (unholstered) swords, one for king Jagiełło and one for his brother, Grand Duke Witold (who was commander of the Lithuanian contingent), with an offensive speech that these two swords should add them courage, which they apparently lack. The legend says that king Jagiełło replied "We have enough swords, but we will use these two against you too". Then Polish knights attacked. The battle was victorious for Poland and the swords were often used (especially since 1945) as a symbol of Polish-German hostilities (in Polish they are usually called "Grunwald swords" or "two bare swords"). Hence their presence on an World War II award. The reverse shows the letters KG - Krzyża Grunwaldu (Grunwald Cross) and the years 1410 and 1944. The 1st class of the order is in gilt, the 2nd class in silver with gilt edges and the 3rd class is in silver.

Relevant pages

Find other Polish stamps commemorating Polish People's Army anniversaries

Resources

Grunwals swords
Polish military awards and decorations
Medals of the Second World War - Polish State Awards (users.skynet.be)
People's Republic of Poland
Polish Army
Partisan
Restistance Movement
Virtuti Militari
Battle of Grunwald

First Day Cover


FDC Fischer 924-926