Did Polish Calvary charge German Panzers with lances?

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weiss
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Post by weiss » 03 Mar 2006 22:34

Yes, that article says: "The Germans lost approximately 800 men (both killed, missing, captured and seriously wounded), and between 100 and 160 AFVs (at least 50 of them tanks)."

"at least 50 of them tanks" is already 20 less tanks destroyed than your stated 70, and I wouldn't be surprised if the actual German losses were somewhat less than 50 tanks.

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Post by Musashi » 04 Mar 2006 10:15

weiss wrote:"at least 50 of them tanks" is already 20 less tanks destroyed than your stated 70, and I wouldn't be surprised if the actual German losses were somewhat less than 50 tanks.

I remember from Christoph Awender's WWII Day by day site there were 40 German tanks destroyed and it was an official Wehrmacht report.

Not forget there was not only a cavalry brigade on the Polish side, but it was supported by an armoured train (according to other sources two armoured trains). The armoured train surprised German armours during refueling and inflicted serious losses to them.
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Post by ToKu » 04 Mar 2006 10:48

About Battle of Mokra J. Piekałkiewicz wrote: "Battle of Mokra is one of very few examples during II WW, when cavalry unit stopped panzer division" - from "Wojna Pancerna 1939 - 1945" (Panzer Warfare) polish AWM edition, original german title not given. Detailed description of fights p. 35 - 36.

Respected polis historian A. K. Kunert estimates the losses of 4th Panzer Division in Mokra Battle on aprox. 170 vehicles from which aprox. 70 were tanks or armoured cars (same word in polish - wóz pancerny), Germans lost also 1000 men (KIA,MIA,WIA,POW). Polish losses were 6 guns and 500 men.
First time in WW II polish highest award - Virtuti Militari Cross - was given for bravery shown in this battle. It was given to corporal Leonard Żłób who destroyed 14 enemy tanks.
Source: A. K. Kunert "Wrzesień 1939", Warsaw 1993

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Post by weiss » 04 Mar 2006 23:50

"I remember from Christoph Awender's WWII Day by day site there were 40 German tanks destroyed and it was an official Wehrmacht report."

Thanks Musashi, I was hoping to have some loss confirmation from 'the other guys'. 40 tanks destroyed, on top of other AFV's knocked out, is still one hell of a beating to take.

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Re: Panzers and Polish Lancers

Post by Peter K » 05 Dec 2008 15:50

Wołyńska Cavalry Brigade eliminated around 80 - 90 German tanks during the battle of Mokra, more than 20 of them - most probably around 25 - 30 of them (including 14 in Panzer-Regiment 35. - according to Oberstleutnant Eberbach) - were "Totalshaden".

I don't have any exact data about casualties of Panzer-Regiment 36. (I think that I have got it somewhere but now I can't find it anywhere - maybe I will manage to find it later), but Panzer-Regiment 35. lost most probably around 45 tanks during the battle of Mokra - including - according to memories of Oberstleutnant Eberbach - its commander - and according to ww2 day by day - 14 as "Totalshaden". Oberstleutnant Eberbach also wrote in his memories that his regiment lost 29 men from tank crews KIA and WIA during the battle of Mokra - including 14 KIA and 15 WIA.

On 8th / 9th of September - soon before the failed attack on Warsaw - Panzer-Regiment 35. had got 120 tanks operational (once again according to Eberbach - this number is also repeated by ww2 day by day site) out of the initial amount of 177 - 185 tanks (different sources give a bit different numbers) - so 57 - 65 tanks fewer than on 31st of August. Of them around 45 are losses due to the battle of Mokra - and the remaining casualties are mainly from the battle of Tomaszów Mazowiecki - Piotrków Trbunalski 5. - 6. IX 1939 - and also combats of this regiment in the battle of Borowskie Mountains, combats near Radomsko, and Polish bombardments of XVI Panzerkorps by the Bombers Brigade - and also other, smaller skirmishes, which were fought by the tanks of this regiment during their battle-route towards Warsaw - provided they suffered any casualties in those skirmishes.

