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Forum LockedRuszki & Kiernozia 39- Panzers crushed by infantry

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 18:08
Originally posted by Domen Domen wrote:

Not many people remember, that Poland was not defeated by the Germans, but by the Germans together with the Soviet Union - they were even cooperating on the battlefields in Poland, on both strategical and tactical level - the Soviet units were often helping the German ones in destroying the Polish forces - they had even established this in top-secret agreement.

 
What people do you mean? In fact most Western historians as a rule emphasize Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the Soviet invasion of Poland.
 
However, the participation of the Soviet Army in the actual fighting was minimal; there were no any serious engagements except some minor clashes. Also the Polish army had an order to avoid military confrontation with the Soviets.
 
It was obvious that Poland is doomed and it's military largely defeated, and France and England were not going to provide any substantial military assistance from the West; that was in fact the main reason why Stalin gave the order to invade.
 
Although Hitler was asking him to invade simultaneously, Stalin carefully waited until the main Polish forces had been defeated and it become clear that France and England would remain just passive observers.
 
So, yes Soviet invasion, of course, helped to destroy the Polish state but it's actual role in the destruction of the Polish army was minimal at best.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 18:15
Originally posted by Domen Domen wrote:

In general - you are right - but there were some (even numerous) exceptions.

There are some sources which say about such actions - here some examples:

Very interesting! It seems that they coordinated on a few occasions where the secrecy of the agreement wasn't likely to be exposed. 

Excellent photographic documentation again, too. I'm really surprised such damning evidence managed to survive.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 18:21

Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

It was obvious that Poland is doomed and it's military largely defeated, and France and England were not going to provide any substantial military assistance from the West; that was in fact the main reason why Stalin gave the order to invade.

That must have given the Germans pause for a while ... Stalin was obviously waiting to see how the cards fell, and if the situation had been different, may even have attacked the Germans in Poland. After all, he had not long before proposed a pact with Britain, France, and Poland against Germany, which failed because the Soviets demanded the right to enter Poland at will for up to 10 years in order to create a front against Germany - and Poland, correctly, didn't think that the Soviets would leave if they ever entered.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 18:31
The failure of the negations of the defence pact between the USSR, England and France is a very difficult issue. And IMO the main failure was the dubious position and mistrust of the Soviets mostly by England and France. Churchill simply called an embarassing failure of the British foreign policy. Stubborness of Poles was also a very important factor in the failure of the negotiations.
 
I agree that they have reasons to mistrust the Soviets. However, in the end it turned out that their calculations went wrong and it were the Germans who posed the biggest threat.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Roberts Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 18:37
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:


The failure of the negations of the defence pact between the USSR, England and France is a very difficult issue. And IMO the main failure was the dubious position and mistrust of the Soviets mostly by England and France. Churchill simply called an embarassing failure of the British foreign policy. Stubborness of Poles was also a very important factor in the failure of the negotiations
I agree that they have reasons to mistrust the Soviets. However, in the end it turned out that their calculations went wrong and it were the Germans who posed the biggest threat.

Germans biggest threat? SU had no desire to see free Poland, otherwise they would help to defend Poland from German attack at all costs. Without SU alliance Germans wouldn't even attack Poland.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 18:57

Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

I agree that they have reasons to mistrust the Soviets. However, in the end it turned out that their calculations went wrong and it were the Germans who posed the biggest threat.

Too true, but putting myself in their shoes - not knowing the future - if I was Poland, there's just no chance in hell I'd give the Soviets the right to enter at will for a whole decade. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 18:57
Originally posted by Roberts Roberts wrote:

Germans biggest threat? SU had no desire to see free Poland, otherwise they would help to defend Poland from German attack at all costs. Without SU alliance Germans wouldn't even attack Poland.
Please explain me why would SU fight for Poland when Poland before the war was even more hostile towards SU than towards Germany and no one of the Western Powers was really eager to make an alliance with SU also given the recent "soft" reaction to the German annexation of Czechoslovakia?
 
Who would guarantee to the Soviets that England and France for whatever reasons wouldn't support the Germans if they engage in a fighting with the Soviets in Poland?
 
Do you know that in the 1930th there were active discussions in Poland about the joint military operations against the "Red threat" together with Germans?
 
