Did Polish Calvary charge German Panzers with lances?

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sylvieK4
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Post by sylvieK4 » 22 Apr 2004 16:36

Quote of _The_General_:
Just found this:


Can you tell us your source? Thanks.

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_The_General_
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Post by _The_General_ » 22 Apr 2004 16:45


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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 22 Apr 2004 16:59

First I must say that I think it is unnecessary to discuss about why polish cavalry should attack german tanks. If it was a desperate breakout attempt, a surprise engagement etc.. everybody knows that polish soliders were not more dumb than any other nations soldiers.
Some people feel themselves forced to defend polish soldiers that they would never be so dumb to attack tanks. I don´t care about such arguments so please spare me from them.
Many sources say these engagements happened. Is it important why?

Besides the above mentioned forward elements of 20.Inf.Div.(mot) engagement with the polish 18.Ulan regiment there is another account from 3.Pz.Div. on 1.Sept.

Pz.Rgt.5 and A.A.3 push through the polish defenses to the Brahe river and stand 30km deep in enemy territory.
From an original radio call in the KTB:
"...A.A.3 meldet Gegenangriffe polnischer Kavallerie. Teile der Abteilung fast verschossen."
....."A.A.3 reports counterattacks by polish cavalry. Elements of the Abteilung nearly out of ammo."

From the official unit history:
"...Doch rechts und links des Keiles stehen noch starke Teile der 9.poln.Division die die Flanken bedrohen..... Eine Bedrohung erfolgt wirklich vom Norden aus der Tucheler Heide her. Hier greift eine polische Kavalleriebrigade den linken Flügel der Division an.
Die Schwadronen reiten mit gezogenem Säbel an. Es ist ein Bild wie aus den Anfangstagen des 1.Weltkriegs. Nur leider wollen oder dürfen die polnischen Soldaten nicht glauben, daß die deutschen Panzer aus Stahl und nicht aus Holz und Pappe sind. Veheerend wirkt das M.G.-Feuer der Panzer in den Reihen der feindlichen Reiter....."
Left and right of the penetrated german forces elements of the 9th polish division threaten the flanks of the division...... From the north the Tucheler Heide a polish cavalry brigade attacks the left flank of the division. The squadrons attack with sabres. It is a picture like in the early days of WW1. But obviously the polish soldiers are not allowed or don´t want to believe that the german tanks are made of steel and not of wood and cardboard. The machinegunfire has devestating effect on the attacking riders.

\Christoph

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Daniel L
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Post by Daniel L » 22 Apr 2004 17:32

Although I won't comment the war diary the official unit story has many similarities with what has been presented as the myth (cardboard and paper, chariging with drawn swords etc).

Best regards/ Daniel

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Alter Mann
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Polish Cavalry

Post by Alter Mann » 22 Apr 2004 18:03

The quote from _The_General has some similarities to the account that I read, but doesn't seem quite the same.

As I said, I can't find the source book right now. It seemed to me that I read that the Polish Cavalry attacked a unit on the march and may not have known that there were armored vehicles in the column.

That comment about cardboard tanks rings a bell, though. Didn't the Germans use cardboard and plywood forms mounted on automobiles during training, before tank production had provided enough real vehicles to train with? I'm not sure how late they used them, and I would think it an unlikely mistake for the Polish to make, but who knows?

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Askold
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Post by Askold » 22 Apr 2004 19:41

I think Polish cavalry did clash with German tanks. Not because of stupidity but, pershaps because of this:

One of our members (Sierzant Dymkowski)
mentioned that his friend's father was a Polish cavalryman in 1939. His
friend's father said that the Germans used to drive thier tanks with the
engine compartments open to cool off the engine (they would get very hot),
Sometimes a brave cavalryman or two would ride thier horse up to the tank, and
using a sword, they would be able to cut a fuel hose that was exposed by the
open compartment, which would cause the German tank to stop. Interesting.

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Musashi
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Post by Musashi » 22 Apr 2004 21:44

sylvieK4 wrote:Image

This image has been painted by an idiot who had not absolutely the foggest idea about the uniforms of the Polish cavalry in 1939. Don't you see these uniforms are from WW I era? What an amateurishness!!! 8O :? :lol: :roll: :x

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 22 Apr 2004 23:09

Could someone explain me why it is so out of possibility that some polish officers thought that the germans still used these "wood mock ups" from the Reichswehr time which was not so long ago? I would be interested in facts why this was not possible.

\Christoph

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Post by sylvieK4 » 23 Apr 2004 12:31

Quote of Musashi:
This image has been painted by an idiot who had not absolutely the foggest idea about the uniforms of the Polish cavalry in 1939. Don't you see these uniforms are from WW I era? What an amateurishness!!!


I agree, and I do see it, but it illustrates my point. The deliberate, planned cavalry charge on tanks was, in all likelihood, a myth; a notion born of propaganda and perpetuated by people who "haven't the foggiest idea" about pragmatic warfare.

