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ACCESSIONNO
POREGISTR —
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PAMPHLET NO. 20 - 2 5 5
THE
GERMAN  CAMPAIGN
IN  POLAND
(1939)
BY
ROBERT M. KENNEDY
MAJOR, INFANTRY
UNITED STATES ARMY
HAY 1 9 1996
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY APRIL 1956
For sale  by the  Superintendent  of  Documents, U.S. Government  Printing  Office
Washington, D.C. 20402 - Price $9.20
Stock Number  008-020-00555-0 
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
WASHINGTON25,D.C,  18 April  1956 
Department of the Army Pamphlet 20-255 is published forthe
information anduseofallconcerned.
[AG385 (14Sep55)]
By Order of  Wilber  M. Brucker, Secretary oftheArmy:
MAXWELL D. TAYLOR,
General, United /States Army, 
Official:  Chief of Staff. 
JOHN A.KLEIN,
Major General, United States  Army, 
The Adjutant  General. 
DISTRIBUTION:
Active  Army: 
GenStaff,DA (5) Armies(5)
SS,DA (5) Corps(3)
TecSvc,DA (5) Div (1)
Adm & TecSvcBd (1) Gen&Br SvcSen(5)
HqCONARC (25) PMST(1)
OSMajComd (10) MilDist(1)
MDW (1)
NO: StateAG (1);units—sameasActiveArmy.
U8AR: SameasActiveArmy.
For explanation ofabbreviations used, seeSR320-50-1.
Department of the Army Pamphlets Published
in the
GERMAN REPORT SERIES
No.  Title  Publibation  date 
20-201 Military Improvisations During the Russian Campaign Aug 51
20-202 German TankMaintenance inWorld War II Jun 54
20-230 Russian Combat Methods in World War II Nov. 50
20-231 Combat in Russian Forests and Swamps  Jul 51
20-232 Airborne Operations: A German Appraisal Oct 51
20-233 German Defense Tactics Against Russian Break-Throughs- Oct 51
20-234 Operations of Encircled Forces—German Experience in
Russia Jan 52
20-236 Night Combat  Jun 53
20-240 Rear Area Security in Russia—The Soviet Second Front
Behind the German Lines Jul 51
20-242 German Armored Traffic Control During the Russian Cam-
paign Jun 52
20-243 German Antiguerrilla Operations in the Balkins (1941-
1944) Aug 54
20-260 The German Campaigns in the Balkans (Spring 1941) Nov 53
20-261a TheGerman CampaigninRussia—Planning and Operations
(1940-1942) Mar 55
20-269 Small Unit Actions During the German Campaign in
Russia  Jul 53
20-290 Terrain Factors in the Russian Campaign Jul 51
20-291 Effects of Climate on Combat in European Russia Feb 52
20-292 Warfare in the Far North Oct 51
iii
FOREWORD
The Office of the Chief of Military History of the Department of
theArmy iscurrently preparing aseriesof studies on German mili-
tary operations in World War II against forces other than thoseof
theUnited States. Thesemonographs willcover German operations
intheBalkans,inRussia,inFinland, in Norway, and in France and
the Low Countries. The brief Polish-German struggle in late 1939
wasthefirst oftheseoperationsinorderof occurrence.
These campaign studies are being made available to the General
Staff andtotheArmyschoolsandcollegesasreference works. They
willalsoproveofvaluetoallwhoareinterested inmilitary affairs.
PREFACE
TheGerman attack onPoland precipitated World War II, making
the Polish campaign oneof particular significance to the student of
the1939^5conflict. Thelessonslearned bytheGerman Army in its
operations in Poland were put to use in the later campaigns against
thewestern Allies,theBalkan states,and the Soviet Union. Poland
alsoformed thetestingground fornewtheoriesontheuseof armored
forcesandcloseairsupportofground troops. Thecompletedestruc-
tion of the Polish state and the removal of Poland from the map of
eastern Europe were grim portents of the fate of the vanquished in
thenewconceptoftotalwar.
Thepurposeof thiscampaignstudy istoprovidetheUnited States
Army with a factual account of German military operations against
Poland,based onsourcematerial from captured records currently in
the custody of The Adjutant General, Department of the Army;
monographs prepared by anumber of former German officers for the
Historical Division, United States Army, Europe; and such Polish
accountsaswereavailable. Sincenootherpamphletintheserieswill
discuss the expansion of the German Armed Forces and the various
diplomatic eventsthat preceded the outbreak of hostilities, these are
includedinpartoneofthestudy.
Twopreliminary drafts of thestudy and aseriesof questionnaires
weredistributed toacommitteeof former German general officers for
reply and comment ontheir part in planning and operations, and to
fillgapsintheofficial records. Theseformer Germanofficers included
GeneraloberstFranzHaider,Chief oftheArmyGeneralStaff through
theperiod ofthePolish Campaign,Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth,
General der Artillerie Walter Warlimont, General der Infanterie
Guenther Blumentritt, and General der Infanterie Kurt vonTippels-
kirch. Therepliesand commentsof thesesurvivingkey participants
arereferred tointhefootnotes and areavailableintheauthor'sfilein
the Office of the Chief of Military History for study by interested
researchers.
Anenormoussourceof Germanmaterialexistsonthisopeningcam-
paignofWorldWarII. Timeandpersonnelconsiderationspresently
makeimpossibleanydetailed study of suchsignificant features of the
PolishCampaignasGermanexperienceswithirregularsandguerrillas
in the rear areas,contacts with the Red Army at division and lower
vii
Vlii PREFACE
commandlevels,andtheestablishment of asecurity forcetopolicethe
occupied area and provide a buffer against a possible Soviet attack
fromtherearwhilethemainGermanarmieswereengagedinthe1940
campaign in western Europe. This vast store of unexplored docu-
mentsanduntranslatedbooks,articles,andotherwritingsstillpresents
a challengetothe seriousresearcher whodesiresto obtain morecom-
prehensive information on the matters which could be touched upon
onlybrieflyinthescopeofthisstudy.
This study was written by Maj. Robert M. Kennedy, under the
direction of the chief of the Special Studies Division, Office of the
Chief of Military History. Appreciation is expressed to all who
participated inthepreparation of thisstudy.
CONTENTS
PARTONE. THE BACKGROUND OF THE CONFLICT "'I
Chapter 1. Polish-GermanRelationstoMarch 1939 1
General 1
The Versailles Treaty and the Rise of Hitler 2
The Polish-German Nonaggression Pact 3
The Austrian and Czechoslovak Crises 4
The Revival of German Claims against Poland 6
2. GermanMilitary DevelopmentstoMarch1939 8
The Treaty Restrictions 8
The Reichswehr 9
The Army 10
The Navy 14
The Covert Air Force 16
The National Socialists in Power 17
The Wehrmacht 20
The New Army 22
Expansion 22
The Westwall 25
Mobilization 26
Divisional Organization 28
Command Organization 31
The New Navy 33
The New Air Force 35
The German Military Situation in March 1939 36
3. EventsLeadinguptotheOutbreakof Hostilities 38
General 38
The Annual Military Directive, 1939-40 39
Diplomatic Developments, April-July 41
Events, 1-22 August 42
The Pact with the Russians 44
PART TWO. POLAND'S POSITION AND GERMANY'S
PREPARATIONS FORTHEATTACK 47
Chapter 4. ThePolishStateandtheArmedForces 47
Government 47
Population and Economy 48
Topography 48
The Armed Forces 50
General 50
The Army 51
The Navy 54
Defense Plan and Dispositions 55
ix
X  CONTENTS
PART TWO—Continued p
ag
e
Chapter 5. TheGerman Planand Preliminary Movements 58
April-May 1939
The OKH Operation Order of 15June 1939 60
58
The OKW Timetable 63
Logistical Support 64
The Navy and Air Force 68
The Concentration of Forces 70
The Period of Indecision 73
PART THREE. OPERATIONS IN POLAND 78
Army Group North, 1-3 September 79
Third Army Operations, 2September 80
Fourth Army Operations, 2September 81
Army Group South, 1-6 September 83
The Advance across the Polish Plain and into
Chapter 6. Attack and Breakthrough 78
The Opening of the Attack 78
The Opening Battles 79
The Junction of Third and Fourth Armies 82
The Advance to the Warta (Warthe) 83
Galicia 85
The Air Force and Navy 88
7. The Destruction of the Polish Army  91
General 91
Army Group North, 4-17 September 92
Army Group South, 7-17 September 100
Operations in Western Poland 92
Operations in Eastern Poland 94
Operations at Brzesc 98
The Intervention of the Russians 99
Eighth Army 101
Tenth Army 103
Fourteenth Army 106
8. TheEnd of theCampaign  109
General 109
The Battles for Warsaw and Modlin 109
Early Surrender Overtures 109
Initial German Attacks 110
The Eighth Army Attack 111
The Capture of Modlin 113
Gdynia and Hela 114
The Evacuation of Eastern Poland 116
The Army Group North Area 117
The Army Group South Area 118
Results of the Campaign 120
9. The Intervention of the Soviet Union  122
Diplomatic Negotiations 122
The Red Army's Intervention Forces 124
10.  The Fourth Partition and German Occupation of Po-
land 126
CONTENTS  Xi
PART THREE—Continued
Chapter 11. Conclusions Page
General  130
Lessons Learned by the Wehrmacht  131
Materiel  131
Organization  133
Equipment  133
Training and Tactics  134
Air Support  135
Bibliographical Note 136
Chronology of Events--- 138
Rank Designations ofGerman General andFlag Officers 141
CHARTS
No.
1. The Organization of the  Reichsheer, 1921  -_ following p. 10
2. The Wehrmacht and the Armed Services High Commands, 1939 32
3. ThePolishGroundandAirForce(PeacetimeEstablishment) following p.50
4. German Order of Battle, 1September 1939  following p. 74
MAPS
1. General Reference Map  faces p. 1
2. Eastern Frontier Changes Following World War I  4
3. The  WehrkreisOrganization, 1939  following p. 32
4.  The Polish Defense Plan and Estimate of German Strength in the
Frontier Area, August 1939 following p. 56
5. The German Concept of Ground Operations following p. 58
6. The Concentration of German Forces  following p. 70
7.  German Dispositions and Objectives for the First Day, as of 0445,
1 September 1939 inside back cover
8. Army Group North, 3September 1939  inside back cover
9. Army Group South, 6September 1939  inside back cover
10. German Situation, 17September 1939  inside back cover
ILLUSTRATIONS
1. Troops of the  Reichsheer's 11th Infantry Regiment in Training, 1934.. 12
2. Typical Barracks of the New Wehrmacht  23
3. Mark II Tank  29
4. Mark III Tank  29
5. Mark IV Tank  29
6. Artist's Conception of German Pocket Battleship  34
7. The U-25  34
8. The Messerschmitt 109, Standard German Fighter  34
9. The Junkers 87 (Stuka) Dive Bomber  34
10. The Battleship  Schleswig-Holstein 80
11. Polish Fortification Near Mlawa  80
12. The Tczew (Dirschau) Bridge Destroyed by the Poles  80
13. German 20-ton Ponton Bridge Across theVistula at Gniew (Mewe) 80
14. German Regimental Command Post in Poland  87
15. German Infantry on the March in Poland  87
xii  CONTENTS
No. Page 
16. Polish Light Tank Disabled by Antitank Fire near Warsaw 106
17.  German Antiaircraft Gun Supporting Advancing Infantry Along the
Bzura River 106
18. German 150mm Howitzer Firing on Warsaw  111
19. German 75mm Infantry Gun Firing on Target Near Warsaw 111
20. Polish Garrison of Warsaw Marchingout of City After the Surrender __ 119
Credit.
Figure 1—Mr. Julius Weber.
Figure 2—QenHubert Lanz,  Gebirgsjaeger (Bad Nauheim, 1954).
AHothersarefrom Department of Defense files.
GENERAL REFERENCE MAP
L I T H U A N I A
E A S T  P R U S S I A
Vienna
A U S T R I A
PART ONE
THE BACKGROUND OF THE CONFLICT
Chapter 1
Polish-German Relations to March 1939
General
ThePolishstatetemporarily ceasedtoexistwhentheterritoriesof
theonce-powerful Kingdom of Poland were divided among Prussia,
Austria, and Russia in three partitions of 1772, 1793, and 1795.
Nationalist aspirations were not extinguished, and determined fac-
tionswithin Poland'sformer frontiers andinexilewageda persistent
struggle for the restoration of independence in the century and a
quarter that followed.
Polish support was sought by both the Allies and the Central
PowersinWorld War I. The Allies announced asoneof their war
aims the reestablishment of an independent Polish state. The Ger-
mans, occupying the country with the Austrians after driving out
theRussian armies,setup a Polish Government on 5November 1916
in an effort to gain the favor of the nationalists. The Allied offer
hadagreater appeal tothePoles,andthe Polish National Committee
in Paris,the strongest exile group, under Ignace Paderewski, identi-
fied itself withtheAllies.
The Polish Republic was proclaimed by nationalist leaders at
Warsaw on 3November 1918,as it became obvious that the Central
Powers were about to suffer a military collapse. Executive power
wasassumed bythe Regency Council,the government organized two
years before by the German occupation authorities. The Regency
CouncilpromptlycalleduponJozef Pilsudski,themilitary leaderwho
had led Polish troops in Austrian service against the Russians, to
assume the leadership of the new republic. Pilsudski was invested
iththepowersofamilitarydictator andimmediately invited Pader-
r
skiandotherPolishleadersinexiletoreturn. Acoalition govern-
ntwasformed underPaderewskion17January1919.
Jnless otherwise noted, the material for this chapter was taken from.William L. Langer,
Encyclopedia of  World History (Boston, 1952).
2 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Thenew Polish state commenced its existence in the midst of ruin
and poverty. Its territory had been the scene of heavy fighting be-
tween the Central Powers and the Russians in the opening stagesof
World War I, and the German and Austrian occupation forces had
systematicallyexploitedthecountryintheseveralyearsthat followed.
The end of the war found Poland's factories destroyed or idle, its
livestock decimated, and the nation's economy in a state of chaos.
Reconstruction and economic recovery in Poland were to take far
longerthanwasthecasewithmostotherWorldWarI participants.
Poland'snorthwestern andwesternborderswerefixedbytheTreaty
of Versailles between Germany and the Allies on 28June 1919,and
itssouthern frontier bythe Treaty of St.Germainbetween theAllies
and Austria-Hungary on 10 September 1919. The Treaty of Riga
(Latvia), 18March 1921,ended asuccessful campaign by the newly
established state against Soviet Russia and determined Poland's
easternandnortheastern frontiers.
TheVersaillesTreatyandtheRiseof Hitler
TheterritorialclausesofthetreatybetweenGermanyandtheAllies
provided PolandwithalandcorridortotheBaltic Seaandthesiteof
thefuture port of Gdynia, attheexpenseof theprewar Reich. This
arrangement isolated the province of East Prussia from Germany,
disrupted much of the Reich's economy, and placed thousands of
Germans in the Corridor within the borders of the new Polish state.
Danzig,amajor portatthemouthoftheVistulaandpopulatedalmost
completelybyGermans,wasmadeafreecity,withaLeagueofNations
commissioner and itsownelected legislature. Poland was permitted
to control Danzig's customs, to represent the Free City in foreign
affairs, andtokeepasmallmilitary forceintheharbor area. Apleb-
iscitewastobeheldtodeterminethefrontier inpartsofUpperSilesia,
but thepolessecured several of themoredesirable areasby force ina
sudden rising on 18August 1919. Despite heated German protests,
theseareaswereincorporated intoPoland. Later plebiscitesdivided
otherareasalonglinescorrespondingtothewishesofthelocalpopula-
tion. A Polish-French treaty of alliance on 19 February 1921was
designedtomaintain theterritorial arrangementsthat hadbeenmade
and to provide France with an eastern counterweight to future Ger-
manexpansion. [See map 2.~\ 
Germany was preoccupied with internal troubles and reduced to
the position of an inferior power in the several years that followed.
The Reich wasbeset with inflation until 1923and plagued with un-
employment in the general depression after 1929. In 1933 Adolf
Hitler became chancellor and brought a new revolutionary system
ofgovernmenttotheReich.
3 POLISH-GERMAN RELATIONS TO MARCH 1939
Hitler'sNationalSocialistregimequicklyassumedcompletecontrol
over Germany'snational life and future. Adictatorship wascreated
and opposition suppressed. An extensive armaments program, ex-
pansionofthesmallarmedforcepermittedtheReichunderthetreaty,
andpublicconstructionworkbroughtGermanyameasureofeconomic
recovery and improved the country's military posture. Germany
soonregained asemblanceof the position it had held as a European
powerbeforeitsdefeatin1918.
The former Allies presented an obstacle to whatever plans Hitlet
may havehad torecover the territories taken from Germany. Their
armed forces had not been modernized or equipped with great num-
bers of the latest weapons,but these countries collectively controlled
an industrial and military base stronger than Germany's. Britain
hadthepreponderanceofseapowerandcouldrelyuponthepopulation
andmaterial resourcesof itsworld-wideempirefor support. France
had thelargest reservoir of trained manpower in western Europe by
reason of its conscription program. Moreover, France had madede-
fensivearrangementswithRomaniaandthepostwarstatesofCzecho-
slovakia and Yugoslavia, in addition to its alliance with Poland.
Britain and France were reluctant to engage in an armed conflict
withGermanytocompelcompliancewiththeterritorialchangesmade
at the time of Allied victory which were not absolutely essential to
theirownvitalinterests. Hitler estimated correctly thissentimentof
the former Allied nations, and his foreign policy became a game of
bluff. Buttominimizetherisksofanarmedconflict whileheexecuted
his first designs in Europe, the German dictator felt it necessary to
effect arapproachmentwithPoland.
The Polish-German Nonaggression Pact
On26January 1934thePolishandGermanGovernmentsannounced
the signing of a pact binding both to the arbitration of differences.
The agreement was to be in effect for 10 years, unless renounced 6
monthsinadvancebyeitherofthecontractingparties. In his justifi-
cation of the agreement to the German people, Hitler claimed that
he had entered into the pact to prevent the crystallization of bad
feelings over the boundaries into a traditional enmity between the
Germans and Poles. Relations with Poland had been bad at the
time the National Socialist government was established, and Hitler
desired tobetter theserelations inthe interests of peace.
On30January 1937Hitler reaffirmed theimportanceof the Polish-
Germanpact totheassembled Reichstag,declaring it instrumental in
easingtensionbetweenthetwocountries. However,sincemakingthe
original agreement, Germany had reintroduced conscription and
greatly expanded its Army. An Air Force had been organized, new
THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
EASTERN FRONTIER CHANGES
FOLLOWING WORLD WAR I
Areas ceded by G<
C Z E C H O S L O V A K I A
warships constructed, and an underseasfleetcreated. Germany had
remilitarized the Khineland in March of the preceding year, and
National Socialist agitators were stirring up trouble in Austria and
Czechoslovakia, both soonto feel the pressure of Hitler's demands.
The Austrian and Czechoslovak Crises
Hitler gavethe Poles nocause to doubt his intentions through the
remainder of 1937and into late 1938 During that time,hewas fully
occupiedinhismachinationstogaincontrolofAustria andofCzecho-
slovakia's Sudetenland area that had been part of Austria prior to
World War I and was inhabited by a German-speaking population.
The Austrian Chancellor, Dr. Kurt Schuschnigg, was forced to take
the National Socialist Dr. Arthur Seyss-Inquart into his cabinet as
Minister of the Interior, giving Seyss-Inquart control of the police.
5 POLISH-GERMAN RELATIONS TO MARCH 1939
Hitler accelerated hiswarof nerves,andinMarch 1938Dr. Schusch-
nigg,reluctanttobringonwar,resignedinfavorofSeyss-Inquart,and
German troops marched into the country. The Republic of Austria
wasdissolved and itsterritory incorporated into the Reich.
The annexation of Austria increased considerably the German
threat to Czechoslovakia. Konrad Henlein's Sudeten German Party
withinthecountryclaimedtorepresentCzechoslovakia'sthreemillion
ethnicGermansandclamoredfor autonomyandunionwiththeReich.
Hitler's threatening attitude caused the Prague government to order
full mobilization in September 1938. War appeared imminent.
British and French attempts to enlist the support of the Soviet
Unionwereunavailing. On 29September the former Allies and the
pro-German Italians met with Hitler at Munich to hear his claims.
Czechoslovakia wasnotrepresented at themeeting,but an agreement
Avasreached granting the German leader's demands. The Czecho-
slovakgovernment, urged by Britain and France, accepted the stipu-
lations laid downbyHitler; the alternative undoubtedly would have
been war, without British or French support. The pact was hailed
inthewestfor attaining"peaceinourtime."
Bytheprovisions of the agreement, Czechoslovak forces evacuated
the Sudeten areas between 1and 10 October. Scheduled plebiscites
werenotheld,and Germany took control of areas with atotal popu-
lationof3,500,000,ofwhom700,000wereCzechs. Fortifications which
wouldhavemadeaGerman invasion difficult if not impossible at the
timewereturned overtotheGermanArmy intact.
Poland took advantage of the opportunity to gain the remainder
of the Teschen industrial area, seized by Czechoslovakia at the time
Czechoslovakia and Poland were formed. Polish troops moved into
theTeschenregionon2October,takingcontrolof 400squaremilesof
territoryandapopulationof240,000ofmixedCzechandPolishorigin.
On2NovemberHungarytook5,000squaremilesofsouthern Slovakia,
an area Hungary had lost to Czechoslovakia in 1919,with a popula-
tion of 1,000,000. Both Polish and Hungarian acquisitions were
condonedbyGermany and Italy.
