75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

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Volyn
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75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by Volyn » 01 Aug 2020 17:22

Digital image of the regimental banner front and back:
Untitled.jpg
Link for additional photos of the regimental museum:
https://chorzow.naszemiasto.pl/izba-pam ... 13-4104009

My Grandfather was conscripted as an infantryman into the Polish Army and served from 16 MAR 1936 until 18 SEP 1937 with 4. kompanii - II batalion - 75. Pułk Piechoty - 23 Górnośląska Dywizja Piechoty.
Links about the regiment:
https://dobroni.pl/post/75-pulk-piechoty-f642218
https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/75_Pu%C5% ... ty_(II_RP)

The battalion was garrisoned in Chorzów which was near the pre-war Polish-German border, and according to his own accounts they would regularly march from Chorzów to Rybnik where the garrison for I Batalion was located. The distance is roughly 42km (26mi) one way or 84km (52mi) round trip, and I do not know if they would overnight in Rybnik. All of this marching and training helped him greatly during WW2, he was always one of the fastest and hardiest soldiers in the different units he served with.
https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Chorzow ... 021742!3e2

Obviously the Infantry is expected to walk a great distance, but this seems to be excessive if it was done as often as he suggests, I am assuming that the Polish military did not have the budget for extensive weapons training, and marching is cheaper?

What information is available about the basic physical standards for Polish infantrymen, and how far were they really expected to march?

What other types of training and military activities were required while serving with the 75th Infantry Regiment during this time?
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Last edited by Volyn on 02 Aug 2020 13:20, edited 4 times in total.

gebhk
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Re: 75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by gebhk » 02 Aug 2020 09:44

Hi Volyn

Just a few quick notes.

Because Polish doctrine envisaged a mobile war despite the significant limitations of the transport system, it was clear that the ability of the foot soldier to cover long distances on foot while retaining fitness to fight was key. Not surprisingly, as your grandfather's experience shows, march training with full load was a major component of infantry training, with most units undertaking a march from the barracks to the training areas every working day.

Marching speed under normal conditions was 120 paces per minute. This translated into 4 km/h for larger columns of mixed arms; 5 km/h for infantry units up to a regiment in size while units up to a battalion were expected to be able to cover 1 km in 10 minutes without losing the ability to fight at the end of it.

The rate of 120 paces per minute was a constant, except in the most unusual circumstances. The daily output was regulated by amount of time spent marching and length and/or frequency of rest stops. Under normal circumstances: the first rest stop was ordered half an hour into the march; it lasted fifteen minutes and its purpose was to correct any problems with loading, straps, footwear etc of both men and horses. Thereafter, a 10 minute break was made every 50 minutes. Once a day a longer stop of 3 hours was made to allow horses and men to drink and eat as well as rest. During forced marches the length and frequency of rests would be reduced - for example by having a 10-minute rest stop every two hours rather than every one.

Given the above a round trip of 84 km would have taken approx. 20 hours to complete, so would have been an exceptional event, though not unheard of. However a one-way march, which would have taken approximately 11.5 hours would have been a fairly standard exercise. The destination being a barracks and, therefore, providing overnight accommodation, is also suggestive of this.

Just one question - the numbering of rifle companies in Polish infantry regiments was sequential. Therefore the first company of II battalion would be the 4th company not the First (ie 4/75). The fact that your grandfather was garrisoned in Chorzow rather than Rybnik suggests the former. Can you confirm?

How is your Polish?

Volyn
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Re: 75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by Volyn » 02 Aug 2020 12:56

gebhk wrote:
02 Aug 2020 09:44
Hi Volyn

Just a few quick notes.

Because Polish doctrine envisaged a mobile war despite the significant limitations of the transport system, it was clear that the ability of the foot soldier to cover long distances on foot while retaining fitness to fight was key. Not surprisingly, as your grandfather's experience shows, march training with full load was a major component of infantry training, with most units undertaking a march from the barracks to the training areas every working day.

Marching speed under normal conditions was 120 paces per minute. This translated into 4 km/h for larger columns of mixed arms; 5 km/h for infantry units up to a regiment in size while units up to a battalion were expected to be able to cover 1 km in 10 minutes without losing the ability to fight at the end of it.

