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Welcome to “Poland in flames” This is part 2 of “The September Campaign”, a project of mine that aims to provide a detailed and as historically accurate depiction of the events and battles of the invasion of Poland 1939 and transform all of that into a wargaming experience. This book is made up of operations, standalone battles and linked scenarios that allows players to recreate the desperate struggle of the Polish army as well as the invasion from the point of view of German, Slovak and Soviet armies.
“To be defeated and not submit, is victory; to be victorious and rest on one’s laurels, is defeat .” Józef Piłsudski President and Marshall of Poland 1918–1922 and 1926–1935
"In the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty's Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power. They have given the Polish Government an assurance to this effect. I may add that the French Government have authorized me to make it plain that they stand in the same position in this matter." Neville Chamberlain, March 31st 1939
“The destruction of Poland is our first task. The objective must not be to reach some kind of predetermined point, but to annihilate them completely. Even if war was to erupt in the west, the destruction of Poland must be our first priority. For the sake of propaganda I will give some kind of reason for the hostilities, it doesn’t really matter if the reason will be believable or not. No one asks the victor whether he spoke the truth or not in such matters. The matter of starting and conducting a war is not decided by law but by the victor. Be merciless, b e brutal”. Written on August 22nd 1939 by Adolf Hitler to his staff of Generals
4 The political situation of 1939 5 Operation Himmler and the Casus Belli 6 The Polish defensive plan 7 Biography section: Polish Commanders Stanisław Sosabowski 8 Edward Rydz-Śmigły 9 Władysław Anders 10 Władysław Raginis 11 Tadeusz Kutrzeba Walerian Czuma 12 Stanisław Maczek 13 Henryk Dobrzański 14 Henryk Sucharski Franciszek Dąbrowski 15 Wilhelm Orlik-Rückermann 16 Polish two finger salute 17 The German plan of attack: “Fall Weiss” 18 Biography section: German commanders Günther von Kluge Kurt Feldt 19 Erich von Manstein 20 Johannes Blaskowitz Werner Kempf 21 Heinz Guderian 22 Gerd von Runstedt 23 The involvment of Slovakia 24 Lithuania, the forgotten participant 27 The Polish-Soviet relations 29 September 17th, the Soviet invasion 32 Biography section: Soviet commanders Kliment Voroshilov 33 Seymon Timoshenko 34 Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov Mikhail Prokofievich Kovalyov 35 Campaign overview 36 Battles between Polish and German/Slovak forces 39 Battles between Polish and Soviet forces 40 Operational maps 46 How to play the September Campaign POLISH OPERATIONS 48 “Battles for the border” 57 “The Polish Corridor” 64 “Thermopylae at Narew” 69 “Battle at Bzura” 75 “Siege of Warsaw” 85 “The Black Brigade” 92 “Tomaszów Lubelski” 96 “Independent operational group Polesie” POLISH STANDALONE BATTLES 105 “Battle of Westerplatte” 112 “Battle of Hel peninsula” GERMAN OPERATIONS 115 “Panzerdivision Kempf” 124 “1.st Gebirgs-division” 133 “4th Panzer division” 142 “1. Kavallerie-brigade” SLOVAK OPERATION 147 “Field army Bernolák” SOVIET OPERATIONS 154 “Belorussian front” 160 “Ukrainian front” OPTIONAL POLISH OPERATION 176 “Hubal” 182-183 Map of armoured train movements 184 DESIGN NOTES Background for this project 185 Playing the campaign with FoW and other rulesets 186-187 About: Objectives, terrain, fortifications, the campaign format 188 Soldier Memories 207 Links of interest
The political situation of 1939. The main reason for German aggressiveness the last couple of years prior to the outbreak of the war had been the “Polish corridor”. This was the slice of Polish territory cutting off East Prussia from Germany, land that allowed the Poles access to the Baltic sea. In between national territories was also the free city of Gdansk/Danzig, another cause of problems as the Germans wanted to annex this city to their territory as late as 1938. The German foreign minister von Ribbentrop proposed that the Poles allow the city to be annexed, in return the Germans would extend the non-aggression pact between both countries by another 25 years. The Polish diplomats that returned to Warsaw deliberated with the Polish president and the proposition was rejected as it was seen as an opening for future anti-Polish suggestions from the third Reich. Another German suggestion, that Poland join in an anticommunist pact, was also rejected as it was seen as steps to make Poland the vassal of Germany. The demanding tone and aggressiveness of German politics also made the Poles realize that they would be the target of German expansionism in the near future. Fear of this fact was supported by the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, which was split in half and provided a fresh hostile border that had to be defended against potential German invasion. On March 31st Great Britain declared a guarantee of Polish independence (however this guarantee did not include any promise of actual integrity of Polish borders which would prove to be fatal in the future). The British guarantee also included promise of military aid in case of hostilities. Hitler in the meantime urged his staff to hasten the plans for the Polish invasion; the goal was to have the German armies ready by August 1939. The extended hand from Great Britain to the Poles acted as a pretext for Hitler to scrap the Polish-German nonaggression pact in one of his speeches to the German Reichstag. The deteriorating political situation on the continent awoke the Polish-French relations and their alliance that dated back to 1921. On May 19th 1939 a treaty was signed in Paris between the Poles and the French where the French promised military aid in the case of German aggression. This treaty had France come to Poland’s aid by air on the first day of hostilities, by land on the third day and a general offensive against Germany on the fifteenth day of battle. German armed provocations against Poland started soon after along the borders, small bands of German troops and saboteurs attacked toll stations and border crossings from May all the way through the summer to test the Polish reactions. As this was going on Britain and France tried to convince the Soviet Union to join the alliance or at least declare neutrality. What the western allies did not know was that Germany and the Soviet Union had been talking about an anti-Polish alliance since May, and an agreement between both nations was reached on August 19th. Germany allowed the Soviets to annex half of Poland, and gave the Soviet Union free reign to annex Latvia, Estonia, Finland and parts of Romania. The treaty was signed by the foreign ministers of both nations on August 23rd and would be known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. With an agreement signed with Stalin, Hitler now ordered his Generals to prepare for the Polish invasion on August 26th, the date of invasion was then pushed to September 1st. 4
The order to start the attack was by signed by Hitler on the night between August 31st and September 1st 00.30 AM. Just prior to the attack, German authorities asked Hungary whether or not they would be able to move through Hungarian territory. The Hungarian prime minister replied that it was a case of national honor not to partake in any
kind of armed conflict with the nation of Poland. It was also said that it was a matter of morals, and that Hungary would not partake in the German plans either directly or indirectly. Furthermore the Hungarians mined the rail tracks with the intent of blowing them up if the Germans would decide to push through Hungary.
Operation Himmler and the Casus Belli The purpose of German “operation Himmler” was to limit the approaching war to Poland alone by making it appear as if the Poles had provoked Germany into war. The attacks performed by SS men and German Abwehr (military intelligence) were conducted in such a way that blame would fall on the Poles. Groups of SS men infiltrated Poland during the summer months and August. Operations included placing bombs at German speaking schools, attacks on train stations and border crossings, industrial sabotage, arson against buildings owned by local Germans. These incidents were presented as acts of Polish terror against German minorities by German newspapers. These acts were not only limited to border areas, German saboteurs travelled into the Polish heartland, such as bombing a train station in Tarnow which killed Polish passengers. The purpose of these actions were not only to make Poland appear as the agressor, the other part of operation Himmler called for seizing of important bridges and road connection to a enable swifter German invasion. One such action almost started the war prematurely as the German units in the area of Wrocław failed to receive the instructions that the German invasion had been postponed from August 26th to September 1st. As such Germans attacked the Polish train station, their target was to seize the train tunnel, they were however pushed back by the Polish guards and the whole debacle was excused by Germany as an unfortunate mistake. The Poles knew better and mined the tunnel in case the Germans made another attempt to take it (which they did on September 1st, in which case the tunnel was blown up and blocked off for years to come). The night between August 29th and 30th the German foreign minister von Ribbentrop handed over the German ultimatum to the British ambassador Neville Henderson. Poland was to agree to unconditional annexetion of Gdansk/Danzig by Germany. Late in the evening of August 31st German radio announced an ultimatum made up of 16 points (never formally handed over to Poland) that Poland supposedly had rejeceted. As this was broadcasted another German action of provocation (part of “Operation Himmler” was taking place at the German Gleiwitz radio station where SS men dressed in Polish uniforms attacked the radio station and broadcasted an anti-german messege. This attack was supposed to be the final pretext for war and the German invasion. Prisoners from concentration camps were left dead at the scene dressed up in Polish uniforms to serve as “evidence” of the Polish aggression
The Polish defensive plan Poland was ill suited to wage a defensive war, the situation did not improve with the German annexation of Czechoslovakia and the new hostile border against Moravia and Slovakia in the South. Not only did Poland share their entire western border with Germany, they had to cover the large East Prussian border as well. The only areas with relatively favorable ground was to be found in the south of Krakow near the Beskides mountains along the Polish-Slovakian border, and parts of the eastern border against the Soviet Union near the Polesie area and the Pripyat marshes. Only a few areas had fortified positions, among these were the fortified Hel Peninsula near the Polish port Gdynia and the fortified position at Mława near the East Prussian border. The reasons for this poor state of preparedness was that Poland since its declaration of independence after WW1 had not primarily expected to wage a war in the west, even as late as early 1939 the Poles had no concrete plans of defense against Germany until the threat became a reality with the increasing amount of German hostile demands. Furthermore the Polish plans of defense were flawed without the Poles knowing about it. Their assumption that the non aggression pact signed with the Soviet Union in 1932 would remain in place until its date of expiration in 1945 meant that focus on defensive preparations were completely focused on the imminent invasion by Germany. The other mistake was to base the defensive plan on the agreement with France from 1921 where France promised to offer military aid in case of war. Thus the role of Polish armies was to cover the borders and inflict as heavy casualties on the attacker as possible while France mobilized and struck Germany from the West. In the meantime it was expected that Britain would, at the start of war, blockade the third Reich from the sea and commit their Royal Air Force in bombing raids on Germany which would pull back the German Luftwaffe from the Polish front. It all seemed logical, and to increase the chance of success the Polish-Soviet border was stripped of units and heavy weapons, leaving a token defense force in the shape of the Border Protection Corps. This left the Polish army stretched thin, defending the long borders of the west, north and south of Poland. In case of something going wrong Polish armies were to pull back step by step, using the rivers as their next line of defense, and if need be, pull back all the way to the so called Romanian bridgehead, a mountainous area in southern Poland that bordered with Romania and Hungary. There Poland was to make a last stand, and it was conceived possible to hold out as fast as the winter months. The western allies were not convinced about this prospect and thought Poland would fall within a couple of weeks from a German invasion. On the eve of battle, Poland began mobilizing its armies on September 30th. The realization of an imminent attack was clear, especially with the increased amount of German raids. However as Britain and France didn’t want Poland to give Germany any reason to attack they urged Poland not to make full mobilization. This meant that Polish armies were only mobilized to 70% on September 1st. The remainder of the units was mobilized during the invasion; many never reached their designated meeting place or were destroyed before they could reach their parent armies. 6
Biography section: Polish commanders
Stanisław Sosabowski According to the Polish mobilization plans, Sosabowski's regiment was attached to the 8th Infantry Division. Shortly before the German invasion started his unit was moved from its garrison in the Warsaw Citadel to the area of Ciechanów, where it was planned to act as a strategic reserve for the Modlin Army. On September 2nd the division was moved towards Mława and in the early morning of the following day it saw combat near the Polish fortified positions. Although the 21st Regiment managed to capture Przasnysz and its secondary objectives, the rest of the division was surrounded by the Wehrmacht and destroyed. This prompted Sosabowski to order his troops to retreat towards Warsaw. On September 8th Sosabowski's unit reached the Modlin Fortress. The routed 8th Division was being reconstructed, but the 21st Regiment which had fared better was instantly put into service and took part in defensive battles in the Modlin region before it was moved to reinforce Warsaw, where Sosabowski and his soldiers arrived on September 15th. Instantly upon arrival, Sosabowski was ordered to man the Grochów and the Kamionek defensive areas in order to defend the Praga (the eastern borough of Warsaw across the Vistula river), against the German 10th Infantry Division. During the Siege of Warsaw the forces of Sosabowski were outmanned and outgunned, but managed to hold all their positions. When the general assault on Praga started on September 16th, the 21st Infantry Regiment managed to repel the attacks of German 23rd Infantry Regiment and then successfully counter-attacked and destroyed the enemy unit. After this success, Sosabowski was promoted to command all Polish troops fighting in the area of Grochów. Despite
constant aerial bombardment and everyday German attacks, Sosabowski managed to hold his ground suffering relatively few casualties. On September 26th, the forces led by Sosabowski bloodily repulsed the last German attack, the following day Warsaw command initiated talks about capitulation with the German commanders. On September 29th, shortly before the Polish forces left Warsaw for German captivity, Sosabowski and the whole 21st Infantry Regiment was awarded with the highest order of valor, the Polish Virtuti Militari medal. Sosabowski would escape to France and continue the fight with the Germans upon their invasion in 1940. From France he would join many of his fellow Polish soldiers in the evacuation to Great Britain from where he would return to the European mainland to fight with the “1st Polish Independent parachute brigade” at Arnhem. Sosabowski’s son was a medic in the Polish resistance special force “KEDYW” and fought in Warsaw during the uprising in 1944 where injuries destroyed his eyes. 7
Edward Rydz-Śmigły Edward Rydz-Śmigły was the Marshal of Poland, Commander-in-Chief of Poland's armed forces. After successful service as an army commander during the Polish-Bolshevik war, he was appointed the successor of Józef Piłsudski in 1935. He bore the title General Inspector of the Armed Forces. In March 1939, Hitler occupied Bohemia and Moravia and created the satellite client-state of Slovakia. This encircled Poland with an iron ring on all sides except the east. Rydz-Śmigły was the only member of the Polish government who clearly saw the impending danger of a conflict with Germany. However, time was too short for the creation of completely new Polish defensive plan for the western parts of the country. During negotiations in Moscow in August 1939, Rydz-Śmigły refused all proposals by the western allies to allow the Red Army to march westward to stop any German advance, stating: "There is no guarantee that the Soviets will really take active part in the war; furthermore, once having entered Polish territory, they will never leave it". On September 1st when the Germans invaded Poland, Rydz-Śmigły was named Commanderin-Chief of all Polish forces. On September 7th, along with most of the government, he evacuated Warsaw as it came under attack. Soon afterwards, Polish coordination began to suffer from communication problems, which impaired the ability of Rydz-Śmigły to command the forces. In a communiqué from Brześć he announced on September 11th that Warsaw was to be defended at all costs. In his plan, Warsaw and the nearby Modlin Fortress were to become two redoubt citadels in central Poland, fighting on for months, while the bulk of Polish forces were to defend the Romanian bridgehead and await the counterattack promised by Poland's French and British allies. Unknown to Rydz-Śmigły , the western allies had no such plans and expected Poland to be defeated swiftly.
His plan became obsolete when Soviet forces attacked Poland from the east on September 17th. Realizing that defense against both aggressors was impossible, Rydz-Śmigły issued orders for Polish forces to retreat towards Romania and avoid futile fighting against the Soviet invaders. After avoiding being captured by Soviet and German troops, Rydz-Śmigły crossed the Romanian border on September 18th. The crossing into Romania prevented Poland from having to officially surrender, and allowed Polish soldiers to carry on fighting against Nazi Germany. Though the flight sparked some controversy considering his position as supreme commander of the armed forces. He was fired as Chief in Command by the Polish president in October 1939 and was succeeded by Władysław Sikorski who was reorganizing the Polish army in France. He returned to Warsaw in 1941 and reported to the Armia Krajowa resistance movement, offering to serve as a regular soldier. He died soon afterwards of a heart attack.
Władysław Anders After WW1, Anders joined the newly formed Polish Army and was named leader of the original 15th Poznan Lancers Regiment. He led the regiment in battle against the Red Army in the Polish-Bolshevik war of 1919-21. By the mid-1930s, Anders rose to the rank of general. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, he was the commander of the Nowogrod Calvary Brigade. His cavalry fought at Lidzbark but withdrew to the east from the overwhelming German attack. During the fighting and retreat he was wounded a number of times. Anders was later taken prisoner by Soviet forces and was jailed, initially in Lwów and later transferred to the infamous Lubyanka prison in Moscow where he was subjected to torture. Shortly after the attack on the Soviet Union by Germany on 22 June 1941, Anders was released by the Soviets with the aim of forming a Polish Army to fight alongside the Red Army. Continued friction with the Soviets over political issues as well as shortages of weapons, food and clothing, led to the eventual exodus of Anders' men. What
became known as the “Armia Andersa” or “the Anders Army” made their way together with a sizeable contingent of Polish civilians via the Persian Corridor into Iran, Iraq and Palestine. Here, Anders formed and led the 2nd Polish Corps, fighting alongside the Western Allies, while agitating for the release of Polish nationals still in the Soviet Union. Anders was the commander of the 2nd Polish Corps in Italy 1943–1946, which took part in the capturing of Monte Cassino.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Rogatywka (sometimes translated as peaked cap) is the Polish generic name for an asymmetrical, peaked, four-pointed cap used by various Polish military formations throughout the ages. It consists of a fourpointed top and a short peak, usually made of black or brown leather. It usually comes in two variants: the hardened and soft version. The hardened model, followed by Rogatywka Mk. 1935, olive green with black peak, is presently used in full gala uniforms, while the rim color marks unit type (for ex. navy blue - typical, crimson - military police, green - artillery, and so on). Polish soldiers, unlike in most military forces, decorate caps not with the emblem of the corps, but always with a modified White Eagle, which is the Polish coat of arms.
Władysław Raginis Władysław Raginis commanded a small force mainly made up of officer cadets holding the Polish fortified defensive positions near the village of Wizna against a vastly larger invasion force. Because the positions were held at great cost before the defenders were all but annihilated, the battle of Wizna is referred to as the Polish Thermopylae and Captain Raginis as a modern Leonidas. On September 7th Raginis' forces (numbering 720 men) stood in the way of an entire German corps of 42,000 German soldiers. To keep the morale of his men high, Raginis pledged that he would not leave his post alive. The defense of Wizna against overwhelming odds lasted for three days. On September 10, 1939, the bunker commanded by Raginis was the last remaining pocket of resistance. Although heavily wounded, Raginis was still commanding his troops. At noon on the third day, the German commander, Heinz Guderian, threatened that all Polish POWs would be shot if the defense of the bunker did not cease. Turning to the rest of his soldiers in the shelter he thanked them for their service the fact that they had done their soldiers duty, he then ordered them to surrender themselves and leave the shelter - he would keep his word and not surrender himself. As soon as the men left Raginis committed suicide with a grenade. Seweryn Biegański, who was the last to leave the shelter, describes the moment: "The captain looked at me warmly and softly urged me to leave. When I was at the exit, I was hit in the back by a strong gust and I heard an explosion."
In his diaries, Guderian noted that 900 German soldiers were killed in action, although that number is probably a low estimate. It is certain, however, that the Wehrmacht lost at least 10 tanks and several other AFVs in the struggle which required German sappers to attack the Polish bunkers one by one with explosive charges in order to knock out the stalwart Polish defense. The defense of Wizna, despite the clear imbalance of forces, of which the defenders were well aware, was strategically significant. It had pinned down the German forces for two days, allowing a large bulk of Polish troops in the area to withdraw towards Warsaw and strengthen the city defenses.
Tadeusz Kutrzeba Tadeusz Kutrzeba was an army general of the Second Polish Republic. Kutrzeba was born in Kraków, then part of Austria-Hungary. In 1906 he graduated with distinction from the Military Technical Academy in Mödling and was enlisted as Second Lieutenant in a minesweeping unit. During the Invasion of Poland in 1939 he commanded the “Poznań” army composed of four infantry divisions (14, 17, 25, 26) and two cavalry brigades (Wielkopolska and Podolska). He devised the Polish counterattack plan that caught the German invaders of guard and led to the largest battle of the Polish campaign, the battle of Bzura in which he commanded the “Poznan” and “Pomorze” armies during the battle. After the siege of Warsaw he was
captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war in several prisoner of war camps.
Walerian Czuma At the outbreak of World War I, Czuma joined Piłsudski's Polish Legions. He was taken POW by the Russian Army and imprisoned in the infamous Butyrka prison. Later he was sentenced to forced resettlement in Siberia. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 he started to organize Polish military units in Siberia, which eventually became known as the Polish 5th Rifle Division. After his unit was destroyed by the Red Army he was captured by the Red Army and again imprisoned in Moscow. After the Riga Peace Treaty he was allowed to return to Poland, where he rejoined the Polish Army. After the German invasion in 1939 he declined to leave Warsaw together with the government and the civilian authorities. On September 3rd Marshal of Poland Edward Śmigły-Rydz ordered the creation of an improvised Command of the Defense of Warsaw and Czuma became its commander. He commanded all the units fighting in the siege of Warsaw, for which he was awarded the Virtuti Militari medal. On September 28th 1939, Czuma was taken POW by the Germans and remained in various POW camps for the rest of the World War II.
Stanisław Maczek Colonel Stanisław Maczek would be the most accomplished Polish tank commander of World War II. A veteran of World War I, the Polish-Ukrainian war and the Polish-Bolshevik war, Maczek was the commander of Poland's only major armoured motorized formation during the September 1939 campaign – the 10th motorized cavalry brigade. On the outbreak of war, the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade was attached to the “Kraków” army defending the regions of Lesser Poland and Silesia. Equipped with only light tanks and tankettes and with only one artillery battery of eight heavy cannons, the brigade went into battle on the first day of war. The first real battle of the brigade was the successful delaying action that was the battle of Jordanów where his brigade dealt severe casualties to the German panzer armies which lost 70 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles. The 10th motorized cavalry brigade lost 3 of its few tanks before falling back. Maczek's unit soon faced the entire German XVIII Corps of General Eugen Beyer and had to use his brigade to shield the Polish flank along the Beskide mountain range. Supported by just a few battalions of Border Guards and National Defense troops, Maczek's motorized brigade was faced by two Panzer divisions (4th Light Division under von Hubicki and 2nd Panzer Division under Veiel), as well as the 3rd Mountain Division under Eduard Dietl. For five days Maczek’s brigade fought bravely and efficiently, slowing the pace of the German Blitzkrieg to a bloody crawl: despite numerical and technical superiority, the Germans were not able to make more than 10 kilometers headway per day. Maczek's men took maximum advantage of the mountainous terrain, halting many German attacks and occasionally counter-attacking. However, after the front of the “Kraków” army had been broken to the north of the brigade's position, Maczek's formation was pulled out of the frontline action. The brigade then fought as a screening unit, defending the bridges and fords in Lesser Poland, until it arrived at Lwów and joined the city’s defenses. It was to form a mobile reserve during the battle for Lwów, allowing other Polish units to withdraw towards the Romanian Bridgehead. However, the plan was made obsolete by the invasion of Poland by the Soviet Union on September 17th. After two days, Marshal of Poland Edward Rydz-Śmigły ordered the brigade to cross the Hungarian border. Maczek’s brigade was interned in Hungary. The unit had lost about half of its men, but was never defeated in open combat, gaining respect even from the enemy. It is considered to be the only Polish unit not to lose a single battle in 1939. It is to be noted that Maczek was not only esteemed by his superiors but also loved by his soldiers, who referred to him as “Baca”, a traditional Polish highlanders' name for a flock-master. 12
Henryk Dobrzański, aka ”Hubal” When World War I broke out Dobrzański volunteered to join Józef Piłsudski's Polish Legions. He served with distinction in the 2nd Regiment of Uhlans and participated in many battles such as Stawczany and Battle of Rarańcza. In 1918 after Poland regained its independence he joined the Polish Army. He took part in the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1918 and fought with his cavalry platoon during the Siege of Lwów. Later he participated in Polish-Bolshevik War of 19191921. For his bravery he was awarded with the Virtuti Militari, the highest Polish military award, and four times with the Polish medal Krzyż Walecznych (cross of the valor), in addition to many other military awards. Shortly before the outbreak of the Polish Defense War of 1939 he was assigned to the 110th reserve Cavalry Regiment as a deputy commander. His unit was to enter combat as a second-line formation, but fast advances of the Wehrmacht made the completion of training impossible. The unit fought several skirmishes against the German army and took part in the defense of Grodno against the Red Army. On September 20th, after two days of heavy fights against the numerically superior Soviets, Grodno was lost and three days later brigadier general Wacław Przeździecki, the commander of the defense of the Grodno area, ordered all his troops to escape to neutral Lithuania. The regiment was the only unit to disobey this order and joined with remnants of several routed regiments and fought its way towards Warsaw. The unit got surrounded by the Red Army in the Biebrza river area and suffered heavy casualties, but managed to break through the enemy defenses. After that Lt. Col. Jerzy Dąbrowski, the commander of the regiment, decided to disband it. Henryk
Dobrzański took command over approximately 180 men and who decided to continue their march towards besieged Warsaw. When Warsaw capitulated on September 27th, Dobrzański decided to evacuate to France but his unit became cut off by German troops and he ultimately decided to stay and continue the fighting in Poland. Along with 50 of his original men he decided to stay in the Kielce area with his unit and wait until the Allied relief came, which he expected in the spring of 1940. He also swore that he would not take off his uniform until after the war, which he expected in the spring of 1940. In March 1940 his unit completely destroyed a battalion of German infantry in a skirmish near the village of Huciska. A few days later in an ambush near the village of Szałasy it inflicted heavy casualties upon another German unit. To counter this threat the German authorities formed a special 1,000 men strong anti-partisan unit of combined SSWehrmacht forces, including a Panzer group. Although the unit of Major Dobrzański never exceeded 300 men, the Germans fielded at least 8,000 men in the area to secure it. 13
Henryk Sucharski A skilled organizer, major Sucharski focused on improving the defenses of the area under his command, a tiny territorial area within the German-dominated city of Gdansk/Danzig. He strengthened the fortifications of the Westerplatte peninsula and increased the number of soldiers serving there. His actual role during the battle of the Westerplatte after the outbreak of the Polish Defensive War is a matter of controversy. On the first day of the defense, commander Henryk Sucharski emphasized the hopeless position of the small, surrounded Polish garrison and tried to convince his fellow officers to surrender. On September 2nd, 1939, after a heavy aerial bombardment he suffered a nervous breakdown and his deputy, Captain Franciszek Dąbrowski assumed command of the outpost. Franciszek Dąbrowski Franciszek Dąbrowski was an officer of the Polish Navy during the Polish Defensive War against the Nazi German aggression in 1939. In September 1939 he served at Westerplatte military transit depot which took part in the battle of Westerplatte. Dąbrowski was the actual commander of the Westerplatte defense for the majority of its duration. He realized that the stalwart defense bolstered the morale of the Polish army fighting the German invasion and insisted on not capitulating. The Polish garrison fought against overwhelming odds and repulsed all German attacks from September 1st -7th.
However, Sucharski recovered sufficiently to finally surrender the position to the Germans after a week-long defense. In recognition of the bravery of Sucharski's men, General Friedrich-Georg Eberhardt allowed Sucharski to officially surrender with his officer’s saber.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… “German armies have captured Częstochowa. In air battles we have shot down 14 enemy planes, losing 3 of our own. Westerplatte continues to fight. After heavy fighting we have been forced to abandon Gr udziądz and Bydgoszcz.” Polish radio communiqué about the situation at the front, September 5 th 1939
Wilhelm Orlik-Rückermann Orlik-Rückermann he joined the Polish Army in 1918. During the Polish-Ukrainian War of 1919 he was taken prisoner by the Ukrainians, but was released following the PolishUkrainian alliance against Russia. Orlik-Rückemann was then sent to armoured forces school and was given the command of a small tank unit equipped entirely with French FT-17 tanks. During the Polish-Bolshevik War he became one of the most successful tank commanders of the Polish forces and during the Battle of Warsaw on August 16, 1920, he was promoted to colonel and given the command of the 1st Tank Regiment. After the war Orlik-Rückemann remained in the Polish Army and until May 1, 1927, was the commanding officer of the 1st Tank Regiment. He also graduated from the faculty of tank combat commanders of the Ecole Superieure de Guerre in Paris. In December 1938 he became the deputy commander of the elite Border Corps and on August 8th 1939 Wilhelm Orlik- Rückermann became their commander. His forces were deprived of most of the reserves that were transferred to western Poland to strengthen the Polish units stationed there. After the outbreak of the Polish Defensive War of 1939 and the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland on September 17, OrlikRückemann's forces could offer only a token resistance against the overwhelming odds. To prevent the complete destruction of his forces, Orlik-Rückemann decided to withdraw them from the 300 kilometer long border in the area of Polesie and break through to Warsaw and the forces of Polesie Independent Operational Group under General Franciszek Kleeberg.
Until September 22nd he gathered approximately 8,000 men and started his march towards Warsaw. Constant skirmishes with the Red Army and the Fifth column brought down the morale of his men. To counter the threat of a breakdown, OrlikRückemann decided to start a major battle with the Red Army. During the Battle of Szack, on September 28, his men managed to rout the Soviet 52nd Rifle Division. On September 30 the unit crossed the Bug river and reached the village of Wytyczno, some 20 kilometers south-east of Włodawa. The following day his unit was attacked by the Soviet 45th Rifle Division, reinforced with tanks and artillery. After 15 hours of heavy fighting, the supplies of the Polish forces were almost depleted and Orlik-Rückemann decided to divide his unit into small groups and order them to break through to the area occupied by the Independent Operational Group Polesie on their own. Most of the Polish forces reached their destination unopposed and with negligible losses. Orlik-Rückemann managed to evade being captured and crossed the Lithuanian border. From there he managed to get to Sweden and by the end of October he was in the United Kingdom. There he served in the Polish Army in exile on various staff posts.
Polish two finger salute Polish Armed Forces are the only military entity in the world to use a two-finger salute which is only used while wearing a hat such as the Rogatywka (it refers to the fact that the salute is given to the Polish eagle emblem itself). The salute is performed with the middle and index fingers extended and touching each other, while the ring and little fingers are bent and touched by the thumb. The tips of the middle and index fingers touch the peak of the cap, two fingers supposedly meaning honor and fatherland. It is not clear when the two-finger salute appeared in Polish military forces. Some see its origin during the Tadeusz Kościuszko's uprising 1794.It can be seen on paintings depicting Polish Grand Duchy of Warsaw soldiers and commanders. Another origin is states that it comes from the post Napoleonic war when Grand Duchy of Warsaw was partitioned again. At that time, the Tsar's Viceroy in Poland Grand Duke Constantine said that Poles saluted him with two fingers, while using the other three to hold a stone to throw at him. Another legend attributes the salute to the remembrance of Battle of Olszynka Grochowska during the Polish “November uprising” in 1831, when a soldier who lost two fingers in the battle saluted his superior with a wounded hand.
The two-fingers salute caused problems for Polish units serving with the Allies on the western front during World War II. Allied officers, seeing what they perceived as a Cub Scout's salute, thought that Polish soldiers either were deliberately being disrespectful, or were intoxicated. As a result many soldiers were arrested, until the misunderstanding could be explained. This led to the temporary use of the full hand salute when saluting foreign officers.
”The soul of Poland is indestructible... she will rise again as a rock, which may for a spell be submerged by a tidal wave, but which remains a rock.”
Winston Churchill, in his speech at the House of Commons, October 1st 1939.
The German plan of attack: “Fall Weiss” Fall Weiss, or Plan White, was the German plan of attack on Poland. The idea had been formed back in 1928 when general Werner von Fritsch drafted the idea which would be developed further by generals Günther Blumentritt and Erich von Manstein. The plan called for a start of hostilities before the declaration of war and pursued a doctrine of mass encirclement and destruction of enemy forces. The infantry which was far from completely mechanized but fitted with fast moving artillery and logistic support, was to be supported by Panzers and small numbers of truck-mounted infantry (the Schützen regiments) to assist the rapid movement of troops and concentrate on localized parts of the enemy front. This would eventually isolate segments of the enemy and lead to their encirclement and destruction. The pre-war "armoured idea" (later dubbed Blitzkrieg), which was advocated by some German generals, including Heinz Guderian, which called for tanks punching holes in the enemy's front and ranging deep into rear areas was not used extensively in the Polish campaign due to the conservative mindset of German high command which instead wanted to use tanks and mechanized troops to support the infantry. As such the Polish campaign was in reality more traditional than the propaganda made it out to be. In fact, the greatest German asset during the whole campaign was the large amount of heavy German artillery and their flying artillery – the Stuka dive bombers. These two elements were responsible for more destruction of enemy units than the Panzers. Despite that, Poland's terrain was well suited for mobile operations as the country had flat plains with long frontiers totaling almost 5,600 km (3,500 miles), Poland's long border with Germany on the west and north—facing East Prussia—extended 2,000 km (1,200 miles). Those had been increased by another 300 km (190 miles) along Poland’s southern border in the aftermath of the Munich Agreement of 1938. The German incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia and the German-Slovak alliance meant that Poland's southern flank was exposed. The plan was executed on September 1st, the main attack went over the western Polish border. This was carried out by Army Group South commanded by General Gerd von Rundstedt, attacking from German Silesia and from the Moravian and Slovak border. General Johannes Blaskowitz's 8th Army was to drive eastward against Łódź. General Wilhelm List's 14th Army was to push on toward Kraków and the Polish Carpathian flank. General Walter von Reichenau's 10th Army, in the centre with Army Group South's armor, was to deliver the decisive blow with a northeastward thrust into the heart of Poland. A second route of attack came from Prussia. General Fedor von Bock commanded Army Group North, comprising General Georg von Küchler's 3rd Army, which was to strike southward from East Prussia, and General Günther von Kluge's 4th Army, which was to attack eastward across the base of the Polish Corridor. A third attack wave performed by part of Army Group South's allied Slovak units from Slovakia were to simultaneously strike over the Carpathian mountains of the Polish-Slovak border. From within Poland, the German minority would assist by engaging in diversion and sabotage operations through Volksdeutscher Selbstschutz units prepared before the war.
Biography section: German commanders
Günther von Kluge Born in a Prussian family von Kluge joined the Imperial army 1901 and became an officer of artillery. Finishing his studies at the military academy granted him a place at the army staff, and he served in the Imperial army staff during WW1. Von Kluge remained with the army after WW1 had ended, moving to become a staff officer of infantry and worked in the decimated German ”Reichswehr” army in 1923. His true military rise began when Hitler came into power 1933, von Kluge was promoted to General-Major. He took part in the German move into the Sudetenland and the aggression against Czechoslovakia in 1938. Just prior to the invasion of Poland he was given command over 4th army. During the invasion von Kluge was tasked to push his army into the Polish corridor and continue the attack launched from Eastern Prussia in the direction of Warsaw. He and his units took part in the fighting at Bzura, and for his success he was promoted to Generaloberst after the Polish campaign.
Kurt Feldt Feldt had been a successful German cavalry commander during WW1, and remained with the cavalry branch during the interwar years. At the outbreak of the war Kurt Feldt was General of Cavalry and commanded Germany’s 1.Kavalleriebrigade , an odd position in the rapidly modernizing German army organization. Nevertheless, Feldt’s cavalry was successful enough in their operations during the Polish campaign to be upgraded to division level after the Polish campaign, in preparation of the invasion of France. He was also a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership
Erich von Manstein Having served on both the Western and Eastern front during WW1 von Manstein remained with the army after WW1 had ended. In 1935 Manstein was made the Head of Operations Branch of the Army General Staff which was part of the Army High Command. During this period Manstein was one of the people developing plans of war targeted against France, at the same time he had arguments with Heinz Guderian about changes in warfare and doctrine that emphasized tanks. The officer corps was divided in the issue, Manstein himself proposed the creation of self-propelled guns “Sturmgeschütz” (StuG) to support infantry as an alternative to tanks filling that role. Manstein had concerns about the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, he felt that Germany was not yet ready for war. The following year, in April, he was appointed Chief of Staff to Gerd von Rundstedt’s Army Group South. Working on the plan Manstein had proposed to von Rundstedt to concentrate the majority of the army group South’s armoured units so that it could make a decisive break through the Polish defenses. The idea was accepted, the plan was that two other armies comprising Army Group South, Wilhelm List’s 14th Army and Johannes Blaskowitz’s 8th Army, would provide flank support for the main thrust towards Warsaw. Manstein himself was privately lukewarm about the Polish campaign, thinking that it would be better to keep Poland as a buffer between Germany and the Soviet Union. He also worried about an Allied attack on western Germany once the Polish campaign was underway, which would lock Germany in another war on two fronts.
When the invasion launched on September 1st, it began successfully. In Army Group South's area of responsibility, under von Rundstedt, the 8th, 10th, and 14th Armies pursued the retreating Poles. The initial plan was for the 8th Army, the northernmost of the three, to advance towards Łódź. The 10th Army, with its motorized divisions, was to move quickly towards the Wisła river, and the 14th Army was to advance and attempt to encircle the Polish troops in the Krakow area. These actions led to the encirclement and defeat of Polish forces in the Radom area on September 8-14th by six German corps. The flexibility and agility of the German forces led to the defeat of nine Polish infantry divisions and other units in the Battle of the Bzura (September 8– 19th).
Johannes Blaskowitz Like many other of his peers Blaskowitz had served during World War 1, and remained in the army during the “Reichswehr” years, working his way up the chain of command on various staff assignments. He was indifferent to the Nazi regime as he thought the military should remain neutral of politics. Blaskowitz was assigned command of the German troops that currently occupied Austria and the annexed parts of Chechoslovakia in 1939 prior to the Polish invasion. During the Invasion of Poland Johannes Blaskowitz commanded the German 8th army, and took part in major battles such as the one at Bzura. As a traditional soldier, Blaskowitz kept a firm control on the men under his command in their dealings with civilians, Blaskowitz was opposed to the Army committing war crimes with the SS. Between November 1939 and February 1940 he wrote several memoranda to higher command, in which he detailed SS atrocities in Poland, their effects on Wehrmacht soldiers, and the insolent attitude of the SS to the army. However, his protests produced no condemnations of such behavior, and merely earned him the enmity of Hans Frank, Werner Kempf Another WW1 veteran and Reichswehr serviceman, Werner Kempf was given the command of the newly formed 4th Panzerbrigade in 1936. During the Polish invasion Kempf served in the 3rd Army under General Georg von Küchler where he was given command of the improvised experimental unit dubbed “Panzerdivision Kempf”. Kempf and his forces, a mix of Heer Panzer and SS infantry, fought many bloody battles during their involvement in the Polish campaign. Attacking from East Prussia Panzerdivision Kempf quickly ran into trouble at the Polish heavily fortified position of Mlawa where the unit lost 70 tanks and armoured vehicles. Kempf and his unit stayed in the fight and saw battle at Różan, Łomża, Kliczym and the Modlin Fortress before the badly battered unit was disbanded after a farewell parade on October 7th near Neideburg.
Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Himmler, and Adolf Hitler, while Chief of Staff Alfred Jodl dismissed them as naive and "uncalled for". Commander-in-Chief Walther von Brauchitsch forwarded Blaskowitz's first memorandum to Hitler on 18 November, who launched a tirade against Blaskowitz, denouncing his concerns about due process as "childish" and poured scorn on his "Salvation Army attitude". As a result, Blaskowitz found himself placed on a blacklist, and he was relieved of his command on 29 May 1940.
