Did Polish Calvary charge German Panzers with lances?

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bf109 emil
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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 14 Sep 2010 06:11

In 1937, the Polish army issued a “Directive on Combat between Cavalry and Armoured Units.”
firstly it amazes me that an army would even think of issuing a directive towards this? Are we to assume that prior to this being issues the Polish army was and did indeed consider using calvary towards combating armor or armored 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.
ah the using the horse as a form of rabbit theory...unsure if armor units would simply assume the role of the hound and begin to chase calvary (the hare) as this sounds like a alice in wonderland tale regarding battle doctrine...

Anyone know of any other country writing military doctrine of how to get armor to chase Calvary during battle?
Cavalrymen are instructed to combat tanks by luring them into rough terrain
Combat tanks sounds as to be meaning as to combat them as traditionally and IMHO perhaps some lesser read calvary men took to this role, rather then portraying combat as to be defined as ride/run/flea from armor so as to be used as a lure firstly.

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 14 Sep 2010 09:34

Bf109 emil combating armour with cavalry is nothing different than combating armour with infantry.
ah the using the horse as a form of rabbit theory...
I guess horses have nothing to do with cavalry combats since cavalry units fight dismounted.
the Polish army was and did indeed consider using calvary towards combating armor or armored units?
Why not? What is the difference between using cavalry and using infantry against armour? In 1939 saturation of means of Anti-Tank combat per manpower strength was bigger in Polish cavalry units than in infantry units.

Each cavalry regiment numbering 874 men had got 4 AT guns 37mm and 12 AT rifles.

Each infantry battalion numbering 949 men had got only 9 AT rifles 7,92mm.
firstly it amazes me that an army would even think of issuing a directive towards this?
I think soldiers of 4. Pz.Div. were also amazed after being defeated near Mokra and Ostrowy.
Cavalrymen are instructed to combat tanks by luring them into rough terrain
ah the using the horse as a form of rabbit theory...
Amazing indeed.

Infantry was of course instructed to combat tanks by luring them into open and flat terrain. :lol:

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Stephan » 14 Sep 2010 20:42

About cavallery luring tanks into rough terrain.

Pity the French didnt read the polish army-instruction. IF, they would had a victory over the "Bosches" in 1940. When germans, instead of attacking the strongholds of Maginot-lien, did get themselves "lured" into the deep forests and rough terrain with only bad ways.

If the "Frogs" had there some brigades of their allied polish cavallerists OR some equivalent, instead of weak garrison troops(?), the outcome would surely be different...
Such a terrain was no hindrance for the cavallery.

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 14 Sep 2010 20:56

If the "Frogs" had there some brigades of their allied polish cavallerists OR some equivalent, instead of weak garrison troops(?), the outcome would surely be different...
Such a terrain was no hindrance for the cavallery.
perhaps, but would the hounds simply abandon set tactics and battle orders in order to take up the chase and bugle tally-ho while chasing calvary with their armor in much the same light as a British fox hunt??

Was the Wehrmacht this undisciplined or tank commanders simply given reign to run and chase opposing Calvary into every nook and cranny they might enter? IMHO I think Guderian and others had better control over their panzer forces then this IMHO
Pity the French didn't read the polish army-instruction.
Pity their wasn't more Polish Calvary as simply they could have rode into the sea and swim away and watch the chasing panzer sink or rode away from cities like Warsaw and the whole German armor forces would have simply chased and saved numerous towns and villages. :roll:

Writing a manual is wonderful, but it both sides to follow in order to make said doctrine and guidelines work...in this case did it?

where German armor lured into these mighty tank traps and destroyed as written by Poland military manuals?

Before you condemn the french for not using Calvary, firstly ask did these luring tactics work within Poland and achieve success and thwart off Germany from being victorious or even destroy large number of tanks/armor from this tactic?

if so please source where and in which battle Poland lured German armor into these traps and in what locale...