High scores with artillery guns and AT guns during the battle of Mokra:

I know three Polish soldiers who became Anti-Tank aces during the battle of Mokra:

Surname / name / rank / unit / victories / short description:

Żłób, Leonard - corporal (3 battery of 2. horse artillery dyon) - 14 victories (tanks) by direct fire from 75mm type 02/26 field cannon - in the combat between buildings of Mokra II and Mokra III - during the German attack in strength of over 80 tanks which beginned around 12:00. Leonard Żłób was awarded with Virtuti Militari cross for this combat.

Suski, Jan - corporal (AT platoon of 2. horse rifle regiment) - 8 victories (tanks and AFVs) by direct fire of 37mm type 36 AT gun - during the combat near the railway near Mokra II (while repulsing the German attack which started around 15:00).

Kawiak, Jan - uhlan (AT platoon of 12. uhlans regiment) - several victories (tanks) by 37mm type 36 AT gun - during the combat at the forest clearing near the railway, while fighting with attacking German tanks from his well-hidden position under the railway viaduct. Immediately after succesfully repulsing the German attack he was promoted by lieutenant colonel Kuczek to the rank of older uhlan (in Polish: starszy ułan).

Here are some photos of tanks eliminated during the battle of Mokra:

Image

Image

Image

Image

There were some battles during the Polish Campaign, which were more "bloody" and also a number of battles which were as "bloody" as the battle of Mokra for the German tanks.

But probably in any of those battles which were more "bloody" than the battle of Mokra for the German tanks, the Germans didn't lost - during only one day - as many tanks eliminated as were eliminated in the battle of Mokra during only one day (so around 80 - 90 tanks eliminated).
the battle of Tomaszów Mazowiecki - Piotrków Trbunalski 5. - 6. IX 1939
It is estimated that up to 30% of all German armour casualties in this battle were suffered by 4. Panzer-Division - the majority of them were casualties of its Panzer-Regiment 36. The vast majority of the remaining 70+% of German armour casualties in this battle were suffered by 1. Panzer-Division.
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Re: Panzers and Polish Lancers

Post by Peter K » 05 Dec 2008 17:24

From "Sensations of XX century" series by Bogusław Wołoszański - "The battle of Mokra - strength of cavalry" video:

"During the September Campaign of 1939 cavalry became the symbol of bravery of Poland - the first state which did not surrender to the enemy. Maybe that it is why for half of the XX century - when Poland was ruled by communists - this symbol was being destroyed and slandered. Bravery, patriotism, the greatest combat values were recognized as symptom of weakness of the II Republic of Poland.

The battle of Mokra - strength of cavalry":

Part 1:



Part 2:

„[...] Cavalry formations were present in every army of then Europe. Mobility, discipline, ability of moving in terrain inaccessible for tanks and cars – these were trumps of Polish horse formations. Rich countries were increasing strength of cavalry units by equipping them with AFVs, AA and AT weapons. Process of retiring cavalry from armed forces – replacing horses with machines – was gradual. Poland was also doing it – within capacities of the state which regained its independence 20 years ago, after previous one hundred years of captivity. [...]”:



Part 3:



Part 4:



Part 5:



"[...] During the first days of September 1939 the French Air Force scattered over Germany more than 5 millions of leaflets - which were making a fool of Hitler and informing the German society that their leaders are corrupted and dishonest. [...]"

"[...] Polish cavalry was showing its strength.

Never during the September Campaign cavalrymen were attacking on horses the German or Soviet tanks and other armoured cars. They were eliminating them by fire of artillery, AT guns and AT rifles. They were charging there, where it had got sense. Against supply columns, against running away infantry, against artillery positions. If actions of cavalry – which was losing battles because it had got not enough AT weapons and – especcialy – AA weapons – had been supported better by other formations, had been supported better by manoeuvres of other units – situation in Poland would have looked differently, the war in Poland would have lasted longer, forcing our allies to fulfil their obligations.

The awareness only remained, that cavalry – performed its duty.