Do you know that Poland at that time was in fact an aggressive military dictotorship that openly supported German aggression against the Czechs and was an active participant of the rip of Czechoslovakia?
 
Do you know that in 1939 Polish officials, according to Ribbentrop, openly discussed with him their "interests" in the Soviet territory and hypotized on the posssible plans of oint attack against the USSR?
 
Now, tell me why should Stalin knowing all the factors above should be so eager to protect Poland at any cost? He was just a cold- blooded pragmatic politician who thought only about his own interests.
 
He didn't see any clear "friendly" messages from the West including Poland, so obviously he went with the other side. At least, as he thought, he could bought some time before the final confrontation with the IId Reich.
 
Yes, Stalin could have stayed neutral of course, but he had his own interests and imperialistic agenda. And the Western politicians including Poles underestimated him.
 
So, all the parties are guilty, but only the USSR.


Edited by Sarmat - 16-Dec-2008 at 18:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Domen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 18:58
OK – I’m trying to repeat here at least part of what was deleted in my previous post, and I'm also adding some new things / replies.... :

Quote
Temujin, what's the problem? This is historical forum about military history. Domen is interested in the war in 1939 and he shares with us his knowledge. These are little known facts outside Poland but also for many Poles. That is the reason the forum was created for. To share our knowledge and to talk about it.


Yes, that is true. I’m interested in history in general, especcialy in history of WW2 – also the Polish Campaign. Probably one of reasons why I’m interested in the Polish Campaign so much is the fact, that my granfather and his brothers took part in it. My grandfather was fighting in the second biggest battle of the Polish campaign – the battle of Tomaszow Lubelski. What is even more interesting – he was fighting against both the Soviets and the Germans – at the same time (around). And what is probably the most interesting – he was both in the Soviet and German captivity.

He was serving in 9. Legionary Infantry Regiment which on 17th of September was part of 39. Infantry Division which was part of Operational Group of general Kruszewski – which was part of the Northern Front.

He fought in the second biggest battle of the Polish Campaign – the battle of Tomaszów Lubelski – which took place between 17th and 27 – 28th of September 1939.

He was fighting mainly near Zamość.

He was first captured by the Soviets but he escaped during the same day – and joined his unit again. Then he took part in further combat and was wounded by grenade in his left forearm. Then he went to the German captivity, after his unit surrendered to the Germans.

The battle of Tomaszów Lubelski is a forgotten battle – it is described very poorly even in the Polish historiography. There are only several books which write anything about it – and there is no any monograph of it.

More over – the best (in my opinion) – book which mentions about it – “Army Modlin 1939” by Jurga and Karbowski – does not tell the whole truth about this battle, because it was written when Poland was under rule of communists and was in “friendship” with the Soviet Union – so at those times there was – officialy – no Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939.

The authors could hardly write anything (or at least they couldn't write the whole truth) about the Soviet participation in that battle and influence of the Soviet invasion on the course of that battle.

Quote
Poland was hardly the only country that was overrun by the Wehrmacht


The problem is that Poland was not overrun by the Wehrmacht but by the Wehrmacht and the Red Army together.

If you analize the situation in Poland in the evening on 16th of September carefully, you will see that although some part of the Polish army was encircled, Poland was not defeated yet and there was a big chance for further, long and efficient resistance.
It is also not true that France and Britain did not plan any military actions in the Western front.

In fact it is not known what exactly was established in Abbeville - as some documents from this conferention remain top-secret even today.

But - as you will see below - France declared that it will soon start its great offensive in the West even on 16th of September.

Also numerous French and English ships with equipment and support for Poland were enroute to Romania soon before the Soviet agression.

Quote
his portrayal of the 1939 campaign is "one-sided" to say the least. and his topics are factually inaccurate anyways. here he said "Panzer crushed by infantry" one thing, they were not "crushed" because the very same unit eventually routed the Poles form their position.


The same unit did not route the Poles from their position. The same unit was not able to take part in combat during the next 4 days – and the terrain after the battle was captured by the Poles.

Quote
Stalin carefully waited until the main Polish forces had been defeated and it become clear that France and England would remain just passive observers.


In my opinion it is not true. Not only because the main Polish forces were not defeated until 17th of September, but also – or mainly - for other reasons.