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 14 Sep 2010 22:05

firstly ask did these luring tactics work within Poland
Before spreading bullshit about "luring tactics" read at least parts of the Polish Cavalry Manual from 1938:

Part 1 - "Technical Issues", Volume 1 - "Training of a cavalryman":

http://stajniapodskowronkiem.pl/pliki/r ... 1.tom2.pdf

Here is the complete Volume 1 of Part 1 (chapters A - D):

http://www.lucznictwokonne.pl/zurawiejk ... kaw/r.html

Part 1 - "Technical Issues", Volume 2 - "Drill of units":

http://stajniapodskowronkiem.pl/pliki/r ... 1.tom2.pdf

Part 3 is "Drill and combat of small cavalry units". I'm not sure how many parts it have in total.

Here you can buy parts of the original - just the first two volumes of part 1 have 340 pages:

http://www.dobroni.pl/rekonstrukcje,reg ... i-i-ii,341

Have a nice read. Here you can also find Part IV of the earlier Cavalry Manual from 1933:

http://www.google.pl/search?sourceid=na ... +kawalerii
Before you condemn the french for not using Calvary
Actually they did use cavalry. And so did the Germans also.

E.g. here we can see the French 3rd Sipahi Brigade (3e Brigade de Spahis) at La Horgne on 15.05.1940:

Image

More links with fragments of the Cavalry Manual from 1938:

http://regulaminy-kawalerii.bfsc.pl/
if so please source where and in which battle Poland lured German armor into these traps and in what locale...
For example here on 01.09.1939 (as you can see the forest forms a natural trap):

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=50.905,1 ... ,18.937778

And here one day later (as you can see the location is also surrounded by forests):

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=50.905,1 ... ,18.937778

We also have combats near Truskaw - Sieraków - Izabelin where 1. Lei.Div. suffered heavy losses against cavalry:

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=50.905,1 ... ,18.937778

Not mentioning combats near Brochow in which cavalry captured bridgeheads across the Bzura against 4. Pz.Div.:

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=52.32277 ... ,20.266111

And some others.

Then we can also mention a defeat of Panzers in a similar trap near Wisła Wielka and Brzeźce 01.09.1939:

http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=50.905,1 ... ,18.937778

But here there they were fighting against infantry not cavalry.

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 14 Sep 2010 22:34

Infantry was of course instructed to combat tanks by luring them into open and flat terrain.
this i can see as infantry being part of an army per say and would be apt to be destroyed...

what i questioned is tactics written that place or designate the use of calavary in a role or doctrine stating for a mounted calavary to come into contact with armor and then thus let armor chase them into a trap or lure as written above...by alkankizil tr.net

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.

it does not say as you mentioned earlier for Calvary to fight dismounted...and it was for this Directive written in 1937 that i question as to being viable...indeed it might be and if so i stand corrected...but IMHO yes Calvary might have and just as well been used in combat, but IMHO i find it hard to believe they would and where used as bait (per say) for armor to chase cross country and fall into the type of trap as outlined or posted by alkankizil tr.net...In this instance and tis my personal POV i can't see the panzer forces of germany, let alone almost any army falling for this type of ploy or trap.

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 14 Sep 2010 22:42

In 1937, the Polish army issued a “Directive on Combat between Cavalry and Armoured Units.
then again maybe this tactic was used, but prior to 1939 maybe Germany was able to secure a copy of the Polish military manual and thus had ample warning or this tactic or strategy of luring armor by means of calvary...unsure...if anyone has a copy or access of this Directive can it please be posted if possible,,,

Thanks
Jim Snowden (bf109 emil)

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 14 Sep 2010 22:45

if anyone has a copy or access of this Directive can it please be posted if possible
Sorry I don't have access to it at the moment, maybe Alkankizil has?
what i questioned is tactics written that place or designate the use of calavary in a role or doctrine stating for a mounted calavary to come into contact with armor and then thus let armor chase them into a trap or lure as written above...by alkankizil tr.net
Alkankizil never wrote anything like that.

