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Battle of Jaworow - Sadowa Wisznia 14 - 16 IX 1939

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Topic: Battle of Jaworow - Sadowa Wisznia 14 - 16 IX 1939
Posted By: Domen
Subject: Battle of Jaworow - Sadowa Wisznia 14 - 16 IX 1939
Date Posted: 28-Nov-2008 at 19:54
Another topic about one of the Polish victories in the Polish Campaign in 1939.

Link to the previous one about the battles of Kiernozia and Ruszki:

Photos and pictures from the battle of Jaworów - Sądowa Wisznia (14. - 16. of September 1939):

In the battle of Jaworów - Sądowa Wisznia (14th - 16th of September) elite German Waffen SS motorized regiment "Germania" and also some units from other divisions - most probably 1st or 2nd Mountain, 5th Panzer or other - or some disposal units of Corps (XXII or VIII) or 14. Army - were totally crushed by the Poles (elements of 38. and 11. Infantry Divisions from Operational Group "Southern"):

During the battle of Jaworów - Sądowa Wisznia "Germania" lost all of its heavy equipment, big part of small arms, hundreds of men - and was crushed and dispersed.

First of all - pictures:

Three pictures painted in 1940 by Polish soldier Jan Gundlach - eye-whitness - from 11. KDP (Karpacka Infantry Division), who fought in the battle of Jaworów - Sądowa Wisznia and in the combat of Mużyłowice (which was part of the battle of Jaworow - Sądowa Wisznia):

Two pictures are from the battle of Jaworow - Sądowa Wisznia - combat in Mużyłowice:

Poles attacking Waffen SS-men in the combat of Mużyłowice (during the night 15. / 16. of September):

After the combat in Mużyłowice:

Near the church - it was in the centre of Muzylowice -, Poles captured 8 guns (motorized) and a lot of other equipment (as well as in the other parts of the village):

The last picture is most probably from the later battle - probably from the battle of Janów Lubelski (maybe combat near Rzęsna Ruska against Panzer-Regiment 15. from the 5. Panzer-Division). But maybe it is also from the battle of Jaworów - Sądowa Wisznia - I'm not shure:

Now photos:

Destroyed German equipment in one of the streets in the middle of the village:

Barrel of this gun was most probably blown up by hand grenade:

More of destroyed German equipment in Mużyłowice:

Destroyed armoured vehicle from SS "Germania" - name "Leopard":

Map showing the battle of Jaworow - Sadowa Wisznia (the second phase of the battle):">

Units supporting "Germania" were also attacked from the air by Polish 16. and 17. (PZL-P37 bombers) squadrons.

Posted By: Al Jassas
Date Posted: 28-Nov-2008 at 20:22
Regardless of the performance of individual units the fact of the matter is the Poles lost the war.
The Polish campaign was badly mismanaged by Polish generals. The generals had enough time and resources to mount a successfull defense against the Germans who's army was still a mediocre force made mostly of raw recruits.
What I am really interested in is the Polish units of the later stages of the war, those units were among the best the allies ever had, can you give info about Polish units performance in North Africa?

Posted By: Domen
Date Posted: 28-Nov-2008 at 23:03
the Germans who's army was still a mediocre force made mostly of raw recruits.

I don't think so - read something more about the way Reichswehr transformed into Wehrmacht.

Reichswehr was in fact a mini-Wehrmacht, which only needed to be enlarged and equipped.

The Germany's army yet in 1939 was the best trained army in the world.

The Polish campaign was badly mismanaged by Polish generals.

Yes, there were huge mistakes commited, but it didn't have a major influence on the course of the war - as some other events which took place had. It only made victories in some battles easier for the enemy.

The generals had enough time and resources to mount a successfull defense against the Germans

Surrounded from three sides, outnumbered, outgunned ?

Where - along the borders of the country ? - I don't think so.

Along the big rivers? - then Hitler would capture what "was his" and say "thank you".

