Hello to all
; something on the subject.............................
Drama in Szczekociny -September 1939.
Szczekociny was in the line of the main enemy attack, which was the 10th Army (General W. von Reichenau) of Army Group South (Colonel General G. von Rundstedt). The straight-line distance of Szczekociny from the borders of the German Reich was only 70 km. The city's location on the weaker northern flank of the "Kraków" Army (Brigadier General Antoni Szylling) weakened its defensive position. Another unfavorable fact was the lack of army reserves and fortifications prepared in time. It should be noted at this point that in the defense plan of Poland, the most important role was played by the "Krakow" Army, the so-called "Hinge". Their goal was to block enemy troops until the remaining armies withdrew to the Vistula-Narew defense line. The concept of an encirclement from two directions had been developed in the German general staffs: East Prussia and the Silesia-Częstochowa region towards central Poland. Most of the Polish army was to be surrounded, with a cut off retreat beyond the Vistula and the San. The area east of the Saint-Vistula-Narew line was to be occupied by the Red Army in accordance with a secret protocol of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 23, 1939.
On the night of August 19-20, 1939, the 2. Le. Div left his peace garrison, the motorized march continued through Zwickau-Annaberg-Komotau-Brüx-Dux towards Teplitz-Schonau; the Pz Abt 66 was transported by rail. In the second week of August it occupied a staging area in the Groß Strehlitz area. For its part, the 3. Le Div was on the march towards the Polish border as of August 20, 1939. First, it followed the Autobahn to Forst, to reach Liegnitz, in Military District VIII. From there it went along country roads to the outskirts of Jauer, also Military District VIII. On the afternoon of August 23, 1939, the division continued towards the border. It went southeast through Jauer, Striegau, Schweidnitz and Reichenbach. On the afternoon of August 25, 1939, the orders for the Fall Weiss were received. The direction of march was now changed to the east. The Oder was crossed south of Oppeln near Krappitz. The 5./ KSR 8 arrived at Guttenberg and went to a school around 10:00. This Squadron, commanded by Rittmeister Freiherr von Wolff (later awarded the Knight's Cross), advanced around 8:00 p.m. to take up a reserve position through Zochwald to the border. Squadrons from KSR 9 advanced to the border deployment overnight. Around 02:00 hours on August 26, 1939, the regiments were ordered to fall back. They then moved back about 60 kilometers to the west and settled in the Proskau area.
On the night of August 31, 1939, the closest Polish Army unit to Szczekociny was the Krakow Cavalry Brigade (BK) commanded by Brig. Zygmunt Piasecki, deployed on the Warta River, mainly near the town of Woźniki (55 km). On the border, near the town of Kalety and further north near Koszęcin, the 3rd pułk ułanów (lancers regiment) of the cavalry brigade, the "Lubliniec" National Defense Battalion, an armored squadron, units of the Border Protection Corps (KOP) and a squadron of cyclists. Across the border, the German 2. Le. Div (Generalleutnant G. Stumme) was ready. Apart from the tanks, the light division had several dozen armored vehicles and artillery of various calibers, from grenade launchers and mortars to howitzers. The disproportion of forces between the Polish cavalry brigade and the German light division was enormous in terms of equipment and personnel. Cavalrymen partially made up for this difference in bravery, unit mobility, and knowledge of the terrain. Unfortunately, they were practically defenseless against bombing aircraft. Ground-based anti-aircraft defense was ineffective and the few aircraft owned were obsolete and slower than the German ones (except for Łoś bombers).
The second Polish unit near Szczekociny was the 7th Infantry Division (DP) commanded by Brigadier General Janusz Gąsiorowski. The major had been released from the hospital at his own request, having returned to the division just hours before the war broke out after several operations. Not being well versed in the latest preparations of his unit, he had great difficulty commanding it and the burden of managing the division fell to his deputy, Colonel Dipl. Kazimierz Janicki. Spread out on too long a front (about 40 km) on the outskirts of Częstochowa, this unit was a weak obstacle, especially for the armored forces. The regulation defensive front of the infantry division in the Polish army was 7-8 km. There was a gap between the BK Kraków and the 7th Infantry Division and the two units had no direct contact with each other.
The lack of divisional cavalry due to late mobilizations and unfinished fortifications (12 combat bunkers compared to 61 planned), as well as the extension of some units to the very border weakened the defense force of the 7th Division. Meanwhile, its main task was to act as a retarding and protective effect. Only in the creators' minds did the plan work well. In fact, the 7th DP was alone and lost in the overwhelming advantage of the enemy. According to the eminent General Kazimierz Sosnkowski (initially removed from defensive actions), the road to Kielce and Radom was by no means assured.
Unfortunately, the general was right. The Germans skilfully exploited the weakness of the Polish defense lines in this area by deploying powerful fists: the XVI Motorized Corps (General E. Hoepner) with the 1st and 4th Armored Divisions, and the XV Light Corps (Gen. H. Hoth ) along with selected infantry divisions. As a result, Szczekociny found itself near the most dangerous section of the entire Polish front. In the last days of August, the Polish command erred in announcing two general mobilizations, causing delay and chaos. At the end of the month, the mobilization was carried out by 66% and the concentration by 45%. The lack of transportation also affected the Polish concentration, which on September 1 was not even 50% carried out.
For the "Krakow" army, practically this meant having no reserves. The breach of the front line on its northern wing opened the way for the Germans to the Świętokrzyskie mountains, Warsaw and the Vistula. With optimistic propaganda in the press and posters plastered ("Strong, Compact, Ready", "We will not surrender to our attacker, we will win", etc.), it is difficult to suppose that the inhabitants of Szczekociny were aware of the real threat of war in July. People deluded themselves into thinking that Hitler was lying, that he was just scaring with war, and that he was basically talking about Danzig and the so-called "Corridor" in Pomerania. Only in the last days of August, after the mobilization order, did the illusions of peace burst like a soap bubble. In society, however, one did not feel the horror of the situation, but the excitement and curiosity. The population massively bought food products and listened to bad news on the radio. Overall, optimism and a sense of ultimate victory prevailed, as they had the help of strong allies.
Sources: https://historiaszczekocin.pl/dzieje-sz ... -1939-roku
https://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gl ... 3leD-R.htm
http://obronanarodowa1939.pl/bataliony- ... iniec.html
http://chrito.users1.50megs.com/photos/ ... /2lei1.htm
Cheers. Raúl M
Serás lo que debas ser o no serás nada. General José de San Martín.