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40:1 – The Battle of Wizna – Sabaton History 001 [Official]

40:1 – The Battle of Wizna – Sabaton History 001 [Official]


I’m Indy Neidell And I’m Pär from Sabaton, and this is Sabaton History! Contrary to popular opinion, Polish resistance
when the Germans invaded in September 1939 was stronger and more determined than you
may think. And 40:1, the song that broke us in Poland, is about just that. 40:1 is about the Battle of Wizna, let’s
look at what happened there. How a small detachment of around 720 Polish
infantrymen held off more than 40,000 German soldiers
for over three days; a story that has even entered Polish lore as the Polish Thermopylae-
Polskie Termopile. Okay, September 1939. The German invasion
of Poland has begun. Now, Poland will also soon be invaded by the Soviet Union and within
six weeks will be divided by those two great powers, but we’re still in the first week
of the German invasion. On the 7th, the XIX Army Corps of Heeresgruppe Nord, part of the
German 3rd Army under General Heinz Guderian, was quickly advancing to try and cross the
river Biebrza, a tributary of the River Narew east of the town of Wizna. By doing so, it
would be able to encircle the Polish Narew Corps and then close in on Warsaw from the
Northeast. Now, the Polish Army had begun building defense
works around the strategic crossing where the Biebrza and Narew meet since early 1939
when the possibility of war began really looming. The crossing is surrounded by swamps and bogs,
so a system of echeloned bunkers and pillboxes on the hills overlooking the rivers would
be a serious threat to any army trying to make a crossing. Thing is, as the German Panzer Corps approached,
the defense works were not completed. Only 12 major bunkers were battle ready and there
were a few machine gun pillboxes spread out over two actual lines of defense. The big
flaw, though, was that the system did not have any larger anti-tank guns or mortars,
and with a force of 350 tanks approaching, this flaw was now a major problem. The Polish defenders, commanded by Captain
Wladyslaw Raginis, had quickly thrown up some anti-tank obstacles, prepared the forward
approach with trenches and barbed wire, and mined the river banks. Raginis himself had
chosen the bunker in the middle as his command post, but you know, he must have known that
with only six 7.6 cm guns, a few dozen machine guns, and only a pair of anti-tank rifles,
he could not hope to hold out forever, but as German planes dropped propaganda leaflets
from the skies urging the Poles to surrender, Raginis vowed that he would, in fact, die
trying. The first skirmish between German and Polish
recon units was fought for the village of Wizna on the 7th, but the Poles gave up what
was an undefendable village without serious resistance. So already at the beginning of
the action it looks as if the Poles have been routed, but they haven’t given up and they
haven’t fled, they have retreated back over the river into the safety of their bunkers. The Germans pursued them, but Polish engineers
blew the bridges to stop them. The battle had begun. German heavy artillery was brought up and
pounded the Polish positions throughout the remainder of the day. The Polish artillery
was no match for this and was forced to withdraw, but the Polish bunkers held. Stuka bombardments
from the air also failed to break them, since the walls of those bunkers were over 1 ½
m thick and reinforced with steel plates. German assault troops came next, attacking
over the two days, but as soon as they crossed the river, they were hit by machine gun fire
from the forward Polish pillboxes. Suffering heavy casualties, they were forced to retreat
time and again. However, the evening of the 8th, as German tanks began to cross, and with
no adequate measures to deal with them and overall limited ammunition, the Polish infantry
withdrew from their forward lines near the river to the safety of the bunkers. The German
tanks rolled over and through those lines, but their guns could not penetrate the bunkers,
nor could they provide enough cover for the infantry to follow. It was a somewhat bizarre
stalemate. Yet without help from reinforcements or any
real anti-tank capability, the Polish soldiers were now trapped. Another flaw in the bunker system now became
apparent. The major bunkers were sometimes too far away from each other to provide adequate
support, and could not cover each other’s blind spots, so it turned out that the Germans
were able to attack and isolate them one after the other. The first bunkers to fall were the ones just
across the Narew River. Concentrated heavy artillery bombardment and advancing tanks
forced the defenders to flee or else be completely encircled. The other bunkers held out until
the 10th, but in the early morning that day, after three days of holding off 40:1 odds,
the Poles faced defeat, as small platoons of German combat-engineers could finally take
out the damaged bunkers with explosives, with tanks providing covering fire. One after the
other was destroyed and the Germans closed in on Captain Raginis’ command
center. By this time, most of his company was reportedly either dead or wounded, and
the ammunition was nearly finished. Captain Raginis finally ordered his men to
surrender their weapons since the battle- that they could not win- was effectively over.
True to his word, though, Captain Raginis died by clutching a grenade to his body in
his command bunker. They had held out for over three days against some of the strongest
forces in the entire German Army. That is the story of the Polish Thermopylae. According to some, Guderian threatened to
shoot Polish prisoners if they did not give up, though that seems unlikely, since the
battle was already won and it’s out of character for Guderian. But okay, it’s possible, we
don’t know for sure, and this is important here- first hand sources on the battle are
fairly few. The German battle records don’t really mention the engagement and Polish sources
differ on the strength of the defenders, so we don’t have any concrete number of casualties
or what happened to the Polish prisoners taken in the battle. Now, this battle, it’s story, has entered
the realm almost of myth, and you may be skeptical of not just the details, but the overall concept,
but let me put that to rest for you. This battle is what Sabaton chose to write
a song about, but there are several other shining examples of determined and excellent
Polish defense against overwhelming odds during the German invasion. The Battle of the Bzura,
the defense at Hel Peninsula, even the remarkable evacuation of LOT, the Polish national airline,
of its planes, machine tools, and factory equipment to Bucharest in the face of dual
invasion all attest to the grit and will of the Polish defenders, with which you might
not be familiar, because already during the war the Allies crafted a narrative of a heavily
inferior Poland easily overrun by the mighty Germans in order to reinforce how aggressive
and dangerous Nazi Germany was. So the idea of Polish horsemen fighting hopelessly against
tanks, dive bombers, and heavy artillery was reinforced in films and articles and has stuck
as the popular version of the beginning of WW2, but it wasn’t so.” Pär is now going to tell you some things
you may not know about the song itself- I was here to tell you the story of the battle,
and even use it as a metaphor for a spirited defense against an overwhelming enemy- well
two enemies as it turned out. And just a note here, after the invasion of Poland, and even
with the speed of its success, Adolf Hitler’s generals warned him time and again to wait
before attacking in Western Europe- which he originally planned to do already in October
1939- because the strong Polish defense had shown them their own weaknesses, and they
did not think they were yet strong enough to win

