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The Wilno Uprising (also known as Operation Ostra Brama) was the armed struggle started by the Polish Home Army against the Nazi occupiers of Wilno (now Vilnius), during World War II. It started on July 7 1944 as a part of a plan of all-national uprising codenamed Operation Tempest and lasted until July 14.
On June 12 1944 gen. Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, Commander-in-Chief of the Home Army issued an order to prepare a plan of liberating Wilno from German hands. Wilno and Nowogródek Home Army districts were to liberate the city before the Soviets could reach it. Commander of the Wilno Home Army District, General Aleksander Krzyżanowski "Wilk" , decided to regroup all partisan units in the north-eastern Poland for the assault - both from inside the city and from the outside.
The starting date was finally set to July 7. Approximately 12,500 Home Army soldiers attacked the German garrison and managed to seize most of the city centre. Heavy street fights in the outskirts lasted until July 14. In the eastern suburbs the Home Army units cooperated with reconnaissance units of the Soviet 3rd Belorussian Front.
General Krzyżanowski wanted to group all partisan units into a re-created Polish 19th Infantry Division . However, the advancing Red Army entered the city on July 15 and the NKVD started to intern all Polish soldiers. On July 16 the HQ of the 3rd Belorussian Front invited Polish officers to a meeting and arrested them.
The internees, almost 5,000 officers, NCO's and soldiers, were sent to a provisional internment camp in Miedniki , a vilnian suburb. Some of them were given the possibility of joining the Soviet-controlled 1st Polish Army, while the majority were sent to prisons and GULAGs in the USSR.
After that the remnants of the local Home Army HQ ordered all units to retreat to Rudniki Forest . It is estimated that by July 18 almost 6,000 soldiers and 12,000 volunteers reached the area. They were soon encountered by Soviet Airforce and surrounded. Commanders decided to split their units and try to break through to Bialystok area. However, most of the Home Army forces were caught and interned.
An unknown number of soldiers under Lt. Col. Maciej Kalenkiewicz "Kotwicz" stayed in the forests around Wilno until early August. On August 21 a minor battle between them and the NKVD occurred. Very little is known of their fate.
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