Battle of Borowa Góra
Battle of Borowa Góra refers to the series of battles from 2 to 5 September 1939 that took place near the Góry Borowskie hills, south west from Piotrków Trybunalski and east of Bełchatów. The battle, fought between the Wehrmacht and the Polish Army in the vicinity of Łódź, was a direct consequence of the Battle of the Border, an early part of the German Invasion of PolandThe three hills formed an important strategic point that the German XVI Army Corps needed to break through in order to advance toward Radomsko, Piotrków Trybunalski and Bełchatów, further into central Poland; the area was defended by the Polish 2nd Legions' Infantry Regiment, under Col. Ludwik Czyżewski, the 146th Infantry Regiment, under Col. Artur Pollak. Both Polish units belonged to Łódź Army; the invading German XVI Army Corps consisted of the 1st Panzer Division, the 4th Panzer Division, the 14th Infantry Division, the 31st Infantry Division. During the intense fighting, Polish casualties from the 2nd Legions' Regiment were 663.
General Wiktor Thommée, who commanded Piotrków Operational Group of Łódź Army, ordered Colonel Czyżewski to defend a 25-kilometer line in the area of Rozprza. Polish units were supposed to hold their positions until September 4, when a Polish counterattack was planned from the Sulejów forests. Since Czyżewski did not have enough soldiers, he decided to man three main defensive positions, to patrol the space between them. Center of Polish defence was established in the Góry Borowskie hills. Polish units began to man their positions in the night of September 2/3. Janowski's headquarters were at a public school in the village of Janów. General Juliusz Rómmel, aware of German superiority, decided to reinforce Czyżewski, by sending the 301st Battalion of Light Tanks under Major Edmund Karpow, which consisted of 49 Vickers tanks. First German units approached Polish positions near Rozprza on September 3, at 13:00. Two hours the Panzers attacked the Góry Borowskie hills, the fighting lasted for several hours, until the night.
The Wehrmacht was supported by the Luftwaffe, which bombed Polish positions, as a result, some soldiers of the Polish Army abandoned their posts. In the evening of September 3, leading units of the German 1st Panzer Division captured Rozprza, to be pushed back after some time. At app. 15:00 tanks of the 4th Panzer Division attacked Góry Borowskie, but after a fierce battle with Polish 3rd Battalion of Major Żelazowski, they retreated and regrouped at night, to attack the hills from the east in the morning of September 4. On September 4 in the morning, German infantry of the 31st I. D. attacked along the road to Bełchatów. They were pushed back, but near Rozprza, where Panzer divisions were present, Polish defenders faced more danger; the 1st Panzer attacked Rozprza, the 4th Panzer concentrated its efforts on capturing Jeżów. In the afternoon of September 4, whole Polish frontline was attacked between Góry Borowskie and Rozprza. Fighting lasted into the night, in the morning of September 5, the Germans attacked again, with the support of the Luftwaffe.
Under the circumstances Colonel Czyżewski ordered retreat towards Dłutów, opening for the Wehrmacht the road to Piotrków. Since some Polish units were not aware of Czyżewski's order, in some spots fighting continued until morning of September 6. Battle of Łódź
Battle of Wilno (1939)
The Battle of Wilno was fought by the Polish Army against the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939, which accompanied the German Invasion of Poland in accordance with Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. On 18–19 September, Soviet forces took over the city of Wilno. Polish forces, concentrated in the west, were weak in the east; the Polish commanders, unsure whether to oppose the Soviet entry into Poland, did not use the full defensive capabilities of the town and nearby fortifications, although the outcome of the battle would not have been any different, given the overwhelming Soviet numerical superiority. Wilno, the capital of the Wilno Voivodship, was an important industrial centre in the north-eastern part of Poland and the sixth largest city in that country at the time. Administratively a part of the Grodno-based III Military Corps Area and under Józef Olszyna-Wilczyński, it was an important garrison and mobilization centre. In the pre-war period, the city housed the entire Polish 1st Legions' Infantry Division, as well as the headquarters and the 4th Uhlan Regiment of the Wileńska Cavalry Brigade.