Within Czechoslovakia itself,therewasanother deep encroachment
onthe state's sovereignty and territorial integrity. A strong separa-
tist movement in Slovakia forced the government to grant autonomy
to the Slovaks, under Joseph Tiso, and the name of the State was
changed to Czecho-Slovakia. Territorial losses and establishment of
a large autonomous area within a weak federal system combined to
make Czecho-Slovakia a rump state, almost powerless to repel inva-
sion. Tisoand anumberof otherleaderswerequitefrank abouttheir
closetieswith Germany.
576-178 0 - 7 5 - 2
6 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
The Revival of German Claims Against Poland
The Czechoslovak question settled temporarily, Hitler was free to
turn his attention to Poland. On24October 1938Joachim vonRib-
bentrop, the Reich Foreign Minister, made a series of requests that
reopened old Polish-German wounds and precipitated a new crisis.
The German proposals involved the return of Danzig to Germany,
with Poland assured railway, port, and other economic facilities.
Poland wasalsotopermit theconstruction of anextraterritorial road
and railroad across the Corridor. In return for these concessions,
Germany would guarantee the Polish-German frontiers and extend
thenonaggressionpactaslongas25years.
Pilsudskihadwarnedhiscountrymenyearsearlierthat theGerman
attitude toward Danzig would be an indication of Germany's true
intentions toward Poland and Polish public opinion would never
condonethesurrender of Poland'ssovereigntyinpart oftheCorridor.
The diplomatic world wasnot surprised when Poland firmly rejected
theGerman offer.
In March 1939 a series of significant events in Czecho-Slovakia
strengthened the German position in the controversy with Poland.
TheseeventsbeganwiththedismissalofTisofrom officebythePrague
government for allegedly scheming to take Slovakia out of the
federal union. Tiso was supported by Hitler, and President Hacha
wassummoned toBerlin and induced toplaceCzecho-Slovakia under
German protection. Slovakia was granted full independence and
Carpatho-Ukraine wasannexed byHungary. BohemiaandMoravia,
all that remained of the truncated Czechoslovak state, wereoccupied
by German troops on 15 March. A German official was appointed
Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, with President Hacha retained
as the nominal Chief of State. Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. A
daylaterTisorequestedthat Hitler alsoplaceSlovakiaunder German
protection, and agreed to grant German troops passage to certain
frontier areas. This arrangement would enable Germany to use
Slovak territory as a base of operations against Poland from the
southintheeventofhostilities.
The establishment of the protectorate and Hitler's proclamation in
Prague that Bohemia and Moravia belonged to the German lebens-
raum (living space) made obvious to the world the extent of Na-
tional Socialist ambitions. For the first time Hitler had gone be-
yondhisirredentist claimsandswallowed up anarea with apredomi-
nantly non-German population. British Prime Minister Neville
Chamberlain, hitherto an advocate of appeasement, stated two days
later that this latest acquisition had raised the question of German
7 POLISH-GERMAN RELATIONS TO MARCH 1939
domination of the world. From this point British determination to
containHitlergainedsupport.
On 23March 1939Lithuania acceded to German demands for the
Memelland,asmall strip of former Reich territory along Lithuania's
southwestern frontier. The following day Germany and Romania
concludedaneconomicagreementwherebytheGermanswouldacquire
almost theentire product of Romania's extensive oil industry, parti-
ally resolving apressing problem for the conduct of military opera-
tionsbytheGermanArmedForces.
On 31March Chamberlain addressed the British House of Com-
mons, stating that Britain and France would assist Poland in the
event Poland were attacked. The British and French Governments
had reached an understanding, and Britain was to act as spokesman
for thetwonations. Theissueof peaceor war wasleft for Germany
andPolandtodecide.
Hitlerwouldnotpermitmuchfurther delayinarrivingatasolution
of theterritorial controversy favorable to Germany. The Poles, for
their part, were determined to reject all German demands, since it
wasapparent to them that any concession would mean the fate that
hadbefallen Czechoslovakia. Thiswasthestateof relationsbetween
GermanyandPoland attheendof March1939.
Chapter 2
German Military Developments to March 1939
The Treaty Restrictions
The military clauses of the Versailles Treaty in 1919 limited the
German armed forces establishment to a small organization of long-
term volunteers. Conscription and universal training were pro-
hibited,and major offensive weapons,suchasaircraft, tanks,andsub-
marines,werenotpermitted. ThenewGermanmilitary organization
could therefore be little more than a police and coastal patrol force,
incapable of carrying out any aggressive action outside the Reich.
Evenasadefensive organization, thepostwar armed forces wouldre-
quire considerable reinforcement to protect the Reich in the eventof
warwithoneormoreofitsstrongerneighbors.
The Army wasallowed atotal of 100,000men, including 4,000 of-
ficers. Noncommissioned officers and privates weretobeenlisted for
12years, and officers were to be required to serve for a period of 25
years. A further stipulation by the Allies provided that no more
than 5percent of the officers and enlisted personnel could bereleased
yearly by reason of termination of their period of service. These
various requirements and the prohibition against conscription and
universal training effectively prevented the formation of areserveof
anysize. Nofield pieceslargerthan 105mmweretobeused,withthe
exception of a fewfixedguns of heavier caliber in the old fortressof
Koenigsberg, in East Prussia. The detailed organization and arma-
ment of all units formed had first tobeapproved bytheAllies.
The Navy wasauthorized 15,000men,including 1,500 officers. Six
obsolete battleships, 6 light cruisers, 12 destroyers, and 12 torpedo
boatswerepermitted thefleet,with2battleships,2cruisers,4destroy-
ers,and4torpedoboatsin reserve. Thebuilding of ships displacing
over 10,000tons wasprohibited. A further restriction limited naval
gunstoamaximum of 280mm (approximately 11inches).
Arms and munitions industries and factories producing military
equipment werereduced innumber totheminimum essential tomain-
tain authorized stocks. Notroops were tobe permitted in a demili-
tarized zone extending 50 kilometers (approximately 31 miles) east
of the Rhine. Allied control commissions were to be allowed to in-
9 GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939
spectarmsfactories and theArmy andNavy for compliancewith the
treaty and the Reich defense laws enacted in conformity with its
provisions.
The Reichswehr
1
It devolved upon the German Republic under President Ebert to
createaseffective anarmed force aspossiblewithin theframework of
therestrictionsimposedbytheAllies. Meanwhile,atemporary mili-
tary organization existed under a reichstag law of 6 March 1919.
EbertcalleduponGeneralleutnant HansvonSeeckttoheadacommis-
sion to study the matter and submit recommendations on which the
organizationofthepostwar forcecouldbebased.
Seeckt's recommendations were adopted, with some modifications
andchanges,andtheneworganization,createdbytheDefenseLawof
23March 1921,was called the  Reichswehr (Reich Defense Force).
Its two services were the  Reichsheer (Army) and the Reichsmarine 
(Navy). The predominant part played by the land service gave
many the impression that the  Reichswehr and Army were identical,
andthetinyNavyreceivedlittleattention.
ThenominalCommander inChief ofthe ReichswehrwasthePresi-
dent. Actual authority, howevier, was normally exercised by the
Minister of Defense, acabinet officer and coequal of the Ministersof
theInterior,Justic,Foreign Affairs, and other membersof the Presi-
dent'sofficial family.
Commanders for theArmy and Navy were prohibited by the Ver-
sailles Treaty, sothe senior officers of the two services held positions
analogoustothat of Chiefs of Staff, responsible directly totheMinis-
ter of Defense. In practice, the Chiefs of Staff directed planning,
operations, and training, and the Minister of Defense restricted his
activities to representing the  Reichsivehr before the Reichstag and
performing similarministerial functions.
Alargenumberofofficers andnoncommissioned officers withWorld
War I experience were available to command and cadre the small
postwar force at first, but emphasis soon came to be placed on the
procurement of younger men. Forced to make do with what they
had, the military leaders proceeded to develop an elite force, and
numerous incentives were offered in order to acquire a high type of
personnel. Enlisted pay was raised and barracks conditions were
improved. Strict disciplinegained the Reichsioehrtherespectof the
civilian population, and relations with the local inhabitants in gar-
risonand port areaswereusually excellent. Upon discharge Reichs-
wehr personnel were given priority in obtaining civilian positions
1
Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section was taken from  Die  Reichswehr 
(Cologne, 1933) ; and H. Franke,  Handbuch  der  Neuzeitlichen  Wehrivissenschaften,  Band 
I,  II,  III,  and IV (Berlin and Leipzig, 1937).
1 0 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
withthegovernment,or weregranted financial support upto amaxi-
mumofthreeyearswhilereadjusting tocivilianlife. Menwithmore
than 10yearsservice could receivetraining for a civilian occupation
whilestillinuniform.
Another important morale factor for the Eeichsheerwasthepolicy
of recruitment onalocalbasis. Each unit of battalian sizeor larger
haditspermanent station andrecruitedthebulkofitspersonnel from
thatgeneralregion. Personnelassignmentswererelativelystableand
individuals remained in units composed largely of men from their
homeareas. Asimilararrangementforthe Reichsmarinewouldhave
been impracticable, though personnel were rotated to sea and shore
assignmentsonaregularschedule.
The  Reichswehr adopted the traditions of the disbanded unitsof
theoldimperialforces,e.g.the1stCompany ofthe9thInfantry took
chargeof thebattleflagsofthe1stPrussian FootGuards. Tradition
was carried to an extreme with the 1st Infantry, which adopted the
old 43d Infantry's traditions—the bassdrum in the regimental band
wascarriedinparadesonacartdrawnbyaSt.Bernarddog,aprivileg
the 43d Infantry had wonby capturing adog-drawn drum from the
Austrians at the Battle of Koeniggratz in 1866. Amemorial honor-
ing the parent unit was installed in each barracks square, and cere-
moniesheld before it onofficial holidays. Survivors of the old units
and the families of members who had been killed in battle were
contactedandinvitedtothememorialservices. Wherepossible,older
officers and men still in the military service were assigned to the
Reichswehr unit which was to carry their old unit's tradition. An-
other effective means of promoting organization spirit was the
assignment of a band to every battalion-sized and larger unit, with
fifersanddrummersdowntothecompany.
The Army
2
TheChief ofStaff oftheArmywasknownastheChief oftheArmy
Command  {Chef der Heeresleitung). Themostimportant ofthefive
sectionsof hisstaff wasthe  Truppenamt, anall-encompassing organi-
zation with many of the functions of the Imperial General Staff,
which had been disbanded in compliance with the Versailles Treaty,
though this did not preclude General Staff appointments at lower
echelonsofcommand. TheheadquartersoftheArmy Commandwas
inBerlin.
Thetacticalforcesofthe Reichsheercomprisedsevensmall infantry
and three cavalry divisions, the former numbered 1 through 7 and
2
Unless otherwise noted, the material on the organization of the  Reichsheer was taken
from Burkhart Mueller-Hillebrand,  Das  Heer  (1933-45),  Band  I,  Das Heer  Ms sum  Kriegs-
beginn (Darmstadt, 1954), pp. 14-20.
CHARTI-ORGANIZATION OFTHEREICHSHEER.1921
ARMY COMMAND (Berlin) 
TERRITORIAL (Wehrkreis) TACTICAL
ORGANIZATION FORCES
GPHO I (Berlin) 6PHQ 2 Kossel]
I (Koenigsberg)'
II (Stettin)-
in 
(Berlin)
X
IV (Dresden)-
X
I(Frankfurt-am-Oder)
2(Bres1ou)
V (Stuttgart)
VI (Moenster)
VI I (Munich)
1X1
3(Weimar
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 11
the latter 1 through 3. The strength of the infantry division was
approximately 12,000men,withthreeinfantry regiments,an artillery
regiment of three light battalions, and small reconnaissance, signal,
engineer, transportation, and medical battalions. The cavalry di-
visionhadsixsmallcavalry regiments and an artillery battalion, and
atotalstrengthof5,300men.
Thecommandersoftheinfantry divisionshadadual responsibility,
since they were territorial commanders as well; their staffs also
functioned intwocapacities. Thearea commandsof the Reichsheer, 
known as  Wehrkreise,were seven in number, designated by Roman
numeralsIthroughVII,andcoveredtheentireterritory oftheReich.
The  Wehrkreise were charged with recruiting, logistical support of
tactical unitswithin their areas,and general housekeeping functions.
The seven infantry divisions were distributed one to each of the
seven  Wehrkreise,the numbers in each casebeing identical, e. g. the
7th Infantry Division was assigned to  Wehrkreise VII, with head-
quarters in Munich,the capital of Bavaria. The infantry divisions,
inaccordancewiththepolicyof localrecruitment,weredrawn almost
entirely from the  Wehrkreisein which they had their home stations,
e. g. the 7th Infantry Division was composed of Bavarians. The
three cavalry divisions, though their headquarters were situated in
one  Wehrkreisor the other, were drawn from a wider area, e.g. the
3d Cavalry Division, with headquarters at Weimar in Thuringia,
includedonecavalryregimentcomposedofBavarians. [See chart 1.] 
The divisions were controlled by two  Gruppenkommandos (group
commands).  Gruppenkommando 1,inBerlin,controlledthedivisions
in northern and eastern Germany;  Gruppenkommando  2,in Kassel,
thedivisionsinsouthern andwestern Germany. Thetwogroupcom-
mandswereresponsible tothe Chief of Staff of the Reichsheer. The
Wehrkreisewerealsoresponsible directly tothe Chief of Staff of the
Reichsheer,maknigthegroupheadquarterspurely tacticalcommands.
Thetraining of the  Reichsheerwas oneof the most important im-
printsleft byGeneral vonSeeckt,whobecamethefirstChief of Staff
and remained in that position until 1926. The time spent on the
schoolof thesoldier and closeorder drill Avasreduced oncediscipline
had been established. Emphasis was then placed on field training.
Seecktbelievedthat themobility lost in thetrench warfare of World
WarI couldberegained bytheinfantry-artillery team withtank and
airsupport. Trucksweremadeintomocktanksfortrainingpurposes
by the addition of cardboard and wooden superstructures. Such
passive air defense measures as camouflage were stressed. Former
tank officers were assigned to the supply and transportation services,
and180flyingofficersofWorldWarI weredistributedthroughoutthe
12 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Army invariousothercapacities. Acoreof 3,later 15air specialists
wasassignedtotheheadquartersoftheArmyCommand.
Thesmallnumberoftroops,thedispersalof unitsingarrisons from
East Prussia to Bavaria, and budgetary considerations restricted
maneuvers and large-scale exercises. Consequently, to train com-
manders and staffs from battalion level upwards a type of realistic
wargameexercisewasadopted. Commandersandstaffs,allavailable
signaltroops,andaskeletonforceofinfantry, artillery,andengineers
participated. Troopswerepresentonlyinsufficient numberstoestab-
lish front lines,buttheheadquarters functioned asin atactical situa-
tion. ManyofthedeficienciesoftheImperialArmy'scommunication
systemwerecorrectedinthecourseof theseexercises,andanumberof
future army and army group commanders and staffs had the oppor-
tunity toexperiment with newtheoriesandtechniques.
Figure  1.  Troops  of  the  Reichsheer's  11th  Infantry  Regiment  in  training,  1934-
General von Seeckt's policy required military personnel to refrain
from engaging in political activities, giving credence to the belief
thattheArmy representedtheGermannation andnotthe administra-
tion in office. Nevertheless, during Seeckt's tenure, there was con-
siderable deference by political leaders to the  Reichsheer. An icy,
aloof individual, Seeckt spoke for the Army as a solid, determined
block of 100,000 armed men and the ultimate government force.
In thefirst several years following itsorganization, the Reichsheer 
was committed to securing the internal stability of the Reich and
maintaining law and order. To supplement the efforts of the
Reichsheer,local militia were frequently organized for short periods
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 13
oftime. However,thesesoonhadtobedisbanded upontheinsistence
oftheAlliedcontrolcommissions. By 1924thesituation in Germany
hadsettledtotheextentthatthe Reichsheercouldperform itsmission
without assistance.
Gradually, as time passed, some restrictions on Germany's armed
forceswererelaxedorsimplynotenforced, andthe Reichsheerorgan-
izedadditional signaland antiaircraft unitsand improved someof its
artillery andother weapons. Seecktandthegovernment leadersalso
adopted the broadest possible interpretation of the restrictions in-
cludedinthetreaty,givingGermany variousadvantagesnot intended
bythetreaty writers,e.g.there wasnoprohibition against drawing
upplans for improved weapons,soGerman designers prepared blue-
printsfor variousnewguns andother armament.
Significant evasionsof thetreaty terms involved the establishment
of military installations and armaments industries in the Soviet
Union. The German government supported these arrangements,
financed inlargepartbysuchindustrialfirmsastheJunkers Aircraft
Company. This evasion of the treaty terms was welcomed by the
Russians, desperately in need of foreign engineers and technicians
to build up their own air and tank arms and their chemical war-
fare service. In exchange for technical advice and the services of
German experts, the Russians permitted the German Army to test
weaponsandequipmentandtotraincadresunhamperedbytheAllied
controlcommissions.
3
By1930theArmy felt secureenough toproceed withthe planning
work started by Seeckt and to prepare for an expansion of its small
force in the event of war. Should it be necessary for Germany to
mobilize,the7infantry divisionsofthe Reichsheerwouldbeexpanded
to 21. The millions of World War I veterans could bedrawn upon
tofillthe21divisions,but theseveterans weregrowing older and the
German youth were receiving no military training aside from the
Reichsheerand police forces. Arms and equipment would be avail-
ableforapproximatelytwo-thirdsofthisforce,butammunitionwould
be an insurmountable problem. In 1932further studies were made
for a gradual expansion of arms and munitions plant capacities to
meettheseneeds.
In additiontoits21infantry divisions,the Reichsheeronmobiliza-
tion would comprise 3 or 4 cavalry divisions, 33batteries of heavy
artillery, 55antiaircraft batteries, asmall army air force, and atank
battalion. Amedium battalion wouldbeadded tothe artillery regi-
ment of the infantry division, and the infantry regiment would be
equipped with antitank guns. The plans for an increase in the size
3
Helm Speidel, "Reiehswehr und Rote Armee,"  Vierteljahrshefte  fuer  Zeitegeschichte, 
vol.I (1953), p.18.
14 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
of the German forces in the event of mobilization were interrupted
bytheappointmentof Hitler asChancellor.
The Navy
The Navy had more difficulty than the Army during this period
in evading the treaty terms that reduced it to little more than a
coastal patrol force.
4
Sincethe Versailles Treaty contained nopro-
hibition against replacing old vessels, the Navy began a limited
building program as soon as the internal political situation of the
immediate postwar period had settled. However, new naval con-
struction in German yards had to adhere closely to the limitations
set by the Allies, with representatives of the Allied control commis-
sionsinspecting German port areasand thenaval budget.
The Naval Command  (Marinelietung) found a serious obstacle in
thoseprovisions of the Versailles Treaty that prohibited submarines
to the German naval service; the problem of retaining highly
specializedconstructionandmaintenancepersonnelandtrainingcrews
for the German underseas fleet of a later day was not simple of
solution. Only a few naval engineers and technicians managed to
keepbusyinthesubmarineconstruction field oncontract for theJap-
aneseGovernmentintheimmediatepostwar period.
A start wasmadeinreviving submarinebuilding in 1922when the
Navysubsidized aDutchshipbuilding firm inTheHagueand staffed
it with German submarine engineers. The purpose of the firm was
to build U-boats on contract for foreign governments,thereby keep-
ing German construction personnel employed and giving submarine
engineers the opportunity to experiment with new designs and tech-
nical improvements. Similar arrangements were made with ship-
building companies in Finland and Spain. The building of a Ger-
man-controlled torpedo factory and testing center in Spain allowed
German engineers to develop new types of torpedoes, including the
electrically controlled torpedo.
The250-tonsubmarinesbuilt andtested in Finland weretobecome
the prototypes of the  U-l through  U-24-', the 750-ton boat built in
Spain and eventually sold totheTurkish Government wastobecome
theprototypeofthe U-25and  U-26. Intheirexperimentalwork,the
German submarine engineers strove to simplify gear and equipment,
in order to make easier assembly-line production of craft and the
trainingofcrews.
*The information on the Navy's evasion of the treaty terms is taken from a printed
memo by a Capt Schuessler,  Der  Kampf  der  Marine  gegen  Versailles,  1919-1935. Memo
has been reprinted as Doc 156-c in  Trial  of  the  Major  War  Criminals  Before  the  Interna-
tional  Military  Tribunal (hereafter cited as /.  M.  T.) (Nuernberg, 1947), XXXIV, pp.
530-607.
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 15
Thefinancingof theseundertakings wasaccomplished at first with
naval funds diverted for the purpose. Eventually, with their build-
ing success abroad, many of the Navy's enterprises became self-sup-
porting. In 1927a scandal brought a number of these covert naval
activities to light and made necessary their curtailment. However,
theAllied control cor"
1
missions had been withdrawn earlier the same
year,andmanyoftheillegalundertakingsbeingcarried onin foreign
countriescouldbeshifted backtotheReich. Longbeforetheabroga-
tion of the Versailles Treaty, assembly lines to build 6U-boats at a
time were constructed at Kiel, and the component parts for 12sub-
marines made and stored. (Thus the first of the new underseasfleet
could make its appearance less than six months after Hitler's an-
nouncementof rearmament in 1935.)
In addition to its activities in submarine construction, the Reichs-
marinealso managed to hold its position in the field of fire control
equipment. A trainload of range-finders and technical equipment
had been shipped into hiding at Venlo, Holland, at the time of the
Armistice in 1918,and brought back in small lots. Later the Navy
purchased a Dutch firm manufacturing precision instruments in
Germany,tocarry out experimental work onfirecontrol and similar
equipmentunimpededbytheAlliedCommissions.
