The defeat of Poland in September 1939

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

According to the accepted opinion, September 1, 1939 began the second global war — 3rd Reich invaded Poland, although in China are counting from 1937. At 4 hours 45 minutes at the mouth of the Vistula River an old German battleship "Schleswig-Holstein" opened fire on a Polish military depot at Westerplatte Danzig joined the Wehrmacht coming across the border strip.

Poland at the time was quite artificial public education — actually made of Polish territories, the debris of the Russian Empire, the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. In 1939, 35.1 million people of the population of Poland Poles were 23.4 million people, Belarusians and Ukrainians -7.1 million, 3.5 million Jews, 0.7 million Germans, 0.1 million . Lithuanians, 0.12 million Czechs. Moreover, Belarusians and Ukrainians were in the position of the oppressed slaves, and of the Germans tried to get back into the Reich. Warsaw at the event was not averse to increment the area due to its neighbors — in 1922, captured the district of Vilnius, in 1938 at the Cieszyn region of Czechoslovakia.

In Germany were obliged to accept the territorial losses in the east — West Prussia, a part of Silesia, Posen district, but mostly inhabited by Germans of Danzig was declared a free city. But public opinion was regarding these losses as a temporary loss. Hitler was not initially focused on these areas, considering that the problem of the Rhineland, Austria, Sudetenland importantly, Poland and even became an ally of Berlin, getting crumbs from the master's table (Těšín region of Czechoslovakia). Also in Warsaw had hoped for in an alliance with Berlin to march to the East, hoping to make a "Greater Poland" from the sea (Baltic) to the sea (Dark Sea). October 24, 1938 to the Polish ambassador in Germany Lipsky was transferred to the requirement of consent to the inclusion of the free Polish town of Danzig to the Reich, Poland also invited to join the Anti-Comintern Pact (directed against the Soviet Union, it included Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary), in the course of the ensuing later negotiations, promised Warsaw area in the East, at the expense of the Soviet Union. But Warsaw has expressed its authentic stubbornness and constantly denied Reich. Why Poles were so sure of himself? Apparently, they had full confidence in the fact that London and Paris will not abandon them and assist in the event of war.

Poland at that time led not very wise policy quarrel with virtually all neighbors of the Soviet Union did not want to help, though London and Paris have tried to agree on this point, with Hungary were territorial disputes in Lithuania they seized Vilna, even formed in March 1939 , Slovakia (after the German occupation of the Czech Republic) had a fight — trying to capture her part of the area. Because apart from Germany in September 1939 on Poland and Slovakia attacked — put two divisions.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

Polish "Vickers E» enters the Czechoslovak Zaolze, October 1938.

France and Britain gave her assurance that posodeystvuyut, but the Poles was necessary to sustain a week or two, that she graduated from France to mobilize and concentrate its forces to strike. It's official, in fact, in Paris and London were not going to fight a war with Germany, thinking that Germany will not stop and will continue, to the Soviet Union, and the two enemies become stuck.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

The disposition of enemy forces on 31 August 1939 and the Polish campaign of 1939.

Plans power of the parties

Poland early mobilization of the hidden since March 23, 1939, was able to mobilize for war: 39 divisions, 16 brigades, more than 1 million people, about 870 tanks (most of wedgies), a certain number of armored vehicles, 4,300 artillery pieces and mortars, and 400 aircraft. In addition, the Poles were convinced from the start of the war will support them all the power of Allied aircraft and navy of England.

We planned two weeks to lead the defense, the Wehrmacht to contain all along the border — almost 1900 km, against East Prussia, in appropriate criteria, even expected to lead coming. Plan offensive against East Prussia was called "the West", it had to spend the operational group "Narew", "Wyszków" and Army "Modlin". In the "Polish Corridor", divided East Prussia and Germany, focused their army of "help you", she said, except for defense, was to seize Danzig. Berlin direction defended the army "Poznan", the border with Silesia and Slovakia covered the Army "Lodz" Army "Cracow" and an army of "Carpathians". In the rear of the south-west of Warsaw unfolded auxiliary army of "Prusy". Poles stretched their orders across the border, did a strong anti-tank defenses on the main lines, did massive operating reserves for flank attacks on the enemy to break through.

