The Formation of Anders' Army in Totskoye, Russia

This text was received from Pani Wanda Selivanovska in Orenburg, Russia. The original is in Cyrillic, translated into English by Antoni Kazimierski.

It was 27 August 1941 at Totskoye that the for​mation of the 6th Infantry Division began and, eventually, it was named Anders' Army. The commandant in charge was General Tukarzewski. On the following day, the commandant received orders to move to a place called Totskoye, which originally was the Red Army's summer training camp and there was an artillery firing range. The camp was located about 5km from the station of Totskoye on the line from Buzuluk to Czkalow (now Orenburg).

The area of this huge camp was approximately 30 square kilometres, with some permanent summer accommodation consisting of housing for administration, living accommodation for officers, a power station, baths, washrooms, bakery, restaurants, shops, cafes, joint post office and hospital - all overgrown and virtually in ruins except for the paths and roads.

On 1 September 1941 the camp area was divided: one portion was to house the 6th Infantry Division and the other section to have all kinds of equipment and stores and to provide facilities for training. By late September, all Russian personnel had left, having prepared the area to receive Poles. In spite of the availability of permanent housing, at least 100 new tents were erected to house 1,200 people who, in the main, formed the basis of the Division. With the new facilities, it was going to be possible to house 15,000 new arrivals. During the first few weeks at the camp, new recruits slept in the open because it was necessary for them to be disinfected and cleaned and to undergo a medical check up. Originally, it was not expected that there would be a need for this action. The rate of disinfections was roughly 2,400 people per day and this delayed the recruitment. It was an exception rather than the norm that those who arrived for recruitment were without any lice; it was only those who arrived from Griaznowca who were without lice, as the facilities there had been good. Everyone arriving at the recruitment centre had a medical examination to establish if they were fit for military service.

The condition of the recruits as they arrived was poor, so it was absolutely necessary to establish medical treatment for them and bring them to a standard of fitness required. It was not until 7 September that the Soviet side allocated both medicine and 70 places in their hospital. According to some documents, Russians actually allocated more than 100 places. Polish doctors arrived and began practising at the hospital on 21 September 1941. The command of the Polish section was given to pulkownik (colonel) Robert Funk on 27 September 1941. 


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