Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

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Domen123
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Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by Domen123 » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:02 am

Both battles - battle of Ruszki and battle of Kiernozia - took place during the battle of Bzura, during the failed German massive Panzer attack on the Polish forces.

In the battle of Ruszki Panzer-Regiment 35. was defeated. The regiment suffered heavy casualties in the previous battles. When the battle of Ruszki beginned, Panzer-Regiment 35. had got only 88 operational tanks (out of the initial amount of 177 - 185 tanks). During the battle Panzer-Regiment 35. was supported by Waffen SS motorized regiment, elite "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" and by 12. Infanterie-Regiment (motorized).

According to the German data in the battle of Ruszki German Panzer-Regiment 35. lost 23 destroyed tanks + some more damaged. Panzer-Regiment 35. lost also 30 dead (16 KIA, 14 MIA) - among them Leutnant Diebisch - and 19 WIA (among them heavilly wounded Leutnant Cossel) during that battle. According to the Poles Polish forces reported eliminating 29 tanks in the battle of Ruszki (so probably 6 were damaged). The majority of those tanks were later blown up by the Poles when they rejected the German forces and captured the battlefield (that is why percent of totally destroyed tanks out of the total casualties was so high). Colonel Eberbach (commander of Panzer-Regiment 35.) wrote in his memories about the battle of Ruszki - "there was like in the Devil's Kettle":

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The same tank after transporting it to Sochaczew (it was staying there at least untill winter of 1939 / 1940):

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Somewhere near Ruszki:

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In the battle of Kiernozia the whole 1. Panzer-Division was defeated. At first the German Panzer attack supported by motorized infantry and motorized artillery was doing well, but when the German forces rushed deep into the Polish positions, both Panzer-Regiments of the division were dispersed and encircled by the Poles inside terrain controled by the Polish forces. The majority of dispersed German tanks also lost contact with both the divisional command and with other tanks. During the night those tanks were under constant attacks of the Polish infantry. Germans called this defeat "Hell at Kiernozia". Percent of destroyed and burned tanks out of all casualties was certainly also very high because the Poles captured the terrain after the battle and finished off the majority of previously eliminated and then captured tanks. I don't have, however, any accounts on German casualties in that battle. After the failed attack, during the following days and nights dispersed and encircled German tanks were trying to escape by breaking through the Polish encirclement and regroup. Finally part of them managed to break through, part was destroyed, and the rest of remaining tanks was liberated by other German units.

Two photos of Panzer IV of captain von Kockeritz (commander of 8. company of Panzer-Regiment 1.) - destroyed by Polish 37mm AT gun on 16th of September during the battle of Kiernozia. Von Kockeritz was KIA:

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The same tank after transporting it to Sochaczew (it was staying there at least untill winter of 1939 / 1940):

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We can see tanks destroyed during one of combats near the village Skowroda (7 - 8 km from Kiernozia) - 18th of September:

Destroyed Panzer IV:

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The same as in the previous photos (wider view):

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Different wreck:

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Panzer IV number I01 of commander of I battalion of Panzer-Regiment 1. from 1. Panzer-Division destroyed during the battle of Kiernozia:

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Near the village Sierżniki - 2 km from the road Kiernozia - Łowicz, 5 km to the north from Łowicz - 19th of September:

Four photos of completely destroyed Panzer IV:

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Another photo from the battle of Kiernozia - maybe it is different wreck, maybe the same as in the previous four photos:

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Both battles - the battle of Kiernozia and the battle of Ruszki - beginned at the same time - on 16th of September in the morning - and both were parts of one bigger operation.

Both attacking groups - Panzer-Regiment 35. + supporting units and 1. Panzer-Division - had got the same target - Ruszki.

Both units were to attack towards Ruszki, establish contact there - and then attack further together to cut in half the Polish forces.