In Romanian Bridgehead? - yes, but not since the beginning of the war, because Romanian Bridgehead was only around 10% of the territory of Poland - the Poles couldn't simply leave 90% of their territory without combat (including the capital city) for the Germans, and defend in the remaining 10% of territory just because it was the easiest area to defend there successfully.

The Polish commanders didn't even plan to defend along the borders for a very long time.

The whole Poland had got ammunition only for 2 - 3 months of war. Factories were not able to provide enough supplies during the wartime.

Poland could defend much longer but only with help of Western Allies - especcialy supplies.

And only if the Soviet Union did not strike on 17th of September.

The Poles couldn't win alone, and this was actually never the case of the Polish defensive plan (the Polish defensive plan - Plan "Z" - was not considering a way to victory, but a way to resist as long as possible - the Poles counted on the French offensive on the Western front).

Poles were not so stupid and knew that they cannot hold the borders being attacked from three sides on over 1600 km long frontline - the only reason why the first Polish defensive lines were established along the borders was to show the world that they defend every part of their country.

The Poles were afraid that if they establish they first defensive lines along the biggest rivers (Vistula, Narew, San) - the Germans would capture Greater Poland ("Posen Province"), Silesia, Pomerania - and say "thank you - we took what is ours - now you can vegetate without own heavy industry, resources (Silesia) and without own entrance to the see".

It could happen even before the Western Allies declare war to Germany, if the borders were not defended.

After the battles at the borders the Poles planned to withdraw towards the lines of big rivers (Vistula, Narew, San) and then towards the Romanian Bridgehead - when they planned to resist until spring of 1940. Of course they planned to constantly slowing down German advances during this withdrawal - and later to defend for some time along the lines of big rivers - and to make some counterattacks.

The Polish commanders, however, underestimated the speed of the German armoured forces. They also thought that the German armored forces are not able to hold terrain during nights - and will be withdrawn during nights from the frontline to safe places. That is why they thought that even if the Germans break through the Polish defensive lines, they will not be able to rush into the Polish positions deeper than for 50 - 100 kms before the sunset - and then they will have to be withdrawn. If not - they will be destroyed during the night by the Polish counterattacks, and routes of withdrawal will be cut off by the Polish sappers.

Unfortunately the Germans managed to find the way to survive inside the terrain controled by the enemy for the night - during nights tanks were forming fortificated camps (square formation) in open fields and were setting fire to the local barns - such a "fortificatd camp" was very hard to be took by surprise and destroyed by infantry with artillery and AT weapons.

Defence of Silesia was planned in that way (especcialy areas near Pszczyna and Kobiór) - the Polish defensive lines in the Pszczyna region were all one big trap for tanks.

But the Germans didn't manage to defeat the Polish army until 17th of September - as it is sometimes said. The Poles still had got the majority of their forces.

The Soviet attack was decisive and it had the biggest influence on the course of that war.

Regardless of the performance of individual units the fact of the matter is the Poles lost the war.

They lost the war fighting on two fronts - with Germany and USSR, which were cooperating one with another since 17th of September.

Statement that the Polish army was defeated on 17th of September is a myth. When someone analize it carefully he will see that on 17th of September Poland still had got over 1 million strength army - so bigger than on 1st of September (yes - it is true that part of it was encircled by it was encircled by the majority of the German forces and in the part of the frontline which was of second-importance for the further defence of Poland).

This map (made by me) is more accurate than the majority of similar maps that can be find anywhere (maybe there are some mistakes, but its the first version) - it is showing situation on 16/17 of September, shortly before the Soviet agression. It is showing German forces (divisions, brigades and independents regiments) and Polish forces (divisions, brigades, independent groups and regiments, and some other units of these bigger ones):

(I used map with modern-day borders to make it - no matter cause its test version only):">

Yellow-coloured divisions and brigades at the Bzura battle are those which broke through the Bzura line and later broke through to Warsaw and to Modlin after the battle in Puszcza Kampinoska:

Of course there were no 12 infantry divisions and 3 cavalry brigades in the Bzura pocket as German sources sometimes clime (which was - by the way - not closed by the Germans yet on 17th of September):

Germans engaged most of their forces in the Bzura battle and the battles of Warsaw, Modlin and Puszcza Kampinoska as can be seen in the map. Untill those battles ended, they couldn't move these forces anywhere (for example - to the south-eastern front - which was much more important if they wanted to defeat Poland).