100 thoughts on “40:1 – The Battle of Wizna – Sabaton History 001 [Official]”

  1. YESSS THE WAIT IS FINALLY OVER
    Sabaton History IS HERE!! 🤘🤘🤘

    We hope you like our first episode, about our song 40:1 on the Battle of Wizna in 1939. We absolutely love the result ourselves. It was great fun making the first episodes and having to relive some of the most awesome moments in our bands history. There is much, much more awesome content coming to you weekly from now on. Please do consider supporting us on Patreon, since your support is what allowes us to keep this channel rolling! Click here for that: https://www.patreon.com/sabatonhistory Now, enjoy and ROCK ON!! 🤘

  2. i love how crazy christian parents would say that "metal is the music of satan" and here we have the archbishop walking on the heckin stage and approving this lmaoooo

  3. No way! My Indy favorite youtube historian and Sabaton talking about Wizna battle. I love it! 🙂

  4. The Polish people only kneel to God. You will never break them they are Soldiers of Christ. I know this for a fact because my polish grandfather raised. My grandfather and his brothers fought during the second war

  5. I'm still sad that my girlfriend being Polish, doesn't know anything about her country involvement in WW2. She was taught very little about it that she learned on her last year of high school and not even on her history class, it was in her literature class. She said that she only saw until the Napoleonic Wars.

  6. Can someone explain the significance of the pope saying the church bows to melband? And the significance of the sword

  7. If you guys need a new idea for a song, look up Robert Howard. I read about him in the book SOG by John L. Plaster, and I was blown away! He's one of only two people in US Military History to be recommended for the Medal of Honor THREE TIMES!! And if you ask me, HE DESERVES ALL THREE OF THEM!!

  8. This way of looking at war helps me to not instantly crying but in a way caring about the soldiers and people who died

  9. The French also get a very bad reputation of being poor soldiers. The French fought one hell of a fight. They certainly took some of the German Army with them. I know of one skirmish where a B1 tank took out an entire column of German Panzers. I think the problem is that the Germans outran the French Tanks on the way to Paris.

  10. Passersby, tell the nation, that we fought to the end, fulfilling our duty – those are words written down on Wladislaw Ragginis bunker. I had an opportunity to visit wizna few years ago, it's sad how place which such amazing story looks now.

  11. I know it's not as cool as an arch bishop, but when they played in GR, Michigan they got awards from the governor of Michigan for keeping alive the history of the great war

  12. what about the polish version of the song? Was the song firstly released in english and then polish or vice-versa? Is that just as popular among the polish people?

  13. Many nations seized to exist after half of the things that Poland experienced, Poles know war and suffering so good luck to any future invasions of Poland.

  14. That is a truly amazing story.. The songs from Sabaton are awesome enough. Adding these history videos goes beyond awesome.

  15. My friend recommended SABATON to me, and I was like sure he recommends a lot of stuff to me. But SABATON is different. SABATON sings and they tell a story. A story that actually happened. But I don't know that much about history, so most of it (not primo victoria tho cause im 'murican fuck yea) goes over my head. I spend some time jamming out to the songs, then googling and trying to sift through relevant information and find out what the songs are about, cause for once I actually want to learn stuff about history. It's hard to sort through relevant information. SABATON website has a short history fact under the song, but I want specifics. I want details. Then I watch Primo Victoria and see a channel in on the screen. Sabaton History it says. I click on it. ITS EVERYTHING I WANT! Fuck I'm so glad you guys have this channel.