The rate of 120 paces per minute was a constant, except in the most unusual circumstances. The daily output was regulated by amount of time spent marching and length and/or frequency of rest stops. Under normal circumstances: the first rest stop was ordered half an hour into the march; it lasted fifteen minutes and its purpose was to correct any problems with loading, straps, footwear etc of both men and horses. Thereafter, a 10 minute break was made every 50 minutes. Once a day a longer stop of 3 hours was made to allow horses and men to drink and eat as well as rest. During forced marches the length and frequency of rests would be reduced - for example by having a 10-minute rest stop every two hours rather than every one.

Given the above a round trip of 84 km would have taken approx. 20 hours to complete, so would have been an exceptional event, though not unheard of. However a one-way march, which would have taken approximately 11.5 hours would have been a fairly standard exercise. The destination being a barracks and, therefore, providing overnight accommodation, is also suggestive of this.
Hi gebhk - Great stuff thank you for the explanation, according to his written statements this type of marching occurred almost daily, I thought it was greatly exaggerated. Maybe the I batalion and II batalion would march past each other and overnight in each others barracks?

Was this type of marching expected out of any other Polish military formation?
gebhk wrote:
02 Aug 2020 09:44
Just one question - the numbering of rifle companies in Polish infantry regiments was sequential. Therefore the first company of II battalion would be the 4th company not the First (ie 4/75). The fact that your grandfather was garrisoned in Chorzow rather than Rybnik suggests the former. Can you confirm?

How is your Polish?
According to the letter that I received from the Wojskowe Biuro Historyczne it reads:
pelnil sluzbe w Wojsku Polskim w 1 komp. strz. 75 Pułk Piechoty od 16.03.1936. r., zaprzysiezony zostal 23.05.1937 r. Zwolniony ze sluzby wojskowej 18.09.1937 r., notowany jako strzelec.
You must be correct about it actually being 4th company since this was technically the 1st company in the battalion, I edited my original post to reflect that, thank you. I rechecked and he states that he was sent to Chorzów and was garrisoned there, so it must be II batalion. As an aside, he specifically said Chorzów was a beautiful place and that he enjoyed living there.

Unfortunately my Polish is non-existent, but Google Translate works.

Volyn
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Re: 75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by Volyn » 03 Aug 2020 14:36

gebhk wrote:
02 Aug 2020 09:44
Just one question - the numbering of rifle companies in Polish infantry regiments was sequential. Therefore the first company of II battalion would be the 4th company not the First (ie 4/75). The fact that your grandfather was garrisoned in Chorzow rather than Rybnik suggests the former. Can you confirm?
Hi gebhk
I scanned the letter and have provided a portion of the image here so you can better read it. Are you able to translate it?
PS 4.jpg
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gebhk
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Re: 75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by gebhk » 04 Aug 2020 22:39

served in the Polish Army in the First Rifle Company, 75th Infantry Regiment from 16.03.1936, sworn in 23.05.1937. He was discharged from military service 19.09.1937, recorded as a rifleman.

If correct, this suggests he was in the first battalion not the 2nd. However I battalion was stationed in Rybnik. Perhaps he was moved at some point?

Bestest
K

Volyn
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Re: 75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by Volyn » 04 Aug 2020 23:03

Thank you gebhk
gebhk wrote:
04 Aug 2020 22:39
If correct, this suggests he was in the first battalion not the 2nd. However I battalion was stationed in Rybnik. Perhaps he was moved at some point?
I can only speculate because he never lived in Rybnik only in Chorzów for the entire time, this is how I was able to identify his regiment before I received the official letter.

His only mention of Rybnik is about marching to the I battalion garrison and back, this happened regularly if not daily at some point.

I have two theories:

1. The letter actually meant the First Rifle company for his battalion, which would make it 4. kompanii - II batalion as you originally pointed out?
2. He may have been temporarily assigned to I batalion just prior to his discharge from the regiment, although he never mentioned it?

