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Forum LockedBattle of Sierak贸w-Laski, battles between Modlin

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Domen View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03-Dec-2008 at 19:31
Another thread from the "Polish campaign 1939 threads" series.

Article from the side of 7. horse rifle regiment (pu艂k strzelc贸w konnych) from Wielkopolska Brygada Kawalerii (Greater Poland Cavalry Brigade) - the article is based on some fragments from the book titled "7 Pu艂k Strzelc贸w Konnych Wielkopolskich" (total 48 pages), which was written by Juliusz S. Tym and was published in 1999.

http://www.7psk.com.pl/historia.php

There are four chapters about involvement of the regiment in the Polish Campaign (or rather - Defensive War of Poland - because it was the Polish unit):

"ATTACHED TO 14. INFANTRY DIVISION" (1. - 8. IX 1939):

[...]

"BATTLES AT THE CENTRAL BZURA" (9. - 12. IX 1939):

[...]

"BATTLE FOR BROCH脫W" (13. - 15. IX 1939):

[...]

"THROUGH THE KAMPINOSKA FOREST TO WARSAW" (15. - 30. IX 1939):

[...]

Commander of the Cavalry Group 鈥 general Abraham 鈥 wanted to use his forces to attack towards Sierak贸w, in order to 鈥 after ending in success 鈥 extend it towards Laski and Wawrzyszew.

At 00:00 on 19th of September 17. uhlans regiment 鈥 designated as frontal guard 鈥 marched via forest road. 7. horse rifle regiment was marching behind it. 鈥淪eventeen鈥 after entering Sierak贸w in mounted formation, received German machinegun fire. In this situation, 7. horse rifle regiment received task to support the attack, and developed its ranks in the left wing. Both Greater Poland鈥檚 regiments 鈥 acting together with 9. uhlans regiment from Lesser Poland which was fighting in the right wing, captured Sierak贸w until the daybreak on 19th of September, capturing 34 trucks, which were later immobilized by horse riflemen, who crushed steering wheels, dashboards and pierced tyres.

When the day started, the regiment marched to the forest west of Sierak贸w with task of insuring the right wing of GOKaw. [Cavalry Operational Group of gen. Abraham] from the side of locality Truskaw. Soon after that captured by Polish cavalry Sierak贸w 鈥 and nearby forests 鈥 were heavily bombed by German artillery, and from direction of Truskaw several dozen of German tanks supported by infantry attacked. The German attack was repulsed thanks to brave attitude of gunners of 7. horse artillery dyon, and crews of regimental AT guns, HMGs and AT rifles. In this combat the regiment 鈥 together with 7. horse artillery dyon 鈥 destroyed 20 enemy tanks, but 14 soldiers were KIA and 42 were WIA.

After 10:00 7. horse rifle regiment received order to march to the forest behind the hill 88, north of Sierak贸w, as reserve of GOKaw. during the planned attack on Laski 鈥 with also the task of securing the other regiments from the north. Soon 鈥 around midday 鈥 while securing the area, 4 squadron fought a skirmish with the German unit in strength of 2 heavy-duty cars.

Around 13:00 the regiment received order to take part in the attack on Laski. It was strengthened by two attached units 鈥 3. battery of 7. horse artillery regiment and rests of 3. squadron of 6. uhlan regiment. Two-groups formation was formed. In the first group 鈥 1. and 2. squadrons, in the second group 鈥 3. and 4. squadrons 鈥 were advancing in platoon lines through the forests on both sides of the road Sierak贸w 鈥 Laski. 3. battery was advancing along the road with guns and its crews marching in distance of 50 metres one from another, between guns being protected by squadron of cyclists and communication platoon. The regiment secured itself from the front by the patrol from the body of regimental commander, commanded by podporucznik Jerzy Lutosta艅ski, and from the direction of Izabelin by 3 squadron of 6. uhlans regiment under command of rotmistrz Stanis艂aw Heller.