I don't see him mentioning cavalry fighting mounted against tanks anywhere in his post. He simply wrote that cavalry was instructed to take defensive positions in a difficult / rough / forested terrain while fighting against tanks. So to "lure" the Panzers into difficult terrain - however "luring" is maybe not the best word to describe this...

And cavalry is more mobile than infantry (unless motorized) so it is easier to "lure" tanks into diffcult terrain.

Cavalry was supposed to operate on flanks of infantry divisions and its main role when it comes to combats against armoured units was to delay them so that infantry divisions could withdraw to the next defensive position.

That's why cavalry should slow down enemy armour exploiting natural defensive values of difficult terrain.

Simply - while in withdrawal, or covering the withdrawal of neighbouring infantry divisions (or their flanks), cavalry must exploit difficult terrain to slow down the advance of armoured units.

And that's how what Alkankizil wrote should be understood IMHO.

Infantry is not mobile enough to withdraw to the next defensive position if being under strong pressure of enemy armoured-motorized units - infantry would be destroyed or outflanked and encircled while trying to do so.

Infantry is not a good weapon for slowing down advances of enemy armour because it is too slow.

That's why cavalry was so important (in the face of insufficient amount of motorized units).
but IMHO i find it hard to believe they would and where used as bait (per say) for armor to chase cross country and fall into the type of trap as outlined or posted by alkankizil tr.net...In this instance and tis my personal POV i can't see the panzer forces of germany, let alone almost any army falling for this type of ploy or trap.
Well I also can't see them doing so but I don't think this is what Alkankizil intended to write...
it does not say as you mentioned earlier for Calvary to fight dismounted...
It also does not say for cavalry to fight mounted.

But it is obvious that cavalry in 20th century fought dismounted in some 95% of all engagements.

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Stephan » 14 Sep 2010 23:02

A variant of "luring in", is the old doctrine of attacking strongholds. Thus, the isntruction said, dont make strongholds out in the open: better to make them in rough terrain.

And if the tanks want to go around the strongholds (as indeed the german doctrine was), if they are travelling out in the open - they can be beshotted at by artillery and attacked by planes. And if they take way through the woods - voilá, there we are.

The point is, the cavallery was not instructed to deliver battle at any costs whenever they met the enemy as soon they saw them. They were supposed to deliver battle in suitable terrain and in suitable mode (= usually dismounted etc), if they had any possiblility to choose.

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 14 Sep 2010 23:03

I don't see him mentioning cavalry fighting mounted against tanks anywhere in his post.
nor does it say to dismount...what it does say is...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.

does it say for them to dismount or to do so on foot? NO it refers to Cavalrymen...and as such perhaps we have a play on words but in most instances cavalrymen would no longer be cavalrymen if and indeed they become dismounted...

Nor does it say for calvaryment to lure them into terrain posing as infantrymen, but as i.e.cavalrymen...

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by bf109 emil » 14 Sep 2010 23:07

The point is, the cavallery was not instructed to deliver battle at any costs whenever they met the enemy as soon they saw them. They were supposed to deliver battle in suitable terrain and in suitable mode (= usually dismounted etc), if they had any possiblility to choose.
thanks for clearing this up...any chance of including this 1937 doctrine of being posted?

it matter little to me...but even now i have a harder belief in seeing armor being lured into Thus, the instruction said, don't make strongholds out in the open: better to make them in rough terrain. what is now determined rough terrain on foot by dismounted cavalrymen, when simply the traverse of rough terrain would be simpler and IMHO more easily negotiated on the mount of a horse in order to lure armor then upon foot if and had the 2 instances proposed themselves and a decision to either remain mounted or disembark and attempt to lure on foot was the choice to be made.

then again this 1937 written doctrine might not even exist and until we can see and read it remains either open for discussion or can be debated endlessly in my personal opinion...

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 14 Sep 2010 23:11

PS:

The concept of Anti-Tank trap (pocket surrounded by Anti-Tank weapons and fortifications everywhere) was applied by Polish 6th Infantry Division during the battle of Pszczyna against 5th Panzer-Division.

