The Polish Campaign

German campaigns and battles 1919-1945.

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Freiritter
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The Polish Campaign

Post by Freiritter » Fri Feb 06, 2004 3:56 pm

When the Germans invaded Poland, what was the disposition of Polish forces? Also, what was the combat potential of Polish forces, could they have held off the Germans? Could there have been a more substantial intervention by the Franco-British forces?

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Post by Shadow » Sat Feb 07, 2004 2:51 am

Greetings Freiritter!

You might want to look at the following maps for starters:


http://www.dean.usma.edu/history/web03/ ... p%2004.htm

http://www.dean.usma.edu/history/web03/ ... p%2006.htm

Gives a quick overview of the Polish positions.

best regards -
Signed: "The Shadow"

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Post by Freiritter » Sat Feb 07, 2004 5:22 am

Thanks, Shadow. quite interesting.

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Post by Shadow » Sat Feb 07, 2004 5:26 am

Your welcome!

I've got some other info I'll pass along - but right now it's 4:26am and time for bed!

best -
Signed: "The Shadow"

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Post by Benoit Douville » Sat Feb 07, 2004 11:29 am

The Army of Poland was divided into 10 corps areas of military administration. They had 30 active Divisions in 1939. Some of them were classified as mountain Divisions and assigned to that part of Poland bordered by the Carpathians Mountains. The active Officers corps of 30 000 of the Polish Army was ragarded as well qualified.

The Polish defense plan on a study when the Third Reich gained additional territories surrounding Poland before World War II. The Poles estimated that the Germans would make their main attack from Silesia to the direction of Warsaw. Permanent defensive works already existed along the Narew River at Torun and south to the Warta near Lodz, Chestochowa, Katowice and Krakow. Some of these fortifications had been buiLt prior to World War I. Additional fortifications were built near East Prussia, Poznan and along the frontier with Slovakia. These fortifications would be used to form the first line of Polish Defense.

The Polish Forces were a formidable Army and they fought with a lot of pride and courage to defend their country against a superior German Army. The Polish Forces proved it later during World War II when they beat the Germans at Monte Cassino in the boot in 1943.

Sources: The German Campaign in Poland. Department of the Army pamphlet.

Regards

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Post by Freiritter » Sat Feb 07, 2004 4:38 pm

Thanks, Benoit.

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Post by Richard Murphy » Sun Feb 08, 2004 8:38 am

Freiritter,
If you can find a copy of Steven J. Zaloga's Poland 1939 The Birth of Blitzkrieg in the Osprey Campaign Series, this has a comprehensive listing of the Polish Order of Battle (The only one I know of in English.), and also goes a long way in exploding the myths that have sprouted up over the years.

Regards from the Park,

Rich

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Post by Freiritter » Sun Feb 08, 2004 8:44 am

Thanks, Rich

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Post by Shadow » Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:04 am

Richard Murphy wrote:Freiritter,
If you can find a copy of Steven J. Zaloga's Poland 1939 The Birth of Blitzkrieg in the Osprey Campaign Series, this has a comprehensive listing of the Polish Order of Battle (The only one I know of in English.), and also goes a long way in exploding the myths that have sprouted up over the years.
Regards from the Park,
Rich
DARN!
Richard beat me to the punch!
I agree! The Osprey Campaign Series book on the German invasion of Poland has the best Polish OOB I've come across - well worth the purchase price!

http://www.ospreypublishing.com/title_d ... =CAM~per=2

best regards -
Signed: "The Shadow"

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Post by Fredd » Sun Feb 08, 2004 3:48 pm

Allow me to add the Polish Army fought against two enemies longer than the French Army against one (with substantial English help).

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Post by sid guttridge » Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:48 am

Hi Fredd,

That is not actually true.

Firstly, the Polish campaign lasted about four weeks, whereas the western campaign, even if one ignores the "Phoney War", lasted about six weeks.