Air cover was provided by the majority of the Polish 5th Air Regiment stationed at the nearby airfield of Porubanek. In addition, the city of Wilno was a mobilization centre for the Polish 35th Infantry Division. Before the outbreak of war, the 1st Division had been secretly mobilized and sent towards Różan in northern Mazovia; the Wileńska Cavalry Brigade soon followed and in the first days of September 1939 left the city for Piotrków Trybunalski. The air assets were attached to the Modlin Army and the Narew Group fighting against the German units trying to break through from East Prussia. By 7 September the 35th Division was mobilized and transported to Lvov; the military commander of the city, Colonel Jarosław Okulicz-Kozaryn, decided that in case of attack by German or Soviet forces, he had insufficient forces for a successful defence and thus his task could only be to allow civilians to evacuate to neutral Lithuania. On 17 September, the city had 14,000 soldiers and militia volunteers, but only 6,500 of them were armed.
Before the battle, the numbers of armed soldiers rose as some disorganized units trickled in, but the number of unarmed volunteers decreased, as Okulicz-Kozaryn ordered unarmed volunteers not to participate in any hostilities. Before the Soviets arrived, the Polish forces formed about 10 infantry battalions, supported by 15 light artillery and anti-tank guns and about five anti-aircraft guns; the defenders had some 40 machine guns. On 18 September, the commander of the Belarusian Front, Mikhail Kovalyov, ordered the capture of Wilno by groups of the 3rd and 11th Armies; the 3rd Army delegated the 24th Cavalry Division and the 22nd and 25th Armoured Divisions under Combrig, Pyotr Akhlyustin, to advance from the northeast and the 11th Army delegated the 36th Cavalry Division and the 6th Armoured Division under Combrig Semyon Zybin to advance from the southeast. Their task was to secure the city by the evening of 18 September. On 18 September, at around 17:00, Okulicz-Kozaryn received reports of Soviet forces approaching from Oszmiana.
They consisted of armoured scouts. Okulicz-Kozaryn ordered all units to fall back toward the Lithuanian border, Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza units, as the most experienced, were to screen the withdrawal. Podpułkownik Podwysocki was dispatched to inform the Soviets that Polish forces did not intend to defend Wilno, but he was shot at and returned to the Polish lines; as Okulicz-Kozaryn had left the city, Podwysocki decided to defend it though most of the forces in the city had left with Okulicz-Kozaryn. The first Soviet attack on the evening of the 18 September was repulsed by the Polish defenders. Subsequently the Soviets continued to push into Wilno. By the end of the day the Soviets had secured the airfield and made several thrusts into the city, taking the Rasos Cemetery. By the morning of 19 September the advanced Soviet armoured units had been reinforced with infantry and cavalry; the Polish defenders delayed the Soviet advance by holding the bridges, but that day the poorly coordinated Polish defence collapsed and the Soviets took control of the city.
Polish units had either surrendered, or withdrawn, towards the Lithuanian border or deeper into Poland. The Soviets transferred Wilno to Lithuania according to the Soviet–Lithuanian Mutual Assistance Treaty. Lithuanian troops entered the city on 27–28 October; the defence of Wilno has been criticized by some Polish historians, who point out that if properly organized, the Polish forces would have been able to hold on to Wilno and delay the Soviets by several days, similar to the defence of Grodno. Nonetheless this could have only been a symbolic defence, as the Polish forces had no real way of stopping the overwhelming Soviet advance. Czesław Grzelak, Wilno 1939, Warszawa 1993, Lech Iwanowski, Wilnianie we wrześniu 1939 r.: prolog epopei, Bydgoszcz 2000
Raid on Fraustadt
The Raid on Fraustadt was a military raid, carried out by the Polish Army on September 2, 1939, second day of the Invasion of Poland. Polish forces attacked Wehrmacht positions in and around the town of Fraustadt, in the Province of Silesia, Free State of Prussia. In the night of September 1/2, 1939, at app. 1 a.m. General Roman Abraham, who commanded Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade, ordered a platoon of military cyclists, stationed in Krzywin, to come to Leszno; the cyclists, under Colonel Zbigniew Baranski, were told to get ready for an action. In the morning of September 2, observation planes of Polish Airforce checked German positions around Fraustadt. At the same time, a company of bicycle-riding Polish scouts patrolled forests along the nearby border. At 2:30 p.m. General Abraham issued an order to carry out a raid on Fraustadt. According to his directive, Polish forces were to shell the town; the raid was to be carried out by 55th. Poznan Infantry Regiment, stationed in Leszno. Colonel Waclaw Wiecierzynski, who commanded this unit, named Captain Edmund Lesisz leader of the raid.
