We’re going to discuss a Polish badass today: a Soldier-for-hire with a chip on his shoulder. A dude whose life goal was to eradicate Communism everywhere he could, even if it meant he had to do it by himself. This is the forgotten story of Rafał Gan-Ganowicz.
Ganowicz was a descendent of a Muslim Tartar bloodline. His ancestors moved to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 1500s, converted to Christianity, and served their adopted home in every war and insurrection. Ganowicz literally came from a warrior bloodline; that was the family business and business was good. Rafał was only 7 when Hitler and Stalin invaded Poland. The Nazis killed his mother during the siege of Warsaw in September 1939. When Rafal was 12, his father, a French Foreign Legion veteran and officer in the clandestine Polish Home Army, died in combat during the Warsaw Uprising of ‘44. Not surprisingly Rafał held a deep seated grudge against Fascism. As a teenager, he helped the anti-Nazi struggle, running propaganda and supplies. After being captured by the Nazis, he managed to escape a German concentration camp, and hid until the Soviets arrived in early ‘45. Things didn’t get any better however, as the Soviet Union regularly hunted down veterans of the Polish Home Army and executed them.
With the Nazis destroyed, Rafal felt it was his duty to defeat the other enemy of humanity: Communism. He held a deep-seated hatred for the raping & pillaging that the Red Army subjected his people to. He also hated the terror & violence of the Soviet secret police and Polish compatriots who would execute, torture or make political dissidents “disappear.” At an age when kids today are playing Call of Duty and trying to figure out how to illegally acquire beers, Rafal formed and led an anti-Communist movement in the ruins of an actual war zone. His clandestine team was composed of other war orphans. They operated in the war-torn ruins of Warsaw, as over 80% of the city was reduced to rubble. At first, Rafał's team limited itself to propaganda as they did under the Nazi occupation. They distributed underground leaflets, defaced Communist posters, and painted anti-Soviet graffiti, all of which carried a death sentence. The Commie secret police began shooting at the Warsaw taggers. So Rafał and his fellow teenagers “acquired” guns and started to fight back. For months they’d engage in running gun fights with the Secret Police hit teams within the rubbles of Warsaw.
In 1950, the secret police tracked Rafał down. It took these incompetent pinko commie fucks almost 5 years to track down a bunch of teenagers. Warned at the last second, he disbanded his team and everyone scattered while he evac’ed to the Warsaw train station. With two guns strapped to his body, this 18-year-old freedom-fighter hid under a train carriage to escape police detection and traveled undetected into Berlin. He was quarantined and debriefed in Germany before being vetted by US Army Intelligence. They transferred Rafał to France where he was sent into a hardcore commando course and the Free Polish Armed Forces in Exile’s version of OCS. He was part of a joint clandestine operation between the US and the Polish government-in-exile in London where he was commissioned as a 2LT in the Polish army and slated to be parachuted into Soviet-occupied Poland during the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, Operation Rollback never happened due to the failed insurrection in Hungary in 1956, paired with the softening of US-Soviet relations. The commando teams were disbanded. Cut adrift, this trained warrior was once again unemployed and without a place to call home.
This didn’t stop Rafał as he said “fuck it” and swore to fight the Communists at the next possible opportunity. For the next few years, the ex-commando worked as a high school teacher in France. Hearing about the atrocities in Congo in 1965, he volunteered to fight with Moses Tschombe against his USSR backed enemies. Mass slaughter, rebellions and revolutions exploded across the country. The land not only became the front lines of a Cold War battlefield, but also a free-for-all arena for wanna-be warlords and ferocious tribal groups.