Heinz Guderian Guderian was born in Kulm, West Prussia and attended various military schools in the early 1900’s. During World War I he served as a Signals and General Staff officer. This allowed him to get an overall view of battlefield conditions. He often disagreed with his superiors and was transferred to the army intelligence department, where he remained until the end of the war. This second assignment, while removed from the battlefield, sharpened his strategic skills. He disagreed with German surrender at the end of World War I, believing that the German Empire should have continued the fight. After the war, Guderian stayed in the reduced 100,000-man Reichswehr as a company commander in the 10th Jäger-Battalion. In 1927 Guderian was promoted to major and transferred to the Truppenamt group for Army transport and motorized tactics in Berlin. This put him at the center of German development of armoured forces. Guderian, who was fluent in both English and French studied the works of British maneuver warfare theorists J. F. C. Fuller, B. H. Liddell Hart; and also writings of the then obscure Charles de Gaulle. He translated these works into German. In 1931, he was promoted to Oberstleutnant and became chief of staff to the Inspectorate of Motorized Troops under Generalleutnant Oswald Lutz. During this period, he wrote many papers on mechanized warfare, which were seen in the German Army as authoritative. These papers were based on extensive wargaming without troops, with paper tanks and finally with armoured vehicles. Britain at this time was experimenting with tanks under General Hobart, and Guderian kept abreast of Hobart's writings using, at his own expense, someone to translate all the articles being published in Britain. In October 1935 he was made
commander of the newly created 2nd Panzer Division, one of Germany’s three Panzerdivisions at that time and in 1939 he was also promoted to Generalleutnant and given command of the XVI Army Corps. During the interwar years Guderian produced his most important written work, the book “Achtung – Panzer!” It was a highly persuasive compilation of Guderian's own theories and the armoured warfare and combined-arms warfare ideas of other General Staff officers, expounding the use of airpower as well as tanks in future ground combat. German panzer forces were largely created along the guidelines of Guderians book. At the outbreak of the war, Guderian first served as the commander of the XIX Corps in the invasion of Poland. He personally led the German forces during the Battle of Wizna and Battle of Kobryn testing his theory against the reality of war for the first time. The Polish campaign proved the need for better organization of supply lines and also the fact that both the Pz I and Pz II were obsolete for modern warfare and would need to be replaced by new types of machines. For his participation in the Polish campaign Guderian was awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. 21
Gerd von Runstedt Born into a Prussian family with a long military tradition, von Rundstedt entered the Imperial German Army in 1892 and rose through the ranks until World War I, in which he served mainly as a staff officer. During the inter-war years, he continued his military career, reaching the rank of Colonel General (Generaloberst) before retiring in 1938. The retirement didn’t last long as by early 1939 Hitler had decided to force a confrontation with Poland over Danzig, and planning for a war with Poland began. In May Hitler approved Rundstedt's appointment as commander of Army Group South, to invade Poland from Silesia and Slovakia. His chief of staff was General Erich von Manstein and his principal field commanders would be (from west to east as they entered Poland) General Johannes von Blaskowitz (8th Army), Reichenau (10th Army), and General Wilhelm List (14 Army). Even at this early stage of the war, Rundstedt was becoming a "figurehead" general, leaving the detailed planning to his subordinates. Manstein said of him: "As an exponent of grand tactics he was brilliant - a talented soldier who grasped the essentials of any problem in an instant. Indeed, he would concern himself with nothing else, being supremely indifferent to minor detail”. Into the last moments, Rundstedt did not believe that war would actually break out, since Poland and its allies would back down at the last minute, as had happened over Czechoslovakia. But Poland did not back down, and on September 1st the invasion began. Rundstedt's armies advanced rapidly into southern Poland, capturing Krakow on September 6th, but Reichenau's overambitious attempt to take Warsaw by storm on September 9th was repelled. Soon after,
Blaskowitz's exposed northern flank was attacked by the Polish “Poznan” army, leading to the biggest engagement of the Polish campaign, the Battle of the Bzura. Rundstedt and Manstein travelled to Blaskowitz's headquarters to take charge, and by September 11th the Poles had been contained in a pocket around Kutno. By September 18th the “Poznan” army had been destroyed, and Warsaw was besieged. From the first days of the invasion, there had been incidents of German troops shooting Polish soldiers after they had surrendered, and killing civilians, especially Polish Jews. Some of these incidents were the work of units of the SS-VT, forerunner of the WaffenSS, but some involved regular Heer units. Rundstedt later said that such actions did not have his authorization, in fact fact, both Rundstedt and Blaskowitz complained to the Chief of Staff, General Franz Halder, about the Army Command's apparent tolerance of such incidents. Nevertheless, as commander of Army Group South, Rundstedt was legally responsible for the behavior of his troops, and these incidents would later form part of the charges of war crimes against him. 22
The involvment of Slovakia When WW1 ended both Czechoslovakia and Poland were created and the years following the end of the great war was used for border conflicts and landgrabs by many nations of central Europe while the large powers recouperated from their losses. In 1919 a Polish-Chechoslovakian border war erupted over areas along the borderregion of Silesia. In a peace agreement signed in 1920 Poland and Czhechoslovakia split the disputed area between their nations. The Polish government was not happy with the outcome, and further negotiations in 1925 led to a new common border (that is identical to the modern border). Things looked calm on the outside up until 1938 when Germany started making territorial demands on Czechoslovakia. The Poles got anxious and made a rash decision to seize the town of Bohumin that held an important railway junction – not wanting it to fall to the Germans. The Germans were happy to give up a provincial rail centre to Poland as it was seen as a small sacrifice and spread the blame of the partition of Czechoslovakia. When Czechoslovakia was annexed and Slovakia declared independence the Poles were sitting on border regions that originally belonged to the new nation. The fledgling state of Slovakia soon found itself in another border dispute with Hungary, and despite being the puppet state of Germany the Third Reich refused to intervene in the war that erupted between both nations. The war only lasted from March 23rd to April 4th 1939 and few casualties were inflicted – but the end result had Slovakia cede land to the Hungarians. The whole situation was bizarre considering Germany had signed a treaty promising help to Slovakia but refused to help their ally. At 23 the same time Hungary had taken an unflinching neutral stance towards Germany in requests against Poland. Later the pro Polish relations of Hungary greatly helped a large chunk of the Polish army to escape the country to France. Despite having been betrayed and humiliated Slovakia became a client country with Germany in 1939 and the Slovaks were asked to provide military aid in the upcoming invasion of Poland by Germany. The Slovaks agreed to join in mainly because of the disputed border regions. And so when the invasion started Slovakia fielded the Bernolák army group which consisted of 3 infantry divisions, 1 tank company and 1 fast attack group composed of motorized, motorcycle and cavalry units. The Slovak forces were mainly fighting elements of the Polish Carpathian army which was made up of infantry and light artillery support.The Slovaks, with the help of German Gebirgsjäger units, seized several border towns and the disputed border areas that had been their greatest interest. These areas remained in Slovak hands until the end of the war when the borders were adjusted back to their state of 1920.
Lithuania, the forgotten participant At the conclusion of World War I, new states began carving themselves niches on the European continent. Two such countries were Poland and Lithuania. They had both been dismembered in partitions during the late eighteenth century. Immediately upon reconstitution, both states conflicted over the city of Wilno (Lithuanian Vilnius) and its surrounding territories. The city was the historic capital of Lithuania. However, after the Union of Lublin in 1569, Vilnius became a more cosmopolitan city. Gradually, Poles came to outnumber Lithuanians. Lithuanians continued to predominate in the countryside. By 1918, Poles and Jews made up a majority of the population of Wilno, with a small Lithuanian minority of only 1%. Lithuania declared her independence on February 16, 1918 and became a short lived monarchy before power struggle replaced the rule with a republic oriented leadership. As the Germans moved out of the area following the end of WW1 the Bolsheviks entered Wilno and the surrounding territory 1918 which made a combined Polish-Lithuanian volunteer force drive the Soviets out. On the outbreak of the Polish-Bolshevik war the city was once again back in Bolshevik hands, and an armistice was signed between Russia and Lithuania, which received Wilno back. The city became the cradle of disputes as the Poles once again started a conflict over the city following the treaty between Russia and Lithuania. The turmoil led to the intervention of the league of nation in 1920 and the city was signed to remain in Lithuanian hands. One would believe that this would settle the matter once and for all, but only 2 days after the signing of the treaty the Polish general Lucjan Zeligowski staged a rebellion and led Polish forces to recapture and occupy Wilno once again. The idea for this act came from none other than the Polish leader Jozef Pilsudski who wanted Wilno back as Polish territory. In the years that followed tensions between the nations remained because of the predominantly Polish influenced city which Poland refused to hand over to Lithuania. The whole remaining interwar period saw diplomatic contacts between the two nations to try to resolve the matter without success. A kilometer wide no-man’s land zone was instituted between Lithuania and Poland. Skirmishes were not uncommon along the frontier. Although the area was usually quiet, there were also instances of poachers, border runners, and outlaws darting back and forth across the line, occasionally drawing fire from Polish and Lithuanian guards. There were also non-violent events which nonetheless produced tensions. Border posts were sometimes moved in the night. A superficially humorous example was also reported. Apparently, a Lithuanian farmer constructed a haystack on his land. During the night, however, the stack was quietly moved to the Polish side of the line. While it was a relatively minor incident, accumulated minor events served only to increase tensions. This caused the exchange of gunfire to become more frequent, especially as 1937 wore on. The Lithuanian National Socialist Party, which was ideologically similar to the German Nazi Party, gained a large voice in the city's politics. In the 1938 election, the National Socialists won the majority of seats and negotiated a settlement to hand over Klaipėda to Germany. A majority of the town's Jewish population, foreseeing this change in the cards, had already fled the area. By late 1938, Lithuania was about to lose Memel to Germany after a German oral ultimatum. The Lithuanians 24
agreed to cede Memel to the Germans who in turn promised Lithuania free access to the port, but as a sign of their strength Germany moved their forces into the territory before Lithuania got the chance to announce the decision. Hitler had anticipated this aboard a naval ship, and at dawn sailed into Memel to celebrate the return of the Memel territory into Germany. This proved to be the last of a series of bloodless annexations of territories in which German-speaking minorities lived. The reunion with Germany was welcomed by the majority of the population, both by Germans and by Memellanders. Following the territorial loss Lithuanian General Stasys Raštikis visited Warsaw between May 12th and 13, suggesting a military alliance with Poland. However, the Polish government treated his proposition lightly and doing so lost a small, but potentially important, ally. The Poles were completely focused on relief from the French in case of war with Germany. On August 23rd, 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a Non-Aggression Pact (the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact), with secret clauses assigning spheres of influence in the area of the Baltic Sea. The Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia, eastern Poland and Finland was assigned to the Soviet sphere of influence, and Lithuania and the western part of Poland was assigned to the German sphere of influence. The news of the MolotovRibbentrop Pact came as a shock to the Lithuanians and the rest of the world. Concerns over the possible existence of secret protocols were first expressed by the intelligence organizations of the Baltic States scant days after the pact was signed, and speculation grew stronger when Soviet negotiators referred to its content during negotiations for military bases in those countries.
Germany began its invasion of Poland on September 1st, two days later the German foreign minister von Ribbentrop made a trip to Lithuania with an offer: Ally with Germany in the attack on Poland, and the Lithuanians would be rewarded with the Wilno region taken from them by Poland in 1920 and the Suvalkai region. To assist the Lithuanian army with the capture of these territories, German military units would be at disposal for the Lithuanian High Command. Lithuanian President Smetona was interested, but asked for time to ask the cabinet and the parliament. Meetings about the offer went on for days between the President, the Lithuanian cabinet, the army chief of staff and the Lithuanian commander in chief. And while the men in charge were divided on the issue the Lithuanian public had caught wind of the news and was largely against the German proposal. What made the Lithuanians hesitate was the concern about the Soviet Union. What if the Soviet Union would follow Germany and invade Poland from the east, if they did, Lithuanian hopes to regain Wilno would be lost, and they suspected a possible existence of secret protocols. The second major concern was that the diplomatic relations with Poland was improving, and the antagonism between the two states over the region had been reduced since March 1938. Finally was the concern of international response to the acceptance of the German offer, as a positive answer to the Germans could cast Lithuania in an unfavorable light. On September 17th near the village of Klėriškės an incident occurred. At 0300 hours the soldiers heard something approaching the border station, and the rest of the soldiers and the border police were alerted. They heard it was a group of men, presumably soldiers; Lieutenant Lukoševičius called for the approaching men to halt. The following part of the incident is surrounded by mystery. 25
Depending on which source is consulted, the details vary from an accidental kill by a warning shot by the Lithuanians to a massacre of the Poles by the Lithuanians, to the Poles opening fire in the belief it was Germans. A minute after Lukoševičius had called out for the approaching men to halt, a shot was heard. As a result, a firefight between the Lithuanian soldiers and the unidentified men began, and after half an hour they withdrew back to the Polish side of the border. At the same time, shots were fired between Lithuanian soldiers and unidentified men at Klėriškės. A search by the Lithuanian soldiers uncovered several Polish soldiers, many of them recruits of the KOP, along with 3 officers. The soldiers had actually retreated into Lithuania to escape capture by the Germans. The news reached the Lithuanian public and swayed their opinion due to the so-called “Polish provocation”. The news had also reached Germany which fanned the flames by having von Ribbentrop send a telegram of sympathy to the Lithuanians for their losses in the provocation. From the newly created pressure, and from the desire of reclaiming Wilno president Smetona sent an answer to von Ribbentrop that Lithuania was on the side of Germany in the matter of the Polish question. At noon President Smetona presented an ultimatum for the Polish government through the Polish embassy in Kaunas: Return all territories taken by Poland in 1920, or they would take it back by force by allying themselves with Germany. They had 48 hours to comply, after that they would declare war on Poland. While the Polish government knew they were in no power to refuse the ultimatum, circumstances prevented the Poles to accept the Lithuanians. The following day the Lithuanian invasion began. 3 infantry
divisions, 1 cavalry brigade and 3 tank companies attacked Poland on September 19th. Germany was quick to promise help to shield the flank of the Lithuanian army. This would all be fine if not for the involvement of the Soviet Union. Stalin was non-responsive to the new turn of events, and Soviet forces had already been instructed to capture Wilno. The Polish forces in the Wilno area were now attacked and fighting both Soviet and Lithuanian units, German units were soon to join in as well. The Poles preferred to surrender the city to the Lithuanians rather than the Soviets. But in the overall chaos in the area Lithuanian and Soviet units clashed and started fighting each other which forced the Lithuanians back. On several occasions did Lithuanian and Soviet units fight each other and only the interference of arriving German units pushed back the Soviets and Hitler made Stalin agree upon Lithuania’s rights to Wilno. The following days the combined armies kept attacking the city and the Polish defenders finally surrendered on September 23rd. Lithuania’s involvement in the Polish invasion had only lasted 5 days and was soon forgotten by larger events. But the country had retaken their old capital and moved back its administration soon after the campaign had ended.
The Polish-Soviet relations The Polish-Russian animosity dated back several hundreds of years to the days of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth and its wars with Tsar Russian. This was followed by the partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Napoleonic Wars where Grand Duchy of Warsaw instituted by Napoleon fought for Polish independence , followed by Polish national uprisings once a generation against the nations that had partitioned Poland among them Russia. So when Poland finally reappeared on the European maps after 123 years it found itself not only drawn into border conflicts with its new neighbors but soon also tied up in a war with Bolshevik Russia. The Polish-Bolshevik war raged from 1919 to 1921, the Bolsheviks wanted to unite Europe in a communist workers revolution and Poland found itself to be an obstacle on the way. Poland was at the time also embroiled in a war with Ukraine in which Poland sought to grab as much eastern land as possible, land historically viewed as Polish. With the Bolshevik threat from the east Poland and Ukraine ended up as allies against Russia. After initially almost crushing the Poles completely the Russian armies suffered a devastating blow at the battle of Warsaw in August, 1920. What was dubbed by the Poles as “the miracle at the Wisła” saw a turning tide against the Russians which were pushed back in the following battles. When the peace treaty between both nations had been signed in 1921 no one had really won anything, except for Poland seizing control of Wilno over the course of the war. As the war had been won largely by cavalry the idea of cavalry armies remained stuck with the Polish and Soviet commanders. Polish general Wladyslaw Sikorski and the French General Charles de Gaulle which had served as an instructor for the Polish army and participated in many of the battles foresaw a change of warfare in the future. Both generals failed to convince their own countries to change doctrine in the interwar years that followed. In the meantime the Bolshevik Russia turned into the Soviet Union and never forgot the disgrace inflicted upon their revolution by the Poles in the previous war. Many high commanders, including Josef Stalin had been involved in the fighting against Poland held a grudge against their former enemy. The Poles too were weary of the Soviets during the following interwar years but the openly aggressive politics of Germany turned the Polish attention away from the Soviet Union. In March 1939, the Soviet Union, Britain and France began trading suggestions and plans regarding a potential political and military agreement to counter potential German aggression. Poland did not participate in these talks, acting on the belief that any Polish alignment with Soviet Russia would lead to a serious German reaction. The diplomatic discussions focused on potential guarantees to central and eastern European countries should German aggression arise. The talks allowed Stalin to probe the minds of the western allies, and the Soviets did not trust that the British or the French to honor a collective security agreement, since they had failed to move against the Fascists during the Spanish Civil War or protect Czechoslovakia from the expansionist goals of Nazi Germany. The Soviet Union also suspected that Britain and France would seek to remain on the sidelines of any potential Nazi-Soviet conflict. As a result, the Soviets sought nothing short of an ironclad military alliance that would 27
provide guaranteed support against an attack on its territory. The Soviet Union insisted on a sphere of influence stretching from Finland to Romania, to serve as a buffer zone, and military support in the event another country attacked the Soviet Union or a country within its proposed sphere of influence. The Soviet Union also insisted on the right to enter those countries in its sphere of influence in the event its security was threatened. When the military talks began in mid-August, negotiations quickly stalled over the topic of Soviet troop passage through Poland if the Germans attacked, and the parties waited as British and French officials pressured Polish officials to agree to such terms. Polish officials refused to allow Soviet troops on to Polish territory because they believed that once the Red Army entered their territory it might never leave. The Soviets suggested that Poland's wishes be ignored and that the tripartite agreements be concluded despite its objections. The British refused to do so because they believed that such a move would push Poland in to establishing stronger bilateral relations with Germany. Meanwhile, German officials secretly hinted to Soviet diplomats for months that it could offer better terms for a political agreement than Britain and France. The Soviet Union began discussions with Nazi Germany regarding the establishment of an economic agreement while concurrently negotiating with those of the tripartite group. In late July and early August 1939, Soviet and German officials agreed on most of the details for a planned economic agreement, and specifically addressed a potential political agreement. On August 19th, 1939, German and Soviet officials concluded the 1939 German–Soviet Commercial Agreement, an economic mutual
understanding that exchanged Soviet Union raw materials with Germany in exchange for weapons, military technology and civilian machinery. Two days later, the Soviets suspended the tripartite military talks with the western allies. On August 24th, the Soviet Union and Germany signed the political and military deal that accompanied the trade agreement, the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact. This pact was an agreement of mutual nonaggression that contained secret protocols dividing the states of northern and eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. The Soviet sphere initially included Latvia, Estonia and Finland. Germany and the Soviet Union would partition Poland, the areas east of the Pisa, Narew, Wisła, and San rivers going to the Soviet Union. The pact provided the Soviets with extra defensive space in the west, presented an opportunity to regain territories ceded in the previous Polish-Bolshevik war and unite the eastern and western Ukrainian and Belorussian peoples under a Soviet government. The day after the Germans and Soviets signed the pact, the French and British military negotiation delegation urgently requested a meeting with Soviet military negotiator Kliment Voroshilov. On August 25th, Voroshilov told them "In view of the changed political situation, no useful purpose can be served in continuing the conversation”. The same day, Britain and Poland signed the British-Polish Pact of Mutual Assistance. In this accord, Britain committed itself to the defense of Poland, guaranteeing to preserve Polish independence.
September 17th, the Soviet invasion The agreement with Germany was that the Soviet Union joined in the invasion at a moment that proved the most favorable. Stalin also wanted to see whether the Germans would honor the agreement to stop their eastern advance according to their treaty. On September 17th however the Soviet’s felt compelled to launch their part of the invasion. Just like the Polish-German front the PolishSoviet front was extremely unfavorable to the Poles as it was too long to allow proper defense. The Soviets were also favored by the fact that the Poles had kept Germany as their main focus of attention during the years leading up to the war and shortly prior to the war many of the Polish Border Protection Corps units of high quality on the eastern border had been stripped and moved to the new threat along the Polish-Slovak border instead. The units left on the Polish eastern border were not experienced or as well trained as their predecessors. Furthermore the Border Protection Corps had also been stripped of most of their heavy equipment which had been sent to the western border. And during the German part of the invasion the Poles had slowly but steadily pulled more and more of their eastern reserves to fill gaps on the western frontlines.
The military situation along the border could not have been more favorable to the Soviet Union which sprung its attack as a complete surprise and met almost no resistance at all. The situation in Poland on September 17th was grim but not yet completely hopeless. Polish Army units concentrated their activities in two areas - southern Poland (Tomaszów Lubelski, Zamość, Lwów), and central Poland (Warsaw, Modlin fortress, and the Bzura river). Due to stubborn Polish defense and lack of fuel, German advance stalled, and the situation stabilized for the areas east of the line Augustów - Grodno - Białystok - Kobryń Turka. Rail connections were operating on approximately one-third territory of the country. In Pińsk, assembly of several PZL.37 Łoś bombers was going on, in a PZL factory that had been moved from Warsaw. A French Navy ship with a transport of Renault R35 tanks for Poland approached Romanian port of Constanta, another ship with artillery equipment, had just left Marseilles. Altogether, seventeen French ships with materiel were heading towards Romanian ports carrying fifty tanks, twenty airplanes and large quantities of ammunition and TNT. The Poles still clung to cities such as Warsaw, Lwów, Wilno, Grodno, Łuck, Tarnopol, and 29
Lublin. An estimated 650-750.000 soldiers still remained in the Polish army, including the two motorized brigades (Warsaw armoured motorized brigade and 10th motorized cavalry brigade). The Polish Army, although decimated by weeks of fighting, still was a formidable force, still bigger than most European armies and strong enough to fight the Wehrmacht for a while longer and the second largest battle of the campaign, battle of Tomaszów Lubelski with the Germans started on the same day as the Soviets entered Polish territory. According to historians, around 250,000 Polish soldiers were fighting in central Poland, 350,000 were getting ready to defend the Romanian Bridgehead, 35,000 were north of Polesie forest region (part of Independent Operational group Polesie), and 10,000 were still fighting on the Baltic coast of Poland, on Hel Peninsula and around Gdynia where they had been cut off from the rest of Poland at the early stages of the invasion. Due to the ongoing battles in the area of Warsaw, Modlin, the Bzura, Zamość, Lwów and Tomaszów Lubelski, most German divisions were ordered to move back towards these locations. However, when the Soviet invasion began roughly 20.000 men of the Border Protection Corps were responsible for the entire eastern border, they faced the entire Soviet invasion force slamming into their position from the northern Belorussian front, above the Pripyat
marshlands in the north-east and the southern Ukrainian front in the south-east When the Soviet Union invaded, the Polish commander in chief Edward Rydz-Śmigły ordered all Polish troops to fall back, stipulating that they only engage Soviet troops in self-defense. However, the German invasion had severely damaged the Polish communication systems, causing command and control problems for the Polish forces. In the resulting confusion, clashes between Polish and Soviet forces occurred along the border. General Wilhelm Orlik-Rückemann, commander of the Border Protection Corps, received no official directives after his appointment. As a result, he and his subordinates continued to proactively engage the Soviet forces, before dissolving the group on October 1st. The Polish government refused to surrender or negotiate a peace and instead ordered all units to evacuate Poland and reorganize in France. The day after the Soviet invasion started, the Polish government crossed into Romania. Polish units proceeded to maneuver towards the Romanian bridgehead area, sustaining German attacks on one flank and occasionally clashing with Soviet troops on the 30
other. In the days following the evacuation order, the Germans defeated the Polish Kraków and Lublin Armies at the Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski. Soviet units often met their German counterparts advancing from the opposite direction. Lwów surrendered on September 22nd, days after the Germans had handed the siege operations over to the Soviets. Soviet forces had taken Wilno on September 19th after a two-day battle, Grodno on September 24th after a four-day battle. By September 28th, the Red Army had reached the line formed by the Narew, Bug, Wisła and San rivers—the border agreed in advance with the Germans. Despite a tactical Polish victory on September 28th at the Battle of Szack, the outcome of the larger conflict was never in doubt. Civilian volunteers, militias and reorganized retreating army units held out against German forces in the in the Polish capital, Warsaw, until September 28th, and the Modlin Fortress, north of Warsaw, surrendered the next day after an intense sixteen-day battle.
On October 1st, Soviet troops drove Polish units into the forests at the battle of Wytyczno, one of the last direct confrontations of the campaign. Several isolated Polish garrisons managed to hold their positions long after being surrounded, such as those in the Volhynian Sarny Fortified area which held out until September 25th. The last operational unit of the Polish Army to surrender was General Franciszek Kleeberg's Independent Operational Group Polesie. Kleeberg surrendered on October 6th after the four-day Battle of Kock, effectively ending the September Campaign. On October 31st Molotov reported to the Supreme Soviet command: "A short blow by the German army, and subsequently by the Red Army, was enough for nothing to be left of this ugly creature of the Treaty of Versailles".
Biography section: Soviet commanders
Kliment Voroshilov Kliment Voroshilov was the Soviet Commander-in-Chief during the invasion of Poland. Born into a Russian family of rail workers in Verkhnye, Ukraine, he joined the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1905. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, Voroshilov became a member of the Ukrainian Council of People's Commissars and Commissar for Internal Affairs along with Vasili Averin. He was well known for aiding Joseph Stalin in the Military Council (led by Leon Trotsky), having become closely associated with Stalin during the Red Army's 1918 defense of Tsaritsyn. Voroshilov was active as a commander of the Southern Front during the Russian Civil War and the Polish-Soviet War while with the 1st Cavalry Army. As Political Commissar serving co-equally with Stalin, Voroshilov was responsible for the morale of the 1st Cavalry Army, which was composed chiefly of peasants from southern Russia. Voroshilov's efforts as Commissar did not prevent a resounding defeat at the Battle of Komarów or regular outbreaks of murderous anti-Semitic violence within the Cavalry army's ranks. He was also the Head of Leningrad Police between 1917 and 1918. In 1925, after the death of Mikhail Frunze, Voroshilov was appointed People's Commissar for Military and Navy Affairs and Chairman of the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR, a post he held until 1934. In 1934 Voroshilov was appointed People's Commissar for Defense and the following year “Marshal of the Soviet Union”.
Voroshilov played a central role in Stalin's Great Purge of the 1930s, denouncing many of his own military colleagues and subordinates when asked to do so by Stalin. He went so far as to write personal letters to exiled former Soviet officers and diplomats urging them to return voluntarily to the Soviet Union, falsely reassuring them that they would not face retribution from the state. Voroshilov personally signed 185 documented execution lists, fourth among the Soviet leadership after Molotov, Stalin and Kaganovich. Following the end of the Polish campaign Voroshilov initially argued that thousands of Polish army officers captured in September 1939 should be released but later signed the order for their execution in what would become the Katyn massacre.
Seymon Timoshenko Timoshenko was born into a Ukrainian farmer family at Furmanivka. In 1915, he was drafted into the army of the Russian Empire and served as a cavalryman on the western front. On the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917, he sided with the Bolsheviks, joining the Red Army in 1918 and the Bolshevik Party in 1919. During the Russian Civil War, Timoshenko fought on various fronts. His most important encounter occurred at Tsaritsyn (later renamed Stalingrad), where he met and befriended Joseph Stalin. This would ensure his rapid advancement after Stalin gained control of the Communist Party by the end of the 1920s. In 1920–1921, Timoshenko served under Semyon Budyonny in the 1st Cavalry Army during the Polish-Bolshevik war. He and Budyonny would become the core of the "Cavalry Army clique" which, under Stalin's patronage, would dominate the Red Army for many years. By the end of the Civil and Polish-Bolshevik wars, Timoshenko had become commander of the Red Army cavalry forces. Thereafter, under Stalin, he became Red Army commander in Belarus (1933); in Kiev (1935);
in the northern Caucasus and then Kharkov (1937); and Kiev again (1938). In 1939, he was given command of the entire western border region and led the Ukrainian Front during the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17th 1939. As a loyal friend, Timoshenko survived Stalin's Great Purge, to be left as the Red Army's senior professional soldier.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. “The Polish State and its Government have virtually ceased to exist. In view of this state of affairs, treaties concluded between the Soviet Union and Poland has ceased to operate. A situation has arisen in Poland which demands of the Soviet Government especial concern for the security of its State. Poland has become a fertile field for any accidental and unexpected contingency that may create a menace for the Soviet Union...Nor can it be demanded of the Soviet Government that it remain indifferent to the fate of its Blood Brothers, the Ukrainians and White Russians inhabiting Poland, who even formerly were nations without rights and who now have been utterly abandoned to their fate. The Soviet Government deems it its sacred duty to extend the hand of assistance to its brother Ukrainians and White Russians inhabiting Poland.” Vyacheslav Molotov, Soviet foreign minister, in his speech to the Soviet Union on September 17th, 1939.
Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov Born into a large peasant family in the village of Serebryanye Prudy south of Moscow, he was the eighth of twelve children and the fifth of eighth sons. Chuikov and all his brothers became soldiers and fought in the Russian Civil War. An elder brother had arranged for him to join the Red Guards in 1917 and the following year he joined the Red Army. In October 1918 Chuikov saw active service when he was sent to the Southern Front as a deputy company commander to fight against the White Army. In the spring of 1919 he became commander of the 40th Regiment (later renamed the 43rd) as part of the 5th Army under Tukhachevsky facing the White Army at Kolchak in Siberia. Chuikov's record of service during the Civil War was distinguished. In the fighting from 1919 to 1920 he received two awards of the Order of the Red Banner for bravery and heroism and he was wounded four times. One of the wounds he received during the Polish-Bolshevik war in 1920, which left a fragment in his left arm that could not be operated on. It led to partial paralysis
and caused him to lose temporary use of his arm. Chuikov carried this war wound for the rest of his life. Chuikov commanded the 4th Army in the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1939
Mikhail Prokofievich Kovalyov Born into a family of peasants in Tsar Russia, Kovalyov enlisted in the Russian Army in 1915. Kovalyov fought in World War I commanding a platoon, company and then, a battalion. At the time of the October Revolution he was a Staff’s-Captain. During the Russian Civil War he commanded a regiment and then a brigade in the Red Army participating in the battles against the White Army of Denikin, Wrangel and the peasant Tambov rebellion of Aleksandr Antonov. From 1937 Kovalyov was the commander of Kiev Military District, and from 1938, he was the commander of Belarussian Military District. He was the commander of the Belarusian Front during the Soviet invasion of Poland in September, 1939. His awards include two Orders of Lenin, three Orders of the Red Banner and an Order of Suvorov 1st class.
The campaign can be divided into 4 parts of roughly 1 week a piece. As time goes by, the Polish situation will deteriorate, and what units are available to you will be decided where on the timeline you are located. Some units will cease to exist while others are created. Some special rules, characters and units will either locked to specific parts of this timeline or to specific battles. Scenarios are grouped into “Isolated actions” and “Operations”. Operations are “mini campaigns” made up of linked scenarios where the outcome of one battle will decide the starting conditions of the next. There will be recommendations in regards to terrain, units and army organization in each scenario description – accompanied by a short historical summary of how the actual events went down to give you a general idea of what to expect. “Battles of the border” September 1-7th Initial battles near the Polish-German border and the beginnings of German pincer movements to encircle and destroy Polish formations. France and UK declare war on Germany on the 3 rd, giving hope to the Polish, temporarily bolstering their hopes for allied intervention. The main beacon of morale bolstering resistance, the fighting of the Polish garrison at Westerplatte would cease on the 7th. The 10th motorized Cavalry brigade would fight delaying battles even as the “Krakow” army started to crumble at their flanks. “Tightening of the noose” September 8-14th Having broken through the Polish lines the German armies race towards set objectives in the heartland. The main objective being Warsaw. The siege of the capital and the many battles around it would last from 8th to 28th of September. Shielding the Polish retreat the prepared Polish positions at Wizna from the 7th to 10th September would delay the German army in a battle that would later be known as the “Polish Thermopylae”. “Beginning of the end” September 15-21th With no relief from the outside world, many Polish armies have already been encircled and destroyed. Those remaining are falling back to the next line of defense or organizing themselves into improvised operational groups made up of remnants from various armies and units. Even as late as September 17th, the day of the Soviet invasion from the east, Polish trains shipped troops west to reinforce the frontlines. The largest battle of the campaign would last 9 days at Bzura before the Polish “Poznan” and “Pomorze” armies would be defeated. The Soviet invasion on the 17th made many defense plans obsolete. “The Romanian bridgehead” September 21 –October 5th The Poles counted on making a last stand near the Romanian border that would last to the winter, hopefully long enough for their allies to arrive and relieve them. This plan was shattered with the Soviet invasion from the east, instead units were ordered to evacuate towards the Romanian bridgehead and get out of Poland mainly through Romania and Hungary. In the end about 80.000 Polish troops crossed the borders, and would later make their way to France and eventually the UK to continue their fighting.
“This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by eleven o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you that no such understanding has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany.” Neville Chamberlain September 3rd 1939
Playing the September campaign
The campaign is divided into two types of scenarios; “Operations“ and “standalone battles”. The later depict as the name suggest a rather isolated but nonetheless important battle. An Operation is a series of thematically or geographically linked scenarios from a certain nations Point of View and covers a large chunk of the Polish campaign. Scenarios that are part of an operation sometimes have conditions that affect the next battle depending on who won or what victory objectives were met. Players are free to choose whether to play the entire campaign from start to finish or if they rather want to play a couple of the operations. Below is a list of all operations and standalone battles:
Polish operations “Battles of the border” “The Polish corridor” “Thermopylae at Narew” “The siege of Warsaw” “Battle at Bzura” “The black brigade” “Tomaszów Lubelski” “Independent operational group Polesie”
German operations “Panzerdivision Kempf” “1. Gebirgsjäger division” “4th Panzer division” “ 1.Kavallerie-brigade”
Slovak operation ”Field Army Bernolák”
Polish standalone battles Battle of Westerplatte Battle of Hel Peninsula Optional Polish operation “Hubal” The operation “Hubal” is not part of the September campaign.
Soviet Operations “Belorussian front” “Ukrainian front”
Determine the length of the campaign Players agree beforehand how many, and which, operations to include in their campaign. Winning by “Campaign Victory Points” Each scenario is worth a certain amount of campaign victory points (CVP). The amount is determined both by the difficulty of the battle for both sides and the importance of the battle itself. The side (Polish/Axis) with most campaign points at the end of the campaign becomes the victor. Force composition and (Polish) national rule restrictions during the historical campaign Players are not only given a list of historically accurate forces to play with in specific battles, many of the forces are also reduced in what they can field. While the army lists of the “September Campaign v.2” book are written with “optimal circumstances” in mind, the reality on the battlefields in this scenario campaign are rather different. You will notice a restriction in trains, tanks, aircraft and other units depending on scenario, all the limitations are in place to simulate the actual battlefield conditions of that particular army during a specific battle rather than give players everything that the parent organization may have included in its roster. Polish ”Bypassed” and “Night counterattack” national rules are not to be used, as they are already written into the appropriate scenarios. Concluding scenarios and operations At the end of each scenario players check to determine who won by looking at the victory conditions. Players also take notes on the number of campaign victory points they have earned and take notes on potential effects and conditions that will be in place in upcoming scenarios. Sometimes you may receive CVP for objectives even though you were defeated in a battle. Scenario victory conditions and capturing mission objectives Players win scenarios by meeting the victory conditions (see Mission Objectives main FoW rulebook page 258 on how to capture objectives for general guidelines). Additional points are awarded or subtracted based upon the following conditions in each scenario (effects may stack): Pyrrhic victory: Winning a battle with 25% or less (rounded up) of your army remaining in play results in +1 campaign victory point. Units held in reserve that didn’t arrive count as “surviving” platoons. Crushing victory: Forcing the enemy to withdraw with less than 25% of his starting force remaining or by simply annihilating every enemy platoon gives +1 campaign victory point. Mixed reserves In some battles a force may find itself having units in various types of reserve situations, such as Reserves AND Delayed reserves. These are easily resolved, as you roll for each type of reserves as normal. For instance, Reserve platoons have their own pool of reserve dice that start at turn 1, while Delayed Reserves have their pool of reserve dice and start rolling on turn 3. Use of characters during the campaign Characters should only be used when a scenario description names a character. Color coded deployment zones Polish deployment zones are always marked in RED. German, Slovak and Soviet deployment zones are always marked in BLUE.
Operation: Battles for the Border
Battles for the border were a series of battles taking place along the Polish-German/Slovak border during the first days of the invasion. The Axis invaders met with both great success but also ran into stubborn and heavy resistance in many places. Other surprises that the attacking armies were not prepared for were cavalry charges and Polish armoured trains. However the Poles were soon pushed inland by the onslaught of artillery, tanks and air bombardments thrown at them by the Germans. Battle of Chojnice: September 1st The Polish defense of an important communication central at Chojnice during the first day of the invasion, the Poles fought a delaying battle, withdrawing from the area late in the afternoon. Polish sappers blew up the rail bridge which stopped the German “Panzerzug 3” armoured train from moving any further and it ended up being badly damaged in the fighting. The “Bold” at Mokra: September 1st The battle at Mokra saw some 100 German tanks fight the Polish Volhynian cavalry brigade in a forest area north of the town of Kłobuck. The German Panzers were caught by surprise by a Polish armoured train nr.53 ”Smiały” (Bold) when they were refueling in a clearing and many tanks were destroyed. In the following chaos Polish cavalry managed to ride past the Germans and take up positions on the enemy flank.
Polish forces Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections) Piechoty batalion (no train or aircraft) Pułk Kawalerii (no train) German forces Infanteriekompanie (with armoured train), Kradschützenkompanie
Polish forces Pułk Kawalerii (with armoured train) German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie
Charge at Krojanty: September 1st Polish cavalry charged resting German infantry near Krojanty, the attack looked like a success until German armoured vehicles showed up and started gunning down the cavalrymen. The episode was part of the larger fighting in the Tuchole forest, and served to delay the German advance for a short while.
Polish forces Pułk Kawalerii (at least 2 mounted companies, no train) German forces Infanteriekompanie (no tank platoons)
Królewskie forest skirmish: September 1st One rare episode of German and Polish cavalry units clashing and fighting with cold steel weapons, the skirmish took place around the Królewskie forest at the Polish-German border.
Polish forces Pułk Kawalerii (only mounted cavalry)
German forces Kavalleriekompanie (only mounted cavalry) No air support
Battle of Pszczyńa: September 1-2nd The German 5th Panzer division smashed into the Polish 6th Infantry division holding the line near the town of Pszczyńa. Germans utilized the Blitzkrieg doctrine to perfection. The Polish division was backed up by 13 tanks and tankettes, but the Germans held a 3:1 advantage in men, 3:1 in heavy weapons, 20:1 in tanks and armoured vehicles and 9:1 in the air. Battle of Węgierską Górką: September 2-3rd Battle for Węgierską Górką, or the “Hungarian height”. The battle that took place near the Polish-Slovak border and was fought between Polish mountain troops and German infantry. The Polish position included 4 anti tank bunkers overlooking the valley below and was of strategic importance.
Polish forces Piechoty batalion (no train or aircraft) German forces Schützenkompanie Pionierkompanie Panzerspäh-Schwadron Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A
Polish forces Reserve mountain battalion (No aircraft, tanks or “Zmotoryzowanej” troops). German forces Infanteriekompanie (No SS units or train). May field an additional Pionier platoon in the ADGZ slot.
Picture: German cavalry 49
Battle of Chojnice: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Our high command didn’t see Chojnice as important enough for the Germans to launch to heavy an attack on us. The forces at your command are thus made up of a single battalion of riflemen, two battalions of National Guard, one company of Border Protection Corps sappers and a couple of artillery batteries. From what we know the Germans are directing motorized forces from Guderian’s Panzer Corps towards this town, there have also been sightings of a German armoured train which will no doubt try to cross the railway bridge, something that has to be prevented. Realistically speaking, there are not enough troops here to efficiently defend the town for a longer period. We have to mine the bridges and make preparations for organized withdrawal to the second line of defense.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army within the 30x48” red area. Then the German player deploys his entire army within the 12x48 blue area. Polish units begin the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. German option: One German infantry platoon may roll to see if they were able to infiltrate into a favorable forward position. Roll a skill check if passed the platoon may be deployed within 12” and on the right side of the southern bridge. This platoon counts as dug in and gone to ground. If the skill roll is failed the platoon arrive from the German rear, using normal Reserve rules. Beginning the battle Make reconnaissance moves. Germans have the first turn. Ending the battle/Deciding who won At the end of each Polish turn, starting on turn 5, if there are no German teams within 4” of the bridge end on the Polish side and at least 1 Polish team within 4” of the bridge, roll a skill test. On a successful roll, the bridge is blown up and removed. 2CVP for blowing up the bridge. If at the start of any German turn, there are no Polish units within 4” and at least 1 German team within 4” of the bridge, then the bridge is captured and the explosives defused. 2CVP for capturing the bridge. Both armies can gain +1 CVP if their losses in the battle are 25% or less of their starting platoons, regardless of whether they won or lost the scenario.
The ”Bold” at Mokra: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Colonel Julian Filipowicz, commander the Volhynian cavalry brigade, has prepared a line of defense near the village of Mokra. The Germans are said to already have passed Kłobuck with a large force of tanks belonging to the 4th Panzer division and are heading in our direction. The enemy is aware of our presence, but have not fully realized that they are facing our entire brigade. Our position has also been reinforced with infantry from 30th Infantry division and armoured train nr 53. “Bold” is also at our disposal. To continue inland, the Germans have to cross the railway, which will be a perfect place for our ambush. When ready, hit them with our concealed anti-tank guns and drive our train past their position while shelling their tanks. The following chaos should allow you to flank the enemy position and push them back.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys up to 50% of his platoons inside the red 12x48” deployment. Up to two Polish platoons may be held in Ambush. Rest of the Polish army, including the train, are held in Reserve and follow the normal reserve rules. The Polish army begins the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. “The Bold”, the Polish armoured train kept withdrawing and re-appearing from the woods during the battle after making its initial appearance. As such the Polish player may elect to drive off the side of the table with the train, and in the following turn roll for reinforcements to see if the train re-appears. The train may then appear from either flank. The German player deploys 50% of his platoons within the blue 18x36” deployment zone. The rest of the German army is held in reserve. When rolling for tank platoons add +1 to the result of each die as the rest of the German Panzers are nearby and will arrive quickly. Beginning the battle Polish player makes reconnaissance moves. Polish has the first turn. Ending the battle The game lasts 7 turns.