The plan was designed for a number of "if": if the Polish army withstand two weeks of the highest positions, and if the Germans concentrate a small portion of their own forces and resources (especially aircraft and tanks) — Polish command expected that Berlin would leave a significant group in the west, and if a two weeks of the Anglo-French forces begin a large offensive. Another a weak spot of the Polish Army was the management, it is in fact from the very beginning of the war was intended only for his own skin. Small wonder that with such a command of the Polish army withstood almost a month.

Germany, against Poland 3rd Reich used the 62 divisions (40 of them staffing divisions first strike of their six armored and mechanized 4), only 1.6 million people, about 6,000 guns, 2,000 aircraft and 2,800 tanks (out of more than 80% lungs, wedgies with machine guns). German generals themselves infantry fighting ability was assessed as unsatisfactory, also knew that if Hitler had made a mistake and the Anglo-French army banging in the west, the tragedy is inevitable. Germany was not prepared to fight a war with France (her army at that time, the number of strongest in the world) and England, they had an advantage at sea, in the air and on land, the defenses were not prepared ("Siegfried Line"), western front bare.

Polish army planned (Snow White Plan) to kill a massive blow largest number of troops and equipment for 2-weeks (the idea of "Blitzkrieg"), due to denudation of the western border. Poles want to defeat earlier than in the West will be able to move in the coming of creating a strategic turning point in the war. At this time, the western border covered 36 undermanned, virtually untrained divisions deprived of armored vehicles and aircraft. In fact, all the tanks, armored vehicles were concentrated in five buildings: the 14th, 1
5th, 16th, 19th and mining. They had to look feeble in the defense of the enemy, to overcome enemy defenses, enter the operating room, going to the enemy in the rear, at the time infantry divisions pinned down by enemy front.
Army Group "North" (the 4th and the 3rd Army) lupila of Pomerania and East Prussia in the general direction of Warsaw, that is connected with part of Army Group "South" east of Warsaw, close environment on the remaining Polish forces north of the Vistula River. Army Group "South" (8, 10, 14th Army) lupila with areas of Silesia and Moravia in the general direction of Warsaw, there was supposed to unite with the Army Group "North". 8th Army lupila in the direction of Lodz, 14-I had to take Krakow, Sandomierz to step on. In the center was a feeble force, they had to tie down the Polish army fighting "Poznan" to simulate the direction of head impact.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

Disklokatsiya troops on 01.09.1939 year.


To comply with the visibility Tipo response, the German security services organized provocation — the so called "Gleyvitsky incident." August 31 SS soldiers and specially selected to jail criminals in the form of the Polish radio station stormed the German Gleiwitz. After the capture of the radio station some of them in Polish read on the radio a specially prepared tex, provoking Germany into war. Then the SS criminals were shot (one of the titles of the operation — "Canned"), cast in place, they found the German police. At night the German media said that Poland stormed Germany.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

The first shots of the latest war, the training battleship "Schleswig-Holstein".


Luftwaffe during the first day or kill a large part of the Polish aviation, also broke the connection, management, movement of troops by rail. German shock troops simply broke through the front and went on, and not surprisingly that when the sparseness of the Polish units. For example, the 19th Mechanized Corps (one armored, two mechanized, two infantry divisions), gushing from Pomerania, broke the defense of the 9th Division and the Pomeranian Cavalry Brigade, in the evening on September 1 after passing 90 km. In the Gulf of Danzig German Navy killed a small Polish squadron (one destroyer, one destroyer and submarine 5), before the start of the war three destroyers went to the UK, and two submarines were able to break out of the Baltic Sea (they later fought wars in the Navy of England).

Already on 1 September, the President of Warsaw had left, the 5th this was followed by the government, so they began moving to Romania. The Last Command "heroic" the commander in chief of the Polish army, Edward Rydz-Rydz has published the 10th, after the relationship did not go out, and later turned up in Romania. At last he ordered his own orders Warsaw Modlin and keep the defense in the environment remains the army to keep the defense on the border with Romania and expected to help the UK and France. Rydz-Rydz on September 7, arrived in Brest, where in case of war with the Soviet Union had to prepare headquarters, but she was not prepared, the 10th arrived in Vladimir-Volyn, 13th in Mlyn, and September 15 — closer to the Romanian border, in Coloma, where there were government and the president.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

Marshal of Poland, the Supreme Commander of the Polish army, Edward Rydz-Rydz.