According to the site the image was on, the painting was from an Italian magazine from the 1960s.

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sylvieK4
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Post by sylvieK4 » 23 Apr 2004 12:42

Could someone explain me why it is so out of possibility that some polish officers thought that the germans still used these "wood mock ups" from the Reichswehr time which was not so long ago? I would be interested in facts why this was not possible.

\Christoph


I don't think its out of the realm of possibility. According to several sources, however, the Poles had look-outs and anti-tank forces working with their cavalry. It may have been that some these groups mistook actual armor for wood mock ups. In that event, however, any action against it in the form of a charge would have been intended as cavalry versus dummy tanks, and not the real thing. In other words, a grave mistake. I do not believe that the Polish cavalry deliberately attacked columns they understood to be authentic armor.

Do you think it is impossible that the cavalry charges vs. tanks did NOT take place? Perhaps an engagement like this was reported in German daily notices/ briefs (?) but is it not possible that the tanks surprised the cavalry and that the encounters took place while the Poles were trying to get away, rather than charging?

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Christoph Awender
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Post by Christoph Awender » 23 Apr 2004 15:10

From the things I´ve read and know I am pretty convinced that there were several engagements of armoured vehicles, tanks with polish mounted cavalry.
In my oppinion it is not at all important why this engagements took place.
If someone wants to narrow the discussion down to "Polish cavalry attacked tanks with sabres knowing that they were made of steel out of pure dumbness" .. I don´t know.

\Christoph

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mark67
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Post by mark67 » 23 Apr 2004 22:23

Christoph Awender wrote:From the things I´ve read and know I am pretty convinced that there were several engagements of armoured vehicles, tanks with polish mounted cavalry.


Well here is link to the Polish page counted all chargers of Polish cavalry in 1939:
http://www.kawaleria2rp.horsesport.pl/szarze.htm
So according information provided on the page - on 16 charges there were 3 where German (+ 1 Soviet) armour were accidentally encounter:
Krojanty - 01. 09.
Mokra - 01. 09. (BTW successful for Polish)
Wólka Wêglowa - 19. 09. - mentioned by Italian journalist but not about Polish POW from cavalry which confessed Germans the they took part in this charge were executed 8O
Husynne - 24. 09. (Against Soviets)

HTH
Marek

P.S. Polish Cavalry regulation strictly forbidden charges on armour, they should fight with them as infantry.

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Post by Polynikes » 25 Apr 2004 20:06

Christoph Awender

Polish Cavalry regulation strictly forbidden charges on armour, they should fight with them as infantry.

I find it hard to believe that even the most nostalgic-myopic Polish cavalryman would lead a cavalry charge against any kind of armoured fighing vehilce...the machine guns alone would destroy the charge even if the panzers were made out of wood.

What amazes me is that the Poles actually still formed cavalry formations...if the horse was used as a means of transport because Poland was too poor to equip its army with trucks then fair enough but if the horse was just a means of transport akin to German experiments with motor-cycle Pz-Gren battalions, why issue a lance to them?

The Polish army was just backward.

Cheers from Rich

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Post by Feanor » 25 Apr 2004 20:42

What amazes me is that the Poles actually still formed cavalry formations...if the horse was used as a means of transport because Poland was too poor to equip its army with trucks then fair enough but if the horse was just a means of transport akin to German experiments with motor-cycle Pz-Gren battalions, why issue a lance to them?

Cavalry could be quite useful regardless of whether you can afford to motorize your forces. For instance, horses are much more quiet (better for recon), can pass through terrain impassable for motor vehicles (especially, say, the Pripyat marshes or Tuchola forests), generally performed better in an off-road/muddy-road environment and don't use gas. And it wasn't just Poland that fielded cavalry--so did the USSR, Italy, and AFAIK Germany too. As to the lance, that was decorative--I don't think it was actually used in combat.
The Polish army was just backward.

Compared to the German army, yes, though the September campaign wasn't such a walkover as is commonly believed (ie. the Germans lost more planes that the Poles, used up almost their entire stock of ammo and gas). Compared to, say, the Italian army, no.

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mark67
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Post by mark67 » 26 Apr 2004 13:25

Polynikes wrote:What amazes me is that the Poles actually still formed cavalry formations...if the horse was used as a means of transport because Poland was too poor to equip its army with trucks then fair enough but if the horse was just a means of transport akin to German experiments with motor-cycle Pz-Gren battalions, why issue a lance to them?

Well, well, that's right Polish had quite a lot of cavalry unit, the same as Polish potential enemies (Germans and Russians). Polish army started slow process of army motorising in 30' but because economical weakness of the state as well as some military doctrinal obstacles it was slow. Anyway Germans cavalry units fought in Poland too - in fact two charges in given above link resulted clashes with German cavalry (Borowa - 02. 09 and Krasnobród - 23. 09.)
Lances ? AFAIK only one Polish squadron actually took their lances on the front and probably never used them in combat. Rest left them behind as absolve parade weapon.

Marek

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