The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade

(1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa)


Some accounts don't directly help identify regimental units, ship names or crossing dates but they do give us some very important information. some of these accounts are here;

Account Of Jerzy Gradosielski - Sapper in 5 KDP

He crossed the Caspian Sea to Pahlevi August 5, 1942 in the 2nd wave. He said"  Anders decided that the fittest men and the best-equipped units should remain in the Soviet Union because they were best able to survive.

Consequently the 5th, 6th and 7th Divisions and the Engineers and Artillery remained behind apart from the weakest men, while the 8th, 9th and 10th Divisions were completely evacuated... the trip across the Caspian lasted anything from 24 hours to 3 days.

This account gives us an immediate overview of the health of divisions and regiments. Jerzy's comment that "8th, 9th and 10th Divisions were completely evacuated" ties in with something I already knew.

My grandfather, Wladyslaw Hoscik, was in the 10th Division, specifically the 28th Infantry Regiment. I had previously heard that the 10th Division was in a poor state having mostly been in Northern Siberia and that they were particularly malnourished. Further Jerzy comments on crossing times being from 24 hour to 3 days, again helping us re-verify data we already had.

Account of Henry Kozubski

March 26th, 10th Artillery leaves on freight cars to Krasnovodsk, stopping in Tashkent for quick baths...few days later arrive in Krasnovodsk.....get on an empty tanker and a days' passage were in Pahlevi.

A YouTube Video Of An ACTUAL Crossing in 1942!

Video Footage Of Caspian Sea Crossing: (Notice that 1 of the ships dock)

A SECOND YouTube Video Showing A Crossing In 1942

This video on YouTube (here) at 46:32 to around 47:00 shows the ships crossing the Caspian sea, dis-embarkment, Pahlevi dis-infection etc. At some point this link will be incorporated into a webpage about the crossing but for now here it is, enjoy!

Account Of Unknown Person

Another unused testimony as it has no name and a credibility issue is this one "10th Light Artillery Regiment: March 25th Regiment left Å�ugowaja and March 31, embarked in Krasnovodsk on the ship Agamali Ogamly"

The Moskwa Ship

Such an elusive ship to get detail on!

In this video Mr. Mieczyslaw Kierklo says at 6:09 "In Krasnogorsk, we were put on a boat. It was filthy with human excrement (Editors Note: This means the boat had been used previously in a crossing so we need to identify which prior boat it was), with everything, and overcrowded.

It was called Moskwa (Москва) (Editors Note: Former commodity-passenger steamer of the Caspian Shipping Company) and on it we sailed more than 24 hours to the Persians, at the time Iranian port of Pahlevi. (Editors Note: If we can identify what unit this man was in or his crossing dates then we can name one of the unknown boats.)

Caspian Sea Vessel Resource


"Soon [unclear whether March or August 1942] we got the train to take us to Krasnovodsk, on the Caspian sea. There we boarded some rusty old ships. I was on ship called "Gruzavik" (loader)." -

Account Of Romuald Lipinski

(Full account here)- August 1942"Somehow we got on the ship. It was named "Zdanov" after some communist leader during the Revolutionary War. It was so packed that it was practically impossible to walk on the deck. Every inch on the deck was occupied. …..  We spent the evening on the ship. During the night we could see flashes of explosions in the distance. Somebody said that it was the bombing of Baku, which was located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. We left the port of Krasnovodsk at about two o'clock the next morning in August 1942. We were lucky, the sea was relatively calm, and after a day and night of travel, in the morning we saw land.  The Persian port that we came to was Pahlevi. The facilities were not adequate to accommodate our ship, so we were transferred on small boats and taken ashore. (Editors Note: Note he says the Zhdanov was too big to dock and required transfer via a smaller boat. This helps us gauge the size of the Zhdanov, it has to be a big ship i.e a "Lenin class" tanker. So any pictures showing the "Zhdanov" docking cannot actually be the Zhdanov but instead another smaller ship)."

Andrzej Wieslaw Debicki

Flashbacks on My Life between the Years 1939 - 1955 by Andrzej Wieslaw Debicki  (Full account here) - "The regiment I joined was the 6th Lwow Field Artillery under the command of Lt. Col. Czeslaw Obtulowicz. The regiment was a part of General Michal Tokarzewski's 6th Lwow Infantry Division. There were also three infantry battalions in the division, the 16th, 17th and 18th plus the usual support services. Somewhere in the vicinity, the 5th Division was also getting organized along the same lines although we, at our level, had no contact with it....But before the  transport ship arrived three days later, Mother Nature decided to give us a taste of what we would have to put up with later on in the lands of Iraq, Egypt and Palestine; the sand storms, called "hamsin" in the Arab world. For two days and nights, one of these storms kept us rolled up in our blankets like mummies, trying in vain to keep the fine sand out of our eyes, ears and mouths. On the third day of waiting, the ship "Zhdanov" came in and the embarkation of troops began. What a depressing sight they were. Human skeletons, walking, crawling, sick on stretchers, some too sick to crawl calling for mercy, begging not to be left behind. And nobody was. The ship was filled to the gunnels and then some. Somebody with a sense of humour said that this scene reminded him of the River Styx, the boat overflowing with the dead, with only Charon the Ferryman missing from the picture and the direction of the final destination of Hades reversed. But it did not matter anymore. We were finally and irrevocably, irreversibly out of hell. The day was August 3, 1942, and we were floating on the Caspian Sea. Our collective thoughts however, were for a long time with those civilians we had to leave behind after Stalin closed the borders to further evacuations, who because of the whim of a tyrant, had the doors to freedom shut in their faces."

Account of Halina Juszczyk (Kojder)

(Link to full story - In August 1942 we left on foot for the train station in Kitalo...[Arrives at Krasnovodsk]...There we were quartered at the waterside and awaited the ferry "Zdarow". I remember that the ferry was so overcrowded that it was not possible to move from one spot to another. After two days we arrived in Pahlevi... (Editors Note: Interesting how the "Zhdanov" is called a "ferry")

Account of Mrs Aldona Zakrzewska, nee Smolenska

(Full account here) - "On Palm Sunday 1942, we travelled to Kitab, which is between Samarkand and Szachryzjabs, where the 16th Polish Regiment was stationed under the command of Colonel Szafranoski...At that time, the Polish Army was starting to evacuate to the Middle East. In the autumn of 1942, we set off with them and travelled to the port at Krasnovodsk. There, the Soviet soldiers ordered us to leave all our belongings and money (including all coins) behind. With the help of the army, we were loaded on board a ship as we stood, for we left the USSR without a thing. We crossed the Caspian Sea and the following evening we arrived in Pahlevi in Persia (now Iran). (Editors note: Interesting that she says on Palm Sunday (5 April 1942) they commenced their journey because the Poles were evacuating to the Middle East. In fact, that day was the last crossing for Wave 1, which she would not have known about at the time.)"