onte Cassino was a part of the Gustav Line, German defense across the Italy cutting the Southern part of the peninsula and closing approaches to Rome. American, British, French and Polish troops fought Germans from January 12 to May 18, 1944. The last attack on German positions at Monte Cassino was done by the 2nd Polish Corps under command of gen. Wladyslaw Anders. The attack was successful and the fortress was taken.
The photo shows the soldiers of the 2nd Polish Corps just before the attack.
Lieutenant Ludwik (Florian) Popiel was a commanding officer of the heavy machine gun company in 15 Carpathian Cavalry regiment of 3rd Carpathian Division and was among the attackers. Before, he took a part in the September campaign (1939). After the campaign he got away to France, where he learned that the Allied Forces did not have a good anti-tank rifle. Since the 1939 Polish Army had a very good one model "Mors wz 35", he came back to occupied by Germans Poland, dug out hidden by himself after the September campaign anti-tank rifle and smuggled it to Rumania, and then to the Britons. Popiel was from the Kielce region in Poland and his father was a member of Polish gentry. No further information on Ludwik Popiel is available at this time.
(Source: Melchior Wankowicz, Bitwa o Monte Cassino, Wydawnictwo Polonia, Warszawa, 1991, photo from the archives of the 2nd Polish Corps).
We know about at least one more Popiel, the soldier of the 2nd Polish Corps. He was Stefan Popiel from Dobra Szlachecka (1910-1998) who died in Cheltenham, U.K.
gt. Popiel (other personal data unknown) had flown his combat missions with the 95th Bomb Squadron 17th Bomb Group flying from Sardinia, Corsica and Dijon. The 17th Bomb Group was a combat unit operating under the control of the 42nd Bomb Wing and subsequently 1st Tactical Air Force. Popiel served a an armorer-gunner medium bomber Martin B26 Marauder. With 95th Squadron he had flown following combat missions:
|6 July 1944||Alulla Ammo Plant, Italy (zaklady amunicyjne)|
|7 July 1944||Collechio Ammo Dump, Italy (sklad amunicji)|
|11 July 1944||Ronco Sorivia Railroad Bridge, Italy (most kolejowy)|
|16 July 1944||PO/Torrebereti Rd & RR Bridge, Italy (most drogowy i drogowy))|
|19 July 1944||Piacenza Railroad Bridge, Italy (most kolejowy)|
|23 July 1944||Antomassi Railroad Bridge, Italy (most kolejowy)|
|26 July 1944||Ronco Sorivia Railroad Bridge, Italy (most kolejowy)|
|30 July 1944||Ovado Railroad Bridge, Italy (most kolejowy)|
|3 August 1944||Lerens Road Bridge, France (most drogowy)|
|5 August 1944||Tarason Railroad Bridge, Italy (most kolejowy)|
|9 August 1944||Pergamo Airdrome, Italy (lotnisko)|
|15 August 1944||Invasion Area Gun Positions, France (stanowiska artyleryjskie w rejonie inwazji Pld. Francja)|
Further Mr. Popiel's whereabouts are unknown.
(sp based on www.b26.com & others)
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