Solving Puzzles - Poland, 1939

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Peter K
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Re: Solving Puzzles - Poland, 1939

Post by Peter K » 08 Apr 2009 12:57

Richard Hargreaves wrote:Hartfeld and Dobrostany

Before Dobrostany, to the north of Grodek.
Saturday September 16th, in the afternoon.

Behind us, where we’ve come from, farmers toiled in the field – as in the depths of peacetime.
Suddenly shots crash.
Pfui, pfui, pfui whistling over us. The telephone wire along the road begins to swing wildly. Several wires are shot and fall down.
Enemy machine-guns bark in a lively fashion. We leap from the truck and jump into ditches which offer some protection. Gun and machine-gun fire seems to be coming from both sides, the shells of anti-tank guns landing are clearly visible. For several moments the vehicles remain on the road, abandoned; some receive hits. The situation seems to be completely chaotic; the protection of the forest offers good cover for the enemy. Under a hail of bullets, the machine-guns are offloaded, mortars and infantry guns are assembled and brought up. After a short time the first shots crash, we wait instinctively for them to land on the enemy’s side. Shot after shot leaves the barrel, our machine-guns begin to fire with their rapid tack – tack – tack, but the enemy also shoots continually.
Our open ground on the other hand offers bloody awful cover compared with the enemy’s well-camouflaged position. So we go over to the attack, making use of any cover in leaps and bounds. There’s the satisfying rattle of our machine-guns, and the shells hurtling over our heads seem to bring us some relief. As darkness sets in the shooting seems to relax.
Dig in! A potato field is perfect, and ditches and foxholes are quickly dug. We lie next to each other at intervals. We pull our tent cloth over us. The cool of night makes itself felt. The glow of a burning farm very close lights up no man’s land. So we lie in our burrows, the broad heavens arching above us. There’s hardly any thought of sleeping.
“Hurrah – hurrah!” As if a thousand throats are screaming, the cries roar towards us from behind. The noise gets louder, machine-guns bark, for a moment the connection between the two is unclear. Enemy in our rear? Thoughts race through our minds at lightning speed. We can clearly make out: “German soldiers, give yourselves up! Offensive!” Who’s saying that? Orders arrive: The enemy is trying to storm the village to our rear. There’s crashing on all sounds, on all sides bitter fighting. In a flash, the village goes up in bright flames, thick clouds of smoke drift across the entire field. This hellish dance seems to last forever; my watch already shows that it’s 2am. [VII Armeekorps, Wir zogen gegen Polen, Berlin, 1940]


The day and night-long battle of Hartfeld was the first battle of Polish 97. Reserve Infantry Regiment from 38. Reserve ID since the beginning of war - a completely inexperienced Polish reserve infantry won the battle thanks to the bravery of exhausted by withdrawal marches and hungry soldiers, but suffered huge casualties - mainly due to the German terrific artillery fire, huge firepower superiority and Luftwaffe bombings:

"[...] Soldiers were exhausted and in terrible moods. Around midday [on 15.09.1939] during a strong German air bombing, a briefing of high commanders took place in Sadowa Wisznia.

Account of lieutenant colonel T. Walich concerning the AA defence of Sadowa Wisznia in period 14.09.1939 - 15.09.1939 [it was defended by one Reserve AA MG company]:

"during bombings, when enemy planes were going down even up to 30 metres above the ground, any MG staff did not leave its post, fireing to the end. Commander of this company as well as its soldiers, deserve the greatest recognition"

During the briefing general Kazimierz Sosnkowski discussed the situation and variants of further operations. Reports from 38. Reserve ID and 11. ID said, that along the Wereszyca river, near Grodek Jagiellonski and Kamienobrod, a powerful German barrier was detected, with strong bridgeheads on the western bank of the river along the line from the south to the north across Bratkowice, Burgthal, Haliczanow, Hartfeld, hill 317 "Turecka Mogila" and a little bit weaker garrisons along the line: Tuczapy, Czarnokonce, Muzylowice, Ozomla, Rogozno, Jaworow.

Possibility of being encircled by the enemy seemed to be the lowest from the southern side.

Three variants of operations were considered:

- crossing the Wereszyca river and march along the shortest road towards Lwow
- march to the north towards Jaworow for the purpose of connecting with Army "Cracow" under command of general Antoni Szylling
- march to the south across Komarno and later behind the Dniestr river, to the Romanian Bridgehead

[...]

The decision was made to march to the north-east and to break through the Janowskie Forests to Lwow.

