Compositin of Polish Divisions

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John Withill
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Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by John Withill » 07 Dec 2017 07:56

HI Guys .

The only book I have on the Polish Army is an Osprey man at arms basic guide - which doesn't really go in to much detail about regimental / Battalion strengths - loads about 'Divisions' , not much about the composition ....can any one point me in the right direction with a decent reference work - in English ?

Regards

John

Eugen Pinak
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by Eugen Pinak » 07 Dec 2017 15:34

John Withill wrote:HI Guys .

The only book I have on the Polish Army is an Osprey man at arms basic guide - which doesn't really go in to much detail about regimental / Battalion strengths - loads about 'Divisions' , not much about the composition ....can any one point me in the right direction with a decent reference work - in English ?

Regards

John
AFAIK, there is no such data in English - only Polish.

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Steve
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by Steve » 07 Dec 2017 23:07

You could try The Polish Campaign 1939 by Steven Zaloga and Victor Madej. The book has sections on for example Organisation of the Polish Armed forces and The Strategic and Operational Doctrine of the Polish army. It seems to have gone up in price quite considerably since I bought my copy way back.

John Withill
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by John Withill » 07 Dec 2017 23:19

Hi Steve - thanks will go find !

von Adler
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by von Adler » 14 Feb 2018 11:21

Niehorster has the ToE of a Polish division down to the platoon level:

http://niehorster.org/029_poland/organi ... v-inf.html

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henryk
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by henryk » 14 Feb 2018 20:07

http://www.unithistories.com/units_inde ... /units.asp
Polish Forces down to Unit level: 1939, Western Front, Eastern Front, Polish Navy

gebhk
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by gebhk » 27 Apr 2018 20:14

You probably can't do much better than the Polish 'wp39.struktury.net' website if you want to look at battalion structures down to the individual man. Although it is in Polish, all the organisations are illustrated and I would be happy to explain any problems you come across that can't be easily solved with a dictionary (I would avoid things like computer translators - when it comes to military stuff you usually get utter misleading garbage).

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henryk
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by henryk » 28 Apr 2018 19:35

'wp39.struktury.net' covers only the organization during the September Campaign.

yantaylor
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 29 Apr 2018 19:53

If you need any thing on smaller Polish units then this site covers has a Polish Infantry Company;

https://www.quartermastersection.com/po ... shInfantry

Yan.

gebhk
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by gebhk » 29 Apr 2018 23:02

Yan - alas the questermastersection site entry on the Polish Infantry company appears to be a work of fiction or based on a very unusual one-off ad-hoc unit. It bears little resemblance to a standard Polish company of 1939!

yantaylor
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 30 Apr 2018 14:52

Gebhk, you couldn't help me out with a genuine version of a standard Polish Infantry Company circa 1939 could you?

Has Leo got it right?
http://niehorster.org/029_poland/organi ... o-inf.html

Regards
Yan.

gebhk
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by gebhk » 30 Apr 2018 20:10

Happy to

Company HQ
Command
• Commanding officer. A captain – like all officers, he was expected to have his own, privately owned, equipment ie pistol, binoculars, report caser, notebook etc – pretty much everything except his field uniform, helmet and gasmask. He was also provided with a horse for personal transport. Contrary to popular views, the pistol was unlikely to be a ViS wz 35. The regulations were fairly broad in their stipulations on type of pistol permitted. Vis and similar combat pistols were cumbersome cannons to cart around on day-to-day peacetime duty so most career officers got lighter weapons and few could afford a second ‘war’ weapon.
• Batman. Private with carbine. He also doubled up as ‘his’ officer’s groom when that worthy dismounted.
Company staff
• Observers: a corporal and a lance-corporal equipped with carbines plus a pair of binoculars* and one Verey pistol between them. Their job was to keep the CO informed of enemy and friendly movements, signals etc.
• Runners: a lance corporal and 2 privates with carbines. One or more were trained as buglers and they were equipped with one bugle between them.
• Medical section, Corporal (section leader) and lance corporal combat medics plus 4 privates stretcher bearers. All equipped with bayonets, medical bags, additional medical gear and red cross armbands. The section had two stretchers. In combat, the section was usually broken up into two patrols of: NCO combat medic (patrol leader) and two stretcher bearers with one stretcher between them. Note the medical personnel were not issued any firearms (officially).

All members of the HQ (including officers) were equipped with entrenching tools and gasmasks

Grenade Launcher Section
HQ
• Section leader – sergeant armed with a pistol
• Groom – Pvt with carbine leading the section’s ammunition cart.
2-3 47mm grenade launchers
• Team leader – a corporal in first team, otherwise lance-corporal, all armed with carbines.
• Gunner – private armed with bayonet and grenade launcher. Probably equipped with a hatchet instead of entrenching tool.
• 2x ammunition carrier – privates with carbines

Additionally, all members of the grenade launcher team carried a bag of grenade launcher ammunition into battle. Unless otherwise indicated, all members of the section were issued entrenching tools and gas masks.