THE END"
Last edited by Peter K on 06 Dec 2008 17:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Panzers and Polish Lancers

Post by Peter K » 05 Dec 2008 18:36

German tank crewman from Panzer-Regiment 36. - Hartie Effenberg - in his memories wrote about his involvement in the battle of Mokra:

"We crossed the German-Polish border after 12:00; probably in third or fourth wave. Our unit stopped in Wilkowiecko and was waiting for further orders. (...) From the battlefield to Wilkowiecko they were constantly bringing wounded soldiers, it was the first time I saw such severely burned people. I had got some bad misgivings, I was scared. (...) Then the order to fight came. I prayed to God to protect me. I started. (...) Everything around me was burning, tanks crashed during the morning attack were smoking, ruins of houses were burning out. Only small church remained and that small church - among oaks - I could see in my viewfinder on the right, when our tank - driving at full speed, shooting from the gun - crashed a Polish tankette. (...) We received enemy machinegun fire - but ineffective - on our armour. (...) The commander - Kurt Scheele - was constantly pressing the loader, we were conducting a constant fire from both our machineguns and gun towards shooting to us from the right side enemy battery [...]"

After a moment Effenberg's tank was blocked between two other eliminated German AFVs and soon after that it received a side hit from the Polish gun. The commander of the tank - Kurt Sheele - managed to open the manhole and pull out heavily wounded Hartie Effenberg (he lost his leg) from the tank - but soon he (Kurt Sheele) was killed. Hartie Effenberg survived the battle.

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Re: Panzers and Polish Lancers

Post by Peter K » 08 Dec 2008 13:17

If it comes to the Polish casualties in the battle of Mokra, the most commonly given figure is:

216 KIA and MIA soldiers and NCOs, 5 KIA and MIA officers = 221
270 WIA soldiers and NCOs, 22 WIA officers = 292

Total: 513 men

But according to some other sources only 62 Poles were KIA during the Battle of Mokra.

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Re: Panzers and Polish Lancers

Post by Peter K » 01 Jan 2009 17:46

Hi all!,

Here more photos from the battlefield of Mokra - most of them were taken on 2nd of September by Germans:

Panzer II knocked out by Polish 3 battery from 2. horse artillery dyon somewhere in the middle of village Mokra III:

Image

Henschel Hs 123 shot down by AA defence of Wolynska Cavalry Brigade on 1st of September:

Image

Four photos of knocked out Polish 75mm artillery gun type 02/26 cannon inside completely burned building:

Image

Image

The same gun and ammunition waggon + 2 killed horses:

Image

The same place:

Image

Panzer II hit by Polish artillery (direct fire) in the turret:

Image

Most probably the same one:

Image

Two eliminated tanks from 2. company of Panzer-Regiment 35. - on the right number "241":

The one on the left was certainly eliminated by direct artillery hit, maybe several hits (or ammunition / fuel exploded after this tank was hit):

Image

http://www.odkrywca.pl/index1.php?action=home

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Re: Panzers and Polish Lancers

Post by Peter K » 02 Jan 2009 14:27

Btw - if it comes to Panzer Is - during the battle of Mokra 4. Panzer-Division lost at least 11 Pz-Is as irreparable casualties due to fires of tanks of fuel.

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Re: Panzers and Polish Lancers

Post by Peter K » 09 Jun 2009 17:41

What happened in the town of La Horgne (near Sedan) on 15.05.1940? French 3rd Sipahi Brigade was fighting there.

Did they charge?:

Image

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Re: Panzers and Polish Lancers

Post by Budionny » 28 Nov 2009 09:50

Polish cavalry never charged tanks. The whole myth came out when a Polish cavalry unit commanded by Col. Mastelarz successfully charged a German infantry battalion, but just than few German armored cars equipped with automatic 20mm cannons and machine guns appeared and they began firing. Mastelarz and most of his men were killed. Next day, Italian war correspondents were told by the German soldiers that Polish cavalry charged tanks.

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Re: Panzers and Polish Lancers

Post by Ironmachine » 28 Nov 2009 13:59

Domen121 wrote:What happened in the town of La Horgne (near Sedan) on 15.05.1940? French 3rd Sipahi Brigade was fighting there.
Did they charge?:
I have found the following account of the battle:
LA HORGNE (May 15, 1940)

On May 13 1940, Guderian's Panzer Korps was in the process of breaking out from the Sedan bridgehead, heading West, between the French IXth and IInd armies. In front of them remained only scattered units, including the 3e Brigade de Spahis (cavalry), which was ordered to hold the road junction of La Horgne against the panzers for as long as possible in order to delay the German advance. On the day in question, 15th May, the 1.PzD split into two Kampfgruppe, one of which (battalions Richter and Von Stüdnitz + infantry and support elements) headed for La Horgne, where the Spahis had hastily dug themselves in.