[...]

Divisions received the following orders:

- 11. ID under command of colonel Bronisław Prugar-Ketling will assault in north-eastern direction and will seize the Janowskie Forests in the area of localities Szklo and Moloszkowice, where it will take the defensive positions facing the western and south-western directions. 11. Heavy Artillery Unit [Polish: Dywizjon] under command of major Zygmunt Dobrowolski, which was advancing with 38. Division so far, is attached to the division.
- 38. Reserve ID will conquer Dobrostany and Kamieniobrod, where it will prepare the defence from the west and from the south.
- 24. ID under command of colonel Bolesław Schwarzenberg-Czerny will advance in the second stage, behind 11. ID.

[...]

At 16:45 [on 15.09.1939] 1st battalion of 97 IR under command of mjr. Jozef Trzesinski supported by 1/5 Heavy AR attacked Rodatycze, which were captured after the combat which lasted until the dusk. The enemy withdrew to the main defensive positions, covering himself with patrols. Behind Rodatycze near the manor-house 3rd battalion under command of major Franciszek Wrona took the lead and 1st battalion was advancing behind it. Around 23:00 III/97 was heavily fired at by artillery and machine gun fire from the locality Hartfeld, which was occupied by German Kampfgruppe "Ernst", supported by III/AR.79 under command of Oberstleutnant Bialonzig and from the hill 317 "Turecka Mogila", by Kampfgruppe "Zimmer".

In such situation major Franciszek Wrona immediately prepared his companies to the assault and after heavy combat he captured Hartfeld and Rzerzyczany, breaking through to the north-east. Especcialy fierce combats took place in the heavily filled by German soldiers cemetery located south of Hartfeld, where among numerous KIA was the commander of German III/AR.79 Oberstleutnant Bialonzig, who had got his command post there.

Also I/97 under command of mjr. Jozef Trzesinski which was advancing in the second stage joined to the assault, and also managed to break through the German barrier, but under heavy casualties.

Due to the darkness and strong fire (soldiers of the regiment for the first time were under direct fire) battalions and companies mixed, and command became much hampered.

During the battle of Hartfeld the commander of 1st MG company of 97 IR, captain Władysław Chełchowski, and around 200 riflemen [from 97. Reserve Infantry Regiment] were killed.

Commander of 2nd company was heavilly wounded, commander of 3rd company was slightly wounded, colonel St. Zielke was contused. Major J. Trzesinski, commander of 1st company of 97 IR, captain Kazimierz Zbaorszczyk, wounded commander of 3rd company and six other officers plus around 200 riflemen (mainly wounded) were captured. German casualties were also heavy, but any exact numbers are unknown."

And further combats:

"Around 4:00 on 16.09.1939 II/97 advancing on the right wing captured Bratkowice and the hill 296 located north of Bratkowice with use of its 4 company under command of captain Alfred Szmidt. Polish losses were 2 KIA, 2 heavilly and 4 slightly wounded. German casualties: 5 KIA and several wounded. 9 German soldiers were captured. On the left in the direction towards Burgthal 6 company of 97 IR under command of captain Władysław Ullman was attacking. The assault was supported by 2 MG company. But Luftwaffe bombing, heavy MG, mortar and artillery fire of German Kampfgruppe "Friedmann", supported by I/79 Geb. AR under command of Oberstleutnant Winkler and 12. heavy battery of 79. Geb. AR, made the Polish breakout in this direction impossible.

Commander of II/97 IR - who wanted to rouse his soldiers into fight with his own example - was heavilly wounded and later died. 4 company of 97 IR and 6 company of 97 IR suffered 40% casualties. Captain Alfred Szmidt was seriously wounded. In the evening on 16.09.1939 German strengthened 179. Infanterie-Regiment from 57. Infanterie-Division attacked rears of Polish II./97 IR, which was already involved in combats - as the result of this attack major part of the Polish battalion was destroyed. Only 5. company, part of 2. MG company and small group of soldiers from 6. company managed to leap aside to the north, where they joined the group commanded by colonel J. Pecka. Polish artillery, disorganized by heavy whole day-long Luftwaffe bombings, lost communication with advancing forward infantry, and did not support it at all during that combat.