Both attacks of course failed - instead of one great victory there were two great disasters - but it should be stressed that the catastrophe of 1. Panzer-Division was much greater.
In the battle of Kiernozia the whole 1. Panzer-Division was defeated. At first the German Panzer attack supported by motorized infantry and motorized artillery was doing well, but when the German forces rushed deep into the Polish positions, both Panzer-Regiments of the division were dispersed and encircled by the Poles inside terrain controled by the Polish forces. The majority of dispersed German tanks also lost contact with both the divisional command and with other tanks [...]
At first the German tanks were attacking with support of motorized infantry and motorized artillery. Soon they lost contact with infantry which was supporting them because of the enemy resistance. Infantry was rejected by the Poles and couldn't advance further - tanks attacked then alone, but couldn't break the resistance of the Polish AT resistance nests and were dispersed, suffering heavy casualties in next combats with each of the Polish nests - they were trying then to make a detour round the Polish resistance nests - and in this way they were advancing slowly inside the Polish positions, but were finally stopped on the next defensive line (villages Błędów, Karnków, Rożyce, Osiek) by heavilly outnumbered and much weaker Polish forces (one infantry regiment with support of 2 AT guns, 1 howitzer 155mm and unidentified number of AT rifles) - this was the decisive moment of the battle. That German attack was chaotic and was easilly repulsed by the Polish infantry regiment (58. Infantry Regiment) with heavy casualties for the attackers (over a dozen of tanks).

Then the Germans tried to regroup at least partially and repeated the attack more briskly, but the Poles had already received reinforcements in the meantime and the attack was rejected again. Soon dispersed German forces were counterattacked by the Poles, encircled and decisively crushed.

It was on 16th of September:
During the night [16th /17th of September] those tanks were under constant attacks of the Polish infantry. Germans called this defeat "Hell at Kiernozia". Percent of destroyed and burned tanks out of all casualties was certainly also very high because the Poles captured the terrain after the battle and finished off the majority of previously eliminated and then captured tanks. I don't have, however, any accounts on German casualties in that battle. After the failed attack, during the following days and nights dispersed and encircled German tanks were trying to escape by breaking through the Polish encirclement and regroup. Finally part of them managed to break through, part was destroyed, and the rest of remaining tanks was liberated by other German units.
If it comes to the battle of Ruszki again:

It should be stressed that according to the relation of pułkownik Ludwik Głowacki, during the combat near Ruszki (which was the main part of the battle) 6. battery of 17. light artillery regiment (4 howitzers 100mm) - which was under his command - eliminated 22 enemy tanks by indirect fire (on the next day - 17th of September - those 22 tanks were blown up by the Polish sappers, to make shure that none of them will be repaired).

According to the same relation at the beginning of the combat of Ruszki, AT platoon from 3. battalion of 68. infantry regiment (AT guns were hidden in the forest) eliminated one enemy tank - it was also finished off by the sappers on the next day to increase the level of damage - so to make the wreck impossible to be repaired.

So all together the Poles reported destroying 23 German tanks in the combat near Ruszki (in the whole battle of Ruszki Polish forces reported eliminating 29 tanks, including 23 with such a high level of damage, that they were reported as destroyed).

Once again Polish data is 100% in agreement with the German data, which also says about 23 destroyed tanks (the majority of them were from 6. company of II. battalion of PR.35 - which was almost completely eliminated).

The only difference is that Oberstleutenant Eberbach - commander of PR.35 - writes in his memories, that those German tanks were eliminated by AT guns hidden in the forest.

In fact only the first one was eliminated by the Polish AT gun hidden in the forest - the remaining 22 were eliminated by 6. light battery with 4 howitzers 100mm, by indirect fire. Those howitzers came into combat several minutes after the battle beginned - so at the beginning only AT platoon of 3. battalion of 68. infantry regiment was fighting with the Germans.

According to the Polish data, those 4 howitzers shot around 250 rounds during that combat. The combat lasted for over an hour. Polish howitzers apart from eliminating those 22 tanks, reported also destroying over 30 enemy motorcycles during it. Casualties of 6. light battery from 17. light artillery regiment were reported as 6 wounded, 0 dead - this includes 5 gunners and one officer - major Alojzy Krannerwetter.

To this we must also add casualties of infantry on both sides.

In his memories, Oberstleutenant Eberbach also writes that the Germans captured 2 Polish guns during the battle of Ruszki (they were not from 6. battery - I don't know from which unit could they be) - but it was during the initial stages of the battle - the German advance towards Ruszki - not during the combat near Ruszki, which was the main and decisive part of the battle.