A new type of armored cruiser, popularly known as the "pocket
battleship,"wasdeveloped duringthereplacement building program.
This warship displaced 10,000tons and had 11-inch guns in its main
batteries,incompliancewiththetreaty limitations. Thekeel for the
firstof thisclasswaslaid down in 1929andthree in all,the Deutsch-
land (1931), Admiral  Scheer (1933), and  Graf  Spee (not launched
until1934)werebuilt.
5
Sixlightcruiserswerealsoconstructed orbegun duringthis period,
to replace the treaty cruisers. These were the  Emden (1925), the
Koenigsbergand  Karlsruhe (1927), the  Koeln (1928), the  Leipzig 
(1929),and the  Nuernburg (not launched until 1934). The  Emden 
displaced 5,400tons; the remainingfive,6,000 tons. All six cruisers
had5.9inchgunsintheirmainarmament.
Twonewbattleships,the Scharnhorstand  Gneisenau,wereplanned.
(Somesourcesrefer totheseshipsasbattlecruisers.) Treaty limita-
tions in this case were ignored. The two ships of this class were to
displace26,000tonsandmount11-inchguns.
By 1933,when Hitler became Chancellor, the  Reichmarine had a
fleet of threeoldbattleshipsof thepre-World War I period,the Han-
nover (1905),  Schleisien (1906), and  Schleswig-FIolstein (1906).
Workwassoontocommenceonthetwonewbattleships. Twoof the
armoredcruisershadbeenlaunched andoneof them,the Deutschland, 
5
See: Alexander Bredt,  Taschenbuch  der  Kriegsflotten (Munich, 1935 and 1940).
16 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939}
was almost ready for sea. Five of the new light cruisers were al-
ready in service, and the sixth was under construction. All of the
treaty cruisers had been removed from the active list. Twelve de-
stroyershadbeenbuilt duringthepreiod 1926-28toreplaceworn-out
treaty destroyers,andanumberof torpedoboatsandtendershadbeen
rebuiltandreconditioned.
The Covert Air Force
Military aviation was prohibited completely under the Versailles
Treaty, and the direction of German civil aviation in the immediate
postwaryearswasdelegatedtotheAirOfficeintheMinistryofTrans-
portation. The construction of civil aircraft was prohibited until
1922, then limited as to weight, ceiling, speed, and horsepower.
Though it operated under a sharp disadvantage, German aviation
managed toretain itsproficiency inbuilding andflyingaircraft dur-
ing the period of restrictions that followed. The interest of the
Germanpublicinaviation matterswasalsokeptaliveinglidingclubs
andsimilarair-mindedassociations.
In 1924General von Seeckt succeeded in engineering the appoint-
ment of his own candidate, a World War I flying officer named
Brandenburg, as head of the Air Office. Cooperation between the
highly centralized German civil aviation organization and the
Reichswehr was assured, and from this point on the developmentof
German civil aviation was controlled and directed to a considerable
extentbythemilitary.
6
Restrictions on flight training for military officers were relaxed as
time passed. The small number of  Reichswehr officers permitted to
takingflyinginstructionsforobtainingweatherdataorinpreparation
for the possible use of the  Reichswehr in support of the civil police
wasincreasedfrom its'ceilingof5peryearto72in1926.
The restrictions on German aircraft construction were also lifted
in 1926. That same year several small corporations were amalga-
matedtoform theLufthansa, orgovernment-sponsored airline. Ger-
man aircraft were already flying on regular schedules to various
countriesineasternEurope. Aseriesof agreementswithmembersof
the former Allies soon permitted the Lufthansa to establish regular
routes in western Europe. Night and all-weather flying techniques
wereimproved,andGermanaviationreachedahighpointintechnical
development.
Asmallnucleusforthefuture GermanAirForcewasformed within
the Lufthansa organization shortly after its creation. By 1931 the
"secret" air force had a total of four fighter, eight observation, and
threebomber squadrons. Flight training wascarried on in the four
•Walter Goerlltz,  Der deutsche  Generalstab (Frankfurt), pp.365-66.
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 17
schoolsmaintained bytheLufthansa, but tacticaltraining wasneces-
sarily restricted.
Some progress in German military aviation was also made in the
experimental installationsintheSovietUnion duringthisperiod. A
partyof German aviationexpertsmovedtotheSovietUnion in1924,
andin1926agroupoffighter andreconnaissancepilotsbegan training
inthevicinityofMoscow. Anotherairinstallationwaslatersetupin
the Caucasus Mountains area. In Germany, the  Reichsheerstudied
the-air forces of theother world power and planned measures for de-
fense against possible air attack. Preoccupied with the defense, the
Reichsheerfelt that any future air force should bepart of the army,
and assigned missions in support of the ground forces. As aconse-
quence,theaircraft andtacticsdevelopedintheSovietUnion reflected
thisthinking,andmostoftheGermanmilitaryaireffort oftheperiod
wasdevotedtofighters andobservationwork.
Only a small number of pilots in all were trained in the Soviet
Union. Some pilots had also been trained or had maintained their
skillbyflyingfor thecivilairlinesinGermany or abroad. However,
therewerestill toofew qualified flying personnel available for anew
air force at the time Hitler organized his government. The  Reich-
nheer concept of the air arm asan adjunct to the Army and the few
aircraft typesdevelopedasaresultofthispolicyhelpedlittlein form-
ing a foundation upon which to organize an air force capable of
operatinginitspropersphere.
Germany wasinasomewhatbetter position by 1933insofar aspro-
ductionfacilitieswereconcerned. Messerschmitt wasalreadyproduc-
ing light aircraft in quantity. The Focke-Wulf concern was estab-
lished at Bremen; Junkers was developing one of Europe's largest
aircraft factories at Dessau; Heinkel had a large plant at Warne-
muende; and Dornier had had several successes in building aircraft
factories aboard. With alittle retooling theplants producing sports
aircraft andcommercialtransportscouldbuildobservationandliaison
planes, troop carriers, and bombers. A little more work would be
necessary to build fighters and attack aircraft. With the military
influence throughout their development, many of the German com-
mercial aircraft could beput to immediate military use if necessary.
The National Socialists in Power
Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor by the aged President
Hindenburg on 30January 1933and the Enabling Act of the Reich-
stagon23March granted Hitler's National Socialist governmentdic-
tatorial powers. To raise the Reich to what he considered its right-
ful placeamongthenationsandtoaccomplishhisforeign policyaims,
18 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Hitlerhadtohavealargeandwell-equipped armedforce andthewar
industry tosupport it. Planning had already been accomplished for
a wartime armed force to beformed by the expansion of the Reichs-
icehr. Hitler decided to apply these plans to a peacetime expansion
instead. The Army was to be increased to 21divisions and a total
strength of 300,000men. At first the year 1937wasset asthe target
dateforthecompletionofthisprogram.
Hitler put anendtothemilitary and industrial collaboration with
theSovietUnion inthesummerof 1933.
7
On 14October of thesame
year Hitler'sgovernment withdrew from thedisarmament conference
then inprogress and from the Leagueof Nations. Henceforth, Ger-
manywastofollow amoreindependent path inforeign affairs, notal-
lowingitself tobeboundbysuchrestrictions astheVersaillesTreaty,
which had already been violated repeatedly. Hitler then insisted on
moving the target date for the expansion of the armed forces up to
theautumn of1934.
Meanwhile,aseriesofconflictshad arisenbetweenthemoreextreme
elements of the National Socialist Party's uniformed  Strwnab-
teilungen (SA),orStormTroops,andthe Reichsheer. ErnstRoehm,
leader of the SA, advocated the absorption of the  Reichsheer 
intohisownuniformed force,toform anarmymorerepresentativeof
the new National Socialist state. Hitler had to resolve the growing
rift anddecidedinfavor of the Reichsheer. On30June 1934Roehm
and several score others were executed without legal process of any
kind asa threat tothe security of the state. Needless to say, Hitler
made use of this opportunity to rid himself of numerous political
opponents as w
T
ell as the embarrassing SA leaders.
8
HindenburgasPresidentwasstillthenominalCommanderinChief
of the armed forces. The President's death on 2 August 1934 was
followed immediately by amajor change inthisorganization ofcom-
mand. Hitler adopted the title of Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor
(Der  Fuehrer  und  Reichskanzler), and the office of President was
abolished. The functions of the Presidency were absorbed into the
newoffice,andHitlerbecameChief of State andCommander inChief
ofitsarmedforces.
Allofficers andmenoftheArmyandNavywererequiredtosweara
personal oathof obediencetothenewChief of State and Commander
inChief. Thiswasaradicaldeparture from thepracticeof swearing
allegiance only to the state, ashad been done under the German Re-
public. AsimilaroathtotheKaiser hadbeenthecustomin imperial
times,butunderthepre-WorldWarIsystemofgovernmenttheKaiser
hadpersonified thestateandpeople. Hitler'sassumptionofauthority
was approved by a national plebiscite on 19August 1934.
7
 Speidel, op. cit.,  p. 41.
8
 Goerlitz,  op. dt.,  pp. 413-21.
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 1 9
The tempo of rearmament was increased and the strength of the
Army roseto2*0,000bytheendof theyear. Hitler's heir-apparent,
HermannGoering,wasappointed tothenewlycreatedpositionof Air
Minister and assumed control of the covert air force, which immedi-
ately began a period of rapid expansion. As his deputy, Goering
selected Erhard Milch, director of the Lufhansa. Milch began im-
mediately to increase the production of training aircraft. While
Goering occupied himself with political matters,_Milch did most of
the planning work for the new air force. According to Milch's
calculations,aperiodof8to10yearswouldbenecessarytobuildupan
adequate nucleus for the new service. Political considerations were
latertorequireanaccelerationofthisprogram. Withhiswell-known
passion for uniforms and display, Goering was appointed a General
der Infanterie in the ground forces pending the unveiling of thenew
GermanAirForce.
The clauses of the Versailles Treaty that had disarmed Germany
werepublicly denounced by Hitler on 16March 1935. The Fuehrer
took advantage of theoccasion topromulgate anew defense law that
provided for anincreaseinthesizeof thepeacetimeArmyto 12corps
and 36 divisions and reinstituted conscription. A subsequent law,
of 21May 1935,brought theAir Force into the open and established
it as a separate service. The law of 21 May also set the period of
training for conscriptsatoneyear.
9
The restriction of conscript training to one year was necessitated
byalack of cadre personnel. Fifteen months later the expansionof
the armed forces would permit the extension of the period of service
to twoyears. Conscription offices proceeded to register the classof
1914(allmenborninthatyear),veteransofWorldWar I still within
military agelimits (18to45years,except in East Prussia,where the
maximumwassetat55years),andthelargemassofmenoftheclasses
1901to1913andtooyoungtohavehad serviceintheImperial Army.
Thislargegroupofmenbornintheyears1901to1913weretoforma
special problem. Fewhad had anymilitary training,yetwereinthe
agegroups from which a large part of the reserve had to be drawn.
Also,those"borninthefirstfewyearsbetween 1901and 1913wereal-
ready becoming a little old to begin military training. As a result,
a large proportion of these classes received two or three months of
trainingandwereassignedtothosenewreservedivisionswhichwould
beutilizedfor defensiveserviceorinasecurity capacity,ortovarious
supportunits.
An adequate population and industrial base existed to support an
expanded armed force. The Reich's population prior to the annexa-
tion of Austria and the Sudetenland was almost 70million, and in-
»Franke,  op.  cit.,  Band  I,  Wehrpolitik  und  Kriegfuehrung,  Wehrgeaetz B, pp.699-703.
2 0 THEGERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
creasedbymorethan 10million whenthesetwoareasbecamepartof
Germany. TheReich produced more than 22million tons of steel
yearly andover200milliontonsofcoal. Thecountry washighlyde-
velopedindustrially,withlargemotorvehicleandtoolplants,andhad
excellenttransportation andcommunications systems. Themerchant
marine totalled more than 4 million tons, and port facilities were
extensive.
The Wehrmacht
The expansion of Germany's armed forces andthecreation ofa
separateAirForce were accompanied byanumber ofchangesinthe
command organization. Bythenewdefense laws, the Reichswehr 
was renamed the Wehrmacht (armed forces), andthe Reichsheer 
becamethe Heer (Army),whilethe Reichsmarinebecamethe Kriegs-
marine (Navy). TheAirForce wasdesignated theLuftwaffe, with
a distinctive uniform and organization. The Truppenamt was re-
established astheArmy General Staff. Hitler assumed thetitleof
SupremeCommanderoftheArmedForces  {Der Oberste Befehlshdber 
der  Wehrmacht). TheMinister of Defense becametheMinisterof
WarandCommanderinChiefoftheArmedForces  {Oberbefehlshaber 
der Wehrmacht).
10
Generaloberst Werner vonBlomberg,Hitler'sMinisterofDefense,
becamethefirst MinisterofWar andthe CommanderinChief ofthe
Armed Forces. Thereorganization of theArmy wasaccomplished
largely bytheChief of Staff then in office, General der Artillerie
Werner von Fritsch and the chief of the  Truppenamt, General-
leutnant Ludwig Beck. In the reorganization Fritsch becamethe
commanderinchief oftheArmy and Beck chief ofthereconstituted
Army General Staff. Thecommand of theNavy wasretainedby
Admiral Erich Raeder, former chief oftheNaval Command. The
Air Force wasplaced under thecommand of Hermann Goering,in
hisnewrank (and uniform) ofGeneralderFlieger.
The expanding services soon began tosuffer acute growing pains.
The  Reichswehr's officers andnoncommissioned officers were fartoo
fewtocommandandstaff thelargecitizenforcebeingraised although
some relief wasafforded bytheincorporation of militarized police
units intotheArmy withalarge number oftrained officers andnon-
commissioned officers. TheArmy was.affected bytheloss of many
officers tothenewLuftwaffe, andforsometimemuch airstaff work
had tobeaccomplished by former ground officers not qualified as
pilotsorexperiencedinairoperations.
The high andrigid standards established bythe Reichswehr could
not bemaintained during this period of growth. Educational re-
w
  Goerlitz, op. cit.,  pp.  422-23. 
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 21
quirements for officers had to be lowered, and several thousand non-
commissioned officers of the Reichswehr becamejunior officers in the
Wehrmacht, while other thousands of Reichswehr privates (or sea-
men) became noncommissioned officers in the new force. The 4,000
officers ofthe Eeichsheer,theofficers trained inthe SovietUnion, and
themencommissionedfrom theranksoftheArmy stillcouldnotpro-
videasufficient numberofofficers for thenumerousnewunits formed.
Thousands of World War I officers had to berecalled to active duty
and bridged the gap to a certain extent, but several years would be
required to provide a sufficient number of trained commanders and
staff officers of the age groups young enough for full field service.
A production problem also existed. The manufacture of somany
aircraft, tanks, artillery, and warships at the pace required by the
rearmamentprogramrequiredmorerawmaterialandalarger trained
labor force than Germany could immediately muster. Some con-
cessionshadtobemadeattheexpenseof oneortheother of thethree
services, and the Navy was forced to curtail an ambitious program
ofshipbuildingtoallowtheArmy andAir Forcetoforge ahead with
tanks, artillery, and combat aircraft. Hitler's reluctance to antag-
onizetheBritish alsoplayed apart inthisdecision. Work continued
on anumber of keels already laid and construction started on a few
other major units, but most of the naval effort was devoted to pro-
ducing small craft and submarines, which required less construction
timethancapitalships,andtotrainingaNavythatmorethan doubled
insizewithinayear.
A series of events that occurred much later during the period of
expansion, in January and February 1938, placed Hitler in actual
command of the three armed services and disposed of Fritsch and
thoseotherseniorofficers whohad advised against theFuehrer's mili-
tarypolicyofbluff andbluster andpreferred instead asteady growth
and consolidation within the services. These events started with the
marriageof Blombergtoawomanof questionablereputation. Blom-
berg,eventhough hewasnot amongthe active opponents of Hitler's
policies, was forced by Hitler to resign his position as Minister of
War and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Scandalous
chargeslater proved false wereused asapretext to force Fritsch out
of his position as commander in chief of the Army.
11
The post of
Minister of War was abolished, and from 4 February 1938 Hitler
exercisedsupremecommandthroughanewheadquarters,formed from
u
The details of the intrigues that ended with the dismissal of Blomberg and Fritsch are
to befound in the following:
(1) Graf Kielmansegg,  Der  Fritachprozess  1938 (Hamburg, 1938).
(2) Wolfgang Foerster,  Oetueraloierst  Ludwig  Beck,  Sein  Kampf  gegen  den  Krieg 
(Munich, 1953).
(3). Goerlitz,  op. cit., pp. 447-62.
B-17^0-75 -3
2 2 THEGERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Blomberg's staff and called the  Oberkormnando der  Wehrmacht 
(OKW), or High Command of the Armed Forces. General der
Artillerie Wilhelm Keitel, according toa literal translation ofthe
German title, became chief, OKW. Keitel wasactually to holda
positionsimilartothatofachief ofstaff,butwith littleoftheactual
responsibility that thetitle implied. General derArtillerie Walther
von Brauchitsch, commander of a Heeresgruppenkommamdo, as the
old  Gruppenkommamdowashenceforth tobecalled,becamethe suc-
cessortoFritsch. These events were followed bytheretirementfor
reasonsofhealthofalargenumberofseniorofficers, andthetransfer
of other officers tofieldduties. Hitler wasdetermined tobrookno
oppositiontohismilitarypolicyandwouldacceptnowordofcaution.
In hisnewpost, Keitel became chief of Hitler's working staffand
assumed theduties of the former Minister of War. Headquarters
OKWwastoexpand itsoperationsandplanningstaff intothe  Wehr-
macht fuehrungsamt (Armed Forces Operations Office), underCol.
Alfred Jodl from April toNovemberof1938and Col.WalterWarli-
monttoAugust1939.
Friction, not uncommon under Blomberg, increased considerably
under this newcommand organization. Noclear dividing line was
established betweentheresponsibilitiesofthejoint armedforcescom-
mandandthecommandsoftheArmy,Navy,andAirForce. General
Keitel lackedtheposition andseniority of Blombergandalmostany
activity oftheOKWheadquarters, particularly ofitsplanning staff,
the  Wehrmacht fuehrungsamt, cametoberegarded asencroachingon
theresponsibilitiesofthethreeservicesandmetwith resistance. The
commanders inchief oftheArmy, Navy,andAirForce, freed from
their common superior, Blomberg, soon began tocircumventOKW
andtoaddressthemselvestoHitler personally, thereby strengthening
theFuehrer's controlofmilitary affairs.
12
The New Army
Expansion
AnextensiveprogramtohousethegrowingactiveArmywasbegun
in 1935 andinthecourse of thenext twoyears a large numberof
barracks were built. These barracks were usually designed tohouse
a battalion or regiment, and were of brick or stone construction.
Workshopandindoortrainingfacilitieswereexcellent. Firingranges
for small arms, andopen fields andwooded areas for limitedfield
exercises were usually situated within a few miles of the barracks
proper. Accommodations atthelarge training areas were improved
and expanded.
Ltr, GenWarlimont toOCMH,15Apr55. Author'sfile.
23
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939
Figure  2.  Typical  barracks  for  the  Xew  Wehrmacht. 
ByOctober 1937theactiveArmy had 500,000-600,000men under
arms, and its tactical force consisted of 4 group commands and 14
corps, with 39 active divisions, including 4 motorized infantry and
3 Panzer (armored) divisions.
13
The cavalry divisions had been
deactivated. One cavalry brigade was retained, but most of the
cavalry regiments were reassigned as corps troops and some of the
personnel transferred tothenew Panzer force. Twenty-nine reserve
divisions had been organized and could be called into service onJ
mobilization. Thenumberofreservedivisionswouldincreaseasmen
werereleased from theactive Army upon completion of their period
ofcompulsory training.
The number of  Wehrkreise had been increased increased to 13in
theprocessofArmyexpansion. Thestatusofthe Wehrkreiswasalso
raised. The relationship between the tactical corps and  Wehrkreis 
oftheWehrmachtwassimilartothat whichhadobtained the tactical
division and  Wehrkreis of the  Reichswehr. The corps commander
functioned in a dual capacity as  Wehrkreis commander in garrison,
butrelinquishedhisterritorial functions toadeputy whenhetookhis
corpsintothe field. TheXIVCorpshadnocorresponding  Wehrkreis 
organization, since it was formed to control the motorized divisions
throughout the Reich and had no territorial responsibility. The
Wehrkreisewere responsible directly to the commander in chief of
theArmy. In thetacticalchain of command,the corps headquarters
13
Mueller-Hillebrand,  op. cit., pp.25and61.
2 4 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
were subordinated to the  Heeresgruppenkommandos,which in turn
wereresponsibletotheArmy'scommanderinchief.
The expansion of the active Army beyond the level of 12 corps
and 36 divisions established by Hitler was ordered in the annual
mobilization plan, which directed the creation of additional active
andreserveunitsyearbyyear. Thecreation ofreservedivisionsthat
could bemobilized on short notice increased the combat potential of
the Army considerably and kept the trained manpower at a fair
stateof proficiency byparticipation in annual maneuvers and special
troopexercises.
Twogroupcommands and sevencorpsheadquarters were activated
in 1938. Three of the corps were frontier commands, with noterri-
torialresponsibilitiesasidefrom security,i.e.theyhadnocorrespond-
ing  Wehrkreis organization. All three were assigned to Germany's
westerndefenses. Theseheadquartersborenonumericaldesignations,
but wereknown asFrontier CommandsEifel, Saarpfalz, and Oberr-
hein, for the Ardennes, Saar, and Upper Rhine frontier areas,
respectively.