In my opinion Stalin just waited as long as he could – as long, as he knew that France and Britain are not able to help Poland yet.

When they were to start to help Poland soon - he attacked.

Stalin also waited as long as he could, because he wanted to observe how the German forces operate in Poland. Every Polish general which was captured by the Soviets, was asked about details of the German weak and strong sides, details of their tactics, etc.

Quote
So, yes Soviet invasion, of course, helped to destroy the Polish state but it's actual role in the destruction of the Polish army was minimal at best.


If not a considerable help of the Western Allies – Poland could not win that war.

That is clear and obvious.

But the Soviet invasion shortened the Polish resistance – it shortened it VERY MUCH.

Also the order of marschal Rydz-Śmigły – “not to fight with the Soviet forces unles it is absolutely nescessary” – shortened the Polish resistance – sadly…

Quote
However, the participation of the Soviet Army in the actual fighting was minimal; there were no any serious engagements except some minor clashes. Also the Polish army had an order to avoid military confrontation with the Soviets.


The biggest engagement in which the Soviet army participated – was the battle of Tomaszów Lubelski. And it was the second biggest battle of the whole Polish Campaign.

But in general – you are right.

There were not many big Polish-Soviet battles.

But this was because of the order of the Polish High Command – not because there were no Polish units in the eastern parts of the country.

The Soviets captured a lot of POWs!!!!

Ukrainian Front captured 392,334 POWs !
Byelorussian Front captured 60,202 POWs !

Together: 452,536

More over - around 100,000 Polish soldiers (or even more) escaped to foreign countries after 17th of September - mainly to Romania and Hungary (around 80,000 or more).

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

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.

Quote
Not many people remember, that Poland was not defeated by the Germans, but by the Germans together with the Soviet Union - they were even cooperating on the battlefields in Poland, on both strategical and tactical level - the Soviet units were often helping the German ones in destroying the Polish forces - they had even established this in top-secret agreement.


Also movements of the Soviet forces had influence on the orders given to the German units.

For example on 17th of September elements of 2. Panzer-Division (the majority of its tanks included here - three battalions - PR.4 and II./PR.3 - with over 80 tanks) had got orders to attack towards Żółkiew - Kamionka Strumiłowa - and either Tarnopol or Brody.

On 17th of September at 10:10 5. Panzer-Division received orders to move to the area east of Przemyśl and then prepare for the new operation which was to be started on 18th of September. On 18th of September the division (with all forces) was to attack towards Lwów, attack Lwów directly - capture it - and advance across the city of Lwów towards the eastern suburbs of the city, and then attack towards either Tarnopol or Stanisławów.

Orders for parts of 2. Panzer-Division (with the majority of its tanks - over 80 tanks in PR.4 and II./PR.3) and for 5. Panzer-Division - green arrows show ordered directions of their planned offensive:





Both orders never came into realization because of the Soviet agression.

On 17th of September at 12:00 headquarters of the 5. Panzer-Division received information from the headquarters of the Corps that the Red Army attacked Poland and that previous orders are no longer current.

On 18th of September at 0:30 2. Panzer-Division received order to stop its attack towards Żółkiew - Kamionka Strumiłowa and further either towards Tarnopol or Brody, and to go to the area of Rawa Ruska. This order was gave in connection with movements of the Soviet Army and with initial discussions about the Soviet-German demarcationline.

Both orders were directly connected with the Soviet agression of Poland and both orders had got major influence on the further course of some of the Polish-German battles.

For example:

At 11:00 on 18th of September elements of 2. Panzer-Division (those three tank battalions with around 80 tanks included here) were alarmed in Rawa Ruska, that the Poles broke through in Tomaszów Lubelski and that the German 4. Light Division which is defending there was defeated and is in serious troubles. These forces immediately at 11:00 advanced towards Tomaszów to rescue the German forces there.

In the early morning of 18th of September in Tomaszów Lubelski there were the following units of 4. Leichte-Division (the vast majority of this division):

One Abteilung of 10. Schtz.Kav.Rgt.,
11. Schtz.Kav.Rgt.,
102. Art.Rgt.,
50. Pzabw.Abt.,
part of 9. Aufk.Rgt. – II(Pz.Spah)/9. Aufk.Rgt.
33. Pz.Abt. - headquarters of 33. Pz.Abt + stab kompanie + leichte kompanie (formed from the remaining operational tanks of all three divisional leichte kompanies).