So the battle of Bzura - although it ended with the Polish defeat (it lasted untill 22nd of September - and the battle in Puszcza Kampinoska untill 24th of September) - it was strategical Polish succes (because it was engaging for such a long time, so many German forces - which could be send to any other - more important - areas of the frontline).

But the Soviets helped them since 17th of September, so they didn't have to move there their main forces.">

And here the same map with marked advances of forward Soviet units untill the evening of 19th of September (and blue arrow shows probable Soviet escapade in strength of at least one battalion towards Zamość on 19th - 20th of September):">">

And here is the area of Romanian Bridgehead where marschal Rydz-Śmigły - before the Soviet Agression happened -, planned to concentrate all forces (as many units as possible) and defend against the Germans untill Spring of 1940:

Romanian Bridgehead was a mountain-highland, very forrested area with lots of natural obstacles (for example - rivers), with very bad roads (when it rained a lot - like in Poland during Autumn -, there was a lot of mud and roads were practically blocked for motorized vehicles).

Soviets invaded without declaring war on 17th of September (around midnight during the night from 16th / 17th of September) by surprise, and captured almost 3/4 of this area before 19th of September ended:

On 17th of September when first messages from the new frontline reached Headquarters of the Polish Army (located near Stanisławów) - marschal Rydz-Śmigły at first wanted to declare war to the USSR, but after this initial decision and after three following meetings with most important Polish officers and members of Government - under influence of fatal news from the frontline (news about terrible Soviet superiority in numbers and equipment) - he decided - in the late afternoon of 17th of September - to give his famous order to all units: "Don't provoke Soviets to fight and withdraw to Romania, defend only if the Soviets attacks first, try to negotiate with them if possible".">

French embassy in Poland - general Louis Faury - on 16th of September 1939 considered these plans as possible to realize and sent a message to Gamelin telling this. He also promised to general Stachiewicz that the French general offensive in the West will start on 21st of September 1939. He explained that the French general offensive will start on 21st of September (not on 17th / 18th of September as was previously said), because of mobilizational problems and problems with combat-readiness and concentration of some units.

First allied supplies of equipment, ammunition and weaponry for Poland reached Romanian ports in Constanza and Galati on 16th of September 1939 - Polish envoys were send to Romania on that day to receive them.

I think that if not the Soviet agression of 17th of September - and if France and Britain attacked Germany with all their forces on 21st of September as Louis Faury promised on 16th of September - this war could end even in 1939 or at the beginning of 1940.

Because if not the Soviet agression, Poland would hold much longer (at least several weeks longer) than it happened in reality - especcialy that allied supplies through the sea and across Romania (by train) to Romanian Bridgehead were just coming.

When Poland was invaded by the Soviet Union all ships with supplies were stopped, and some of them were sent to Constantinople for Turks (Britain hoped that Turks can be its allies against Germans and against the Soviet Union - because there was a possibility of war with Soviet Union, there were even British plans of attacking the Soviet Union - in the future stages of the war).

Posted By: Domen
Date Posted: 28-Nov-2008 at 23:10
In the map above you can see 21. Light Tanks Battalion in Stanisławów. On 17th of September it had got 45 Renault R-35 tanks.

Armored unit in Łuck on 17th of September had got 11 x 7 TP tank, 8 x R-35 tank, 3 x H-35 tank, 2 tankettes and 2 armoured cars. There was also other armored unit in Łuck which had got 6 x Vickers E, 4 x TKS and at least 1 armoured car. This gives us at least 34 AFVs.