The group which took part in the attack consisted of 300 soldiers and seven officers, with a platoon of military vehicles, a platoon of heavy machine guns and a platoon of artillery under Captain Ludwik Snitko. They were supported by a platoon of uhlans in the north, a squadron of TKS tankettes, plus a platoon of military cyclists in the south. All three units mounted couriers. In the afternoon of September 2, at about 4 p.m. the units headed towards the border. Buses were provided for the infantry, while artillery, with horse carts, reached the border after the infantry. Captain Edmund Lesisz ordered Colonel Wladyslaw Konwinski of 2nd Platoon to attack a Border Guard post, which blocked the road towards the village of Geyersdorf. After a short exchange of fire, the Germans retreated, Poles captured the post, together with large amount of weaponry, taken to the barracks at Leszno. Meanwhile, 1st Platoon of Colonel Stanislaw Rybczynski attacked border checkpoint, Polish artillery took its designated positions.
Soon afterwards Polish cannons opened fire on Geyersdorf, which resulted in panic among German soldiers. A number of TKS tankettes appeared in the village, supported by machine gun fire; as a result, German soldiers and civilians fled from Geyersdorf. The village was seized at app. 6 p.m. Soon afterwards Polish artillery began shelling of Fraustadt, killing some German soldiers. At the same time a Polish front unit, 3rd Platoon of Colonel Stefan Perkiewicz, reached the outskirts of Fraustadt, some 8 kilometers into German territory; the town itself was not seized, as before nightfall, General Roman Abraham ordered all Polish troops to return to Leszno. During the retreat, an incident took place in of Święciechowa. Ethnic German residents of the village came out with Nazi flags to welcome the Polish soldiers, mistaking them for the advancing Wehrmacht. A gunfire exchange ensued, after. After the Invasion of Poland, Captain Edmund Lesisz was captured by the Germans and sent to Oflag VII-A Murnau. Found there by the Gestapo, he was murdered.
The raid on Fraustadt, together with the capture of Geyersdorf, was used by Polish propaganda to bolster the morale of soldiers of Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade and other units, convince them that it was possible to defeat the Wehrmacht. From military and strategic point of view it did not have any influence on the course of the campaign. Polish forces engaged in the raid were too weak, as General Abraham did not want to risk losing the city of Leszno; the raid on Fraustadt is commemorated by a monument, which stands in the outskirts of Wschowa, along the road to Leszno. Polish army order of battle in 1939 Fall Weiss Jabłonków Incident Invasion of Poland Piotr Bauer, 55 Poznański pułk piechoty, 1991, ISBN 83-85253-23-8
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state that controlled nearly all aspects of life via the Gleichschaltung legal process; the official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire; the Nazi regime ended. Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic, Paul von Hindenburg, on 30 January 1933; the NSDAP began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934 and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the offices and powers of the Chancellery and Presidency. A national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany.