Deciding who won The Germans have to move off the table on the opposite table edge. For every German Panzer platoon that makes it off table the Germans gain 1CVP. For every destroyed German tank platoon the Poles gain 1CVP. Should the Polish train be destroyed the Germans gain +2CVP. Should the Poles manage to flank and successfully dig in on one of the flanks (marked by the black boxes) they gain +2CVP.
Krojanty: 1000 points per side Polish briefing: This morning the positions of the “Pomorze” army was hit by the German 20th motorized division, moving in the direction of Chojnice and heavy fighting is currently going on there. It seems like Chojnice will be abandoned sometime this afternoon, in which case you and the Pomeranian cavalry brigade become the next line of defense protecting the road to Grudziądz. Your force isn’t much good for defensive battles so your new orders are to counterattack the enemy so that the garrison of Chojnice may fall back. A frontal attack is not possible, however colonel Kazimierz Mastalerz thinks that taking two squadrons and flanking the enemy position would provide an element of surprise and catch the enemy units off guard. Prepare to launch the charge at 19.00 PM.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys 50% of his army 6” onto the table inside the red deployment zone, keeping any vehicle platoons as Delayed Reserves, remainder of the army is in regular Reserves. Reinforcements will arrive from the rear of Polish deployment zones. The German player deploys 50% of his force inside the 24x24” blue deployment area. The remainder of the German units are held in Reserve, any Reconnaissance vehicles are held in Delayed Reserve. German reserves will arrive from the right corner as marked on the map. The battle starts at Dusk (page 273 main FoW rulebook). Element of surprise The German infantry being caught completely off guard and count as pinned down when performing any defensive fire shooting during the Polish turn 1. Beginning the battle No Reconnaissance moves. Poles have the first turn. Ending the battle/ Deciding who won The first side to lose 3 platoons automatically withdraws from the battle. Winner receives 2CVP. Poles receive +1CVP if they manage to win before any German reconnaissance vehicles arrive. The Germans automatically receive +1CVP when any of their reconnaissance vehicles arrive on table.
Królewskie forest skirmish : 500-750 points per side Briefing: While commanding a subunit of the 11th Uhlan regiment on reconnaissance mission for the Mazowiecka cavalry brigade you spot the Germans. The enemy, belonging to the 3rd German Army, is likewise performing reconnaissance on horse. Despite your unit catching them by surprise, the Germans are performing a mounted countercharge. Draw your sabers, HURAH! ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle This battle is played on a 48x48” table. Both players deploy their units inside their 12x48” deployment zone. Beginning the battle No reconnaissance moves. Roll to see who has first turn. Both sides begin the battle completely mounted up, but nothing prevents you from dismounting once the battle begins. Ending the battle The battle ends when one sides breaks due to a failed company morale. Deciding who won The player that remains on the table is awarded 1CVP. Inflicting a casualty on the enemy Company Commander yields +1CVP regardless of whether or not the battle is won or lost. note: This battle does not yield the “Crushing victory” bonus, this is after all just a relatively insignificant skirmish. Pictures: Polish cavalry
Battle of Pszczyńa: Poles 1250/Germans 1500 OR Poles 1500/Germans 1750 points Polish briefing: The plan of defense of the Pszczyńa position is simply to delay the Germans for as long as possible. Several flanking positions, among them at Żory, Rybnik and Boża Góra are shielding and funneling the enemy towards this main line of defense. which in turn will leave the road north into Poland open for the enemy.
The task at hand is very difficult, against your 6th infantry division currently divided between the various defenses in and around the town, the Germans have mustered their entire 5th Panzer division. Reports tell of the Our success here is crucial to the “Krakow” enemy having an advantage of 3:1 in infantry army, which depends on us guarding their and artillery and 20:1 in tanks. 130 enemy otherwise vulnerable flank. If Pszczyńa falls, tanks are driving towards this line of defense the “Krakow” army will be forced to withdraw, at this very moment. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Poles deploy their army within the 36”x30” red box. The Poles may hold 2 platoons in Ambush and 1 Platoon in Immediate ambush. The Polish army begins in Prepared Positions and Gone to Ground. German forces move onto the table during turn 1 from the table edges marked in blue. 25% of the German force is held in Delayed Reserve. Beginning the battle Reconnaissance moves. Germans have first turn. Ending the battle The battle lasts 6 turns. Deciding who won The Poles win by holding off the German army and preventing the town center, marked in black, to fall into German hands. 3CVP. The area has to be free of German teams, and have at least 1 friendly team holding it. Germans: Capturing the town center marked in black, with at least 1 German team and making sure no Polish teams remains inside the area, 3CVP.
Battle of Węgierską Górką: Poles 1350 points, Germans 1750 points Polish briefing: The defensive position at Węgierską Górką overlooks the valley and Slovak border. Garrisoned by the 151st fortification company and reinforced with the 1st Mountaineer brigade your force totals 1.700 men, most of them Border Protection Corps, 21 guns and 20 machineguns. The enemy moving across the Slovak border is the entire 7th Infantry division, 17.000 men. Their advantage in numbers is crushing, and not all of our bunkers were finished and armed properly. However, the hills making up our line of defense - and what bunkers we do have, should be sufficient to halt the enemy advance. Allowing the enemy to pass would mean to grant them entry further into the Beskides mountain region and the Polish heartland.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Polish bunkers The Polish army has beside their 1350points worth of troops 3 large bunkers atop the hills guarding the nearby village (rated Confident/Trained). The bunkers have the following armament: Bunker “Waligóra” to the north, 2x76mm guns, 1x Ckm wz.30 hmg. Bunker “Włóczęga” at the center, 1x37mm AT gun, 2x Ckm wz.30 hmg’s. Bunker ”Wędrowiec” to the south 1x37mm AT gun, 3x Ckm wz.30 hmg’s. The bunkers count as “Pillboxes” (page 217 FoW rulebook) and all weapons inside a bunker have 270degrees line of sight (front and sides). This is an abstraction to make it easier for players to use any kind of bunker they have in their collection regardless of size and how the firing slits are sculpted. Each bunker also counts as a friendly platoon. Preparing for battle The Polish army must hold 1 platoon in “Delayed reserve” and deploy the rest of its units behind the blue line. Reinforcements will arrive from the rear. Polish units start in Prepared positions. The German player must hold 25% of his platoons in Delayed reserve, 50% in Reserve. 25% of the army readily available to move onto the table during turn 1 from the edges marked in red. German Reinforcements will be moving onto the table from the red marked edges.
Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves. Germans have the first turn. Ending the battle The battle lasts 8 turns. Battle ends sooner if the Germans manage to destroy all 3 bunkers, or rout the Polish army. The battle also ends if the German army is routed. Deciding who won Poles: For winning the battle 4CVP. Additionally +1CVP for each bunker left intact (even if Germans won). Germans: For winning the battle 1CVP. For each bunker destroyed during the battle, +2CVP (awarded even if the German player lost).
Picture: Polish troops at the Węgierską Górką positions
Operation: The Polish corridor
The Polish corridor saw some of the bloodiest and most defiant battles of the campaign. The defense of Westerplatte, cut off and alone in enemy occupied territory in the free city of Gdansk. The defense of the Hel Peninsula that lasted from September 1st to October 2nd. The fighting for Grudziądz, a center of military education, and Gdynia, Poland’s only city with access to the Baltic sea and which had a merchant port important for the nation’s economy. The battles fought in this area pitted Polish infantry from various formations against an enemy with superior support, equipment and numbers. Despite the great disadvantage and the lack of fortifications, the defenders held their ground and utilized the terrain to their advantage to make enemy advancement into Polish territory bloody and problematic. Battle of the Tuchole forest: September 1-5th The situation of the Polish forces along the border, despite a few success stories, is that of chaos and confusion. The Polish “Pomerania” army was hit hard by the Germans, and their task to prevent the enemy from crossing the Polish corridor and cut off the Polish army “Pomorze” stationed around Gdynia was made impossible. Despite Polish reinforcements the infantry divisions could not withstand the combined might of the German 2nd army corps and 19th Panzer corps. Defense of Grudziądz: September 1-4th Directly connected to the battles in and around the Tuchole forest was the stalwart defense of Grudziądz. This was a town of importance as it housed an officer academy, a cavalry school and the several army staffs directing Polish forces in the area. The defenders however were few and only made up of infantry and border protection corps with the support of artillery. The German attack was conducted from East Prussia by the 21st corps, mainly infantry and the reserve 10th Panzer regiment (mainly Panzer I and II).
Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, no aircraft) Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections) German forces Infanteriekompanie (no train or SS), Schützenkompanie Pionierkompanie Verlastete Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A
Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train or tanks) Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections) German forces Infanteriekompanie (no train or SS), Leichte Panzerkompanie
”Polish soldiers fought gallantly and they did not spa re blood. The area of Gdynia and Gdansk was defended by the elite of the Polish armed forces. Those were young and inspired units of the navy and army, which fought admirably. On the plateau of Oksywie we found trenches filled with dead Polish soldiers, who fell by hundreds where they fought, with the rifles still in their hands. It was apparent, that they fought to the bitter end”. From F-O Busch, Unsere Kriegsmarine im Polnischen Feldzug 57
Defense of Gdynia: September 8-14th Cut off by German armies to the south, the Polish forces in the northern part of the Polish corridor stationed in and around Gdynia were attacked on September 8th. Fighting had been going on since the invasion began on September 1st, but it wasn’t until now that German armies appeared at the southern suburbs of Gdynia itself. The city was of great importance due to its merchant port and had to be defended. Commanding officer Colonel Stanisław Dąbek had reinforced the town with navy rifle regiments which did a good job at defending the flanks of the city from German
attacks. Seeking to boost the numbers of his force, Dąbek also managed to muster the stranded reserve sailors which were armed and organized to fight alongside the regular infantry. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, aircraft or tanks) Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections) German forces Infanteriekompanie (no train or SS)
Battle for Oksywie heights: September 10-18th The defensive battle of Gdynia was moved out of the city and up on the surrounding heights known as the Oksywie. Reasons for this move were to spare the city, the important docks and its civilian population. The heights had no prepared positions or fortifications; they only offered the favorable terrain which was made up of tree covered slopes and it was here where 9.000 Polish troops made their stand. The Blitzkrieg come to a halt, and the troops fighting here saw a return of WW1 combat
tactics with skirmishes and ceaseless artillery bombardment on a area no larger than 4 square kilometers. The fighting took a heavy toll on both sides and became one of the bloodiest battles of the entire campaign. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, aircraft or tanks) Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections) German forces Infanteriekompanie (no train or SS)
Last stand at Oksywie heights: September 19th The Polish defenders atop the Oksywie heights had lasted for more than a week atop the hill, food and ammunition was running dangerously low. The troops were exhausted from 110 skirmishes, constant artillery bombardment and there were hardly a man left that had not been injured in one way or another. The total Polish casualty ratio at this moment was 2.000 killed and 7.000 wounded. Further resistance was deemed impossible, a final counterattack had been performed by
the Poles that day, but at 17:00 PM the order to lay down arms was given by colonel Dąbek. The colonel who himself was wounded preferred to commit suicide rather than become a POW. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, aircraft or tanks) Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections) German forces Infanteriekompanie (no train or SS)
Battle of the Tuchole forest: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: The German 4th army is currently crashing through the forest, their objective no doubt to cut through the corridor and link up with the forces invading from east Prussia. The 27th infantry division is at your disposal and tasked with stopping the enemy from passing this line of defense. The general of the “Pomorze” army has dispatched regiments of 9th infantry division to reinforce your ranks. However, with the entire front in disarray and the erratic communication with high command makes it hard to fully grasp what’s going on, where the enemy is attacking and where our retreating and reinforcing units are. Defend for as long as possible, while organizing an orderly withdrawal of forces. Once ready, you are to withdraw to the second line of defense and join up with the rest of the “Pomeranian” army.
.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The German player places 1 objective in each of the 12x12” areas marked in black. The Poles must hold 2 platoons in Reserve. The Rest of the army is deployed behind the red line. 1 platoon may be held in Ambush. The Polish army starts in Prepared positions and Gone to Ground. German side holds 1 platoon in Reserve and 1 platoon in Delayed Reserve. Rest of the army deploys behind the blue line. Beginning the battle Reconnaissance moves. Germans have first turn. Ending the battle and special victory conditions The battle lasts 6 turns. Deciding who won Starting at the end of turn 2 , each objective held by at least 1 friendly team and with no enemy teams within 4” yield 1 point per turn. At the end of the battle, when there are no more turns left or either side breaks, players count and compare the number of victory points. The side with most points is awarded 2CVP.
Important: Write down which side won, and by how many points, this affects the starting conditions of the next scenario “Defense of Grudziądz”.
Defense of Grudziądz: Poles * points, Germans 1500 points Polish briefing: “Pomeranian” army divisions are currently fighting to the west of Grudziądz , the town itself is defended by two infantry divisions of the “Pomorze” army. Some of our units have been diverted to strengthen the “Pomeranian” positions in the west, so the defense of Grudziądz itself is rather thin, but at least we have air support from a wing of bombers stationed nearby. forward positions has allowed the enemy to buildup their forces for a direct attack at Grudziądz. The German 21st infantry division backed up by the reserve 10th Panzer regiment will surely launch their final attack upon us at any moment. *Polish army strength If the Germans won the previous battle, the Poles receive -100 points for each point the Germans beat them up to a maximum of -500 points in total.
The enemy we are facing is the 21st corps of the 3rd German army attacking from east Prussia. They have already pushed us back across the river, and beaten back any counterattack we have mustered. Losing our ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Poles are aided by the Polish air force in this scenario and have free Sporadic Air Support provided by PZL.37 Łoś bombers. The Poles deploy their entire army behind the red line. All units start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. If the Poles won the previous battle then the German player keeps 1 platoon in Delayed reserve for every Point the Poles beat the Germans (max 3). If the Germans won the previous battle, they hold 2 platoons in regular Reserve. Rest of German army starts behind the blue line. Beginning the battle Reconnaissance moves. Germans have first turn. Ending the battle and Deciding who won Starting on turn 5, if there are no German teams inside the Polish deployment zone, the Poles win. The game continues until this condition is met OR until the Poles fail their company morale check. Winner receives 2CVP, if victory is achieved at the end of turn 5 the winner receives +1 CVP.
Defense of Gdynia: 1500-1750points per side Polish briefing: The Germans have successfully cut off the northern part of the Polish corridor and our army with it. Now they are pushing towards Gdynia from the south. Colonel Stanisław Dąbek have been busy organizing the defense of the city, two regiments of Navy Rifles are stationed on the city flank. Additionally units of Border Protection Corps, volunteers and even drafted reserves from the sailors left behind on land have been used to bolster our numbers. Some of our forces, along with two 100mm guns, have been stationed on the nearby Oksywie heights overlooking Gdynia. They should be able to provide directed fire support. The last bit of good news is that we have sufficient anti-aircraft guns in and around the city and on the Hel peninsula to limit the efficiency of Luftwaffe. The bad news is that the German navy shelling our coastal positions and will most likely attempt to land troops from the sea to cut us off from Oksywie heights and flank our defenses.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Poles have a battery of two off-table Confident/Trained 100mm wz14/19 guns (without smoke). It comes with an ontable observer rifle team. This battery does not count as being part of the Polish force when counting force morale. The Poles also have enough AA-guns in the area to counts as a static 1D6 worth of “Fighter interception”. The Germans have off-table naval artillery, three Confident/Trained 7.5cm leIG18 guns (without smoke). They come with an on-table observer rifle team. Polish player deploys 75% of his platoons within the red zone, the remainder are “Delayed Reserves” and arrive from board edges belonging to the Polish player. German player may keep as many platoons as he want in “Delayed Reserve”, these platoons will arrive in the north-west corner. All other platoons start behind the blue line. Both sides start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Beginning the battle Reconnaissance moves. Germans have first turn. Ending the battle/Deciding who won Poles win at the end of their turn 6 if they have managed to keep the Germans from overrunning 2 or more of the entrenched positions marked in black. 2CVP +1CVP if the Germans capture 0-1 trenches. Germans win as soon as they have managed to clear and hold 2 or more of the Polish entrenched positions (no Polish team within 4” of the trench and at least 1 German team inside the trench). 2CVP +1CVP if at least 3 trenches are captured. 61
Battle for Oksywie Heights: 1750-2000points per side Polish briefing: Having abandoned our positions in Gdynia to spare the city and the port damage from prolonged city fighting our main defense is now atop Oksywie heights. Unfortunately there aren’t any static defenses, except for trenches dug by our infantry. To our advantage however, we have the terrain. Dense forest and slopes will prevent the enemy from attacking in force,
and the Luftwaffe will not be able to bombard us with precision. The Kriegsmarine is still shelling us from the sea, but as with the Luftwaffe, the trees make it hard for them to direct their fire accurately. Our defense along with the Hel Peninsula is all that remains in northern Poland now. Make the enemy pay for every meter of ground. Note: This battle is ideally played on 8x6’
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Germans may never receive more than 2 planes (if 3 are rolled, count as 2). The Germans have off-table naval artillery, which in this scenario count as two Confident/Trained 7.5cm leIG18 guns (without smoke). They come with an on-table observer rifle team. The Poles deploy 50% of their platoons on the table, 25% are in Reserve and the remaining 25% are held in Delayed reserve and arrive from the rear and flanks of Polish deployment. 2 Platoons may be held in Ambush. Germans deploy up to 25% of their platoons on table. 50% of the platoons are in Reserve, and 25% of the platoons are in Delayed Reserve. Any reserves may arrive from the German deployment (and extended line) in the southwest or the north-east corner. Both sides start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Beginning the battle Battle starts at Dawn (page 273 main FoW rulebook). Both players make Reconnaissance moves. Germans have first turn. Ending the battle/Deciding who won Game lasts 7 turns. Polish player receive 1CVP for each strongpoint remaining under his control. +1CVP for destroying 50% or more enemy platoons. German player receive 1CVP for each captured strongpoint, except for the large one atop the northwest hill which is worth 2CVP. A strongpoint is player controlled by having at least 1 friendly team inside the trench and no enemy teams within 4” of the trench. 62
Last stand at Oksywie heights: Poles 1250 points*, Germans 1500 points Polish briefing: The Oksywie defense is nearing its inevitable end. Food and ammunition is running very low. Our The soldiers are badly beaten up as well. Colonel Dąbek is making final preparations for the surrender and have issued battlefield promotions to those units who have fought with valor. Organize what soldiers remain and hold off the Germans for as long as possible. Every moment we refuse the Germans total control of Oksywie means the garrison at the Hel peninsula will get more time to prepare the land access for when the Germans turn their full attention to that last pocket of resistance. *Polish army attrition If the Germans won the previous battle the Poles are very badly battered. All combat platoons are reduced by 1D6 -1. Platoons made up of Gun teams roll 1D6, on 1-2 they are intact, 2-4 they lose 1 team, 5-6 they lose 2 teams.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Roll for Polish attrition if the conditions call for it. Polish player deploy their entire army in the red zone. Up to two platoons may be held in Ambush. German player deploy his entire army in the blue zone. Both sides start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Beginning the battle Reconnaissance moves. Germans have first turn. Ending the battle The battle lasts 6 turns. Deciding who won Starting on the Polish turn 4, the Poles receive 1CVP each turn they have held out (a total of 3CVP can be gained), this is regardless of whether the Germans win the battle or not. Germans receive 1CVP if they force the Polish player to take a company morale check, and another +2CVP if the Polish force morale is broken.
Picture: Polish grave atop the Okwysie heights, the town and port of Gdynia can be seen in the background. 63
Operation: Thermopylae at Narew
The battle of Wizna, also later referred to as the “Polish Thermopylae” was a three day long battle where roughly 720 Polish defenders belonging to Independent Operational Group “Narew”. Detailed composition of the Polish force was as follows: 8th infantry company of the 135th infantry regiment reinforced with a machinegun platoon. 3rd machinegun company belonging to the fortified position, two platoons of 75mm artillery, a platoon of cavalry reconnaissance, a platoon of sappers, six 37mm AT guns, two anti-tank rifles, 24 heavy machineguns, 18 BAR. Commanded by captain Władysław Raginis the Polish soldiers were fresh recruits, but their spirits and battlefield morale was high. When it became clear that the defenders faced insurmountable odds at the hand of the German 3rd army, with the 19th Panzer Corps commanded by Heinz Guderian and with 42.000 soldiers and 350 tanks among their ranks, captain Raginis inspired his men by making it clear that he would not abandon the position no matter what – effectively pledging his life. Guderian was at the time not happy with the progress of the German Army group North, and feared that the Poles would be allowed to withdraw behind the rivers in the direction of Warsaw where they would regroup and renew their opposition. Dispatching two mechanized divisions in the direction of Wizna, the Germans made first contact with the Poles on September 7th. Narew crossing September 7th On September 7, 1939, the reconnaissance units of a Panzer Division under general Nikolaus von Falkenhorst captured the village of Wizna. Polish mounted reconnaissance squads abandoned the village after a short fight and retreated to the southern bank of Narew. When German tanks tried to cross the bridge, it was blown up by Polish engineers. After dark, patrols of German infantry crossed the
river and advanced towards Giełczyn, but were repelled with heavy casualties.
Polish forces Border Protection Corps (no bunkers sections) German forces Schützenkompanie
Holding the line September 8-9th On September 8 general Heinz Guderian, commander of the 19th Panzer Corps, was ordered to advance through Wizna towards Brześć. By early morning of September 9th Guderian’s units reached the fortified area east of Wizna, and were joined by the 10th Panzer Division and "Lötzen" Brigade already in position. German forces numbered some 1 200 officers and 41 000 soldiers and NCOs, equipped with over 350 tanks, 108 howitzers, 58 pieces of artillery, 195 anti-tank guns, 108 mortars, 188 grenade launchers, 288 heavy machine guns and 689 machine guns. Altogether, his forces were some 60 times stronger than the Polish
defenders. Despite intense artillery barrage and Luftwaffe bombings, the 10th Panzer division wasn’t able to penetrate the Polish lines. Polish forces Border Protection Corps Must field two bunker sections
German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie Schützenkompanie May field Heinz Guderian 64
The last stand at Góra Strękowa September 10th Frustrated by the lack of progress, the German command changed their tactics. Now they focused their efforts on isolated bunkers, taking them out one by one with the help of German engineers. Working through the night, several assaults were made, and with the support of Panzers the engineers had at 11am the following morning destroyed all but two heavy bunkers and many of the Polish trenches had been overrun. All that remained was the strongpoint atop Góra Strękowa where the last two bunkers were located and from where captain Raginis was leading the defense, despite most of the crew and himself being wounded. It is alleged that Heinz Guderian, in an attempt to end the Polish resistance, threatened the Polish commander that he would shoot the POWs if the remaining forces did not surrender (no
captives were shot). The final battle lasted for over an hour until the Poles ran out of ammunition, at which point captain Raginis ordered the remaining men to surrender while himself honoring his pledge by committing suicide using a grenade.
Polish forces Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections) Must field Captain Raginis. German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie Schützenkompanie May field Heinz Guderian
Pictures: Wizna bunker memorial, destroyed Pz I tank, Polish soldiers.
Narew Crossing: 750 points per side Polish briefing: Our outpost in the village of Wizna just made contact with the vanguard of the enemy. The bridge leading across the river must not fall into enemy hands, delay the German forces while our engineers mine the bridge.
Once the bridge is rigged with explosives move across the river with what troops you have left and destroy the bridge behind you. Try not to leave too many men behind, we are short of soldiers as it is and can’t afford losing more.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Germans deploy inside the blue 12x24” zone, 1 platoon must be kept in Reserve and will arrive from the rear of the German deployment. The German player places an objective marker at the Wizna end of the bridge (marked with black). The Poles deploy their entire force inside the red 24x24” zone, two platoons are placed deployed in Immediate Ambush. Beginning the battle Reconnaissance moves. German player has the first turn Ending the battle The battle lasts 6 turns. Mining the bridge Starting at the end of the Polish turn 2, the Polish player roll 1D6 to see whether or not the mining of the bridge is complete. On turn 2 a 6+ is needed, and every turn thereafter the requirement is lowered by 1. On turn 6 the bridge is automatically mined. Once mined the Polish player is free to blow it up whenever he sees fit, but the bridge must be blown up at the end of turn 6 no matter what. Deciding who won The Poles win once the bridge is blow up, 2CVP. Note the number of stranded friendly platoons north of the river, this is important for the next scenario! The Germans win if they manage to capture the objective at north end of the bridge, this prevents the Poles from blowing it up, 2CVP. To capture the objective the German player must have a friendly team in base contact with the objective and no enemy team may be within 4” of the objective. Only enemy teams on the north side of the river can interfere (teams across the river cannot interfere).
Holding the Line: Poles 1500 points*, Germans 1500 points Polish briefing: Without the bridge, the enemy was slowed valuable time for our army to withdraw down. Though German infantry made it across towards Warsaw. Every hour the Germans are the river their assaults were beaten back by delayed from bypassing us, the more troops our defenses during the night. German can be pulled away from the front around us engineers however have worked on restoring and reorganized at the next line of defense. the bridge and German tanks and armoured vehicles are forming up for the next attack Polish army strength* upon our fortified position. For each Polish platoon left north of the river The line must hold, our defensive position in the previous scenario the Polish player prevents entire German advance, buying fields -100 points in this battle. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his army inside the red zone, keeping 1 platoon in Delayed Reserve. 1 platoon may be kept in Ambush. The German player deploys 75% of his army inside the blue zone, remaining 25% of his platoons are kept in Reserve and will arrive either from the sides of the German deployment or from across the two bridges. Units cannot move onto the table over the river itself. German player places 1 objective in each of the 12x12” boxes marked in black. Both sites start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Beginning the battle Battle starts at DAWN (page 273 main FoW rulebook). German player makes reconnaissance moves. German player has the first turn Ending the battle The battle lasts 6 turns. Deciding who won The Polish player wins if at the end of his turn 6 the Germans have failed to capture either of the objectives, 2CVP German player wins if he can manage to take one of the objectives 2CVP
The last stand at Góra Strękowa: Polish 1400 points, Germans 1750 points Polish briefing: command bunkers atop Góra Strękowa The Germans have destroyed the fortified remain. The Germans still have to cross more positions on our flanks and the trenches open ground, through the marshland to get to around us have been overrun. Even now our position, continue the fight for as long as German engineer teams are advancing against your guns and rifles have ammunition. our position shielded by Panzers. Only the ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army inside the red zone. The Polish player has two bunkers positioned atop the hill overlooking the approach. All Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. All Polish units also start the battle Pinned down. The German player must keep 25% of his platoons in Delayed Reserve. Reserves arrive from the rear. Marshland The approach to the last Polish position atop the hill goes through marshland (marked on the map in bright green). Unless traversing the road, wheeled vehicles move at Very Slow speed. Tanks and halftracks move at Slow speed. Infantry on foot isn’t affected. Polish bunkers Each Polish bunker is armed with a 75mm gun and 1 CKM wz.30 heavy machinegun. Last stand The Polish player ignore the first two platoons destroyed when counting force morale. Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves, German player has the first turn. Ending the battle/Deciding who won The battle goes on until one of the following things occur: Both bunkers are destroyed = German victory 2CVP Polish army fails its company morale = German victory 1CVP The Polish player is awarded 1CVP at the start of the Polish turns 5 and every turn thereafter.
Operation: Battle at Bzura
The battle at Bzura was the largest battle of the Polish campaign and was initiated by the Poles who hoped it would break the German advance. The overall strategic situation of the Poles at the starting point of the operation was looking dark. The defense of the border had proven impossible, several armies were now retreating east and facing German encirclement as enemy motorized spearheads closed in from the north, south and west. In the northern parts of the country the “Pomorze” army was in serious trouble, in the south “Łódź” army was pushed back by the enemy. Due to the problems of their neighbor armies the “Poznań” army too started to fall back east as well. As the “Pomorze” army lost contact with the cut off Polish troops in the Polish corridor it moved south with the Germans in tow. On September 6th the retreating “Poznań” and “Pomorze” armies linked up and formed the strongest Polish concentration of troops to be seen during the campaign. This merged operational group was commanded by general Tadeusz Kutrzeba, commander of the “Poznań” army. The combined strength of this new Polish army was made up of some 225.000 Polish soldiers divided between 8 infantry divisions and 3 cavalry brigades (Greater Poland, Podolska and Pomeranian cavalry brigade). The Germans that would face them were the 8th Army under command of Johannes Blaskowitz coming in from the west, elements of the 10th army part of the Army Group South and the 4th army of Army Group North. All in all 12 infantry divisions and 5 armoured divisions with 425.000 men. The German force was also supported by the 1st and 4th Luftflotte provided by the Luftwaffe.
Pictures: Polish cavalry brigade during the battle at Bzura
Flanking the German 10th army September 9-10th The Polish offensive starts out towards Stryków, the aim is to the flank of the German 10th Army. The Polish “Poznań” army commenced their attack from the south of the Bzura river, its target being the German forces from the 8th Army advancing between Łęczyca and Łowicz, towards Stryków. The commander of “Poznań” army, Tadeusz Kutrzeba noticed that the German 8th Army, commanded by general Johannes Blaskowitz, was weakly secured from the north by only the 30th Infantry Division stretched over a 30 kilometer defensive line while the rest of the Germans were advancing towards Warsaw. Two cavalry brigades, “Podolska” under general Grzmot-Skotnicki and “Greater Poland” under general Abraham hit the German positions from the left and right flank. An attack that shattered the German positions held by the 24th and 30th infantry divisions, throwing them back 20 kilometers and losing 1500 men killed and wounded with twice that Polish push towards Łowicz September 13th Thrown back 20 kilometers south of their original position the Germans lost several town and villages previously captured to the Polish counteroffensive. Having underestimated the strength of the Polish army the Germans now redirected the bulk of the 10th army, 4th army and the reserves from Army Group South to crush the Poles. The German force also included the 1st and 4th Panzer divisions as well as the 1st SS division, “Liebstandarte SS Adolf Hitler”. German air superiority became apparent, and Polish movements during the day was significantly hindered. General Tadeusz Kutrzeba learned that units of “Łódź” army had retreated to the stronghold of Modlin Fortress, leaving the Polish flank open and vulnerable. On the morning of September 14th the Polish 26th and 16th Infantry Divisions crossed the Bzura river near Łowicz and the Polish 4th Infantry Division reached the road linking Łowicz with Głowno. At this point however, the German 4th Panzer Division was withdrawn from its fighting at the outskirts of
number taken prisoner. The Poles also made successful use of their reconnaissance tankettes in the battles during the attacks. The next day the Polish 17th infantry division clashed with the German 17th infantry division and continued to push the enemy back. The Germans who had been caught off guard were forced to redirect troops towards the Bzura river area to stop their rear from collapsing into disarray. Polish forces Pułk Kawalerii (no train) Piechoty Batalion (no train or aircraft) Armoured Unit (Reconnaissance) (no aircraft) Independent reconnaissance company The right force may field Roman Orlik German forces Infanteriekompanie (no SS) Pionierkompanie
Warsaw and used in the German counterattack, which now had an overwhelming advantage in tanks formed up and ready for battle. Polish forces Pułk Kawalerii (no train) Piechoty Batalion (no train or aircraft) Armoured Unit (Reconnaissance) (no aircraft) Independent reconnaissance company The right force may field Roman Orlik German forces Infanteriekompanie (no SS) Pionierkompanie Panzerspäh-Schwadron Schützenkompanie Kradschützenkompanie 1. Leichte Panzerdivision 3. Leichte Panzerdivision Leichte Panzerdivision Leichte Panzerdivision A Verlastate Panzerdivision Mittlere Panzerdivision LSSAH Reconnaissance company 70
Encirclement and breakout September 16-17th Realizing they were about to be encircled and destroyed plans were set in motion to break out of the Bzura pocket and drive towards Warsaw. On September 15th and 16th, the “Pomorze” army took up defensive positions on the northern bank of the Bzura river, while the remaining brigades and divisions of the “Poznań” army were preparing the breakout. In the meantime the Germans engaged most of their 10th army, including two armoured, one motorized, and three light divisions, equipped with some 800 tanks altogether. The attack on the Polish armies began on September 16th, German divisions hitting the Polish positions from all sides and the Luftwaffe supporting the attack with devastating efficiency and making it near impossible for the Poles to commence movement during the day. During the night of 17 September, the main forces of “Poznań” army attacked the German forces in order to break out of the German encirclement between Witkowice and Sochaczew. Several Polish divisions and cavalry brigades once again crossed the Bzura river, this time in retreat. Under cover of darkness Polish units fought their way through the German positions, but as morning broke the enemy began their chase attacking the defensive position on the banks of Bzura supported by 300 airplanes from the Luftwaffe and heavy artillery. Caught in artillery crossfire many Polish units were shattered, and those
that weren’t fortunate enough to have been part of the earlier breakout under cover of dark were encircled and cut off. The death throes of the Polish forces left in the Bzura pocked lasted for two more days until ammunition and food ran out. No further breakout attempts were possible, and but a fraction of the 225.000 soldiers ever made it out of the pocket. 100.000 were taken prisoner, 50.000 were wounded and 15.000 had been killed in the fighting. The Germans had lost around 8.000 in killed and wounded, 4.000 taken prisoner and 50 tanks. Polish forces Pułk Kawalerii (no train) Piechoty Batalion (no train or aircraft) Armoured Unit (Reconnaissance) (no aircraft) Independent reconnaissance company The right force may field Roman Orlik German forces Infanteriekompanie (no SS) Pionierkompanie Panzerspäh-Schwadron Schützenkompanie Kradschützenkompanie 1. Leichte Panzerdivision 3. Leichte Panzerdivision Leichte Panzerdivision Leichte Panzerdivision A Verlastate Panzerdivision Mittlere Panzerdivision LSSAH Reconnaissance company
Flanking the German 10th army: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Leading your forces at the spearhead of the Polish counterattack your forces cross the The positions are weakly defended and the Bzura river in the middle of the night. The Germans are unaware our presence and objective is to seize the villages across the unprepared for a Polish counterattack. Make river and establish a bridgehead for the haste and seize the villages under cover of remainder of our army to exploit when they dark as this will ensure confusion and panic cross the river in the morning. among the ranks of the enemy defenders. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army. The German player deploys 60% of his army, platoons must be evenly divided between the two villages. Remaining German platoons are held in Delayed Reserve. Reserves may arrive from the rear (along roads) of either German deployment zone. The Polish player places one objective in the northern village, at least 6” from any blue line, and a second objective in the southern village, at least 8” from any blue line. Beginning the battle Battle starts at Dawn (page 273 main FoW rulebook). Polish units, regardless of unit type, are allowed to make a Reconnaissance move. Polish player has first turn. Ending the battle The battle ends on turn 7 Deciding who won The player holding an objective at the end of turn 7 receives 1CVP. If the Polish side control both objectives at the start of any of their turns the battle ends 2CVP If the Polish side fail to control any objective by the end of turn 7 the Germans receive 2CVP
Polish push towards Łowicz: 1500-2000 points per side Polish briefing: The Germans were pushed back and temporarily taken by surprise by our counteroffensive. They have however since then redirected much of their armies in the area given our operation their full attention. This upcoming battle will be a true test of strength, and the height of the Polish counterattack at Bzura. Note: This battle should be played on a 8x4’ table. Recommendation: Playing 1750-2000 points is recommended, but as some force charts don’t have enough units the following solution applies: Polish Armoured Unit (Reconnaissance) and Independent Reconnaissance Company both receive 1 additional “Piechoty Company” slot in their divisional support. German forces finding themselves short of units, are allowed to boost their ranks with up to 3 “Old infanterie” platoons from the Infanteriekompanie force organization chart.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The player who lost the “Flanking the German 10th army” scenario deploys 50% of his platoons on the table. 25% are held in Reserve, 25% are held in Delayed Reserve. Reserves arrive from the rear of each players deployment zone. The player who won “Flanking the German 10th army” scenario deploys 50% of his platoons on the table. 25% of his platoons are held in Reserve, and 25% of his platoons will arrive automatically at the start of the players turn 3. Polish player places one objective inside the 12x12” zone south of the German deployment,. German player places one objective inside the 12x12” zone north of the Polish deployment.
Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn Ending the battle/Deciding who won Starting on turn 5, the player who holds both objectives receive 3CVP and the game ends. If neither player holds both objectives by the end of turn 7 the game ends and both players receive 1CVP 73
Encirclement and breakout: 1500 points per side The Germans have surrounded our armies and provide cover for our withdrawal, but German they are about to close the trap. You are to units are swarming our flanks and it is only a lead your troops in a breakout attempt matter of time before you will find yourself through the Kampinos forest. The forest will unable to leave the Bzura pocket. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle If the Polish player won the “Polish push towards Łowicz” scenario he is allowed to deploy his entire army on the table. If the Polish player didn’t win the previous battle he must keep 25% of his platoons in Reserve. Units in reserve arrive from the rear of the Polish deployment. The German player numbers the 6 blue entry points from 1-6. At the start of turn 1, the German player is allowed to enter one platoon from each top corner entry point and two platoons from a random location. At the start of turn 2, and every turn thereafter, the German player is allowed to bring one new platoon onto the table from a randomly determined entry point. Starting the battle Battle starts at Dawn (page 273 main FoW rulebook). Polish player has the first turn. Ending the battle/Deciding who won The Polish objective is to escape with as many platoons off the opposite table edge. The Germans are attempting to prevent this from happening. The battle lasts until the Poles move off the opposite table edge with all their remaining platoons, or once either side fails their company morale check. If the Germans fail their company morale check, all remaining Polish platoons on the table count as having escaped. If the Poles fail their company morale check all remaining platoons on the table count as destroyed. Polish side receives CVP for the following achievements: Escaping off the table with at least 2 platoons +1CVP Escaping off the table with more platoons than the Germans stopped/destroyed 2CVP Escaping off the table with at least twice as many platoons than the Germans destroyed 3CVP Escaping with both the CO and 2iC (companies with only CO, only count the CO) +1CVP German side receives CVP for the following achievements: Destroying at least 2 Polish platoons +1CVP More destroyed Polish platoons than the number of escaped platoons 2CVP Destroying at least twice the number of platoons the Poles manage to escape with 3CVP Killing the Polish CO and 2iC (or only CO if no 2iC is present) +1CVP
Operation: The siege of Warsaw
The battle for Warsaw began on September 1st when the first German bombers and clashed with the Polish pursuit fighter brigade guarding the Warsaw skies. The Polish brigade had 54 fighters of PZL.7 and PZL.11 class. The city also had 86 Bofors AA guns and numerous AA machineguns shielding the skies. Some 43 enemy airplanes had been shot down by the fighter brigade and roughly the same number by the Polish AA guns by September 6th. The toll on the Polish airforce however was high, 38 Polish fighters had been shot down, reducing the brigade to 30% of its original operational strength. The AA batteries guarding the city were also reduced in number AA guns were pulled from the city and sent to other cities of importance like Lwów. On September 3rd Brigadier General Walerian Czuma was given the order to prepare the city defenses for land battle as the XVI German motorized corps was moving towards Warsaw from the south-west. Since the Wisła river was cutting through Warsaw, the defense like the city was organized in a western and a eastern flank. The defenders were bolstered by the 5th infantry division which had up to that point been held in reserve under the Commander in Chief. On September 6th, the president and other high officials, due to the imminent danger of a German attack by land, evacuated the city. Two days later on September 8th, the Germans tried to take Warsaw by storming the city with the 1st and 4th Panzer divisions, but were beaten back by surprisingly strong Polish opposition. The 4th Panzer division in particular suffered high casualty ratio as the tanks tried to force their way through the streets of the south-western districts of Warsaw, Ochota and Wola, where the attack bogged down and was repelled. Despite German radio broadcasts claiming the city taken, the Germans were held at the city outskirts where Polish field fortifications had been erected and constantly received additional soldiers and volunteers to guard the line. Warsaw was under siege, something that would last September 28th when the Polish garrison under General Walerian Czuma capitulated. The day after the capitulation approximately 100,000 Polish soldiers left the city and were taken POW. On October 1st the Wehrmacht entered Warsaw, which started a period of German occupation that lasted until January 17th, 1945 when the Soviet Red Army entered the smoldering moonscape that was left after the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.