One kilometre behind Sierak贸w, regiment dismounted itself, hiding horses in the forest north of the road which was the main axis of the attack. In the moment when 鈥 attacking in the left wing 鈥 1 squadron 鈥 was situated in the region of high 99, and combat patrol of the right-wing 2. squadron sneaked into the distance of 300 metres from the first buildings in Laski, the enemy opened fire at the same time from guns and machine guns. At the same time tanks departed from the location Laski, and at the same time tanks appeared along the roads and forest roads from the direction of W贸lka W臋glowa and Izabelin 鈥 and by direct fire started to strike horse riflemen. 1. and 2. squadrons prepared their AT guns and undertook efficient combat with the tanks, but suffered high casualties. Among killed was the commander of 2. squadron 鈥 rotmistrz Stanis艂aw Jankowski, and regimental information officer 鈥 podporucznik Jerzy Lutosta艅ski. Guns of 7. horse artillery regiment were prepared to fight, occupied positions on the road and opened fire on Laski. German artillery fire moved towards Sierak贸w and reached the region where, after dismounting the regiment, horses and reserves squadrons were left. Soon the German infantry moved towards horse riflemen, who were lieing between the trees 鈥 but - teached respect to the Polish bayonets in the previous combats 鈥 it didn鈥檛 attack and only occupied convenient fireing positions.

Between 15:00 and 16:00 the Poles managed to control the situation. Riflemen digged in, guns occupied more convenient and better hidden fireing positions. The German infantry was lieing in the forest opposite to the Polish positions. Mutual fire 鈥 in which the German side had got considerable superiority 鈥 was going on. In the region which was occupied by the regiment, soon elements of 9. and 17. uhlans regiments appeared, which also did not manage to capture Laski. In this situation general Abraham decided to stop the attack on Laski and with all forces of GOKaw. attack in the central part of the frontline in the general direction towards W贸lka W臋glowa. During withdrawal of 7. horse rifle regiment, commander of the regiment 鈥 who was together with the 2. squadron - rotmisrz Z. Szacherski, was heavily wounded. Evacuated from the battlefield, he then advanced behind the regiment towards Warsaw by requisite peasant鈥檚 cart.

The oldest by rank and age officer took comand over the regiment 鈥 it was commander of 1 squadron 鈥 rotmistrz Konstanty Koz艂owski, who was also wounded in combats for Laski, fortunately very lightly.

The regiment suffered heavy casualties during the combats for Laski 鈥 27 soldiers were killed (including 2 officers), and 70 were wounded (including 7 officers) 鈥 bullets did not avoid also the chaplain of the regiment 鈥 priest Marcin Kosicki. Also casualties among horses were here disproportionately high if comparing with the previous combats of the regiment. In the battle in the region of Laski horse riflemen inflicted numerous casualties to the enemy 鈥 which reached around 100 killed in action. Also further 12 enemy tanks were destroyed. Also 2 grenade launchers, 11 machine guns and 2 trucks were captured.

During the night from 19th to 20th of September the regiment 鈥 marching (dismounted) in the rear guard of GOKaw. 鈥 advanced between W贸lka W臋glowa and D膮browa, fighting a small skirmish near M艂ociny, and in the afternoon on 20th of September reached Bielany district in Warsaw. The regiment did not leave its wounded, horses and equipment and brought to Warsaw even one AT gun more, than it had got on 1st of September, when the war started.

[...]

During the whole campaign the regiment suffered the following casualties: 174 dead [killed + missing] soldiers (15 officers, 43 NCOs, 116 horse riflemen), 274 soldiers were wounded (21 officers, 68 NCOs, 185 horse riflemen) - all together 448 soldiers which is 47% of the initial strength; the regiment lost also 485 horses (54% of the initial strength).

During the campaign the regiment inflicted the following casualties to the enemy - men casualties inflicted reached around 450 killed, the regiment captured 35 prisoners of war, destroyed 51 tanks, captured and destroyed 3 guns, around 60 machine guns and machine pistols and 43 cars.

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

And now what I have found on ww2 day by day (by Christoph Avender) about the battle of Sierak贸w and Laski:

Quotation from the fragment above:

Quote
[...] When the day started [19th of September], the regiment marched to the forest west of Sierak贸w with task of insuring the right wing of GOKaw. [Cavalry Operational Group of gen. Abraham] from the side of locality Truskaw. Soon after that captured by Polish cavalry Sierak贸w 鈥 and nearby forests 鈥 were heavily bombed by German artillery, and from direction of Truskaw several dozen of German tanks supported by infantry attacked. The German attack was repulsed thanks to brave attitude of gunners of 7. horse artillery dyon, and crews of regimental AT guns, HMGs and AT rifles. In this combat the regiment 鈥 together with 7. horse artillery dyon 鈥 destroyed 20 enemy tanks, but 14 soldiers were KIA and 42 were WIA. [...]


