Operation Most III
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Operation Most III (Polish for Bridge III) or Operation Wildhorn III (in British documents) was a World War II operation in which Poland's Armia Krajowa provided the Allies with crucial intelligence on the German V-2 rocket.
From November 1943 onwards, the Intelligence Division of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa) obtained parts of the V-2 rocket, which was being tested near Blizna, central Poland. The availability of parts increased from April 1944, when numerous test rockets fell near Sarnaki village, in the vicinity of the Bug River, south of Siemiatycze. Parts of the rocket were secured by the Armia Krajowa, and analyzed at its secret laboratories in Warsaw. The analysis was performed by Professor Janusz Groszkowski (radio and guidance), Marceli Struszyński (fuel), Bogdan Stefanowski (engine), Antoni Kocjan, and others.
The Most III operation was carried out on the night 25/26 July 1944. New Zealander, FLTLT Stanley George Culliford piloted a Dakota of No. 267 Squadron RAF flew from Brindisi, and landed at an Armia Krajowa outpost codenamed Motyl (butterfly), which was in a village near Jadowniki Mokre.
The operation was undertaken cautiously as the German presence in nearby villages was substantial. The aircraft had problems taking off as upon attempting to take-off the aircraft wouldn't move. Suspecting the wheel brakes had become locked in the 'on' position, a crew member cut the hydraulic lines leading to the brakes, before discovering the Dakota's wheels had sunk into the marshy meadows. The crew could have abandoned and destroyed the aircraft, but with the help of the partisans, the aircraft managed to take off at the third attempt and returned to Brindisi with the parts. In late July 1944, the parts were delivered to London.
On the outgoing flight from Brindisi the aircraft had 4 passengers: Kazimierz Bilski, Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, Leszek Starzyński and Bogusław Wolniak.
On the return flight, Jerzy Chmielewski, Józef Retinger Tomasz Arciszewski, Tadeusz Chciuk, and Czesław Miciński were ferried from occupied Poland to Brindisi, Italy. It was intended that Antoni Kocjan (who had personally studied parts of V-2 missiles) would take part, but he was arrested by the Gestapo and therefore was replaced by Jerzy Chmielewski.
Security for the operation was provided by Armia Krajowa group “Urban”, which included Adam Gondek 'Kruk'. The security commander of the Motyl landing site was Captain Wladyslaw Kabat ps.'Brzechwa'.
Other participants were : Kpr. Franciszek Nowak 'Pomidor', Dr Jan Deszcz 'Wacek', Kpr. pchor. Władysław Bysiek 'Morena', Plut. Józef Lupa 'Czarny Sęp', Ppor. Franciszek Kuczek 'Deska', Por. Mieczysław Czech 'Jurand', Por. Paweł Chwała 'Skory', Ppor. Jan Gomoła 'Jawor'.
The operation was featured in the 1977 BBC TV series The Secret War episode, "Terror Weapons", which included Janusz Groszkowski's memories of the operation.
- Szrajer, Kazimierz. ""Trzeci Most" - Wspomnienia Kaziemierza Szrajera.". Archived from the original on 27 March 2010.
- Ordway, Frederick I., III. The Rocket Team. Apogee Books Space Series 36 (pp. 158, 173)
- (Polish) Michał Wojewódzki, Akcja V-1, V-2, Warsaw 1984, ISBN 83-211-0521-1
- McGovern, James. Crossbow and Overcast. W. Morrow: New York, 1964. (p. 71)