The Poles reported that those 23 destroyed tanks were from:

"SS "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" maybe also from 4. Panzerdivision"

Of course SS "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler" did not have any tanks - tanks were from PR.35, and "LAH" was supporting it during the battle - so destroyed motorcycles and prisoners who were captured by the Poles, were from "LAH" and maybe also from 12. Schutzen-Regiment.

"LAH" didn't have any tanks - but it could have such armoured vehicles (this one is from SS "Germania" - it was destroyed most probably in the battle of Jaworów and Sądowa Wisznia 14th - 16th of September 1939):

Name - "Leopard":

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By the way - it would be a very interesting thing to make a small comparison of the battle of Mokra (1 IX 1939) and the battle of Ruszki (16 IX) - especcialy in context of casualties suffered by the German tanks in both battles.

The battle of Mokra:

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=23490&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

viewtopic.php?f=45&t=29235

Panzer-Regiment 35. took part in both battles and I know its casualties in both battles - so we can compare its casualties in them.

Well - in the battle of Mokra Panzer-Regiment 35. lost around 45 - or even more - tanks, but according to the German data only 14 of them were damaged so heavily - level of damage was so high -, that they were reported as destroyed by the Germans.

So - de facto - Panzer-Regiment 35. in the battle of Mokra lost fewer tanks as "Totalshaden", than in the battle of Ruszki - despite the fact that its overal losses in the battle of Mokra were around two-times higher than in the battle of Ruszki.

Also its men casualties in the battle of Mokra were lower than in the battle of Ruszki - according to the German data - 14 KIA, 15 WIA, no MIA.

And in the battle of Ruszki - 30 dead (including 16 KIA and 14 MIA) and 19 WIA.

It of course resulted from the fact, that the Poles captured the battlefield after the battle of Ruszki - and from the fact that the Poles did not capture it (finally - because temporary they captured it - and it is possible that the Poles made use of it, "finishing off" some of the German immobilized wrecks) after the battle of Mokra - because the Poles withdrew from the battlefield soon after the end of the battle.

I think that it also resulted from the fact, that in the battle of Ruszki the majority of German tanks were eliminated by howitzers calibre 100mm (and then once more were blown up by the sappers and infantry - increasing levels of damages), and in the battle of Mokra tanks were being eliminated mainly by weapons of smaller calibre, which were - almost always - inflicting smaller damages - that is, AT guns calibre 37mm and field guns calibre 75mm type 02/26 - and also AT rifles.

But it does not change the fact, that on 8. / 9. of September - soon before the attack on Warsaw - Panzer-Regiment 35. had got only 120 tanks operational (out of the initial amount of 177 - 185 tanks - according to different sources) - so 57 - 65 tanks fewer than on 31st of August (of them surely around 45 - maybe a bit more - are losses due to the battle of Mokra - and the remaining casualties are mainly from the battle of Tomaszów Mazowiecki - Piotrków Trbunalski 5. - 6. IX 1939 - and also combats of this regiment in the battle of Borowskie Mountains, combats near Radomsko, and Polish bombardments of XVI Panzerkorps by the Bombers Brigade - and also other, smaller skirmishes, which were fought by the tanks of this regiment during their battle-route towards Warsaw - provided they suffered any casualties in those skirmishes).

Capturing the battlefield by one of sides of the conflict, affects in a considerable way the results of the combat - we can say - affects casualties (but does not multiply or increase it !).

But - as I wrote - it does not multiplies casualties - they are still the same (optionally they increase only a bit due to - for example - capturing tanks which were not damaged, but - eg. - abandoned by the crew or got stuck in the mad - and normally would be easilly recovered). Whereas for shure it was increasing level of damages inflicted - therefore - percent of casualties not possible to be repaired - "Totalshaden" - was certainly higher.

