by Jon Latimer War had been raging for 10 days, and Wehrmacht columns were pouring through Poland in a ceaseless torrent. Thousands of civilians and Polish troops were fleeing the enemy as fast as they could go. At Demblin, a railway bridge that was crucial to the Germans’ continued success, remained intact. [text_ad] One Polish group, however, maintained a spirit of martial discipline; immaculately turned out, marching proudly while singing a Polish Army song, they arrived at the bridge surrounded by panic stricken refugees. Quickly, the noncom in charge found the commander of the pioneers entrusted with the demolition. The latter was not expecting relief and tried to phone through to his superior, only to find that enemy action had cut the line. Suddenly, a dive bombing Ju-87 Stuka raid sent everyone scurrying for cover. The kind offer to take over the responsibility for the bridge was hastily and gratefully accepted, and quickly the guard left. When Germans appeared some five hours later, the new demolition guard provoked a panic that cleared the bridge, then, having handed over control to the advancing panzers, they were left with nothing more to do than to change back into their own German uniforms. Thus ended one of the first instances of the use of special forces by Germany in World War II. The “demolition guard” were all men specially selected from Upper Silesia and were, if anything, more fluent in Polish than in German. Operating behind enemy lines


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