On ww2 day by day I have found, that on 19th of September Panzer-Abteilung 65. attacked from the area between Izabelin and Truskow [this is how the Germans named the location called properly Truskaw] towards Sierak贸w - they suffered a defeat and lost 26 men of tank crews KIA / MIA / WIA (including 4 officers, 5 NCOs and 17 soldiers). The exact armour casualties were not reported by the Germans - but were very high - Panzer-Abteilung 65. lost the majority of its tanks. Those tanks, which were not lost, withdrew towards the region Horn贸wek - Lipk贸w.

On that day - 19th of September - II. battalion of KSR.4 was totally crushed, among other units - the remaining rests of II./KSR.4 formed a hedgehog defence on the road from Truskow to Izabelin.

About those combats on ww2 day by day there is also written (some fragments):

"Elements of the division [1. Leichte Division] from 艁omna were withdrawn towards the line Burakow - Wolka Weglowa to prepare the counterattack against the enemy forces attacking towards Laski."

"Until the evening the division - however - manages - for the price of huge casualties - to hold the road Sierak贸w - Laski, location Laski, location Burakow Ma艂y and Wolka Weglowa. But the road Modlin - Warsaw is opened for the enemy forces since the midday on 19th of September until the morning on 20th of September."

If it comes to armoured units on the German side in combats in this region - among other units - I. battalion of Panzer-Regiment 11. and Panzer-Abteilung 65. took part.

The initial strength (on 1st of September) of Panzer-Abteilung 65. was 73 tanks:

Pz.II - 20
Pz.35t - 37
Pz.IV -14
Pz.Bef.35t - 2

The initial strength (on 1st of September) of Panzer-Regiment 11. was 153 tanks (~76,5 per battalion):

Pz.II - 45
Pz.35t - 75
Pz.IV - 27
Pz.Bef.35t - 6

The battle in the region of Sierak贸w and Laski was extremely bloody for the 1. Leichte-Division (units of which - among units of other divisions - e.g. 29. Motorized and 31. Infantry - took part in it) and was also the last battle of 1. Leichte-Division in the Polish campaign - after the battle in the region of Sierak贸w - Laski the division was withdrawn from the front to the region of Gr贸jec in the morning on 21st of September, because of very high casualties, especcialy in equipment and war material - and also because of huge exhaustion of soldiers.

Men casualties of 1. Leichte-Division (not including casualties of attached units, supporting units and reinforcements received during the night from 19th to 20th of September) in the battle between Modlin and Warsaw were - according to German sources (Christoph Avender's site) - over 600 soldiers.

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

Two days after the first battle of Sierak贸w and Laski had been won by the Poles (the Polish forces succesfully opened their way to Warsaw) - on 22nd of September - another - this time much, much more smaller - Polish group tried to break through to Warsaw in the same, small area.

It was group of dismounted cavalry under command of Zygmunt Wa偶y艅ski.

It was trying to break through to Warsaw via locality Burak贸w in the late afternoon on 22nd of September. Suddenly - while marching - it encountered big German unit with big amount of machine guns. Suddenly several hidden German machine guns opened fire - it was an unexpected ambush.

After short, desperate combat, small Polish unit was almost completely annihilated by extreme barrage of machinegun, rifle and hand grenade fire - the Germans did not forget to take some photos of this small, defenceless group - to show the world how great their victory was:





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

Another interesting event which took place in the same region soon before the battle of Sierak贸w-Laski - on 18th of September.

On that day small Polish armoured recon patrol (3 tankettes from 71. armoured dyon from Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade - including 2 TK tankettes with HMGs and 1 TKS tankette with 20mm automatic gun) met in combat with one platoon of Panzerkampfwagen 35(t) tanks from Panzer-Regiment 11. (1. Leichte-Division) - 3 German tanks.

