Polish army order of battle in 1939

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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

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