The village is a small one, comprising stone houses/farms and a tiny church, lying at the end of a modest rise in ground, which projects about a kilometre from a steep wooded ridge. There are other woods scattered around but the ground is clear for 500-1000 m around the village.

La Horgne :


The 3e Brigade de Spahis was commanded by colonel Marc and composed of :

- 2e Régiment de Spahis Algériens (2e RSA), commanded by colonel Burnol.


- 2e Régiment de Spahis Marocains (2e RSM) commanded by colonel Geoffroy.


From May 10 to May 15 the 3e brigade de Spahis had already fought interrupted in Belgium, in the southern Ardennes after the retreat of the Belgian troops and on the Meuse river. Half of the men were already dead. During the night of May 14/15, less than 2000 Spahis were ordered to defend the town of La Horgne itself and to establish a defensive line at 800m south to the village. All the soldiers realised this was going to be a mission of sacrifice.

Apart from a couple of outposts, one of the Spahis regiments occupied the village and the other the rise between La Horgne and the wooded ridge, on which one MG squadron were posted. The brigade had taken
heavy losses in previous battles and its AT weaponry consisted of only one 37mm mle1916 TR infantry guns and a single Hotchkiss 25mm AT gun. There were no AA weapons at all, no artillery, no mines. Not much to face half a Panzer division ! They positioned the guns in the village. All the horses and transport were kept in relative safety in the woods along and adjacent to the ridge. Everyone dug trenches, each building had been transformed in strongpoint and the HQ was installed in the church with the single AT gun firing from a hole in the wall. This was clearly going to be a last stand job, so even the "escadron hors rang" (HQ staff company) was dug in as part of the main defense line.

"Défense de La Horgne", painting by Henry FAREY (1980) :


Early in the Morning German Luftwaffe's fighters straffed the position.
At 08.00 AM the 1. Schützen Regiment coming from Singly was engaged and at 09.00 AM the Germans started their all-out attack with light and heavy tanks.
The Germans attacked initially the village end of the position, commencing with light elements which were easily beaten off. Over the course of the afternoon they mounted attacks with Stukas and artillery support, and also worked around the flanks so that the Spahis were more or less cut off from the ridge and surrounded.

Bitter fighting took place ; 16 tanks were knocked out, mostly at point blank range whilst breaking into the village. The battle lasted 10 hours and the French troops led several local counter-attacks to repulse the Germans and avoid encirclement. The men literally died on their position instead of retreating, until total use of all ammunitions.

La Horgne after the battle :


Both regimental commanders were killed in action, carbine in hand. At this point, out of ammunition and with all their infantry guns or AT gun knocked out, the survivors tried to break out, i.e. to get to the elements on the ridge and to their horses. The brigade commander, colonel Marc, felt heavily wounded while leading an attack to break the encirclement and is later captured by the German troops. The men who made it formed new squadrons and fought again later on in the campaign until the armistice. Of the rest about half had been KIA, MIA or WIA. The 3e Brigade de Spahis lost about 700 men and officers in La Horgne. The survivors, with no means of resistance now, without ammunitions had no choice but to surrender to the Germans, who presented arms as the Spahis staggered out of the ruins, battered but unbowed.

So, as brave a feat of arms as any in the glorious history of the French cavalry. Less than 2000 men, pitifully armed, had held their ground against half a Panzer division for 10 hours. But they were only able to buy this amount of time because they made the optimum tactical use of the ground and of what weaponry they had, as all good soldiers should.
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/sh ... hp?t=13572

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Re:

Post by Halibutt » 06 Mar 2010 23:21

Christoph Awender wrote:Well I don´t judge true or not but how does someone explain the reports in official german unit diaries Example: 3.Pz.Div.
Be extremely cautious when reading German official reports from 1939. Jochen Böhler in his monograph on German war crimes in Poland notes that almost every single German unit reported being attacked by Polish snipers and partisans. Except there were only several (as in: less than 10) rifle sights in use by Polish units and there certainly were no partisans back in 1939.

