Polish army order of battle in 1939

Last updated

Polish OOB during the invasion of Poland . In the late thirties Polish headquarters prepared "Plan Zachód" (Plan "West), a plan of mobilization of Polish Army in case of war with Germany. Earlier, the Poles did not regard the Germans as their main threat, priority was given to threat from the Soviets (see: Plan East).

Invasion of Poland invasion of Poland by Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small Slovak contingent

The Invasion of Poland, known in Poland as the September Campaign or the 1939 Defensive War, and in Germany as the Poland Campaign (Polenfeldzug), was an invasion of Poland by Germany that marked the beginning of World War II. The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese Battles of Khalkhin Gol in the east on 16 September. The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Contents

The overall operational plan assumed the creation of 30 infantry divisions, 9 reserve divisions, 11 cavalry brigades, two motorized brigades, 3 mountain brigades and a number of smaller units. Most Polish forces were grouped into 6 armies and a number of corps-sized "Operational Groups". Later in the course of the war other operational units were created.

Infantry military service branch that specializes in combat by individuals on foot

Infantry is the branch of an army that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

Division (military) large military unit or formation

A division is a large military unit or formation, usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 8,000 and 30,000 in nominal strength.

Cavalry soldiers or warriors fighting from horseback

Cavalry or horsemen are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the most mobile of the combat arms. An individual soldier in the cavalry is known by a number of designations such as cavalryman, horseman, dragoon, or trooper. The designation of cavalry was not usually given to any military forces that used other animals, such as camels, mules or elephants. Infantry who moved on horseback, but dismounted to fight on foot, were known in the 17th and early 18th centuries as dragoons, a class of mounted infantry which later evolved into cavalry proper while retaining their historic title.

Placement of Polish divisions on September 1st Rzeczpospolita 1939 Polish divisions.png
Placement of Polish divisions on September 1st
Placement of divisions on September 1, 1939 Dywizje wrzesien 1.png
Placement of divisions on September 1, 1939
Dispositions of opposing forces, August 31, 1939, and the German plan. Poland1939 GermanPlanMap.jpg
Dispositions of opposing forces, August 31, 1939, and the German plan.

Armies

Karpaty Army

Created on July 11, 1939, under Major General Kazimierz Fabrycy. Armia Karpaty was created after Germany annexed Czechoslovakia and created a puppet state of Slovakia. The main aim of the army was to secure mountain passes in the Carpathians. Initially the army consisted of 2 improvised mountain brigades and a number of smaller units, but later in the course of war was joined by forces of the withdrawing Armia Kraków.

Kazimierz Fabrycy Polish general

Kazimierz Fabrycy was a Polish general.

Second Czechoslovak Republic 1938-1939 republic in Central/Eastern Europe

The Second Czechoslovak Republic, sometimes also called the Czecho-Slovak Republic, existed for 169 days, between 30 September 1938 and 15 March 1939. It was composed of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and the autonomous regions of Slovakia and Subcarpathian Rus', the latter being renamed on 30 December 1938 to Carpathian Ukraine.

Carpathian Mountains Mountain range in Central and Eastern Europe

The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a mountain range system forming an arc roughly 1,500 km (932 mi) long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the third-longest mountain range in Europe after the Ural Mountains with 2,500 km (1,553 mi) and Scandinavian Mountains with 1,700 km (1,056 mi).

2nd Mountain Brigade was a unit of the Polish Army, which took part in the Polish September Campaign. Commanded by Colonel Aleksander Stawarz, it was part of Operational Group "Jasło" of Army Karpaty. Its purpose was to defend an 80-kilometer section of Polish-Slovak border, from Czorsztyn to the Beskid Mountain Pass. Facing the Poles to the south, in Slovakia, were two German Mountain Divisions and one Slovak division, which would attack north, along valleys of the Dunajec and the Biała rivers.

Limanowa Place in Lesser Poland, Poland

Limanowa is a small town in southern Poland, in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship. It is the capital of Limanowa County.