Rafał led his mercenary battalion in eastern Congo in defense of Stanleyville and later operated between Katanga & Kivu. His troops were the warlike Katangans and a handful of Western NCOs and officers. He led his small battalion and defeated the deadly revolutionaries of the Red Chinese trained Pierre Mulele. He next took the fight to Gaston Soumialot’s 10,000 rebels who were supported by the Cubans and Soviets. As Gaston’s communists forces proceeded to get sodomized by this hard charging Polish badass, the USSR & Cuba took a more active role in the conflict. They started transporting supplies, armored vehicles, small arms and personnel such as 200 Soviet and Cuban “Advisors” including that piece of shit Che Guevara. Rafał rolled up his sleeves and continued to buttfuck these commies and captured the Soviet trained leader Mkundu in the process. Ultimately Rafał’s mercenaries, at the head of Tschombe troops, routed Che Guevarra, and forced him and his Cubans to flee.
Next, the units under Rafał worked to restore peace and order. The task was difficult because not only were Rafał’s men fighting communists, but they were also fighting local warlords who committed mass atrocities. A group who called themselves the "People Crocodiles" kidnapped and ate the peaceful fishermen of M'Wabu by the Lualaba River, decorating their camp-site with the heads of the victims. Rafał led his men and hunted the murderers down and executed every single one of them with extreme prejudice.
After Tschombe was suppressed and exiled to Northern Rhodesia, Rafał took a Saudi contract in Yemen to train tribal insurgents in 1967. Rafał accepted the contract because he knew that anywhere the Communist Revolution prevailed meant oppression, terror, and, genocide. He would die before allowing the Communists to ruin another family or destroy another nation. His mercenaries crushed the Egyptian National Socialist auxiliaries of the Kremlin. After facing down the Egyptians, he started to target Soviet advisors and their assets. He shot down a MIG-29 fighter plane piloted by Colonel Kozlov, the leader of the Red Army “Advisors” in Yemen. Ganowicz found a list of Soviet fighter pilots deployed in Yemen on Kozlov’s body. This list was handed over to the proper authorities. Ganowicz also obliterated an entire convoy of state of the art Soviet tanks in a mountain canyon ambush. And get this, he leveled the Soviet Embassy in Yemen with mortars. Why? Cause fuck Communism, that why.
By the end of the 1960s, Rafał was back in Paris. True to his rule to fight only against the Nazis and Communists, he turned down multiple offers that didn’t fit his beliefs. He was a mercenary with an honor code. These offers included a request from Fidel Castro to lead one of his revolutionary missions and proposals from his old commanding officer to overthrow African governments. Rafał refused them all, although he strongly considered going to Cuba on his own to assassinate Castro.
In the late 1970s he became a journalist for Radio Free Europe. When the communists imposed martial law, he became the chief coordinator in the west for the the Fighting Solidarity Movement. They conducted information warfare, printed and distributed many underground newspapers and infiltrated members into Poland’s secret police and supported anti-communist movements all across the Soviet Bloc. In the mid-1980s Gan Ganowicz also agreed to serve as a commanding officer of a CIA-backed Polish Legion to fight in Afghanistan. But unfortunately the CIA wanted more deniability and went with Operation: Cyclone instead. It’s a shame, cause I can totally imagine Rafał doing some badass Rambo III type shit by plugging communist pigs with explosive arrows.
By the end of the 1990s Rafal moved to Poland after the Soviet Union collapsed. There, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Nazi death squads, a concentration camp, Soviet Secret Police and several different Soviet militias trained by the best USSR, Chinese and Cubans Special forces couldn’t kill him. The Grim Reaper had to turn Ganowicz’s own body against him. Despite medical intervention, he died in 2002. Gan Ganowicz left behind a memoir titled Condottieri, "Soldiers of Fortune." Rafał’s dream of eradicating Communism worldwide was never fulfilled, but he led a life worth living, he fought as a teenager to protect his home then left to fight his own global war against the growing threat of Communism, came back to see his home finally free of the shackles of fascist and communist tyranny before dying.
Most famously, a reporter once asked Ganowicz what it felt like to kill a human being.
He replied: “I wouldn’t know, I’ve only ever killed Communists”
About the author: Andy, is a US Army Infantryman and your local Friendly Neighborhood Rooftop Korean. When he's not burning through his savings at the range, you can find him online sharing memes, playing video games, and writing stories about the baddest warriors throughout history. You can follow all of Andy's NSFW content at @call_me_ak on Instagram.