Initial clashes September 8th Field fortifications had been constructed mainly on the west flank of the city limits. Gradually, the forces of General Czuma were reinforced with volunteers, as well as rearguard Polis troops and units withdrawing from the front. On the morning of September 8 , the suburbs of Grójec, Radziejowice, Nadarzyn, Raszyn and Piaseczno were captured by forces of German XVI Panzer Corps. At 5PM the forces of German 4th Panzer Division attempted an assault on Warsaw's western borough Ochota. The assault was repelled and the German forces suffered heavy casualties with many Panzer I and Panzer II tanks lost. The following day, the 4th Panzer Division was reinforced with artillery and motorized infantry, and started another assault at the Ochota and Wola districts. The well-placed Polish 75 mm anti-tank guns firing at point-blank range, and the barricades erected on main streets managed to repel this assault as well. On several occasions lack of armament had to be made up by ingenuity. One of the streets Modlin fortress September 13th-29th The battle for Modlin fortress raged from September 13th to the 29th. The Modlin Fortress was initially the headquarters of the “Modlin” army until its retreat eastwards. Between September 13-29 it served as a defensive citadel for Polish forces under the command of General Wiktor Thommée against assaulting German units. The fighting was closely linked with the strategic situation of the siege of Warsaw due to its anti-aircraft battery which shielded Warsaw and disrupted Luftwaffe operations. The Polish forces defending the fortress included the armored train “Śmierć” (“Death”), and the Modlin anti-aircraft battery was credited with shooting down more Luftwaffe planes than any other during the entire campaign. Apart from the main citadel, the Poles had built several fortified strongpoint’s and trench lines covering every approach towards Modlin fortress, the towns
leading towards the city centre was covered with turpentine from a nearby factory. When the German tanks approached, the liquid was set aflame and the tanks were destroyed without a single shot. The German forces suffered heavy casualties and had to retreat westward to help thwart the Bzura River counter offensive. The 4th Panzer Division alone lost approximately 80 tanks out of 220 tanks that took part in the assault. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, R-35 OR Vickers E platoon instead of FT-17 platoon option) Pułk Kawalerii (no train) German forces Mittlere Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie LSSAH Reconnaissance company Infanteriekompanie (no train)
of Zakroczym, Nowy Dwór , several villages and the rivers Narew and Wisła at the point where Narew was running into the Wisła. Just as the Polish stronghold was circular, the German attacks also came from every direction on all sides of the two rivers. The defenders of Modlin capitulated on September 29th, being among the last remnants of the Polish army to lay down its arms during the campaign. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no tanks or aircraft) German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Panzerspäh-Schwadron Schützenkompanie Kradschützenkompanie Panzerdivision “Kempf”
Praga retaliates September 16th On September 16th the German forces of General Blaskowitz tried to capture Praga, the eastern part of Warsaw, launching an assault that was repelled. After heavy fights for the Grochów area the German 23rd Infantry Regiment was annihilated by the Polish defenders belonging to the 21st "Children of Warsaw" Infantry Regiment under colonel (later promoted to general) Stanisław Sosabowski. Reinforcements from Bzura September 17-22nd After the Battle of Bzura ended, the remnants of the “Poznań” and the “Pomorze” armies broke through German encirclement and arrived in Warsaw and Modlin. The reinforcements bolstered the defenders with what remained of the “Poznań” and “Pomorze armies”, along with units from the Podolska, Pomorska and Greater Poland cavalry regiments. Led by General Kutrzeba himself the Polish remnants were fighting a bloody fighting withdrawal through the Kampinos forest and breakout through the fields around Warsaw, during this operation three Polish generals were killed in action. Many of the soldiers arriving at Warsaw owed their lives and freedom to a single battalion of the Kaniowskich Rifle regiment who had sacrificed itself on September 21st in their lone defense of the district Wawrzyszew in a fight against the German 24th Infantry division supported by tanks and artillery. The Polish battalion lost 500 soldiers, but singlehandedly stopped the attack.
Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train or aircraft) (R-35 OR Vickers E platoon instead of FT-17 platoon option) German forces Infanteriekompanie (no train)
With the new arrivals the defenders were bolstered to approximately 120,000 soldiers. The German forces who at the same time were preparing for an all-out assault numbered some 175,000 soldiers. On September 22nd the last lines of communication between Warsaw and Modlin were cut by German forces reaching the Wisła. The eastern parts of Warsaw now saw daily assaults performed by Blaskowitz and his army. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, aircraft or tanks) Pułk Kawalerii (no train) German forces Infanteriekompanie (no SS or train) Pionierkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A
Picture: German soldiers advancing behind a Pz II tank. 77
All out German assault 25-27th September Preparing the city to be stormed Warsaw was shelled day and night by artillery and aerial bombardment. Among the guns used were heavy railway guns and mortars. Two full air fleets took part in the air raids against both civilian and military targets. Since September 20th the forces on the eastern bank of the Wisła started attacks on Praga on a daily basis but all German attacks were successfully counter-attacked by the Polish forces. On September 24th all German units concentrated around Warsaw were put under command of General Johannes Blaskowitz who had until then only commanded the troops on the eastern side of the city. The Germans were made ready to take the completely surrounded city by storm on September 26th, the western parts of Warsaw was attacked by 5 divisions (10th, 18th, 19th, 31st and 46th) while the eastern part was attacked by 4 divisions (11th, 32nd, 61st and 217th). The attack was supported by approximately 70 batteries of field artillery, 80 batteries of heavy artillery and two entire air fleets (1st and 4th), which bombarded the city continuously causing heavy losses on the civilian population. The German onslaught was despite all of this once again repelled and the German forces had to fall back to their initial positions. The
following night the Polish forces managed to successfully counter-attack and destroyed several German outposts, especially fierce were the counter attacks at the Polish positions in boroughs of Mokotów and Praga. On September 27th the German High Command organized yet another all-out assault that was yet again repelled with heavy casualties on both sides. With most of Poland’s armies defeated, General Czuma saw further Polish resistance as pointless and that it would only lead to more civilian casualties. The same day, at 12:00am a ceasefire was signed and all stopped. Soon afterwards Warsaw capitulated. On September 29 the garrison of Warsaw started to hide or destroy their heavy armament. The city had capitulated, but only by choice and not brute force. Polish forces Piechoty battalion (no train or aircraft) (R-35 OR Vickers E platoon instead of FT-17 platoon option) Pułk Kawalerii (no train) Warsaw city defense HQ tank company German forces Infanteriekompanie (no train) Pionierkompanie
“Hello? Do you hear us? This is our last broadcast. Today, German units entered Warsaw. A brotherly salute to the soldiers fighting at the Hel peninsula and to everyone still fighting no matter where you are. Poland has not yet perished, long live Poland! (national anthem starts playing)” Last Polish broadcast from Warsaw on September the 28th
Initial Clashes: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Having captured some of the Warsaw suburbs to hold their ground and keep the Germans th the German 4 panzer divisions supported by from breaching the defense line and move infantry directed their attack towards the into the city centre. The attempt to take the Ochota district at the edge of Warsaw itself. city by surprise failed and was beaten back The dug in Polish defenders were determined with heavy losses in tanks. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player keeps two platoons in Delayed Reserve, and then deploys the rest of his army. One platoon may be held in Ambush. Polish Reserves arrive from the rear. Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The German player will arrive with his entire army onto the table from the left table edge on turn 1. The German player may hold any number of platoons in Reserve. Polish player places an objective in the central 12”x12” square, the German player places 1 objective inside each rear 12”x12” square. Strongpoints and flanking German Reserves The Poles have 1 strong point on each flank located 8” from the table edges (marked on the map with a black circle). These strongpoint are large emplacements. Once the German player has cleared a position from any Polish units (no Polish teams left inside them) he may bring in his Reserves from the nearby flank starting on next turn. If both locations are captured, both flanks can be used to bring in Reserves. The German player start counting Reserve dice at the start of his turn 1. Turpentine traps At the start of any Polish turn, the Polish player is allowed to place a minefield sized marker on any road section inside his deployment. All German teams hit by the marker count as if they were hit by a flamethrower. Beginning the battle On Defenders Turn 4 start rolling for Dusk (page 273 main FoW rulebook). Reconnaissance moves. German player has the first turn. Ending the battle The battle lasts 7 turns. Deciding who won Poles win the battle if they are able to hold all 3 2CVP. The Germans win the battle if they are able to capture any one of the 3 objectives 2CVP 79
Modlin Fortress: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: The Modlin Fortress and its surrounding area formed a strategically important Polish strongpoint north of Warsaw, which provided the capital with an AA-battery shield against the Luftwaffe approaching the city from the north. Polish defenses were made up of several fortified positions flanking the towns
and villages of the area, protected in the back by the rivers Narew and Wisła. You are holding the westernmost flank on the northern banks of the Wisła, at the fortified position nr1 with the town Zakrocznym to your left and the Modlin fortress to your right. The primary enemy formation is made up of the German Panzerdivision “Kempf”. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player holds 25% of his platoons in Reserve, the rest of his units are deployed on the table inside the 18”x72” zone. Reserves arrive from the left and the right Polish flank, troops cannot arrive from the rear due to the river. The German player has Armoured Reserves (page 269 main FoW rulebook). The rest of the German troops are deployed inside the 6”x72” zone. The German player places 3 objectives on the table, one in each zone marked in black. Objectives must be placed at least 12” onto the table from the river edge, at least 6” from the Polish front line, and at least 18” from another objective. Both sides start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Armoured train “Śmierć” (“Death”) The Polish player may choose to either field the train on the table, or use it for off table bombardment. If kept off table, the Polish player must rely on remaining teams in his army to spot for the train artillery. Off table train counts as one of the “25% platoons in Reserve”, and also counts as if in “On table” when making force morale checks. Beginning the battle German player makes Reconnaissance moves. German player has first turn. Ending the battle Battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won The Polish player wins if the Germans fail to hold any one objective at the end of the Polish turn 6 2CVP. A Polish victory also makes German air support count as Sporadic Air Support during the remainder of the operation. Make sure to write this down. The Germans win if they hold at least 1 objective at the end of Polish turn 6. 2CVP 80
Praga Retaliates 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Following the repelled attacks launched at the Ochota district and against the Modlin fortress outside of Warsaw, the Germans mounted yet another attack. This time the attack was launched against the Praga district on the eastern banks of the Vistula. The attacks would from now on become a daily feature in the lives of the defenders. Despite the bombardment and numerous attempts to breach the line, the Germans were held back by counterattacking Polish troops. Your objective is to hold the line, and if possible counterattack and reclaim lost ground from the Germans. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army; up to two platoons may be kept in Ambush. The German player deploys his entire army. German player places one objective in each 12x12” area inside the Polish deployment zone. Polish player deploys 1 objective in each 12x12” area in no man’s land. Both sides start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Street barricades If the Polish player won “Initial clashes” scenario, he may place 2 street barricade sections anywhere inside his deployment zone (page 228 main FoW rulebook) Beginning the battle Battle starts at Dusk (page 273 main FoW rulebook) Reconnaissance moves, Germans have the first turn. Ending the battle Battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won The Polish player wins if by the end of turn 7 the Germans have failed to capture either of the objectives located in the Polish deployment zone, 2CVP. Polish player receive +1CVP for capturing either of the objectives in no-man’s land. The German player wins if he at any point captures either of the two objectives in the Polish deployment zone 2CVP.German player receives +1CVP for preventing the Polish player from capturing either objective in no-man’s land.
Reinforcements from Bzura: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Polish units that broke out of the Bzura pocket and fought their way through the Kampinos forest are heading towards Warsaw to join up with the defenders. and Pomorze armies. Your objective is to prevent the enemy from breaching our defense at Wawrzyszew. If we lose this district our brothers from Bzura will be encircled on the fields outside of Warsaw.
The Germans are closing in from all sides Keep the positions at all cost! trying to cut off the remnants of the Poznań ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player splits his army in half. Half of the platoons (rounded up) are deployed inside the Polish 18x42” deployment zone, these troops are in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The other half of the Polish force move onto the table from the 24x12” south-east edge during the Polish turn 1. The Germans move 75% of their platoons onto the table during turn 1 from the 6x12” edges in the north-east and south-west corners. The remainder of the German army is kept in Reserve. Beginning the battle Starting with the Polish player, both armies make Reconnaissance moves onto the table with their recce units. Polish player has first turn. Ending the battle/deciding who won The battle lasts until the Polish player moves at least 50% of those platoons that moved onto the table in the south-east corner off the table along the northwest corner 6x6” edge. Units that leave the table from the north-west corner don’t count as destroyed when counting platoon morale. Count them as if they were active platoons still on the table. If the Polish player manages to fulfill this condition than he receives 2CVP. +1CVP if more than 50% of the platoons from the south-east corner made it off table. The Germans win if they prevent the Polish player to move 50% of his platoons from the south-east corner off table 2CVP. +1CVP if no Polish units made it off table.
Picture: Polish infantry marching. 82
All out German assault: Poles 1750/2000 points , Germans 2000/2250 points Polish briefing: The Germans are attacking with everything they have; this may well be their final assault. Our forces in western parts of Warsaw are fighting 5 divisions, while the defenders of the eastern parts are fighting 4 divisions. Our positions are heavily bombarded by artillery and by the Luftwaffe. Prepare for the final battle, don’t let the enemy breach the city defenses. Use street barricades, trenches and buildings to your advantage. You may want to use what tanks we have left in the Warsaw city defense HQ tank company to improve defenses where it may be needed the most. Note: This battle is played on a 4x8’ table. Suggestion: This battle may be fun to play with 2 players on each side. If that’s the case, one Polish player must play a Piechoty Batalion while the other plays the Warsaw City Defense HQ tank company. Each team should split points evenly.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player must deploy 50% of his platoons in the leftmost 24x48” area marked in black, 25% of his platoons in the center area and 25% in the rightmost area. Any vehicle/tank platoons must be placed in the center zone. This deployment symbolize three ”lines of defense”. The German player deploys 25% of his platoons on the table in the 6”x48” blue zone. 50% of the army will move onto the table at the start of German turn 1, the remaining 25% will move onto the table at the start of German turn 2. German units move onto the
table from the rear of the German deployment. Both sides start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. German artillery and airplane bombardment After deployment, but before the game begins, the German player gets to perform 1 free Stuka-Schwerpunkt bombing run (German player does not need to have air support in his list), and fire 1 free artillery bombardment with every single one of his artillery platoons that have been deployed on the table (targets do not remain ranged in).
Picture: Smoke rising from fires in Warsaw Picture: AA-mg team defending Warsaw 83
Beginning the battle Germans have the first turn Ending the battle Battle ends when the victory conditions have been met Deciding who won Forcing the enemy to rout due to a failed company morale check 2CVP (no Crushing victory bonus applies in this battle) +1CVP to the German side if they broke the Polish force morale before the Polish turn 6 +1CVP for destroying at least 50% of the enemy platoons. +1CVP to the German player for each “line of defense” his units have passed during the battle. +1CVP to the Polish player for each “line of defense” the enemy didn’t breach
Picture: German troops outside of Warsaw. 84
Operation: The Black brigade
The Polish “Krakow” army was situated in the south of Poland near the city of Krakow and the Carpathian and Beskides mountains. Its main task was to delay advancing German troops and withdraw eastwards along the northern line of the Carpathian’s and defend the heavily industrialized region of upper Silesia. The army was forced to retreat when the Germans penetrated Polish defenses to the north which threatened to encircle the army. Falling back eastwards the “Krakow” army tried to organize several lines of defense along the rives Nida, Dunajec and later, San. Attached to the “Krakow” army was the 10th motorized cavalry brigade under Colonel Maczek, dubbed the “Black brigade” by the Germans due to the black coats the motorcycle troops and officers were wearing. The brigade formed the rearguard for the “Krakow” army and fought delaying battles against the advancing German 4th Light Panzer division, 2nd Panzer Division and the 3rd Mountain division as the German Army Group South advanced deeper into Polish territory. The 10th motorized cavalry brigade was something of a Polish success story, the high quality of its soldiers, well armed with anti-tank guns and well led the brigade used its outdated Vickers tanks to perfection and the mountainous terrain offered excellent defensive possibilities. Despite the ungrateful task of acting as a rearguard against numerically and technologically better equipped German armies, the 10th motorized cavalry brigade managed to inflict heavy losses on its enemies and always held its ground for as long as was required and was never defeated in battle. Jordanów September 2-3rd To counter the threat of the southern invasion, General Szylling ordered the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade to move out from its position near Krakow and drive south towards the town of Jordanów. Elements of the brigade had already been engaged in battle during the previous day alongside the Polish 1st Mountain brigade and the 1st KOP regiment. Overnight most of the 10th motorized cavalry brigade was transported to the area to reinforce the crumbling defense. The brigade entered combat almost instantly and fought the 2nd Panzer division. The Germans bombarded the Poles with artillery and then made an all out assault on their position hoping the sheer numbers would crush them, but were driven back losing 30 tanks in the process. The defenders suffered heavy casualties, primarily among the KOP and
volunteer units but the front stabilized and the Germans were stopped for the time being. Determined to take the hills the Germans launched three more assaults on the Polish positions, all of them failed. It was not until late in the afternoon when the Germans finally seized the hills, by then the Polish units were withdrawing under cover of darkness, and aided by armoured train nr.51 “Pierwszy Marszałek” . In total the Germans had lost 50 tanks and 20 armoured vehicles during the battle. Polish forces 10th Motorized cavalry brigade German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie Gebirgsjägerkompanie 85
Ambush in the Beskides mountains September 4-5th Following the battle of Jordanów, the brigade was slowly withdrawing east along the Beskides mountains of southern Poland. Order came to organize delaying actions along the rivers and mountain ranges to buy time for other Polish units in the area to withdraw as well. Despite being badly outnumbered, colonel Maczek organized an ambush near the towns of Lubień and Sucha Beskidzka. Dug in the 10th motorized cavalry brigade inflicted additional losses on the German Panzer units following their trail. The 10th Motorized cavalry brigade now found itself fighting alongside units of the “Karpaty” army. The “Karpaty” army was mainly made up of weakly armed National Guard and Border Protection Corps (KOP) units, but it had contact with Polish airforce wings which were yet operating alongside the mountain range and provided air support where it was Defense of Jarosław 10-11th September Again came the order for the 10th motorized cavalry brigade to withdraw east. The brigade kept setting up ambushes along their trail, a tactic which proved highly successful against the German panzers. The Germans could only advance 10-20 kilometers per day while suffering heavy losses in men and equipment. The Germans finally managed to breach one of the Polish flanks and endangered the brigade with encirclement. The brigade withdrew east and found itself arriving at the town of Jarosław which was defended by 4 infantry battalions against the incoming German 2nd Panzerdivision and 4th Light Panzerdivision. Colonel Maczek realized how weak of a defensive position the town was so he
needed. As such the advancing German 2nd Panzerdivision coming in from the south-west found itself bombed at Jordanów and at the village of Podwilko losing several more tanks, and the 4th Light Panzer division advancing from the south-east was bombed on the road near the town of Nowy Targ. German attacks were once again halted and beaten back. Polish forces 10th Motorized cavalry brigade (no train) German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie Panzerspäh-Schwadron Kradschützenkompanie
organized the troops to defend a bridgehead at the town while the rest of the Polish force moved across the San river. The battalions defending the town managed to hold the Germans at bay, and withdrew at the last possible moment when the town fell into the hands of enemy Panzer units. Polish forces 10th Motorized cavalry brigade (no train or aircraft) German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie
Picture: German armoured reconnaissance unit
Siege of Lwów 13-17th September Initially, the town of Lwów was not to be defended as it was considered too deep behind the Polish lines and too important to Polish culture to be used in warfare. However, the fast pace of the German invasion threatened this important railroad junction and the city had been bombed since September 1st. Initially the town was sparsely by infantry battalions, National guard and KOP units, but became prior to battle reinforced to a total strength of 11 battalions, 5 artillery batteries, some cavalry and sapper units all belonging to the “Karpaty” army. Command of the city's defense was passed to General Franciszek Sikorski, a veteran of both the WW1 and the Polish-Bolshevik War, and brother of General Władysław Sikorski. The Germans were moving towards Lwów with the 1st Gebirgsjäger division, from which motorized elements were scrambled and sent in a hurry towards Lwów with the objective to breach the Polish defenses and reach the outskirts of the city, cutting off any Polish attempts to reinforce the position. The 10th motorized cavalry brigade arrived north of Lwów on September 13th, and were instantly ordered to fight their way into the city through the German occupied village of Zboisk, the brigade seized the town and continued fighting as an active part of the city
Picture: Polish Vickers E type A/B tanks defense in and around the village of Zboisk as well as hill 324, the fighting kept the road into the northern part of Lwów open. On September 17th on the day of the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland, the brigade was ordered to head for the Hungarian border and evacuate the country. Colonel Maczek led what was left of his brigade, 1.500 men and a couple of tankettes. The brigade would reform with Maczek as their commander in France 1940 and again in Britain in 1942. Polish forces 10th Motorized cavalry brigade (no train or aircraft) German forces Gebirgsjägerkompanie
Picture: German soldiers inspecting a destroyed Polish Vickers E type B tank. 87
Jordanów: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: The defense of Jordanów is crumbling under the pressure of German panzers, your task is to provide support to the positions on the hills surrounding the town. Reinforce the hills, and await further orders. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 1 infantry or gun team of his choice on each of the three hills. These platoons begin the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The remainder of the Polish army is deployed inside the 24x24” deployment zone. The German player will move onto the table from the southwest corner along the 18x18” line during turn 1. 25% of the German army is held in Reserve and 25% is held in Delayed Reserve. Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn. Ending the battle Battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won The Polish player must reinforce each of the three hills so that there are at least two friendly platoons guarding it by the end of turn 6. Players have to decide prior to the battle the footprint of each hill to avoid argument.
Picture: Destroyed Pz II
If the Polish player has 2 platoons (fully inside hill borders) on each hill, and there are no enemy teams on any of the hills by the end of turn 6, the Polish player has won, 2CVP If the Polish player has 2 platoons on each hill, but also have German teams on either hill each player receives 1CVP If either hill has less than two Polish platoons by the end of turn 6 the Germans win, 2CVP 88
Ambush in the Beskides mountains: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Falling back from Jordanów new orders have been issued to your brigade, you are to shield the retreating “Krakow” army by delaying the pursuing German 2nd Panzer and 4th Light Panzer divisions. The ideal locations for this action would be near the towns of Lubień and
Sucha Beskidzka, both lend themselves well for ambushes and the bottleneck terrain will slow down enemy attacks on your position. It is of utmost importance that the line holds; don’t lose any ground to the invaders!
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle All Polish tanks platoons (including tankettes) are held in Delayed Reserve. The rest of the force is deployed behind the red line and in Prepared Positions and Gone to ground. The Polish player may hold up to two platoons in Ambush. The German player deploys his entire army 6” onto the table. The German player proceeds to place one objective inside each one of the 18x24” boxes, it must be at least 6” from any black border. Beginning the battle German player makes Reconnaissance moves German player has first turn Ending the battle The battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won If the Polish player controls both objectives at the end of his turn 6 he has won, 2CVP. If the German player starts any of his turn controlling either objective he wins and the battle ends, 2CVP.
Defense of Jarosław: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: The “Krakow” army continues its retreat is tactically pointless, the only option left is to towards Lwów, your brigade arrives at the hold the town long enough for the rest of your town of Jarosław only to find it already under brigade and the town defenders to withdraw attack by the Germans. The risk of being across the river and continue east towards encircled is severe, defense of the town itself Lwów yourself. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army behind the red line, one platoon may be held in Ambush. The Polish army starts in Prepared Positions and Gone to ground. The German player deploys his entire army. The Polish player now places 1 objective in the 12x36” zone, at least 4” from any black border. The German player now places two objectives inside the black zone, at least 4” from any black border and at least 12” from another objective. Beginning the battle German player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends when either the attacker starts any of his turns controlling either one of the three objectives OR at the start of the Polish turn 8. Deciding who won The battle is a fighting withdrawal situation, and uses the Strategic Withdrawal rules on page 270 in the main FoW rulebook. The player who wins the scenario receives 2CVP.
Picture: German Panzer column
Siege of Lwów: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: You finally reach Lwów, but the city is already besieged, approaching the city from the north leaves you with only one route – through the village of Zboisk, currently in German hands. Orders from the commander of the city defense is for your brigade to seize Zboisk and hold it from falling back into enemy hands, this will leave the northern road into Lwów open for supplies and reinforcements. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys 75% of his platoons, the remaining platoons are held in Reserve or if the Polish player lost the previous battle then they are held in Delayed reserve. Reserves arrive from the rear. The German player deploys 50% of his platoons in the blue deployment zone in the middle, these platoons begin the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Then 25% of his platoons are deployed in the in the blue deployment zone in the south, the remaining 25% of his platoons are held in Reserve. The Polish player now places one objective inside the 24x36” black zone, the objectives must be at 6” from any black edge. The German player now places one objective inside the black zone, the objective can be placed anywhere as long as it is within 12” or closer to the objective placed by the Polish player. Beginning the battle Polish player makes Reconnaissance moves. Polish player has the first turn. Ending the battle The battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won At the end of turn 7 the player with most platoons completely inside the 24x36” black zone wins. When counting platoons, the Polish player adds +1 to his number for each objective he controls. If the Germans control both objectives at the end of turn 7 they add +1 to their number of platoons. Winning the scenario yields 2CVP
Operation: Tomaszów Lubelski
The battle of Tomaszów Lubelski was the second largest battle of the campaign and the largest tank battle to occur during between two opposing armies during the campaign. This was mainly due to the involvement of the Warsaw armoured motorized brigade which was at the time a largely unspent force and which still had much of its equipment and vehicles intact. The Polish forces were also bolstered by the remnants of the 1st Light tank battalion, which had been part of the “Prusy” army but which had been partially destroyed and then separated. The 1st Light tank battalion which consisted of single turret 7TP tanks crossed the Wisła river and joined the “Lublin” army along with the Warsaw armoured motorized brigade on September 13th. The Poles were trying to fight their way towards Lwów, using the 1st Light tank battalion as the spearhead of their attack. Beside the remnants of the 1st Light tank battalion and the Warsaw armoured motorized brigade the rag tag Polish force included the 6th, 23rd, 55th and parts of the 21st infantry divisions as well as the Krakow cavalry regiment. This was pretty much all that remained of the “Krakow” and “Lublin” armies at this point. On their march to the south-east the Polish force was chased by the German 8th and 28th infantry divisions moving in from the north-west, the German 27th infantry division moving in from the north and north-east and the 4th Light Panzerdivision moving in from the south. The Poles had to fight battles on the flanks and rear while continuing their march south. Finally being surrounded decision was made to attack towards the town of Tomaszów Lubelski to the south-east. Lacking any kind of air support the Polish force didn’t know the strength of the German armies opposing them. Despite this general Antoni Szylling, commander of the “Krakow” army issued an order to attack, hoping that the Warsaw armoured motorized brigade and what tanks remained of the 1st Light tank battalion would be able to punch through the German ring surrounding them. The city was important due to being strategically located at the center of several roads, and needed to be passed in order for the Polish force to continue their march further east or south. This led to what became the first battle of Tomaszów Lubelski, 17-20th September, the Warsaw armoured motorized brigade moved towards the town in two columns, one northern column which made contact with the enemy north-west of the town near the villages of Pankow, Szara Wola and Zamiany. This attack was stopped by the Germans. The southern column broke through German positions west of the town, near the villages of Lasochy and Kunki, and reached Tomaszów Lubelski where the attackers were beaten back by the Germans. The fighting had cost the Poles 36 tanks, 930 killed and 1200 wounded, the Germans had lost 870 killed and 720 wounded. Exhausted, the remaining 20.000 troops of the Polish “Lublin” army capitulated. Soon after first battle, another Polish army, “Northern front”, which had been created from various shattered regiments and divisions, among them parts of the “Modlin” army and also the Nowogrod cavalry brigade under command of Władysław Anders. This Polish force made contact with the enemy on September 22nd, and started the second battle for Tomaszów Lubelski which lasted until September 27th. The Polish force moved in on the town from the north-east, and fought with several German infantry divisions, Tomaszów Lubelski had by then also been reinforced by the 2nd Panzerdivision. The second battle also saw fighting between Polish and German cavalry units belonging to the 1. Kavalleriebrigade, fighting was performed with cold steel until Germans broke off. The main Polish attack towards the town itself however was stopped and shattered, the Poles lost 1020 killed and 1000 wounded, the Germans lost 890 killed and 700 wounded. 6.000 Polish soldiers and 500 officers ended up prisoners after the capitulation. Only fragments of the Nowogrod cavalry brigade was able to fight its way out of the encirclement.
First battle of Tomaszów Lubelski September 17-20th The combined “Lublin-Krakow” army remnants are attempting their breakout of the German encirclement through attack on Tomaszów Lubelski. The Polish force is mostly down to 30-50% of its operational strength due to days of fighting so it is up to the Warsaw armoured motorized brigade which is largely unspent to lead the attack supported by the 1st Light tank battalion. The Germans have set up defenses in several villages west of Tomaszów Lubelski and the two columns of the Warsaw armoured motorized brigade must first force their way through the outer defenses in order to reach the town itself.
Polish forces Warsaw armoured motorized brigade (no aircraft) Light Tank company 7TP (may swap 1 Divisional support “Piechoty company” for a “WAMB Zmotoryzowanej company”)
German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Verlastete Panzerkompanie Schützenkompanie Kradschützenkompanie Panzerspäh-Schwadron
Second battle of Tomaszów Lubelski September 22-27th The second Polish contingent moving south towards the Romanian bridgehead arrives at Tomaszów Lubelski, the original idea of supporting the ongoing attack proved too late. And while pressured on the flanks by the 4th Light Panzerdivision the Polish remnants were forced to attempt a breakout attempt themselves. Due to bad communication between the divisions the result was several largely uncoordinated attacks by the Polish units arriving from the north-east, launched in the direction of the city only to be shattered by the German defenders. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train or aircraft) Pułk Kawalerii (no train)
German forces 1.Kavalleriebrigade Leichte Panzerkompanie Verlastete Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Schützenkompanie Kradschützenkompanie Panzerspäh-Schwadron
Picture: German PzII commander
First battle of Tomaszów Lubelski: 1750-2000 points per side Polish briefing: Leading the southern column in its attack towards Tomaszów Lubelski your first obstacle is to fight your way through the villages of Lasochy and Kunki. Once the villages are secured continue towards the town and seize it. Note: This battle should be played on a 8x4’ table to allow enough room for the large forces. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army. German player holds two platoons in Reserve, the rest of his platoons are evenly deployed between the two village 18x18” zones and the outskirts of Tomaszów Lubelski 12x36” zone. German reinforcements will arrive along the full 48” Tomaszów Lubelski table edge. German units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The Germans may hold up to two non vehicle platoons in Ambush. The Polish player now places one objective in each village, 4” from any blue border, and two objectives in the Tomaszów Lubelski outskirts, 4” from any blue border and at least 12” from each other.
Beginning the battle Polish player makes reconnaissance moves. Polish player has first turn. Ending the battle/Deciding who won The battle ends when either the Polish player starts his turn controlling at least 3 objectives OR either side fails their force morale check. Polish player receives 3CVP if he manages to capture at least 3 objectives, the German player receives 3CVP if he manages to prevent this from happen. 94
Second battle of Tomaszów Lubelski: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: The ragtag “Northern Front” army is moving towards Tomaszów Lubelski from the northeast, heavy fighting and enemy counterattacks on our flanks have left most of the force scattered over a large area and with little communication. Only the 13th infantry battalion came close to the town itself where it was stopped by the enemy defenders. The situation is dire and there is no realistic chance of taking the city. Instead we must focus on breaking through this ring and continue south towards Lwów. German units are counterattacking our units in the open, it may be a good idea to take up a defensive position and wait for other units to join up with you before you continue south.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish and German units will arrive from the table edges marked on the map. Both players must hold 25% of their platoons in Reserve. Players take turn in placing two objectives each inside the black zone, the Polish player starts placing objectives. Objectives must be placed at least 6” from the black border, 18” from a friendly objective and 8” from an enemy objective. Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn Ending the battle Battle ends on turn 7 Winning the battle Each objective a player controls at the end of turn 7 yields 1CVP. Battle immediately ends if either player starts his turn controlling 3 or more objectives. In which case that player is awarded 3CVP and his opponent 0CVP even if he claims a single objective.
Operation: Independent operational group Polesie
The “Independent operational group Polesie” was a formation created on September 9th well into the German invasion of Poland. Created by brigadier general Franciszek Kleeberg, the force was made up of reserve units patched together into one fighting entity. The commander in chief had ordered Kleeberg to organize a defensive line along the rivers near Brześc and prevent the German armies coming in from East Prussia to fulfill the encirclement of the Polish armies in central Poland by making a sweeping advance from the east. The group was made up of reserve battalions, fortification troops, Border Protections Corps units, the river flotilla, two light tank companies of Ft-17 tanks, two armoured trains (nr.53 “Śmiały”/”Bold” and nr.55 “Bartosz Głowacki”), the newly reorganized 50th and 60th infantry divisions, “Podolska” cavalry brigade, cavalry division “Zaza” (improvised and consisting of 2 cavalry brigades and 2 infantry battalions). The force numbered roughly 20.000 men, their morale was high and many of its members were already battle hardened – in particular the 60th infantry division and the cavalry units. First battles with the Germans by units of the operational group Polesie were fought on September 14th in the defense of the Brześć fortress. On September 17th they withdrew from their Position and lost contact with the rest of the operational group. Another part of the operational group fought a battle against the Germans at Kobryn on September 17th, the town was an important communications center and was defended by the 60th infantry division against several German armoured and motorized divisions. The defense of Kobryn was abandoned on orders from Kleeberg on September 18th as the strategic situation was impossible. September 17th was also the date of the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland, something that created more chaos among the Polish forces trying to regroup and regain their footing in the eastern parts of the country. Kleeberg was issued the order to march his troops south and across the Hungarian border, but cut off and out of touch with any other commanders he decided to turn around and aid besieged Warsaw instead. On the way several of the previously listed military units joined up with Kleeberg, and the group was formally given the name “Independent operational group Polesie”. On September 28th news reached Kleeberg that Warsaw had capitulated, at which point the commander decided he would fight partisan battles in the Polish forests and turned his formation towards the town of Kock. The same day the Poles were surprised by a Soviet attack at the village of Parczew led by Red Army tanks and cavalry, an attack which was repelled by Polish machinegun and artillery fire. Soon after a heavy firefight broke out between both sides as the Soviet 143rd Rifle Division arrived at the scene. The battle lasted throughout the night, Kleeberg sent the Podolska cavalry brigade to flank the Soviets, and counterattacked with infantry. Caught between the Poles the Soviet force dispersed and left much of its equipment and the wounded behind. After the battle Soviet prisoners were interrogated, and surprised the Poles by begging them not to be sent back, telling about horrible conditions in their country and mistreatment in the Red Army. On October 2nd Kleeberg and his men made contact with the Germans in the area of the city of Kock, where the last battle of the September campaign would be fought. 96
Defense of Brześć fortress September 14-16th The Brześć fortress housed 3 infantry battalions, two companies of Ft-17 tanks (30 in total), 1 AA-battery and the armoured train nr.53 “Śmiały”. What the defenders lacked was proper Anti-tank weapons. On September 14th the Germans arrived with the 19th Corps under the command of Heinz Guderian with the aim to seize both the town and the fortress of Brześć . The 10th Panzer division had tried to take the fortress by storming it with 77 tanks but was driven back with heavy casualties by determined defenders. Trying to soften up the defenses by bombing the fortress from the air and by artillery, the Germans performed another attack with the 10th Panzer division and 20th Motorized division, in the heavy fighting the Polish commander of the fortress defense, general Konstanty Plisowski, was wounded. The German attack was halted by two Ft-17 tanks which had been left to block the entrance to
the fortress. Despite this the Germans managed to seize the northern parts of the fortress, and the Polish defenders had suffered an estimated 40% casualty ratio. At dawn the following day, general Plisowski ordered to abandon the fortress, and the Poles had withdrawn by the morning hours. The same day the Soviet 29th tank brigade reached Brześć and a joint German-Soviet parade was held. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no aircraft or Anti-tank gun platoons, only Ft-17 tanks) Light tank company (Ft-17) (no Anti-tank gun platoon) German forces Schützenkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie Lecihte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie
Defense of Kobryn September 17-18th General Kleeberg had ordered his forces to organize defenses along several towns and villages, among them Kobryn which was defended by the most numerous and best organized troops who would later be formed into the 60th infantry division. The defenders faced the 10th and 3rd Panzer divisions and the 20th Motorized division which made contact on September 14th, however the Germans diverted their troops to capture the weakly defended fortress and city of Brześć. It wasn’t until Brześć had been seized that the Germans returned their attention to Kobryn, and battle started on the 17th when reconnaissance units of the 2nd Motorized Division arrived at Kobryn where they were met by Polish howitzer fire and forced to retreat. Polish troops from the Brześć fortress
started arriving at the scene but the defense of Kobryn had by then lost its significance. Germans kept attacking but never managed to capture the town. The defense was finally abandoned by order of general Kleeberg due to news about the Soviet invasion. The city defenders were to pull out and follow Kleeberg’s main force south. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no aircraft or tanks) German forces Panzerspäh-Schwadron Schützenkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie Lecihte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie
Battle at Parczew September 29th-30th As the Independent operational group Polesie was marching south towards Kock it was attacked by the spearhead of the approaching Soviets from the north-east and the southeast direction. The Soviet cavalry and tanks units caught the Poles guarding the road by surprise but were quickly beaten back by Polish artillery and machineguns. However more Soviet attacks were launched along the front, the Soviets used heavy artillery and cavalry. The Poles launched a counterattack, led by the 82nd infantry regiment supported by a battalion of Polish sailors of the disbanded river flotilla. The Polish attack was successful and a village held by the enemy was retaken, amidst the chaos of battle a wing of Soviet aircraft arrived and dropped bombs and strafed the Polish forces with machinegun fire but without inflicting any serious damage. The Soviets tried to reclaim the village launching an infantry Battle of Kock October 2nd-4th Polish cavalry units encounter German armoured reconnaissance which is trying to break through the Polish defense along the roads leading to Kock. The German attack is repelled by artillery and 200 Germans are taken prisoner. In the meantime the 29th Motorized Division is attacking the Polish force from the north. On October 3rd the Poles counterattacked with infantry and cavalry, seizing a German artillery positions in the village of Poznań, before the attack had to stop due to loss of momentum and running low on ammunition. As Kleeberg knew about the capitulation of Warsaw, he most likely also knew about the meaningless continuation of the fighting. It has been assumed that Kleeberg kept fighting to prepare his men for long-term resistance after the fall of Poland.
assault supported by light tanks, but the assault was repelled by Polish anti tank guns and hand grenades. Another Soviet tank assault was performed at 20.00PM, this time the Soviet tanks breached the Polish lines but failed to rout the Polish forces and the defenders left in the village stopped the Soviet infantry attack that followed. That was the last Soviet attack and the withdrawing remnants were shelled by Polish howitzers before general Kleeberg and his men moved out and continued towards Kock. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, tanks or aircraft) Pułk Kawalerii (no train) Soviet forces Light tank company Cavalry regiment Rifle battalion
On October 4th Germans attacked the Polish defensive positions at the village of Wola Gułowska which they seized and turned into a German strongpoint. Battles for this position raged into the night, the Polish cavalry was unable to seize the point and the infantry present due to lack of bayonet’s could not assault it. A German armoured spearhead was halted and thrown back, so the Germans committed their 13th and 29th Motorized divisions to attack the Polish defenders who themselves prepared for a counterattack. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no tanks or aircraft) Pułk Kawalerii German forces Kradschützenkompanie Schützenkompanie Panzerspäh-Schwadron 98
Battle of Kock, October 5th While Hitler was watching the German victory parade in Warsaw, the German mechanized and armoured units continued their battle against the Polish defenders at Kock. Attacking once again the Polish position. Both sides exchanged howitzer barrages while German units made an attack at the village Helenów from which they were thrown out, and in the counterattack the Polish 179th infantry regiment reclaimed lost positions at Wola Gułowska capturing German artillery. Afterwards the Polish attack was described; “…as if the regiment were at the training grounds of Rembertow (Warsaw), Major Bartula at the head of the regiment, charging company commanders at the head of their companies and platoon commanders at the head of their platoons“. The inspiring bravery cost the Poles a regiment commander, two battalion commanders and one platoon commander. The victory at the village of Wola Gułowska was the signal for the Polish cavalry to commence its attack, and it hit the enemy from the rear causing them to throw their weapons and flee. At the same time, near Wola Gułowska the Polish 50th Infantry division mounted bayonets and launched an assault at the Germans in the forest, forcing the German 13th Motorized division to retreat. While this was happening Polish cavalry was still involved in fighting the 29th Morotized division which too was defeated. At the height of the Polish success
Picture: Brigadier General Franciszek Kleeberg the quartermaster came with news to general Kleeberg that Polish troops had depleted almost all of their ammunition. The artillery had 20 grenades left, rifle ammunition and medical supplies were all spent. In the evening the talks about surrender began, and the Polish troops started destroying their equipment. The following day the last Polish army surrendered. Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no tanks or aircraft) Pułk Kawalerii German forces Kradschützenkompanie Schützenkompanie Panzerspäh-Schwadron
Defense of Brześć fortress: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: a nearby train at our disposal, but other than Enemy units are attacking the fortress gates, that we will be hard pressed to take out our garrison is partially dug in just outside the enemy tanks. You may have to block the fortress walls near the communal gardens entrance to the gate to prevent the enemy from where the approach to the gates can be from breaching our defenses. observed. We also have artillery support from ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army, at least 2/3rds of the platoons must be deployed outside of the fortress walls and only 1 tank platoon may ever be deployed inside the fortress. Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The German player deploys 50% of his troops on the table inside the 6x24” zone, 25% of his platoons will arrive onto the table on turn 1. The remaining 25% will be held in Delayed Reserve. The German player now places 1 objective in the 12x12” zone in the communal gardens and 1 objective in the 6x6” located 4” behind the fortress gates. Armoured train “nr.53 “Śmiały” (“Bold”) The Polish player may choose to add an armoured train to his force. However the train must be held off table and may only provide off table artillery support. If a train is included it counts as an active “on the table” platoon when counting platoons during force morale. Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves. German player has first turn. On turn 5 start rolling for Dusk (page 273 main FoW rulebook) Ending the battle The battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won Polish player wins if the Germans fail to seize the objective inside the fortress, 2CVP. The Germans win if they start any of their turns holding the objective inside the fortress, at which point the battle automatically ends, 2CVP. The player controlling the objective at the communal gardens by the end of the battle receives +1CVP regardless of who won or lost. 100
Defense of Kobryn: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: With the fall of Brześć enemy troops now turn towards Kobryn with all of their forces. This town has lost its importance with the fall of Brześć but the fighting here allows friendly troops from the Independent operational group Polesie to withdraw. You too have been given the order to pull out, but you’ll have to await the cover of darkness. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 2/3rds of his platoons inside the 24x24” deployment zone in the town of Kobryn. Remaining platoons are held in Reserve and will arrive along the 24” table edge in the south. Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The German player deploys his entire army. The Polish player now places 3 objectives inside the 24x24” zone marked in black, objectives must be at least 4” from any black border and at least 6” apart from each other. Beginning the battle German player has first turn Battle starts at Dusk (page 273 main FoW rulebook) Ending the battle Battle ends when the German player captures either one objective or the Polish player withdraws under cover of darkness. Deciding who won If the Polish player can hold out for 2 turns of Darkness while preventing the enemy from capturing any of the objectives the battle ends a Polish victory, 2CVP. If the German player manages to capture either one of the objectives before the end of the second turn of Darkness he wins, 2CVP.
