Tip-off from mystery man on bike leads explorers to hidden weapons stash

The haul of weapons dating back to WWII was found in woods near the border with Germany by members of the Perkun Exploration Association after the man on the bike told them his grandfather had buried them nearby. Krzysztof Socha/ Stowarzyszenie Eksploracji Perkun

History hunters have found a haul of weapons from World War II after a tip-off from a mystery man on a bike.

The haul of 12 weapons was found in woods outside the town of Rzepin, in western Poland, near the border with Germany, by members of the Perkun Exploration Association, which focuses on the search for historical secrets and treasures.

Included among the weapons were nine German Mauser rifles.Krzysztof Socha/ Stowarzyszenie Eksploracji Perkun

The Mauser Gewehr 41 rifles were semi-automatic guns used by Nazi Germany during WWII.Public domain

The story began four years ago when members of the Association were out exploring and got chatting to a man on a bike who expressed interest in their equipment.

Paweł Piątkiewicz from the Association told regional newspaper Gazeta Lubuska: “It quickly turned out that the man on the bicycle had very interesting information to convey.

“At the end of the conversation, he said that his grandfather had shown him a place in the woods where he buried a deposit of firearms in the 1950s.”

The Perkun Exploration Association discovered the haul after being tipped off by a mystery man on a bike. Stowarzyszenie Eksploracji Perkun

The group travelled to the site, where the man showed them an area covering around 100 metres.

Despite the unexpected tip-off from the stranger, it took another four years before Piątkiewicz and his team could obtain the necessary permissions to start searching for the weapons using metal detectors.

It took the Association four years to uncover the weapons as they had to wait for permission before they could start searching.Stowarzyszenie Eksploracji Perkun

Working with an archeologist, last week they eventually discovered the stash, which included nine German Mauser rifles, a German MP-40 submachine gun, a Soviet submachine gun and a rare French Lebel R35 rifle.

Little is known about the circumstances in which the weapons were buried, the stranger on the bike lacked information himself and his grandfather is no longer alive.

The explorers also uncovered the remains of a rare French Lebel R35 rifle.Stowarzyszenie Eksploracji Perkun

The remains of an MP40 Submachine gun.Stowarzyszenie Eksploracji Perkun

The MP40 was developed in Nazi Germany and used extensively by the Axis powers during World War II.Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-278-0899-26 / Wehmeyer / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Piątkiewicz has linked the hidden weapons to Poland’s history after 1945, when this area became part of the country and Polish settlers moved there.

“We can only assume that the settlers who arrived here shortly after the end of World War II might have felt a threat in new, unknown territories. Times were very turbulent,” he said.

The weapons could have belonged to Poland’s ‘Cursed Soldiers’, anti-Soviet resistance fighters who continued their fight against repression well into the 1950s.Public domain

Later, the more stable situation and the threat of punishment for the illegal possession of weapons may have led the person with the weapons to bury them in the forest, he suggested.

The weapons will undergo renovation at the museum at the Kostrzyn nad Odrą Fortress, where they will be put on display.