14
Of the other four corps headquarters, the XV and
XVI Corps were formed to control the light and Panzer divisions,
andtheXVII andXVIII Corpsbecamethetacticalcorpsin Austria.
Neither the XV nor XVI Corps had a corresponding  Wehrkreis 
organization or territorial responsibilities. The commanders of the
XVII and XVIII Corps,however, had adual function asareacom-
manders for the two  Wehrkreise into which Austria was divided.
Other active units organized included three infantry divisions, two
Panzer divisions, four light divisions (small motorized infantry di-
visions,withanorganictankbattalion),andthreemountaindivisions.
Provision was also made for the organization of an additional 22
reservedivisions.
It wasplanned toconvert thelight divisionsto Panzer divisionsin
the autumn of 1939 as sufficient materiel became available. The
mountain division was an adaptation of the infantry division,
equipped and trained for operations in mountainous areas and deep
snow. The increasein thenumber of active divisions in 1938canbe
attributed partially to the annexation of Austria in March, and the
absorption of the Austrian Army into the Wehrmacht. The Aus-
trian Army was reorganized to form one light, one panzer, two
infantry, and twoof the mountain divisions organized by the Wehr-
machtthat year.
The Sudetenland was incorporated into several existing  Wehrk-
reiseformilitaryadministration following itsannexation toGermany
inOctober 1938,andconscripts atfirstwereabsorbed intounitsbeing
14
 Ibid.,pp. 25, 46, 76-77, and 156.
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 2 5
formed by those  Wehrkreise. One of the infantry divisions formed
in1938wasalsocomposedlargely of Sudetenland inhabitants.
Asof March 1939the Army had a total of 102active and reserve
divisionsand1activecavalrybrigade. The51activedivisions,onthe
whole, were maintained close to full strength, and required only
certain supply,medical, and transportation services to take the field.
The total strength of the active Army was approximately 730,000:
that of the reserve, about l,100,000.
15
The variance in strength
figuresfor an equal number of active and reserve divisions can be
explained bythediversion of alargepart of thereserveto form sup-
port, security, and training units, or to staff administrative head-
quarters, in the event of mobilization, i. e. a large proportion of
reserve personnel would not be assigned to field divisions. Other
reservepersonnel wouldnot becalled up immediately upon mobiliza-
tionbecauseofemploymentincriticalwarindustries. The51reserve
divisionswereallinfantry divisions;theirorganizationwassimilarto
thatoftheactiveinfantry divisions,thoughtheylackedsomeitemsof
equipment, armament in short supply, and certain units.
The Westwall
It was felt that the Reich had need of a ground defensive system
to secureits Avestern flank while its armies mobilized or in the
eventitsarmieswerealready engaged elsewhere and the French were
to attack. Construction work on the Westwall (sometimes referred
to is the "Siegfried Line") commenced in 1937. The original plan
envisaged a 12-year project and the building of a defensive system
thelengthoftheGerman frontier facing France. Ashort time later
Hitler directed an acceleration of the work and the extension of the
Westwall to the north, to include the Luxembourg and Belgian
frontiers and apart of theDutch frontier intheAachen area.
The Director of the Bureau of Roads  (Generalinspekteur fuer  das 
deutsche Strassenwesen),Dr.Todt,wasmaderesponsible for thecon-
struction project. Personnel assigned to the work included road
construction crewsgrouped under aforce identified after the director
of theproject asthe Organization Todt, alarge force of the German
Labor Service (youths of premilitary age groups), Army engineers,
and other troops. In contrast to the elaborate fortifications of the
French Maginot Line,the Westwall was a series of smaller bunkers,
tank traps and obstacles, and defenses distributed in depth. Adja-
centbunkerscouldsupport oneanother with protectivefire,and cam-
ouflage was extensive and thorough. The Luftwaffe supplemented
thisground defensive system with oneof itsownto securethe border
areatoadepth of 30milesagainst air penetrations.
16
 Ibid., p. 66.
2 6 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Mobilization
Theassemblyof forces atthetimeof theAustrian and Czechcrises
gavetheGermanplannerstheopportunity totesttheirexistingmobil-
izationplans',whichwerefound tobedeficient inanumberofrespects.
A special annex to the annual mobilization plan, issued 8December
1938,superseded previousinstructions and provided for themobiliza-
tion of the active and reserve forces of the Army by "waves." Four
such waves were planned, and their mobilization could be accom-
plishedalmostsimultaneously.
16
Wave I would involve only higher headquarters, active divisions
(numbered in the 1-50 block), and supporting units. The head-
quarters for 1army group (Army Group C) and 10 armies (First,
Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, Twelfth, and
Fourteenth) would beformed from the existing Heeresgruppenkom-
mandos and several of the active corps headquarters. Since only 6
group commands existed and 11higher headquarters wereplanned,5
corps headquarters would provide personnel for an equal number of
army headquarters aswell astheir ownheadquarters on mobilization.
The  Wehrkreise would attend to the procurement and training of
replacements for units of the tactical corps and divisions once the
tacticalcommandsleft forthefield.
Operational headquarters for the Army High Command wouldbe
setup within sixhours of the time mobilization wasordered. Army
Group C and the 10army headquarters would be operational by the
second day of mobilization. The active corps headquarters, the
Panzer and light divisions, and the support units of the infantry
divisionswould alsobemobilized bythesecond day. The remaining
unitsof theactive infantry divisions would bemobilized by the third
day.
Wave II would include a number of corps headquarters to be or-
ganized from the reserve, with a cadre of active personnel, and 16
fully trained reserve divisions (numbered in theblock 51-100),com-
posedlargelyofpersonnelwhohadcompleted their periodof compul-
sorytraining. TheWaveII corpsheadquarters wouldbecomeopera-
tional on the third day of mobilization and the Wave II divisions
would be ready within four days of mobilization to move into the
field withtheactivedivisions.
WaveIII wouldcallintoservice21divisions (numberedintheblock
201-250) consisting mostly of reservists with less training, including
many individuals of the 1901-1913classesand World War I veterans
whohad had oneor moreshort periods of refresher training. These
divisions were to assemble by the sixth day following mobilization.
«  Besondere  Anlaye  2 zum  Mob. Plan  Heer, Kriegsgliederungen  8 Dez 1938. H l/309/2a.
Captured Records Section (CRS), TAG.
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 27
TheWaveIII divisionswouldfillthevacuumcausedbythe departure
of the active and Wave II divisions for thefield,they would secure
rearareas,andcouldbecommittedtocombatoperationsinarestricted
role.
Wave IV would include 14divisions (numbered in the block251-
300) to be formed from training units within Germany; these divi-
sions were to beformed by the sixth day of mobilization and would
supplement the Wave III divisions. As of the seventh day a new
headquarters,for theReplacement and Training Army  (Ersatzheer),
would bemobilized to assume responsibility for the Zone of the In-
terior,permittingtheArmy HighCommand todevoteitsattention to
directingtheoperationsofitsarmiesinthe field.
Personnel aswellasunits weredesignated for mobilization assign-
ments. Certain officers and enlisted men of the active Army were
tobeassigned to reserve units as they formed. A number of active
officers in  Wehrkreis and station complement assignments would re-
main in the various garrison areas until their replacements, usually
olderreserveandretired officers,werefamiliar withtheir duties. The
active officers would then rejoin their commands in thefield.
Additional motor vehicles' and horses would be required by the
Army on mobilization. In accordance with standard German prac-
tice,thetrucks and other motor vehicles of government agencies out-
sidethearmedforces,e.g.theextensiveGerman postal organization;
business corporations; and private owners were registered with the
local  Wehrkrei* for military use. The same procedure applied to
horses,tofillthe extensive requirements of the reserve infantry divi-
sions and support units. Both vehicles and horses w
T
ould be requi-
sitionedwhenreserveunitsweremobilized. Theselection of vehicles
and horses, however, could be accomplished only by procurement
commissions.
Special reference should be made at this point to the mobilization
assignment planned for Army Group C and the First, Fifth, and
Seventh Armies. In the event of mobilization,  Heeresgruppenkom-
mando2 at Frankfurt-am-Main would become Army Group C, to
control the First, Fifth, and Seventh Armies in the defense of the
Westwall. First Army wouldbeformed byXII Corps andthe Saar-
pfalz Frontier Command. Fifth Armyw
T
ouldbeformed byVI Corps
and the Eifel Frontier Command. Seventh Army would be formed
byVCorps and theUpper Rhine Frontier Command. The frontier
commands would be responsible for security and garrison duties in
the Westwall area pending mobilization. Corps headquarters and
activeandreservedivisionsweredesignated for allocation to.thearmy
group,andwouldpasstothecontrolof thearmygroupand itsarmies
upon orders mobilizing Army Group C and directing it to assume
2 8 THEGERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
responsibility forthewestern frontier. Thecodenameforthemili-
tarymovementsforthiscontingency wasPlanWEST.
17
Divisional Organization
The5Panzer divisionsvaried somewhatintheir composition. The
1st,2d,and3dhad1tank and1motorized infantry brigade each;
the4thPanzer Division hadatank brigade andonly aregimentof
motorized infantry; the5thhadatank brigade and2infantry regi-
ments. In addition, each Panzer division hadamotorized artillery
regimentwith2battalionsof105mmhowitzers;areconnaissancebat-
talion with motorcycle andarmored carcompanies; anantitank bat-
talion with towed 37mm guns; an engineer battalion; a signal
battalion; andrear trains andservices. Theauthorized strengthof
the panzer division wasapproximately 12,000 officers andmen, the
variationsinorganizationaccountingforsomedifferences inpersonnel
strength from onePanzer divisiontotheother.
Each Panzer division hadabout 300tanks, including all4types
then in service. TheMark I vehicle was2-man tankette, weighed
approximately 6tons, andmounted 2machine guns. TheMark II
tank wasa 3-man vehicle, weighed 111/2tons, andmounted a20mm
gun;theMark II andallheavier tankshad1ormoremachine guns
in addition to their main armament. TheMark III model hada
crew of 5,weighed approximately 2414 tons andhada 37mmgun.
Theheaviest tank oftheperiod wastheMark IV,which weighed26
tons,carriedacrewof5,andmountedashort-barreled75mmgun. As
planned,the1stPanzer Division would have 56Mark I,78MarkII,
112 Mark III,and 56Mark IV tanks. The2d,3d,4th,and5th
Panzer Divisionswould eachhave 124Mark I,138MarkII,20Mark
III, and24MarkIVtanks. Thisfigureintank strength, particularly
for theMark III,could notbereached inallcasesbythetimethe
Panzer divisionstookthefield against Poland.
The4light divisions alsovaried intheir organization,e.g.the 1st
Light Division hadamotorized infantry brigadeof1regiment anda
motorcyclebattalion; the2dand4thLight Divisionshad 2motorized
infantry regiments each; andthe3dLight Division hadamotorized
infantry regiment andamotorcyclebattalion. Eachofthelightdivi-
sionshadanorganic light tank battalion,andthe1stLight Division
had anorganic tank regiment. The1stLight Division hadarecon-
naissance battalion, while the2d,3d,and4th Light Divisionshad
reconnaissanceregiments. Thedivisionartilleryofthelightdivisions
wasthesameasthatofthePanzer divisions,i.e.2light battalionsof
17
 Heeresgruppenkommando  t,  la  Nr.  160/38  g.  Kdos.,  20  December  1938. 1922a.
CRS, TAG.
29
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939
Figure  3.  Mark  II  Tank. 
Figure  4-  Mark  III  Tank. 
30
THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Figure  5.  Mark  IV  Tank. 
towed howitzers. Engineer, signal, and other normal attachments
were similar to those of the infantry and Panzer divisions; all were
motorized. The strength of the light division was approximately
11,000officers and men.
The 35 active infantry divisions had 3 infantry regiments of
3battalions,acannoncompany,and anantitank companyeach. The
battalions were 4-company organizations, with the fourth, eighth,
and 12th companies (companies were numbered 1through 14in the
regiment) filling the role of heavy weapons companies in the com-
parable United States Army organization. The line (rifle) com-
panies had a total of 9light and 2heavy machine guns and 3 light
(50mm)mortarseach;theheavyweaponscompanies,8heavymachine
guns and six 81mmmortars each. As amatter of interest, the light
and heavy machine gun were the same air-cooled weapon, modelof
1934. With the bipod mount the MG 34,asit was known, wascon-
sideredalightmachinegun;withthetripodmount,itbecameaheavy
machine gun. All transportation for the rifle and heavy weapons
companies was horsedrawn. The cannon company had 6 light
(75mm) and 2 heavy (150mm) infantry howitzers. The antitank
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 31
company had twelve 37mmtowed guns and was the only completely
motorizedunitoftheregiment. Thereservedivisionswereorganized
insimilarfashionbuttheirregimentslackedheavyinfantry howitzers
and the third and fourth wave divisions had obsolete machine guns
from WorldWar I.
The artillery element of the active infantry division was a mixed
regiment of 3light and 1medium battalions, equipped with 105mm
and 150mmhowitzers,and anobservation battalion. Noneof there-
servedivisions had an observation battalion, and most of their firing
battalions had obsolete artillery pieces from World War I.
Other divisional units for both active and reserve infantry divi-
sions were a reconnaissance battalion; an antitank battalion with
37mmguns;anengineerbattalion;asignalbattalion; andrear trains
and services. The total strength authorized the active infantry
divisionwas17,875officers andmen. WaveII and IV divisionswere
smaller by 1,000 to2,000menormore,and Wave III divisions larger
byapproximately 600men.
The 4 motorized infantry divisions were smaller than the active
standard infantry divisions by approximately 1,400 men. Each of
themotorized infantry divisionscomprised 3infantry regiments and
wasorganized much as a standard division except that all elements
ofthedivisionweretransportedbymotorvehicle.
The 3 mountain divisions resembled the standard infantry divi-
sionsbutwerenotorganized uniformly. The 1stMountain Division
had 3infantry regiments and 4 gun battalions in its artillery regi-
ment; the 2d and 3d Mountain Divisions had only 2 regiments of
infantry and 3 battalions of artillery apiece. The light mountain
artillerybattalionswereequipped with75mmpackguns,whichcould
bedismantled and carried by mules, and the medium artillery bat-
talionswereequipped with 150mmhowitzers of the type used by the
infantry divisions. Theauthorized strengthofthemountaindivision
was approximately 17,000officers and men,though the 1st Mountain
Divisionforatimehadatotalstrengthofover24,000men.
Command Organization
General von Brauchitsch wasstill the Army's commander in chief
inMarch 1939,withGeneral derArtillerie Franz Haider ashischief
of staff. The headquarters of the Army was known as the
Oberkommando  des Heeres (OKH), or the High Command of the
Army. [See  chart&]
For administration and other station complement functions OKH
controlled 15  Wehrkreise, numbered I through XIII, XVII, and
XVIII. [See map<!] Control over the Army's tactical forces was
exercisedthroughthesixgroupcommands.
32
THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Supreme Command of the Armed Forces
HITLER
OKW (Keitel)
OKH Brauchitsch OKL Goering OKM Raeder
Air
Forces
Group Fleet Shore
Commands Commands Commands
Air
Corps Wehrkreise Divisions Luftgaue
Divisions
Chart  2.  The  Wehrmacht  and the  Armed  Services  High  Commands, 1939. 
GroupCommand 1,controllingtheI,II,III,andVIII Corps,was
inBerlin. Group Command 2(Plan WEST) wasat Frankfurt-am-
Main andtoit were attached theV,VI,andXII Corps, andthe3
frontier commands. Dresden washeadquarters forGroup Command
3,towhich theIV,VII,andXIII Corps were responsible. Group
Command4controlledtheXIVCorps (motorizedinfantry divisions),
THE WEHRKREIS ORGANIZATION,
1939
j^VDENMARK
V V ^ B A L T I C
S f
Hamburger J NJ ^_^^^^ J
>
j t/oKoeni gsberg,
/ Munster "^y Hannover\ \ j ^^. II /
y
I /
iV *
' Xt ' Berlin \^ ^s
Kossel " \
/
M
'
\ Wiesbaden \
l ° 1
J \
IX
>
0 L A N D
\ XtL \ y
"XTTT
V
~ > ^ - ' ^ \ _
7 Prague (
Breslau \
\
FRANCE/
^^ Niirnberg s Protectorate ( (
/ Stuttgart
X. Bohemia ^^-
r>
v_
v
_/S
V . (\ Moravia / ^
1A
Munich T
Vienna ( S L 0 V
A K 1
SWITZERLAND^ ' " ' '
\ ——^^~\^
]
\
'
o,
1
Salzburg
° V/ V - - •
«f -
/
^ " ^
^
~- .
-——•> .
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xzm V
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u N G A R Y
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^YUGOSLAVI Al
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 33
XVCorps (light divisions),andXVI Corps (Panzer divisions),and
was the forerunner of the Panzer armies of a later date; the head-
quarters of this group command was in Leipzig. Group Command
5 had its headquarters in Vienna, and controlled the XVII and
XVIII Corps. Hannover washeadquarters for Group Command 6,
to which were attached the IX, X, and XI Corps. This peacetime
subordination of corpswould notnecessarily pertain onmobilization,
when the group commandsbecame armies. As in the United States
Army, corps in the German Army could be shifted from control of
onearmytotheother.
The New Navy
Germany waspermitted bytermsof an agreement with the British
on 18June 1935to build up to 35percent of the latter's total naval
tonnageand45percentofBritain'ssubmarinetonnage. Followingas
itdidonHitler'sdenunciation of themilitary limitations imposedon
the Reich by the Versailles Treaty, the naval agreement constituted
tacit British consenttoGerman rearmament. The British weretem-
porarily reassured by the German agreement to limit the sizeof the
Reich's new navy. However, the French were distressed by the in-
creaseinGerman naval power, and awedgew
r
asdriven in the Allied
front.
By March 1939 the  Hannover had been decommissioned and the
obsoletebattleships Schlesienand Schleswig-FIolsteinwerebeingused
ascadettrainingships. Stillarmed,theoldbattleships couldbeused
for secondary naval missions. The battlefleetproper was composed
of thebattleships Scharnhorst and  Gneisenau;the3armored cruisers
(pocketbattleships) ;2newheavycruisers,the Bluecherand  Admiral 
Hipper,displacing 10,000tonsand mounting 8-inchguns;the 6light
cruisers' built during the replacement construction program; 22 de-
stroyersof the Maass and Boederclasses (1,625and 1,811tons), with
5-inch guns; and 43 submarines. The  U-l through  U-24 and the
U-56displaced from 250to300tonsandwererestricted tothecoastal
watersof theBaltic and North Seas. The  U-25and  U-26were712-
tonboats,and the  U-37through  TJ-39 displaced 740tonseach; these
larger submarines were capable of operating as far as mid-Atlantic
without refueling. The  U-27through  U-36 displaced 500tons; the
U-45, U-4-6, and  TJ-51, 517tonseach. These last boats werecapable
ofoperationsintheNorth Seaandthewatersabout theBritish Isles.
Some additional submarines in various'stages of construction would
alsobeready for operationsbytheoutbreak of hostilities.
18
18
Bredt,  op.  cit., pp. 6-12.
34
THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN INPOLAND (1939)
• • • • • • • • Hi l  *  •  ' 
Figure 6.  Artist's  conception of  German Pocket  Battleship. 
Figure7.  The U-25. 
Figure 8.  The Messerschmitt  109, standard  German fighte* 
35
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939
Figure  9.  The Junkers  87(Stuka)  Dive  Bomber. 
Admiral Raeder's  OberJcommando  der Kriegsraarine (OKM),or
High CommandoftheNavy,controlled thefleet,Luftwaffe unitsat-
tachedtotheNavy,andshorecommandsfortheBalticandNorth Sea
coastal regions. Thefleetcomprised theheavy surface units,sub-
marine arm,andnaval reconnaissance forces. Theshore commands
were responsible forthetraining units andschools ashore, coastar-
tillery units,arsenals,andotherland installationsoftheNavy. [See
chart 2.] 
The New Air Force
The Luftwaffe by March 1939wasa potent attack force, which
would have 4,303 operational aircraft available bytheoutbreakof
hostilities. These would include 1,180bombers, 336dive bombers,
1,179 fighters, 552transports, 721observation planes, 240 navalair-
craft,and95miscellaneousairplanes.
19
Goering'sheadquarters wasknownasthe Oberkommando  der  Luft-
waffe (OKL),orHigh CommandoftheAirForce. The four major
subordinateaircommandsweredesignated as Luftflotten (airforces),
and controlled both tactical andadministrative units. This arrange-
ment contrasted sharply with that oftheArmy, which hadseparate
channelsofcommand foritstactical andadministrative components.
[See chart 2.] 
Tactical airunits weredispersed about Germany ineight airdivi-
sions. The administrative commands,10innumber, were knownas
Luftgaue,similartotheArmy's  Wehrkrei.se,andprovided thetactical
airunitswithlogisticalsupport.
19
 Meldung des Generalquartiermeisters  der Luftwaffe  vom September  1939,in Werner
Baumbach, Zu Spaet (Munich, 1949),p. 48.
3 6 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
The organization of each air force was arranged to meet the par-
ticular needs of its respective mission. As a consequence, organiza-
tion varied from one air force to the other. In general, each of the
four air forcescontained alltypesof aircraft inservice,e.g. fighters,
bombers',transports,andreconnaissanceplanes. TheFirst Air Force
had its headquarters in Berlin and responsibility for northern and
easternGermany. BraunschweigwastheheadquartersoftheSecond
Air Force, dispersed over northwestern Germany. The Third Air
Force, responsible for southwestern and southern Germany, was
located in Munich. Vienna was headquarters for the Fourth Air
Force,responsibleforAustriaandaportionofsoutheastern Germany.
A separate tactical and administrative command of corps size was
assigned to East Prussia and retained under OKL control.