All in all in Tomaszów Lubelski there were around 20 - 25 Panzers and Panzerspahwagen (AFVs) of 4. Leichte-Division.

Another Abteilung of 10. Schtz.Kav.Rgt. was in Zamość as a part of Kampfgruppe Stollbrock (from 2. Panzer-Division).

In Tomaszów Lubelski there were no the following units of the 4. Leichte-Division:

part of 9. Aufk.Rgt. - I.(Kradschutzen)/9. Aufk.Rgt.
Pionierbataillon (mot.).

Most probably these two units were in the area near Hrubieszów or in Hrubieszów.

Before 13:00 the Poles captured over half of the city of Tomaszów Lubelski and opened their way to the south and south-east from Tomaszów towards Bełżec and towards Rawa Ruska - which was their goal.

Unfortunately - around 13:30 German relief from Rawa Ruska arrived across Bełżec to the area Tomaszów and started its counterattack to rescue the 4. Light Division. The German relief attacked Polish rears and the Poles had to withdraw from Tomaszów after 16:00 on 18th of September - all captured terrain was lost.

More over - the fierce Panzer-battle of Tomaszów Lubelski between the Polish Warszawska Panzer-Motorized Brigade and the reliefing forces of the German 2. Panzer-Division supported by few remaining operational armoured vehicles of 4. Leichte-Division started then.

If not the order given to 2. Panzer-Division at 0:30 on 18th of September because of the Soviet agression - 2. Panzer-Division would not be able to go to Tomaszów to rescue the 4. Light Division, or at least would not be able to get there in time - before the battle was completely won by the Poles.



Edited by Domen - 16-Dec-2008 at 19:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Majkes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 19:16
Originally posted by edgewaters edgewaters wrote:

Wow, those are some great pics. 

I'm curious about the sentiment behind  "Churchill invaded Poland together with Germans" - what was that about? I never knew wartime Poles had any sentiments like this and I can't quite figure out where they're coming from with that.

 
I supose it's communist propaganda.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Domen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 19:19

Quote

Wow, those are some great pics. 

I'm curious about the sentiment behind  "Churchill invaded Poland together with Germans" - what was that about? I never knew wartime Poles had any sentiments like this and I can't quite figure out where they're coming from with that.

 
I supose it's communist propaganda.


"Churchill" is painted on this German truck - and this photo was taken in Poland, 1939 - that is why I wrote that "it seems that Churchill invaded Poland together with the Germans".


Edited by Domen - 16-Dec-2008 at 19:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Domen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 19:27
Another myth is that Luftwaffe managed to destroy the Polish air force. It is 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.

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

The Germans lost at least 247 combat planes shot down over Poland in September of 1939 (sometimes higher numbers are given - up to 285 shot down aircraft).

Daily breakdown of these losses (the minimal - not the maximal - given figure - so 247):

Unknown date ( ??? ) - 6

1 IX - 44
2 IX - 14
3 IX - 22
4 IX - 19
5 IX - 13
6 IX - 18
7 IX - 8
8 IX - 6
9 IX - 14
10 IX - 14
11 IX - 14
12 IX - 5
13 IX - 6
14 IX - 8
15 IX - 5
16 IX - 4
17 IX - 9

Soviet invasion of Poland. Evacuation of Polish Air Force.

18 IX - 2
19 IX - 0
20 IX - 1
21 IX - 3
22 IX - 1
23 IX - 1
24 IX - 1
25 IX - 3
26 IX - 2
27 IX - 4

Total: 247

And here breakdown of victories of Polish fighters in combats against Luftwaffe:

Date - Number of victories:

Unknown date ( ??? ) - 3

1 IX 1939 - 23
2 IX 1939 - 13
3 IX 1939 - 14
4 IX 1939 - 11
5 IX 1939 - 6
6 IX 1939 - 14
7 IX 1939 - 1
9 IX 1939 - 4
10 IX 1939 - 3
11 IX 1939 - 1
12 IX 1939 - 2
13 IX 1939 - 2
14 IX 1939 - 2
15 IX 1939 - 3
16 IX 1939 - 1
17 IX 1939 - 3 + 8 (Soviet)

Soviet invasion of Poland. Evacuation of Polish Air Force.