Gorlice Place in Lesser Poland, Poland

Gorlicepronounced [ɡɔrˈlʲit͡sɛ] is a city and an urban municipality ("gmina") in south eastern Poland with around 29,500 inhabitants (2008). It is situated south east of Kraków and south of Tarnów between Jasło and Nowy Sącz in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship, previously in Nowy Sącz Voivodeship (1975–1998). It is the capital of Gorlice County.

Additionally, mobilisation plans called for creation of the Tarnów Group consisting of:

22nd Mountain Infantry Division (Poland)

The 22nd Mountain Infantry Division was a pre-war unit of the Polish Army. It was one of two mountain infantry divisions of Poland to take part in the Invasion of Poland of 1939. Currently its traditions are continued by the 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade. Until 1939 the unit was commanded by Col. Leopold Engel-Ragis and was stationed in and around the towns of Sanok, Przemyśl and Sambor.

Przemyśl Place in Subcarpathian, Poland

Przemyśl is a city in south-eastern Poland with 66,756 inhabitants, as of June 2009. In 1999, it became part of the Subcarpathian Voivodeship; it was previously the capital of Przemyśl Voivodeship.

The 38th Infantry Division (Reserve) was a unit of the Polish Army in the interbellum period. It was created by merging several units of the Border Defence Corps, and its purpose was to support activities of Army Kraków and Army Karpaty, which guarded southern border of Poland. Its commandant was Colonel Alojzy Wir-Konas.

Kraków Army

Created on March 23, 1939, as the main pivot of Polish defence. Its main task was to delay advancing German troops and withdraw eastwards along the northern line of the Carpathians. It consisted of 5 infantry divisions, 1 mountain infantry division, 1 motorized cavalry brigade, 1 mountain brigade and 1 cavalry brigade under gen. Antoni Szylling.

Kraków ArmyUnitPolish nameCommanderRemarks
  Army units – gen. Antoni Szylling
6th Infantry Division from Kraków 6 Dywizja Piechoty Bernard Mond
7th Infantry Division from Częstochowa 7 Dywizja Piechotygen. bryg. Janusz Gąsiorowski
11th Infantry Division from Stanisławów 11 Dywizja Piechotygen. bryg. Bronisław Prugar-Ketling
Kraków Cavalry Brigade from Kraków Krakowska Brygada Kawaleriigen.bryg. Zygmunt Piasecki
10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade from Rzeszów 10 Brygada Kawalerii Zmotoryzowanejpłk. Stanisław Maczek
  Śląsk Operational Group – gen. Jan Jagmin-Sadowski
23rd Infantry Division from Katowice 23 Dywizja Piechotypłk. Władysław Powierza Upper Silesian
55th Infantry Division, reserve division made of several units from the area of Upper Silesia and Jaworzno 55 Dywizja Piechotypłk. Stanisław Kalabiński reserve
   Bielsko Operational Group – gen. Mieczysław Boruta-Spiechowicz
21st Mountain Infantry Division from Nowy Sącz and Bielsko-Biała 21 Dywizja Piechoty Górskiejgen. Józef Kustroń
1st Mountain Brigade, made of several National Defence units from Żywiec, Zakopane and Jasło.1 Brygada Górskapłk Janusz Gaładyk mostly elite KOP troops

Lublin Army

An improvised army created on September 4 from 1 motorized brigade and various smaller units concentrated around Lublin, Sandomierz and upper Vistula. Commanded by mj. gen. Tadeusz Piskor.

Łódź Army

Created on March 23, 1939, under gen. Juliusz Rómmel. Armia Łódź was to become a bolt between Armies "Kraków" and "Poznań". However, because of mistakes committed by Gen. Rómmel, the army was located too close to the German border and joined fighting from the very beginning of the campaign, which deprived it of any possibilities of cooperation with the surrounding units. It consisted of 4 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades.

Modlin Army

Created on March 23, 1939, for defence of Warsaw from the north. The army was to defend fortified lines along the border with East Prussia near Mława, and then retreat towards Narew river. Led by brig. gen. Emil Krukowicz-Przedrzymirski. Consisted of 2 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades.