The German Military Situation in March 1939
Thepower of theWehrmacht, while formidable by early 1939,had
been exaggerated by German and foreign news media out of proper
proportion, and the Westwall was of limited value to the defense of
theReich. Fiveyearswashardly sufficient timefor thethreeservices
to build up and thoroughly integrate a large cadre of professional
officers and noncommissioned officers. The crop of 250,000-300,000
Army conscriptsthatfinishedtraining eachyearwasbeginningtofill
thereserveranks,but training of the older menof the 1901-1913age
classeshadlagged.
The active Army could beconsidered as one of the best trained in
Europe, but lacked a sufficient number of qualified signal personnel
and its Panzer forces were an untried experiment. The bulk of the
tanks (Mark I and II) were known to betoo light but could notbe
replaced at once with the heavier Mark I I I and Mark IV models.
Kolling stock and truck transportation were in short supply and it
would take time to organize additional reserve divisions and train
thelargenumberofmenwhohadnotyetseenservice.
The Navy was far inferior in strength to the British Navy alone,
andwouldbenomatchfor thecombinedfleetsof Britain and France.
TheGermanNavyhadfewcapitalships,nordiditpossessa sufficient
numberofdestroyerstoprovideescortfortheReich'smerchantvessels
carrying critical materials from abroad. In the event of war, this
meantthatthelargeGermanmerchantfleetwouldberestrictedmainly
tothe North and Baltic Seas. The German submarine force, though
it would soon equal the British in numbers,wasmuch lighter in ton-
nage,andtherangeofmanyoftheU-boatswasrestricted.
The German Air Force would experience no immediate problem
insofar as personnel w
r
as concerned. The Luftwaffe's training pro-
gram had turned out a sufficient number of pilots and air crews to
GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 37
mananexpanded wartimeAir Force. For itspart, German industry
had provided the Luftwaffe with some of the most advanced opera-
tional aircraft of the day. The British and French Air Forces were
larger, but a considerable number of their aircraft were obsolete or
obsolescent. TheLuftwaffe lacked airframe and engine replacements
for sustained operations, however. Repair facilities, though well
organized, were not nearly extensive enough for a major war effort.
Germany had an excellent industrial base for war, with its heavy
plants inthe Ruhr, Saar, and Silesian areas. According to the Ger-
manplanners,however,severalmoreyearswerestill needed to attain
aproductionratehighenoughtosupplythemateriel and ammunition
for amajor war. The military training program had already made
inroadsonthestrength ofthelabor force, andmobilization wouldde-
priveit of additional thousands of technicians and workers who had
completed their period of compulsory service and were assigned to
reserveunits.
In short, Germany was prepared only for a limited war of short
duration. Gasoline and ammunition reserves would not suffice for
simultaneous large-scale operations in the east and west, and the
disaster of 1918still acted to dampen the enthusiasm of the general
public for military adventures. His series of successes in Austria
and Czechoslovakia and the continued reluctance of Britain and
France totake action,however, inclined Hitler tobecome morereck-
less. German military planning thus had to include numerous im-
provisations to meet sudden demands, a practice that was to become
typicaloftheReich'sWorldWar II operations.
Chapter 3
Events Leading up to the Outbreak of Hostilities
General
The diplomatic and military events that preceded hostilities were
closely interrelated. Hitler attempted by threat of military action
against the Poles to obtain concessions in Danzig and the Corridor,
andthesituationbecameincreasingly grave.
It wasobvious from the outset that the Poles could not be intimi-
dated. TheWarsaw
T
government remained firm inits refusal tocede
Polish rights in Danzig or sovereignty in the Corridor area. Hitler
then resolved to dissuade the British and French from their stand in
support of the Poles and to settle the problem by force if necessary.
Astatement of Hitler'sintentionswasmadetothechief of OKWand
the commander in chief of the Army on 25 March 1939 when the
Fuehrer instructed theseofficers toinitiatepreparationsfor asolution
oftheproblemofPolandbymilitarymeans.
1
Thisinvolvedagamble
onthepart of Hitler,sincehehad nounderstanding with the British
and French ashe had had the preceding year at Munich during the
Czech crisis. Moreover, the western nations were now aroused and
might intervene to stop further German expansion. Hitler's racial
theories and in particular his anti-Semitic policy had done Germany
irreparable harm in thepublic opinion of the western world.
German andPolish propaganda agencieswerealready engaged ina
noisycampaign against oneanother. Storiesof atrocitiesagainst the
German minority in the Corridor were given wide dissemination.
Germans arriving from Poland asvolunteers for the armed forces or
Reich Labor Service related further incidents of anti-German activi-
tiesbeyondtheborder.
Much alsohinged onthe circle of Hitler's chief lieutenants during
this period. Joachim von Ribbentrop as Foreign Minister had in-
curred considerable ill will abroad; Ribbentrop's threatening manner
andlackoftactappearedtypicalofGermany'sforeign policy. More-
over, Ribbentrop completely underestimated the British and their
determination to honor their obligation to Poland. Goering con-
1
/.  M.  T.,  op. cit., XXXVIII, Doc.100R, p.274;and X, p.513.
38
39 EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES
tinued tobuild up anoffensive air force. Josef Goebbelshad organ-
ized a highly effective propaganda machine for the furtherance of
National Socialistpolicies. Apliablemanhadbeenfound inWalter
Funk,who succeededHjalmar SchachtasMinisterofEconomicswhen
thelatter warned Hitler against recklessmilitary expenditures. The
chiefs of the armed services were in no position to oppose any pre-
mature military adventures the Fuehrer might entertain.
The Annual Military Directive, 1939-40
2
Part II of OKW's "Directive for theArmed Forces, 1939-40"was
issued on3April and formed Hitler's reply to Chamberlain's pledge
of support to Poland made in the House of Commons three days
earlier. Part II was entitled "Plan WEISS", and its issue before
therestofthedirectiveproper attestedtoitsurgency. Plan WEISS
openedwithabrief discussion (drafted byHitlerhimself) of relations
with Poland. The attitude of Poland might require a solution by
force, sopreparations were to be made by 1September to settle the
problemfor alltime. Should waroccur,theWehrmacht would have
the mission of destroying Poland's armed forces by surprise attack.
Topreservesecrecy,mobilization wouldnotbeordered until immedi-
ately before the attack. The Army would establish contact between
East Prussia andtheReich atthebeginning of operations,and could
utilizeSlovak territory.
Only active units would be used in the opening attack, and these
would be moved into concentration areas in the frontier region on
Hitler'sorder. TheNavywoulddestroyorneutralizethePolishfleet
andmerchantmarine,blockadePolish ports,andsecureseacommuni-
cation with East Prussia. The Luftwaffe would destroy the Polish
Air Force, disrupt Polish mobilization, and render the Army close
support.
PlanWEISS alsotooktheWestern Allies into consideration,since
these were believed to be the greater threat to Germany. Measures
were to be taken to secure the Westwall, the North and Baltic Sea
areas,andtheairdefenseofGermany. Poland wouldbeisolated,and
aquickconquestwouldpreclude external assistance.
The covering letter, signed by Keitel, stated that a timetable of
preparations was to be made by OKW. The three services were
directed to submit their compaign plans and recommendations for
thistimetableby 1May. These would becoordinated by OKAY,and
differences among the Army, Navy, and Air Force would beworked
outinjoint conferences.
2
 Weisung  fuer  die  einheitliche  Kriegsvorbereitunff  der  Wehrmacht  fuer  1939/40,  OKW, 
WFA  Nr.  37/39g.  Kdos  Chefs  Lie, in /.  M.  T.,  op.  cit., XXXIV, Doc. 120-C, pp. 380-442.
4 0 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Parts I andI I I ofthedirective,issuedseparately on11April,were
recapitulations of instructions included in the directive for the pre-
cedingyear. Part I gavedetailed instructions for defensive arrange-
ments on Germany's frontiers. Part III restated aprevious plan to
seize Danzig without war. The extent of defensive preparations
would depend upon the situation with Germany's neighbors. As for
Danzig,itmightbepossibletoseizethecityfrom East Prussiashould
adiplomaticsituation favorable toGermanydevelop.
Part IV consisted of special instructions to the commander of
I Corps in East Prussia. In effect, in the event of war, I Corps
would provide personnel for the headquarters of Third Army, and
the army commander would be responsible for the defense of the
exposed German province.
Part V of the annual directive determined the boundaries for the
theatersof operationsintheeastandwest. Part VIwasof particular
concern tothe German war economy. While protecting its own war
industriesandsourcesofsupply,Germanywastoutilizethoseproduc-
tion centersit could capture intact andwould limit damage in opera-
tions to the minimum. In connection with Plan WEISS, theindus-
trial areas of Poland centering on Cracow and Teschen were of
particular importance.
A special annex to the directive, issued on 21April, specified that
therewouldbenodeclaration of war in implementing Plan WEISS.
A partial mobilization of reserves might be required but this would
notnecessarily involvethemobilization of industry. However,inthe
eventof ageneralwar,bothreservesandindustry wouldbemobilized
immediately.
The issuance of the "Directive for the Armed Forces, 1939^0"
initiated preparations toresolvethematter of German claims against
Poland. Germany might be able to exert sufficient pressure on the
Poles to obtain Danzig and special privileges in the Corridor, or
might seize Danzig by surprise. If neither of these was successful,
Hitler might direct the implementation of Plan WEISS, a solution
by force. Defensive measures to be taken in the west would secure
Germany against attackbyBritain and Francewhiledifferences with
Poland werebeing settled. Thepreparations in thefirsttwomonths
following the issuance of the directive were concerned mostly with
planning themovement of units and logistical installations intoposi-
tion to launch an overwhelming attack against Poland should the
Fuehrer decideupon the alternative of war. [For detailed planning
and preliminary German military movements see Ch. 5,this study.]
EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES 4 1
Diplomatic Developments, April-July
On28April 1939Hitler abrogated the Polish-German Nonaggres-
sion Pact of 1934 and the London Naval Agreement of 1935 in a
Reichstag speech. Hitler stated further that the issue of Danzig
mustbesettled.
AgitatorsweresentintoDanzigtoembarrass and annoy the Polish
government. Polish flags were torn down and Polish property was
damaged on 12May, the anniversary of Pilsudski's death. Shortly
afterward a Polish customs house was attacked. Polish measures
against the German population in Danzig and the Corridor were
givenwidepublicityintheGermanpressandbroadcasts,andDanzig's
National Socialist faction, dominating thecity government, clamored
for reunion withtheReich.
A pact with the Italians on 22 May 1939 brought Mussolini into
Hitler's camp. This involved no military support, and the Italian
dictator wa9even assured that there would be no war for the next
several years. The advantage to Germany lay in obtaining a secure
flank tothesouthand preventing anagreement between Italy and the
Allies. Italy on France's eastern frontier would neutralize part of
the large French Army, and Britain's naval position and the Suez
CanalwouldbethreatenedbytheItalianfleet.
The major diplomatic scene shifted to Moscow by early summer,
where Britain and France were attempting to enlist the aid of the
Soviet Union in presenting a solid front to Germany. Negotiations
were slow, and the Russians refused to commit themselves to any
coalition agreement. Meanwhile, in Berlin, Hitler received visitsof
statefromtheHungarian PrimeMinister,RegentPaulof Yugoslavia,
and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria. All visits featured military
showsandadisplay of Germany'sarmedpower.
Germany's strong diplomatic position at this point required one
more support to discourage British and French intervention and
assureHitler afree hand in Poland—the collaboration or at least the
friendly neutrality of the Soviet Union. Hitler would forsake his
ownanti-Communist policybysuchastep,but arapprochement with
the Russians would be welcomed in wide diplomatic and military
circles in Germany. Ribbentrop favored an arrangement of this na-
ture, as did the German Ambassador in Moscow, Count von der
Schulenberg.
The Russians had already indicated a desire to normalize and
improve relations with Germany the preceding April, w
T
hen their
Charge d'Affaires had approached a representative of the German
Foreign Office in the course of discussions on commercial matters.
4 2 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Hitler seized upon the opportunity to settle outstanding differences
and offered the Russians uncontested domination of Latvia and
Esthonia, Poland east of Warsaw and the Vistula from Warsaw to
the south, thence east of the San River, in exchange for a free hand
west of that line. The Russians, willing to bargain with Hitler in
Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, and Esthonian soil and lives, accepted
the offer.
3
Events, 1-22 August
Disorders in Danzig and the Polish Corridor became increasingly
serious during the first three weeksof August, and German pressure
against thePoleswasintensified. Britain and France repeated their
assurancestothePolish Government, andtheattitude of theWestern
Allies served to strengthen Polish determination to resist German
demands. Concluding that time was working to his disadvantage,
the Fuehrer hastened inhiscourse. German military concentrations
intheeast,thoughcamouflaged asmaneuvers,grewmore threatening
asthediplomatic situation deteriorated.
Danzigwasinfiltrated byGerman agentsandmilitary personnelin
civilian clothing throughout August. The police were openly anti-
Polish and assisted the Germans in organizing military forces inside
the city. Forster, head of the National Socialist Party in Danzig,
madenosecretofhisvisitstoHitler andhisaimof incorporating the
FreeCityintotheReich. Theincreasing seriousnessof thesituation
and the denial of its commercial rights by the city administration
caused the Polish Government totakemeasures of reprisal inthena-
ture of embargoes, giving the Germans more propaganda material
for consumption in the Reich. Other incidents were touched off in
the Corridor border areas.
An attempt todissuade Hitler wasmadebyCount GaleazzoCiano,
Mussolini's Foreign Minister, in a conference with Hitler and Rib-
bentrop on 12and 13August. Mussolini wasnot ready for war and
desired a period of several years in which Italy might recover from
its military ventures in Ethiopia, Spain, and Albania. The Italian
services required reorganization and modern equipment and would
not be ready for the field until 1942or later. Hitler was adamant,
however, and Ciano left the meeting thoroughly embittered at the
German Breach of faith.
Preparations for the incident necessary to give Germany a pre-
text for invading Poland were made on 17August, when the Wehr-
macht wasordered tosupply Reinhard Heydrich,deputy to Heinrich
Himmler, with Polish uniforms.
4
The purpose of this wasto create
3
Helmuth Greiner,  Der Feldzug  gegen Polen, pp. 4-^7. MS#C-065. Foreign Studies Br,
OCMH.
* I.  M. T.,  op. cit., XXVI,Doc795-PS, p.337.
EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES 4 3
incidentswhereinGerman soilwouldbeviolatedbypersons identified
as members of the Polish Armed Forces. Hitler would then be in
position to claim that he was justified in ordering the Wehrmacht
todefend Germanterritory,lives,andproperty,andinmoving forces
into Poland to restore order in asituation which the Polish govern-
mentcouldnotcontrol.
Hitler held a conference with his service chiefs, the commanders
of the major forces being deployed against Poland, and the chief of
OKW on 22August. The Fuehrer's speech was a rambling mono-
loguelasting for hours. In substance,hefelt that thetimewasripe
to resolve German differences with Poland by war and to test the
Reich's new military machine. It was unlikely that Britain and
Francewouldintervene; if they did,Germany wouldbeabletocarry
on a long war if necessary. Britain and France had promised Po-
land support, but were in no position to render material aid of any
consequence. Moreover, Hitler felt, the British and French leaders
would hesitate to draw their respective nations into a general war.
5
There was also another vitally important factor to be considered.
TheRussians were about to sign anonaggression pact with the Ger-
mans. Ribbentrop had left for Moscow earlier that day, to obtain
the signature of Foreign Commissar Molotov to the agreement al-
ready worked out by German and Russian representatives. Stalin
was no friend of the Poles and the agreement with him would
strengthen theGerman economicfront considerably.
According to Hitler, an appropriate "incident" would be used to
justify theGerman attack onPoland. Themorality of such adevice
was inconsequential. Victory was all that mattered. Hitler closed
his address with an assurance to the assembled commanders that he
wascertainthearmedservicescouldaccomplishanytasksetfor them.
Sixteen years earlier Hitler had outlined in his book Mein  Kcompf 
the program on which he was about to embark. In this rambling
account of his early struggles and his philosophy, Hitler had stated
thatfuture efforts at Germanexpansion wouldbedirectedtoward the
east, to the Soviet Union and the states dominated (according to
Hitler) byMoscow.
6
Hehadalsodiscussedthematter of an alliance
with the Soviet Union and had stated that it would mean war, since
Britain and France would not wait a decade until the new coalition
becametoostrong for them to defeat. Instead, Britain and France
would move against the Reich immediately. The Fuehrer had also
chargedtheSovietleadersascriminals,withnointention of honoring
theobligationstheywouldincurbyanalliance.
7
Hitler'sactions from
5
Greiner,  op. cit., pp.7-13.
•Adolf Hitler,  Mein Kampf (Munich, 193.9).,pp.650-51.
''Ibid., p.657.
4 4 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
this point were to reveal his utter cynicism. The German dictator
wasfully awareof the risk of bringing onageneral war, despite the
assurances to his military leaders that there would be no war with
thewestover Poland.
The Pact With the Russians
Theannouncementofthe23August 1939agreementwiththeSoviet
Union exploded all hopesof a peaceful settlement between Germany
and Poland. In that part of the document made public, the Soviet
UnionandGermanymadeasimplestatementofnonaggression,which
meant that the Russians would not intervene on the side of Poland
were that country to be attacked by Germany. A secret provision
added tothepact established thelineof the Narew,Vistula, and San
Rivers as the boundary between the German and Soviet spheres of
interestinPoland.
8
Finland,Esthonia,andLatviawouldfall within
the Russian, and Lithuania within the German sphere of interest.
The pact served to alienate the Japanese, and Mussolini decided to
remain aloof from the lighting. However, the Italian dictator saw
the beginning of a realization of further Italian designs on the
Balkan Peninsula should the war spread. Mussolini already held
Albania andcovetedportionsof Yugoslavia andGreece.
On24August the British gave written guarantees to Poland,obli-
gating both Britain and France to cometo the aid of Poland in the
event Germany launched an attack. This unexpected development,
when it cametothe attention of the Reich government the following
day, caused Hitler to rescind the order he had given to commence
operations against Poland on 26August. The Fuehrer immediately
set about to deter the British and French by an offer of German
guarantees to support the British Empire and respect existing
frontiers with France. Neither Britain nor France were moved by
Hitler's offer. Poland was shunted aside, and Hitler dealt with the
British representatives as spokesmen for the Polish Government as
wellastheFrench from thispoint.
The reply to Hitler's offer to support the British Empire wasde-
livered by the Ambassador in Berlin, Sir Nevile Henderson, on 28
August. Henderson reemphasized Britain's position in the eventof
German hostilities against Poland. Hitler gave no answer at the
time,butpromised Ambassador Henderson areplythefollowing day.
At 1915on 29August the British Ambassador was informed that a
Polish plenipotentiary would havetobein Berlin the following day,
with full powers to negotiate a settlement. The Polish Ambassador
was not present at these meetings, nor were Polish representatives
invitedto attend.
8
Department of State, Nazi-Soviet  Relations (Washington, 1948),p.78.
EVfNTS LEADING UP TO THE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES 45
TheGermanproposal wasallbut impossible. TheBritishAmbas-
sador had first to inform his government of the Reich's most recent
demand, and the British Government would have to send the mes-
sagetothePolish Government, which inturn would havetogiveone
individual full authority to sign any agreement put forth by the
Germans. The plenipotentiary would also have to be in the Reich
capitalbymidnightof30August.
TheGerman demandshad beenexpanded to include aplebiscitein
theentireCorridor regiononareturntotheReich,in addition tothe
outright return of Danzig. When no Polish plenipotentiary ap-
pearedbymidnight on30August, and noauthority was forthcoming
for the Polish Ambassador to act in such a role, Ribbentrop stated
that the time limit allowed the Poles had expired. The German
Foreign Minister read off the demands of hisgovernment toAmbas-
sador Henderson, without benefit of translation, and furnished no
copy of histext to either British or Polish representatives, asdiplo-
matic practice required. Ribbentrop then announced that negotia-
tionswereatanend.
On the following day, 31August, Hitler signed "Directive No. 1
for the Conduct of the War".
9
The time for the attack on Poland
wassetfor 0445thefollowing day,1September 1939. Neutrals were
to be scrupulously respected and hostilities in the west would be
initiated only by Britain and France. Any crossing of the German
frontier inthecourseofmilitary counteraction wouldrequire Hitler's
personal approval,though combat aircraft might crossthe border in
defending theReich against British and French air attacks in force.
In the event retaliation against Britain became necessary, Hitler re-
served to himself the right to order air attacks against London.
Early in the evening of 31August Ribbentrop received the Polish
Ambassador, but the latter was not empowered to act as plenipo-
tentiary for his government and the meeting accomplished nothing.
The same evening the German Government broadcast its demands
against Poland and blamed the breakdown in negotiation on the in-
transigenceof Warsaw.
To complete the justification of the action he was about to under-
take, Hitler had his agents set off a number of carefully prepared
"incidents" in the Polish border area. At 2000, a band of men
"captured" theradio station at Gleiwitz in German Silesia. A short
broadcast in Polish followed, announcing an attack onGermany,and
then the "attackers" weredriven off, leaving one dead man behind.
10
" Weisung Xr.  1 fuer  die  Kriegfuehrung,  OKW/WFA  Nr.  170/39,  g. K.  Chefs LI,  SI.8.39, 
in /.  M. T.,  op. cit., XXXIV, Doc 12C-C, pp.456-59.
10
/.  M. T.,  op. cit., IV, pp.242-44.