All power was centralised in Hitler's person and his word became the highest law. The government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitler's favour. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending and a mixed economy. Extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen; the return to economic stability boosted the regime's popularity. Racism antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime; the Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the master race, the purest branch of the Aryan race. Discrimination and persecution against Jews and Romani people began in earnest after the seizure of power; the first concentration camps were established in March 1933. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, liberals and communists were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. Christian churches and citizens that opposed Hitler's rule were oppressed, many leaders imprisoned.
Education focused on racial biology, population policy, fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed. Recreation and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased Germany on the international stage. Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, Hitler's hypnotic oratory to influence public opinion; the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. The Nazi regime dominated neighbours through military threats in the years leading up to war. Nazi Germany made aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if these were not met, it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Germany signed a non-aggression pact with the USSR, invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, launching World War II in Europe. By early 1941, Germany controlled much of Europe. Reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas and a German administration was established in the remainder of Poland.
Germany exploited labour of both its occupied territories and its allies. In the Holocaust, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, or shot. While the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was successful, the Soviet resurgence and entry of the US into the war meant the Wehrmacht lost the initiative on the Eastern Front in 1943 and by late 1944 had been pushed back to the pre-1939 border. Large-scale aerial bombing of Germany escalated in 1944 and the Axis powers were driven back in Eastern and Southern Europe. After the Allied invasion of France, Germany was conquered by the Soviet Union from the east and the other Allies from the west, capitulated in May 1945. Hitler's refusal to admit defeat led to massive destruction of German infrastructure and additional war-related deaths in the closing months of the war; the victorious Allies initiated a policy of denazification and put many of the surviving Nazi leadership on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.
The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945, while common English terms are "Nazi Germany" and "Third Reich". The latter, adopted by Nazi propaganda as Drittes Reich, was first used in Das Dritte Reich, a 1923 book by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck; the book counted the Holy Roman Empire as the German Empire as the second. Germany was known as the Weimar Republic during the years 1919 to 1933, it was a republic with a semi-presidential system. The Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, contentious relationships with the Allied victors of World War I, a series of failed attempts at coalition government by divided political parties. Severe setbacks to the German economy began after World War I ended because of reparations payments required under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles; the government printed money to make the payments and to repay the country's war debt, but the resulting hyperinflation led to inflated prices for consumer goods, economic chaos, food riots.
When the government defaulted on their reparations payments in January 1923, French troops occupied German industrial areas along the Ruhr and widespread civil unrest followed. The National Socialist German Workers' Party (National
Battle of Brześć Litewski
The Battle of Brześć Litewski was a World War II battle involving German and Polish forces that took place between 14 and 17 September 1939, near the town of Brześć Litewski. After three days of heavy fights for the stronghold in the town of Brześć, the Germans captured the fortress and the Poles withdrew; the Polish forces did not plan to defend the old fortress of Brześć. The town was located deep behind the Polish lines and was seen as a supply depot and organisation centre rather than a front-line fort. However, after the Battles of Mława and Wizna the German XIX Panzer Corps under General Heinz Guderian broke through Polish lines and sped southward with the aim of flanking Warsaw from the East and cutting Poland in two. According to the secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 23 August 1939, the region of Brześć was assigned to the Soviet "sphere of influence". However, the Soviets did not begin their invasion of Poland yet, had the advancing German corps stopped, it would give Poles time to regroup and prepare.
On 8 September the German foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, notified the Soviet government that the German forces would have to violate the Soviet "sphere". The ancient fortress of Brześć is at the confluence of Bug Rivers. Occupying the site of a medieval castle, it was strengthened and reconstructed in Napoleonic times and again in 1847. Damaged during World War I, the fortress was turned into a matériel depot and its central part into a prison. Although obsolete by contemporary standards, the fortress occupied a strategic position in the Polish lines and its defence could prevent German forces from crossing Polesia into Lesser Poland and Galicia to the south; the aim of the German XIX Corps was to seize the fortress in order to prevent elements of a divided Independent Operational Group Narew under General Młot-Fijałkowski from retreating southwards and joining the rest of the Polish forces. The German forces consisted of an entire armoured corps: the 3rd Panzer, 2nd Motorised and 20th Motorised Divisions.