Pomorze Army

The Army was created on March 23, 1939, to defend Toruń and Bydgoszcz and to carry out delaying actions in the so-called "Polish Corridor". It was led by Lt.-Gen. Władysław Bortnowski and consisted of five infantry divisions, two National Defence brigades and one cavalry brigade.

Pomorze ArmyUnitPolish nameCommanderRemarks
  Army units – gen. Władysław Bortnowski
9th Infantry Division from Siedlce 9 Dywizja Piechotypłk. Józef Werobej
15th Infantry Division from Bydgoszcz 15 Dywizja Piechotygen. Wacław Przyjałkowski Greater Polish
27th Infantry Division from Kowel 27 Dywizja Piechotygen.bryg. Juliusz Drapella
Pomeranian National Defence Brigade Pomorska Brygada Obrony Narodowej
Chełmno National Defence Brigade Chełmska Brygada Obrony Narodowej
   Operational Group "East" – gen. Mikołaj Bołtuć
4th Infantry Division from Toruń 4 Dywizja Piechotypłk. Rawicz-Mysłowski, płk. Józef Werobej
16th Infantry Division from Grudziądz 16 Dywizja Piechotypłk. Zygmunt Szyszko-Bohusz Pomeranian
   Czersk Operational Group – gen.bryg. Stanisław Grzmot-Skotnicki
Pomeranian Cavalry Brigade from Bydgoszcz Pomorska Brygada Kawaleriigen.bryg. Stanisław Grzmot-Skotnicki
Independent Units Chojnice and Kościerzyna Oddziały Wydzielone "Chojnice" i "Kościerzyna"

Poznań Army

The Armia Poznań led by mj. gen. Tadeusz Kutrzeba was to provide flanking operations in the Grand Poland and withdraw towards lines of defence along the Warta river. It consisted of 4 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades.

Prusy Army

Under gen. Stefan Dąb-Biernacki. Created in the summer of 1939 as the main reserve of the Commander in Chief. According to the "Plan West" (Plan Zachód, code name for the Polish mobilization plan) it was to be composed of units mobilized as the second and third waves and its main purpose was to cooperate with the nearby armies "Poznań" and "Kraków".

Mobilized in two groups. Because of fast German advance both groups entered combat separately and most units did not reach full mobilization. It consisted of 6 infantry divisions, 1 cavalry brigade and a battalion of tanks.

Prusy ArmyUnitPolish nameCommanderRemarks
  Army units – gen. Stefan Dąb-Biernacki
39th Infantry Division, made of several regiments of the Border Defence Corps 39 Dywizja Piechotypłk. Bruno Olbrycht reserve
44th Infantry Division, made of several regiments of the Border Defence Corps 44 Dywizja Piechotypłk. Eugeniusz Żongołłowicz reserve
  Northern group – gen. Stefan Dąb-Biernacki
13th Infantry Division from Rowne 13 Dywizja Piechotypłk. Władysław Zubosz-Kaliński Kresowa
19th Infantry Division from Wilno 19 Dywizja Piechotygen. Józef Kwaciszewski
29th Infantry Division from Grodno 29 Dywizja Piechotypłk. Ignacy Oziewicz
Wileńska Cavalry Brigade from Wilno Wileńska Brygada Kawaleriipłk. Konstanty Drucki-Lubecki
1st tank battalion1 battalion czołgów
  Southern group – gen. Stanisław Skwarczyński
3rd Legions Infantry Division from Zamość 3 Dywizja Piechoty Legionówpłk. Marian Turowski
12th Infantry Division from Tarnopol 12 Dywizja Piechotygen. Gustaw Paszkiewicz
36th Infantry Division, made from troops of Border Defence Corps of the Podole area.36 Dywizja Piechotypłk Michał Ostrowski reserve

Warszawa Army

For a detailed description of the Warszawa Army operations see: Siege of Warsaw (1939)

Created on September 10, 1939, from various units in Warsaw and Modlin Fortress area. Initially it consisted of approximately 25 infantry battalions and 40 tanks. Later it was reinforced by forces of Łódź Army and elements of Modlin Army. It was commanded by col. Walerian Czuma, although the nominal commander was gen. Juliusz Rómmel.