  16. Hey Indy, because so many of us love a good Thermopylae, here is another one that took place far away from Wizna, Poland: It was the Battle of Xuan Loc, Vietnam that took place in April 1975 under the charismatic leadership of Brigadier General Le Minh Dao. The defense of Xuan Loc was led by the ARVN 18th infantry division, a division that had previously had a bad reputation. Against overwhelming odds, the 18th held Xuan Loc for two weeks, and it took four NVA divisions attacking all at once to dislodge it. In fact, the NVA could never completely overcome the 18th. It had to expand the field of battle so as to take advantage of its superior supply of manpower to outflank the ARVN. Even after having one-third of its soldiers killed, General Dao's division was able to retreat in an orderly manner back to Saigon. Like these Polish heroes, the heroes of Xuan Loc couldn't save the Republic of Vietnam, but this is the stuff that legends are made of. Very few westerners know about the Battle of Xuan Loc, which is why it's time to give this story to someone who specializes in bringing forgotten history back to life. Go, Indy!

  17. What you did for Poland was beautiful. I believe it would be great to have your own song for the battle of El Alamein and for the whole Italian population. It was a very important battle and full of sacrifice actions. I think it would be nice to talk about the Aries Division, destroyed in that battle. "Enemy tanks broke through south of Ariete Division. Thus, Ariete surrounded, located 5 kilometers north-west of Bir-el-Abd. Ariete tanks are fighting."
    — Ariete Division's last radio message

  18. What the polish flag stands for
    Red:being a Jewish and catholic safe haven
    White:having spirit when outnumbered
    Black:having reliable allies

  19. I honestly think that if Poland had been able to mobilize the 1 million man reserves that they tried to mobilize in August that Britain made them stand down, and if the USSR hadn't attacked as well making them fight on two fronts, then the Germans would have had a hell of a hard time taking out Poland, Germany would probably have still won, but it would have been a heck of a war

  20. Hi guys, I learned listen you with my son, he has 15 years old, your music is sensational, and joining the historical part makes you unique, congratulations

  21. Rewatching this to show a friend, and I don't think any other band has ever evoked such respect and admiration and crying from me. I adore you guys.

  22. Mah boy Indie is here! For some reason i had in my head that he only listened to 20's smooth jazz, couldn't fathom why…

  23. I'm surprised that Pär didn't mention the crowd that sang the Polish national anthem afterwards during a festival

  24. Sabaton played this song at Helff Fest 2019, in Clisson France. I was there, probably one of the few poles who were present that day. A song about my home country, which I was not able to visit for the past 5 years hit me in the heart like a rock.

  25. 7:30 If they had not goven up they were not prisoners. They had not surrendered and were thus still fighting.

  26. 11:00 "Hey there is a fan made video that is making us very popular." "Well shut him down, that is a copyright infringement!"
    Never mind that it was a FAN made video. Some fan went to the trouble of putting together a video of a song he liked, and rather than thanking him, you just shut it down.
    Good to know how Sabaton treats their fans.

  27. Thank You for that one. But You forgot about the Westerplatte. A Polish Military Copplex in Gdańsk, that was supposed to hold for 12 hours, but withold German Army for 7 days!
    All Hail the Sabaton! and All Hail the Brave! Long Live The Fighters!!!
    (btw Poland has some other awsome moments in its history, worth of making a song. something between 10 and 20?)

  28. Wish something similar had happened with COAT OF ARMS in Greece. Anyway, surely an episode on the subject is expected (after all it was the title of a whole LP)

  29. Thermopylae
    Persian: Spartans! Lay down your weapons!
    Spartan: Persian! Come and get them!
    Wizna
    German: Poles! Lay down your weapons!
    Pole: German! Come and get them!

  30. Captain raginis died Killing three German soldiers who tried to capture his bunker. He killed himself and the germans with a Grenade and died as a hero.

  31. I did a video (that was meant to be a paper for my WW2 History Class in College) over the Warsaw Rebellion and included this in there. How they managed to hold off the Germans despite using rather outdated military equipment, such as horses and cavalry.

  32. I hope my country will get song from sabaton to.we got alot of amazing history to. For example in korean war 1400 troops of filipino vs. 40 thousand chinese commies they succesfully defened the yultong and suffer 24 casaualties and 26 wounded and they killed 7,000 reds.

  33. Germany: Takes over Austria
    Allies: 😴
    Germany: Takes over Czechoslovakia
    Allies: 😴
    Germany: I am going to invaded Poland!
    Allies: What! No Poland for you!
    Germany: Invades Poland anyway
    Allies: 😰

  34. When I first saw a video of a live show playing this song in Germany, I was confused about the band kinda excusing for playing it there. As a German born long long after WW2 I can assure nearly noone going to a Sabaton show will complain about it. It is an awesome song and the modern Nazis Germany still sadly have (and that are the only one complaining) are probably not going to a show of a Swedish band. Most Germans know we fucked up massively 70 years ago (and that still feels like an giant understatement). It's my favorite Sabaton song overall and they don't have to excuse playing it. I would be disappointed at them not playing it.

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