Battle at Parczew: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Soviet combined arms have attacked your columns but were beaten back and fighting continued through the night. Your forces at the village of Milanów are now reporting to be under attack by Soviet forces, make sure their position holds else the Soviet spearhead will cause havoc among our troops, something that cannot be afforded as we have to press on south towards Kock. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army, one single cavalry company may be held in cavalry reserve*. Polish units start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The Soviet player deploys 75% of his army. 25% are kept in Reserve and will arrive from the rear. Polish player now places 1 objective in each of the 12x12” black zones. Cavalry reserve* After deployment but before the battle starts, the Polish player writes down on a note from which flank his cavalry reserves will arrive. The cavalry reserve is treated as Delayed reserves and will as such appear on turn 3 at the earliest. However the Polish player may himself choose whether or not he wants to start rolling for reserves at turn 3 or postpone the die roll to later turns. The turn bonus to the die rolls applies as normal on turn 4+. Once he declares he wants to roll for the reserves he must reveal from which flank they will appear. Beginning the battle Turn 1 takes place during Darkness, Turn 2 and onwards is played during Daylight Soviet player has first turn. Ending the battle Battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won The Polish player wins if the Soviet player fails to control either objective by the end of turn 7, 1CVP. Another +1CVP can be earned by the Polish player if he makes sure no Soviet platoons move off his table edge, this additional point is only awarded if the Polish player won the battle. Soviet player wins if at the start of any of his turn he controls either one objective, 1CVP. If the Soviet player also manages to breach the Polish lines with at least 1 platoon and move it off the opposing table edge he receives +1CVP, but only if the Soviet player manages to win the battle.
Battle of Kock October 2-4th: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: German forces are attacking and being counterattacked all around the Kock area, your troops are currently stationed at the village of Wola Gułowska located in the center of the Polish Independent operational group Polesie. If the Germans seize the village they will use the church for observation and will be able to shell Polish positions to the south-east and to the north-west. The village not fall into enemy hands. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player holds 2/3rds of his platoons in Reserve, the rest are deployed on the table. Polish units start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Polish reserves arrive from the table edges inside the Polish deployment zone. German player deploys 2/3rds of his platoons on the table, the rest are held in Reserve. German reserves arrive from the rear. The table should have a church and a graveyard placed in the 12x12” area marked in black. Armoured train “nr.53 “Śmiały” (“Bold”) The Polish player may choose to add an armoured train to his force. However the train must be held off table and may only provide off table artillery support. If a train is included it counts as an active “on the table” platoon when counting platoons during force morale. Beginning the battle Battle starts at Dusk (page 273 in the main FoW rulebook) German player makes Reconnaissance moves. German player has first turn. Ending the battle Battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won If the Polish player can prevent the German player from having any teams inside the 12x12” area at the church and graveyard at the end of his turn 6 the Polish player wins, 2CVP. If at the end of Polish turn 6, the German player has one or more teams inside the 12x12” area near the church and graveyard he has won, 2CVP.
Battle of Kock October 5th: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Our forces are holding a strong line along the villages of Wola Gułowska, Helenów and Turzystwo while our cavalry are holding the rear to our north fighting the 29th Motorized division. On our frontline we are facing the 13th Motorized division attacking us through the difficult terrain on the approaches to the villages we are defending. We have a great opportunity to make a bold counterattack and encircle the entire enemy division. The nearby forests should provide enough cover for the infantry and give us an advantage over their motorized troops.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army behind the red line 6” onto the table. The German player deploys 75% of his platoons, the rest are held in Delayed Reserve. The Polish player then places 1 objective inside each of the 12x12” zones marked in black. Armoured train “nr.53 “Śmiały” (“Bold”) The Polish player may choose to add an armoured train to his force. However the train must be held off table and may only provide off table artillery support. If a train is included it counts as an active “on the table” platoon when counting platoons during force morale. Beginning the battle Polish player makes reconnaissance moves. Polish player has first turn. Ending the battle/Deciding who won The battle ends either when the Polish player starts any of his turns controlling either one of the objectives in which case the Polish player has won, 2CVP. The battle also ends if the Polish player fails his force morale, in which case the German player wins 2CVP. If the Polish player loses less than 4 command teams during the battle he receives +1CVP. If the German player manages to destroy 4 or more Polish command teams he receives +1CVP.
Standalone battle: Battle of Westerplatte
The battle of Westerplatte was the very first battle of the German invasion of Poland. During the first week of September 1939, a military transit depot on the peninsula of Westerplatte inside the free city of Gdansk, manned by less than 200 Polish soldiers, it held out for seven days in the face of an overwhelming German attack. The defense of Westerplatte served as an inspiration for the Polish Army and people even as the successful German advances continued elsewhere. It is to this day still regarded as the prime symbol of Polish resistance during the invasion. The Germans had planned the attack well ahead of the invasion, sending the battleship Schleswig-Holstein to “visit” Gdansk. The ship arrived on August 25th and docked in the port canal 150 meters from the Westerplatte depot. The Polish garrison was put on high alert and the defenders were being noticed that something might be going on. In the morning of September 1st, at 04:48, the battleship suddenly opened fire on the Polish garrison which at that time held 182 soldiers and 27 civilian reservists. Major Sucharski, commander of the depot, radioed the nearby Polish garrison at the fortified position on the Hel Peninsula "SOS: I'm under fire". Taking advantage of the shock and awe the bombardment provided, German sappers rushed the perimeter and blew up portions of the wall leading into the Westerplatte depot area, setting the oil warehouses ablaze. The railroad gate was also destroyed in another detonation. 8 minutes later the Germans made their first attempt to take the area by storming it with three platoons of marines from the Schleiswig-Holstein commanded by lieutenant Wilhelm Henningsen.
Pictures: Schleiswig-Holstein shelling Westerplatte from the Gdansk port canal. 105
Expecting an easy victory the Germans rushed through the breaches in the brick wall and straight into a surprisingly heavy and accurate Polish crossfire which opened up from concealed positions, positions the Poles had prepared prior to the invasion in utmost secrecy and which had been camouflaged. Finding themselves in a kill zone of barbed wire entanglements and machine gun fire the marines were cut down and those that remained were forced into a hasty withdrawal. The Polish outpost commanders lured the attackers up close before opening fire, something that contributed to heavy losses. Combined with Polish mortar fire, provided from inside the transit compound and directed by outpost commanders, it added to the destruction. Once a popular spa, the Westerplatte park had been turned into a defensive strongpoint full of hidden obstacles and trench lines which made German movement slow, difficult and dangerous. At 0622, the Marines frantically radioed the battleship Schleswig-Holstein about heavy losses and that they were withdrawing. Another German attack, this time by SS troops was launched at 08:55. This time the attackers meant to annihilate the defenders with a heavy artillery barrage, firing 90 280mm shells, 407 170mm shells and 366 88mm shells at the peninsula a second attack by SS troops commenced. Thinking the defenders were no more the SS troops rushed in but were slowed by the debris of fallen trees, barbed wire and mines – and as they came closer to - the Polish positions proved to be very much intact and inflicted very heavy casualties on the attackers which had to fall back once gain. Eventually the Poles withdrew from two outposts and the position “Fort”, the later was re-manned shortly thereafter again.
Picture: Westerplatte in flames after the bombing of September 2nd. On the first day of combat the German naval infantry had lost 16 men killed and 120 men wounded, the majority of the 225 men they had deployed. The Poles had lost a single man killed, and 7 wounded. The Poles pulled together to tighten the defensive ring around the barracks in the center of the Peninsula. The coming days the Germans bombarded the peninsula with heavy naval artillery. The area already started to look like a moonscape, and German newspapers would call the battle of Westerplatte “little Verdun” once the fighting was over. German commander Eberhardt was now convinced that ground assault would not be possible, so a two wave air attack provided by 60 Ju87 Stuka bombers was called in on September 2nd, dropping 26.5 tons of bombs. The bombardment was successful to the extent that it knocked out the Polish mortars, destroyed one of the guardhouses with a direct hit obliterating it and killing 8 Polish soldiers. The entire Westerplatte area was 106
covered in a gigantic cloud of smoke, German observers believed that no one could have survived such a bombing. Yet the Polish resistance continued with the same level of energy and determination, repelling attacks on September 3rd and 4th. The Germans tried to probe the area on September 4th with more naval infantry, Danzig SS troops as well as regular Wehrmacht units. At 03:00 am, the Germans sent a train with several burning train cars along the rails towards the Westerplatte depot, the idea was to set the forest ablaze and burn the defenders out of their cover. However the driver panicked and released the burning train cars too early. All it did was to provide the Polish defenders with a lit up German approach and perfect field of fire. Another attempt with a second burning train was performed later the same day during the afternoon but it too failed. The Polish radio broadcast had by this time been airing a continuous message about the Westerplatte situation with each news segment, proclaiming “Westerplatte is still fighting”. What no one on the outside knew was the heated debates that raged among the commanding officers of the Westerplatte defenders. Major Henryk Sucharski had been mentally incapacitated from September the 2nd when Germans bombed the area, and in a fit of panic ordered hoisting of the white flag – the flag was quickly torn down by his second in command captain Franciszek Dąbrowski who ordered the major to be isolated until he came back to his senses, and then took over the command of the defense. The younger officer was more passionate about the symbolical meaning of the defense while his older superior was more cautions and wanted to spare the men. When Sucharski regained his sense after a few days he already
Picture: German soldiers traversing the moonscape of Westerplatte on September 7th.
Picture: Major Sucharski at the capitulation
demanded surrender, but was voted down by the rest of the officers. On September 7th the Germans opened up another intensive barrage at the Polish positions, it started on 04:30AM and wend on until 07:00AM. German troops then moved up with flamethrowers and destroyed two guard posts. Another heated debate began among the defending officers about the situation, 107
Sucharski pressed the issue about the strategic situation, the high number of wounded which the medical officer wasn’t capable of handling and running low on water. The result of this final discussion was that the white flag was hoisted a second time, on September 7th at 09:45AM. 225 Polish defenders had fought 2250 German land troops. The Polish garrison had suffered 15 killed and 50 wounded while inflicting around 300 casualties in dead and wounded on the German attackers during their 13 storming attempts on the Polish positions. Impressed by the Polish defense the German commanding officer General Friedrich-Georg Eberhardt allowed major Sucharski to keep his ceremonial saber. The nervous breakdown which led to captain Dąbrowski assuming command and leading the defense for most of the period was kept secret by the few defenders who know about it, not to tarnish the memory of their fighting. Several factors contributed to the successful defense for such a long period of time. One of them was the unusually well armed garrison, for its size the defenders were very well
supplied having 4 81mm mortars, 2 37mm Bofors anti-tank guns, 1 75mm artillery gun, 18 heavy machineguns, 8 light machineguns and 17 BAR rifles. The garrison also held 140 rifles, 40 pistols and roughly 1.000 hand grenades. The defenders also had food that would last them for months. The fact that the diplomatic agreement prevented the Polish army to station more men in Gdansk didn’t prevent the garrison crew to make preparations during the summer months leading up to the war. The preparations would prove invaluable during the heavy fighting. The Westerplatte defense lacked proper bunkers, but had 5 concrete guard houses and a reinforced concrete barracks which all provided the defenders and the commanding officers with invaluable protection. The Polish defenders of Westerplatte were told that they would only need to defend for 6 hours, after that Polish army units of the corridor were supposed to come to their aid. In reality the defenders were cut off and never had any chance of either receiving reinforcements or to attempt a breakout towards friendly lines.
Map: The Westerplatte peninsula. German battleship Schleiswig-Holstein positioned in the canal, two torpedo boats firing at the defenders from the sea. German Positions marked in red across the canal in the port of Gdansk from which the Germans fired at the Polish defenders. In the north-west the failed landing of German soldiers which was repelled by the defenders. The Red arrows from the land access indicate the direction of German attacks from September 1st, the purple line indicates how far the Germans came by September 7th. Polish positions are marked in blue, the ring with the 5 concrete guardhouses is marked in the center of Westerplatte, protecting the barracks and munitions storage facility. The position of the Polish 75mm gun is also marked with its position west of the transit depot firing into Gdansk and the German positions there. The two Polish positions “Fort” on the northern beach and “Prom” overlooking the land access to the south are also marked on the map. These positions were abandoned during the battle.
Polish forces: 1500 points The defenders are mainly made up of Piechoty Batalion combat platoons, the exact army list is listed below: 1 Piechoty Battalion HQ, may include up to 4 81mm mortars instead of just 2. 2-3 Piechoty companies. Piechoty platoons may not have anti-tank rifle or light mortar teams. Instead each Piechoty platoon may add 1 lkm wz08/15 MG team for +10 points. 0-1 Piechoty Infantry gun platoon with a single gun including observer team for 70 points 0-1 May field 1 Piechoty Anti-tank gun platoon with 2 wz.36 guns for 60 points These guns may be split and attached to Piechoty Platoons. 0-2 Westerplatte Heavy Machinegun platoons made up of 3x wz.30 HMG teams and 1 command team. These platoons cost 85 points apiece.
German forces: 2000 points The attackers are made up of units found in the Infanteriekompanie , the exact army list is listed below: 1 Infanteriekompanie HQ 2-10 Old Infanterie platoons (German player is free to upgrade individual platoons to SS) 0-4 Infanterie Machinegun platoons 0-1 Infanterie Mortar platoon 0-1 Light/Heavy infantry gun platoon 0-1 Pionier platoon Ju87 Stuka air support Schleswig-Holstein off table naval artillery support (comes with an on-table rifle observer team) Count as 3 guns AT8 FP6+ (no smoke) 130 points Torpedo boat off table naval artillery support (no observer team) Count as 2 guns AT5 FP6+ guns (no smoke)
Battle of Westerplatte: Poles 1500 points, Germans 2000 points Polish briefing Since 04:48 this morning we are under German attack from the sea and from land. Protect the Westerplatte depot from falling into enemy hands. Trenches and barbed wire obstacles should slow down the attackers. The perimeter of the garrison holds 5 concrete guardhouses which should work as strongpoint’s from which machinegun fire can deter enemy attempts at breaching through the walls. Note: Battle is fought on a 8x4’ table. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. . Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army on the table inside the red lines. Polish units start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. 1 platoon may be held in Ambush. German player deploys 25% of his platoons on the table. 25% of his platoons will arrive from the rear of his deployment on turn 1. 25% of the German force is held in Reserve and will arrive from the northern table edge (the sea). The remaining 25% of the German force are held in Delayed Reserve and will arrive from the southern table edge. Polish strongpoint’s and defensive obstacles The Polish player has 3 trenchlines of regular length, and 2 trenchlines of double length, their positions are marked on the map. He also has 2 Barbed wire entanglements that may be placed anywhere in the Polish deployment zone. The Polish player also have 5 concrete guardhouses surrounding the perimeter of the central garrison. These count as bunkers but may be destroyed if they receive a direct hit from a Stuka bombing run and the German player pass the Stuka firepower test. Before the battle starts the Polish player must place 1 objective centrally in each trenchline marked with a black circle and one objective inside the 24x24” black square. Beginning the battle Battle starts at Dawn (page 273 main FoW rulebook) German player can make 1 free off table artillery bombardments with all off table assets, no need ro range in just place the template where you want. German player has first turn. Ending the battle/deciding who won Battle lasts 8 turns or ends when the Germans take two trenchline objectives and the central objective in which case the German player wins. If by the end of turn 8 the Germans have failed the Polish player win. Winner receives 2CVP. 111
Standalone battle: Battle of Hel peninsula
The fortified position at the Hel peninsula guarded the Polish ports in the Polish corridor, and had been, in the interwar years, transformed into a proper military base. At the outbreak of the war, the defense was led by commander Włodzimierz Steyer a Polish navy officer, who was born in Montreal Canada, and who had served in the Tsar navy during WW1. Under his command was one battalion of Border Protection Corps troops, one platoon of navy gendarmes, one machinegun company, three coastal gun batteries (4x 152mm, 2x 105mm, 2x 105mm), four half strength artillery batteries which totaled 8x 75mm guns. The Hel defenders also had a division of Anti-Air guns made up of 6x 75mm and 12x 40mm AA guns and several AA-machineguns. Sometime before the battle the garrison was bolstered by reserves and sailors who fought on foot as infantry. Total number of Polish defenders was around 3.000 men. The peninsula itself stretches 35 kilometers from the mainland connection at the town of Władysławowo to the eastern tip of Hel itself. 300 meters at its thickest and 100 meter at its thinnest point Hel is also covered in trees and had several small communities along the length of the Peninsula. During the invasion Hel peninsula garrison was part of the “Pomorze” army, until that army was forced to withdraw south and leave the cut off defenders of Gdynia and Hel alone. Heavy fighting between the Germans and defenders of Gdynia under colonel Stanisław Dąbek finally forced the Polish units to move out of the town and up on the Oksywie heights. On September 9th Hel came under attack from the air and the sea, and by September 14th fighting on the mainland finally severed the connection between the Polish land and army and the Hel garrison. The defenders were shelled from the sea by battleships, from the land by German artillery and a German armoured train, and German land forces attacked along the thin stretch of land although their progress was slow the Germans reached and captured the village of Chałupy which was located 1/4th onto the Peninsula. The loss of that village made the Polish engineers to mine several torpedo boats and blow up the land connection at the thinnest part of the peninsula, cutting the enemy off from further advance. When the Polish forces of colonel Stanisław Dąbek capitulated on September 19th the Hel defenders became truly alone, an isolated Polish outpost in the northernmost tip of Poland while German armies swept across the heartland. Despite this commander Steyer continued the fighting, his defense would be noted by the outside world – not least in the last radio broadcast of Warsaw before the capital surrendered. During the fighting the Polish defenders shot down around 32 German bombers and damaged the battleship Schleswig-Holstein and another German destroyer. Casualties to infantry on the Polish side numbered around 200 killed and 150 wounded. Casualties to German land forces remain unknown. When the defenders of Hel choose to lay down their arms on October 2nd they were truly among the last Polish defenders still fighting. The Border Protection Corps units of brigadier general Orlik-Rückermann had concluded their fighting against the Soviets at the battle of Wytoczno on October 1st, and general Kleeberg was currently fighting his last battle against the Germans at Kock. 112
Polish forces Piechoty battalion (no aircraft, vehicles, train or cavalry units). All Piechoty Anti-tank gun platoon slots are replaced with Piechoty Infantry gun platoons
German forces Infanteriekompanie (no SS units or tanks) May include the same off table Naval artillery bombardment and at the same cost as listed in the “Battle of Westerplatte” scenario.
Picture: Polish infantry and sailors at Hel Peninsula
Map the of Hel peninsula 113
Battle of Hel peninsula: 1500 points per side Polish briefing: Its September 30th, the Germans have attacked along the land connection and reached the village of Chałupy where our troops are currently fighting back. The strip of land at Chałupy happens to be the thinnest spot of the entire Hel peninsula, our engineers are preparing explosives meant to cut us off from the mainland and prevent the Germans to continue their attack towards Hel.
Hold the village until the explosives are ready for detonation and then fall back towards Hel with the remainder of your force. The Germans have naval artillery support and may decide to drive a train down the tracks of the Hel peninsula.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. . Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 50% of his platoons on the table. These units start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. 1 platoon may be held in Ambush. 25% of the Polish platoons are held in Reserve while the remaining 25% are held in Delayed reserve. German player moves onto the table with 75% of his platoons from the left table edge on turn 1. The rest of the German platoons are held in Delayed Reserve. German player now places 1 objective in each of the 12x12” black zones. Beginning the battle Reconnaissance platoons that are part of the 75% main force, move onto the table prior to the rest of the army and perform their reconnaissance moves. German player has first turn. Ending the battle Battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won If the Polish player he controls the objective near the right table edge at the end of his 7th turn he receives 2CVP. Holding the objective in the village of Chałupy yields another 1CVP. Losing less than half of the starting platoons by the end of the battle yields another 1CVP. The German player receives 2CVP for capturing the objective in the village, and another 2CVP for capturing the objective on the right table edge. 114
Operation: Panzerdivision “Kempf”
Panzerdivision “Kempf” was an interesting formation of the German army, it was created in East Prussia as an experiment of combining Heer Panzer troops with SS units – something that didn’t work out quite well and which ultimately led to SS units being isolated from Heer and vice versa after the Polish campaign. It was commanded by general major Werner Kempf, from whom the division got its name. The panzer element was made up of the 7th Panzer regiment which numbered 61x Pz I, 81x PzII, 3x Pz III, 9x PzIV and 10x Befehlspanzer. Thre rest of the division was the trucked SS regiment “Deutschland”, one SS artillery regiment, the 2nd division 47th regiment of artillery, one battalion of SS reconnaissance, two battalions of SS Anti-aircraft machineguns, the 511th battalion of anti-tank guns and the 505th battalion of pioneers. It was a truly mixed force. As part of the 3rd German army of “Army Group North” the division fought many bloody battles during the Polish campaign. On September 1st the division had the ungrateful task of crossing the border and initiating their first battle against the Polish fortified position at Mława which cost the 7th Panzer regiment 72 tanks, most of them lost to Polish 37mm AT-guns. It took heavy German artillery bombardment to finally subdue the defenders, after which the Germans took up the chase south towards the Narew river where the Poles were organizing their second line of defense. Another battle was fought at Różan alongside the 1. Kavalleriebrigade and 12th Infantry division, the German attackers tried to force the Narew river to breach the Polish line of defense. The operation was a success and with it a part of the Polish defensive plan had been shattered. The Polish forces had to fall back all along the front to the next line of defense along the rivers Wisła, San and Bug. Meeting up with units of the XVI Corps on September 16th the Kempf division was ordered to march south towards Modlin to help out with the encirclement and destruction of the Polish “Łódź”, “Poznań” and “Pomorze” armies as well as the defenders of Warsaw and Modlin fortress.
Picture: Pz II at the battle of Mława 115
Battle of Mława September 1-4th The southern border of East Prussia was only 120 kilometers from the Polish capital, Warsaw. When German high command prepared the plans for invasion one of the main goals was to launch armies from East Prussia south towards Warsaw, this would also help of German armies moving in from the north-west and south-west encircle large Polish formations and allow for their isolated destructions. The northern part of Poland was largely a flatland, difficult to defend; hence fortifications had to be built in strategic locations. One such fortified position was located at a hill near the town of Mława. The Poles had started mobilizing their troops in secrets during the summer months, military units and civilian volunteers were tasked to build bunkers and dig trenches but war broke out before many of the bunkers had been finished. Nonetheless, the Polish defense was ideally located with two swamps at its flanks. Enemy tanks would be forced to move past the Polish bunkers, enemy infantry would Battle of Różan September 4-6th Following the Polish withdrawal from Mława Panzerdivision “Kempf” and the 1. Kavalleriebrigade were tasked with racing towards the river Narew and seize a bridgehead for the German army. On September 4th German units reached the village of Różan, where the Polish army had but two battalions of infantry supported by some artillery and 3 old Russian forts which the Poles had modernized prior to the outbreak of the war and which were now linked by trench lines. German reconnaissance units and Panzers reached the defenses on the 5th. Fighting erupted and the Polish defenders had to fall back towards one of the old forts. German artillery and air attacks hit the
have to clear barbed wire and Polish trenches. Panzerdivision “Kempf” was to be supported by 5 German infantry divisions and the 1. Kavalleriebrigade in an attempt to take Mława and breach the Polish defense near the PolishPrussian border. The Poles had 2 infantry divisions, 2 cavalry brigades and 1 brigade of national guard entrenched in the area. The battle would be fierce, with German high command demanding repeated assaults on the Polish positions while the Polish troops put up a fanatical defense. Before the Polish army pulled out on September 4th, the defenders had lost 1.200 killed and 1.500 wounded. The attacking German army had lost a staggering 1.800 dead, 1.000 missing in action, 3.000 wounded and 72 tanks. German forces Panzerdivision “Kempf” Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, tanks or aircraft) Pulk Kawalerii (no train)
defenders hard, and severed their lines of communication. Tanks were launched at the fortifications which were being abandoned by the Poles, but the assault was stopped despite the knocked out Polish artillery. Another combined artillery/air barrage was issued. The Germans started fording the Narew on the evening and despite pockets of Polish resistance a German bridgehead had been secured, forcing the remaining Polish troops to fall back. German forces Panzerdivision “Kempf” Polish forces Border Protection Corps 116
Battle of Kałuszyn September 11-12th With German armies closing in from all sides Polish units began their attempts with withdraw south. After the battle of Różan the Germans had crossed the Narew and were threatening many Polish units with encirclement. Having taken the town of Kałuszyn the German armies prepared to stop the Polish formations attempting to break through the German lines and head for safety. One such cut off Polish unit was the 1st Polish Legion Infantry division, a formation with traditions stretching back to the times of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw and Napoleons war with Russia, and more recently during the Soviet-Bolshevik War. Intending on bypassing Kałuszyn altogether the division found itself moving painfully slow along roads cramped with civilian refugees. This forced the Polish commander to the decision of attacking Kałuszyn and break out through the town. With the German army entrenched in the city and backed by artillery and tanks, the Polish assault came as something of a surprise. Attacking like mad the Polish forces charged the German positions, taking considerable losses, the Polish division lacked artillery support. The battle raged throughout the 12th of September, slowly the German defenders were losing ground due to the general confusion which Polish attacks on the flanks of the city had caused. Despite staggering losses and hundreds of wounded the Poles finally forced the German defenders to abandon the town and broke through the German lines to relative safety. German forces Panzerdivision “Kempf” Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, aircraft or Divisional artillery support)
Battle of Mińsk-Mazowiecki September 13th Polish cavalry commanded by general Władysław Anders, attacked the Germans at Mińsk-Mazowiecki with the intention of breaking through the German lines. The Germans had parts of their 3rd army in this location as they were marching south towards Modlin. Among the German defenders were units of SS “Deutschland”. The Polish attack from the rear came as a surprise and had initial success, but the Germans held the line and defeated the Polish breakout attempt, general Anders and his cavalry had to turn around and seek to breach the German ring elsewhere. German forces Panzerdivision “Kempf” Polish forces Pulk Kawalerii (no train)
Battle for Modlin fortress September 19th-29th Panzerdivision “Kempf” had after much trouble and intense fighting linked up with the German attack on Modlin and the Polish positions near Modlin fortress. General Kempf and his men arrived on the night of the 18th near the village of Karolinowo located 15 kilometers north of Modlin. Conducting battle on the nights between the 19th and 20th and again 20th to 21st the division seized several villages. Kempf was then ordered to prepare an all out assault on the Polish western flank and the Polish fortified position nr 1. The battle for that position lasted until the 28th when the Polish defenders capitulated. The campaign ended with a dark stain on the Kempf divisions hands as SS-men belonging to the division attacked and murdered 500 Polish soldiers and 100 civilians which had already laid down their arms in the town of Zakroczym. The unpredictability of SS troops, the high casualty ratio of men and not least tanks saw the disbandment of Panzerdivision “Kempf”, the remaining tanks were absorbed by the 10th Panzer division while the SS infantry were given SS commanders and formed independent Waffen-SS units. German forces Panzerdivision “Kempf” Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no tanks or aircraft),
The sketch above shows the Polish fortified defenses at Mława. Trenches, barbed wire, anti tank obstacles, and bunkers. “Ckm” = HMG. “Ppanc” = Anti tank.
Battle of Mława: Poles 1500 points, Germans 2000 points German briefing: The Polish fortified position at Mława is the first obstacle on your way south. Seize the fortified position and force the Poles to retreat and the road will be open for our division to drive into the heartland of Poland. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys 2/3rds of his army on the table, the remaining platoons are held in Delayed Reserve. Polish units starting the battle on the table are in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The German player deploys 50% of his army 6” onto the table. 25% of the German platoons will arrive at the start of turn 2, while the remaining 25% will arrive at the start of turn 4. The German player may keep his artillery platoons off-table, off-table artillery count as part of the initial German force when dividing up the army. Polish defenses The Polish player has 4 barbed wire and 2 anti-tank obstacle sections at his disposal, these are only to be placed along the black line as indicated on the map. Center of the Polish deployment should have a small hill on which a pillbox bunker is placed, this bunker is armed with 1x 75mm wz 05/26 gun and 1x Ckm wz.30 gun. The Polish player should also place 4x MG nests armed with Ckm wz.30 HMG’s around the perimeter as indicated by the map. If possible all positions should be linked with a trench line. Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves German player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends when either side fails their force morale, the Polish player starts his turn 8 or once the Germans have captured the Polish command bunker (counts as an objective marker). Deciding who won If the Polish player can survive until the start of his turn 8 he receives 2CVP. Destroying at least half of all German Tank and Armoured car platoons awards the Polish player +1CVP. Starting any turn while controlling the Polish command bunker immediately end the battle and award the German player with 3CVP 119
Battle of Różan: 1500 points per side German briefing: Following the battle of Mława you have been tasked with securing a river crossing for the rest of the 3rd Army. The village of Różan if weakly defended and should make an easy target for this very purpose. Destroy the Polish defensive positions and cross the river, then await the rest of the army. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army inside the red zone. If he has included bunker sections, one of these mustbe placed adjacant to the old fort marked with a black circle. Polish units start in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The Polish player also places 1 objective marker at the center of the village of Różan. German player starts with 25% of his platoons on the table inside the 12x12” zone. The rest of his army will arrive at the start of turn 1 along the 12x24”German edge. Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves German player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends at the end of Polish turn 7 Deciding who won The Polish player must stop the Germans from moving across the river. If no German units are across the river by the end of Polish turn 7 the Polish player receive 3CVP. Another +1CVP is awarded if the Germans failed to capture the objective in the village of Różan.
The German player must cross with his units to secure a bridgehead across the river. If by there are any German teams at the other side of the river by the end of Polish turn 7 the German player receive 2CVP. The German also receive +1CVP for taking the objective in the village and another +1CVP for destroying the Polish bunker section near the old fort.
Battle of Kałuszyn Poles 1750 points, Germans 1500 points German briefing: Your troops are currently holding the captured town of Kałuszyn, many Polish units are already cut off and will no doubt try to break through your lines to join up with the Polish defenders at the next line of defense. Your task is to prevent a Polish breakthrough. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player 75% of his platoons 6” on the table. The remaining 25% are kept as Reserves and will arrive from the south-east along the 24” line. Polish player places 1 objective in the center of the town marked by the black 12x12” zone. The German player deploys 2/3rds of his platoons on the table, remaining platoons are held in Reserve and will arrive from the rear of the German deployment. Beginning the battle Polish player makes reconnaissance moves Polish player has first turn Ending the battle Battle lasts 7 Turns Deciding who won The player who controls the objective by the end of turn 7 wins, 1CVP. If the Polish player was forced to roll for company morale at any point the German player receives +1CVP. If the Polish player didn’t roll for company morale during the battle, the Polish player receive +1CVP.
Battle of Mińsk-Mazowiecki: 1500 points per side German briefing: Another Polish breakout attempt is launched at our positions near Mińsk-Mazowiecki, cavalry units according to our scouts. Prevent the Poles from escaping through your lines. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army 18” onto the table. The German player deploys 75% of his army 30” onto the table. 1 platoon may be held in Ambush. The remaining 25% are kept as Delayed Reserves and will arrive from the rear. Polish player now places two objectives in the German deployment in the zone marked in black, 12” from the enemy table edge to the rear, 6” from the table edge to the sides, and 6” from the German fron deployment line. Objectives must be placed 18” apart from each other. Beginning the battle Polish player makes reconnaissance moves Polish player has first turn Ending the battle Battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won If the Polish player starts any turn in control of either objective the battle ends and he has won. If the German prevents the Polish player from capturing any objevtive, the German player wins. Winner receives 1CVP.
Battle for Modlin Fortress: 1500 points per side German briefing: Sent to attack the Polish left wing and the fortified position nr.1 your troops make themselves ready for an all out assault.There are several important objectives in front of you, the town of Zakrocznym, the main Polish defensive positions and the road to Modlin fortress itself. Taking any of these positions will severely weaken the Polish defenders in this sector and may even force them to retreat. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player holds 25% of his platoons in Reserve, the rest of his units are deployed on the table inside the 18”x72” zone. Reserves arrive from the left and the right Polish flank, troops cannot arrive from the rear due to the river. Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The German player deploys his entire army 6” onto the table. German artillery units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The German player places 3 objectives on the table, one in each zone marked in black. Objectives must be placed at least 12” onto the table from the river edge, at least 6” from the Polish front line, and at least 18” from another objective. Armoured train “Śmierć” (Death) The Polish player may choose to either field the train on the table, or use it for off table bombardment. If kept off table, the Polish player must rely on remaining teams in his army to spot for the train artillery. Off table train counts as one of the “25% platoons in Reserve”, and also counts as if in “Reserve” when making force morale checks. Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves. German player has have the first turn. Ending the battle Battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won If the German player captures and control at least one objective by the end of turn 7 they have won, 2CVP. Otherwise the Polish player wins, 2CVP. The German player get another +1CVP if he manages to capture one or two additional objectives. (This means that the Germans can win 1 more CVP than the Polish player in this battle )
Operation: 1st Gebirgs-division
Formed in April 1938 the 1.st Gebirgsjäger division was based in the town of Garnisch in Bavaria. It was one of three such divisions taking part in the invasion of Poland, but as the campaign would prove, the one division that saw most action. No small part was this due to the division crossing the Polish border ahead of its brothers from the 2nd and 3rd Gebirgsjägerdivision. The German mountain troops were seen as an elite unit of the Wehrmacht, these old Austrian mountain troops had been trained under very hard conditions for operations in the mountainous regions along the border of Austria-Italy. The training would serve them well in the fighting of the mountain passes and many heights along the Carpathian region of Southern Poland. The division was moved to Slovakia where they mobilized for invasion on August 26th. The Gebirgsjäger units crossed the Polish-Slovak border on September 4th, and began a forced march covering ground at the tremendous rate of 35-60 kilometers per day through hostile territory – their goal was to race ahead and secure the city of Lwów which was an important communications hub for the Poles. The formation fought its way through the Dukla pass where they fought Polish mountain troops, and the first units reached Lwów on September 12th but failed to surprise the small garrison and take the city by storm. The remainder of the division arrived over the next couple of days but would be truly alone at the very tip of the German invasion force for most of the siege of Lwów. The German mountain troops quickly seized the surrounding hills of the town from which artillery shelled the Polish defenders who received a steady stream of Polish units reinforcing the town, including two armoured trains, nr.53 “Śmiały” and nr. 55 “Bartosz Glowacki” and the 10th Motorized cavalry brigade. Fighting for the city raged from September 12th until the 21st, the Poles capitulated after talks on the 22nd. The Poles which had been attacked by Soviets from the east preferred to surrender the town to the Germans. Ironically the Germans then handed over the city, only to fight over it with the same division when Operation Barbarossa began two years later. During the battles the 1st Gebirgsjägerdivision would see heavy fighting in the Zboisk village on the heights north of Lwów and west of Lwów at Jaworow where Polish forces were fighting their way towards the city through positions held by the 1st Gebirgsjäger division and SS “Germania”. Intense fighting would also happen in the Janowski forest where the Germans would shatter the Polish Carpathian division trying to fight their way towards the besieged city of Lwów . By the end of the campaign the 1st Gebirgsjäger division had taken the highest number of casualties of any German division, losing 23 officers, 69 junior officers, 313 soldiers killed. Another 42 officers, 150 junior officers and 726 soldiers were wounded and a total of 79 men were missing in action. For their action in Poland the entire division was awarded 27 Iron Crosses of the 1st class and 1.129 Iron Crosses of the 2nd class.
The Dukla pass September 8th Moving along the Carpathian mountain range the 1.st Gebirgsjäger division came into contact with a Polish Border Protection Corps battalion made up of mountain troops that had been garrisoned at the town of Dukla near the Dukla pass. The Polish force was part of the 3rd Mountain Brigade attached to the Polish “Karpaty” army. The Poles withdrew from the town after a short battle, leaving the pass open for the German mountain troops to proceed their march east. German forces Gebirgsjägerkompanie Polish forces Reserve Mountain battalion
Battle of Jaworow September 15-16th At Jaworow the Germans set up a defensive position which was meant to shield the rear of the troops conducting the siege of Lwów and stop any Polish attempts to reinforce the town from the west. On September 13th, many Polish units belonging to the “Karpaty” army still fighting in southern Poland, received the order to fight their way east. On September 15th the 11th Polish Carpathian mountain division and mountaineer troops belonging to the Border Protection Corps attacked the German defensive ring at Jaworow. The direction of the Polish attack was from the south east, and while the German 1st Gebirgsjäger division had set up a robust defensive position Gródek Jagielloński 33 kilometers west of Lwów, the SS regiment ”Germania” stretched north-east right in the middle between the town Jaworow held by the German 7th infantry division and Gródek Jagielloński. The major Polish attack hit the weaker SS positions as the Poles were trying to fight their way through to the Janowski forest and the three Polish divisions who were defending that area. The battle began near the village of Szumlak, the Poles launched a bayonet assault on the SS units. By nightfall the Polish attack had seized the village and nearby forest and inflicted such high losses on the Germans that SS “Germania” seized to exist as a fighting formation.