Total: 106 + 8 (Soviet) = 114

On 17th of September Polish fighters shot down 8 Soviet planes (5 fighters, 2 bombers, 1 recon plane).

Polish bombers gained 8 victories in combats against Luftwaffe.

Polish Anti Aircraft defence shot down at least over 110 Luftwaffe planes (the exact amount is not known). It also shot down some Soviet planes.

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

By the way - I'm going to buy this book:

http://www.dws.org.pl/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=121689&p=1337824&hilit=straty+lotnictwa+sowieckiego+1939#p1337824

"Red starts - ally of black crosses over Poland. Soviet Air Force over Kresy. September - October 1939."



When I read it I will post some info about overal Soviet Air Force casualties in the Polish campaign and Polish Air Force casualties in combats against the Soviets (as far as I know there are such info in chapters 3.3., 2.7., 2.4., 1.3.).

Chapters 1.8 and 2.6 seems to be very interesting:

"1.8. Spadochroniarze sowieccy nad Polską 17 IX 1939" ("1.8. Soviet paratroopers over Poland 17 IX 1939").

"2.6. Sowiecki desant na Stanisławów!" ("Soviet airborne landing in Stanisławów").

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

Armoured forces in Romanian Bridgehead:

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.


Edited by Domen - 16-Dec-2008 at 19:30
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 19:38
Originally posted by Domen Domen wrote:



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Stalin carefully waited until the main Polish forces had been defeated and it become clear that France and England would remain just passive observers.


In my opinion it is not true. Not only because the main Polish forces were not defeated until 17th of September, but also – or mainly - for other reasons.

In my opinion Stalin just waited as long as he could – as long, as he knew that France and Britain are not able to help Poland yet.

When they were to start to help Poland soon - he attacked.

Stalin also waited as long as he could, because he wanted to observe how the German forces operate in Poland. Every Polish general which was captured by the Soviets, was asked about details of the German weak and strong sides, details of their tactics, etc.

 
Sorry, but it doesn't make sense. If Stalin would really want to minimize the possible effect of the France and England participation in the war, he would attack on September 1. Also Stalin didn't know anything about whether France and Englans were going to really help Poland. He had an impression that England and France were not willing to really fight for Poland, but he didn't want to risk a serious war with them in case they would fight.
That's why he waited so long.
 
In case, he really wanted to crush Poland before any French and English aid could come, he would attack on September the 1st.
 
In fact, Hitler was pissed off with Stalin's tricky behavoir.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Temujin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 20:29
Originally posted by Domen Domen wrote:

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.




from what you wrote so far it seems you think Poland could have still won if it was not for Stalins invasion. this, i completely disagree with. first, even though there were still active elements of the Polish Army, most of them were heavily reduced by casualties etc. also i think your estimates for the "Romanian bridgehead" are overly optimistic. the tanks, and i mean all of them, including the R-35 and H-35 which had weaker guns, are inferior to the best German and Czech tanks. if you think the Romanian bridgehead has a chance, you should analyze the odds of a similar sitaution. i'm talking about the Courland pocket in 1945. there was no chance Poland could turn the tide even without Soviet intervention. those troops still in the process of mobilization in Eastern Poland were not able to stand against the invasion as better equipped regular troops were already beaten and the Polish supply depots in the western parts of the country were gone. Poland is no Soviet Union that could recover from such a blow and such huge losses in ground and manpower. so i'd say it's at best wishful thinking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 20:30
Stalin's paranoia wouldn't allow him to fully trust his intelligence service.  He therefore wasn't sure what England and France would or wouldn't do.  Also, by this time Stalin had become suspicious of Hitler's true intentions and was playing his own games with Hitler's intelligence services which, for no obvious reason [at that time anyway] was doing it's best to keep the Soviets informed of what was actually going on. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 20:37
Originally posted by red clay red clay wrote:

Stalin's paranoia wouldn't allow him to fully trust his intelligence service.  He therefore wasn't sure what England and France would or wouldn't do. 
 
Intelligence report would show only that France and England were not going to attack. It's a fact that the French military attache in Poland was lying that France is going to attack while it the decision not to attack Germany had been already taken.
 