Böhler notes that the reason for fantastic stories in German reports is that most German soldiers had no previous war experience and they simply had no idea what was happening, so they followed the lines of pre-war propaganda. The German propaganda machine told them to expect partisans everywhere, so they interpreted night-time shots as coming from certain unidentified partisans rather than soldiers on guard shitting their pants and shooting everything that appeared to be moving in the dark. Same thing could happen to "cavalry charges".
Cheers

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Re:

Post by bf109 emil » 25 Jul 2010 08:05

Mateusz wrote:In fact both Polish and German sources are wrong (I mean all books about this charge). They are bullsh... Witnesses of this incident (Poles) say that Polish cavalry (2 squadrons exactly) wasn't being attacked by tanks, but by HMG's and infantry (situated between trees on the left flank)!!! So why some other witnesses claim that they were being attacked by tanks - the answer is easy: they have imagined it, moreover a battle with tanks sounds much "better" than a battle with infantry...

Mateusz
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....

A Clash at Krojanty

In the early morning hours of September 1, 1939, military forces of Nazi Germany invaded Poland. Later that day, events unfolded that would lead to one of the most fanciful and enduring legends of World War II.

The Polish 4th Army, or Army Pomorze, had been placed in the Pomeranian area known as the Polish Corridor to prevent Hitler from taking this northwest section of Poland unopposed as he had done in the Czech Sudetenland a year earlier. However, since a full-blown war had broken out, the Army Pomorze was in the process of withdrawing while continuing to oppose the German advance.

By late afternoon of that first day, the German 20th Motorized Infantry Division was approaching the city of Chojnice, in the Tuchola Forest, about 165 miles northwest of Warsaw, and it was threatening a key railroad junction in the village of Krojanty about four miles northeast of Chojnice. Army Pomorse forces in this area consisted primarily of the 18th Lancer Regiment of the Pomorska Cavalry Brigade, commanded by Colonel Kazimierz Mastelarz.

Photo below: Polish cavalry during maneuvers before World War II. In addition to the lances chosen by some of these mounted cavalrymen, all of them were issued sabers and carried rifles slung on their backs.

cavalry

Having been ordered to hold the area, Colonel Mastelarz decided to take the regiment’s 1st and 2nd Squadrons through the forest and attempt to attack the German infantry positions from the rear. That evening, Mastelarz’s two cavalry squadrons surprised a German infantry battalion in an open area.

Ordinarily, after cavalrymen had arrived at a battle area, they would dismount and use their rifles and other weapons to engage the enemy. However, in this case, Mastelarz had the advantage of both surprise and mobility, so he ordered a mounted saber attack against the German infantry.

The 1st and 2nd Squadrons, a force of about 250, charged out of the forest across an open area and into the German formation. With only a few casualties, the Poles quickly gained the advantage during the close-in fighting, and the Germans started falling back.

Just when it looked like the Poles were going to win the skirmish, several German armored cars equipped with machine guns and automatic cannon appeared and opened fire on the Polish cavalry who then broke off the attack and retreated from the battle scene. Losses to the Polish squadrons were about 20 killed, including Colonel Mastelarz, and an unknown number, probably about 60, wounded or captured. This was the first cavalry charge of World War II.



A MYTH IS BORN

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.”

The incident was not unlike other reported occasions where Polish cavalry, rather than surrendering, attempted to break through the encircling German forces giving Guderian’s troops the impression that the Poles were attacking the tanks rather than trying to dash between them.

Afterwards, German military officials brought war correspondents William L Shirer and Indro Montanelli to the scene, and told them that the carnage they saw before them was the result of Polish cavalry attacking German tanks. Neither reporter witnessed the actual battle, so they could only report what they were told and the aftermath that they saw. From this, and the report of General Guderian, came the myth of the Polish Cavalry charge against German tanks that was to endure to this very day.
http://www.polishsite.us/index.php/hist ... tanks.html

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