Did Polish Calvary charge German Panzers with lances?

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 01 Aug 2010 10:03

the Polish cavalry did attack a German infantry division and nearly won the battle until armered cars with MG arrived, thus perhaps it wasn't imagined....
There couldn't be any armoured vehicles near Krojanty according to results of latests research. Also some researchers contacted German veterans from 20 ID(mot.) who took part in the battle and they confirm charge being repulsed by infantry mortars & MGs & "all weapons". Losses of both sides were also much smaller than previously claimed.

Total losses of Polish 18th Uhlan Rgt. on 01.09.1939 were 32 killed, but the regiment participated in several bloody combats on that day and only 11 - 16 of them were killed near Krojanty (11 are confirmed as killed near Krojanty and the remaining 5 have unknown place of death, I doubt all of them died near Krojanty).

1) Losses of 20 ID(mot.) during combats in the Pomerelian "Corridor" (1 - 5 September):

- 3 officers, 56 NCOs and men KIA
- 17 officers, 219 NCOs and men WIA

( Losses in the charge of Krojanty are included here )

2) Losses of 20 ID(mot.) during combats 11 - 20 September 1939:

- 16 officers, 311 NCOs and men KIA
- 34 officers, 694 NCOs and men WIA

This includes losses in combats for the Brest-Litovsk Fortress on 15 - 16 September:

- 137 officers, NCOs and men KIA
- 237 officers, NCOs and men WIA

3) Losses of 20 ID(mot.) during combats 21 - 30 September 1939:

- no soldiers killed
- 8 NCOs and men WIA

In total this gives losses of 20 ID(mot.) in the entire Polish Campaign as:

- 19 officers KIA, 367 NCOs and men KIA
- 51 officers WIA, 921 NCOs and men WIA

Maybe real losses were a bit higher because I know 23 (not 19) officers from this division KIA:

1) Combats 1 - 5 September 1939 - 3 officers KIA:

Lt. Heino Merkel (Inf.Rgt.69) - 4 IX
Oblt. Heinrich Meyer (Inf.Rgt.69) - 4 IX
Maj. Emil Bumiller (Inf.Rgt.69) - 5 IX

2) Combats 11 - 20 September 1939 - 18 officers KIA (two more than posted above):

Lt. Werner Aydt (Aufkl.Abt.20) - 11 IX
Oblt. Hans Lentz (Inf.Rgt.69) - 11 IX
Oblt. Udo Steinmueller (Inf.Rgt.90) - 11 IX
Lt. Sylvester Michalek (Aufkl.Abt.20) - 11 IX
Ob. Werkm. Hermann Burmeister (Nachr.Abt.20) - 11 IX
Lt. Dr. Horst Schultze-Klosterfelde (Pz.Abw.Abt.20) - 11 IX
Lt. Wolfgang Wolland (Inf.Rgt.76) - 12 IX
Hptm. Erich Mrugalla (Inf.Rgt.69) - 12 IX
Lt. Reinhardt Schoene (Inf.Rgt.76) - 12 IX
Oblt. Joachim Liese (Inf.Rgt.76) - 13 IX
Lt. Heinrich Wantig (Inf.Rgt.69) - 15 IX
Lt. Otto Winkelmann (Inf.Rgt.69) - 15 IX
Lt. Wilhelm Riesbeck (Inf.Rgt.69) - 15 IX
Lt. Max Matthias (Inf.Rgt.90) - 16 IX
Lt. Klaus Reinert (Inf.Rgt.69) - 16 IX
Hptm. Alexander Schuetze (Art.Rgt.20) - 16 IX
Lt. Ludwig von Matthiessen (Art.Rgt.20) - 16 IX
Oblt. Hans Schallehn - 17 IX

4) Unknown date of death (two further KIA or maybe DoW officers?):

Oblt. Geisler (Aufkl.Abt.20)
Lt. Klockmann (Inf.Rgt.90)
Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Does anyone know more about this?
I know, I know:



PS: Indy had Polish roots.
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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 01 Aug 2010 10:12

Really as I thought Harrison Ford being that His father was Irish, his mother Russian-Jewish might not have Polish roots?