4 6 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
The "casualties" for these incidents, provided from among con-
demnedprisonersandcladinPolishuniforms,werekilledorrendered
unconscious by fatal injections, then shot and left to be found by
German police. The carrying out of the Gleiwitz operation had
been assigned by Heydrich to an SS official, Alfred Naujocks. De-
spite its crudity, the Gleiwitz incident was to be used by Hitler in
his charge that regular Polish forces had violated Reich territory
and that German troops had been forced to return their fire.
PART TWO
POLAND'S POSITIONAND GERMANY'S PREPARATIONS
FOR THE ATTACK
Chapter 4
The Polish State and the Armed Forces
Government
Poland had made considerable progress in the short period of its
existence as a modern state.
1
The Polish State in 1939 was a re-
public,organizedundertheconstitutionof23April 1935. ThePresi-
dent was chosen indirectly by an assembly of electors, who were
themselves elected by popular vote. The legislature consisted of a
senate and  Sejm, or lower house. Elections to the legislature were
heldeveryfiveyearsexceptfor one-third of thesenateseats,filledby
Presidential appointment.
The President served for aterm of sevenyears,and nominated his
ownministers. AsChief of State,thePresident controlled theusual
executive organs of government. In practice, the Polish President
wasastrongfigure,mainly duetotheinfluence of Marshal Pilsudski,
whohad been the power behind the government almost continuously
from thetimeof its founding until the newconstitution was written
and put into force amonth before his death on 12May1935.
Ignace Moscicki, a close personal friend of Pilsudski, was Presi-
dentin1939. Jozef BeckwasForeignMinister andMarshal Edward
Rydz-Smigly wastheInspector GeneraloftheArmed Forces. These
threeandafewotherscontrolledwhatwasessentiallyan authoritarian
form of government, wherein theexecutivebranch of thegovernment
dominatedthelegislature. DespitetheirownNationalSocialist form
of dictatorship, the Germans took full advantage of the opportunity
tocriticise the Polish form of authoritarianism in their propaganda
campaign.
1
Ltr, Gen Blumentritt to OCMH,28Dec54.
47
4 8 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Population and Economy
Asof thebeginningof 1939the Polish Statehad atotal population
of 34% million, of whom 22 million were ethnic Poles. The larger
minorities were the Ukrainians ( 3 ^ million), Jews (2% million),
Ruthenians (21,4million),andGermans  (% million). Smaller num-
bersof Russians,Lithuanians, Slovaks,and other Slavicgroupscom-
prised the remainder of the minorities resident within Poland's
borders.
Sixty-five percent of this population was engaged in agriculture,
producing large quantities of grain, potatoes, sugar beets, and dairy
products for export. With 23percent of its area covered by forests,
chiefly in the east and Carpathian Mountains regions, lumber was
likewise an important item for export. Some coal was also shipped
abroad, from theminingregion southwest of Cracow.
Poland's mineral deposits included substantial reserves of coal,
lignite (brown coal), oil, potassium salts (important in the manu-
facture of gunpowder and fertilizers), and zinc. Poland produced
approximately IV2million tons of steel yearly, forty million tonsof
coal,andone-half milliontonsof petroleum products.
Poland's chief export customer as well as the source of most of
Poland'simportswasGermany. In exchangefor foodstuffs andlum-
ber,Germany shipped toPoland largenumbersof motor vehiclesand
machines,aswell astextiles,finished metal goods,and chemicals. A
favorable rate of exchange for the German mark prompted many
Germans in the border areas to buy leather goods and other con-
sumer products in Poland. The low wage level of its workers gave
Poland someadvantage in competing in the world's markets.
ThePolish merchant marinein 1939,accordingtoLloyd's Register,
comprised 63 vessels and 121,630 gross tons. Poland's sole port,
Gdynia, had been built into a center of commerce from the small
fishingvillage of 1919, and Poland had free access to the excellent
facilities of theharbor at Danzig.
Within Poland itself, there were over 3,800 miles of navigable
rivers and canals, including 1,534 miles of the Vistula. These sup-
plemented the 12,000miles of government-operated railway lines for
movingheavyfreight. Polandalsopossessed37,000milesofimproved
highways. Commercial air transportation was not significant by
western European standards.
Topography
Poland forms a vast land bridge from the North German Plain in
the west to the marshy lowlands of Byelorussia (White Russia) and
therich steppe of the Ukraine in the east. The country possessesno
THE POLISH STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES 49
good natural defense lines, except to a limited degree in the Car-
pathian Mountains in the south, and along the courseof the Narew,
Vistula,andSanRivers,whichbisectPoland inageneralnorth-south
line. Operations by any but small infantry forces would be almost
impossible in the vast Pripyat Marshes in the east. As of August
1939 the area of Poland comprised 150,470 square miles, slightly
smaller inextent than the stateof California.
Along the southern frontier, the Carpathians reach their greatest
altitude in the High Tatra, with peaks up to 8,700feet. The passes
through the mountains are limited in number, but the most difficult
areastotraverselieontheCzechsideandseveralroads andrail lines
give direct access to the industrial region in southwestern Poland.
However, infantry, preferably mountain infantry, would still be
necessary to force many of the passes into Poland if they were
defended.
North of the mountains, the Carpathian Plain merges into the
southern upland area of Poland, which extends from Cracow in a
northeasterly direction to Lublin and includes the rich plateau of
Galicia. The uplands reach altitudes of 2,000 feet in some places,
though their average elevation is much less. The area is gene-rally
well suited to the conduct of military operations by motorized and
armoredunitsaswellasby infantry.
North of this upland region is the extensive Central Polish Plain,
extending from Poznan to Warsaw and the east, and merging into
the Pripyat Marshes, which continue into White Russia. The Cen-
tra] Plain is the largest area of the country and has cometo be re-
garded astypical of Poland's geography; it haslong been the center
of Polishnationallife. Theterrain andtheroad andrailnetworkof
thisarea offer excellent opportunities for military operations,in par-
ticulartheuseof armor.
Tothenorth of theCentral Polish Plain isanother belt of uplands
extending from German Pomerania to East Prussia, Lithuania, and
WhiteRussia. TheseuplandsonPoland'snorthern border reachele-
vations of 600-700 feet, but form no natural boundary with East
Prussia. In the Polish Corridor, the low hills west of the Polish
port of Gdynia form little obstacletonorth-south oreast-westmove-
ment.
The climate of Poland becomes increasingly continental from west
toeast, with correspondingly wider ranges in daily and annual tem-
peratures. In themoreeasterly regions of the country, summers are
quitewarmandthewinter seasoncold,withheavy snowfall. Poland
generally has abundant rain, causing frequent flooding of the rivers
inthemorelevel portions of the country. Thesefloods could form a
seriousobstacletotheconduct of extensivemilitary operations.
50 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
The chief river is the Vistula, which rises just inside the Polish
frontier southwest of Cracow, wends its way through the west cen-
tral part of Poland,bisectsthecapital,Warsaw,and emptiesinto the
sea at Danzig. Other major rivers of Central Poland are the Bug,
San,and Narew, all of which flow into theVistula. In the west,the
Warta (Wartha)flowsinto Germany andbecomesatributary of the
Oder. In the southeast the Dniester flows into Romania and the
Soviet Union. In the east central portion of Poland a number of
smaller riversflowinto the Pripyat Marshes. In the northeast the
Niemen flows from east to west across that extension of Poland
borderedbyWhiteRussia andLithuania,toflowintothelatter coun-
try,andtheDzisnaflowsacrossthe frontier totheeasttobecomethe
Soviet Union's Dvina. With their bridges destroyed, all of these
rivers could form obstacles to the movement of troops, particularly
armored and motorized units. With the rivers inflood,the obstacles
insomeplaceswouldbeallbut insurmountable.
The weather remained warm and dry in late August 1939, with
noimmediate prospect of theheavy rains that would causethe rivers
tofloodand turn the countryside into amuddy morass. Instead, the
Polish plains offered excellent opportunities to German military op-
erations, and the movement of armored and motorized units.
The Armed Forces
General
The Polish concept of national forces considered only twoservices,
the Army and Navy. There was no separate air force; air units
formed part of both Army and Navy. The President of the Polish
Republic wasthe nominal commander in chief,but delegated theac-
tual exercise of command to the Inspector General of the Armed
Forces and the Minister of War. In peacetime the Inspector Gen-
eral prepared mobilization plans, supervised training, made recom-
mendations onmatters pertaining tonational defense, and controlled
theadministrative areasandtactical commandsof theArmy; intime
of war he would become the commander in chief. The Minister of
War represented the services in the President's cabinet, more as a
representative of the Inspector General than as civilian head of the
armed forces, and wasresponsible for anumber of diverse functions,
including some personnel matters and industrial mobilization. The
Navy was supervised by the Minister of War; its size relegated the
naval service to a very subordinate role in the Polish Armed Forces
Establishment.
2
2
 Grasses Orientierunggheft  Polen, Stand  Fruehjahr  1939, Kapitel  3a, Oberste  Kommando-
behoerden und  Gliederung  der  hoeheren Einheiten  im  Frieden,  OKH, Az.  3 a/n.  50-12.  Abt. 
(Ill)  GenStdH,  Nr.  550/39,  den 1 April  1939. OKW1957. CRS,TAG.
Chart3- ThePolishGroundandAir Force (Peacetime Establishment)*
I CorpsArea (Warsaw) JTCorps Area (Lublin)
8
[Xj'8
28 13 ID 127 
L/JWolynsko Hrubieszow Rzetzow
Uodlin
Lomzo
Warsaw Zamosc
Kowel Rowne Hrubieszow Rzeszow
CorpsArea (Grodno) ET CorpsArea (Lodz)
Suwolki 10
Wilno Bialystok Suwalki Czesiochowa Skierniertice
ITCorpsArea (Cracow) CorpsArea (Lwow)
6 |p<J2lMl 23 112 Krtsowa
\y/
/
\ Podolska
Cracow Bielsko-Siala
Katowice Cracow Stanislawow Tarnopol Brody
Stanislowow
S2TCorpsArea (Poznan) YHI CorpsArea ( Torun)
Wielkopolsko 4
I
1 5
\ Pomorska
Poznon Poznan• Torun Bydgoszcz Bydgoszcz
IX Corps Area(Brest -Litovsk) X Corps Area(Przemysl)
| 30 L/jNowogrodzko 2(L) | 2 2 Mt 
J
9  LXJ
20
[XJ 24
Siedlce
Baronowicze
Kobryn Nowogrodek
Kielce
Przemysl
Jaroslaw
o o
O O
Warsaw Warsaw
| exo| l | cx»| 2 oo 4
Warsaw Cracow Poznan Torun
Intelligence Study of April 1939
THE POLISH STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES 5 1
The industrial base to support the Polish Armed Forces was still
intheprocessofexpansion andmodernization in 1939,withthe major
miningand industrial complexcentering about Cracow in southwest-
ernPoland. Inadditiontothis,another industrial regionhadgrown
up in the Lublin-Radom area of south central Poland. The total
productionofbothareasinmunitionsandothermilitary supplieswas
stilllimited,andstockpileshadtobebuilt upthroughout thecountry
in peacetime. This worked to the disadvantage of the Poles in that
therelatively immobilestocksof ammunition, fuel, and other critical
supplies would bevulnerable to capture in war and could not bere-
placedfrom current production.
However, there was little doubt of the Polish willingness to fight.
The fate of Czechoslovakia had not been forgotten, and considerable
reliance was placed on the assistance of Britain and France. More
trust was placed in the effectiveness of Polish infantry and horse
cavalry than was justified by later events, and the traditional Slav
resentmentofGermanexpansioneastwardplayeditspart instrength-
eningPolishdetermination toresist.
The Army [See chart 3.] 
Poland was divided into 10 corps areas for purposes of military
administration andtactical unitswereattached tothecorpsareacom-
mands for logistical support. Army and army group headquarters
didnotexistinpeacetime. Instead,theArmymaintainedthreehigher
headquartersknownasinspectoratesandcommandedbyseniorgeneral
officers,atTorun (Thorn),Wilna,andLwow (Lemberg). Fromtime
totime,e.g. for annual maneuvers,these inspectorates would beas-
signedtacticaldivisionsandfunctions asarmyheadquarters. In time
ofwar,theinspectorateswouldbecomearmy ortask force commands.
Available records make nomention of tactical corps headquarters in
wartime; these presumably would be drawn from the corps area
commands.
ThepeacetimeArmy wasauthorized 30infantry divisions andsev-
eral small mountain infantry brigades, 14 horse cavalry brigades,
1 mechanized cavalry brigade, and 2 air divisions. A number of
separate engineer, artillery, and other supporting units also existed,
butmanywereassigned atraining rather than tactical mission. The
personnelceilingof thispeacetime force wasset at 280,000,making it
necessary to maintain the divisions and brigades at a much reduced
strength.
The 30active divisions were distributed 3to each of the 10corps
areas asof early 1939. The divisions were numbered 1through 30,
and were identical save for the 21st and 22d Divisions, which were
classified asmountain divisions and assigned to that part of Poland
5 2 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
bordered bytheCarpathian Mountains. Only 11activehorsecavalry
brigades appear tohavebeeninexistence,disposed at the.rateof 1 or
moreto8of the 10corpsareas. Elements of themechanized cavalry
brigade were assigned to several corps areas. Unlike the numbered
infantry divisions,thecavalry brigades weredesignated by thename
oftheareainwhichtheyhadtheirhomestations.
3
Supporting (army) troopsweredistributedthroughout all10areas,
eachofwhichhad 1mediumartillery regimentand 1 ormoreseparate
tank battalions (of atotal of 13). Most of the corps areas alsohad
antiaircraft units (from the Polish Army'9 5regiments and several
separatebattalions),andengineers (atotalof 14separatebattalions).
A signal regiment maintained radio contact between Polish Army
Headquarters and major commands in the field, and telephone com-
munication outsidethedivisionsandcavalrybrigadeswasmaintained
by4separate signal battalions.
4
Poland's universal conscription program, modeled on that of
France,had204,600conscriptsandvolunteersinArmyservicein1939.
Theperiodofactiveservicevariedfrom  iy
2
yearsforinfantry trainees
to 22%months for thoseof the cavalry, artillery, signal troops, and
engineers. Theaveragesoldier wa9hardy and willing tolearn,buta
lackof modernequipment restrictedtechnical training.
The active noncommissioned officers corps of 30,000 was regarded
aswellqualified despiteitslackof trainingwithmodernweaponsand
techniques. The majority of this group were long-term volunteers
andthoroughly schooled. Thesituation withthe16,300active officers
wassomewhat more complex. Junior officers were carefully selected
and given uniform training, but field and general officers in most
caseshad acquired their background in the diverse German, Austro-
Hungarian, Russian, and other services, and varied widely in their
methodsand abilities.
Asof 1939,1,500,000reservistsof theclasses 1898-1915 (men 24to
42years of age) could becalled up on mobilization. An additional
560,000 reservists of the 1888-97 period would also be available if
necessary, but their age (43 to 52) would restrict the use of these
troopstosecurity duties and work in the rear areas.
5
The peacetime
divisions and army troops would be brought to full strength on
mobilization, some 15 reserve divisions and supporting units called
intoservice,andtheAirForceandNavyexpanded.
s
Grosses Orientierungsheft Polen, Kapitel 3a, Anlage 4, Friedensglieder/tng des pol-
nischen Heeres, Stand vom April 1939.  OKW 1957.  CRS, TAG. 
* Orosses Orientierungsheft Polen, Kapitel 3b, I, Oliederung, Bewaffnung und Staerken
der einzelnen Waffen in Frieden (einschl. Marine), pp. ISO, and II, Obrona Narodowa
(NationaleVerteidigung),pi>.  31-36.  OKW 1957.  CRS, TAG. 
"The  Sikorski  Institute, Polskie Sily Zbrojne W Drugiej Wofnie, Tom I, Kampania
Wrzesniotoa 1939, Czesc Pierwaea  (London,  1951), p. 178. 
53 THE POLISH STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES
ANationalGuard  (Obrona Narodowa)alsoexisted,to supplement
theactiveArmy and reserveunits. The National Guard consistedof
menwhohadcompleted their training but werewithout mobilization
assignments, men who had not received the prescribed conscript
trainingforonereasonoranother (includingalargenumberwhohad
been surplus to the draft quotas), and volunteers not yet subject to
conscription (21yearsof age). Theweaponsanduniforms issuedthe
NationalGuard wereretained in their homes,and ammunition at the
local depots of the active units. Training on a part-time basis was
carriedon,andunitsuptobrigadelevelwereorganized.
The Polish National Guard brigade consisted of two regimentsof
four battalionseach,and atotal strength of from 2,500to4,000men.
Brigades and regiments were commanded by active officers; most of
the other officers were from the reserve. In all, 11 brigades were
formed, one in each corps area and a naval brigade in Gdynia. In
theeventof war the National Guard brigades would come under the
controlof localmilitary commanders.
The active Polish infantry division had three infantry regiments,
anartillery regiment,areconnaissancebattalion,anantiaircraft com-
pany,asignalcompany,andreartrainsandservices. It wasplanned
that eachdivisionwouldhaveitsownengineerbattalion and antitank
company. As of 1939,this had progressed only to the point where
some divisions had small engineer detachments. Transportation in
theinfantry division washorse drawn.
6
The infantry regiments each comprised three battalions, of three
rifle companies and one heavy weapons company each, an antitank
company, a cannon platoon, signal platoon, engineer platoon, and
smallreplacement andservicedetachments. Therifle companieseach
had 9 light machine guns (similar to the United States Army's
Browning automatic rifle,but classified asamachine gun) and three
46mmmortars of Polish manufacture. The weapons companies had
12 heavy machine guns and two 81mm mortars of French origin.
The antitank company had nine37mm gun9,and the cannon platoon
hadtwo75mmfieldpiecesofRussianmanufacture. Thetotalstrength
of the regiment, unlessit wasassigned toborder security duties,was
1,450officers andmen. Regiments assigned aborder security mission
wereincreased instrength to2,350men.
Theartillery regiment hadtwobattalionsof 75mmgunsof French
orPolishmanufacture,andonebattalionof 100mmhowitzersofCzech
orPolishorigin;mostofthefirecontrolequipmentwasobsolete. The
replacement of foreign artillery pieceswith Polish-made 105mm and
155mm howitzers was making progress as of 1939 but was still far
from complete. Theauthorizedstrengthoftheartillery regimentwas
* Ibid.,pp. 209-12.
576- n» U - 15 - 8"
54 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
780officers andmen. In manycases,theartillery regimentlackedone
or more of its battalions or the battalion one battery. Few except
artillery units in border areas had their authorized allocation of
transportation.
The cavalry brigade consisted of three or four cavalry regiments,
andonesquadroneachof pack artillery,signal troops,and engineers.
Each regiment had four line squadrons armed with rifles, light ma-
chineguns,sabers,andlances;amachinegun squadronwith 12heavy
machineguns;anantitankplatoonwithfour 37mmguns;and asmall
remount and replacement detachment.
7
The authorized strength of
thebrigadevaried from 720officers andmentoatotalof 875,depend-
inguponthebrigade'smission.
The two air divisions and their air regiments (six in all) had
administrative functions only. Thetacticalunitwasthegroup (three
to six per regiment), with two to four squadrons, each with 10-12
aircraft of similar type. In peacetime the air divisions received
technical direction from theAir Department intheMinistry of War.
Upon mobilization,theAirForcewouldbereorganized toprovide air
support for the ground forces and would operate under the tactical
control of the army.
Ten reconnaissance, seven fighter, five fighter-bomber, and six
groups of liaison aircraft werein existence inmid-1939. Therewere
alsotwoadditionalairregimentsintheprocessofactivationineastern
Poland. The total number of aircraft was935,including 350recon-
naissance type, 300 fighters, 150 fighter-bombers, and 135 liaison
planes. However,alargenumberofthesewereobsoleteorobsolescent,
andsuitableonlyfor trainingpurposes.
8
Total personnel strengthof
theArmyAirForcewas6,300officers andmen.
9
The Navy
The surfacefleetof the Polish Navy in 1939wasbuilt around the
four destroyers  Blyskawica  (Lightning),  Grom  (Thunderbolt), 
Wicker  (Hurricane), and Burza  (Squall). Thefirsttwovesselseach
displaced 2,144 tons; the latter two, l>540tons. The heaviest arma-
ment comprised 5.1-inch guns and all four destroyers were based at
Gdynia. The submarine force consisted of the  Orzel  (Eagle),  Sep 
(Vulture),  Rys  (Lynx),  Wilk  (Wolf), and  Zbih  (Wildcat), based
at Hela; allfivewere the long-range type, displacing from 980tons
to 1,473tons. The shorede'anses of Gdynia and Hela weremanned
by Navy personnel. Two naval infantry battalions also existed,one
-• Ibid., pp. 212-14.
8
 Grosses  Orientierungsheft  Polen,  Kapitel  3b,  I  Gliederung,  Bewaffnung  und  Staerken 
der  einzelnen  Waffen  in  Frieden  (einschl.  Marine),  pp.  1-30,  and  II,  Obrona Narodowa 
(Rationale  Verteidigung), pp.31-36. OKW1957. CRS,TAG.
•The Sikorski Institute,  op. clt., p.178.
THE POLISH STATE ANDTHEARMED FORCES 55
at Gdynia andtheother afewmilesinland, andtwoadditionalbat-
talions were in the process of organization. Air support for the
Navy consisted of three reconnaissance squadrons, three fighter
squadrons, and tw
T
o torpedobomber squadrons, with a total of 85
aircraft.
The Polish Navy wasalso responsible for the Vistula River, and
for this purpose maintained 16 river gunboats and two reconnais-
sancesquadronsof 10aircraft each. Thetotal peacetimestrengthof
the Polish Naval Force wasapproximately 3,100officers and men.