Warszawa ArmyUnitPolish nameCommanderRemarks
   Modlin Fortress – gen. Wiktor Thommée
2nd Legions Infantry Division from Kielce 2 Dywizja Piechoty Legionówpłk Antoni Staich elements
8th Infantry Division from Modlin 8 Dywizja Piechotypłk Tadeusz Wyrwa-Furgalski elements
28th Infantry Division from Warszawa 28 Dywizja Piechotypłk Broniewskielements
30th Infantry Division from Kobryn 30 Dywizja Piechotygen. Leopold Cehak elements
  Western Approach – płk Marian Porwit
13th Infantry Division from Rowne 13 Dywizja Piechotypłk Władysław Zubosz-Kalinski reinforced
15th Infantry Division from Bydgoszcz 15 Dywizja Piechotygen. Zdzisław Przyjałkowski reinforced
25th Infantry Division from Kalisz 25 Dywizja Piechotygen. Franciszek Alter elements
Combined Cavalry Brigade Zbiorcza Brygada Kawaleriigen. Roman Abraham combined
  Eastern Approach – gen. Juliusz Zulauff
5th Infantry Division from Lwów 5 Dywizja Piechotygen. Juliusz Zulauff elements, 1 regiment
8th Infantry Division from Modlin 8 Dywizja Piechotypłk Tadeusz Wyrwa-Furgalski routed, 1 regiment under Sosabowski
20th Infantry Division from Baranowicze 20 Dywizja Piechotypłk Wilhelm Liszka-Lawicz
44th Infantry Division 44 Dywizja Piechotypłk Eugeniusz Żongołłowicz reserve, routed
1st "Defenders of Praga" Infantry Regiment 1 pułk piechoty Obrońców Pragipłk Stanisław Milian improvised
2nd "Defenders of Praga" Infantry Regiment 2 pułk piechoty Obrońców Pragipłk Stefan Kotowski improvised

Operational Groups

Operational Group Wyszków

Was one of the reserves of the northern front of Polish defences, created on September 1, 1939. According to Plan West, it was supposed to defend the line of the Narew river from Wehrmacht units advancing from East Prussia. Due to rapid German advance, the group withdrew towards the Bug river, and on September 11, Polish Commander in Chief Edward Rydz-Śmigły ordered General Wincenty Kowalski, commandant of Operational Group Wyszków, to merge his unit with Northern Front under General Stefan Dąb-Biernacki.

It consisted of the following units:

Independent Operational Group Narew

Consisted of 2 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades:

Independent Operational Group Polesie

Supporting forces

Air support

Naval and river support

See also

Related Research Articles

The Prusy Army was one of the Polish armies to fight during the Invasion of Poland in 1939. Created in the summer of 1939 as the main reserve of the Commander in Chief, it was commanded by Gen. Stefan Dąb-Biernacki. The word Prusy in the Polish language means Prussia, but this name only served as a codename and the region of operations of this army was far from East Prussia. This is in contrast to other Polish armies in 1939 which were named after the geographical regions where they formed. The Prusy Army, whose original name was Warszawa Army, was named so after a folwark in central Poland called Prusy, which served as the headquarters of General Dąb-Biernacki.

10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade (Poland)

The 10th Cavalry Brigade was a Polish military unit in World War II. It was the only fully operational Polish motorized infantry unit during the Invasion of Poland, as Warsaw Armoured Motorized Brigade was not completed by September 1, 1939.

Battle of Jordanów battle

The Battle of Jordanów took place on 1–3 September 1939, during the Invasion of Poland and the opening stages of World War II. It was fought between the German XVIII Panzer Corps of Gen.E.Beyer and the Polish 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade under Col. Stanisław Maczek.

7th Infantry Division (Poland)

The 7th Infantry Division was the name of several units of the Polish Army.