3x Rifle Platoon
HQ
• Commanding officer – a first or second lieutenant with his own pistol and gear
• Batman – private with carbine. Also acted as combat runner.
• Platoon second-in-command – sergeant, armed with pistol.
• Observer – corporal armed with pistol and equipped with binoculars*
• Sharpshooter – lance-corporal with a rifle (replaced on mobilisation with an A/T rifle) and bayonet.
• Groom – private with carbine and platoon ammunition cart.

3x Rifle squad
• Squad leader – platooneer** armed with rifle
• Squad second-in-command – armed with rifle
• 2x lance corporals armed with rifles
• 11x privates armed with rifles
• BAR team leader – lance corporal with carbine and equipped with a hatchet instead of entrenching tool.
• BAR gunner – private with BAR and bayonet and BAR ammunition pouches instead of rifle ammo pouches.
• 2x BAR ammunition carriers – private with carbine and BAR ammunition pouches instead of rifle ammo pouches.

All members of the section were equipped with entrenching tools unless otherwise indicated and 2 wire cutters were allocated to each section.

Administrative Section
• Sergeant Major – senior sergeant armed with a pistol
• Weapons and gas NCO – platooneer** armed with carbine
• Administrative NCO – platoneer** armed with carbine
• 2x Cook – lance corporal and private armed with carbines. Equipped with additional cook’s kit.
• Rider and wagoner – privates with carbines crewing a 4-horse field kitchen. The front pair of horses was controlled by a rider on the left-hand horse (who was suitably equipped for horse riding) while the rear pair was controlled by the wagoner sitting on the kitchen.
• Wagoner with carbine and 2-horse wagon with kitchen equipment and food
• Wagoner with carbine and 2-horse wagon with office equipment and baggage
• Wagoner with carbine and 2-horse wagon with ammunition

All members of the section were issued entrenching tools and gasmasks. There were also two sets of spare works clothes for dirty ‘domestic’ jobs like coal shovelling, digging holes etc.

The TOEs accepted that shortages were likely. In particular with respect to:
• Pistols: if unavailable were substituted with carbines and/or bayonets
• 2-horse wagons: admin section wagons came, in the main, from conscription of civilian vehicles. In those parts of Poland where single-horse wagons were the norm, the number of wagons had to be doubled up. In consequence, the complement of wagoners also had to be increased by three.
Grenade launchers: if there were shortages of grenade launchers, 2 launchers per section were permitted. The complement of a 2-launcher section would be reduced by a lance corporal and 3 privates.

* Distribution of binoculars not certain
** Platooneer (plutonowy) - a rank between corporal and sergeant that does not have an equivalent in English
Last edited by gebhk on 30 Apr 2018 21:22, edited 2 times in total.

gebhk
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by gebhk » 30 Apr 2018 20:56

In numbers

Personnel:
• 4 officers (1 captain, 3 1st/2nd lieutenants)
• 31 NCOs (1 senior sergeant, 4 sergeants, 11 platooneers, 15 corporals)
• 36 lance-corporals
• 155 privates (158 with 1-horse wagons)
• 226 men (229 with one-horse wagons)

Weapons
• 135 rifles
• 61 carbines (64 with one-horse wagons)
• 8 pistols
• 1 signalling pistol
• 9 BARs + 3 AA sets
• 3 wz35 anti-tank rifles
• 3 47mm grenade launchers (47mm light mortars)
• 276 assault hand grenades
• 138 defensive grenades

Optics
• 4 binoculars
• 4 prismatic compasses
• 5 pocket compasses

Horses
• 1 riding horse (type W, W2 or W2 lowered)
• 10 horses (type T – for wagons and field kitchen)
• 4 horses (type T or M – for carts)

Vehicles
• 1 4-horse field kitchen
• 3 2-horse wagons (or 6 1-horse wagons)
• 3 1-horse platoon carts (carried platoon ammunition and accessories)
• 1 1-horse ammunition cart (carried grenade launcher ammunition and accessories)
Last edited by gebhk on 30 Apr 2018 23:19, edited 1 time in total.

gebhk
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by gebhk » 30 Apr 2018 21:14

With regard to the Niehorster rendition, as you can see there are a number of significant errors and omissions.

Perhaps the most significant 'embroidery', repeated by a number of authors, is the idea that Polish rifle squads were formally divided into sections - possibly borrowing from the contemporaneous German model. No such division existed in reality, albeit given the 5 NCOs and lance-corporals in the squad, it was possible to subdivide the squad into various ad hoc sub-unit configurations as the tactical situation demanded, giving the squad a degree of flexibility smaller units would not have had.

yantaylor
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Re: Compositin of Polish Divisions

Post by yantaylor » 01 May 2018 19:14

Thank you Gebhk, that is a great breakdown.

You mention both Carbines and Rifles in the company weapons list, just what are the carbines?
I have all soldiers equipped with KbK Wz.29 rifles.

Yan.

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