2nd Army "Help" defending "Polish corridor "was split counter attacks from East Prussia, Pomerania, her most, seaside, was surrounded. On the south Wehrmacht found joint Army "Lodz" and "Krakow", the 1st Armored Division rushed into the breach, going to the rear of the Polish units. Polish command decided to withdraw the army, "Cracow" in the main limit of the defense, and the army of "Lodz" — to the east and south-east of the line of the rivers Nida and Dunajec (approximately 100-170 km). But the cross-border battle has already been lost, from the very beginning, it was not necessary to defend the entire boundary, and concentrate forces on the main lines, make operating reserves for counterattacks. Defense Plan Polish command derailed in northern part of the Wehrmacht, advancing from East Prussia to the 3rd Army crushed the old days, "Modlin", its remnants retreated across the Vistula. A different plan was not, could only hope for the Allies.

4, the Poles in the center moved to the Warta River, but there could not resist, almost immediately shot down their flank attacks, already the 5th remnants of the waste to Lodz. The main provision of the Polish armed forces — army, "Prusy" — was disorganized and simply "disappeared", the 5th of September, the war was lost, the Polish army has been fighting, retreating, tried to gain a foothold on any frontier, but … Polish troops were dissected, lost control, did not know what to do, get into the environment.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

German tanks T-1 (Light Tank Pz.Kpfw. I) in Poland. 1939.

8 September the battle for Warsaw, its defenders fought to September 28. First trial to take the city on the move, 8-10 September, the Poles recaptured. Command of the Wehrmacht decided to abandon the plan to take the city in stride and continued to close the blockade — 14th closed the ring. 15-16, the Germans offered to surrender, the 17th Polish soldiers were asked to allow the evacuation of the inhabitants of the peace, Hitler refused. 22th began a general assault on the 28th, having exhausted the ability of the defense, the remnants of the garrison surrendered.

Another group of Polish forces surrounded the west of Warsaw — around Kutno and Lodz, they have stood up to the 17th of September, gave up after several attempts to break through and ended when food and ammunition. October 1, surrendered Baltic naval base of Hel, the last center of defense has been eliminated in Kotzk (north of Lublin), which capitulated on October 6, 17 thousand Poles.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

September 14, 1939.

The myth of the Polish cavalry

Since filing Guderian was created the myth of the Polish cavalry attacks on the Wehrmac
ht tanks. In fact, horses were used as transport (as in the Red Army, the Wehrmacht), horse has intelligence, soldiers in battle kavchastey entered on foot. In addition, riders because of their own mobility, good training (there were an elite army), decent weapons (their reinforced by artillery, machine guns, armored vehicles) were among the most combat-ready units of the Polish Army.

In this war, it is clear only 6 cases of attacks on horseback, a 2-cases on the battlefield was armored. September 1 under Kroyantami part of the 18th Pomeranian Lancers met last battalion to halt the Wehrmacht, and using the element of surprise, stormed. Initially, the attack was successful, the Germans were caught by surprise, they are cut down, but then the battle intervened German armored vehicles, which are not seen Polish scouts, eventually the fight was lost. But the Polish cavalry, having suffered the loss, and went into the forest and were not destroyed.

September 19 under the volcano Venglovoy commander of the 14th regiment of lancers Iazlovetchi Colonel E. Godlewski (acceded to it subdivision of the 9th Lancers Regiment Lesser Poland) decided to break through the German infantry to cavalry, relying on the element of surprise to Warsaw. But it turned out to position infantry armored division, besides artillery and tanks were not far off. Polish cavalry penetrated through the Wehrmacht, having lost about 20% of the regiment (at that time — 105 killed and 100 wounded). The battle lasted only 18 minutes, the Germans had lost 52 men killed and 70 wounded.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

Friendly Polish Lancers.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

Results of the war

— Poland, as a government, has been the existence of most of its territory was divided between Germany and the Soviet Union, Slovakia has received some land.

— On the remains are not connected to the German lands created the General Government under the control of the German government, with its capital in Krakow.

— Lithuania went Vilnius region.

— The Wehrmacht lost 13-20 thousand people dead and missing, about 30 thousand wounded. Polish Army — 66 thousand killed, wounded 120-200 thousand, about 700 thousand prisoners.

The defeat of Poland in September 1939

Polish infantry in the defense

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Guderian G. Memoirs of a fighter. Smolensk, 1999.
Kurt von Tippelskirch. The history of the second World War, St. Petersburg., 1998.
Meltyuhov MI Soviet-Polish war. Military-political confrontation 1918-1939 gg. Moscow, 2001.

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