Attached to 96 Reserve IR, I battalion of 98 Reserve IR attacked Czarnokonce from the locality Laszki after 23:00 on 15.09.1939. Czarnokonce were defended by units from motorized regiment SS "Germania". After around one hour of fierce combats, Czarnokonce were captured and inside the village over 60 motorycles with MG trailes, three artillery batteries, 12 AT guns, a dozen or so armoured vehicles and several dozens cars & trucks were captured. The enemy lost 50 KIA or WIA; 2 officers and 13 soldiers were captured. Polish casualties were 2 officers and 30 NCOs and soldiers KIA or WIA, including seriously wounded (later died) commander of 3 company of 98 IR lieutenant Pluta, wounded sub-lieutenant Mazurkiewicz and slightly wounded major St. Marek. Heavy Polish losses were caused by friendly fire of own MGs and mortars of 1. MG company from 98 IR under command of lieutenant Kunicki, which were fireing at Czarnokonce, and didn't know that the 3rd company had already captured this village. This fire was stopped not until the intervention of the battalion commander. After clearing the locality, the battalion marched towards Muzylowice, which were already captured by 49 infantry regiment from 11. ID. General Kazimierz Sosnkowski who was in Muzylowice, after receiving major St. Marek's report about the result of the combat, ordered him to destroy the German equipment captured in Czarnokonce. Then I/98 marched further towards Lesniowka and in the afternoon reached on 16.09.1939 reached the southern edge of the Janowskie Forests near Kertyna and Wola Dobrostanska. According to the orders it took defensive positions there with two companies (the third company in reserve) at the edge of the forest crosswise, the road from Dobrostany, closing the direction to locality Jaryna. [...]"

From Ryszard Dalecki's publication.

Destroyed German armoured vehicle from SS "Germania" (maybe somewhere near / in Czarnokonce):

Image

Czarnokonce (or Rogozno) after the battle - destroyed German equipment:

Image

Image

Image

Domen121 wrote:After clearing the locality, the battalion marched towards Muzylowice, which were already captured by 49 infantry regiment from 11. ID.


Picture by Jan Gundlach - soldier from Polish 11. ID, he fought in Muzylowice - "Night battle in Muzylowice against the Waffen SS Standarte Germania":

Image

Richard Hargreaves wrote:Ruins of the Polish Southern Army
Grodek-Jagiellonski, September 18th, 11am

The glow of fires flaring up and the rumble of battle during the night informed us of the bitter battle involving our troops and the Polish divisions which were stubbornly trying to force a breakthrough to Lemberg. This morning we drove there. The road had already been secured; the Kampfgruppen Pemsel, Utz and Kress are clearing out the forest at Dobrostany, ten kilometres north of Grodek, as far as Janow, from where the Munich division is advancing on Lemberg...
We see signs of the hasty retreat on the road to Grodek. A field kitchen has been knocked into a ditch by a shell, abandoned buses stand by the road, Polish caps and sacks lie about in huge numbers. We pass through Ukrainian villages; life continues its course there as if nothing has happened. The farmer drags his plough across the wide field to prepare to sow his grain for the winter; black and white speckled cattle graze in the meadows and maids raise water buckets from wells, herds of geese cry. A refreshing breeze greets us from the forest - the sun toys with the breaking day. A wonderful land appears before us; its fertility is so blatantly contrasted by the poverty of its people. [Leixner, Leo, Von Lemberg bis Bordeaux: Fronterlebnisse eines Kriegsberichters, Franz Eher Verlag, Munich, 1941]


On 18.09.1939 Germans introduced a Panzer force against the Polish Operational Group "Southern" under command of general Kazimierz Sosnkowski - Panzer-Regiment 15. from 5. Panzer-Division attacked Polish forces - mainly in the area of Rzęsna Ruska:

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=137378&start=15

7. Battles west and south-west of Lemberg;
a) Combats of 15. Panzer-Regiment near Rzesna Ruska, Hołosko and Brzuchowice - 18.09.1939 - 20.09.1939;


Picture by Jan Gundlach from Polish 11. Infantry Division:

Image

PS:

From the thread "Poland 1939: KIA German officers":

Bialoncig Josef, 14.09.1892, Obstlt., [Kdr. III. Abt./Geb. A. R. 79], [1. Geb. Div.], 15.09.1939 (Hartfeld b. Lemberg), VB, Kaltenegger, Die Deutsche Gebirgstruppe, S. 115

Peter K
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Re: Solving Puzzles - Poland, 1939

Post by Peter K » 09 Apr 2009 17:04

Podsośnina Łukowska on 15.09.1939:

From this website:

http://lukowa.pl/modules.php?name=Conte ... age&pid=31

"The battle of Łukowa [15.09.1939 - 17.09.1939] was fought by Polish 6. Infantry Division from Operational Group "Bielsko" under command of brigadier general Bernard Mond. On 14.09.1939 Polish division occupied the new defensive lines along the river Tanew: from Osuchy across Podsośnina, Szostaki up to Pisklaki. On 15.09.1939 in Łukowa, to the west from the church, a Polish patrol fired at a German car. Several wounded German officers died immediately. Germans accused civilian population for that attack. They gathered inhabitants of Łukowa in the church. Those, who did not go inside the church, were kept in the square. Near the church Germans placed their heavy artillery, directing guns towards the forest of Solska Primeval Forest, Podsośnina, Osuchy. Inhabitants were exposed for missiles of Polish artillery. According to the relation of a soldier - participant of those combats, Poles knew about hostages and did not shoot.

Fierce combats also took place on 15.09.1939 between Szostaki and Pisklaki in the meadows called "Glinsko". In the place, where German units were trying to cross the river Tanew, Poles organized an ambush. Germans were forced to retreat from the hill Borsuczyna. In the same time another German unit attacked Podsośnina from the direction of Łukowa. Eastern part of the village burned down (western part was destroyed yet on 14.09.1939). Due to the heavy pressure of Polish soldiers, the enemy retreated towards Łukowa. German attacks on Podsośnina lasted for the whole day. All of them were repulsed despite the predominant strength of the enemy. [...]"

And here is what Lexikon der Wehrmacht says about combats in Podsośnina Łukowska on 15.09.1939:

http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Gli ... n/28ID.htm

7. Kompanie from II./Infanterie-Regiment 7.:

Am 15. September 1939 geriet die 7. Kompanie zusammen mit einem Zug der 14. (Pz.Abw.) Kompanie bei Podsosnina-Lukowka in den Bereitstellungsraum einer polnischen Division. Dabei erlitt die Kompanie schwere Verluste: 28 Tote, 46 Verwundete und 6 Gefangene.


And:

10. Kompanie from III./Infanterie-Regiment 7.:

Unteroffizier Oswald Reimann gefallen bei Podsonina-Lukowska 15. September 1939
Unteroffizier Georg Stollnocki gefallen bei Podsonina-Lukowska 15. September 1939
Grenadier Rudolf Kaiser gefallen bei Podsonina-Lukowska 15. September 1939


12. Kompanie from III./Infanterie-Regiment 7.:

Unteroffizier Fritz Schäfer gefallen bei Podsosnina-Lukowska 15. September 1939


The battle for the line of the river Tanew in the area of Łukowa - including combats in Podsośnina Łukowska - lasted for three days: 15.09.1939 - 17.09.1939. Further combats:

"After the next German attack on Polish positions [on 16.09.1939] soldiers had to withdraw from the hill Borsuczyna behind the river Tanew. German artillery was constantly fireing at the whole Surowy Forest (forest located north from the village Szostaki, 400 metres from the river Tanew), nearby meadows and Aleksandrow. The line of the river Tanew was hold by Poles until 17.09.1939 (Sunday morning). Also Polish units in Podsośnina were forced to retreat, they marched deeply into the Solska Primeval Forest. Whereas 117 soldiers fallen during that battle remained in the parish cemetery in Łukowa":

Image

Peter K
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Re: Solving Puzzles - Poland, 1939

Post by Peter K » 18 Jun 2009 10:02

Hello pals :D; a little story dealing with one gebirgsjäger at Dobrostany, he was Leutnant Frobenius.................

Leutnant Frobenius

Those weren’t only clouds, which were flowed, together ascended smoke columns over the area of Grodek-Jagiellonski – Dobrostany – Hartfeld – Sadowa-Wisnia, where since three days a embittered battle was in course.

The Division of Munich drove the remnants of the Polish divisions back, those that had advanced fiercely against a SS-Standarte at Jawarow. However, the forest gave the poles the possibility to gather their striking force again and again so they could press against the, under extreme strain, gebirgsjägers deployed at Grodek and Dobrostany.

Our bombers attacked the enemy rear disturbing them so they shifted the efforts northwards on the wooded land of Janow-Jaryna. But the barriers held – our casualties weren’t small however – among others the Division’s Staff lost Leutnant Frobenius, an editor of a Munich newspaper, which fell at Dobrostany. Leutnant von Weizenbeck was severely wounded.