10
Defense Plan and Dispositions
The Polish defense plan wasbased onastudy originally prepared
in 1938and revised as the Reich gained additional territories sur-
rounding Poland. AccordingtoPlan "Z",asitwascalled,thePoles
estimated in March 1939that the Germans would make their main
attack from Silesia in the direction of Warsaw. An attack from
southern Silesia and Slovakia would secure the right flank of the
mainGerman attack force. Meanwhile,other German attackswould
be launched from Pomerania and East Prussia, to cut the Corridor
and support themain driveonthe Polish capital. It wasestimated
the Germans would be able to mobilize 110-120 divisions in all,of
which70-80,including all5panzer,4light,and4motorized infantry
divisionswouldbeavailable foroperations against Poland.
11
Permanent defensive worksalready existedalongtheNarew River,
atTorun,aboutBydgoszcz (Bromberg) andsouthtotheWarta,west
of Lodz (Lodsch), about Czestochowa, and west of Katowice (Kat-
towitz) andCracow; someofthesefortifications hadbeenbuilt prior
to World War I. Additional fortifications were built or in the
process of construction at Mlawa and along the approaches from
East Prussia, west of Bydgoszcz at the base of the Corridor, west
of Poznan (Posen),andalongthefrontier south toSlovakia. These
fortifications, some of them only field type, would be used to form
thefirstPolish lineof defense.
The field fortifications constructed were far less formidable than
might beexpected. In themain, they consisted only of earthen en-
trenchments,- barbed wire obstacles, and tank traps. Their con-
struction wasentrusted tolocalmilitary commanders,withtheresult
that therewaslittle uniformity andtheextent ofthework depended
largelyupontheinitiativeoftheindividualofficers. Moreover,many
oftheworksweredelayed untiltheharvest andwerenotready when
needed. Theblocking of smaller rivers tomake possible laterflood-
ln
Ibid., p.178.
n
Ibid., pp. 257-62.
5 6 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
ing was unsuccessful due to the dry weather which held all through
thesummer.
Orders deploying the Polish Army according to Plan "Z"wereis-
sued on 23March 1939. The deployment was an obvious attempt to
hold theentire country, and probably based onthebelief that thein-
tervention of Britain and France in the west would force a number
of German divisionstowithdraw. The deployment wasfaulty from
a military standpoint, sincethe Corridor wasindefensible and troop
units in that area would bein constant danger of encirclement from
East Prussia and Pomerania. Polish forces deployed in the Poznan
area would besituated in asalient flanked onthenorth and southby
German territory, and units in the Cracow area would be threatened
by encirclement from Slovakia and southern Silesia, However, the
Corridor and Poznan areas contained a large part of Poland's ag-
ricultural resources, and Cracow the country's mines and heavy in-
dustry. In addition to these economic aspects,the psychological ef-
fect of thesurrender of thesevital areaswithout astrugglehadtobe
considered.
Temporary bridges werebuilt alongtheVistula and theWarta, to
facilitate themovementof reservestothreatened points. Severalin-
fantry divisions and smaller units were transferred from their gar-
rison areas in eastern Poland to the central and western parts of the
country. A number of individual reservists werecalled up for serv-
ice and several reserve divisions mobilized and assigned to defensive
missionswith theactivedivisions. National Guard unitsintheCor-
ridor and Poznan areas were mobilized for frontier defense service.
In thenorth, aspecial force of twoinfantry divisionsand twocav-
alry brigades, under Maj. Gen. C. Mlot-Fijalkowski, was disposed
alongtheBiebrzaandNarewRiversandassignedthemissionofhold-
ingthat part of the Polish frontier north of theGrodno-Warsaw rail
lineandthe frontier with Lithuania  (Narew Group). Ontheleft of
the  Narew  Group,a similar force of two infantry divisions and two
cavalrybrigades,under Brig.Gen.E. Przedzymirski-Krukowicz, was
assigned the defense of the Mlawa area and the direct routeto War-
saw  (Modlin  Army). Another force of five infantry divisions and
a cavalry brigade  (Pomorze  Army), under the command of Maj.
Gen. W. Bortnowski, held the Corridor to a junction with the com-
mandof Maj.Gen.T.Kutrzeba, assigned four infantry divisionsand
two cavalry brigades for the defense of the Poznan salient  (Poznan 
Army). 
Five infantry divisions and two cavalry brigades, under command
ofMaj.Gen.J. Rommel,heldtheLodzarea  (Lodz  Army) and south-
ward toajunction with the force of Brig.Gen.A. Szylling, assigned
seveninfantry divisions and acavalry brigade for the defense of the
Rear Admir.
THEPOLISHDEFENSE PLAN 
Map4
^ '^coostoiDefenseANDESTIMATE OFGERMAN STRENGTH
"- ~" ' " ' INTHEFRONTIER AREA, 31AUG39"
(
(Pomorze Army\
9 inf. Divs
5 Inf.Divs.
I PanzerDiv.
2 PanzerDivs. i Cav.Brig.
Norew Group
*  £Inf.Divs. '
2Cav.Brigs./
*  \ PoznonArmy
f Gen.Reserve»
2 Inf.Divs.y
v Lodz Army >.
\ ^ Lodz,
\ 4 Inf.Div. '. I
8jnf. Divs.
I Cav.Brig
I Tank Brig.'
(Crocow Army \
\ 7Inf.Divs. \
( Katowice*x iCovBrig I
' r^^^Cracow
\ IM«ch /
NBr l g/
Carpathian \
Army '
UK**)Semi-permanent fortifications "From "Plon Koncentracji
<*~-*>Defense lines Aktualny WOniuI.IX.1939,Szkic nr.9"
-HI— Newly erected bridges Polskie Sily Zbrojne WDruglej Wojnie
Swiotowej, op.cit., p.313.
THE POLISH STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES 57
vitalCracowregion (Cracow Army). Temporarily,lightforceswould
holdthecrossingsfrom Slovakia. Thegeneralreserveforce,centered
aboutWarsaw and intwoconcentrations tothe northeast and north-
west of the capital, consisted of twelve infantry divisions, the mech-
anized cavalry brigade, and one horse cavalry brigade. These con-
centrationsof thegeneral reservewould counterattack major German
penetrations inthe direction of Warsaw and provide the force neces-
saryif thePoleswereeventuallytogoovertotheoffensive. Theport
areaof Gdynia alsoorganized adefense force thestrength of asmall
divisionbycombiningthenavalinfantry force,reservists,andseamen
assignedtoshoreinstallations.
Theground defensive organization involved most of the active and
several reserve (infantry) divisions, all the active cavalry brigades,
andthebulk of the naval personnel assigned to shore duties. In ad-
dition,the Pomorze, Lodz,and Cracow Armies andthegeneralreserve
force were assigned reserve divisions which would be called up on
mobilization. Wherepossible,troops wereretained ingarrison areas
andtheunitsassigned defensive missions. In somecasesunitshad to
movetoareasbetter situated for defense. In the Corridor area these
moves aroused the resentment of the German part of the population
and formed the basis for German charges of war preparations on
thepartofthePoles.
The Polish commands formed had nostandard corps organization
and few other units except infantry divisions and cavalry brigades.
However, reference is generally made to them as armies, except for
the  Narew  Group,with the name of the geographic area they were
assignedtodefend.
Somechangesweremadein the dispositions of these Polish forces
during the several months preceding the German attack. The Car-
pathian  Army was formed under Maj. Gen. K. Fabrycy to defend
thesouthernfrontier ofPoland. The Carpathian Army wasallocated
onlythreemountaininfantry brigades,butanadditional force formed
for the general reserve and consisting of one active division and a
partially mobilized reserve division was stationed in the area in the
immediate rear of Fabrycy's force. Themechanized cavalry brigade
was transferred to the  Cracow Army, an infantry division of the
Lodz Army wastransferred tothegeneral reserve,and a provisional
tank brigade was organized and attached to the general reserve.
This was the force, not fully mobilized, with which Poland was to
confront the bulk of Germany's 102 divisions, supported by a total
of3,000tanksandmorethan4,000aircraft. [See map 4-]
Chapter 5
The German Plan and Preliminary Movements
April-May 1939
Headquarters OKW began to draft the timetable of preparations
for theconcentration against Poland immediately following theissue
on 3April of the second part of the annual armed forces directive.
The timetable would form the master schedule for the movements,
security measures, and other steps necessary to enable the German
forces to launch an attack at the time and in the manner directed
by Hitler should the Fuehrer decide to settle his differences with
Poland by war. Its completion, however, would have to await the
recommendations of the three services, which began their planning
and prepared recommendations for the deployment of forces on the
basis of the instructions contained in Plan WEISS.
Each serviceselected oneormoremajor commandstodirect opera-
tions in the field. Some deviation from.the mobilization plan of
theArmy wasfound tobenecessary inthe caseof thehigher ground
commands,asOKHdirectedtheorganizationoftwoarmygrouphead-
quarters. The peacetime  Heeresgruppenkommomdo 1, under Gen-
eraloberstFedor vonBock,that wouldnormally havebecomeSecond
Army on mobilization, was designated to form the headquarters of
Army Group North. Headquarters OKH also directed the organi-
zation of a provisional headquarters under Generaloberst Gerd von
Kundstedt, then in retirement at Kassel; this headquarters would
become Army Group South, with a staff composed largely of VII
Corps personnel who w
T
ould have been assigned to form Twelfth
Army onmobilization. TheLuftwaffe selected itsFirst and Fourth
Air Forces. The Navy designated Naval Command East  (Marine-
gruppenkommando  Ost), thenaval equipment of the Heeresgruppen-
Jiommando, astheheadquarters forfleetunits tobecommitted tothe
campaign.
Bock's chief of staff was Generalleutnant Hans von Salmuth and
his operations officer was Colonel Wilhelm Haase at the time. The
provisional headquarters was to be known as  Arbeitsstdb  Rwndstedt 
(Working Staff Kundstedt) temporarily. As his chief of staff,
58
THE GERMAN CONCEPT 
OF GROUND OPERATIONS" 
..•^1InfontryDivisio
Donzig°
2 Regiments E A S   T  P R U S S I   A 
\ \ ICovalryBrigode\
8 Infantry Divisions
ICavalry Brigade
\ I
Cavalry Brigade
I Panter Brigade
\
\
FOURTH ARMY*"
3 Infontry Divisions
3 Motorized Divisions!
GROUP NORTH RESERVE
3 Infantry Diviiions
3- 4 Infantry Divislo
\ GENERAL RESERVE
EIGHTH ARMY
5 Infontry Divisions
6 - 7 Infantry Divisions
ARMY GROUP SOUTH RESERVE 
9 Infantry Divisions
6
7
Infantry Divisions
Motorized Divisions
S Infantry Divisions '
I Covalry Brigade
FOURTEENTH ARM I Motorized Brigade
5 Infantry Oi vi si ons^/ i
. 3 Motorized Oivisions {
(Note thenumber ofMotorized Divisions.
The planners undoubtedly combined Panzer,
Light and Motorized Divisions ofthetime
they drew upthis plan.)
59 THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS
Eundstedt was assigned Generalleutnant Fritz Erich von Manstein,
commander of an infantry division. Col. Guenther Blumentritt,
chief of training at OKH, wastobecomeRundstedt's operations offi-
cer. Theprovisionalheadquartershadnopeacetimecounterpart,and
almost all of the  Arbeitssbab  Eundstedt planning had to be carried
onbythe three officers originally assigned and by two General Staff
officers detailed to the project in the course of the summer. Rund-
stedt remained much of the time at his home, while Manstein and
Blumentritt continued asdivision commander and OKH staff officer,
respectively, working on the plans as an additional duty. Blumen-
tritt's dual position in operational planning and normal training
madeitpossibletocamouflagemanyofthepreoperational movements
of troops as part of the annual training and maneuver program.
TheArmy,Navy,andAirForcedrewupthreeseparatebutcoordi-
natedcampaignplans. Asapointofinterest,theArmyplanincluded
thecommitment of two regiments and several smaller separate units
of the  SS  Verfuegungstruppen, the armed affiliate of the National
Socialist Party. The SS military force was still in the process of
development,and only four regiments and afew separatesmall units
were in existence in 1939,
HitlerwasbriefedontheArmy'splanon26-27April. TheFuehrer
approved the OKH concept of an attack by two army groups, from
north and south,destroying the Polish armies in the western part of
thecountry and capturing Warsaw. On the northern front, Fourth
Army would cut the Corridor at its base and take Grudziadz
(Graudenz). Theestablishment ofcontactbetweentheReichproper
and East Prussia by Fourth Army would be followed by a Third
Army attack from East Prussia inthe direction of Warsaw. Onthe
southern front Rundstedt's army group would advance on Warsaw
onabroad front, diverting sufficient forces tohold any Polish attack
onitsright flank from Galicia and the southeast. [See map 5.] 
AdirectiveembodyingtheArmy'scampaignplanwassentbyOKH
to Rundstedt and Bock on 1May for comment and elaboration, and
initiated detailedplanningby Heeresgruppenkommando 1and Rund-
stedt'sstaff. Bothsentappropriateorderstothepeacetimecommands
that would forhi their army headquarters to initiate planning at the
nextlowerlevel. Astherecommendationsoftheseheadquarterswere
received, they were incorporated into the plans of Rundstedt and
Heeresgruppenkommando  1. Bock and Rundstedt submitted their
commentsandrecommendations toOKH lateinMay.
1
1
 Entwurf  Aufmarschanweisung  Weiss,  Arbeitsstab  Run/Astedt, la  Nr.  1/39  g.  Kdos,  20. 
Mai  19S9. P 274g. CRS, TAG;  Gen  Feldm,  v.  Bock,  Tagebuch-Notizen  z.  Polen-Feldzug, 
Mai/Juni  1939-43.  Oktober  1939, I, p. 2-4 (hereafter referred to as the "Bock Diary").
P-210. Foreign Studies Br, OCMH.
60 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
One attempt was made about this time to discourage Hitler from
precipitating a major war by a rash move. As his OKW planners
viewedthesituation,awarinvolvingtheBritishandFrenchandother
western powers could end only in disaster. Therefore, members of
the planning staff proposed a war game to consider all features of
Germany'9 strategic situation. Keitel transmitted the request to the
Fuehrer,andwasrefused onthegroundsthatsecurityand diplomatic
negotiations might beendangered. Hitler wasfirmlyconvinced that
therewouldbenowarwiththewestoverPoland.
2
Meanwhile^OKH
revised its campaign plan and OKL and OKM continued with their
ownplanning work.
The OKH Operation Order of 15 June 1939
The first OKH operation order directed Bock's and Rundstedt's
headquarters to pursue their planning under their original designa-
tionsas Heeresgruppenkommando 1and Arheitsstab Rwndstedt. The
target date by which the two headquarters wereto have worked out
all details on coordination with the Air Force (and with the Navy,
in the caseof Army Group North) was set for 20July. Both army
groups had attached to them the commands of the active Army that
would form army headquarters on mobilization, and the corps,divi-
sions,andsupporting troopsconsidered necessary to accomplish their
missions. Direct communication with subordinate headquarters was
authorized for planningpurposes. Ordersdirecting specific prepara-
tionscouldalsobeissuedbythetwoheadquartersscheduledtobecome
army groups, cutting across normal administrative channels. The
movement of troopstothe frontier areaswouldbedirected by OKH.
The plan of campaign was expressed in detail, adhering to the
general concept of operations, with two army groups attacking from
north and southinthedirection of thePolish capital. The operation
order added one change in directing Third Army to attack simul-
taneously with Fourth Army andsendastrongforce toassist Fourth
Army in seizing crossingsonthe Vistula. Themajor force of Third
Army, meanwhile,would attack in the direction of Warsaw without
waiting for Fourth Army toestablish land contact betweentheReich
proper and East Prussia. The Polish Army would be destroyed in
the western part of Poland, and reserves would be prevented from
mobilizing or concentrating to resist the German advance.
This plan of attack, with the German striking power onthe north
and south, would leave the German center open to Polish counter-
3
Bernhard von Lossberg,  Itn  Wehrmachtfuehrungsstdb (Hamburg, 1950), p. 27.
» Aufmarschanweisung  Fall  Wei»s, OKH,  1. Abt  (I)  Gen 8t  d H, Nr.  1,200/39  g. Kdos., 15. 
Juni  1939. A copy of this order will be found in the  Arleitsstab  Rundstedt planning pa-
pers. P 274k. CRS,TAG.
THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 6 1
blows. Consequently,frontier guard unitsandsomereservistswould
take up defensive positionseast of the Oder Eiver at Frankfurt-am-
Oder,securingthe vital river crossingsintotheinterior of Germany.
Localattackswouldbelaunched bythesefrontier guards and reserv-
iststodeceivethePolesandtiedownPolishunitsthatmightotherwise
be moved to oppose the drives of the northern and southern army
groups.
Army Group North wasto control the Third and Fourth Armies,
under command of General der Artillerie Georg von Kuechler and
General der Artillerie Guenther von Kluge. The headquarters for
Third Army would be formed from Kuechler's I Corps in East
Prussia; theFourth Army,from Kluge'sGroup Command 6. While
ThirdArmycommenced operations from East Prussia,Fourth Army
would makeits attack from North Germany's Pomerania.
Third Army would becomposed of 8infantry divisions, a Panzer
brigade, and a cavalry brigade. Fourth Army would comprise 4
standard infantry divisions, 2 motorized infantry divisions, and a
Panzer division. Two infantry divisions would be the army group
reserve. ArmyGroupNorthwouldthusinclude14standard infantry
divisions,2motorized infantry divisions,aPanzer division,a Panzer
brigade,and acavalry brigade,together with army group,army, and
corps troops.
The attack in the direction of Warsaw would form Third Army's
major effort. The force of Third Army that would attack to the
southwest and assist Fourth Army in securing crossings along the
Vistulawouldbesmaller. FourthArmywouldattack totheeast and
south,cuttingoff thePolishforcesinthenorthernpartoftheCorridor
and securing the communication and transportation lines between
Germany proper and East Prussia. The force of Third Army that
attacked to the southwest and the Fourth Army would join in the
attack toward Warsaw when their mission in the Corridor area was
completed. ThecaptureofDanzigwouldbeaccomplishedbyGerman
reservistsalready in thecity.
Army Group South,thestronger of thetwomajor German ground
forces,would includetheEighth,Tenth, and Fourteenth Armies,un-
der General der Infanterie Johannes Blaskowitz, General der Artil-
lerieWalthervonReichenau,andGeneraloberstWilhelmList,inthat
order. EighthArmywouldbeformed from Blaskowitz'sGroupCom-
mand 3; Tenth Army, from Reichenau's Group Command 4; Four-
teenthArmy,from List'sGroupCommand5. TheEighth andTenth
Armieswould attack from northern Silesia; Fourteenth Army, from
southern Silesia andthesatellitestateof Slovakia.
EighthArmywouldcomprisefourinfantry divisions. Tenth Army
wouldbecomposedof6infantry, 2motorized infantry, 2Panzer, and
6 2 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
3lightdivisions. Fourteenth Armywouldinclude5infantry, 1light,
and 2 Panzer divisions. Three mountain and 6 infantry divisions
would be the army group reserve. Army Group South thus would
have21infantry, 4Panzer,2motorizedinfantry, 4light,and3moun-
tain divisions.
The main effort would be made by Tenth Army, strongest of the
three, striking toward Warsaw. Eighth Army would moveonLodz
andsecuretheleft (north)flankofTenthArmyagainststrongPolish
forces known to be in the Poznan-Kutno area and capable of inter-
fering with Tenth Army's mission. The situation a9it developed in
the area of Army Group South would determine the further employ-
mentofEighthArmy. Ontheright (southeast)flankofArmyGroup
South, Fourteenth Army would take Cracow and push tothe eastto
protect the right flank of Tenth Army from attack by Polish forces
moving into western Galicia from Lwow and the east. The junction
of Army Group North and Tenth Army at Warsaw would seal off
Polish units in western Poland and prevent their escape to the area
eastoftheNarew-Vistula-San Riverline.
The future army group commanders held several dissenting
opinions concerning the OKH plan. Rundstedt believed that Tenth
Army should move first to destroy the Polish forces on its front, di-
vertingsomeunitsif necessary from thedriveonWarsaw. Thiswas
resolved when Rundstedt wasordered to movedirectly onthe Polish
capita] with the Tenth Army. Rundstedt also desired more cavalry
to screen his left flank. Accordingly, OKH allocated the motorized
SS Regiment Adolf Hitler to the Eighth Army.
4
For his part,
Bock questioned the advisability of a heavy attack on Warsaw from
the west. Instead he favored strengthening Third Army at the ex-
penseof Fourth Army,oncetheCorridor hadbeencut,and executing
adeepdriveeastof the Polish capital toprevent theescapeof Polish
forces into the vast Pripyat Marches. Smaller German forces could
be used to tie down the Poles west of Warsaw, but the major effort
would bein the east. Bock wasgranted some additional latitude in
directing his campaign, but his major objection to the OKH concept
wasnotresolveduntil operationswereunderway.
5
Troop movements to begin the implementation of the OKH plan
wouldbecarried outinthreeseries. Thefirstof thesewould involve
themovement of anumberof infantry divisionsandsupporting units
to Germany's eastern frontier area and to East Prussia. Maneuvers
had been scheduled, including armored exercisesin central Germany,
and the Reich had announced the intention of strengthening its east-
<Ltr, Haider to Manstein.  OKH,  1. Abt. (/)  Gen 8t  d H,  Nr.  4I6O/SO g. Kdos.,  2.  Juni 
1989,in the Arbeitsatab  Rundstedt papers. P 274a. CRS,TAG.
5
"Bock Diary," pp. 4-5.