The paranoia you're talking about developed later, when Stalin didn't trust the reports about German preparations for the war with the USSR
 
Originally posted by red clay red clay wrote:

Also, by this time Stalin had become suspicious of Hitler's true intentions and was playing his own games with Hitler's intelligence services which, for no obvious reason [at that time anyway] was doing it's best to keep the Soviets informed of what was actually going on. 
 
Stalin was always suspicious of Hitler's true intentions from the very beginning.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 20:55
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

The paranoia you're talking about developed later, when Stalin didn't trust the reports about German preparations for the war with the USSR

Idunno, Stalin seemed awfully paranoid long before that - look at the Purge, for instance. From what I can tell, he never trusted his underlings unless he didn't have a choice.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2008 at 22:18
I meant there was no particular paranoia regarding intelligence reports in 1939.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Domen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Dec-2008 at 23:14
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from what you wrote so far it seems you think Poland could have still won if it was not for Stalins invasion.


I think you didn't understand me correctly.

I clearly wrote that Poland could not have won alone (this means - without significant military help of France and Britain) even if the Soviets hadn't had attacked.

But I wrote that if not the Soviet Invasion, Poland could resist at least twice that long as it happened in real (so at least around 2 months, not 1 month and 6 days).

And - with significant supplies of equipment / ammunition / weaponry from France and Britain through Romania - maybe even longer than 2 months (maybe until Spring of 1940 ? - but it is very doubtful - it depends on military help of France - if France had started strong offensive, the Germans would have sent the majority of their forces from Poland to the Western Front, and Poland would have been able to resist even until Spring of 1940 - of course with supplies of France and Britain transported to Poland via Mediterranean and Blac sea and via Romania by trains).

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as better equipped regular troops were already beaten


The majority of them were not beaten yet.

If you are talking about the battle of the Bzura and Kampinoska primeval forest - the decisive (and last) part of it was just beginning around 16th - 17th of September (and in real it lasted until 22nd of September at the Bzura river and until 24th of September in the Kampinoska primeval forest) - the exact result of it was not clear yet on 17th of September.

Of course significant part of the Polish Army (for example units in Warsaw, Modlin, Army "Poznan" and Army "Pomorze") were "practically" encircled ("practically" - because in fact not all of them and not completely encircled) - or if weren't, would soon be - so they could not take part in the further defence of the Romanian Bridghead (there was no chance for them to get there before the Germans) - but they could resist even longer than in real (so longer than until 30th of September - when last units in Modlin surrendered) - giving a lot of time for other Polish units to withdraw towards the Romanian Bridgehead, as the majority of the German army was fighting with them and was being significantly delayed by them.

The battle of Bzura - althouth it happened to be tactical Polish defeat, terrible defeat - it was - in fact - strategical and operational Polish success (maybe not "awesome" success, but success) - because it forced the majority of the German forces which were operating in Poland to stay in Central Poland - and these forces would be much more nescessary for the Germans in the south-eastern part of the frontline, if not the Soviet agression.

German plans failed due to the battle of Bzura - because to eliminate the Polish forces which attacked their 8. Army in this area, they had to "withdraw" huge part of their forces (big parts of 10., 3. and 4. Armies !!!) from the east towards the west - towards Kutno and river Bzura in Central Poland.

The Soviet agression made it much easier for the Germans to finally deal with Poland, because they no longer had to regroup, prepare new offensive and send the majority of their forces to the south-eastern area of the frontline (and if not the Soviet agression, they could do this only after defeating Armies "Poznan" and "Pomorze" and forces in Warsaw and Modlin, as well as those remaining units which were encircled near Radom, and were still resisting until around 18th - 19th of September).

Dealing with the Polish resistance in Central Poland (Kutno, Bzura, Warsaw, Modlin, Radom) would take at least additional three-four weeks for the Germans (since 17th of September) - and then they would have to prepare new offensive - but first they would have to regroup (and this would also take some time), because their forces - especcialy armoured and Panzer forces - were heavilly exhausted.

Number of operational tanks in most of the German Panzer-Divisions was extremely low during the third week of September (around 20th - 25th of September) - in real Panzerwaffe ended practically all of its operations in Poland around 20th - 25th of September - so it finally could rest and start repairing damaged tanks.