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 01 Aug 2010 10:20

I was joking. :P And Harrison Ford is not equal to Indy, he only played Indy...

I claimed Indy had Polish roots because otherwise this wouldn't be "Polish kavallerie attacking tanks".
his mother Russian-Jewish might not have Polish roots?
Ok - Jews also fought in the Polish army in 1939, so the video shows Jewish cavalry charging tanks...

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 08 Aug 2010 09:43

There couldn't be any armoured vehicles near Krojanty according to results of latests research.
son the 20 motorized infantry did not take part in action at Krojanty and Poland did not have calvary units here?
and no armored cars helped turn the battle back to the Heers favor when almost lost before appearing?

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 08 Aug 2010 10:04

20th motorized infantry division had got some (but no more than 30) armoured vehicles.

Of them some were not armed and the remaining ones had MGs or 20mm guns.

But sources say that when the charge occured, all of them were involved in combats somewhere else.

Thus, they couldn't appear near Krojanty.

I don't remember exactly where - but name of that village was posted on Polish DWS or Odkrywca forums.

The battle was turned back in Heer's favour by another line of infantry (after cavalry charged across the 1st line).

But German casualties were minimal (probably not a single dead - only a dozen or so WIA by pistols / sabres).

Other accounts say that cavalry didn't even charge across the first line - but was repulsed immediately.

So according to some accounts the charge was never in favour of the Polish cavalry.

German infantry had much more than enough firepower to repulse a cavalry charge...

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 08 Aug 2010 10:23

German infantry had much more than enough firepower to repulse a cavalry charge...
true
20th motorized infantry division had got some (but no more than 30) armoured vehicles.

Of them some were not armed and the remaining ones had MGs or 20mm guns.

But sources say that when the charge occured, all of them were involved in combats somewhere else.
but the fact that the 20th motorized infantry...the force which did take part in the battle of Krojanty was formed under Heinz Guderians XIX corps. and Guderians was present at Krojanty is also fact.

please source where their is proff showing that the XIX corp never had any armored cars available nor near Krojanty as my posting earlier states this was indeed true sourcehttp://www.polishsite.us/index.php/hist ... tanks.html and was published in The article was published originally in Polish-American Journal July,2008

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 08 Aug 2010 10:30

Guderian was definitely not present at Krojanty.

Rather somewhere at the Brahe river watching his tanks massacre a Polish cyclist company.

Guderian in his memoirs doesn't write he was present at Krojanty during the charge.

I think Krojanty and tanks is simply a myth. Polish Krojanty veterans also contributed to spreading it - it was more glorious to be defeated by tanks than to be defeated by machine guns, rifles, grenade launchers, etc.

And Poles on foreign forums sustain this myth because they like the first part (the victorious one).

While in fact the charge maybe was at first victorious, but maybe repulsed immediately.
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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 08 Aug 2010 10:36

Domen121 wrote:Guderian was definitely not present at Krojanty.

Rather somewhere at the Brahe river watching his tanks massacre a Polish cyclist company.

Guderian in his memoirs doesn't write he was present at Krojanty during the charge.

I think Krojanty and tanks is simply a myth. Polish Krojanty veterans also contributed to spreading it - it was more glorious to be defeated by tanks than to be defeated by machine guns, rifles, grenade launchers, etc.
nope but Guederian was present during a Polish calvary charge at Graudenz

Two days later, General Heinz Guderian, commander of the 19th Corps, of which the German 20th Motorized Division was a part, wrote that, “…we succeeded in totally encircling the enemy on our front in the wooded country north of Schwetz and west of Grudziadz (German name: Graudenz). The Polish Pomorska Cavalry Brigade, in ignorance of the nature of our tanks, had charged them with swords and lances and had suffered tremendous losses.” :wink:

