Senior Private Osiak was proud of his rkm wz. 1928. This light machine gun looked and was powerful. While he knew it was a copy of the more famous Browning BAR he cared little, it was his. He was good with it and in a small way made him feel strong like the gangsters in the local movie theaters. But for his corporal Osiak was an efficient soldier, his equipment always clean and well maintained rarely getting caught with an infraction during parade.
When he was called from his garrison to a defensive position in early September 1939, he was concerned for his squad and his family. He was going to do his duty to protect them both. As he was to young to see anything of the fighting against the Soviets in 1921, he was uncertain how well he was going to do against the Germans, a perpetual enemy of his Poland. His Sergeant laughed at his concern and told him, “You will do your duty, if not the corporal would kick his ass. “
His platoon reached the farms near the boarder shortly after the war had started. Set up along the farm road in shallow trenches, the Sergeant came along the line checking the men, their equipment and positions. If any of the troops seemed unsteady he pointed to the anti-tank gun that was being put into position at the left end of their line. He and the Lieutenant were happy for the added support. The only other anti-tank weapon was the newly arrivied wz.35 an anti tank rifle. The section that received that instead of their Browning would fire it for the first time today. It was going to be a long day…
As the morning moved along the troops kept near their guns waiting. They knew the time for battle was fast approaching as they could hear artillery in the distance and it was getting closer. Around mid-morning one of the scouts returned saying that a German infantry column was approaching, and they had tanks.
The private soon saw the Germans approaching across the fields deploying, as they must have seen movement in the fields and along the tree line. There was not going to be an ambush today.
The Germans came on the Polish line quickly with troops crossing both fields and armoured cars coming down the path. Luckily no tanks so far, but there were a lot of infantry. Senior Private Osiak watched a German section advance on the anti-tank gun but his Corporal hit his helmet and yelled, watch your front here come the Germans. While he could hear gunfire to his left he watched the approaching Germans.
“Steady” was the order and he held his fire and then the entire section opened up. The Germans halted and deployed the rifle team to their left and the mg34 opened up on his well-entrenched team. Bullets flew overhead as the Germans advanced. Two quick rounds from the anti-tank gun and one armoured car was a flaming wreck and another was reversing away from the Poles.
And then it happened; the Germans came at the Polish position on the run. Both sides fired as quickly as possible and than it was shovels, bayonets and rifle buts swinging. When he ran out on ammo for his Browning he picked up a shovel and went at the German that just killed one of the comrades. It was loud and bloody. It was also quick. The section to his left was taking the Germans in a cross fire and they broke and ran. Senior Private Osiak made it through his first fight with only a few bruises. His section was not so lucky.
His platoon sergeant ran to his position now that the Germans on both sides of the road were pulling back. The medic checked the members of the section; two needed to be patched up at the aid station and two needed the priest. “Osiak are you OK”, called out the Sergeant, “I’m good” came the reply. “You did good Aleksy. You may even get a medal if we survive this war.” And than the Sergeant headed to the next position. Aleksy only wanted water and a chance to see his village. One he would receive sooner than the other.