“I have a especial task”, said to us Leutnant Frobenius full of joy. At 01:00 o’clock (17 Sep 1939) he drove away in the night wit his special job towards Dobrostany. His departure was in good mood. Now, he followed his father, who fell in 1914, into the soldier’s death; a granade’s splinter struck through his steel helmet.

Source: Von Lemberg bis Bordeaux. Leo Leixner. 1942.
GEBIRGSJAGER Photo Album & Feldpost - OFFICER - GJR 100 - KIA Poland. Historial Media.


The bold part from Leixner is very interesting because according to a reliable Polish source Germans were attacking Polish positions there during that particular combat (on 17.09.1939), Poles only successfully counterattacked in the forest and repulsed German attacks:

More about the combat at Dobrostany - this time on 17.09.1939 - during which Leutnant Frobenius was KIA:

"I./98. Res.Inf.Rgt. of major Marek was deployed on defensive positions near Kertyna (2nd company of cpt. Juliusz Peyser) and Wola Dobrostanska (1st company of cpt. Wladyslaw Dumnicki). Around 10:00 AM on 17.09.1939 it encountered German motorcyclists from Kampfgruppe "Pemsel" from 1st Gebirgs Division, who attacked from the direction of Dobrostany. Soon after destroying these motorcyclists, the whole Group "Pemsel" with artillery came, and started strong assaults on Polish positions, which were repulsed by Poles with use of AT gun fire, mortar fire and MG fire after fierce combats which lasted until around 14:00 in the afternoon. The enemy who managed to enter into the gap between the improvised collective regiment of lt. col. W. Zietkiewicz and the right wing 2nd company of I./98. Res.Inf.Rgt under command of cpt. J. Peyser, attacking the rears of the Polish battalion, was repulsed by 3rd company of 98. Res.Inf.Rgt under command of res. lt. Kot, which had been kept in reserve until that moment. 3rd company of lt. Kot repulsed the German assault in the forest combat with use of a lot of hand grenades and bayonets. During these combats I./98. Res.Inf.Rgt. suffered quite heavy casualties in men - mainly due to German artillery fire (2nd company suffered the biggest casualties) - and also in equipment. The I./98 battalion lost 11 KIA and over 20 WIA, including seriously wounded commander of 1st MG company lt. Kunicki. Equipment casualties were: one mortar, 5 MGs and 1 AT gun. All buildings of the village Kertyna were burnt or destroyed by artillery fire. German casualties were also heavy, but are hard to establish. It is only known, that Leutnant Frobenius was KIA and Lt. Weizenbeck was seriously WIA."

Source:

Ryszard Dalecki, "Czy 38 DP Rez została rozbita 16.9.1939 r. pod Rodatyczami?" ("Was the 38th Res. Inf.Div. shattered on 16.9.1939 near Rodatycze?") [in:] WPH, no. 1 from February - March 1971, page 422.

PS:

What was that "special task" / "special job" of Leutnant Frobenius?

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Re: Solving Puzzles - Poland, 1939

Post by tigre » 18 Jun 2009 22:39

Thanks for that story pal :wink:. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

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tigre
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Re: Solving Puzzles - Poland, 1939

Post by tigre » 31 Mar 2019 00:57

Hello pals :D; more.........................

Night fightIng by Grodek 1939.

"The company assumes a formation with fronts In all directions. The enemy perceives that we are in a bad Situation. Every man remains at his post, animated by an lron will. A Polish combat train goes by us at a gallop. We deliberately open fire. One of our men of his own accord ventures a little ahead. Suddenly two Poles with bicycles appear. He leaps at the throat of one of them; the other flees.

We start off. We have the task of making our way to Grodek over the highway.

"About 1.45 AM, we get as far as the village of Bratkowice. A few minutes halt is ordered. Suddenly, we are fired on from every side. We are in a very serious situation. All you can hear is the singing of bullets, the reports of Polish machine-gun pistols, and the explosion of grenades. We instantly drop to the ground. Our mules are crazy with fear and trample on the men who are on the ground. Our mules abandon us, this time".

"In the darkness it is impossible to distinguish between friend and enemy. That is why we employ the hand grenade and the pistol only in short range combat. In a short time we manage to break our way out and retreat, still fighting".

"We arrive at the west edge of Grodek about 4:00 AM on the morning of 16 September, sorely tested by the trying events of the night".

Source: Military Review July 1942. Vol XXII. Nro 85
https://www.ebay.de/itm/Q424-Foto-Wehrm ... 7675.l2557

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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