Not to be groundless in my statements, I am placing here several photos which are showing wrecks of German tanks from the battlefield of Mokra - we can clearly see, that the level of damage of the vast majority of them is much less serious than in the photos showing wrecks from the battlefield of Ruszki or - even the more - from the battlefield of Kiernozia. They are not so heavily damaged as those wrecks:

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My sources:

Memories of Oberstleutenant Eberbach - commander of Panzer-Regiment 35. - "Sturmfahrt auf Warschau", German daily reports from ww2 day by day, memories of porucznik Jakiel - commander of recon company of 58. Infantry Regiment, book "Bzura 1939" by Tadeusz Jurga, Warszawa 1984 (chapter "Panzer attack in the region of Sochaczew and Brochów"), monograph by Jerzy Godlewski "Bitwa nad Bzurą" ("The battle of Bzura"), memories titled "Tanks were burning at the Bzura" by Witold Engel, Wincenty Iwanowski - "Combats of Operational Group of general Knoll-Kownacki with the German XVI Panzerkorps 16-17 IX 1939", part I and part II.

Photos - mainly from Polish forums, excellent "dws forum" and excellent "odkrywca forum".

Forum odkrywca:

www.odkrywca.pl/forum.php

Cheers,

Domen

Domen123
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Re: Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by Domen123 » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:38 am

The same tank after transporting it to Sochaczew (it was staying there at least untill winter of 1939 / 1940):

The same tank after transporting it to Sochaczew (it was staying there at least untill winter of 1939 / 1940):
Sochaczew - Towarowa street - to be more accurate.

Cheers,

Domen

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Re: Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by Klaus_Arzt » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:38 am

Hello Domen 123 thanks for sharing all this splendid info with us. Very nice indeed. :up: , btw do you happen to have any info on the Battle of Szack?
best regards
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Re: Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by Domen123 » Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:28 pm

Hi Klaus_Arzt,

Thanks very much for comment :wink:
btw do you happen to have any info on the Battle of Szack?
Yes - I have some info on it - what do you need :wink: ? But I think that we can make a new thread to talk about it.

If it comes to the battles of Ruszki and Kiernozia again - I found such a video on you tube - in 0:11 we can see one of the wrecks from Ruszki, picture of which was posted above - but here is quite different (better imo) view:

In 1:16 we can also see one of the wrecks from the battle of Ruszki. And in 1:05 it is an armoured car destroyed near / in the village called Kakolowka (very "famous" wreck):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN4IGV-n ... re=related

And by the way - I'm not shure, but the first photo in the video can be from the battlefield near Piotrkow Trybunalski and Tomaszow Mazowiecki (fierce battle 5 IX - 6 IX 1939).

Cheers!,

Domen

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Re: Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by Klaus_Arzt » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:04 am

Hi Domen123! yeah a new thread would be great and thanks for a link on the video. And about the Battle of Szack - it'd be great to learn more about the order of battle, the strengths and weaknesses of the sides and most preferably maps and photos (if there are any)
Thanks in advance, Klaus_Arzt :D
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Re: Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by Domen123 » Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:59 pm

The battle of Kiernozia:

More photos from the same places - villages Sierżniki and Skowroda (even same soldiers can be seen) - more tanks which were destroyed in these two villages during the battle of Kiernozia:

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Is it the same tank as in the previous photo or some other one?:

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More tanks destroyed in this place:

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The same tank:

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Another one:

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================================================

The battle of Ruszki - more photos:

"106":

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"534" - what are they doing?:

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Re: Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by sebastian » Thu Dec 25, 2008 3:10 am

nice pictures guys,thx for sharing
united we stand,divided we fall

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Re: Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by Domen123 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:17 pm

And here another photo of "534" destroyed during the battle of Ruszki (probably the best one):

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Re: Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by Domen123 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:14 am

According to Georg Hans Reinhardt, "Die 4. Panzer-Division vor Warschau und an der Bzura vom 9.-20.9.1939", "Wehrkunde" 1958, No 5, page 243 - German tank losses at the Bzura on 16 IX alone amounted to - bagatelle! - 120 tanks destroyed or damaged! It probably refers to both Pz.Div.s of XVI. Panzer-Korps (4. and 1.) as it would be hard to believe indeed that only 4. Pz.Div. suffered such losses (especially that it didn't have much more than 180 - 200 tanks operational in total at that time, PR.35 had 90, so it would mean that it suffered over 60% casualties!).