The 16th Pomeranian Infantry Division is a military unit of the Polish Army. It was first raised on 16 August 1919 during the Polish uprising, before going on to serve during the subsequent war with the Bolsheviks. At the start of World War II the division fought briefly against the advancing German Army before being destroyed on 19 September 1939 after being surrounded in the Kampinos Forest. The Division was raised once more in 1945 following the Soviet take over of Poland, however, it did not see further action during the war. Afterwards it continued to serve, undergoing a number of changes in name and role. Today, it exists as the 16th Mechanised Division.

The Warszawa Army was one of the Polish armies to take part in the Polish Defensive War of 1939. Created on 8 September, eight days after the invasion begun, it was an improvised formation charged with the defence of the Polish capital of Warsaw (Warszawa).

Karpaty Army, formed on 11 July 1939 under Major General Kazimierz Fabrycy, was created after Nazi Germany had annexed Czechoslovakia and created a puppet state of Slovakia. According to Polish historians Czesław Grzelak and Henryk Stańczyk, it consisted of two mountain brigades, Lwów Brigade of National Defence and a Battalion Węgry (Hungary). Altogether, Karpaty Army was made of 26 battalions, 160 cannons and 16 planes.

Poznań Army

Army Poznań led by Major General Tadeusz Kutrzeba was one of the Polish Armies during the Invasion of Poland in 1939.

Lublin Army was an improvised Polish Army created on September 4, 1939 from the Warsaw Armoured Motorized Brigade and various smaller units concentrated around the cities of Lublin, Sandomierz and upper Vistula river. It was commanded by Maj. Gen. Tadeusz Piskor. Lublin Army was not part of prewar Polish operational plans. It was improvised when it became obvious that quickly advancing Wehrmacht armored and motorized units would reach the Vistula river line.

Plan East was a Polish defensive military plan, created in the 1920s and 1930s in case of war with the Soviet Union. Unlike Plan Zachód, it was being prepared during the whole Interwar period, as the government of the Second Polish Republic treated the Soviet Union as the greatest potential military threat, capable of initiating a full-scale war. However, a handful of loose historical documents are all that remains of the original Plan East today.

Modlin Army

Modlin Army was one of the Polish armies that took part in the Invasion of Poland in 1939. After heavy casualties in the battle of Mława, the Army was forced to abandon its positions near Warsaw around September 10; eventually it took part in the battle of Tomaszów Mazowiecki and surrendered afterwards.

Independent Operational Group Narew

Independent Operational Group Narew was one of the Polish Army Corps that defended Poland during the Invasion of Poland in 1939. It was created on 23 March 1939 and was commanded by general Czesław Młot-Fijałkowski.

25th Infantry Division (Poland)

The 25th Infantry Division was a unit of the Polish Army in the interbellum period, created in 1921 with headquarters in Kalisz. It consisted of the following regiments:

Mazowiecka Cavalry Brigade

Mazowiecka Cavalry Brigade was a cavalry unit of the Polish Army in the interbellum period, which took part in the Polish September Campaign. It was created on April 1, 1937, out of former 1st Cavalry Brigade. Its headquarters were in Warsaw, with other units stationed in towns around the capital:

Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade

Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade was a cavalry unit of the Polish Army in the interbellum period. It was created on April 1, 1937 out of the Cavalry Brigade "Poznań". Its headquarters were stationed in Poznań and the brigade consisted of these units:

The 11th Carpathian Infantry Division, was a tactical unit of the Polish Army in the interbellum period, which fought in the Invasion of Poland in 1939. Elements of the unit would go on to serve in the Polish Armed Forces in the East.

Podolska Cavalry Brigade

Podolska Cavalry Brigade was a cavalry unit of the Polish Army in the interbellum period. It was created on April 1, 1937 out of the 6th Independent Cavalry Brigade. Its headquarters were stationed in Stanisławów and the brigade consisted of these units:

15th Poznań Uhlans Regiment

15th Poznań Uhlans Regiment – unit of Polish cavalry, part of Greater Polands Army, Polish Army of Second Republic and Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II.

35th Infantry Division was a reserve unit of the Polish Army in the Second Polish Republic. It did not exist in peacetime organization of the army, and was formed between August 31 - September 4, 1939, during the Invasion of Poland.