German forces Gebirgsjägerkompanie (No Slovak Motorized infantry platoon or Slovak armour, in their place you may instead field 2 Old Infanterie SS platoons). Polish forces Reserve Mountain battalion (no aircraft)
Polish attack on Hill 324 September September 16th One of the two dominating hills overlooking the town of Lwów was Hill 324 near the village of Zboisk. The 1st Gebirgsjägerdivision had hauled their artillery atop that hill and were shelling the city and its defenders, destroying tactically important locations inside Lwów such as church towers and other points that could be used by enemy observers. The village of Zboisk had been recaptured by the Polish 10th Motorized cavalry brigade on September 13th but the hill remained in German hands. On the 16th the southern German attack on Hill 374 September 16th While the Poles launched their attack on Hill 324 the Germans themselves had started an assault on Hill 374, the other dominating hill overlooking Lwów. This hill was in Polish hands, and had to be captured. Supported by heavy artillery the Gebirgsjäger fought for several hours until the hill was taken. The Polish forces tried to recapture the hill but ultimately withdrew and didn’t make any further attempts on the position or the nearby village. German forces Gebirgsjägerkompanie (no Slovak units) Polish forces Piechoty battalion (no aircraft, train or tanks) slopes of the hill were attacked by a Polish battalion and heavy fighting commenced with entrenched Gebirgsjäger troops fighting to prevent the Poles gaining the higher ground. The Polish attack was repelled and the artillery on the hill continued its barrage of the Polish positions until the end of the siege. German forces Gebirgsjägerkompanie (no Slovak units) Polish forces Piechoty battalion (no aircraft, train or tanks)
Battle of Janowski forest September 17-20th On September 17th the Polish mountain troops who had broken on through at Jaworow the previous day saw themselves surrounded in the Janowski forest and attacked by the 7th Infantry division, 1st Gebirgsjäger division and 5th Panzer division. The Poles tried several breakout attempts, and the whole area saw heavy fighting and the destruction of the town of Janow which switched hands back and forth during the raging battles. Fighting was conducted in dense forest terrain and the Polish units destroyed much of their heavy equipment to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. Much of the fighting started to resemble partisan warfare. On the 18th the Polish troops captured a hill and took several German prisoners, the Polish success was short lived when reinforcements arrived in the form of the 1st Gebirgsjäger division which forced the Poles to conduct a fighting withdrawal from one forest to another. A renewed attempt to break out towards Lwów began on September 19th, Polish infantry assaulted German positions, but without artillery support as the Polish artillery as busy keeping enemy counterattacks at bay with small arms fire. Not much remained of the Polish mountain divisions towards the end. On the night between the 21st and 22nd of September a column of Polish remnant troops was formed and marched towards Lwów. Left behind, near a ranger station, were 300 wounded men under the care of 2 medics. The Polish troops were so exhausted that many fell asleep during the march, many got lost in the night. Only 500 Polish soldiers made it out of the Janowski forest and ultimately across the Hungarian border. The fighting in the forest was remembered long after it had ended by the German troops who fought there; they would call it “the forest of death”. The name derived from the chaotic battles which often took a partisan warfare character, with Polish troops appeared from nowhere, launched an ambush and then disappeared back into the forest. Many soldiers saw the forest as an enemy of its own. German forces Gebirgsjägerkompanie (no Slovak units, may instead field 2 Leichte Panzer platoons from the Leichte Panzerkompanie) Polish forces Reserve Mountain battalion (no aircraft, tanks or “Zmotoryzowanej” platoons)
The Dukla pass: 1500 points per side German briefing: Having crossed the Polish border your first mission is to seize the Dukla pass and the Dukla village. Whoever controls the village controls the passage, the Polish mountain troops garrisoned in the area will most likely try to prevent the village from falling into our hands, so use your momentum to set up positions on hills and in the village as soon as possible. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 50% of his platoons 6” onto the table. 25% of his platoons are in Reserve, while 25% are in Delayed Reserve. German player deploys 75% of his platoons 6” onto the table, the remaining 25% of his platoons are in Reserve. Starting with the Polish player, both players place 1 objective inside the 12x36” zone marked in black. Beginning the battle German player nominates two combat platoons to make Spearhead deployment (page 261 main FoW rulebook). German player has first turn. Ending the battle The battle lasts 7 turns or when a player starts his turn controlling the enemy objective. Deciding who won The player who starts his turn controlling the enemy objective receive 1CVP. Making sure the enemy fails to control their objective when the game ends +1CVP.
Picture: Polish BAR gunner and rifleman
Battle of Jaworow: 1500 points per side German briefing: Cut off Polish mountain units belonging to the “Karpaty” army are trying to break through our lines and join up with their comrades near Lwów. Prevent the enemy from crossing our line of defense. Your positions at Gródek Jagielloński will me too tough a strongpoint for the Polish attackers, so expect them to hit your line further north where the forest provides natural cover. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his entire army 12” onto the table. The German player deploys 75% of his platoons 12” onto the table, the remaining 25% are kept in Reserve. German reserves may only arrive from the rear along the 3 roads. German units begin the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Polish player now place 1 objective marker in each of the 12x12” black zones. Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn. Ending the battle Battle lasts 6 turns
Deciding who won If the Polish player controls either objective at the end of turn 6 he has won, 2CVP. If the Polish player fails to control either objective by the end of the game the German player wins 2CVP. Drawing: Eye witness interpretation of the destruction of SS “Germania” The result of this battle affect the starting conditions of the upcoming “Battle of Janowski forest” so make sure to write down who won. 129
Polish attack on hill 324: 1500 points per side German briefing: Our siege of Lwów is holding the defenders almost completely encircled. Save for a few areas north of the city we are in control of the high ground. Hill 324 currently holds our artillery battery shelling locations inside the city itself, something that has forced the Polish defenders to muster a counterattack in an attempt to take the hill and silence our guns. Protect the southern slopes and don’t let the enemy overrun your positions. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Beginning the battle Polish player deploys his entire army. German player deploys 75% of his platoons on the table, the remaining 25% are in Reserve and will arrive from the rear. German player is required to place all of his artillery platoons on the hill. All German units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The German player may also place two 8” trench line sections atop the hill. German player now places 1 objective on the hill, at least 8” from his rear table edge, 8” from his front deployment edge, and 20” from the side table edges. Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn Ending the battle The battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won The Polish player needs to capture the objective atop the hill, if he controls the objective by the end of turn 7 then he has won, 2CVP. The Polish player may receive another +1CVP if he manages to destroy at least 1 artillery platoon, this is regardless of whether he won or lost the battle. The German player must prevent his opponent from capturing the objective, if the objective remains in German hands by the end of turn 7 the German player wins, 2CVP. If the German player doesn’t lose a single artillery platoon he receives another +1CVP but only if he wins the battle. Artillery platoons that count are: Gebirgsjäger Infantry gun platoon, 7.5cm Gebirgsgeschütz and 15cm sFH18 battery. Write down whether or not any artillery was lost as it affects the next battle “German attack on Hill 374”. It is also important to write down the artillery types the German pl ayer used.
German attack on Hill 374: 1500 points per side German briefing: While the Polish army is busy trying to capture our scouts have reported the hill being held by our positions at Hill 324 we will be performing infantry only. They will most likely have an assault on Hill 374. This is the last Hill artillery support from the nearby village so it is remaining in Polish hands and taking it would up to you whether or not to split your forces be of great tactical value to our siege. We and attack both the hill and the village or don’t expect the hill to be heavily defended, focus on the hill alone. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Beginning the battle Polish player deploys 1/3rd of his platoons atop the hill inside the 24x24” deployment. Only Combat platoons may be placed on the hill! 1/3rd of the Polish platoons are placed in the deployment zone at the village, if the Polish player has artillery in his army it must be deployed there. Polish platoons begin the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The remaining 1/3rd of the Polish force is held in Delayed Reserve and will arrive from along the table edges inside the Polish deployment zone. The German player deploys 75% of his platoons on the table, the remaining 25% are held in Reserve. German player places 1 objective at the very center of the hill, and one objective inside the 12x12” zone in the village. German artillery strike If the German player used, and did not lose any, artillery platoon in the last battle, he may call in a one-time only artillery strike in any shooting phase. The artillery strike follows all the normal rules, except that it counts as if having an invisible observer team with LoS to the target on the table. The rating of the artillery is based on the artillery platoon performing the strike. The artillery platoon must have been part of the previous battle. Beginning the battle German player nominates two combat platoons to make Spearhead deployment (page 261 main FoW rulebook). German player has first turn. Ending the battle The battle lasts 7 turns. Deciding who won The player who controls the objective atop the hill by the end of turn 7 wins, 2CVP. Control of the objective in the village by the end of turn 7 makes for another +1CVP regardless of whether the owner lost or won the battle. 131
Battle of Janowski forest: Poles*, Germans 1500 points German briefing: Polish mountain divisions are surrounded inside the Janowski forest, they have been attempting to break out towards Lwów but our division as well as 7th Infantry division and the 5th Panzer division are holding the line and are closing in on the trapped Poles from all sides. The objective is total destruction of the remaining “Karpaty” army divisions. Polish units are currently located north-east of the destroyed village of Janow, our own troops are moving in from the south and the west. *Polish army size: If the Polish player won the scenario “Battle of Jaworow” the Polish player has 1500 points. If the battle was lost the Polish player only has 1250 points.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Beginning the battle Polish player deploys his army on the table, two platoons may be kept in Ambush. 1 infantry platoon may be deployed for a Hit and run attack. German player deploys along the table edges, 12” and 6” onto the table.
Hit and run During the battle, the Polish player may deploy a single infantry platoon (without gun teams) anywhere in “no man’s land” where there is forest terrain. The requirement is that there are no enemy teams within 6” of any friendly team. This platoon may move and fire as normal but may not assault. If by the end of the Polish turn, there are no enemy teams within 6” of any friendly team then the Polish player may remove the platoon from the table (the Polish soldiers disappear into the forest). The platoon may be used for hit Hit and run attacks every other turn starting with the turn of the Polish player’s choice (example: Turn 1,3,5,7 etc.) Ending the battle The battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won The German player wins if he forces the Polish army to flee, 3CVP The Polish player receives 1CVP at the end of his turn 5, 6, and 7. The longer he survives the more points he gets, points are awarded even if the Polish player is forced to flee off table.
Operation: 4th Panzer division
Created as the 7th Panzer brigade in Würzburg , November 1935, was the first of the new fast units in the German army. Upgraded to full division status in October 1938. During the Munich Crisis and the subsequent Anschluss of Czechoslovakia it was screening the Polish border in case of allied interference. As the plans for Fall Weiss started to fall into place the 4th Panzer division was attached to the XVI Panzer corps of Army Group South which was commanded by field marshal Gerd von Runstedt. The exact composition of the division isn’t known but it is noted to have included around 341 tanks of which 183 were Panzer I, 130 Panzer II, 12 Panzer IV and 16 PzBef. The combination of light tanks and not enough anti-tank guns and infantry support would be hard on the division in the heavy fighting that lay ahead. Crossing the border on September 1st the 4th Panzer division was among the first German units on Polish soil, it had its baptism of fire in the heavy fighting at the battle of Mokra the same day, where the Polish Volhynian cavalry brigade and Polish armoured trains managed to destroy 50 tanks and 100 other vehicles of the 1 st and 4th Panzer divisions. Chasing after the withdrawing Polish troops the 4th Panzerdivision saw battle again at with Polish defenders at the Borowska heights, Piotrkow-Trybunalski and Tomaszow-Mazowiecki where the Polish “Łódź” army was finally driven back. With the Polish defense scattered, the 4th Panzerdivision raced ahead of the German army towards Warsaw where it arrived on September 8th. It tried to take the city by surprise but was forced back after losing 80 of its remaining 220 tanks. The division was fighting at the siege of Warsaw up until the Polish counteroffensive at the battle of Bzura began. After a series of surprising Polish victories against the German invaders started to threaten the German rear the 4th Panzer was pulled from Warsaw and thrown at the Polish armies in the city of Sochaczew on September 14th. The 4th Panzer Division remained tied up with the Battle of Bzura until the September 22nd, helping German divisions in their encirclement and attempted destruction of Polish forces that tried to escape through their lines towards the Kampinos forest. The 4th Panzerdivision would see service in the German army throughout the war, their next battles would be fought in France, and then subsequently during Operation Barbarossa on the eastern front. By the end of 1941 the division had lost almost all of its tanks in the Soviet counteroffensive, reequipped it took part in the battle of Kursk, after which it was stationed in Kowel, in occupied Poland until the Soviet offensive started once again in 1944. The division fought cut off from German territory in Lithuania and Livonia in Finland until April of 1945 when the remaining units were destroyed.
Battle of Borowska heights September 2-5th Breaking through the mayhem that was the battle at Mokra the 4th Panzer divisions made contact with the second line of defense put up the Polish “Łódź” army. The Borowska heights were three hills 279 meters above sea level overlooking the surrounding area near the city of Łódź . The heights were held by the Polish Volhynian cavalry brigade which had pulled out of Mokra and taken up new positions there. Other Polish units located on the heights were the 2nd Light tank battalion of 7TP tanks, three infantry regiments and a cavalry artillery battery. The heavy fighting would ultimately disperse the defenders who would continue the battle on the days following the battle of Borowska heights. The fighting for the heights claimed 580 killed and 250 wounded Polish troops. The German attackers lost 650 killed, 540 wounded and 100 were taken prisoner. German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie Polish forces Light tank company (7TP) Pulk Kawalerii (no train) Piechoty Batalion (no train)
Battle of Piotrkow Trybunalski September 5th This was a direct continuation of the battle of Borowska heights, the Polish general Wiktor Thommée who was in charge of the fighting forces committed at the heights organized a Polish counterattack consisting of three Light tank companies belonging to the 2nd Light tank battalion. Supported by infantry battalions the Polish tanks were to hit the German forces and push them back. When the Germans turned their attention to the town of Piotrkow Trybunalski they met fierce resistance and were counterattacked by Polish tanks and infantry. The Panzer corps fighting near the town was the strongest combined Panzer formations of the September campaign, numbering a total of 616 panzers. During the fighting the Germans launched assaults on the town but failed to take it. Polish anti-tank guns and 7TP tanks destroyed several German tanks. German artillery meantime destroyed 7 of the Polish tanks. When the fighting ended the 2nd Light tank battalion had 24 7TP tanks left, of which 6 were damaged. German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie Polish forces Light tank company (7TP) Piechoty Batalion (no train)
Battle of Tomaszow-Mazowiecki September 6th As Polish forces received orders of falling back the Polish 13th infantry division found itself at Tomaszow-Mazowiecki on the route to Warsaw. Little did they know that the 1st and 4th German Panzer divisions were taking the road through the city on their way towards the Warsaw. Finding itself fighting alone against two armoured divisions the Poles had little chance of holding the line. After a day of intense battle German units broke through the Polish lines, captured Tomaszow-Mazowiecki and continued their race towards Warsaw. The fighting had cost the 13th Infantry division 770 killed and 1.023 wounded. The Germans lost 21 tanks and 100 killed. German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, tanks or aircraft)
Taking Ochota by surprise September 8th Having seized several outskirts of Warsaw the 4th Panzer division units arrived at the city on September 8th. Thinking the Poles would be unprepared due to the swiftness of the German advance the German commander issued an order to storm the city through the Ochota district on the western flank of the Warsaw. The city and that district in particular had seen gradual reinforcement over the course of the days that followed the German invasion. Now, there were barricades and gun emplacements guarding the approach, and the streets of Opaczewska and Grójecka were defended by 4th company of the 40th "Children of Lwów" regiment alongside Polish forces that had arrived at the city from the front. When the German tanks began driving down these streets the Polish defenders opened fire with 75mm artillery at point-blank range. The streets had also been covered by turpentine which was lit on fire destroying several tanks and capturing terrified German infantry in the inferno and crossfire. The attack was a disaster, 81 German tanks were lost and the Germans spearhead had to await the rest of the German army to arrive and conduct a regular siege. German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, R-35 OR Vickers E platoon instead of FT-17 platoon option)
Attack on Sochaczew September 14-16th With the battle of Bzura well under way the German army was forced to pull units from Warsaw and nearby areas and direct them at the Polish armies fighting in the Bzura pocket to neutralize the surprise of the Polish counteroffensive. The 4th Panzer division was one such unit that received orders to abandon Warsaw and head west, their order was to capture the town of Sochaczew which was situated right on both banks of the Bzura river. The town was held by the Polish 2nd infantry battalion which had arrived on September 14th, and ordered to hold the down as it was needed in the event of a Polish withdrawal. German forces arrived on the 14th and began an intense assault on the city, which the Poles manage to hold only because of 5 friendly artillery batteries which provided supporting fire. Casualties among the defenders were very high. The following day a renewed assault on the town breached the defense, and the badly battered Polish defenders were pushed into the town center where battle continued against German panzers. Small groups of defenders began forcing the Bzura river, only 100 made it across. By afternoon the city fell into German hands. The defenders of the 4th company were decimated, and their company commander had been killed in battle. Relentless the German force tried to pursue the Polish remnants during the afternoon of September 16th but failed to make it across the Bzura river due to heavy Polish artillery fire from the opposite river bank. In the defense of the city the Polish 2nd infantry battalion had lost 80% of its men, including the battalion commander major Feliks Kozubowski who was killed while crossing the river with his troops, colonel Marian Himmel commander of 4th company, the battalion medic and 5 platoon commanders. The 4th Panzer company was pulled out of the city after the battle and took part in the fighting around the Kampinos forest with Polish remnants trying to break through towards Warsaw after the battle of Bzura. German forces Leichte Panzerkompanie Leichte Panzerkompanie A Verlastete Panzerkompanie Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, aircraft or tanks)
Picture: German troops entering Sochaczew
Battle of Borowska heights: 1500 points per side German briefing: The Polish troops that withdrew from Mokra have taken up position on the three hills known as the Borowska heights. The Poles have also been reinforced by a battalion of tanks, but our Panzer superiority should allow us to take the hills and thus break the Polish line of defense. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his army on the table, using Mobile Reserves (page 269 main FoW rulebook). Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. German player deploys 75% of his platoons on the table, the remaining platoons are kept in Reserve. German player places 1 objective marker at the center of each hill. Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves German player has first turn Ending the battle The battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won The German player needs to capture the hills held by the Polish army. If the German player at any point during the game controls at least 2 objectives the German player has broken the Polish defense and wins the battle, 2CVP. Capturing all 3 objectives yields 3CVP. The Polish player must prevent the German army from capturing the hills, if the end of turn 6 the German player has failed his objective of capturing 2 hills the Polish player wins, 2CVP. If the German player has failed to capture any hill at all the Polish victory yields 3CVP.
Battle of Piotrkow Trybunalski: 1500 points per side German briefing The battle among at the Polish line of defense south of Łódź continues. The Polish army has launched a counterattack on our forces currently engaged in battle at the town of Piotrkow Trybunalski. Prevent the Polish counterattack from pushing your forces back. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 75% of his platoons on the table, the remainder are kept in Reserve and will arrive along the two roads from the Polish table edge. German player deploys 75% of his platoons on the table, the remainder are kept in Reserve will arrive along the road from the German table edge. Both the Polish and German player place 1 objective each inside the 12x48” zone marked i n the center of the table. The objective must be at least 4” from any black border (in other words 16” from the side edge and 22” from any top/bottom edges of the table). Beginning the battle Polish player makes reconnaissance moves German player makes reconnaissance moves Polish player has first turn Starting on turn 4 roll for Dusk (page 273 in the main FoW Rulebook) Ending the battle The battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won The player who controls both objectives by the end of turn 6 receives 2CVP. Controlling a single objective by the end of turn 6 equals 1CVP.
Battle of Tomaszow-Mazowiecki: 1500 points per side German briefing: We have almost cleared the Polish lines, one last obstacle stands in our way before the road to Warsaw lies open, and that is the town of Tomaszow-Mazowiecki. Reconnaissance indicates that a Polish infantry division recently arrived in the area but they are not prepared for an attack. Directing an assault at their positions should shatter their units with ease. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 2/3rds of his army on the table; the remaining platoons are kept in Delayed Reserves and will arrive along the Polish deployment zone. German player deploys 50% of his platoons on the table. 25% will arrive on turn 2, and the remaining 25% will arrive on turn 3. Reserves arrive from the rear of the German deployment zone. German player then places 1 objective inside the 12x12” black zone. Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves German player has first turn Ending the battle Battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won If the German player controls the objective by the end of the Polish turn 7, the German player has won. Otherwise the Polish player wins. Winner receives 1CVP. Inflicting 50% or higher amount of losses on the enemy force yields another 1CVP , awarded regardless of whether the player won or lost the battle.
Taking Ochota by surprise: 1500 points per side German briefing: Having reached Warsaw your commander was eager to throw your unit at the city gates hoping to capture the town on the march. The situation at the moment is a pure disaster with your units having walked right into a trap. You are now cut off in a devastating crossfire; orders are to immediately pull out of the city with as much of your force intact as possible. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player sets up his army in the C shaped deployment zone. Up to 2 platoons may be kept in Ambush. Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. German player deploys his entire army inside the 12”x36” zone. Turpentine traps At the start of any Polish turn, the Polish player is allowed to place a minefield sized marker on any road section inside his deployment. All German teams hit by the marker count as if they were hit by a flamethrower. Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn No Polish units may launch assaults during turn 1 Ending the battle Battle lasts until all remaining German units have reached the safety of the black 6x48” zone at the other end of the table or when the German company morale fails. German player ignores the first two destroyed platoons when counting the force morale. Deciding who won German player receives 3CVP if less than 25% of his force is destroyed 2CVP if less than 50% of his force is destroyed 1CVP if more than 50% of his force is destroyed Polish player receives 1CVP if at least 25% of enemy platoons are destroyed 2CVP if at least 50% % of enemy platoons are destroyed 3CVP if the enemy company morale is broken
Attack on Sochaczew: 1500 points per side German briefing: The city of Sochaczew is located on the banks of the Bzura river. It’s currently locate d on the northeastern flank of the Polish forces inside the Bzura pocket. If we manage to seize city the Polish army will be deprived of an important river crossing and parts of their forces will be cut off with no hope of breaking through to the east and the besieged city of Warsaw. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his army, 1 platoon may be kept in Ambush. Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The German player deploys his army. Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves. German player has first turn. Ending the battle The battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won The German player wins if he manages to breach the Polish line of deployment and have at least 25% of his starting platoons inside the Polish deployment zone by the end of the battle, 2CVP. The Polish player wins if he can prevent the German player to enter the city with 25% or more of his starting platoons, 2CVP.
Picture: German soldiers inside Sochaczew
Operation: 1. Kavallerie-brigade
Between 1934 - 38 the Wehrmacht included 18 regiments of cavalry, which formed three divisions and one cavalry brigade. However as the Wehrmacht expanded with more and more motorized vehicles, so too did cavalry regiments gradually convert into motorized regiments and became one with the motorized and light divisions. In April 1938 as an experiment, a single cavalry brigade was formed, made up of units not yet motorized. The brigade was stationed in Insterburg in Eastern Prussia. In August of 1939 the brigade was mobilized and integrated with the 3rd German army of Army Group North. The brigade consisted of two cavalry regiments, 1 battalion of infantry on bicycles and 1 division of horse artillery. On September 1st the brigade crossed the Polish border at Pełtach and launched an attack on the city of Myszyniec, where it forced the defenders to retreat and took the city. From there it joined the battle at Mława alongside Panzerdivision “Kempf” and other units of the German 3rd Army. After the battle of Mława the brigade raced ahead to secure a bridgehead across the Narew river and fought at Różan, once again alongside Panzerdivision “Kempf” units. The brigade also seized a bridgehead over the river Bug before it was ordered to garrison the town of Minsk Mazowiecki where it remained until October 4th. After the Polish campaign the brigade was reorganized as the 1.st cavalry division which would see battle during the invasion of France
Picture: Parts of the 1. Kavallerie-brigade at the German victory parade in Warsaw.
Flanking Mława September 2-4th While several divisions of the 3rd Army involved in heavy fighting near the Polish fortified position at Mława, the 1. Kavalleriebrigade arrived at the battle on September 2nd. The brigade took up battle on the flank where the defense was made up of the 42nd Polish infantry regiment and the 5th Uhlan regiment belonging to the Podlaska cavalry brigade. The fighting forced Polish troops to withdraw and made it possible for the German cavalry to breach the Polish lines and head for the river Narew. German forces 1. Kavallerie-brigade Polish forces Pułk Kawalerii (no train) Piechoty Batalion (no train)
Bridgehead across the Bug river September 7th With Panzerdivision “Kempf” attacking Polish positions near the town of Różan, the 1.Kavallerie-brigade too was focusing on fighting its way across the river Narew and securing a bridgehead for the 3rd army. The brigade would cross the river and continue onward behind enemy lines and towards the next river the following day. Arriving at the village of Borek the brigade fought Polish troops for control over a bridgehead over the river Bug which was successfully captured the same day. German forces 1. Kavallerie-brigade Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, tanks or aircraft)
Attack of the 1st Legion infantry division September 11th The next attack of the 3rd Army was directed at the town of Kałuszyn. The 1. Kavalleriebrigade arrived first at the town and soon saw itself being attacked by the Polish 1.st Legion infantry division. During the battle the German Panzerdivision “Kempf” arrived and took part in the battle, both formations were trying to prevent the Polish division from breaching their lines. The Poles however managed to fight their way past the Germans, albeit with heavy casualties, and joined up with other Polish units withdrawing to the next line of defense to the south.
German forces 1. Kavallerie-brigade Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, aircraft or Divisional artillery support)
Flanking Mława: 1500 points per side German briefing: Your force is attacking the flanks of the Mława fortified positions, the objective is to find a weak spot where you can breach the Polish defenses and start heading inland towards the rivers. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 2/3rd of his platoons on the table, remaining platoons are kept in Delayed Reserve and will arrive from the rear. Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. German player deploys his entire army. German player places 1 objective I each 12x12” black zone. Beginning the battle German player makes reconnaissance moves German player has first turn Ending the battle Battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won German player wins if he controls both objectives when the battle ends, 2CVP. Otherwise the Polish player wins, 2CVP.
Picture: German cavalry 144
Bridgehead across the Bug river: Poles 1250 points, Germans 1500 points German briefing: Having cleared the Narew your next task is to secure a bridgehead over the Bug river. You will be attacking the village of Borek, weakly defended by Polish infantry. Secure the village and the crossing will be in our hands, allowing for 3rd Army units to move south and outflank the enemy lines of defense along the rivers. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his army inside the village of Borek in a 36x18” zone. Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The German player will arrive with 75% of his platoons onto the table along the edges marked in blue. The rest of this platoons are kept in Reserve. German player then places 1 objective inside the village so that it is at least 24” from the left and right side, 12” from the bottom and 24” from the top table edge. Beginning the battle German player has first turn Ending the battle The battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won The German player wins if he controls the objective at the start of any of his turns, 1CVP.If the German player fails to control the objective the Polish player wins, 1CVP.
Attack of the 1st Legion infantry division: 1500 points per side German briefing: A Polish infantry division, currently cut off from the withdrawing Polish army, has attacked out positions at the town of Kałuszyn. No doubt the Poles will try to force their way past our forces, your objective is to prevent them from breaching our lines. Panzerdivision “Kempf” is holding the town while we will be performing a counterattack. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his army. German player deploys his army. Polish player places 1 objective anywhere inside the German deployment zone. German player places 1 objective anywhere inside the Polish deployment zone. Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn Starting on turn 5, roll for Dusk (page 273 main FoW rulebook). Ending the battle The battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won The Polish army will try to breach the German lines, and must capture the objective in the German deployment zone. If the Polish player starts any turn controlling the objective he wins and the battle immediately ends, 2CVP. The German army is trying to scatter the Polish attack on Kałuszyn, if the German player controls the objective in the Polish deployment zone at the start of any turn he wins and the battle immediately ends, 2CVP.
Operation: Field army Bernolák
The Slovak participation in the invasion of Poland was a modest venture which had its explanation rooted in a debt of gratitude towards Germany but also the Slovak interest in the contested border regions along the Polish-Slovak border. The Slovak invasion force was made up of the following units: 1st Infantry division: Two infantry regiments, one independent infantry battalion, one artillery regiment and one artillery unit, one unit of reconnaissance cavalry. This division protected the flank of the 2nd Gebirgsjäger division, and captured the towns of Zakopane on September 1st and the town of Nowy Targ soon after. 2nd Infantry division: 1 infantry regiment, three independent infantry battalions, one artillery regiment and one unit of reconnaissance cavalry. This division crossed the Polish border on September 8 th, capturing the villages of Muszynę, Krynicę Zdrój, Tylicz, Biała Woda without Polish resistance. On September 16th it was fighting Polish troops between the villages of Sanok and Dukla. 3rd Infantry divisions: Two infantry regiments and two independent infantry battalions, one unit of reconnaissance cavalry, one unit of artillery. The 3rd division fought alongside the 3rd German Gebirgsjäger division against Polish forces south of Sanok on September 11th. Fast group “Kalinčiak”: 1 unit of cavalry, 2 units of bicycle infantry, 1 motorized unit. Included here was also a company of LT vz.35 tanks [Slovak Pz35(t)]. This division never saw battle, crossing the border weeks after the invasion had begun the Slovak troops secured the positions at Sanok and Dukla until the end of the campaign. Held in reserve was also the Slovak armoured train “Bernolák”, it never crossed into Polish territory. The Slovak involvement in the invasion of Poland wasn’t a spectacular military venture. Slovakia was focused on capturing disputed regions along the border only; the regions were part of Slovakia until the end of WW2 when they were handed back to Poland. The Slovak divisions also enjoyed light resistance inside Polish territory, mainly fighting units of the Polish “Karpaty” army that lacked heavy equipment and which was withdrawing. Nevertheless, “Germany’s first ally” had proven to the German high command that they were ready to commit their army into battle supporting Germany in its campaigns. Of the 50.000 Slovak soldiers of the Slovak army 12.642 took part in the campaign as part of the Field army Bernolák. During operations on enemy territory, 37 were killed, 114 wounded, 11 missing and 2 Slovak Avia B-534 planes were shot down. Slovak units also took 1.350 Polish prisoners.
Capturing Zakopane September 1st Crossing the border on September 1st the 1st Infantry Division headed for the town of Zakopane near the border. The weakly defended town was captured by Slovak troops the same day and Slovak units began moving towards the town of Novy Targ which too was captured on September 1st. The 1st Infantry Division was then called to a halt, 30 kilometers into enemy territory. Slovak forces 1st Infantry division “Janošík” (no Gebirgsjäger units) Polish forces Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections)
Villages of Czeremchy and Ochotnicy September 2-5th Slovak forces of engaged the Polish 11th Carptahian Infantry division near the villages of Czeremchy and Ochotnicy on the days September 2-5th. This area would see the most intense Polish-Slovak fighting of the campaign. And during the night Polish national guard units would move across the Slovak border to counterattack the enemy. Slovak forces 1st Infantry division “Janosik” Polish forces Reserve mountain battalion (no “Zmotoryzowanej” units)
Polish counterattack at Čertižné September 2nd Polish national guard units attacked across the Polish-Slovak border the Slovak village of Čertižné. The Polish attack was repelled, but the village would be attacked again on September 5th and 6th. Polish units would also enter the Slovak villages of Nižný Komárnik and Vyšný Komárnik during these raids across the border. Slovak forces 1st Infantry division “Janosik” (no Gebirgsjäger units) Polish forces Reserve mountain battalion (no Vickers tanks, aircraft or “Zmotoryzowanej” units
Holding the line between Sanok and Dukla September 16th Dukla had been captured by the German 1st Gebirgsjäger division on September 8th after which the Germans raced towards Lwów. The village of Sanok had been captured by Slovak units on September 12th, after which Slovak units were told to guard the rear of the German army. Slovak positions stretched between the two villages and their positions came under attack by Polish remnant units belonging to the “Karpaty” army on September 16th. Slovak forces 1st Infantry division “Janosik” (no Gebirgsjäger units) Polish forces Reserve mountain battalion (no Vickers tanks, aircraft or “Zmotoryzowanej” units Picture: Slovak soldiers at the village of Sanok
Picture Slovak vz.25 heavy machinegun team during the Polish campaign. 149
Capturing Zakopane: 1500 points per side Slovak briefing: Having crossed the border your first task is to seize control of the town Zakopane, resistance is expected to be light as most of the Polish “Karpaty” army is occupied elsewhere and have left but small garrison to protect the town from aggression. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 75% of his platoons on the table, the remaining platoons are held in Reserve and will arrive from the rear of the Polish deployment. Polish units start the battle Gone to ground (no prepared positions). Slovak player deploys 50% of his platoons 6” onto the table, the remaining 50% will arrive from the rear of the Slovak deployment at the start of Slovak turn 2. Polish player places 1 objective in the 12x12” zone in no man’s land. Slovak player places 1 objective in each of the 12x12” zones in the Polish deployment zone. Beginning the battle Slovak player makes reconnaissance moves Slovak player has first turn Ending the battle Battle lasts 7 turns Deciding who won If by the end of turn 7, the Slovak player controls 2 objectives the Slovak player has won, 1CVP. Controlling all 3 objectives yields 2CVP. If the Polish player can prevent the Slovak player from controlling 2 or more objectives the Polish player has won, 1CVP. If the Polish player can prevent the Slovak player from controlling any objective at all the Polish player receive 2CVP.
Villages of Czeremchy and Ochotnicy: 1750 points per side Slovak briefing: Our army has made contact with regular Polish troops fighting around the villages of Czeremchy and Ochotnicy. Capture both villages in order to drive back the Polish defenders. Note: The recommended table side for this battle is 8x4’ ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys a maximal 25% of his platoons in the 12x24” area inside the eastern village. 50% of the Polish army is deployed in the 24x36” deployment zone near the western village. The remaining 25% of the Polish platoons are held in Reserve and will arrive from the table edges within the Polish deployment zone. Polish units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. The Slovak player deploys 75% of his platoons inside the 12x48” deployment zone, the remaining platoons are kept in Delayed Reserve and will arrive along the table edge within the Slovak deployment zone. Polish player places 1 objective inside the eastern village. Slovak player places 1 objective inside the western village. Beginning the battle Slovak player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends when either the Slovak player controls both objectives or when either player’s force morale is broken. Deciding who won. The Slovak player wins if he starts any of his turns controlling both objectives , 2CVP. Polish player wins if he can break the Slovak force morale, 2CVP.
Polish counterattack at Čertižné: 1250 points per side Slovak briefing: Polish units are counterattacking across the border, protect the village and throw them back to avoid sabotage and confusion behind our lines. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Slovak player deploys 75% of his force on the table, the remainder is kept in Delayed reserve and will arrive from the rear. Polish player deploys 75% of his force on the table, the remainder is kept in Delayed reserve and will arrive from the rear. Beginning the battle This battle is fought in Darkness (page 273 main FoW rulebook) Polish player makes reconnaissance moves Polish player has first turn Ending the battle Battle lasts 5 turns Deciding who won This is a quick raid under cover of darkness. The player who first loses 25% of his platoons must withdraw from battle, his opponent wins and receives 1CVP. Inflicting 50% or higher casualty ratio to the platoon strength at least half of the enemy platoons yields +1CVP, regardless of whether the battle was won or lost. This is calculated after the battle has ended, so make sure to keep your “casualty pile” sorted.
Holding the line between Sanok and Dukla: 1500 points per side Slovak briefing: Guarding the rear and the flanks of the German Gebirgsjäger divisions our forces have dug in between the villages Sanok and Dukla, expecting cut off Polish remnants to try fight their way through our positions towards Lwów. Make sure the line is held so that the rear supply line of our allied isn’t threatened. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Slovak player deploys 75% of his army, the rest is kept in Delayed reserve , reserves arrive from the rear. Slovak units start the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Polish player deploys 75% of his army 6” onto the table, the rest is kept in Reserve. Polish player places 1 objective in the 12x12” zone of his choice. The Slovak player places 1 objective in the remaining zone. Beginning the battle Battle starts at Dawn (page 273 main FoW rulebook). Polish player makes reconnaissance moves Polish player has first turn Ending the battle Battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won If the Slovak player can prevent either objective being controlled by Polish troops by the end of turn 7, the Slovak player wins, 1CVP. If the Polish player controls either one objective by the end of turn 6 the Polish player wins, 1CVP.
Operation: Belorussian front
The Soviet invasion of Poland began on September 17th, seven Soviet armies crossed the border in northern and Southern Poland. The reason no armies attacked at the central parts of the eastern Polish border was thanks to the vast Pripyat marshlands. The northern invasion, known as the “Belorussian front” was commanded my Mikhail Kovalyov and consisted of 4 armies out of the 7 armies invading Poland. The total Soviet attack force in the northern part of the country included 12 infantry divisions, 6 cavalry divisions, 8 tank brigades and 1 motorized brigade. The Soviet Belorussian front directed its assault towards the cities of Wilno and Grodno as well as a general attack in the western direction to meet up with their German allies. Polish communications had been damaged and chaos and confusion among Polish units fighting the German invader had turned all focus away from the Soviet border. Even on the day of the invasion from the east, Polish reserves and units located in the eastern parts of the country were shipped by trains or otherwise ordered to march west and plug holes in the shrinking front. When the Soviet armies crashed across the border the result was not only Polish surprise and initial misunderstanding about what was going on – indeed many civilians initially thought the Red Army had come to their aid. The Polish border had also been left wide open, the Border Protection Corps under general Wilhelm Orlik-Rückemann had been stripped of much of its heavy equipment during the mobilization prior to the German invasion but also during the invasion itself. He now commanded 20 under strength and under equipped infantry battalions numbering roughly 20.000 soldiers in total. Without any orders from his superiors general Orlik-Rückermann and his co-commanders had to decide what to do themselves, and organize the defense as best they could with what little they had. Despite their hopeless situation the Border Protection Corps put up a surprisingly good fight against the eastern invaders. The exact number of Soviet casualties during the invasion varies depending on source, one contemporary Soviet source claimed the Polish campaign cost the Red 1.475 killed and 2.383 wounded. The same source states that 150 tanks were lost, of which 43 were irrecoverable losses. Hundreds more are said to have broken down to mechanical failure. A Russian historian, Igor Bunich, estimates Soviet losses at 5,327 KIA or MIA but doesn’t mention any number for wounded. Polish sources estimated the Red Army losses to 3.000 killed and 10.000 wounded. Yet another source claims 6.475 killed and 4.383 wounded, with 86 tanks destroyed or incapacitated. Picture: Red army soldiers 154
Crossing the border September 17th The initial clashes between the Soviet Red Army and the thinly spread Polish Border Protection units on September 17th, along the north-eastern parts of the Polish-Soviet border. Soviet forces Light tank company Fast tank company Medium tank company Rifle battalion Cavalry regiment Polish forces Border Protection Corps
Capturing Wilno September 18-19th On September 17th the city of Wilno On September 18th Soviet forces arrived at Wilno which had no proper defenses to speak of and only 14.000 soldiers and militia volunteers to guard it. However only 6.500 of them were actually armed. Prior to the battle at the city defenders were increased by retreating Polish remnant units finding their way to the city. The Polish defense was organized into 10 infantry battalions and supported by 15 light artillery anti-tank guns. The city also had 5 AAguns at its disposal and 40 machine guns. Moving towards the city from the north-east was the Soviet 24th cavalry division, 22nd and 25th armoured brigades, and from the southeast Soviet forces consisted of 36th cavalry division and 6th armoured brigade. The Polish commander of the city defense Jarosław Okulicz-Kozaryn had no intention of defending the city and had his mind set upon evacuating the city civilians across the Lithuanian border. When the Soviets arrived on September 18th the commander had already left and his subordinate Lieutenant-Colonel Podwysocki was dispatched to inform the approaching Soviets about the fact that the city didn’t intend to defend itself, but had to return quickly after the approaching Soviets opened fire at him. Returning to the city, Podwysocki decided to defend the city, despite many of the defenders having already left, the troops that remained were mainly experienced Border Protection Corps troops left as a rearguard for the evacuation. Despite having insufficient men and equipment the Poles fought around and inside the city – in particular slowing the advance by controlling the bridges. However, by the evening Soviet troops had forced their way into the center of the city – and the next morning when additional divisions arrived the token defense ceased. Some Polish troops managed to withdraw towards Grodno where they would fight again. Soviet forces Light tank company Fast tank company Medium tank company Rifle battalion Cavalry regiment Polish forces Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections)
Polish defense of Grodno September 20-22nd Prior to the outbreak of the war, Grodno was garrisoned by the Polish 29th infantry division, the division was however sent to strengthen the “Prusy” army during the general mobilization. Left behind was a mobilized force called “Operational Group Grodno”, consisting of 7.000 soldiers. The force was however disbanded on September 10th and most of its best units were sent to help the defenders of the city of Lwów. Grodno had also been bombed since September 1st and had lost 50% of its military equipment when a depot was destroyed. On September 18th the city was deemed impossible to hold, so the town counselor and other city officials left, without nominating anyone in charge or instruction about the city defense. Without orders army major Benedykt Serafin and Roman Sawicki, who was the Grodno vice-counselor, took upon themselves to prepare the city by ordering anti-tank trenches to be dug and placed machineguns in church towers. Volunteers were also trained. The defense was made up of two under strength battalions armed solely with rifles, machineguns and two Bofors 40mm AA Guns. Some 3.500 men in total. September 20th the Red Army arrived at the gates with a reconnaissance battalion for the 27th armoured brigade, 11 BT-5 (or BT-7) tanks and one radio car, seeing no defenders the Soviets decided to enter Grodno. Upon crossing a bridge the Polish defenders appeared began firing at the radio car which was destroyed. This made the tanks disperse, each one fighting alone and ultimately destroyed. During the fighting 20 more Soviet tanks arrived at the city, then another 5 tank platoon, scouting the area, and finally a battalion of tanks. By the afternoon the Soviets brought forward infantry and artillery support, infantry managed to cross the river with the help of Soviet artillery and machinegun covering fire. During the night a weak Soviet infantry attack was thrown back. The same night a courier arrived from the Polish commander-in-chief with the order to abandon the town and evacuate to Lithuania, but the defenders refused, ultimately around 1.000 civilians left the city. During the early hours the Soviet forces were reinforced by two motorized battalions and another battalion of tanks. With 80 tanks and 15 armoured cars the Soviets commander divided the armour among his infantry formations to act as a support element for the next attack. On the 21st battles were already fought inside the city, defenders losing ground slowly but steadily. Most of the defenders had been killed or scattered. Those who remained kept fighting in isolated pockets. On the morning of the 22nd, the two men who had organized the defense of the city, Serafin and Sawicki managed to leave the city together with some of the remaining defenders. Around 1.000 Polish troops ended up Soviet prisoners, 300 people including many of the captured officers but also civilian population were executed on the spot or killed shortly after the city fell. According to Soviet sources the Poles lost 644 killed and 1.543 were taken prisoner. The same sources claimed the Red Army lost 57 killed, 159 wounded, 19 tanks, 3 armoured cars and 1 radio car. Polish estimates say 800 Red Army soldiers were killed and wounded. Soviet forces Light tank company Fast tank company Rifle battalion Polish forces Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections, “Kawalerii” platoons, AT-guns or artillery. May include a AA type A battery with 2 sections).