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 08 Aug 2010 10:40

Ok but in another thread on this forum me or Ypenburg (?) quoted an account of a German soldier who claimed Polish cavalry charge near Lichnowy (it was another skirmish in that area fought on 01.09.1939). And he didn't take part in that combat but only heard that from another soldier, who heard that from another soldier who did. :)

And Polish sources doesn't confirm any charge taking place near Lichnowy. They only confirm that Polish uhlans fought there dismounted and lost one KIA soldier and several horses dead from artillery fire. Probably Germans saw a dead Polish uhlan + several dead horses and the conclusion was immediate = "they charged our tanks". :)

In Polish cavalry, while it fought dismounted, horses were being kept behind the frontline by horsekeepers.

It sometimes happened that when there was intense fire, horsekeepers couldn't gain control over their panicked horses and horses were blurting out and - let's say - galloping in panic towards German lines.

This also could be interpreted as a "cavalry charge" (but without riders). ;)

Guderian wasn't at Krojanty - he only "heard it from someone, who heard from someone, who was". :D

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 08 Aug 2010 11:06

more on Polish Calvary involved with tanks/armor...
At 5 p.m. on September 1, 1939 the myth was born when the Polish 18th Lancers of the Pomorska Cavalry Brigade charged units from the German 20th Motorised Division. This incident took place near Chojnice in the Western part of Poland. The attack was meant to be on infantry units marching eastwards, but the Poles were surprised by German tanks and armoured cars which appeared out of nowhere. It was a massacre!

The German propaganda quickly grasped the situation and incorporated a - staged - cavalry charge in one of their propaganda movies - Geschwader Lützow


but probably more thrilling and factual is the Polish cavalry - from the First Polish Army, in Soviet service from source:
The Cavalry of World War II, Orbis Publishing Limited, London 1979, ISBN 0 85613 022 2, Janusz Piekalkiewicz

relating to the very last Calvary charge of WW2 made by Polish Calvary upon AT Guns and not tanks although...

"West Pomerania on the morning of March 1, 1945. A chill wind was sweeping low, heavy, threatening clouds across the rolling countryside; small lakes sparkled among the dark forests and, here and there, patches of dirty snow could still be seen. In a village near to the small town of Schönfeld, the military band was playing the Polish national anthem "Poland is not yet lost". [The "Dobrowski Marski" in Polish, as far as I know/PEFIN.]

Two cavalry squadrons was trotting in front of a group of senior officers. One of the squadrons, under Lieutenant Spisacki, wheeled round to the right towards the forest as the other, under Lieutenant Starak, moved straight ahead towards the railway line. A few kilometres further on, in a valley, lay Schönfeld, behind flat meadows criss-crossed like a chessboard with irrigation canals. The town was divided by the railway line with a trunk road running directly parallel; on both sides were lakes, while beyond were more meadows and woods. It was here that the Pomeranian "wall" was situated - the last German defence line between the Oder and Berlin.

The horsemen of the 1. Samodzielna Warzawska Brygada Kawalerii - a cavalry brigade fighting on the side of the Soviet Union as part of the 1. Armia WP, the 1st Polish People's Army - had a tough nut to crack: they were to break through the Pomeranian wall if at all possible. The Poles had already been trying to storm the German lines for two days. The tanks and infantry storming party had got stuck in the boggy fields the previous day and was then wiped out in a hail of anti-tank grenade fire from powerful tank-busters, well camouflaged in the irrigation ditches. The infantry was forced to withdraw with heavy losses under heavy machine-gun fire. The task, which the T-34 tanks and the assault infantry had failed to achieve, was now to be undertaken by two cavalry squadrons supported by the remaining tanks. The cavalry could only hope that the Germans would direct their anti-tank gunfire at the T-34s and not at the horses.