The Polish patrol was commanded by podchor膮偶y Roman Orlik (who was inside TKS with 20mm automatic gun together with kapral Roman Nawrocki).

The German platoon (after 18 days of the campaign it still had got 3 tanks out of the initial - most probably - 6) was commanded by prince of Ratibor / Racib贸rz (in Silesia) - Leutnant Wiktor IV Albrecht von Ratibor (23 years old).

As the result of the combat which took place - the Polish TKS tankette with 20mm automatic gun destroyed the whole enemy platoon (3 Czechoslovakian production, excellent Pz-35(t) tanks). The Polish patrol with 3 tankettes did not suffer any casualties.

As the result of that combat, prince Wiktor IV Albrecht von Ratibor was heavily burned and wounded - his dead body was found 7 days later (after the end of the battle of Kampinoska Forest) - it was identified only thanks to his hunter legitimation.

This event took place during combats which were fought in the region near the village called Pociecha (also 7. horse rifle regiment and 15. uhlan regiment were fighting in that region on 18th of September).

Edited by Domen - 03-Dec-2008 at 19:47
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Knight
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Domen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Dec-2008 at 19:40
Quote
During the night from 19th to 20th of September the regiment 鈥 marching (dismounted) in the rear guard of GOKaw. 鈥 advanced between W贸lka W臋glowa and D膮browa, fighting a small skirmish near M艂ociny, and in the afternoon on 20th of September reached Bielany district in Warsaw. The regiment did not leave its wounded, horses and equipment and brought to Warsaw even one AT gun more, than it had got on 1st of September, when the war started.

[...]

During the whole campaign the regiment suffered the following casualties: 174 dead [killed + missing] soldiers (15 officers, 43 NCOs, 116 horse riflemen), 274 soldiers were wounded (21 officers, 68 NCOs, 185 horse riflemen) - all together 448 soldiers which is 47% of the initial strength; the regiment lost also 485 horses (54% of the initial strength).

During the campaign the regiment inflicted the following casualties to the enemy - men casualties inflicted reached around 450 killed, the regiment captured 35 prisoners of war, destroyed 51 tanks, captured and destroyed 3 guns, around 60 machine guns and machine pistols and 43 cars.


The regiment surrendered to the Germans on 29th of September (in 艁azienki, Warsaw) and on 30th of September its soldiers went to the German captivity.

During the campaign the regiment had got 4 commanders:

- p艂k Stanis艂aw Kr贸licki: 07.1939 - 17.09.1939
- rtm. Zbigniew Szacherski: 17.09.1939 - 19.09.1939
- rtm. Konstanty Koz艂owski: 19.09.1939 - 27.09.1939
- mjr dypl. Witold Jab艂o艅ski: 27.09.1939 - 29.09.1939

Quote
Leutnant Wiktor IV Albrecht von Ratibor (23 years old).


Unfortunately he was not a Nazi - he didn't even want to go on war with Poland.

He was sent to fight in the Polish Campaign as a punishment for his "anti-Nazi attitude" - of course he was sent to fight at the first line all the time - and so he finally was killed...

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

TKS tankettes with 20mm automatic guns:








Edited by Domen - 03-Dec-2008 at 20:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Domen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Dec-2008 at 15:14
From the German daily report (21st of September):

1.lei.Div.: In the morning elements of 18.Inf.Div., 21.Inf.Div. attack across the positions of the division supported by Art.Rgt.76 towards Plawkowa 鈥 Wolka Weglowa. Later that day the division is withdrawn from the front because of the heavy casualties of the last days. The commander of A.O.K.10 visits the battlefield of the division at the road Laski 鈥 Sierakow. At the battle between Modlin and Warschau the division lost over 600 KIA, WIA, MIA.


The Polish forces succesfully broke through to Warsaw also thanks to the brave resistance of this one battalion in the region of M艂ociny - Wawrzyszew - Plac贸wka (east of Laski - Sierak贸w - so along the further route of the Polish forces towards Warsaw):

viewtopic.php?f=55&t=145170

Fallen soldier from 30. Kaniowski Riflemen Regiment:

Image


Edited by Domen - 04-Dec-2008 at 15:22
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