10. Motorized Brigade which was fighting near Lwów on 17th of September had got 18 x TKS - maybe some of them were with 2cm gun.

There were also 3 Renault FT-17 tanks from 113. company of light tanks in the area. Also another improvised company was formed in Brześć and later moved towards Włodzimierz Wołyński - most probably it had got 15 tanks.

Another 50 R-35 tanks for Poland - from first transports of allied supplies - were enroute to Romania on 16th of September. But after the Soviet agression transport with these tanks was stopped and tanks were transported to Tunisia.

All in all - Poles could easilly gather a considerable armoured "fist" in Romanian Bridgehead within few days - if not the Soviet invasion. It would consist of (at least):

103 x Renault R-35 tanks
17 x 7TP and Vickers E tanks
3 x Hotchkiss H-35 tanks
24 x tankettes
3 x armoured cars
18 x Renault FT-17 tanks

Total: at least 168 AFVs

It should be noticed that French Renault R-35 and Hotchkiss H-35 tanks were in general better than most of German tanks - they had thick armour and quite good gun. Vickers E were also very good tanks what they proved in the battle of Wiśnicz Nowy on 6th of September (company of 16 Polish Vickers E tanks caused major losses to very superior in numbers German armoured forces, losing only 1 tank). Polish 7TP tanks had got excellent guns but thin armour (I know even one particular example when - at least German sources claim this - on 19th of September - Polish 7TP tank from Warszawska Armoured-Motorized Brigade was eliminated by German Panzer II - with 20mm automatic gun - from a distance of 700 metres...).

Those forces could be incorporated into 10. Motorized Brigade, or a separate, improvised unit could be formed of them.

Also at least three Polish armoured trains were in the region on 17th of September (51., 53. and 55.).

It seems that the biggest Panzer-battle of the Polish Campaign would be fought in Romanian Bridgehead if not the Soviet agression.

There was also a possibility of transporting relatively quickly French tanks Char D1 and Char D2 (considerable amount) from Africa to Poland - and also further transports with R-35.

Renault R-35 tanks weren't practically used in the Polish Campaign due to the Soviet agression (only 17 to 19 of them took part in combats with the Red Army forces - for example in the battle of Stanisławów - and in the battle of Kamionka Strumiłowa with the German forces). The majority of them crossed the border without combat. In total 44 out of 53 of those tanks crossed the border.

50 more of them - which were being transported to Poland on 16th of September and which were bought by Poland before the war - did not reach Poland due to the Soviet agression. Instead of that they were transported to Tunisia after the Soviet agression of Poland.

Another myth of the Polish Campaign is that the Germans managed to destroy the Polish Air Force until 17th of September. It is also not true.

On 17th of September in the mornig, the two biggest Polish air units – Brygada Bombowa and Brygada Pościgowa, after reorganization, had got:

On 17th of September both these units were parts of High Command's Disposal Aircraft in Romanian Bridgehead:

1. Brygada Pościgowa:

1. dyon – 20 x PZL P-11 C fighter
2. dyon – 20 x PZL P-11 C fighter
3. dyon – 14 x PZL P-7 fighter

Total: 54 fighters

On 1st of September it also had got 54 fighters (on 17th of September, after receiving replacements - it had got 100% of its initial strength).

The only difference was that on 1st of September it had got 44 PZL P-11 fighters, and only 10 - worse than P-11 - PZL P-7 fighters. And on 17th of September it had got 40 P-11 and 14 P-7.

2. Brygada Bombowa:

On 17th of September it had got 21 PZL 37 A “Łoś” bombers – 60% of its initial strength.

The day before – on 16th of September – Bomber Brigade made at least 3 bombing raids (in strength of 8 PZL 37 A bombers each) on the columns of 4. Leichte Divison. Enemy was succesfully bombed without own casualties.

