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September 1, 1939 in Jastrzębie-Zdrój.
General situation and deployment.
The pre-war period was characterized by a greater activity of the German minority. All kinds of militias were created and both the provocations and the confrontations between German militiamen and the Polish Youth of the Young Insurgent Union were usually in the agenda. The repeated German attacks on border villages and customs checkpoints accelerated the creation of voluntary insurgent troops, composed of veterans of the Silesian revolts. Only in the district of Rybnik consisted of eight battalions, which brought together a total of almost 3,000 people.
In the summer of 1939 the German provocations on the border in Polish territory, including Silesia, intensified. Preparations began to defend against the next aggression of the Third Reich in Poland. Two independent defensive positions (OW) were organized within the province: "Rybnik" and "Ignacy". "Rybnik", was organized to cover the southern wing of the "Silesia" Operative Group (GO Slask) and to cover the approach of the enemy towards Pszczyna, consisted of an infantry battalion of the 75. Pułku Piechoty, battalion of National Defense ON "Rybnik" of the reserve 55. Dywizji Piechoty, a cyclist squadron and an artillery group of the 23. Pułku Artylerii Lekkiej. "Ignacy" consisted of two infantry battalions, an artillery group and a squadron of the 3. Pułku Ułanów of Pszczyna. Both detachments had the task of delaying the enemy's march on the Rybnik - Wodzisław - Bogumin line by attacking their spearheads and recognizing the advancing German forces on their approach avenues before they reach the main defense position. The district of Rybnik, which shared a common border with the Third Reich of 84 km, was to be defended by 4 infantry battalions, 2 artillery groups, a cyclist company and a Ulan squadron.
In detail, the Polish deployment was as follows:
Border guard - 2 companies, voluntary patrols of the 6th, 21st and 23rd Sapper Battalions, in the Rydułtowy tunnel: a position of the 3rd Battalion of the 20º pp [per. Ignacy Kupfer], on the bridge over the Odra river near Olza: a position of the 3rd Battalion of the 20º pp [por. Stanisław Orłowski], Bugumin: 3rd Battalion of the 3 Pułku Strzelców Podhalańskich [ppłk Wacław Iwaszkiewicz] after the destruction of the bridges in the Oder [in charge of the Pl. of por. res. Bolesław Gajdzica] had to leave for Jastrzębie-Strumień-Pszczyna, and establish a platoon position in Bożej Górze, and the work was directed by por. Jerzy Bernatzik, Wodzisław: territorial self-defense battalion, Jastrzębie: 3rd Squadron of the 3rd Pułku Ułanów of Silesia [ritm. Otto Ejsymont] with the position extended to Mszany, with an infantry Pl of the 7th Rifle Company commanding by ppor. Karol Zawistowski of the 3 PSP, Rybnik: 1st Battalion of the 75th Pułku Piechoty [mjr. Władysław Mażewski] and a company from the Battalion ON Rybnik [Cpt. Jan Kwaśniewski], Żory: 2 companies of battalion ON Rybnik [mjr. Tadeusz Kwiatkowski], cyclist company and 5th battery of the 23 pułku artylerii lekkiej [cpt. Mikołaj Józef Stranz], standing position Branica-Brzeżce-Wisła Wielka: 4th combined battalion of 16 pułku piechoty [mjr. Stanisław Rachwał] - Branica 3rd Battalion of 20º pp minus 7. Company [mjr. Tytus Brzosko] - Brzeźce 1st Group of 6 pułku artylerii lekkiej minus one battery in Poręba [mjr. Franciszek Mrowiec], 7. Company of 20 pp [per. Stanisław Kosmala] with a battery of the 6 pal - Wisła Wielka. As for the section "Bielsko" was occupied by the 21st Dywizję Górską, in the Pszczyna area a weak detachment called "Ignacy" was in position and most of the forces of the 6th Dywizji Piechoty, on 1 September, were at about 40 km behind Pszczyna in the Skawina - Wadowice region.
As for the Germans, in the Rybnik-Wodzisław district, the 5. Pz commanded by General von Viettinghoff-Scheel was deployed for the attack, forming part of the VIII. AK of General Ernst Busch (14. AOK, Army Group South). The core of this division was the 8th Armored Brigade [Oberst Haarde] with two regiments: PR 15 [Oberst Streich] and PR 31 [Oberst Schuckelt] - with 330 tanks and armored vehicles of various types. In addition, in the division was the 5th Rifle Brigade [Oberst Degener] - with the SR 13 [Oberst Lubbe] and SR 14 [Oberst Stegmann], which provided motorized infantry support. It also had artillery (AR 116), exploration (AA
, engineers (Pi 89), antitank (Pz Abw., Abt. 53) and communications (Na.At 77).
The main objective of the 5. Pz was to win as fast as possible bridgeheads on the Vistula, to facilitate a new attack towards the interior of the country. Breaking the Polish defensive position in the place less fortified about 3 km south of Pszczyna on the boundary of the 6th and 21st divisions. The Germans, based on reports, knew perfectly the weakness of this sector of the defense. As a condition for the rapid success of the offensive, the armored units had to capture bridges, viaducts and tunnels in the defensive border belt. The sappers of the 6th and 21st Battalions managed to destroy all the border bridges: 4 road and 3 railroads; in turn, they failed to blast bridges in Leśnica, in Wodzisław, in Szotkówce by Gogołowej and in Bożą Górą, as well as in Pszczyna in Brzeźce.
On August 23, 1939, it was learned about the pact of Non-aggression with the Soviet Union and on August 24, 1939 at 12:40 hours arrived from the VIII. AK the signal: "1. Y-Tag: 26.8". On August 25, 1939, a squadron of the 3rd Uhlans Regiment of Silesia arrived at Jastrzębie Zdrój, commanded by the ritm. Otto Zygmunt Ejsymont, who was part of the grouping of the independent position "Ignacy" in Wodzisław. The platoon commanders were ppor. Maksymilian Lohman, ppor. Jan Krzywicki and ppor. Hieronim Pauziński. The group of heavy machine guns was commanded by the kapral Edward Nowicki. The sappers and the local population dug trenches in Boźej Górze and built positions for machine guns and antitank guns. The foot of the hill was surrounded by fences of barbed wire. On the night of August 25, 1939 the units of the 5. Pz occupied their positions northeast of Ratibor in the vicinity of the forest of Rauden, but at 21:20 hours came suddenly the order to return to the old readiness areas to the west of Ratibor. Finally, on August 31, 1939, at 11:30 hours, the order of the VIII. AK arrived: "March on the night from August 31 to September 1. Detach a courier Officer to the Command of the Corps at 15:00 hours." At 19:00 hours the officer returned with the order to cross the border on September 1, 1939 at 04:45.
Sources: http://www.pamiec.jasnet.pl/historia_ja ... 3ry,17.htm
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