A few tanks moved in line towards the trunk road, and a red very-light soared into the air in a high arc: this was the signal for the cavalry to attack. The squadron commander Lieutenant Starak, raised his sabre and ordered: "Forward - Follow me!" Yelling "Hurrah" they galloped off and rapidly crossed the road. Thick billows of smoke from the burning tanks formed a protective blanket. They were quickly upon the horrified and astonished anti-tank gunners: "Russian Cossacks, Russian Cossacks!" The gunners had probably thought it impossible that cavalry would be accompanying the tanks. Behind the German positions, the horsemen dismounted and attacked from the rear.

The second squadron, under Lieutenant Spisacki, had assembled in a small corpse and was soon in difficulty. Even before their charge, a section of the tank force had got stuck in thick mud and was now in flames, hit from the side by German anti-tank fire. The exploding tanks made the horses shy, and the thick black smoke caused confusion. The galloped blindly through. In the trenches ahead of them all was quiet, then suddenly shooting broke out. Possibly the Germans had been disconcerted momentarily by the sight of the cavalry galloping towards them. The squadron's horsemen jumped over the forward German positions, found cover in a hollow a short distance from Schönfeld, and dismounted. It was the last Polish cavalry charge in history.

Both squadrons fought their way nearer to the town. And by evening, with tank and infantry support, Schönfeld, which was fortified with a few dugouts, had been captured. The infantry losses were 370 dead and wounded, but the cavalry lost only seven uhlans."

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 08 Aug 2010 11:16

On the use of cavalry by the Poles (vs. infantry, not armor), here is an excerpt from an article written by Kamil Dziewanowski. During the war, Dziewanowski served as a junior officer with a Polish cavalry unit that saw action in Sept. 1939. These are some of his recollections illustrating the use of cavalry at that time. The quotes are from http://www.polishnews.com/fulltext/hist ... ory4.shtml

It was almost 6a.m. when the patrols suddenly reported to the brigadier a startling piece of intelligence: a battalion of enemy infantry was marching along the highway between Rypno and Fastow.
Our sentries did not see any patrols, but reported that a column of transport trucks was moving parallel with the infantry. What an unexpected chance!

The brigade commander was hard put for a decision. We were hidden in the woods about a mile and a half from the enemy. The condition for a surprise attack seemed ideal. It was now or never. On the other hand the risk was great. An attack by the entire brigade was bound to betray our purpose.

Moreover, the firepower of a German infantry battalion was superior to that of our brigade. They seemed to have no armor but our patrols might have been mistaken.

After a few moments of hesitation our commander made up his mind. He stopped his brigade and reversed the direction of our march. We briskly crossed the strip of woods separating us from the enemy. Our three regiments assembled at the edge of the woods. ....

Since we stood on higher ground, we saw plainly what went on the highway. What a magnificent sight! A long sprent of troops wound its way lazily through a cloud of dust, while the motor transport swiftly flowed by the slowly marching infantry.

The brigadier's command came fast: "The 1st Lancer regiment and the 3rd Light Horse regiment prepare for a charge. The 2nd Lancer regiment will be in reserve. The brigade's heavy machine-gun squadrons will get together and support the charge with their massed fire.

The antitank squadron will screen the brigade from the west against a possible tank attack. The German's armor might be in the vicinity. Meanwhile, the engineering squadron is to take advantage of the charge to reach the bridge and the railway track as quickly as possible and blow them up."

The regimental commanders promptly carried out their respective orders. The squadron pushed ahead to the edge of the forest, while the engineering squadron left us to do their job. We could watch it marching off at a brisk trot.

Meanwhile, the squadrons stretched out in attack formation on the open field beyond the forest. The command "Trot, march" rang out. The enemy had not yet seen us, and the rising sun promised a clear day. The picture of the regiment emerging from the woods was so enchanting that it seemed unreal. What a perfect model for a battle painter! Where is our Vernet or Gericault! First we proceeded at a slow trot. The Germans still marched on, apparently unconcerned. Then suddenly our heavy machine-guns, hidden in the woods, gave tongue with a well-timed salvo. It went straight into the enemy column.
The great adventure was on!

