Independent Brigade

On 14th November 1941 Colonel Sosabowski paid his respects to General Frederick A.M. Browning, Commander of the 1st British Airborne Division and, from 1941, Commander of the 1st Allied Airborne Forces.

During General Browning´s next visit to the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade, on 17th  May 1943, Browning proposed to Sosabowski, in the presence of his adjutant and interpreter Dyrda, the idea that still was unprecedented in the British army: there would be formed a mixed British-Polish Airborne Division under the command of Sosabowski, who would then receive the English rank of General.

Browning was amazed to hear that Sosabowski did not respond to the very attractive offer. Since then the relation between Colonel Sosabowski and General Browning had cooled off.

The 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade did not make up part of the 1st Polish Corps in England. Ever since the establishment on 9th October 1941, the brigade had been placed at the disposal of the Commander-in-chief of the Polish Armed Forces and it was intended to be brought into action in Poland during a general Polish uprising against the occupiers.

When General Kazimierz Sosnkowski was appointed Commander-in-chief of the Polish Armed Forces, after the death of General Sikorski near Gibraltar, the Parachute Brigade was to a large extent in training to be parachuted into Poland. The British, on the other hand, attempted emphatically to get the Polish Brigade under their command. Because of this the purpose for which the Brigade had beenestablished would change. In his memoires General Sosabowski writes that General Sosnkowski had tried in every possible way to dissuade the British from their purpose.

In the second half of February 1944, General A.E. Grasset, head of the liaisons section of the SHAEF, notified Sosnkowski that he could expect, in the very near future, a formal request to put the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade under the command of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. The British-Polish meetings about this subject started on 11th March 1944.

Ever since the start Montgomery had exerted strong pressure upon these meetings. After having inspected the Brigade on 13th March 1944, he was almost convinced that he had achieved his aim.

On 6th June, the day of the invasion of Normandy, Sosnkowski informed Grasset that the Polish Government had concluded that the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade had likewise to participate in the invasion. Therefore he made the brigade available to the Commander-in-chief of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower. From that moment on General Browning had made many attempts to get the brigade to the front as soon as possible. Colonel Sosabowski tried to postpone this event so as to spare lives for a possible action in Poland.