If not the Soviet agression, Panzerwaffe would not receive such a "gift" - and at least several more fierce and bloody further offensives against Polish forces would be "prepared" for it in the future.

And weather in October and November is not so good for Panzers, as it was in September. Also roads in former Eastern Poland (today Ukraine, Belarus) were much worse than in western and central parts of the country - as well as terrain in general (for movements of motorized and armoured forces).

Around 17th - 18th of September around 50% of all German tanks (around 1200 - 1400) were not operatable (so damaged or destroyed) due to the Polish resistance.

Despite the fact, that Panzerwaffe (thanks to the Soviet agression) practically ended all of their last operations in Poland between around 20th and 25th of September - by 10th of October still over 800 of German tanks were not operatable (these were those which were destroyed, as well as those which could not be repaired / rebuilt within 14 days - so in "short-term repair").

According to the original German report made on 10th of October it was the following amount:

Pz I - 320
Pz II - 259
Pz III - 40
Pz IV - 82
Pz 35(t) - 77
Pz Bef III - 13
Pz Bef 38(t) - 7
Pz Bef inne typy - 34
Pz 38(t) - amount is not given (but higher than 0).

Total: at least 832 tanks.

Some of these over 800 tanks - these which were the most heavilly damaged during the Polish Campaign - were still being rebuilt even as late as during the Spring and Summer of 1940 - so after circa one year.

Also M.
Alexander, in his book titled: "The Republic in Danger: General Maurice Gamelin and the Politics of French Defence, 1933-1940", Cambidge 2003, on page 334 wrote:

"By mid-October the 2e Burreau was sharing its "high-grade intelligence indicating that [Germany's] armoured vechicles suffered severly in the Polish campaign, some having been destroyed in combat but many requires serious and protracted repairs"


Edited by Domen - 18-Dec-2008 at 23:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Dec-2008 at 23:36
"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."

This is probably what's happening most. From 79 damaged Bf 109 there were just 7 completely destroyed by Poles. A better quote had the Polish army with He111 and Do17 when from 38/30 completely lost planes 24/23 was shot down by Flak and hunters.
 
The German Army lost about 15000 men, about 30000 were wounded. From the motorized vehicles about 50% were damaged, but mostly without hostile influence. 217 Tanks were completely damaged. It is hard to give an amount of German shot down airplanes. One is 285, but it is probably wrong and the real amount less.
 
Of course the Polish campaign would last longer if not the Russians had invaded Poland. But the most Polish troops were encircled. With the Battle of Lublin, 23rd of September, the most of the Polish army was beaten. I think the Polish casualties, soldiers and civilians, were big enough at those days and a lot followed. But I fear if the campaign would have last much longer the Polish casualties would have been much higher.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Domen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Dec-2008 at 23:49
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217 Tanks were completely damaged.


Actually - 236, not 217 - according to the official data. And this is only amount of tanks which were written-off (scrapped) in September of 1939 - not during the following months (it is supposed that some tanks - even over 100 - which were eliminated during the Polish campaign in September - were written-off - scrapped - during further months - so October, November, December, January 1940, etc. ...).

According to official German data (source: book "Die Offensive gegen Kursk" by Toeppel), similar figure for the battle of Kursk (Operation "Zitadelle" together with Operation "Kutuzow") is 248 - only 12 more than in the Polish Campaign, according to the same, official sources...

And this number (248) includes these losses: between 5th of July 1943 and 20th of July 1943 the whole Army Group "South" lost 121 tanks as "Totalshaden" - according to the same, official German sources.

And this does not change the fact, that on 1st of July 1943 the Germans had got 2730 tanks operational in units which took part in the battle of Kursk, and on 31st of July 1943 - only 1485 (1245 fewer) in same units...

Similar losses (around 1200 - 1400 German tanks eliminated by the Polish Army) were sustained by Panzerwaffe in Poland - but during only around 17 - 20 days, not the whole month.

To this we must add Soviet casualties (according to official, Soviet sources, they lost 471 tanks including 47 written-off - so completely destroyed and not repaired).

Quote
From 79 damaged Bf 109 there were just 7 completely destroyed by Poles.


You quoted Marius Emmerling. Emmerling is a controversial author because he claims that the majority of the German planes which were supposed to be shot down by the Polish Air Force, fell down due to break downs.