The command "Draw sabres, gallop, march!" flew down the lines. Reins were gripped tighter. The riders bent forward in the saddles and they rushed forward like a mad whirlwind.

Meanwhile, the surprised serpent of enemy infantry on the highway stopped. Soon the road became a scene of wild confusion. There were shouts, confused orders, and chance shots. We, however, continued our gallop. Fortunately, the first German shots went over our heads. We were then about 1500 feet from the highway and saw that under fire of our heavy machine-guns the Germans were becoming a frantic mob. Some enemy armored cars stopped, while others tried to ram their way through the confusion. Some of the enemy soldiers made a desperate attempt to make a stand in the ditch by the roadside. Other sought cover behind the transport wagons.

Suddenly the fire from machine-guns began to score hits in our ranks. The van of the column, which had been nearing Rypno, seem to have mastered its panic; soon its fire began to tell. The first casualties fell from horses. We were then so close that we could see vague outlines of men in the cloud of dust. Suddenly our machine-guns ceased firing. They had to do it to avoid hitting us. Meanwhile, within a few seconds we reached the highway.

Sabres and lances went to work fiercely. Some confused German infantrymen pushed off our sabre blows with their rifle butts. Some simply tried to cover their heads with their arms, but our lances reached even those who tried to hide between the wagons.

The wave of our charge crossed the highway and pursued those who sought flight. Stray shots from the thickets kept falling into the mob on the highway, killing the enemy as well as us. The battle on the highway was practically over. The Germans began to surrender in large groups. A squadron of the 2nd Lancer regiment, which so far formed our reserve, was dispatched in pursuit of the fleeing enemy.

We were out of breath and dog-tired, but elated by the dreamed-up victory. Moreover, it was paid for with no great loss of life. The panic-stricken Germans were decidedly poor marksmen. The horses fared the worst; we lost between 30 and 40 of them. We had a score or so of wounded men, but only three were killed. The morning sun was high when our bugler blew assembly. We came up slowly, driving our prisoners ahead of us. We took about 200 men, most of them insane from fright. The villages of Rypno and Fastow were aflame. They belched dense clouds of black smoke, which lazily rose to the morning sky. In withdrawing, the remnants of the German battalion did not miss the chance to set the torch to two innocent villages. Then, suddenly, from the north a sound of an explosion could be heard. In a few minutes there came another, and after a while two more shook the air. This was the signal that our engineers had done their job. The bridge over the Narew and the railway track had been blown up.
M. Kamil DZIEWANOWSKI Is a professor emeritus of Contemporary Russian and East European History at Boston University and Associate of the Russian Research Center at Harvard.

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 08 Aug 2010 11:44

Well, you should read the thread about Krojanty posted by Tigre:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 1&start=15

Including also posts by Ypenburg. And check also this thred

"Another slander? This time Krojanty":

http://www.dws.org.pl/viewtopic.php?f=9 ... fec064ae06

A Polish researcher of the charge has been criticized for dispelling the myth of the Krojanty charge.

This researcher published his article "Krojanty - put it among fairy tales?" in Express Bydgoski:

Fragment of the introduction to the interview with an author:

"Germans didn't have tanks, armoured transporters and were not running away in panic - findings of Zygfryd Szych dispell the myth of the victorious charge at Krojanty, symbol of heroism in the defensive war of 1939".

Another thread about Krojanty with bibliography of the charge:
(post from 2010-01-15 10:24:22 posted by B.Grabowski):

"Charge at Krojanty - memoirs of a participant"

http://odkrywca.pl/szarza-pod-krojantam ... 64382.html

Posters argue about what really happened near Krojanty in this thread.
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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 08 Aug 2010 11:52

A Polish researcher of the charge has been criticized for dispelling the myth of the Krojanty charge.