Another interesting info is that one can find German memoirs from the battle of Ruszki in "Schwarze Husaren, Panzer in Polen", by Willi Reibig, on pages - more or less - 68 to 71. I think that Richard Hargreaves didn't quote this part of Reibig's memoirs in his book, so one has to check the original. It seems that it was the company in which Reibig served, which was so unlucky that it suffered the highest losses during that battle (after encountering the battery of 100mm howitzers under Glowacki). It seems that Reibig's company was 6./Pz.Rgt.35: Oberst Eberbach in "So Lebten und Starben Sie: Das Buch vom Pz-Rgt 35", writes that this company was almost annihilated there.

If it comes to more exact data on German tank losses at the Bzura - after comparing casualty reports of 1st Panzer-Division (first report is from 16 IX and refers to losses in period 1-14 IX, 2nd report refers to losses in period 1-25 IX) we can see that irrecoverable losses alone ("Totalausfalle" *) of this division during the battle of Bzura amounted to 42 tanks, including 18 Pz-I, 12 Pz-II, 1 Pz-III, as many as 10 Pz-IV (!) and 1 Pz-Bef. Vast majority of them were certainly lost on 16 and 17 IX during combats near Kiernozia and Rybno, the worst defeat of Panzerwaffe in Poland.

* The report says: Totalausfalle an Panzer-Kampfwagen und Panzerspahwagen v.1 - 14.9.1939. (Die bei den Panzer-Werkstatt-Komp. z.Zt. in der Instandsetzung befindlichen Pz.Kpf.Wg. sind in der Aufstellung nicht enthalten.)

This report mentions the loss of 48 AFVs, including 43 tanks (7 Pz-I, 17 Pz-II, 10 Pz-III, 6 Pz-IV, 3 Pz-Bef). Later report mentions 85 tanks, so we can see that losses in period 15 - 25 IX amounted to 42 tanks (broken down as above).

Most of those 43 tanks destroyed before Bzura, were lost during the battles of Piotrkow and Tomaszow (4 - 6 IX).

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Re: Ruszki & Kiernozia Poland 1939 - Panzers crushed by infantry

Post by Domen123 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:12 am

When it comes to the Polish success in combats against 1. Pz.Div. and 4. Pz.Div. on 16.09.1939:

Instructions of gen. Knoll-Kownacki concernig repulsing tank attacks from 15.09.1939:
Ruszki Kiernozia 1.jpg
Ruszki Kiernozia 1.jpg (156.98 KiB) Viewed 5300 times
Ruszki Kiernozia 2.jpg
Ruszki Kiernozia 2.jpg (139.52 KiB) Viewed 5300 times
Report of the commander of 25 DP saying that on 16.09.1939 25 DP repulsed all attacks of enemy Pz.Div.:

"I. SITUATION.

The enemy during the entire day was attacking along all directions, introducing into combats numerous tanks and bomber aircrafts. The division repulsed all enemy attacks along its own direction, destroying over 20 enemy tanks.
In the evening enemy forces were reported in the region of farm Łęk, strength unspecified. This enemy is to be liquidated by an escapade of 60 pp. This night own units are to cross the Bzura river, march into the Kampinos Forest, from which break through to Warsaw. Army "Pomorze" provides cover of the departure from the West.

II. TASK.

25 DP is to cross the Bzura river in the region of Brochow and operate along the axis: Brochów-Myszory-Stara Dąbrowa.

III. INTENTION.

To gather the entire division as quickly as possible in the region Młodzieszyn-Biała Góra from which to enter the Kampinos Forest by insured march in one column, across Brochów-Janówek-farm Tułowice-Myszory. If necessery to open the way by force.

IV. IMPLEMENTATION.

(...)"
Ruszki Kiernozia 3.jpg
Ruszki Kiernozia 3.jpg (108.91 KiB) Viewed 5300 times
========================================================

And also:

Instruction of Marschall Rydz-Smigly concerning combats against enemy armoured units, 09.09.1939:
Instrukcja NW.jpg
Instrukcja NW.jpg (246.18 KiB) Viewed 5300 times

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