He claims that Polish fighers shot down only around 50 - 60 planes, not 106 - as was previously said. The remaining machines allegedly just fell down because of failures.

But the Polish air victories are well confirmed.

It is also clear that the German casualties were higher when the Polish fighters were gaining more victories - as can be seen from the table below:

The Germans lost at least 247 combat planes shot down or fell down over Poland in September of 1939 (sometimes higher numbers are given - up to 285 shot down aircraft).

Daily breakdown of these losses (the minimal - not the maximal - given figure - so 247):

Unknown date ( ??? ) - 6

1 IX - 44
2 IX - 14
3 IX - 22
4 IX - 19
5 IX - 13
6 IX - 18
7 IX - 8
8 IX - 6
9 IX - 14
10 IX - 14
11 IX - 14
12 IX - 5
13 IX - 6
14 IX - 8
15 IX - 5
16 IX - 4
17 IX - 9

Soviet invasion of Poland. Evacuation of Polish Air Force.

18 IX - 2
19 IX - 0
20 IX - 1
21 IX - 3
22 IX - 1
23 IX - 1
24 IX - 1
25 IX - 3
26 IX - 2
27 IX - 4

Total: 247

And here breakdown of victories of Polish fighters in combats against Luftwaffe:

Date - Number of victories:

Unknown date ( ??? ) - 3

1 IX 1939 - 23
2 IX 1939 - 13
3 IX 1939 - 14
4 IX 1939 - 11
5 IX 1939 - 6
6 IX 1939 - 14
7 IX 1939 - 1
9 IX 1939 - 4
10 IX 1939 - 3
11 IX 1939 - 1
12 IX 1939 - 2
13 IX 1939 - 2
14 IX 1939 - 2
15 IX 1939 - 3
16 IX 1939 - 1
17 IX 1939 - 3 + 8 (Soviet)

Soviet invasion of Poland. Evacuation of Polish Air Force.

Total: 106 + 8 (Soviet) = 114

On 17th of September Polish fighters shot down 8 Soviet planes (5 fighters, 2 bombers, 1 recon plane).

Polish bombers gained 8 victories in combats against Luftwaffe.

Polish Anti Aircraft defence shot down at least over 110 Luftwaffe planes (the exact amount is not known) - and this number (over 110) is confirmed even by Marius Emmerling. Polish AA defence also shot down some Soviet planes.

Quote
The German Army lost about 15000 men, about 30000 were wounded.


Actually - according to figures established in 1944 it (only Heer + Luftwaffe + Kriegsmarine) lost at least 16,663 KIA in during the Polish Campaign in September (+ some more - several hundred KIA at least - in Poland, in October). Number of wounded was higher than 30,000 (at least around 34,000 - 35,000 in September).

I have even got a breakdown of these losses for each army.

Small comparison - casualties on the whole Eastern Front (according to similar, official German data) in 1943:

July 1943 - 35,047 KIA
August 1943 - 36,603
September 1943 - 20,301

Source:

http://radikal.ru/F/s39.radikal.ru/i083/0809/31/a05180a34913.jpg.html

This includes casualties in the battle of Kursk in July of 1943 (they were lower than casualties in Poland in 1939) - if you want, I can give some exact, official data on them.

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With the Battle of Lublin, 23rd of September, the most of the Polish army was beaten.


Battle of Lublin (it should be rather called Battle of Tomaszow Lubelski) ended on 27th - 28th of September - and also Soviet forces participated in it (my grandfather took part in it and was captured first by the Soviets, later escaped, and later was wounded and surrendered to the Germans with his unit).

Quote
But I fear if the campaign would have last much longer the Polish casualties would have been much higher.


Of course - but also German casualties would be much higher (especcialy men losses).

In France in 1940 German men casualties during the first phase of the Campaign ("Fall Gelb") - when the German Army crushed the main French and English forces - were much lower than during the second phase of the campaign ("Fall Rot") - during which the Germans were fighting mainly with reserve divisions, poorly equipped and trained... - but defending in heavy terrain.

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From the motorized vehicles about 50% were damaged, but mostly without hostile influence.


Mostly (vast majority) with hostile influence.


Edited by Domen - 19-Dec-2008 at 00:14
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