At the end of the summer the fortress was housing the march battalions of 82nd and 35th infantry regiments and elements of various smaller units. Moreover, a large number of newly mobilised reservists started to arrive at the fortress, awaiting forward deployment to their units. From these units General Konstanty Plisowski organized a force of three infantry battalions, aided by an engineering battalion, several batteries of artillery and two companies of old FT-17 tanks used for training, Nos. 112 and 113. The city of Brześć was defended by a small improvised force under General Plisowski; the Polish forces consisted of three infantry battalions, one engineering battalion, some artillery and were assisted by two armoured trains commanded by Captains Mieczysław Malinowski and Andrzej Podgórski. The German forces consisted of the entire XIX Panzer Corps under General Heinz Guderian. On 14 September 77 German tanks of the 2nd Battalion of the 8th Panzer Regiment, part of 10th Panzer Division, reached the area of Brześć and attempted to capture the fortress on the run.
The probe attack was repelled by Polish infantry and the 113th company of light tanks, consisting of 12 obsolete Renault FT tanks. All the Polish tanks were destroyed, but the German forces were forced to retreat towards their initial positions. Polish ] number 53, which made a reconnaissance advance to Wysokie Litewskie, was attacked by a scout patrol from the 10th Panzer Division; the crew from the train opened fire with artillery. Several other skirmishes were fought, but were inconclusive; that day the German artillery arrived and started bombardment of both the fortress and the town. Heavy street fighting ensued. At dawn half of the town was in German hands, the other half being defended by Polish infantry. Polish anti-tank weapons, artillery and AA guns were scarce and were unable provide enough support for the infantry; the following day Polish defenders withdrew from the town, but heavy casualties on both sides prevented the German units from continuing the attacks on the fortress. Instead, it was shelled with artillery and bombed by the Luftwaffe.
When reports told Polish General Plisowski that scout elements from the 3rd Panzer Division were seen near the railway station at Żabinka, north of Kobryń, he sent PP55 to prevent his forces from being cut off. A platoon of five scout tanks left the train near Żabinka and attacked German armoured cars near a bridge on Muchawiec River. After three tanks were lost, the other two withdrew. A further attack by an assault platoon from the train failed. After a combined attack of the assault platoon and PP55 artillery, the Germans left the area of the Muchawiec bridge; when they returned, PP55 attacked another battle group of the 3rd Panzer Division. After destroying a few armoured cars, the train withdrew towards Brześć and the train station was left in German hands; the main assault started in the early morning of 16 September. The defenders had plenty of small arms ammunition and light arms thanks to the munitions depot in the fortress, but had no anti-tank weapons and insufficient artillery cover.
Although the German infantry was repelled and the assault of German tanks was stopped by two FT tanks sealing the northern gate of the fortress, by nightfall it became apparent that the German pressure made the situation grave. Despite heavy losses, the German 20th Motorized Division and 10th Armoured Division captured the northern p
Second Polish Republic
The Second Polish Republic known as interwar Poland, refers to the country of Poland in the period between the First and Second World Wars. Known as the Republic of Poland, sometimes Commonwealth of Poland, the Polish state was re-established in 1918, in the aftermath of World War I. When, after several regional conflicts, the borders of the state were fixed in 1922, Poland's neighbours were Czechoslovakia, the Free City of Danzig, Latvia and the Soviet Union, it had side of the city of Gdynia. Between March and August 1939, Poland shared a border with the then-Hungarian governorate of Subcarpathia; the Second Republic ceased to exist in 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic, marking the beginning of the European theatre of World War II. In 1938, the Second Republic was the sixth largest country in Europe. According to the 1921 census, the number of inhabitants was 27.2 million. By 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II, this had grown to an estimated 35.1 million.