This concept on small scale worked on 01.09.1939 near Wisla Wielka and Brzezce along the first Polish defensive line. German attacking spearheads fell inside the pockets and suffered heavy losses under intense Anti-Tank fire from all sides, after several hours remaining tanks ran out of ammo and were forced to retreat.

During the night Polish units retreated to the main defensive line and similar plan was applied on 02.09.1939.

But the next day Germans attacked not in that place where they were expected to attack and the entire plan failed. The plan could work even though, but it failed mainly because during the night Polish artillery was propouned to open field inside the "pocket" instead of staying on its previous hidden and fortified positions along its "bottom".

This was because of too much self-confidence after the success of the first day (01.09.1939). They decided to propound artillery closer to the first line in order to increase immediate firepower and repulse German armour earlier.

As the result tanks outflanked + encircled artillery positions and overran them one by one before infantry was able to help. Then infantry trying to support artillery was cought by tanks in the open field and suffered heavy losses.

Fortunately the Polish general managed to save most of its divisions and also blow up bridges along the Vistula and Sola rivers so the Germans could not chase the Polish division and it was able to efficiently regroup.

This victory was possible thanks to German air reconnaissance and radio communications. Simply the Germans were responding to situation changes much faster than the Poles relying on wire and deprived of decent air reconnaissance.
Last edited by Peter K on 14 Sep 2010 23:17, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Stephan » 14 Sep 2010 23:11

Domen121 wrote:
Actually they did use cavalry. And so did the Germans also.

E.g. here we can see the French 3rd Sipahi Brigade (3e Brigade de Spahis) at La Horgne on 15.05.1940:

Image

Interesting picture. (Or is it painting? I suspect strongly this IS painting.

Especielly as it shows a charge against - panzer troops...

Although the germans are unprepared, and also in a crowded, unsuitable situation where defensive fire would be almost as dangerous for own infantery as for the charging cavallery.


It is correct both germans and french had substantial cavallery units.

The follow up question; had they similiar equipment and instruction as the polish cavallery?

Polish cavallery was as we saw mostly a higly mobile, well trained, decently equipped mounted infantery, with the extra possibility to make horse charges in suitable circumstances.

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by Peter K » 14 Sep 2010 23:14

Yes - this is painting.

As you can see there are also legends about French cavalry charging tanks. :)

Read the description of this battle here:

http://www.cote-azur-rhf.com/news/Battl ... 1940).html
does it say for them to dismount or to do so on foot?
OK so how do you imagine using Anti-Tank guns, artillery, Machine Guns and rifles while mounted?

I must say I have never seen a mounted Machine Gun or Anti-Tank gun in combat. :D
nor does it say to dismount...what it does say is...
I'm not sure if you noticed that it is not the actual quotation from the manual.

These are alkankizil's own words.
but in most instances cavalrymen would no longer be cavalrymen if and indeed they become dismounted
LOL.

So paratroopers would no longer be paratroopers if not flying in the skies with parachutes. :lol:

Certainly while fighting "dismounted" on the ground paratroopers are just "troopers". :D

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Re: Polisch kavallerie attacking tanks?

Post by phylo_roadking » 15 Sep 2010 01:23

Certainly while fighting "dismounted" on the ground paratroopers are just "troopers".
Well....not necessarily; in the case of the FJ, for instance....different skirmishing tactics and training than the common landser; trained to operate without heavy support etc., even more concentration on small unit tactics...

Similarly - Cavalry dismounted are not "mounted infantry" - for they'll have different equipment and arms etc....and being intended to fight primarily as cavalry have different training to somebody who's nag is just a means of transport from A to B.
As you can see there are also legends about French cavalry charging tanks.
And some of them are true like the French 2nd Light Cavalry division that covered Victor Fortune and the 51st Highland Divisions's retreat to St Valery en Caux in June 1940.
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