Crossing the border: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: This morning our troops finally received the order to cross the Polish border. Massed assaults are occurring across the entire front, your troops are part of the Belorussian front tasked with driving towards Grodno and capturing the city. First however, you must bypass the defensive positions of the Border Protection Corps. Force the enemy aside or destroy them quickly and move on comrade! ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing the battle Polish player deploys 75% of his troops on the table, the remainder are kept in Reserve and will arrive from the rear. Polish troops start the battle in Prepared Positions and Gone to ground. The Soviet player deploys his entire army on the table. Beginning the battle Turn 1 uses Night Fighting rules (page 272 main FoW rulebook). On turn 2 day breaks and the rest of the battle is fought during Daylight. Soviet player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends once either side achieves its objective Deciding who won Soviet player wins if he can break the force morale of the Polish army, 1CVP Polish player wins if he can hold out until Soviet turn 7, 1CVP
Picture: Charging Soviet infantry 157
Capturing Wilno: Polish player 1500 points, Soviet player 1750 points Soviet briefing: Our armies have arrived at the city of Wilno, reconnaissance tell that it is held by a token force of Polish defenders. Seize the city quickly and then move towards Grodno. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys his army on the table. One platoon may be kept in Ambush. All Polish units start the battle in Prepared Positions and Gone to ground. Polish player places 1 objective in one of the black zones. Soviet player deploy 75% of his force on the table, the remainder is kept in Reserve and will arrive along the roads in the Soviet deployment zone. Soviet player places 1 objective in the remaining black zone. Beginning the battle Soviet player makes reconnaissance moves Soviet player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends either when the Soviet player has captured one of the objectives, or the Polish player has broken the Soviet morale. Deciding who won Soviet player wins if he begins any of his turns controlling either one of the two objectives, 2CVP. Polish player wins if he can manage to break the Soviet force morale, 2CVP.
Polish defense of Grodno: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: Reconnaissance troops have reported that the town seems abandoned; there is at least no visible enemy military activity. Drive into the center of the city and claim if for the Soviet Union. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys his entire army. Polish units start the battle in Prepared Positions and Gone to ground. Soviet player deploys 50% of his army, 25% is kept in Reserve and 25% is kept in Delayed Reserve, reserves will arrive from the rear. Soviet player now places 1 objective in each of the 12x12” black zones. Beginning the battle Soviet player makes reconnaissance moves Soviet player has first turn On turn 5 start rolling for Dusk (page 273 main FoW rulebook) Ending the battle Battle ends when all objectives have been removed or captured. Deciding who won The Soviet player must capture objectives inside the town, if the Soviet player starts a turn controlling an objective the objective is secured (and cannot be removed). The Soviet player receives 1CVP per objective. The Polish player must hold off the Soviet attack on the city and protect parts that have not yet been evacuated. On each of the turns 4, 6 and 8 the Polish player removes one objective from the table, objectives removed may have been contested by the enemy but may not have been captured and secured. Polish player receives 1CVP for each objective removed.
Operation: Ukrainian front
The Ukrainian front included 3 Soviet armies, and was targeting the towns of Dubno, Lwów, Łuck and Chełm. At the forefront of Soviet armies rolled the tank brigades, fast moving tanks and cavalry units had as their prime directive to reach the borders of Lithuania, Romania and Hungary to cut off Polish attempts to evacuate military personnel through neutral countries. This was only partially achieved on both fronts, with the southern front mainly losing contact with the Romanian border. The Soviet invasion did however set other things in motion, it nullified Polish plans for a defense in the south-eastern parts of the country where the armies were supposed to hold out until allied armies could be mustered and come to Poland’s aid (between a halfhearted French advance a few kilometers onto German territory and the RAF dropping leaflets over German towns – there wasn’t much to hope for real allied intervention). The Polish leadership realized that their forces would be completely destroyed, and one can only assume “the Polish cause” along with it. So when the Soviets came across the eastern border orders began going out to fighting units to avoid unnecessary combat and instead evacuate the country through neutral neighbors and regroup in France. The Poles were not as ignorant as their western allies about the Soviet Union and what would come with Soviet occupation. Torn between two evils, the Soviet atrocities and war crimes are immensely overshadowed by the things the Germans did during the campaign and later occupation. And while some civilians in the southern parts of Poland wrongly assumed that the Soviets may have come to intervene with the German invasion, and minorities such as the Ukrainians were sweet talked by the arriving Red Army – both were soon faced with the “loving” embrace of NKVD units, political executions, re-allocation into the depths of the Soviet Union, collectivization of property and repressions based on made up charges could lead to a death sentence. If things were bad during the war with the Nazis, and there were a great deal of war crimes committed during the invasion and later occupation, the Soviet sphere was a whole other flavor of madness and destruction. After the Polish campaign and up until June 1940 an estimated 2.000.000 people were deported from the annexd Polish territories, most of them due to being considered an “anti -communist threat”. The NKVD and the Soviet authorities worked like a well oiled machine by now, having perfected their methods during the interwar years on other nations unfortunate enough to come under Soviet rule. Soviet lists state the following categories as cause for deportation: leaders and activists of political parties, activists of youth organizations including the Polish Scouting Association, officials of the state administration apparatus, policemen, officers in the intelligence and counterintelligence service, prison service personnel, prosecutors and judges, regular officers and NCO’s in the army and border guards, families and relatives of people who had tried to escape German occupied Poland. 1,114,000 - Permanent residents of the annexed areas, deported in four stages, 336,000 - Refugees from German occupied Poland, deported in June 1940 to the interior of the Soviet Union. 250,000 - Civilians arrested individually and transferred to prisons and camps in the Soviet Union, 210,000 - Young men born in 1917, 1918 and 1919, forcibly given Soviet citizenship, conscripted into the Red Army and moved to the interior of the Soviet Union in 1940-41. They served mainly in the Red Army construction battalions. 160
181,000 - Polish POWs captured in 1939 and interned in the Soviet Union, including in this number are the officers later murdered at Katyn. 12,000 - Polish POWs interned in Lithuania and transferred to the Soviet Union in 1940. An author later described the situation of the deported Poles in remote areas of the Soviet Union as a parallel to the fates of their ancestors after the third partition of Poland during the times of national uprisings in the 19th century. The ungrateful task of facing the Soviet enemy fell upon the Polish Border Protection Corps who were tasked with guarding 450 kilometers of Polish-Soviet border with a handful of troops. The regular army division which had been kept in reserve in eastern Poland had either been stripped or relocated. Against the roughly 20.000 Polish troops of general Orlik-Rückermann the Soviet threw half a million soldiers and twice the number of tanks and aircraft that Germany had included in their part of the invasion. There had been no anticipation of a Soviet invasion, so there was no protocol for how to behave. Frontline commanders had to call their superiors in confusion asking for orders, which further delayed countermeasures. Soviet troops at times also masked their intentions by waving white flags and shouting things like “At the Germans!” to trick the Polish border troops. Upon hearing about the Soviet i nvasion the Polish commander-in-chief ordered a general withdrawal towards Romanian borders and not to engage in battle unless being attacked. Troops defending or otherwise committed to battle against the Germans, such as the soldiers at Warsaw, were excluded from this order. By September 20th most of the routes into Romania had been cut off by advancing Soviet troops, forcing whatever Polish units fighting in the eastern parts of the country to move further west if they desired to squeeze through the narrowing strip of land between the two closing fronts. Members of the Polish Border Protection Corps did their best fighting the Soviet invader trying to slow him down, given the circumstances their situation was on the outset impossible and hopeless. Still they fought in many battles against the odds, without the equipment needed to counter Soviet tanks, out of sheer determination. Their often un-credited and forgotten sacrifice when people talk about the September Campaign is perhaps due to the high casualty ratio of those units and the fact that not many survived being taken prisoner. Sporadic executions of border troops on the spot was common enough to make voluntary surrender an unappealing choice. One rare surviving account was told by KOP soldier (Border Protection Corp) Ignacy Nawrocki. On the morning of the 17th, he had just been relieved of guard duty, his responsibility being the telephone line which stretched from Szapowal to the KOP reserve unit at Dubrowach. His colleague, Mojsinowicz, headed for home while he himself stuck around the outpost for a smoke and some conversation. Then all hell broke loose. “The outpost was attacked by a large unit of Soviet infantry, supported by tanks. The lookout, who sounded the alarm, being outside, was the first to fall. The Polish soldiers, rising from their beds, were already under fire, two of them got killed. Intense fire was exchanged for a while until the outpost commander, corporal Niedzielski, was heavily wounded in the stomach by a machine gun burst. There were also losses on the Soviet side. For instance, one Bolshevik officer, with an armed grenade in his hand, approached the window of the outpost with the intention of throwing the grenade in. At 161
that moment an outpost dog jumped on his back and began biting him. During the melee, the grenade exploded and killed the Bolshevik. Further defense of the outpost was pointless. It was also impossible to escape the encirclement as the outpost was situated out in the open. A number of our soldiers had to surrender. The only ones with a hope of escaping were those who happened to be on duty away from the outpost. Fallen Polish soldiers were buried by the outpost; their graves tamped down under foot and leveled with the surrounding ground so as to not leave a trace. Wounded corporal Niedzielski was quickly finished off by Bolshevik troops”. Soviet troops soon also made contact with the soldiers of General Franciszek Kleeberg’s Independent Operational Group Polesie. At the battle of Kobryn a group of Red Army soldiers were taken prisoner by the Polish troops, lieutenant colonel Adam Epler would write about the battle and the Soviet prisoners in his book even before the war had ended. “Taken prisoner were one officer and some 50 soldiers. At their own request, these men were accepted into the ranks of the Polish units. They fought with us to the end, being faithful and loyal comrades”. At the beginning of October 1939, near Kock when the Independent Operational Group Polesie finally surrendered those Soviet soldiers joined their Polish comrades in captivity. Epler wrote about the Soviet soldiers among his ranks, “Maybe just then, began their tragic story ”. The fighting not least thanks to the concentration of Polish regular army units in the, the fighting along the Ukrainian front wasn’t as easy for the invader as those battles fought along the Belorussian front.
Picture: Soviet and German troops fraternize during the invasion of Poland. 162
Arriving at Lwów September 19th Following the invasion in the southern parts of the country, Red Army units arrived at the already besieged city of Lwów on September 19th. A spearhead of Red army tanks would fight a short battle at the suburb of Łyczaków which forced them to withdraw and await the rest of the approaching army. During the night the Soviet force completed the total encirclement of the city, covering those areas that had been left open by the German Gebirgsjäger division. With the arrival of the Soviet troops, the Polish commander of the city defense saw the futility of further resistance and the talks about capitulation began. The city would lay down its arms on September 22nd. Soviet forces Fast tank company Polish forces Piechoty Batalion Battle of Husynne September 24th During this battle a Polish cavalry formation made up of mounted national Police and cavalry reserve units as well as a mortar battalion fought with a Soviet battalion level infantry force (some 700 men). The Polish cavalry was heading south when the road was blocked by Soviet forces, commander Witold Radziulewicz decided to attempt to break through enemy lines, charging the Soviet line with 400 horsemen under covering fire of 36 Polish 81mm mortars caused panic and high casualties among the Soviet infantry. However what the Poles did not see was that behind a nearby hill was a Soviet armoured formation (23 tanks). The Soviet tanks appeared and counterattacked, and after a bloody battle the surrounded the Poles were forced to surrender. The Polish troops suffered 143 killed and 139 wounded, another 25 Poles were executed after the battle. The Soviets lost 80 killed and 113 wounded. Soviet forces Rifle battalion (must include T-26 platoon) Polish forces Border Protection Corps (All KOP companies swapped for KOP cavalry squadrons, Battalion HQ is mounted, no other troops. Off table mortar barrage)
Picture: Soviet “Fast tanks” of the BT model series.
Battle of Władypol September 26-27th Following the Polish defeat at the battle of Tomaszow-Lubelski, the Polish Nowogródska cavalry brigade was one of few units that escaped destruction. Commanded by general Władysław Anders the brigade had some 3.000 soldiers left. The brigade was in fact a patchwork of various cavalry remnants, including units from the Volhynian, Wileńska and Mazowiecka cavalry brigades. On the 25th Polish troops once again encountered the Germans, though general Anders was able to avoid battle by sending a message to the German commander who agreed to let the Poles pass towards the border in exchange for the German prisoners in Polish custody. General Anders tried to avoid battle and maneuvered his men in such a way that they marched on territory which the Germans had begun leaving in anticipation for the Soviet arrival, however on the 26th the Poles ran into Soviet troops and fighting erupted with Soviet troops seeking to encircle and destroy the Polish formation, and the Soviet assault was led by the 148th cavalry regiment supported by tanks and later also supported by the 99th infantry division. At Władypol the Polish force was shattered, and smaller remnant units began withdrawing. General Anders along with 250 soldiers and officers was himself in one such group, heading for the meeting point where the Poles were meant to regroup their forces. Only 60 men reached the destination, and during subsequent engagement most of the remaining troops were killed or taken prisoner by the Red Army. General Anders himself was wounded twice and taken prisoner as well. The amount of enemy killed or wounded remains unknown, but 20 Soviet tanks had been destroyed in the battle. Soviet forces Cavalry regiment Rifle battalion Light tank company Fast tank company Polish forces Pulk Kawalerii (no train, armoured cars or tankettes)
Picture: Soviet “medium tanks”, model T-28. 164
Battle of Jabłoń September 28-29th Soviet troops driving towards Chełm and Lublin made an attack on Polish positions near the village of Jabłoń. Soviet tanks and cavalry, despite the surprise of the attack, didn’t manage to break the Polish defense and were instead beaten back by intensive machinegun fire and quickly deployed Polish artillery support. The Poles then counterattacked with their own cavalry, destroying 4 tanks in the process. Fighting went on during the night. On the 29th the Polish Podlaska cavalry brigade which was heading for Parczew arrived at Jabłoń and was set upon by Soviet infantry and Soviet heavy artillery which had joined the battle. The Poles entered a nearby village and rolled up their 75mm artillery, masking their positions and without any optical targeting aid aimed down the road towards Jabłoń, and opened fire on the Soviet infantry and armoured cars. Soon the Polish forces were joined up by a battalion of Polish sailors fighting on foot which had been diverted to the area by general Franczisek Kleeberg. The Soviets decided to counterattack the Polish held village with their Light tanks, but the attack broke down due to intense anti-tank fire. This attack was followed by Soviet airplanes arriving at Jabłoń and first dropping bombs on the Polish positions and then strafing the ground with their machineguns. Another Soviet tank assault was launched at 20PM, this time the tanks managed to tear into Polish lines but failed to inflict any noteworthy results and was soon forced to withdraw. Once the Soviets had pulled back the Polish units withdrew from battle as well. Soviet forces Cavalry regiment Rifle battalion Light tank company Fast tank company Polish forces Pułk Kawalerii (no train) Piechoty Batalion (no train, aircraft, tanks)
Battle of Włodawa September 29th At noon on the 29th a battalion of the 82nd Border Protection Corps regiment attacks a Soviet position near the town of Włodawa, forcing the enemy to fall back. In return the Soviet air force showed up, bombing the area hitting the positions of the 3rd Battalion made up of Polish sailors of the Pinsk flotilla fighting on foot, killing 40 and wounding 20 which the Poles had to leave behind as they retreated.
Soviet forces Rifle battalion Polish forces Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections)
Battle of Szack 28-29th September Soviet troops arrived at the village of Szack on September 28th with the 112th infantry regiment, some 13.000 soldiers supported by 15 T-26 tanks and 15 artillery guns. The Polish force near the village numbered 4.000 men of the Border Protection Corp, including general Wilhelm Orlik-Rückermann, and 16 anti-tank guns. Having taken the village the Soviets charged the Polish positions with infantry supported by T-26 tanks, they were allowed to move up close before the Poles opened fire with their anti-tank guns destroying 8 tanks. The Soviet commander upon hearing about the destruction of the armour wired for reinforcements, which he didn’t arrive soon enough. The Polish troops now performed an all out counterattack at the village of Szack, while friendly artillery was firing at the village the soldiers of the Border Protection Corps Battle at Milanów September 30th What would be the last fight between the troops of the Independent Operational Group Polesie and the Soviet invaders was fought at the village of Milanów. The Polish “Kobryn” infantry division was after the battle of Parczew attacked by the Soviet air force which bombed Polish positions and then hit by Red Army infantry assaults. The Soviet attack was stopped by Polish heavy machinegun fire, and with the Soviet infantry force taking a lot of casualties the Soviet commandeered made it clear he wanted to parley with the Poles. While this was going on, Polish lieutenant colonel Adam Epler ordered a machinegun company to flank the Soviet positions. The Soviet commander was scared off by a hand grenade explosion and parley talks were not reattempted. Not wasting any more time the Poles charged the Soviet infantry which was driven off, leaving 100 dead Red Army soldiers in their wake, some 60 prisoners were taken, and like before, accepted into the ranks of the Independent Operational Group Polesie. Lieutenant colonel Epler noted in his diary that not all Polish troops fought bravely, and one battalion had not dared to exit the forest in the counterattack, instead it remained behind and accidently fired at friendly troops. If such a thing happens again, Epler wrote, I will have the responsible officers shot. Epler noted that the morale and willingness to fight among privates of that battalion was high and only officers were to blame for what had transpired. Soviet forces Rifle battalion (no tanks) Polish forces Piechoty Batalion (no train, aircraft or tanks) troops charged down at their enemies with bayonets. By the afternoon the village was in Polish hands. The Soviet counterattack failed to retake the village, but so did the Polish attempt to flank the Soviet forces in the area on the following day. The Poles had lost around 500 killed and wounded, the Soviet forces had lost 12 T-26 tanks, some artillery tractors and around 300 killed and wounded. Soviet forces Rifle battalion Light tank company Polish forces Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections)
Battle of Wytyczno October 1st The last remnants of the Border Protection Corps under general Wilhelm OrlikRückermann, now down to 2.000 men and 13 guns were on their way to link up with general Kleeberg and the Independent Operational Group Polesie. The attempted Polish crossing of Soviet lines was halted by an armoured unit and the Poles were forced into a battle against 70 T-26 tanks, 20 guns and 1.200 Soviet soldiers. The battle lasted the entire day, and the Poles were in no position to win. Having lost 93 killed and 200 wounded the Polish force broke up into smaller units and dispersed into the night. The Soviet force had lost 4 T-26 tanks, 31 killed and 101 wounded. Soviet forces Light Tank company Polish forces Border Protection Corps (no bunker sections)
Pictures: German-Soviet friendship on display.
Arriving at Lwów: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: Your armoured spearhead has reached the Lwów suburb of Łyczaków. Your objective is to test the Polish defenses and report back to your commander. The rest of our forces will be arriving shortly to complete the encirclement of the besieged defenders. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 75% of his army, the rest if kept in Delayed Reserve, reserves arrive along the table edges inside the Polish deployment zone. The Soviet player will move his entire army onto the table at the start of his turn 1, half of the platoons must move in from the north and half from the east. Soviet player places 1 objective inside the 12x12” zone. Beginning the battle Soviet player has first turn Ending the battle Battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won If the Soviet player controls the objective when the battle ends he has won, 2CVP. If the Polish player can prevent the Soviet player from capturing the objective he receives 1CVP, another +1CVP is awarded for destroying at least half of all enemy tanks and armoured vehicles.
Battle of Husynne: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: Your infantry is suddenly under mortar fire and the sound of charging cavalry can be heard, regroup and try to stay alive until friendly tanks arrive to help you drive back the attackers! ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Soviet player deploys all of his army except for the T-26 platoon on the table. The T-26 platoons is kept in Delayed Reserve. Soviet troops begin the battle Gone to ground (but not in prepared positions) Polish player deploys 50% of his force on the table, the remaining 50% arrives at the start of turn 1. Polish player places objectives in two of the 12x12” zones, the Soviet player then places 1 objective in the remaining zone and removes one of the Polish objectives. Polish mortar barrage Just before the battle starts the Polish player is allowed to place 3 individual artillery templates anywhere on the table and roll for them as normal. Each artillery template counts as if fired by 4 Confident/Trained 81mm mortars (but with no smoke). Beginning the battle Polish player makes reconnaissance moves Polish player has first turn Ending the battle Once Soviet T-26 tanks arrive +2 turns or when the Polish player starts one of his turn controlling both objectives. Deciding who won The Soviet player wins if he can hold out for the arrival of the tanks and the 2 additional turns, 1CVP. The Polish player wins if he can manage to capture and control the two objectives before the Soviet armour arrives and forces his troops to fall back, 1CVP.
Battle of Władypol: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: Polish cavalry units are trying to breach our lines and head for the Hungarian border, your objective is to encircle and destroy the enemy unit. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys his entire army. Polish player places 1 objective in each of the three 12x12” black zones. Soviet player will arrive with 50% of his army on his turn 1, 25% will arrive on turn 2 and 25% will arrive on turn 3. Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn. Ending the battle When the Polish player controls 1 objective at the start of his turn or when all objectives have been removed. Soviet player removes 1 objective on turn 3, 5 and 6. Contested objectives may be removed. Deciding who won The battle symbolizes the chaotic attempts of breaching Soviet lines and how Soviet forces close in all around the Polish cavalry force cutting of routes of escape. The Soviet player wins if he can prevent the Polish player from capturing and controlling a single objective, 2CVP. The Polish player wins if he starts any of his turns controlling an objective, 2CVP.
Battle of Jabłoń: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: We’ve come into contact with a surprisingly strong Polish defensive position near the village of Jabłoń. The enemy has beaten back our attempts of storming the village, but command has given you the order to perform another attempt. It is important to destroy the Polish troops before it becomes too dark for us to continue the fighting, we don’t want the enemy to withdraw from battle and set up an ambush further down the road when we move out tomorrow. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 75% of his platoons on the table, the rest are kept in Reserve and will arrive from the rear. 1 platoon may be kept in Ambush. Polish units begin the battle in Prepared positions and Gone to ground. Polish player places 1 objective inside the village of Jabłoń inside the 12x12” zone. Soviet player deploys his entire army 18” onto the table. Beginning the battle Soviet player makes reconnaissance moves Soviet player has first turn At the start of Polish turn 4 start rolling for Dusk (page 273 main FoW rulebook) Ending the battle The battle ends when the Soviet player has captured the objective inside the village of J abłoń, or when the Polish army withdraws under cover of Darkness. Deciding who won The Soviet player wins if he can capture the village of Jabłoń by controlling the objective at the start of his turn, 1CVP. Capturing and controlling the objective before it becomes dark yields 2CVP. If the Polish player manages to hold out until it becomes Dark and keep the Soviet player from contesting or controlling the objective at the start of a Polish turn played during Darkness, the Polish player wins, 2CVP. This means that the Soviet player can prevent the Polish army from withdrawing by contesting the objective, the objective must be completely controlled by Polish forces at the start of a turn to allow for a Polish victory. 171
Battle of Włodawa: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: Our troops have come under surprise attack by Polish forces near the village of Włodawa, fall back towards the village, regroup your force and repel the attackers while waiting for reinforcements. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Beginning the battle Soviet player deploys 50% of his platoons in the 12x36” deployment zone. Soviet player will receive 2 platoons at the start of the next Soviet turn, as soon as he enters the 24x24” village area with a friendly platoon. The turn after the arrival of the first two platoons, the Soviet player begins to receive what remains of his force as regular Reserves. Polish player now deploys 75% of his army, units must be distributed evenly between both 6x36” deployment zones. The rest are kept in Delayed Reserve and will arrive from the table edges inside Polish deployment zones. Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn Ending the battle Battle ends when either the Soviet army fails their company morale check, or as soon as the Polish player is forced to make a company morale check. Winning the battle Soviet player wins if he can inflict enough casualties on the Polish force for them to grow weary and fall back, this occurs as soon as the Polish player is forced to take a company morale check (regardless of whether it is passed or failed), when this happens the Soviet player has won, 2CVP. The Polish player aims to destroy the Soviet force and capture the village, the Polish player thus wins as soon as the Soviet army is forced off the table due to a failed company morale check, 2CVP.
Battle of Szack: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: The well bled Polish Border Protection Corps is making a stand at the village of Szack, our tanks and infantry are closing in on the enemy ready to deliver the killing blow. Storm the village and capture the Polish positions, destroy the remnants of the enemy troops in this area. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys 75% of his army on the table, the remaining platoons are kept in Delayed Reserve and will arrive from the rear. 1 platoon may be kept in Ambush. Soviet player deploys his entire army on the table. The Soviet player places 1 objective in the 12x12” black zone of his choice, Polish player places 1 objective in the remaining zone.
Beginning the battle Soviet player makes reconnaissance moves Soviet player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends either when the Soviet player starts a turn controlling either one of the two objectives, or when the Polish players starts his turn 6+ with no enemy teams inside the Polish deployment zone. Deciding who won The Soviet player wins if he controls an objective at the start of any of his turns, 2CVP. Starting on turn 6 and onward, the Polish player wins if he can prevent the Soviet player from capturing an objective, and also keep the Soviet army out of the village perimiter/Polish deployment zone, 2CVP.
Battle of Milanów: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: Our force has come across Polish troops, during the fighting the commanding officer called for a parley with the Polish commander but negotiations broke down before they even started. The Polish soldiers used the brief respite to flank our units and are now coming down on our positions while providing fire support from the flank. Hold your ground and prevent the enemy from shattering your battalion. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Soviet deploys his entire army on the table. Soviet units start Gone to ground (but not in prepared positions) Polish player deploys his entire army on the table, choosing himself how to divide his force as long as all HMG platoons are deployed on the Soviet flank. Soviet player places 1 objective in the 12x12” black zone. Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn Ending the battle Battle lasts 6 turns Deciding who won The Soviet player wins if he controls the objective at the end of turn 6, 1CVP. The Polish player wins if by the end of turn 6 there are no Soviet units controlling or contesting the objective, 1CVP.
Battle of Wytyczno: 1500 points per side Soviet briefing: The cornered Border Protection Corps is making its last stand at Wytyczno, shatter the formation so that it can’t join up with other Polish units that still operate in the area. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The Polish player deploys 75% of his platoons on the table, the remaining platoons are kept in Reserve. Polish units start the battle Gone to ground but not in prepared positions. 1 Polish platoon may be kept in Ambush. Soviet player deploys his entire army on the table. Beginning the battle Soviet player makes reconnaissance moves Soviet playerhas first turn Ending the battle The battle lasts until the Polish player has removed all his platoons off the table or been wiped out. Deciding who won The Soviet player aims to destroy the remaining Polish force before it breaks up and withdraws from battle. If by the end of the battle the Soviet player has destroyed more platoons then the Polish player has removed from the table the Soviet player wins 1CVP. The Polish player must stall the Soviet attack long enough for the units to break away from battle in small groups. Starting on Polish turn 2, and each Polish turn after that, the Polish player removes 1 platoon from the table. If by the end of the battle the Polish player has been able to remove more platoons off the table than the Soviet player has managed to destroy, the Polish player wins, 1CVP. Removed platoons do not count as destroyed, when counting force morale count removed platoons as if they were still active platoons on the table. Should the Polish player fail his company morale check, all remaining platoons on the table count as destroyed. Polish reserves that don’t arrive on the table don’t count either for or against the victory conditions. Reserves that arrive cannot be removed from the table until the next turn.
“Hubal” – Optional Polish operation
Note: This operation is not part of the Polish campaign, and should just be seen as bonus content. It may also be better to represent the smaller scale of these partisan battles using alternative rule-sets focused on Platoon level battles. The first partisan commander in occupied Europe was the Polish major of cavalry, Henryk Dobrzański. When forming his partisan band, every man took a pseudonym and Dobrzański choose the pseudonym “Hubal”, based upon his family crest. As the leader of disbanded Polish cavalry troops that volunteered to stay with him, he was fighting with German regular army units in occupied Poland from the capitulation up to his death in April, 1940. The Germans authorities formed a special 1.000 men strong anti-partisan task force of combined SS and Wehrmacht units to hunt down the Polish partisan band which at the peak of their strength never exceeded 300 men. The Germans on the other hand used a force of 8.000 soldiers to secure the area where Dobrzański was active.
Skirmish at Dęblin November 1st 1939 When Warsaw capitulated on September 27th, Dobrzański faced three choices: evacuate (via Hungary or Romania) to France, disband his unit, or continue the fight. He decided to lead his unit southwards and try to break through to France. Approximately 50 men volunteered to stay in the army, while the rest were allowed to leave. On November 1st, 1939, they crossed the Vistula near Dęblin and started their march towards the Holy Cross Mountains. The same day his unit fought the first skirmish against the Germans, after which he decided to stay in the Kielce area and away Allied relief forces which he expected would arrive in the spring of 1940. As a token of his resistance to the new regime and as an inspirational symbol he swore that he would not take off his uniform until after the war had ended, a highly unusual decision for a partisan force, which meant that Hubal’s soldiers too were dressed as Polish cavalrymen well after the September campaign had ended. Polish forces Pulk Kawalerii (only combat companies and platoons) Must include major Henryk Dobrzański German forces Infanteriekompanie (only combat companies and platoons, weapon platoons and Light Panzerspäh platoon – no SS units) Picture: “Hubal” partisans winter 1939/40
Kicking the hornets’ nest March 1940 In March 1940 Dobrzański along with his unit attacked a German battalion made up of Police troops, killing 100. On April 1st the Hubal partisans once again attacked German troops, this time a force made up of SS men and again dealing a considerable blow despite being outnumbered. These attacks greatly provoked the Germans, who formed a special anti-partisan task force ordered to hunt down this “crazy Major”. Polish forces Pulk Kawalerii (only combat companies and platoons). Must include major Henryk Dobrzański German forces Infanteriekompanie (only combat companies and platoons, weapon platoons) Picture: Polish cavalry unit
Last battle of the Polish cavalry April 30th 1940 On April 30th 1940, Dobrzański was at his staff quarters in a ravine near the village of Anielin when the Polish partisans were surrounded and attacked by German forces. The German numbers proved too great, many of Hubal’s men were killed in the battle, Hubal himself was shot with pistol in hand. The remaining partisans were scattered but continued the struggle against the enemy occupants until June 25th 1940. The body of the killed major was taken to Tomaszow Mazowiecki and put on display to state a warning example. It was later burned at an unspecified location. A symbolic grave can be found at the partisan cemetery in Kielce, and there is a memorial in the place where Dobrzański was killed. Polish forces Pulk Kawalerii (only combat companies and platoons) Must include major Henryk Dobrzański German forces Infanteriekompanie (only combat companies and platoons, weapon platoons, Panzerspäh platoon) Picture: “Hubal” partisan cavalry 177
Skirmish at Dęblin: 600 points per side Polish briefing: While crossing the Wisła river your small cavalry remnant runs into German troops in the occupied village of Dęblin. The German troops starts firing at your force and you have no choice but to try to drive them off. Note: This battle is fought on a 4x4’ table ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The German player deploys 75% of his force on the table, the remaining 25% is kept in Reserve and will arrive from the rear. The Polish player deploys his entire force on the table, if he chooses to the Polish player may put one single platoon company in reserve using the Bypassed rule (September Campaign v.2 page 81) Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends when either all Polish units move off the opposing table edge or when the German troops stationed in the village have failed their company morale and fled. Deciding who won German player wins if he either drives off the Polish cavalry force, causing the Polish player to fail a company morale check, or by killing major Henryk Dobrzański. Polish player wins if either breaks the enemy force morale, or moves off the opposing table edge with major Henryk Dobrzański and all remaining units. Since this is a “bonus operation” not part of the September campaign neither this scenario, nor any of the following, award players with any CVP. If major Henryk Dobrzański is killed in action the operation immediately ends!
Kicking the hornets’ nest: Polish player 800 points, German player 1000 points Polish briefing: Having been joined up by more volunteers and remnants the ranks of your partisan band has grown, you will now take up your first proper attack on the enemy occupation force. Enemy SS units in the area will make a prime target and their destruction will strike fear into the enemy soldiers stationed in the area while bolstering the morale of the population. Ambush the enemy convoy heading for the village of Hucinska before it reaches its intended destination. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle The German player deploys his entire force in the center of the table in a 12x36” column. The Polish player deploys his units anywhere inside the deployment marked in red, and may keep up to 3 platoons in Ambush. German player now places an objective inside the 12x24” zone at the village. Surprise attack At the start of the German turn 1, all infantry units count as pinned down, and the vehicles may only move – but may not fire or assault. German player may attempt to rally his troops at the start of his first turn. All units work as normal from turn 2 and onward (keep potential “pinned down” results from Polish attacks marked so you can tell the effects apart). Beginning the battle Polish player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends when either the German force morale has been broken, or when the German units start their turn controlling the objective at the village. Deciding who won If the Germans column is destroyed the Polish player wins. If the Germans capture the objective they win. If major Henryk Dobrzański is killed in action the operation immediately ends!
Last battle of the Polish cavalry: Polish player 650 points, German player 1000 points Polish briefing: Your last exploits have caused the Germans in the Kielce area to mobilize most of their available troops for a manhunt with you as the target. Now they have finally found the base of your partisans and are descending upon your position from all sides. Try to escape with as many men as possible. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Preparing for battle Polish player deploys his entire force on the table. The German player deploys his entire force on the table. Beginning the battle German player has first turn Ending the battle The battle ends when either major Henryk Dobrzański along with remaining Polish units move off the table edge inside the German deployment zone. Or, when major Henryk Dobrzański is killed.
Deciding who won The Polish player wins if he can move major Henryk Dobrzański, and at least 25% of all Polish teams, off an enemy controlled table edges. The German player wins if major Henryk Dobrzański is killed and/or fewer than 25% of Polish teams make it out of the battle alive.
Picture: “Hubal” partisans, picture taken February/March, 1940
When the world was suddenly set ablaze Through wilderness and sleepy forests they went By the steady rhythm of young hearts Time was measured in these troubled times Smoke lingering from burnt out fires Dusty roads and fog covered shadows Alone in an empty field a white cross stands No longer remembering who sleeps beneath Like thoughts from a hundred years ago A trail of memories They all returns today, memories of those already gone Evening gloom bid them farewell Marching into battle no songs were heard They went to fight for your home Among green fields, for a new day Thoughts and memories from long time ago About those who are gone, all return today Because not everyone was aided by fate To return from forest roads when the flowers bloomed Alone in an empty field a white cross stands No longer remembering who sleeps beneath English translation of the Polish song “White cross”
Design notes historical campaign section It is with an exhausted sigh of relief that I write this final part of my book. This will be a column where I collect my thoughts about the project and a discussion about various aspects of the hobby in relation to recreating the invasion of Poland 1939. Background to this project I grew interested in Polish WW2 efforts during rather late, I was probably reaching my twenties when I started checking up on the subject. I remember to this day, a history class in 9th grade, by then I was already a big WW2 enthusiast and knew more than they would possibly want or need to teach the students at school at least on that level. However I was extremely underwhelmed in class when time came for “contemporary history” and the WW2 period – which in our books was summed up on something like 5-6 pages. There was no analysis or thought, things were mentioned with two or three sentences, it was in all honesty a travesty because you neither learned anything of use – and the things mentioned were impossible to put into a larger perspective or context. But perhaps what made a lasting impression on me, and stuck with me to this day was a piece of Nazi propaganda still in circulation in the year of 2000. The short paragraph about Poland which the author of the book had bothered to write told about Poland being defeated in 3 weeks and using cavalry against German tanks… Sadly, that was not the only instance of this old myth and others surrounding the invasion of Poland still in circulation. To even try to comprehend, why Polish soldiers, who were well familiar with tanks (present in the Polish army since the interwar years) would charge at tanks with lances expecting them to be made out of cardboard? The stupidity is baffling, and yet I still find myself correcting people too often when the Polish campaign is discussed, people who become surprised about their “facts” being one of the best preserved myths of the second world war. It is also one of the very few things that people “know” about the Polish campaign which makes it even worse. So there was without doubt a desire to enlighten people through a project such as the two PDF books about the Polish campaign that I have now compiled. The other thing that drove me to undertaking this painfully slow and at times overwhelmingly vast project was that people knew extremely little about anything but the cardboard cutout story about “how Germany conquered Poland”. Forgotten is the involvement of Slovakia and the Soviet Union (and Lithuania’s tiny attack). Forgotten are the many interesting battles fought by soldiers on all sides in a campaign overshadowed by events on a greater scale that would follow during later years of the war. Overshadowed and kept under a lid because they were politically and historically embarrassing during the years after the war due to broken promises, new geopolitical spheres, the Soviet occupation and the following Cold War. During my research I learned more than I thought possible. And the third reason for compiling this book is that there is a ton of information about the “September Campaign” on the internet, but you have to dig like mad to find it all. Most of it is fragmented into small pieces, many sources are sadly not available in English making the audience rather small. Sure you can always copy paste into Google Translate, but first you need to know what you’re looking for and also know how it all fits together. I wanted it all in one place.
Playing the campaign with FoW and other rulesets The campaign is mainly written with Flames of War in mind. This is actually thanks to Battlefront for two reasons. First of all, when Battlefront released their “Blitzkrieg” book I was pulled into Flames of War, and while I had played other games with WW2 theme FoW proved to be very popular in my new gaming circles and have ended up becoming the main WW2 game that I play. So there’s that. However I wasn’t satisfied with how “Blitzkrieg” was written and after having compiled my first rather sloppy attempt at making a campaign with patched together ideas using the “Blitzkrieg” army lists back in 2011 I ended up writing a completely standalone Orders of Battle collection solely focused on the invasion of Poland 1939 in 2012. This allowed me to write more lists for Poland and Germany to make those two more diverse and accurate, but also to include the Soviet Union and Slovakia. I had already planned to write a companion book with a historical campaign, but things didn’t pan out and the rest of 2012 was spent doing other things but never forgetting about the project. I finally decided to get back to writing this book during the Christmas/New Year week, and continued into January. Having already done a ton of research for the Orders of Battle book and actually having taken the time to write all those lists, made life easier now. I was finally able to do what wasn’t possible back during my first attempt in 2011. I could write scenarios based upon historical circumstances and supply a list of valid army choices for each battle. I was also frustrated by how wargaming approached the Polish campaign, and no blame can be put on any one single company. There are a fair share of manufactures of miniatures and rulesets that touch upon the invasion of Poland – but it is all fragmented, incomplete, confused, unfocused and generally gives the impression of being forced or an afterthought. Like something that “needs to be there” because it just happens to be part of WW2 but no one really wants to touch it. Due to the lack of popularity and knowledge of the Polish campaign it is simply not seen as an economically viable option when books are written or miniatures sculpted, arguably making the invasion of Poland something of an “indie” or even “hipster” project for those involved in such a thing. With that said I like Flames of War enough to make an effort such as this, for my own peace of mind but also for those out there also interested in the subject. I am sure that if I had been neck deep into another set of rules, then the whole book would have been written for that other game. With this said, I still think that players using other rulesets, should be able to extract the necessary information out of both the Orders of Battle and the campaign book. The army lists may be written for company and battalion levels but knowing what units were included in one particular army type should provide a few stepping stones. The same can be said for the campaign book, despite being written in a Flames of War format, the historical description of battles, the ideas of what the scenario is meant to simulate as well as some pointers on terrain features should prove useful whether you play the scenarios in 28mm on a skirmish level or 10mm on a gigantic table.
About scenario objectives Scenario objectives are placed in a different order than FoW players are familiar with. This is written in such a way on purpose for one main reason – FoW players tend to gang up their units around objectives in an aesthetically unpleasing and unrealistic fashion. Now, if you have to deploy your troops first, and then have the enemy deploy an objective in an unknown location, this forces you to suddenly spread out and cover more ground. I see this a bit like “fog of war” acting out, you know the enemy is attacking the village you are holed up in – but you don’t know exactly where the enemy will strike the hardest and About scenario terrain The maps are not topographical replicas of real maps, they are based upon real locations though. Players need not to represent how each tree or house is placed on the table in exact relation to how things are placed on the map. Players should rather acknowledge that “this is a town, that stretches in these directions”, “here is a forest”, “here we should find a bunch of trees lining the road” etc. Don’t feel stressed out that you are one building short of representing the siege of Warsaw. The same goes for terrain like hills, there are many battles which feature hills and you have to realize that I use crappy software to draw these maps and can only provide you with a general location and estimated size of these hills. The important thing is that you have some kind of representation on the table, if it happens to be a few inches smaller or larger in diameter won’t kill anyone. Which brings me to… with most of his troops. I don’t see it as natural to have the defender always knowing where the hammer shall fall; this is why many scenarios are written in this particular manner. Another thing on scenario placement, FoW tends to be a very measurement obsessed system with players measuring inches and centimeters to max out objective placement and how far things are from the enemy, friendly troops, the building next to the objective and the outhouse next to the building. I find that at times fatiguing, which is why objectives have a rather “general area” placement with zones in most of the battles
About fortifications …fortifications. Also an important feature on many battlefields, you will find bunkers and trench lines outlined on the maps. Again this is a general idea of how and where a trench line is located in relation to other terrain objects of the geographical area on the playing table. Players tend to make their own terrain, and should you have terrain not fully compatible with what is described or intended, it is still better to throw a trench line on the table than not having it when called for.