Both units had been reorganized and constantly moved on new airports (finally Brygada Pościgowa was moved to Brzeżany in Romanian Bridgehead) before – so they were not participating in any major combats for the long time. But on 16th / 17th of September both units were combat-ready again.

Luftwaffe’s “amazing succeses” in the Polish Campaign are myths. Of course there were several succeses and Luftwaffe had some influence on the course of the war.

But Luftwaffe didn't manage to eliminate Polish Air Force. By the way - Polish air units suffered bigger casualties due to enemy AA fire, accidents and breakdowns (and problems with spare parts / lack of spare parts), and due to friendly-fire of Polish - especcialy - AA defence.

I have a breakdown of Polish planes captured in Poland by the Soviet Ukrainian Front only - total 254 planes. Another more than 200 planes evacuated to Romania. Some more evacuated to Hungary, and some accidentialy landed in USSR and were captured there. There was also a number of planes shot down by Russians or captured / shot down by Germans after 17th of September. Some more planes were destroyed by the Poles on the ground, because the Poles didn't want them to be captured by either Soviets or Germans.

Posted By: Domen
Date Posted: 28-Nov-2008 at 23:27
What I am really interested in is the Polish units of the later stages of the war, those units were among the best the allies ever had, can you give info about Polish units performance in North Africa?

Yes, I'll give some info about them later.

When it comes to Africa, the Poles took part for example in the battle for Tobruk (Samodzielna Brygada Strzelców Karpackich - SBSK - Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade - took part in the battle of Tobruk). But also in several other operations - I'll provide some info about them soon. There was also famous "Circus of Skalski" - air fighters unit which was fighting over North Africa and had got great efficiency, gaining many air victories.

It is true that they were among the best the Allies had - but they simply could not be not among the best, because they were formed only out of volunteers, and only out of those who survived every previous catastrophes and managed to escape to Britain, France, from USSR with general Anders - etc.

So there were only soldiers who really wanted to fight and really knew how to fight, the majority of whom had got experience from the Polish Campaign and the majority of whom were among those who never surrendered during the Polish Campaign.

In the later stages of the war, also former soldiers of Wehrmacht of Polish descent, were often serving in the Polish forces which were fighting together with Western Allies (they were usually captured prisoners from Wehrmacht and those who escaped from it).

Posted By: Red4tribe
Date Posted: 30-Nov-2008 at 20:43
Overall, the Poles fought as hard as they could, the Germans were just stronger.
It kind of reminds me of the Battle for the Hague in the Netherlands. The German paratroopers landed around three airfields, took them with heavy casualties, and then lost them later that day. More can be read about this battle in Battle For The Hague 1940 by  E. H. Brongers.

Had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.

George Washington - March 15, 1783

Posted By: Domen
Date Posted: 09-Jan-2009 at 22:39
The last picture is most probably from the later battle - probably from the battle of Janów Lubelski (maybe combat near Rzęsna Ruska against Panzer-Regiment 15. from the 5. Panzer-Division). But maybe it is also from the battle of Jaworów - Sądowa Wisznia - I'm not shure:

Picture is showing some other combat (probably one of combats with tanks of Panzer-Regiment 15. from 5. Panzer-Division near Rzęsna Ruska - near Lwów - on 18th of September or later):

Oberst Streich - commander of Panzer-Regiment 15. - one of the most talented Panzerwaffe officers (during the battle of Pszczyna, after Oberst Schuckelt was defeated and escaped from his units on 1st of September, he rescued the situation for the Germans and later gained victory in combat near Ćwiklice on 2nd of September. He also was with his units all the time, while Oberst Schuckelt could not be found anywhere in the evening and during the night 1./2. IX - he came back to his units in the early morning on 2nd of September):">

Here most probably not Mużyłowice - but Czarnokońce or Rogoźno - so the same battle - and the same / similar German units:

I'm not shure if these four photos are showing the same place as two previous ones:

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