This researcher published his article "Krojanty - put it among fairy tales?" in Express Bydgoski.
sure he has been criticized for dispelling this as it was known to have happened as researched by others...to dispell as a myth when events occur is falsifying history...

besides i trust the work of M. Kamil DZIEWANOWSKI Is a professor emeritus of Contemporary Russian and East European History at Boston University and Associate of the Russian Research Center at Harvard. a lot more then weekend historians simply trying to sell a paper or a story by falsifying history :wink:

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 08 Aug 2010 11:56

The problem is that most of German sources do not confirm armoured cars / tanks at Krojanty.

Those were Polish sources who were saying about tanks encountered there.

Moreover those tanks were firing to Polish sources "from a forest" or "from the edge of a forest" (sic!).

The most important source that Zygfryd Szych used to dispell the myth as posted above:
"Germans didn't have tanks, armoured transporters and were not running away in panic - findings of Zygfryd Szych dispell the myth of the victorious charge at Krojanty, symbol of heroism in the defensive war of 1939."
Was the account of German veteran of the Polish Campaign, Max Manthey, and soldiers from his company.

There are doubts on reliability of Manthey's account (he writes that the Polish charge was repulsed immediately after Polish cavalry appeared and quickly retreated - without any initial success), because Max Manthey's company was most probably not the only German unit which was attacked by Polish cavalry at Krojanty.

Thus it is probably that - like Polish sources mention - the first German line (this "another" unit) was overcame, while the second German line - Max Manthey's company - repulsed the Polish charge.

By the way - as I wrote above, those sources which mention tanks / armoured cars at Krojanty, say these vehicles suddenly appeared from the forest and opened fire to charging Polish cavalry from the edge of that forest.

And you do realize how bad visibility is in the forest? Especially for a charging uhlan under intense fire?

Most probably simply normal MG-34s opened fire from that forest - not MGs of armoured vehicles. ;)

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ypenburg also quoted a fragment of Max Manthey's account:
(but Zygfryd Szych spoke to Max Manthey personally !!)
Zwei polnische Schwadronen Kavallerie sind durch die Lücke zwischen II. und III. Btl. durchgestossen und reiten eine attacke wie in früheren Zeiten. Alle verfügbaren waffen, selbst Granatwerfer, werden auf die Reiter angesetzt. Unter schweren Verlusten, darunter 1 Major und 2 Rittämeister müssen die Schwadronen inhre Attacke abbrechen und den Rückzug antreten. Dieser überraschende und nicht für möglich gehaltene Angriff fordert auch beim Btl. seinen Tribut.
Es werden verwundet: Lt. Grünewald, Adjutant b. Btl., Lt. d.Res. Page und einige Schützen der 7. Kp. die über den Verbandplatz ins Lazarett geschickt werden müssen.

Tagebuch-Aufzeichnung Max Manthey 6./IR76 (mot)

from Tagebuchnotizen und Erinnerungen 1938-1945 beim Regiment 76 - Anlagen und Teil II

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by alkankizil@tr.net » 08 Aug 2010 18:00

It was German propaganda to depict the Polish Cavalry as an outdated and foolish force. The truth was different: during the 1930’s tactics and organization were updated in response to the changing face of modern warfare. The lance was dropped as a weapon in 1934 and though cavalrymen were issued sabres, mounted charges were discouraged in favour of attacks on foot. In fact ninety percent of Polish cavalry engagements during the 1939 campaign were fought dismounted.In 1937, the Polish army issued a “Directive on Combat between Cavalry and Armoured Units.” It states that, “In view of the massive development of armoured forces the cavalry will continually face them and must learn to deal with them if they are to fulfill their assignments.” Cavalrymen are instructed to combat tanks by luring them into rough terrain and attacking them with anti-tank guns, horse artillery and anti-tank ammunition for rifles and machine guns. Nowhere does it say that cavalrymen should attack tanks mounted, let alone with sabre or lance.

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