About the campaign format The campaign should be played for fun, this is not a piece of work intended for competitive play of any kind. Points are mainly there to provide a score sheet for those interested in such things. You may well play it without keeping score. It should also be known that the scenarios featured are not 100% balanced, they are written with historical situations in mind, with accurate portrayal of battlefield conditions, lack of specific troops and generally probably end up being tough on the player who plays the side who lost that particular battle. I did however design the scenarios with some balance issues in mind, mainly tied to Flames of War rules connected to reserve deployment and travel distances for various troops from table edges to objectives on the table. This campaign also includes a fair share of my own solutions where I thought sticking completely to FoW rules wouldn’t work out as I wanted or how a battle played out. There are for instance things like the mixed reserves, moving onto the table during turn one in order to make the playing area not be too confined to the 6x4’ format and also why some battles are fought on 4x4’ and 8x6’ tables.
Soldier memories from the September Campaign
Transcribed, translated and compiled by Alexander Kawczynski
This is a collection of quotes from interviews made with Polish veterans of the September Campaign, and a couple of letters as well, which are included in the Polish documentary series “Wrzesień 1939”. The series, 18 parts each being roughly 20 minutes, is actually very good despite not having too much archive footage. It does include interactive maps, great narration taking the viewer across all the battlefields of the September Campaign from day one to the final surrender, and it includes a great deal of very good interviews. The interviews I found especially interesting - as is always the case with war veterans telling stories about their experiences. I found their stories to be informative, filled with funny anecdotes, stories about the horrors of war and various comments on Polish operations during the war. Since the documentary, to my knowledge, isn’t available with English subtitles, I thought it would be a shame to have the English audience miss out on this, so I decided to transcribe and translate the interview material and compile it all in one document. I took all the quotes from each soldier and put them into one place. I hope the following text is to your enjoyment. I see this work as an appendix to my “September Campaign” and “Poland in Flames” books /Alexander Kawczynski
Rotmistrz Wacław Zawada: 21st “Nadwiślańskich”Uhlan regiment Battle of Mokra “I received my officer diploma in 1938, upon my commission I asked to join the cavalry because I love horses, flowers and women (laughs). They gave me three men; this was not a platoon but a platoon section, bicycle infantry. I was supposed to be the commander of a bicycle unit; they gave us bikes instead of horses. On these bikes we had to go on maneuvers to prepare quarters and became runners between different units.” “We helped out with the harvest and what not, with the girls of course, and later there was a party. During the party the order came to return to the regiment. Upon return we learn that war has broken out. A shame about the lovely girls, they cried a lot. “ “I remember as if it was today, a friend asked me ‘hey, could you check if I’m wounded?’ I looked at him, and you know we were positioned very close to each other and screaming because it was hard to hear what you said during the ongoing battle, gunfire and explosions you know. And I said to him, having seen a hole in his helmet and blood running down his forehead, ‘ah don’t worry that’s nothing’. As soon as I had said that, he was hit in the neck by flying shrapnel and had his head cut off. I saw as the head fell from his shoulders. ” “I thought I had died, staggering about I see my friends, and my Taczanka had already been taken across the river. A few of the men were wounded, someone was screaming, pleading, ‘finish me, finish me’, he had lost a hand and one leg, it was horrible.” “The Germans had been scared off and retreating, we were charging I yelled ‘Hurah, forward’. And I told my boys, ‘those who know how, seize the guns, turn them around and fire at the enemy’. When we had reached the village the Germans had all fled the field.” “We came upon this beautiful large building, and around it was this garden with cabbage growing in rows. Upon closer inspection I noticed that something was moving among the cabbage. It was the Germans, their helmet covers had similar colors to the cabbage, I told my men ‘boys I see the Germans’. So we all took our grenades and threw them over the fence, and then we heard screams. They were screaming and yelling something, looking over the fence it was a massacre I tell you…” “There were lots of spies, we were preparing breakfast, and a man dressed in hunting clothes passes us by, rifle across his shoulder. He passed by, we thought nothing of it since he had all the right to do so. He moved 200 meters before he stopped and he fired a shot, before we knew artillery shells were hitting our position. Looking around I saw a foxhole which had been dug, probably by one of the infantrymen, so I jumped into it. I only heard explosions, artillery pounding and explosion, and something hit me in my back. I thought I was dead, and then thinking whether or not you have a conscious awareness after death or not. “
“I used to play the violin, and had my violin with me in the army wherever we went. The officers allowed me to play for the boys. And at one point we arrived at a destroyed bridge and had to move across and the guys said to me ‘hey you fool, you have to take care of yourself and not that violin, leave it’. And then our artillery started firing, and the fire was so inaccurate that it was hitting our positions. Everyone was running for cover, even the Germans, and I remember there were a few of us that jumped into a trench that someone had dug. We dropped into the hole and onto each other, and someone said that blood was running down on him from someone above. And then someone was crying about his wife and home, you have to understand that these were all young guys.” Captain Julian Dąbrowski 20th infantry division (Later 60th infantry division) Battles: Mława and fighting alongside Independent Operational Group Polesie “Maybe no one, or very few, know about it. But in 1939, in March, 4 divisions were mobilized in secret, among them my 20th division. Starting in July we were digging fortifications and constructing bunkers. Out of the planned 60 bunkers, we were able to finish 40.” “When I read about and watch today’s’ soldiers, I don’t know (laughs), that is child play and not an army compared to how we used to have it, that’s how circumstances have changed. Back then, military training was very Spartan in terms of comfort and very physically demanding.” “Once I reached the main train station, I found the place to be in complete chaos. Finally, in the middle of the night the train arrived, already packed with soldiers – everyone was drunk since they were going to war. And I didn’t know how to get in, because the wagons were filled to the brim, but I gave my rifle and backpack to a person inside through an open window, and three people lifted me up and I managed to get it”. “I remember the moment when I had to say farewell to my parents, as I was heading out to war. My dad didn’t have the strength to walk me, he didn’t want to, maybe he was too upset. My mother walked me a couple hundred meters down the street, this was at 10PM and the streets were empty. All you could hear were my spiked army boots, because soldier boots had small metal spikes. Looking back after a while I saw the silhouette of my mother, I didn’t know by then, that I would not see her again until 10 years later.” “Maybe not everyone knows, but when artillery fires – you can avoid the fire or run away. You see where it is hitting. Trust me, from a machinegun, you can’t. A machinegun fires 300 or so rounds per minute, when bullets start to fly through the air, it’s like a scythe throug h a wheat field- everything is cut down.” “At one point, I or rather the entire platoon, came under very heavy machinegun fire from the enemy in front of us. I could feel the bullets passing over my head. I had to bury my face in the dirt. Luckily I had brought with me my trench tool, something I usually left behind because it is always in the way. This trench tool saves your life, lying on your side you are
able to dig yourself in a couple centimeters at a time, until finally you are completely in cover.” “The flaw, or rather the great misfortune, of our army during this war was the lack of tanks. And airplanes. Because we had a very skilled air force, well trained pilots, but after three days they had no more replacements for their shot down airplanes”. “I remember to this day, every few minutes there was a transmission on the radio about German bombers, because it was always broadcasted in a specific code ‘Attention, attention, approaching – X.7.2.’ telling you where the enemy planes were headed. There were also a lot of posters urging mobilization, posters showing a German hand holding a rifle and a Polish soldier sticking his bayonet into it” “I hear an artillery shot, and soon the whizzing sound of an incoming projectile that ends up exploding some 100 meters beside me. I realized that the next shot would hit me as the enemy was ranging in. And so it happened. A ton of earth was thrown up in the air and I threw myself to the side at record speed thinking ‘this is it’. And then nothing. The shell didn’t explode. A miracle.” “During the briefing our commander told us, ‘Gentlemen we must keep our location secret. Under no circumstances are weapons to be fired’. So we start to walk across the field, the grass was perhaps 20 centimeters tall, when all of a sudden we hear a German airplane approaching. The commander told me to lie down, and the airplane was moving in on us. Just a couple of meters from our position it broke off, I assume that it had ran out of ammunition, a fortunate coincidence”. “The Germans began to laugh, when they realized that this was their enemy. And the laughter made us laugh as well, and these way two groups, two to each other hostile parties, were standing and laughing. And on the side, the third party, the Russians, looked at us dumbfounded not knowing what was going on.” “A soldier that is winning, has a completely different approach to lacking certain commodities, he doesn’t care because he is riding the wave so to speak. It’s completely different with a soldier, who constantly retreats and falls back. And now our battalion had won, and because of this we were happy. “There was this clearing, and we stood there in front of the Germans along with our Soviet POW’s. The Soviet soldiers were very awkward, not knowing what to do with themselves. And with the Germans there stood one of our officers acting as the translator, and so the oldest German turned to our translator and pointing at the Russians asked ‘and who are they?’. And the translator said, ‘well those are your allies’, ‘what allies?’ the German replied. ‘Your allies from Russia’ our translator said, I mean we all know about it by now. And the Germans upon hearing this began to laugh, and really the Soviets had torn uniforms and were looking very poorly.”
“The numbers in our Polish units were dwindling by each day, killed and wounded, shattered units and so on. What is interesting is that the numbers of some units at the same time are increasing, please understand that we are constantly on the march. But ever so often we passed by small groups, some with weapons some without, who were amazed when they saw us because they didn’t think there were any Polish formations left. And we looked at these men and didn’t know what to make of it. But many of those that we met ended up joining our ranks, and so in some units there were too little soldiers while our unit was growing.” “If I had a camera back then, I tell you, there would been some great pictures. I was just looking all around me, and you see soldiers – ten were running and the rest were firing covering fire. At all times the fire was sustained and that way I moved the soldiers onward 510 meters at a time. Only when we reached the hill 100 meters in front of the monastery I ordered everyone to mount bayonets and charge the enemy. “ “My task was to keep my men safe, so that no one was killed or wounded – I was the youngest commander in my entire battalion. But, I would like to think, not the worst, because I cared for the men and didn’t want any of them to die. I listened to t he orders coming in and surveyed the situation, when I saw our battalion mounting a bayonet assault on the flank I ordered my men to do the same. And of course I myself had to join them, because if I wouldn’t stand up and run the soldiers wouldn’t either. During an assault, when everyone is standing up and starts running you are also at the same time reasoning that this is the only way to survive – to join in. Staying behind meant that you could die, and so everyone stood up and ran.” “And this was when the true heroism of our commander was revealed; he stood up and led the bayonet charge himself. I myself was armed with a revolver, and a rifle that I had picked up somewhere. Soldiers left their heavy machineguns behind because the order to mount bayonets was spreading down the line. When the Germans saw us coming they turned around and ran. But we had really no choice in the matter, being pinned down by enemy fire we would have all been killed within 15-30 minutes if we stayed in the same place.” Memory of colonel Adam Epler regarding Soviet POW’s who were absorbed into IOGP Commander of the 60th infantry division (previously the 20th infantry division) “Upon questioning the soldiers it turned out that most of them are farmers from collective farms. Their appearance is worthy of pity, young men maybe 21 or 22 years old showed signs of ruined physique. Skinny with sunken chests they look like people who have been starved since birth. Their uniforms were awful in quality, mostly patched old clothes. The same could be said for their weapons. They don’t want to fight with the Poles, but they are forced to under the threat of being shot. During battle they say that officers and commissars are watching their every step, when they moved towards Poland their officers told them that it was all an army drill. Once they crossed the border they were told that they would be fighting Germans.
Our commander told the Soviet prisoners that they were free to return to their units or join the Germans. Their reaction was surprising, begging us not to send them back; they began complaining about the situation in their army and in their country. About poverty and ill treatment, only after having crossed into Poland they saw how other people lived. They told us that everyone in Poland was an “American”, with his own house and land. They said that they would never return to Russia, and having exhausted all of their arguments they asked to be absorbed into Polish fighting units. They swore to be loyal and go with us wherever we went into battle. And so we allowed them to join us (in the Independent Operational Group Polesie), they fought with us to the end. They were very loyal and good comrades.” Memory of colonel Adam Epler regarding the fighting at Serokomla with IOGP “The village of Serokomla was burning, and the enemy artillery was adjusting its fire so shells started to drop behind us. The multiple assaults performed by the Germans didn’t bring them any success, in the afternoon we counterattacked. We held Serokomla until October 3rd because our infantry support had not showed up until 24 hours after the assigned time. We performed our task with very small forces, our brigade launched maybe 100 Uhlans in the assault against the Germans who outnumbered us 10:1. The result was a shattered enemy battalion. We lost one battalion commander and 13 other officers in the attack. 5 German officers and 180 soldiers were taken prisoner and 3 enemy tanks were destroyed. The dead and wounded of the enemy numbered 400 men. Our hungry and tired men, without artillery support because all ammunition had been spent, charged the enemy with bayonets and cold steel. The Germans never faced us on these conditions even once.” Lieutenant Antoni Bieniaszewski (defense of Warsaw 1939) Later part of the Armia Krajowa resistance from 1940 in the “KEDYW”, fought in the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 as part of the only company to fight until the very last day. “We were feeling like hunters on a hunt. Every kill brought with it a great deal of satisfaction.” “We saw this dot in the sky, this bomb that was descending. I thought that I was going to die, I mean it was flying so nicely in a straight path. I peeked out of cover to, at least before I die, get to see how a bomb explosion looks like. But the bomb fell down between two concrete pillars and exploded harmlessly, not a single man was wounded.” “We had received a shipment of ammunition and a ton of canned food earlier, it was really an overwhelming amount of canned food. A lot of meat, but towards the end most of what was left was canned pineapple. So during the last days of the war, we ate nothing but canned pineapple. After that I could not eat or even look at a pineapple for a very very long time (laughs)”
“When I saw the enemy airplane I began firing the machinegun, well not only me but everyone beside me also fired their weapons. The plane pulled up and began gaining altitude, and it was when it leveled out that it must have been hit, because it soon began spiraling down towards the ground. ‘Corporal, want to take a look at the downed airplane?’ I asked. And so we both jump into a car and took a drive over where the plane went down. Upon arrival we see that the plane is burning, and a bunch of civilians stood nearby. I told them that the corporal with me was the one who shot down the airplane, so they began clapping their hands and congratulate him. Then one of the civilians saw that I had in my belt a 6mm pistol I had been given by my father, so he comes up to me and says, sir please take this – and hands me a German Walther 9mm gun. And since then I had a very good sidearm.” “During my 27 days of battle I fired some 3.000 rounds from my AA -gun, we were fortunate enough to have the ammunition until the end. This was because we had heard about depots and train wagons loaded with ammunition, so our commander sent two trucks to load up on ammunition and there we also found anti-aircraft rounds. We ended up with such amounts that we didn’t have to save ammunition at all during the fighting. Not all of Warsaw’s AA positions were in the same lucky position of not running out of ammo”. “Of all those thousands of rounds fired, I don’t know if the effect made any difference, but we hit 12 airplanes of which 2 crashed inside Warsaw itself. One was a Dornier bomber on which I had shot off one of the wings.” “The moment of capitulation, that was really something that mentally, not broke, but it hit us really hard. I know that the leaders of many other anti-aircraft positions simply shot themselves, committing suicide because of the surrender. There were instances where officers shot themselves. But I didn’t, I thought that the war had not ended yet and that I would still have my hands full. And as it turned out I was right. “ Colonel B. Brugar-Ketling about the destruction of SS Germania (at battle of Jaworow) “A few mortar shells dropped down on us and the sound of heavy machinegun fire started. I knew they were Germans because our troops had emptied their guns just prior to the assault. The firing continued but grew weaker, our soldiers had reached the village and cut down the enemy with bayonets. The firing of guns came to sudden halt in the middle of a salvo, the hand who had held the trigger grew limp and dropped to the ground. No screams were heard, the fighting was done under cover of darkness and in silence. None of the Germans begged for mercy, most likely they had not experienced anything like it before. The corpses had horrified facial expressions, and as dawn broke we began to see the houses, fences and the column of vehicles destroyed on the road. We had to go and take a closer look because it was surreal; the whole village was filled with equipment and vehicles. The surprise had been complete, the battle had not lasted more than half an hour.”
Reserve Captain Stanisław Ślesicki in the “Modlin army” Battle of Mława, and fighting alongside “Modlin” army at Warsaw “I stood there in the company of two other captains, and told the Colonel, - let’s move at Berlin. The Colonel looked at us with pity and said, ‘My fellow officers – for your knowledge I hereby inform you that the strength of enemy troops and firepower is so strong that we are going to fall back. The retreat will be towards Wisła and across the river. There will be victory in the end, but the question is whether the civilian population will be able to endure this kind of warfare’.” “After the two or three hours of bombardment, they (the Germans) simply walked up to our positions thinking that they had buried us alive with the bombardment and that we were unable to continue the fight. We had however been ordered by our officers not to open fire at the enemy until they were up close by the barbed wire. It was only when they started to cut the barbed wire that we opened up a flanking fire with heavy machineguns. And since we had been training for something like this since May, we already knew the ranges and zeroed in on them very quickly with very accurate fire. And that’s why, according to me, most of those enemy soldiers killed during the battle, died on that first day of combat” “The greatest art is falling back under fire. Advancing under fire is easier, but falling back in an organized manner is very difficult, something I learned at Mława” “You had to move along ditches so that enemy airplanes flying overhead… well you had to make yourself unseen wherever you could so that they could not spot you moving in larger groups. We arrived at the river but the bridge had been destroyed by bombs, I asked another officer who was slightly older than me to ask the men who among them could swim. I asked because on there was a boat on the other bank of the river which had to be brought across to our side. Naturally, out of 120 men, not a single one knew how to swim, a fellow officer looked at me nervously and said ‘Listen Stachu, I really don’t know how to swim’ . I had to swim across the river myself. Enemy airplanes were strafing the ground around us and the empty shellcases dropped down into the water around me. I managed to get the boat, and the rest of the men used it to cross the river. ” Memories from Westerplatte “Soon after 18:00 two divisions of enemy airplanes arrive and shower us with bombs, everything is flying around from the explosions. Guardhouse number 5 took a direct hit was destroyed, the entire crew killed. The barracks also took a hit. Destroyed were also 4 mortars that had been thrown aside by soldiers at their positions. Lines of communication between the outposts were severed, the troops are shaken and not much more is needed for them to panic. Two outposts have been abandoned, and from Westerplatte there is a pillar of smoke and dust rising 100 meters into the sky. The Germans believe everyone was killed; major Sucharski is in deep shock and ordered to burn all secret documents. Capitulation seems to be mere minutes away, and the major orders to hoist the white flag at the roof of the barracks. The flag is spotted by the crew of the battleship Schleiswig-Holstein which orders
German troops not to shoot since there is a white flag flying over Westerplatte. Meanwhile captain Dąbrowski furiously orders to tear down the flag. When major Sucharski hears about this he has a nervous breakdown. Captain Dąbrowski’s orders a colonel and the army doctor present to restrain the major on a nearby bed where he is given an injection to calm down. Dąbrowski makes the officers promise to keep the incident a secret, the garrison must not know that the major couldn’t handle the mental pressure.” Colonel Dr Sergiusz Hornowski September Campaign 1939, later fought during the Warsaw Uprising 1944 “The preparations made by the army were modeled for chemical warfare. Over 30% of all artillery shells were chemical. Training for such an event looked like this, in our forts there were isolated rooms where one or two sheep were placed all dressed up in gasmasks and protective clothing. Then an artillery shell containing Phosgene gas (used during WW1) was opened filling the room with. When the sheep died, the room was ventilated and dissected by a coroner.” “Many of the wounds were gunshots to the chest, not that many wounds to the stomach, but most wounds were to the head. Soldiers unconscious, feverish and with wounded heads.“ “I had to establish a field hospital somewhere, but where? Polish units blocked the approach to a nearby road, and beneath the road there was a passage, so that was where I set up a station to tend to the wounded. The passage was quite big, so there was a lot of room for the wounded and the roof shielded us from artillery fire. There were maybe 30-40 Polish soldiers but also a couple of German soldiers who had been taken prisoner. So I had to tend to everyone, applying bandages, handing out the evacuation cards and giving morphine injections.” “At the moment when I was tending to wounded soldier, giving him an injection against swelling, a German soldier ran up to me and stabbed me at the back of my head with his bayonet. He tore up my head, but fortunately his bayonet slipped across my skull. I lost consciousness, my fellow medics later told me that some threw themselves to save me while others – including wounded Germans - threw themselves on the crazed German soldier. The wounded Germans screamed at him ‘are you insane, trying to maim the medic?’. Apparently the German soldier tried to explain himself, that he was angry having lost 700 of his friends in battle that day, and he didn’t know what to do with himself. He was crazed.” “Generally speaking, the wounded I tended to were those who could still walk. Because if someone was wounded and remained in the field, well, then their fate was sealed. I had to apply first aid, stop the bleedings and such. Stopping bleedings was the most common procedure. You had to apply pressure or tie something around a limb to make it stop bleeding, and there were no sanitary gloves at all for us to use. The situation was very grim.”
Memories of a Polish tank commander “On the field, 3 of our tanks were hit two times each. The turrets were shot through, b roken equipment dangling on pieces of wire inside. The smell of burnt flesh, and the still corpses of the crewmen inside. Death had taken them by surprise and they were still sitting upon the gunner and commander chairs. Some of them were pulled out, one looked peaceful, but the other had his face frozen in fear and pain. Three critically wounded were taken to the field hospital, and by the tanks there they left behind them large bloodstains that were now turning brown.” Firefighter Stanisław Seczkowski “There were classes where they explained and thought us various things, but preparing us for high explosive bombs dropped by airplanes - they did not. They only prepared us for extinguishing fires caused by firebombs, about high explosive bombs there was only a poster and the major who held the class when asked about it just waved it away and said that it was of no concern to us.” “When an airplane flew by, people were clenched by the trees, praying, really I can’t even begin to describe it. They completely lost their minds. My own mother was holding my 1 year old sister and ran around a tree like a madman, I had to grab her and shake her so that she would come to. Only then did she snap out of it. Captain Stanisław Potempski, member of the Modlin fortress garrison “It was very unnerving, you almost wanted to cry, such was the atmosphere when we surrendered Modlin, when the Modlin fortress capitulated. Others around me were crying because somewhere from a building a radio could be heard playing Chopin’s “Polonaise”. And you heard this song, and it was the “Revolutionary etude”. And to this song we went out as German prisoners, to that honorable defeat. But by then, we all knew that the war was lost. That was a truly horrible moment…” Lieutenant Jerzy Znosko (Podlaska cavalry brigade, regiment of mounted riflemen) “Letting us familiarize ourselves with the general construction of machineguns, which we already knew since basic training, the officer told us to dismantle the machineguns. Removing the gun from the tripod, you picked up the gun so that it rested upon your shoulder and a fellow soldier took the tripod, and then you ran to the designated location. And when you reached the place the drill officer asked, ‘So how much does the machinegun weigh during combat?’. The soldiers would answer what the tripod and machinegun weighed, and were then ordered to run back to the starting position. When they returned I told them, that the right answer should be – “nothing”. A machinegun during battle weighs nothing. And that was indeed the correct answer. The equipment of a soldier during battle weighs nothing, and that’s how it should be.”
“The German officer asked us why we fought so bloodily, the Germans fought economically, with sense. They weren’t attacking to the last man, they withdrew and called in technical support (artillery/air).” “An enemy airplane appeared. It was flying very low, so low that it in fact appeared to be cutting the treetops with its landing gear. And then it began to fire, the enemy pilot was strafing us while going left and right over our heads and pounded our positions with his plane. But the soldiers by this point were very well trained and had experienced such incidents many times over during the last couple of days. Lightning quick everyone dispersed into the trees and then opened up a hellish fire with their weapons, all guns were firing. And the plane was hit; we could see that he had been hit because the plane suddenly twitched upwards before it went down.” “General Kleeberg was operating in a very intelligent manner, very tactically and smart, when we fought that German motorized division. He tasked us, in the Podlaska cavalry brigade, to shield the rear of the Polish attack – because he foresaw that the Germans would attempt to flank us and thus encircling the entire Independent operational group Polesie. So he baited the Germans and slowly gave away ground to lure them into a trap while preparing an assault from reserves on the flank. So the flanking counterattack was launched, at that German motorized division driving down the road in a column straight as a ruler, with but a single cavalry brigade supported by a single infantry battalion we charged. Our cavalry charged ahead, and cut down the German heavy machinegun platoons and the crew of two artillery batteries covering the staff of General Otto. General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski 1st Aviation Regiment in Warsaw Later fought with Independent Operational Group Polesie. Member of Armia Krajowa resistance 1940-44, fought during Warsaw Uprising. “They didn’t believe that he would commit suicide, but he put the rifle to his heart and pulled the trigger…” “There is nothing worse than being critically wounded and being taken away from the battlefield to a hospital. Such a soldier says farewell to his friends whom he does not know if he will ever see again. Those are very difficult moments, and I myself was always having a hard time being parted with friends with whom you had fought. Everywhere you go, you have to have soldiers luck, because without soldiers luck you won’t survive.” “They attacked us, and we defended ourselves. Then we attacked and the Germans were defending themselves or were fleeing. I remember still, to this day and I see it when I close my eyes, the field of battle which was without exaggerating – covered with corpses. Both those of German and of Polish soldiers. It was hard to comprehend that there were so many killed from both sides.” “Every soldier reacts differently to each hit, to the same battle, every one is going through things differently. And afterwards they share with each other their perceptions because it is
hard to comprehend things fully on your own. There was one instance when we were attacking, and artillery was hitting our assault, shells flying everywhere. We reached a hole, a crater after one of the artillery explosions, and jumped into it. And I start to feel something, really, something whispers into my ear ‘change position, change position’. So I yell to my men, ‘jump to the left’, as soon as they jumped aside an artillery shell hit the very same crater where he had sought cover. Such premonitions during the war I had aplenty. They say that perhaps it is the prayers of a mother, or some kind of guardian angel looking out for you telling you what to do.” “We surrounded a whole enemy unit, on motorcycles, the type which had a sidecar. The bikes were captured and the Germans were taken prisoner, they also lost a lot of men during that attack. Afterwards I used one of those bikes a lot, and went off on my own little adventures dressed in a German greatcoat and helmet. Disguised I was driving around to see how far away the German units were. And so one time I turn a corner around some trees and there is a whole German unit of tanks. I quickly turned around; the Germans were firing after me with machineguns. But I drove down into a nearby ditch and managed to escape. Though the motorcycle had been shot up and the tires were ruined, so I had to leave it behind.” “The mood is always warrior like until the very last moment, if you have to fight and then surrender. Until the end we were still hoping that the English and French would come to our aid. I mean, during the first days of the war, when it was announced in Warsaw that France had joined us there was a lot of enthusiasm. And we were counting on the allies appearing at any moment and joining us in the fight.” “In moments like these, you don’t realize or comprehend or even think about anything but keep fighting and to defeat the enemy, that is the most important thing. The Germans didn’t attack in such a way, screaming ‘Hurah’ and throwing grenades – because we were throwing a lot of grenades before storming so that the defenders would be shocked. And while Germans had a lot of machineguns, we had but a few, only two – the rest of our weapons were just regular rifles and pistols. Our commanding officer, upon seeing that the Germans were ranging in on us with mortars and artillery, ordered the men to assault. So we all threw our grenades and yelled ‘Hurah’ and rushed towards the Germans, the Germans I must say, were frightened and withdrew from their position. “Every village we passed, well they were Polish villages, but one such village had fifth column troops using brightly colored sand to make arrows on the ground to show German airplanes in which direction were going. And this way a German airplane found the village where we had made a stop, and bombed it.” “I remember one moment, when we arrived after two days fighting and very hungry at the house of a peasant woman. She made us scrambled eggs out of 60 eggs and there were just
three of us and we ate everything (laughs). The woman laughed and said it was impossible that three men had eaten 60 eggs.” “What to do about the German prisoners? They h ad behaved very well and marched along us peacefully, the Germans did. Because they knew that sooner or later they would be set free. So none of them attempted to flee.” Captain Tadeusz Kostia “I met three Uhlans on their horses, they were riding down the road towards us, and were very happy to see us. We were happy as well, and so we exchanged observations about enemy units before saying our farewells and the cavalrymen rode off. A short moment thereafter we hear a loud roaring engine sound, and a large German armored car, one of those six wheeled boxes drove after the cavalrymen who didn’t see it. So I told the soldier who was with me, ‘listen, we have the anti-tank rifle and anti-tank ammunition – let’s wait here, maybe something will happen. After perhaps half an hour the car returns, but slowly this time. I knew it had killed the cavalry patrol, but now we were now going to attack it. We hit it several times and it opened up defensive fire but then quickly drove away. The Germans had been observing us and called in massive artillery fire on our position, a German column appeared and the fighting started. During the fighting my friend was critically wounded, the wound was near his heart. Another friend had noticed that the wound had been self inflicted as the soldier had put the rifle to his chest and shot himself.” “When we reached town, panic broke out. Why were people panicking, I mean here we came - the Polish army. And so we were told that the Russians were approaching, and then I saw two of the enemy tankettes closing in on us appear on the horizon.” “I saw how more and more Germans approach the location in the forest where our company headquarters was located. So the commander said, ‘we are moving out and relocating to that hill’, and so on. Leaving the hut in I saw that the Germans were now very close, and they began firing. I had no other option other than to play dead. Lying on my stomach flat on the ground, I could see the commander hiding behind a sack of potatoes looking at me, I asked him if he was alive, and he asked me if I was alive. Then we jumped up at the same time to the surprise of the Germans and start running for it. They begin firing after us, and I can hear the bullets flying over my head but they didn’t hit us. Later, when I’m lying on the ground, half sleeping, when a captain comes up to the commander – a grey haired very sad looking fellow. ‘So they ask him what’s wrong?’. And the guy starts talking with a sad voice, that captain Kostia had been killed, he saw how he fell to the ground. This made me stand up at attention, and he could not believe that I was still alive. He came up and hugged me, and I hugged him back, and then he told me how very happy he was that I was alive.”
“We had not eaten for a week, with that I mean not anyone, neither the commander nor anyone from the staff. As it grew dark, we placed guards around our camp and instantly fell asleep. Literally. At midnight someone is pulling my jacket to wake me up, I look up at see general Podhorski. This was the commander of the brigade that we were part of. And he had shown up with his men on the flank and berated us in true military fashion that we could have been picked clean without even noticing. Finally, he settled down, he was tired too, and handed out new orders. So you see there were moments like these, when we were so exhausted that there was no more strength to keep on the fighting.” “I was in my pilot uniform, and the Germans mind you too had very similar looking uniforms. So when I was running I came across a Polish unit I suddenly heard someone call out to the others to cut me down with bayonets. I was astonished, and yelled at them ‘what’s wrong with you, can’t recognize a Polish uniform?’ This made the soldiers look like sheep and they backed down, but it had been a very close call I tell you.” Rotmistrz Jerzy Stanisckic “In 1939, the only thing that kept us going was the hope that the British and French air force and ground troops would do something in the West. Nothing happened. And that nothing happened we already knew, because if they were going to do something, then they would have done so during the first days of September. But they had not prepared to do anything at all…” German soldier memory from the battle of Wizna “The head on assault on the bunker failed, when our tanks arrived the sappers took cover behind them and were then able to get up close. Shots were fired at the firing slits and briefly silenced the bunker crew inside. This allowed one of our sappers to move up to the bunker door and place an explosive charge, the explosion ripped the door open, but the door was quickly secured by the bunker crew and the defenders refused to give up. Soon our unit was once again under heavy fire from the bunker. The sapper crawled up to the firing slit and placed an explosive charge which destroyed the machinegun. However trying to enter the bunker was still impossible because the cupola on the roof was still active and firing its machinegun. We had to take out the cupola as well, one sapper took cover behind a tank turret as the tank drove up along the wall of the bunker. The two machineguns that had been firing madly at us were knocked out this way –yet the Poles still refused to surrender despite all of their weapons having been destroyed. One of our sappers dropped down a few grenades through the destroyed cupola, only then the resistance seized. Inside the bunker we found 7 dead.”
Colonel Władysław Erhardt “Once dawn broke we had not realized that there was a road nearby, and it was packed with German positions all around. And so the Germans saw us and began firing, I heard the order ‘dismount horses, mount bayonets’. And amidst the mayhem, with horses falling over, rifles going off, the enemy unit was dispersed. And for the first time in my life I took a prisoner, a German soldier. My fellow men then shouted to me, ‘What the hell are you taking him prisoner for, shoot the fucker’. And when the German head the word ‘shoot’ he said that he was a Pole from East Prussia. Hearing this the others agreed to take him to the gendarmes and hand him over.” Second Lieutenant Leon Słoboda “As we approached Warsaw we were shelled by enemy artillery, but the shells didn’t explode due to the swampy ground. Nevertheless we threw ourselves to the ground for cover. And so when we finally reached Praga in Warsaw we see a bunch of old women making cross signs, and we were like ‘why are you doing this, what’s happening?’. And an old lady says, ‘So even blacks are fighting!’, because were covered in this black mud they assumed we were Africans.” “I was riding my horse, tired and falling as sleep. When I woke a man ran up to me and said ‘sir you have to get of here, this is a German camp and they will shoot you’. Looking around I saw another soldier who too was lost and who was driving a taczanka with a heavy machinegun on the back. I rode up to him and told him about the situation, and we both made it through the German lines at breakneck speed. The Germans who saw us just stood there with jaws dropped as we rushed past them. “That we lost was due to us not having communications between armies. I was in the “Łódź” army, and beside us was the “Krakow” army, but there was no way of quick communication because it had been decided to communicate through post offices. So the first things that the Germans did was to destroy these post offices where there were long range radios. If we would have had communications, we would have whopped those Krauts harder.” “There was a situation, when we were still in the Kampinos forest, a major walked up to me and didn’t present himself or anything. He just told me to wire Modlin fortress, but I told him that if we wanted to reach Modlin we would need to transmit across several radio stations. I looked at my fellows and blinked at them, and they surrounded him with bayonets and took him to the gendarmes. Because he was either mentally unstable or not one of ours, because a sane and informed person would have known about these things.” “I had this extreme luck, because every morning the radio operators flipped a coin. And I always won, so I could choose my assignment. So I stayed behind with the staff, while the others went out into battle in the field.”
SS soldier remembers fighting at Warsaw “Our men finally reached the buildings, however in the gardens surrounding the buildings the Poles are so well entrenched that despite 4 hours of fighting almost no ground was won. Our reinforcements are upset, talking about partisans and even women firing at them. Windows open and machinegun fire starts pouring down at us. Large tank trenches cut through streets, and across them, barricades rise. Our soldiers are furious that after so many battles in the field they still have to fight in the streets. As we attack we throw grenades through cellar windows, destroying machinegun nests, on a street corner there is a desperate defense where a few enemy machineguns are still active. An anti-tank gun is pulled up and opens fire at the building, our pioneers jump through the breach. Grenades go off and we hear gunfire from the second floor. Three more pioneers run up to the building, but one is shot on his way there, moving up these streets our casualties are rising. By the evening, a mortally wounded SS soldier had brought some Polish prisoners stating that his platoon had been reduced down to 8 soldiers.” Civilian memory from besieged Warsaw “The city presents a sorry view, along the streets and gates homeless refugees don’t know what to do. People seeing their despair give them tea or soup. The city is turning into a huge fortress. Gone are the differences between class, age and genders. And wherever there appears a Polish soldier he is showered with comments of kindness. In the store, if there was a cue and a soldier entered to buy some cigarettes people instantly stepped aside and allowed him up front. The shopkeeper didn’t even want to take the soldier’s money, giving him everything for free. Everyone in the store wanted to buy or offer the soldier something. The soldier was embarrassed and didn’t want to take anything but he had his pockets filled by people begging him to take the things.” Platoon commander Leopold Mazur siege of Warsaw “During the defense of Warsaw I only fought for a single day, I was immediately wounded in my leg and people applied pressure to the wound and hauled me away to the hospital. When I arrived at the hospital the city was bombed, and my hospital was hit by bombs. Two nurses fell to their deaths from the second floor when the stairwell collapsed from an undetonated bomb. When the bombs started falling it was no joke, at the sound of the sirens people ran to the bomb shelters.” “Soon there was a lack of food, there was nothing to eat in the city. In the end it was so bad that we had to eat our own horses from the artillery limbers. Warsaw was completely surrounded and nothing could be brought in from the outside.”
Memory from a Polish soldier during siege of Warsaw “Another attempt to storm us is being prepared, forward outposts are lost. The silhouettes of German soldiers can now be seen at the distance of 30-40 meters. On this flank we have two heavy machineguns, both are firing nonstop. Suddenly the machinegun of Janusz Kusoczinski jams, while t he machinegun crew works to fix the problem, Kusoczinski leans out of his position and fires his Vis pistol at the crawling Germans. Moments later the machinegun is operational again, but Kusoczinski becomes hit, despite this being his second wound he refuses to leave his position. Meanwhile Polish machineguns catch the attackers in a crossfire inflicting heavy losses on the Germans and forcing them to withdraw... “ Letter from General Tadeusz Kutrzeba about the capitulation of Warsaw “Into this vast hall the German General Petzel enters and recites a document stating the Polish surrender. That was not a surprise, we had agreed to this and yet now when those words were heard from the mouth of a Prussian officer a hidden pain inside your soul is unleashed. How did it come to this? That was the hardest moment of my 33 years as an officer. I’m choked by pain and my eyes are swelling up when I reach for the pen to sign the capitulation of Warsaw. My fellow colonel Pragłowski who was with me can’t take it anymore, he loses his nerves and tears are running down his cheeks. He leaves the room, leaving me alone with ten sets cameras taking pictures. After signing the document, general Petzel steps up to me and says ‘We had greater luck in this war’.” Stefan Starzyński, mayor of Warsaw Memory from war council with military and civilian leaders prior to the capitulation of the city. “The city as an institution is no more, it has been razed. Everything that can keep the one million population of the city alive, the power plant, water works, telephone lines, radio, gas, hospitals are ruined and burnt down. Burning are also all public institutions such as the town hall, theaters, museums and banks. It is no longer possible to put out fires, because the lack of means and people. Everything is falling apart, people are no longer capable of working in these conditions. The delivery trucks that supply people with food are destroyed by grenades or torn apart by bombs, and should a transport be fortunate enough to survive it still can’t move through the rubble strewn burning streets. Water filtration has also been destroyed, and even if it was to be repaired, the water pipes are damaged in multiple locations throughout the city. Especially tragic is the situation over at the Praga district, where people are already starving. People are sleeping in cellars under terrified conditions, the hungry and desperate population has begun to plunder. The (Polish) army residing inside the city walls is completely demoralized. Soldiers are among the first to run at the sight of approaching bombers and the communication with the civilians have been completely paralyzed due to the lack of radio or newspapers.”
Communique to the soldiers fighting in Warsaw prior to the capitulation “Soldiers! For three weeks you have endured three weeks of difficult defense of the capital of the republic. During these battles you have proven that the Polish soldier, when facing an enemy at equal terms, not only doesn’t back dow n but also masters his opponent. During the defense of Warsaw, we were never for a moment defeated. However, the suffering of war has been carried by the heroic civilian population. The enormous destruction inflicted upon Warsaw has brought with it lack of water, food and electricity as well as ammunition for fighting units. Based upon this I have come to a decision to stop further suffering of the civilian population. For this reason, and with heavy heart, I have begun talks with the enemy, about ceasing further fighting. In this most difficult time, I ask of you soldiers to remain calm and to keep your faith, in the history of our nation we have endured much worse and yet our spirits have never been broken. Commander of the Warsaw army, General Juliusz Rómmel”
Links of interest
My blog: http://anatolisgameroom.blogspot.se/ It’s mainly focused on aspects of the miniature wargaming hobby, but really covers a bunch of things in my zone of interest like movie, boardgame and PC game content. For people reading this book perhaps a direct link to the “September Campaign” content: http://anatolisgameroom.blogspot.se/search/label/The%20September%20campaign …………………………. Also a couple of links to some quality content by my friends over at the “What Would Patton Do” blog, forum and podcast: Truly interesting and highly enjoyable biweekly podcast and regular blog page http://www.wwpd.net/ Best Flames of War community on the internet: http://forum.wwpd.net/index.php
Also on the WWPD forum is the home for all discussions about the September Campaign: http://forum.wwpd.net/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3962 (Errata, updates and news always in the first post on page 1)
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