A third of population came from minority groups: 13.9% Ruthenians. At the same time, a significant number of ethnic Poles lived outside the country's borders; the political conditions of the Second Republic were influenced by the aftermath of World War I and conflicts with neighbouring states and the emergence of Nazi Germany. The Second Republic maintained moderate economic development; the cultural hubs of interwar Poland – Warsaw, Kraków, Poznań, Wilno and Lwów – became major European cities and the sites of internationally acclaimed universities and other institutions of higher education. After more than a century of Partitions between the Austrian, the Prussian, the Russian imperial powers, Poland re-emerged as a sovereign state at the end of the First World War in Europe in 1917-1918; the victorious Allies of World War I confirmed the rebirth of Poland in the Treaty of Versailles of June 1919. It was one of the great stories of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Poland solidified its independence in a series of border wars fought by the newly formed Polish Army from 1918 to 1921.
The extent of the eastern half of the interwar territory of Poland was settled diplomatically in 1922 and internationally recognized by the League of Nations. In the course of World War I, Germany gained overall dominance on the Eastern Front as the Imperial Russian Army fell back. German and Austro-Hungarian armies seized the Russian-ruled part of. In a failed attempt to resolve the Polish question as as possible, Berlin set up a German puppet state on 5 November 1916, with a governing Provisional Council of State and a Regency Council; the Council administered the country under German auspices, pending the election of a king. A month before Germany surrendered on 11 November 1918 and the war ended, the Regency Council had dissolved the Council of State, announced its intention to restore Polish independence. With the notable exception of the Marxist-oriented Social Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, most Polish political parties supported this move. On 23 October the Regency Council appointed a new government under Józef Świeżyński and began conscription into the Polish Army.
In 1918–1919, over 100 workers' councils sprang up on Polish territories. On 6 November socialists proclaimed the Republic of Tarnobrzeg at Tarnobrzeg in Austrian Galicia; the same day the Socialist, Ignacy Daszyński, set up a Provisional People's Government of the Republic of Poland in Lublin. On Sunday, 10 November at 7 a.m. Józef Piłsudski, newly freed from 16 months in a German prison in Magdeburg, returned by train to Warsaw. Piłsudski, together with Colonel Kazimierz Sosnkowski, was greeted at Warsaw's railway station by Regent Zdzisław Lubomirski and by Colonel Adam Koc. Next day, due to his popularity and support from most political parties, the Regency Council appointed Piłsudski as Commander in Chief of the Polish Armed Forces. On 14 November, the Council dissolved itself and transferred all its authority to Piłsudski as Chief of State. After consultation with Piłsudski, Daszyński's government dissolved itself and a new government formed under Jędrzej Moraczewski. In 1918 Italy became the first country in Europe to recognise Poland's renewed sovereignty.
Centers of government that formed at that time in Galicia included the National Council of the Principality of Cieszyn, the Republic of Zakopane and the Polish Liquidation Committee. Soon afterward, the Polish–Ukrainian War broke out in Lwów between forces of the Military Committee of Ukrainians and the Polish irregular units made up of students known as the Lwów Eaglets, who were supported by the Polish Army. Meanwhile, in western Poland, another war of national liberation began under the banner of the Greater Poland uprising. In January 1919 Czechoslovakian forces attacked Polish units in the area of Zaolzie. Soon afterwards the Polish–Lithuanian War began, in August 1919 Polish-speaking residents of Upper Silesia initiated a series of three Silesian Uprisings; the most critical military conflict o
Battle of the Bzura
The Battle of the Bzura was the largest battle of the 1939 German invasion of Poland, fought between 9 and 19 September 1939, between Polish and German forces. It began as a Polish counter-offensive, but the Germans outflanked the Polish forces and took all of western Poland; the Battle of the Bzura took place near the Bzura River. A Polish breakout attack gained initial success but faltered after a concentrated German counterattack, it has been described as "the major Polish counterattack of the campaign" and "the bloodiest and most bitter battle of the entire Polish campaign". The Polish plan for defense against the German invasion, Plan West, called for the defense of the borders; this was dictated more by political than military concerns, as Poles feared that the Germans, after taking over territories they lost in the Treaty of Versailles, would try to end the war and keep those territories. While defending the borders was riskier, the Poles were counting on the British and French counteroffensive.