Do you know what was the discharge process was for a soldier leaving the infantry regiments during that time?
gebhk wrote:
04 Aug 2020 22:39
served in the Polish Army in the First Rifle Company, 75th Infantry Regiment from 16.03.1936, sworn in 23.05.1937. He was discharged from military service 19.09.1937, recorded as a rifleman.
What is the significance of the sworn in date of 23 MAY 1937?

gebhk
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Re: 75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by gebhk » 05 Aug 2020 12:39

Ad 1) - or someone roostered something up in documentation along the way. Rare but obviously did happen when documents were transcribed manually.
Ad 2) can you specify what you mean by 'process''?
Ad 3) Not sure. I presume that recruits were sworn in when they had achieved a certain level of training but I don't know what the regulations and/or traditions pertaining to this were. Something scratches at the back of my mind that in some units the oath was taken on regimental day - but clearly this did not happen in your grandad's case (75th regiments' regimental day was 2nd June).
Last edited by gebhk on 05 Aug 2020 15:47, edited 1 time in total.

Volyn
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Re: 75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by Volyn » 05 Aug 2020 14:36

gebhk wrote:
05 Aug 2020 12:39
Ad 2) can you specify what you mean by 'process''?
In the modern military there are generally a series of meetings to attend and papers that need to be signed during the transition phase known as ''out-processing'' before a soldier is formally discharged from military service, this usually can last for a few days or weeks depending on the individual soldier's situation.

Do you know if there was a similar process in the Polish Army back then, or did a soldier simply sign a piece of paper and then leave the regiment on the appointed date?
gebhk wrote:
05 Aug 2020 12:39
Ad 1) - or someone roostered something up in documentation along the way. Rare but obviously did happen when documents were transcribed manually.
This could be a real possibility because some of his other Soviet military documents also have their own minor clerical errors. I have found it to be a common occurrence in many different military documents, from all nationalities, even in the modern era. The only solution is for a soldier to review all of their own documentation carefully, otherwise there will probably be a mistake in it.

gebhk
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Re: 75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by gebhk » 05 Aug 2020 16:44

Hi Volyn

Thank you, it is always good to be asked practical questions and to find that one does not know the answers. Peacetime training was not an area that I had previously looked at and have to confess you have piqued my curiosity. Having gone to several of my go-to sources where I thought relevant info would be, I was disappointed. I will cast my net wider.

In the meantime, it is perhaps useful to consider some of the broader issues. Unlike the modern professional army of most countries whose soldiers are volunteers looking for a career in the armed forcers, the Polish army of the interbellum was based on National Service. Having been trained, the National Servicemen, on completion of their active service, did no leave but were transferred to the reserves. This, no doubt, affected such matters as the discharge process you ask about. However, the Polish armed forces in peacetime had missions other than the purely military. Firstly, a new national identity had to be welded out of three regions which had previously been parts of three different occupying powers - with different cultures, legal systems, languages etc. The army was seen as a standard bearer for propagating the new Polish 'norm'. Secondly, in a country with areas of appalling poverty and backwardness inherited from the previous 'managers', the armed forces had to serve as a remedial adult education system not just for literacy and numeracy but for basics such as how to brush your teeth with a toothbrush! All these factors clearly impacted on the whole process of recruit training.

TBC

Volyn
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Re: 75. Pułk Piechoty Regimental Banner and Training

Post by Volyn » 05 Aug 2020 18:17

gebhk wrote:
05 Aug 2020 16:44
Hi Volyn

Thank you, it is always good to be asked practical questions and to find that one does not know the answers. Peacetime training was not an area that I had previously looked at and have to confess you have piqued my curiosity. Having gone to several of my go-to sources where I thought relevant info would be, I was disappointed. I will cast my net wider.
I was unable to find anything related to these topics either, I just supposed it was written in a Polish book that I cannot read.
gebhk wrote:
05 Aug 2020 16:44
...the Polish armed forces in peacetime had missions other than the purely military. Firstly, a new national identity had to be welded out of three regions which had previously been parts of three different occupying powers - with different cultures, legal systems, languages etc. The army was seen as a standard bearer for propagating the new Polish 'norm'. Secondly, in a country with areas of appalling poverty and backwardness inherited from the previous 'managers', the armed forces had to serve as a remedial adult education system not just for literacy and numeracy but for basics such as how to brush your teeth with a toothbrush! All these factors clearly impacted on the whole process of recruit training.
This makes more sense to me now, because according to his account he explains what sounds like an unusually high emphasis on dress appearance, hygiene care, grooming, behavior, etc. which I had assumed was typical to an infantry unit. Now I can see how they were training people to a standardized new national Polish behavior model. Please let me know what else you may learn.

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