Secondly, not a single Polish field division saw action against the Red Army. They were all facing the Germans.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Fredd » Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:20 am

sid guttridge wrote: Secondly, not a single Polish field division saw action against the Red Army. They were all facing the Germans.
Math is a science so let's count....
Hitler invaded Poland September 1st - last battle was that fought by Operation Group ?Polesie? between 2nd and 5th October. So 35 days, 5 weeks. When you take a date of signing armistice - its September 27th - really 4 weeks.
Now let's look at France. Germany invaded France may 13th the act of capitulation was signed in June 22nd. So it looks like France fought two weeks longer than Poland. The key word is ?fight? ? German march into Paris June 13th - so war was concluded.
BTW - for every nation a capital has special importance ? so should be defended fiercely. Warsaw was defended since 8th till the 27th September. Tell my friend how long Paris was defended? Obviously French didn't want die for Danzig (Gdansk) as Paris as well. :D :D :D

Now about your remark: 'not a single Polish field division saw action against the Red Army. They were all facing the Germans.' Casualties of Red Army were estimated on 10k killed, wounded, missed soldiers. Against Bolsheviks fought mainly KOP units (The Corps of border guard ? Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza) light armored units, but field units! Under command of gen Orlik-Ruckeman the KOP units fought about 40 small clashes and two battles (near Szacko and Wytyczne) They were soldiers, that for sure. Furthermore, 27th September near Wladypol, Novogorod Calvary Brigade under command of gen. Anders (while fought his way through Red Army units to Romania) fought major battle. After the war 242.000 soldiers was Russian POW - almost quarter of all the Army which existed on September 1st 1939. 40.000 of them was subsequently murdered in Katyn, Ostaszkow, Starobielsk.

Best regards!

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Post by sid guttridge » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:23 am

Hi Fredd,

The fall of a capital and the end of a campaign or war are not necesarily the same thing. Many nations have lost their capitals but continued in the field. Some examples:

In the Seven Years War Frederick the Great lost Berlin twice and still continued in the field. In the Napoleonic Wars Madrid was in French hands for most of the Peninsula War, yet the Spanish armies kept the field. In the War of 1812 the British occupied Washington, but this did not end the war. In WWI the Romanians lost their capital and still kept the field. There are many more examples.

The French had dozens of divisions in the field in active combat from 10 May to the Armistice on 22 June. This is about six weeks.

No such clear cut end exists for the Polish Campaign as neither Germans nor Soviets dealt with the Polish Government so there was no armistice. The Polish Government and High Command left their own soil on 18 September - two and a half weeks into the campaign. When they did so they also ordered all Polish forces outside Warsaw to head for neutral Hungary, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia. There is a good case to be made that the Polish Campaign actually lasted only 18 days and that the rest was mopping up.

However, as Warsaw held out longer, and some isolated formations, such as Group Polesie, were still heading for the capital until it surrendered, the campaign is usually reckoned to have lasted about four weeks. When news reached Group Polesie of the capital's fall it headed for Hungary. Its last days were not spent in active resistance but flight for a neutral border. However, if you want to use five weeks, this still does not make Polish resistance as long as French.

There were (from memory) seven regiments of KOP (Border Guards) along the whole Polish border with the USSR. However, most KOP had already been used to help form three mountain brigades and other reserve divisions already facing the Germans, so even they were understrength. There was not a single major Polish formation facing the Red Army. As a result Red Army losses were not high and far below 10,000. I have the Soviet figures for their own losses, which I think were in the region of 2,000-3,000. The Red Army also claimed more Polish prisoners than you give, although this may have included anyone in official uniform, including postmen. I will post the exact figures later.

The Poles certainly fought courageously, but it does their reputation no favours to exaggerate their efforts. Nor should the French be excessively belittled (and me a Briton!).

Cheers,

Sid.

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Post by Pirx » Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:28 pm

Fredd.
As a Pole i'm also proud from Polish soldiers from September Campaign. But i'm shamed that You are laughing from French, Belgian or Netherlands. They also were good soldiers, and many of them died with honour. Don't be nationalist, and be careful with Your opinion, coz soldiers often fight well, but battles were lost by generals and politicians.
Each soldier, who sacrifice own live to defend homeland shall be respected by Feldgrau members. I'm trully sorry.

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Post by Freiritter » Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:47 pm

That's true, Pirx. Wars are begun by politicians and generals, which they subsequently lead. I respect the Polish Army for it's fight against the Germans. That's why I wanted to find out about that particular campaign, that and my general interest in WWII. Don't worry about Fredd. Everybody is entitled to an opinion.

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