Due to this, Army Pomorze under general Władysław Bortnowski found itself in the Polish Corridor, surrounded by German forces on two fronts, Army Poznań under general Tadeusz Kutrzeba was pushed to the westernmost fringes of the Second Polish Republic, separated both from its primary defensive positions, from other Polish Armies. The German offensive proved the folly of the border defense plan in the first days of the war. Army Pomorze was defeated in the battle of Bory Tucholskie, forced to retreat towards the south-east. Army Poznań, although not facing heavy German assaults, was forced to retreat east due to defeats of its neighbours. On 4 September, Army Poznań moved through Poznań and abandoned it to the enemy, although at this point it was not in contact with any significant German forces. By 6 September, Armies Pomorze and Poznań had linked, forming the strongest Polish operational unit in the campaign, general Bortkowski accepted the command of general Kutrzeba. On 7 September, Polish forces became aware of the German push towards Łęczyca, which if successful could cut off the retreat route of Polish forces.
By 8 September, advanced German troops reached Warsaw, marking the beginning of the 1939 siege of Warsaw. At the same time, German forces had lost contact with Army Poznań, German command assumed that the army must have been transported by rail to aid Warsaw's defense. On 8 September the Germans were certain that they had eliminated major Polish resistance west of Vistula and were preparing to cross it and engage the Polish forces on the other side. Meanwhile, general Kutrzeba and his staff officers had suspected before the German invasion, that it would be the neighbouring Armies that would bear the German attack, had developed plans at an offensive towards the south, to relieve Army Łódź. In the first week of the campaign, those plans, were rejected by the Polish commander-in-chief, Marshal Edward Rydz-Śmigły. By 8 September Kutrzeba had lost contact with Rydz-Śmigły, who had relocated his command center from Warsaw to Brest, his situation was dire, as German forces were close to surrounding his units: the German 8th Army had secured the southern bank of the Bzura river, the German 4th Army had secured the northern bank of Vistula, from Włocławek to Wyszogród, its elements were attacking the rear of the Armies Pomorze and Poznań from the direction of Inowrocław and crossing the Vistula river near Płock.
Polish forces consisted of Army Pomorze. German forces included the 8th Army under Johannes Blaskowitz and 10th Army under Walther von Reichenau of Army Group South, elements of the 4th Army under Günther von Kluge of the Army Group North and air support; the battle can be divided into 3 phases: Phase I — Polish offensive towards Stryków, aiming at the flank of the German 10th Army Phase II — Polish offensive towards Łowicz Phase III — German counterattack and eventual defeat of the Poles, with the latter's withdrawal towards Warsaw andModlin On the night of 9 September, the Polish Poznań Army commenced a counterattack from the south of the Bzura river, its target being the German forces from the 8th Army advancing between Łęczyca and Łowicz, towards Stryków. The commander of Poznań Army, Tadeusz Kutrzeba noticed that the German 8th Army, commanded by general Johannes Blaskowitz, was weakly secured from the north by only the 30th Infantry Division stretched over a 30 kilometre defensive line while the rest of the army was advancing towards Warsaw.
The main thrust of the Polish offensive were the units under general Edmund Knoll-Kownacki, known as the Knoll-Kownacki Operational Group. The right wing of the offensive, in the area Łęczyce, included the Podolska Cavalry Brigade under Col. L. Strzelecki, on the left, advancing from Łowicz to the area of Głowno, the Wielkopolska Cavalry Brigade under general Roman Abraham; these groups inflicted considerable losses on the German defenders from the 30th Infantry Division and the 24th Infantry Division, with some 1,500 German soldiers killed or wounded and an additional 3,000 lost as prisoners during the initial push. The cavalry brigades supplemented with TKS and TK-3 reconnaissance tanks moved to t