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).

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.

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

Organization of the Polish Army as of 1 septembre 1939. Polish Army 1 SEP 1939.png
Organization of the Polish Army as of 1 septembre 1939.

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.

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

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.

Kraków Army was one of the Polish armies which took part in the Polish Defensive War of 1939. It was officially created on March 23, 1939 as the main pivot of Polish defence. It was commanded by Gen. Antoni Szylling. Originally, Kraków Army was to be made of seven infantry divisions, two cavalry brigades and one mountain brigade. On September 1, 1939, General Szylling had the force which consisted of five infantry divisions, two cavalry brigades and one brigade of mountain infantry. Altogether, the army was made of 59 battalions, 29 squadrons, 352 cannons, 90 tanks, two armoured trains and 44 planes. These forces were not enough to halt German advance, especially in the area north of Częstochowa, where Kraków Army connected with Łódź Army. Main thrust of Wehrmacht panzer units was directed there, and this area was defended only by the Polish 7th I.D., which was destroyed in the early days of September 1939, opening the way towards central Poland.

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 was formed on 11 July 1939 under Major General Kazimierz Fabrycy after Nazi Germany created a puppet state of Slovakia and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was proclaimed after the events that lead to the breakup of Czechoslovakia. 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 West, 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, which was capable of initiating a full-scale war. However, only a few loose historical documents remain of the original plan 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:

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.