63 THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS
ern frontiers, sothe first troop movements would not necessarily ap-
pearasahostilegesturetoward Poland. Troopsfrom theReichwere
alsoscheduled toparticipate intheTannenbergMemorial ceremonies
in East Prussia in August, to commemorate the victory of Hinden-
burg'sEighth Army overthe Russian Narew Army inthe Allenstein
area in August 1914. The second and third series of movements
would involve the headquarters staffs and their supporting troops;
thearmored,light,andmotorized infantry divisions;andtheremain-
ing elements of the infantry divisions. The day all preparations
would becompleted for the attack was designated as Y-day. Final
preparations weretobescheduled asY-3,Y-2,etc.,assoonas Hitler
specified theexactdatefor Y-day.
The OKW Timetable
6
The timetable of preparations was issued to the Army, Navy, and
Air Forceon14July andscheduledthemovementof forces asrecom-
mended by the services to enable them to execute their attack plans.
ThemovementofsomeArmy unitsfor thepurposeof workingonthe
Ostwall, or eastern counterpart of the Westwall, had already begun,
sothetimetablecontainedtheschedulefor theremainderofthemove-
ments in the first series of troop shifts. Notations in the timetable
called for decisions by Hitler prior to the undertaking of successive
major steps planned, thereby enabling the Fuehrer to exercise close
control over the entire undertaking. The timetable itself did not
constitute anorder. Rather, it provided only aschedule,and orders
formovementsormeasurestobetakenhadtobegivenbyOKWorthe
servicedirectly concerned. Wherepolitical or diplomatic considera-
tionswereinvolved,OKW reserved decision or gavespecific authori-
zation to oneof the servicesto order appropriate action. Orders to
various departments of the Reich government, as the transportation
andpostalservices,werealsotobegivenbyOKW.
In addition to the movement of active units to the east, the time-
tableprovided for the mobilization of anumber of reservists for the
Army and Air Force prior to the attack. A total of 386,000 Army
and55,000Luftwaffe reservistswouldbeordered to report for active
duty,ostensiblyfor maneuvers.
Thetimetable provided for securingthe Fuehrer's decision regard-
ingY-Dayby23August. With thisdecision,the"Y"orfinalmove-
ment would beordered,and units inconcentration areas would begin
theirmovestoassembly areasfor the attack. On Y-l, Hitler'sorder
for theattack wastobegiven by 1200,after which the"X" mobiliza-
'Zeittafel  fuer  den  Fall  Weixs,  WFA/L  I  92/39,  Chefs,  v.  H.7.S9. OKW 129. CRS,
TAG.
64 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
tionwouldbedirected (callingupthereservedivisionswithoutpublic
proclamation), and the codewordsettingthe precisetime for the at-
tackwastobecommunicated totheheadquartersof thethreeservices.
Hitler's order of Y-l setting the exact time for the attack was to
befollowed by the implementation of Plan WEST. The first west-
wardmovementwouldinvolvesevenactivedivisions,severalof which
were already training in the western frontier area. The frontier
commands were to be absorbed into the First, Fifth, and Seventh
Armies,and Army Group Cwould beassigned responsibility for the
defenseoftheWestwall.
Logistical Support
The  Reiclisbahn (German Federal Railways) would transport the
bulk of the troops and their equipment to the frontier area. Move-
ments to mid-August, carefully scheduled, required no mobilization
of theGerman railroad system. Asof 16August,however,therewas
to be a curtailment of traffic and as many special trains as possible
(excursions, etc.) would be cancelled. On 18 August precautions
weretobetakentosafeguard raillinesandinstallations.
On Y-2 the  Reichsbahn would make the necessary arrangements
preliminarytoitsmobilization. OnY-l thesecurityofraillinesand
installations wastobestrengthened by additional railway policeand
the  Reichsbahn, with the rest of the German transportation system,
would go on a wartime basis. Foreign rail traffic in Germany was
to be kept under observation and preparations made to halt it if
necessary.
The Autobahn highway system was to be inspected effective 17
August. Stops for motor columns would bekept available, andob-
structions to traffic repaired immediately. On Y-l the special tele-
phone system of the Autobahn was to betied in with the rest of the
German telephone communications system. The trucks and other
motorvehiclesnecessary for military usewouldberequisitioned from
governmentagencies,industry,andprivateowners.
The Reiohspost (German Postal Service),whichcontrolledthetele-
phone and telegraph systems as well as the mails, held available
special lines for long-distance military traffic even in peacetime. On
Y-2 all telephone and telegraph installations would be secured. On
Y-l the special nets for military traffic wereto beopened. Regular
telephone and telegraph traffic would be kept to the minimum, and
communicationstraffic toforeign countrieswastobemonitoredorheld
up. All telephone and telegraph communications to Poland and
Lithuania weretobecutoff at midnight of theday preceding Y-day.
Enormous stocks of rations, ammunition, gasoline, spare parts
for a wide range of vehicle types,bridging equipment, and hay and
65 THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS
forage for theanimalsoftheinfantry andmountain divisionswereto
bemadeavailable. Provisionswouldalsohavetobemadefor moving
depotsforward astheunitsadvanced. Itwasestimatedthefuelprob-
lem would be particularly acute with the armored columns, moving
throughaprimarilyagriculturalcountry.
The food supplies required bythetroops prior to the attack would
be provided by the local  Wehrkreise. Eighth and Tenth Armies
weretobesuppliedwithrationsby WehrkreisVIII,withheadquarters
in Breslau. Fourteenth Army would draw upon  Wehrkreis XVII,
inVienna. ThirdArmywastobesuppliedby  Wehrkreis I,in Koen-
igsberg (EastPrussia),andFourthArmyby WehrkreisII,at Stettin
(Pomerania).
Rations for the troops wereto besecured in advance of operations
from the  Wehrkreiseand stored in depots by each army. According
toGerman practice,the divisions,corps,and army troop units would
draw directly on these depots. Initial stocks were to consist of a
10-day supply of field rations and one emergency ration. A 10-day
supply of oatsand sufficient hay for the animals for 2dayswouldbe
stored in the samedepot and issued with the rations. A notation in
the OKH field order that biscuits would be provided in place of
bread for the last 3days of the 10-day period, since the issue bread
would remain fresh for approximately one week only, may perhaps
serve as an example for the completeness of preparations. Should
further rations, hay, and forage not be available for issue after the
start of operations,e. g. if the units overextended their supply lines
or army ration installations were unable to maintain the rate of
advance of the combat units,the divisions might permit local requi-
sitioningdowntobattalion.
A total of four times the basic load of ammunition (a specified
amount tobecarried by thetroops or in unit transportation) was to
bemadeavailable. Oneloadwouldbecarriedbyindividuals (pistol,
rifle, and submachine gun ammunition) and in the trucks, wagons,
and trains of the unit (machine gun, mortar, and artillery ammuni-
tion). A second load would be available for issue from the army
ammunition depot, and two more loads would be stored on rail
sidings and moved forward as the situation necessitated. Every
rifleman required 90 rounds, every light machine gun 3,750 rounds,
and every division artillery piece 300 rounds, for each of the four
loads. ThirdArmy,drawingondepotsinEastPrussia and separated
from the Reich,wasto have atotal of sixloadsavailable,and would
storefour extra loadsfor those Fourth Army units Bock planned to
move to East Prussia once a junction was effected across the Polish
Corridor.
6 6 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (19391
Gasoline and oil sufficient to drive eachvehicle atotal of 750kilo-
meters (approximately 450miles) under normal operating conditions
wastobeprovided units in assembly areas. All gasoline tanks were
to be filled and the surplus carried in cans on each vehicle, on unit
supply trucks,or inthe regimental and divisiontrains. Stocksequal
tothisinitial issueof fuel weretobekept intank carsalongthe rail
lines, ready to move ahead for issue as the units advanced. Army
Group South, with its heavy concentration of armored vehicles,was
to have an additional allocation of 1,500 tons of fuel, to be held on
trucks in the vicinity of Breslau and ready to move on short notice
tounitswhereitwasneeded.
The various armies were to draw replacement vehicles, tires, and
spare parts from specified motor pools and tire depots in the Zone
of the Interior. Major repairs would also be effected by the repair
shops of these motor pools. In the Army Group North area, Third
Army would use the motor pool in Koenigsberg and Fourth Army
that inStettin. In theArmy GroupSouth area,Eighth Army would
usethemotorpoolinBreslau,TenthArmythemotorpoolsin Breslau
and Oppeln, and Fourteenth Army the motor pool in Vienna. The
tiredepots,forthemostpart,wereinthegeneralvicinityofthemotor
poolsorinnearbycities. Allmotorpoolsandtheirsupplywarehouses
weretoreceivespecialissuesof sparepartsby20August.
It was presumed that the Poles would destroy a large number of
bridges,particularly those acrossthe Vistula and the broader rivers.
Raillinesandterminal installationsmight alsobedamaged bybomb-
ing,artilleryfire,ordemolitions. ManyofthePolishroadswouldnot
standupwellundersustainedpoundingbytrucks,theartillery'sprime
movers, and tanks. In anticipation of these contingencies, bridging
equipment wastobestoredineacharmygrouparea,and anumberof
engineer bridging units attached to each army group and army. In
addition to the bridging units, each army group and army was to
receiveroad building, general service,and construction engineer bat-
talions. Specialengineerstaffs wouldbeattached tothearmy groups
andarmiestoprovidetechnicaldirectionfor allengineerwork within
thearmygroupandarmyareas. Railwayengineerpersonnelwouldbe
available for putting captured rail linesback into operation.
Sickandwoundedpersonnelrequiringhospitalizationwouldbesent
to available garrison or civilian hospitals, pending the organization
of general hospitals in the army rear areas. Veterinarians were to
use civilian facilities whenever military installations for the care of
sickandinjured animalswerenot available,untilsuchtimeasveteri-
nary service in the army rear areas could be established.
Temporary executive power  (vollziehende Gewalt,a form of mar-
tial law) in designated areas of Silesia would be granted to the
67 THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS
commander of Army Group South, and in portions of Moravia and
Slovakia to the commander of Fourteenth Army. Since the two
armies of Army Group North would be operating from either side
of the Polish Corridor, the Commanders of each wereto be granted
temporary executivepower over designated areas of Reich territory.
The time such authority should take effect would in each case be
directed by OKH. With this authority, the respective army group
and army commanders, in the event of emergency, could utilize
civilian manpower and installations, and control the police and local
public officials. This authority was to devolve upon the army com-
manders once the German forces crossed the border into Poland.
Arrangements were also to be made for evacuation of prisoners
taken. In the Army Group North area, Fourth Army's captives
would beevacuated to a central collecting point at Stargard; Third
Army'swould go to collecting points to be set up by  Wehrkreis I.
In thearea ofArmy Group South,prisoners of wartaken by Eighth
and Tenth Armies wouldbeevacuated tocollecting points in Silesia.
Fourteenth Army would erect such detention centers in Slovakia as
it deemed necessary. With the exception of those sent to Slovakia,
allprisonersof warwouldcomeunderthecontrolofthe Replacement
andTrainingArmy  (Ersatzheer) uponarrival atthecollecting point.
The collecting points themselves were not considered as camps for
final disposition, but rather as temporary holding points pending
further evacuation or exchange.
Radiosilencewastobeobserved by all units intheir concentration
and assembly areas,but normal traffic of garrison troops maintained
toavoid arousingthesuspicions of the Poles. Land cables andtele-
phone lines for use by the incoming headquarters staffs were to be
installed bygarrison troops and specialsignal personnel. These ad-
vance preparations could be made only within the Reich, however.
Thoseunits of Fourteenth Army that would concentrate in Slovakia
would be moving into an area not occupied by German garrison
troops and any overt activity would becertain to draw the attention
oftheresidentsoftheregionandquitepossiblytheirPolishneighbors.
ThusFourteenth Army wastoplan linestobeinstalled hastily when
theunitstoconcentrate in Slovakia moved intotheir assembly areas.
Special signal troopswould beassigned the army groups to put cap-
tured Polish signal installations and facilities back into operation as
theattackprogressed.
The APO number system would go into effect with the arrival of
troops in concentration areas. No mail was to be delivered or col-
lected for a period of five days following the start of operations.
68 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
The Navy and Air Force
The role of the Navy in the Polish Campaign was outlined in
Admiral Raeder's annual directive on 16May.
7
Naval units would
participate in operations to the extent of destroying or capturing
the small Polish naval and merchant fleets, keeping clear the sea
lanes to East Prussia, blockading Danzig and Gdynia, bombarding
Polish shore installations, and rendering Army Group North such
assistanceasitmight requireinthecourseof itsoperations.  Marine-
gruppe  Ost, under command of Generaladmiral Conrad Albrecht,
would control 3cruisers, 2flotillasof destroyers (8 or more ships),
14submarines, and anumber of torpedo boats and other light craft.
These naval units were to be so deployed in the Baltic area so as
to be able to reach their assigned battle stations before hostilities
were begun. The naval units assigned to missions against Poland
were assured of a 48-hour advance warning period to reach these
assigned stations. Thebulk of thefleet,including mostof theopera-
tional U-boats, would take up battle stations in the North Sea and
the Atlantic, ready to engage the British and French in the event
of Allied intervention.
An operation order was issued on 21August by Naval Command
East,givingthelatest estimates of Polish naval strength and assign-
ing specific missions to units designated to participate in the attack
on Poland.
8
The training ship (formerly battleship)  SchZeswig-
HolsteinwastobesentonavisittoDanzigshortlybeforetheoutbreak
of hostilities,and wasto anchor in the harbor there; its mission was
thebombardment of Polish shore installations. Other surface units
would proceed out of sight of land to Gdynia and Hela (a Polish
fort onthe Hela Peninsula in the Bay of Danzig) and destroy their
coastal batteries.
Fire wastobeopened on Hela at H-hour and on Gdynia onehour
later,to prevent lossesto German aircraft scheduled to make a feint
attack at first light tocoverthe approach of thesurface craft. Neu-
tral ships would be given 10 hours to clear the ports, after which
both Danzig and Gdynia were to be blockaded by mines, surface
craft, and submarines. The property of neutrals was to be scrupu-
louslyrespectedtopreventincidents,andGermanwarshipswouldnot
enter neutral waters. Special care was tobetaken to avoid damage
to the city of Danzig. The Navy would be instructed to commence
hostilities by asystem of codewords and numbers disguised as radio
traffic of the merchant marine.
7
 Weisung  Fall  "Weiss,"  OKM, B.  Nr.  1  Ski.  la  Op i8/S9,  Odkos Chefs,  16. Mai  1939,in
/. If.  T., op. cit.,XXXIV, Doc.126-C,pp.428-42.
8
  Operationsbefehl Nr.  1 fuer  Linienschiff  "Schleswig-Holstein,"  Marinegruppenkomtnando 
Ost, B.  Nr.  Okds  250/39  Chefs. AT, 21. August  1939,in ibid.,pp.448-55.
69 THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS
TheLuftwaffe issueditsfirstdirectiveforoperationsagainstPoland
inmid-May. The First and Fourth Air Forces,designated to direct
the air effort, were commanded at that time by General der Flieger
Albert Kesselring and General der Flieger Alexander Loehr,respec-
tively. The First Air Force would operate in the area of Army
GroupNorthandgiveclosesupporttotheThird andFourthArmies.
TheFourthAirForcewastooperateintheareaofArmyGroupSouth
and support the Eighth, Tenth, and Fourteenth Armies. Air force
planinng proceeded in much the same manner as planning by the
Army.
8
As major subordinate headquarters, the First Air Force would
controlthe1stAir Division,commandedbyGenerallieutenant Ulrich
Grauert,operatingfrombasesinPomerania,andtheLuftwaffe Train-
ing Division (consisting of picked squadrons formerly assigned to
experimental work), commanded by Generalleutnant Helmuth
Foerster, operating from bases in East Prussia. For its major sub-
ordinate headquarters, the Fourth Air Force was to control the 2d
Air Division, under Generalleutnant Bruno Loerzer, with headquar-
ters25milessoutheastof BreslauinGermanSilesia,andaprovisional
command known as the Richthofen Air Division. (The German
term for Generalmajor Wolfgang Freiherr von Richthofen's position
was Fliegerfuehrer z.  b. V., or Air Commander for Special Employ-
ment, and his force consisted of approximately one air division.)
The Richthofen Air Division was to establish its headquarters ap-
proximately 70 miles southeast of Breslau, enabling the division to
support Fourteenth Army.
TheOKLreservewastoconsistof the7thAir Division at Liegnitz
inSilesia. The7thAirDivisionincludedthe1stParachute Infantry
Regiment and several air transport groups. (Parachute troops were
part of the Luftwaffe under the German concept of organization.
Goering had forced this arrangement for paratroop units and anti-
aircraft units already formed by the Army at the time the armed
forceshadbeenexpanded.)
Thetwo air forces assigned to direct the air effort against Poland
would control 36groups and approximately 1,400 offensively armed
aircraft. All of theLuftwaffe's divebomber force, 70percent of its
bombers,and 50percent of the fighter force would be committed to
operations, and the two air forces deployed to meet an attack in the
west would be weakened by the diversion of combat units to the air
effort in the east.
The Air Force plan of operations gave first priority to the de-
struction of thePolish Air Force inthe air and onthe ground. The
9
 Die  Planting  und  Vorkereitung  des  Lulkrietges gegen  Polen,  1939,  Teil  C, Planung  und 
Vorbereitung. Von Rohden Collection. CRS,TAG.
7 0 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
12major Polish air basesand 75smaller air fields and landing strips
wereknown totheLuftwaffe, and the first few daysshould suffice to
eliminate any Polish threat from the skies. The German Air Force
would then be able to turn its attention to bombing and strafing
Polish columnsmoving tothe front, and bombingmarshalling yards
andrear areaswherePolish reserveswouldbegathering.
To maintain close contact with Army units it w
T
asto support, the
Air Forcedetailed liaisonofficers tothemajor ground commands. A
LuftwafFe commander for all air reconnaissance and flak units sup-
porting the Army was also detailed to each of the two army group
headquarters.
The Concentration of Forces
The first troop movements to the east, from late June to mid-
August, involved a number of infantry divisions, some of the corps
headquarters, and many of the service units required to establish
communications and supply installations that would be needed by
the troops to follow. The first movement occurred between 26 June
and 15July, when four infantry divisions weredispatched to Pome-
rania and Silesia. Five more infantry divisions followed between
15July and 4August. In some casestroop units dispatched to the
frontier areas were rotated back to their home stations once again
before their final move to concentration areas shortly before the at-
tack. This measure helped allay Polish fears about an imminent
invasion.
An infantry division and panzer brigade arrived in East Prussia
during the first week of August. A possible Polish attack against
East Prussia in the event of hostilities made it essential that this
easternmost German area besecured whiletroops were concentrating
in Pomerania and Silesia. Part IV of the annual military directive
provided for the organization of Third Army by I Corps in East
Prussia in the event of mobilization. Unlike the other army head-
quarters that would be formed from existing group commands and
corps, Third Army in peacetime had a small permanent staff and
could organize rapidly for defense. The exposed province of East
Prussia,surrounded onitsland sidesbyPoland andLithuania, made
necessary such preparation for a quick transition from a peace to a
war footing.
The concluding movements in the first phase of deployment east-
ward werecompleted inearly August. Asignal regiment arrived in
Pomerania toset up the communications net for Army Group North
headquarters, and a corps headquarters and two infantry divisions
arrived in the Fourth Army area. A corps headquarters, engineers
and military police, and an infantry division moved into Eighth
THE CONCENTRATION
OFGERMANFORCES*
O  10 Zp  30  40  SO 
P R U S S I A
P 0 L A N D
SOUTH!
Op
,
pel n
I xl 3( D
* From Aufmor»ch det H««r«t, foi l WEISS, undated mop
THE: GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 7 1
Army's area. A corpsheadquarters, a signal regiment, construction
engineers, and two infantry divisions moved into the Tenth Army's
area. Twocorpsheadquarters,asignalregiment,andthree infantry
divisions moved into the area of the Fourteenth Army. A signal
regimentandmilitarypoliceunitsalsoarrivedastheforward echelon
of Army Group South's army group troops.
Thesecondseriesoftransfers wasdesignated asthe"A"movement,
and set in motion in mid-August with Hitler's decision to continue
with thebuild-up of forces. In the north, the personnel assigned to
formthearmygroupstaff movedtoBadPolzin andestablished head-
quarters. Personnel to form Fourth Army established headquarters
atJastrow. Units scheduled tobecomearmy group and army troops
andmovedin atthesametimeincluded engineers,signal units,artil-
lery,and air unitsdirectly attached totheground forces for observa-
tion and courier purposes. On 16August four reservedivisionscom-
posedofpersonnelresidentinEastPrussiawerecalledupfor training.
Acorpsheadquarters,apanzerdivision,andelementsoftwomotorized
divisionswereshifted intotheFourth Army area. [See map 6.] 
Inthesouth,theheadquartersofRundstedt'sarmygroupwasestab-
lished at Neisse. Eighth Army headquarters assembled at Breslau,
Tenth Army at Oppeln, and Fourteenth Army headquarters at Neu-
titschein. All of these headquarters, as well as those of the army
group and armies in the north, would become operational on OKH
order. The corps headquarters and divisions deployed in the "A"
movement totheArmy Group South area included elementsof three
Tenth Army corps, with two Panzer, two motorized infantry, and
threelightdivisions. Onecorpsheadquartersmovedinto Fourteenth
Army'sarea.
The"Y"movement followed immediately upon the "A"movement
and wasset in motion with Hitler's decision of 23August setting26
August as Y-day, when all preparations were to be complete. The
remaining elementsof thedivisions and corps which redeployed only
part of their forces in the "A" movement were brought up, together
with army group,army,and corpstroops,and additional corps,divi-
sions,and separate units weremoved in. The remaining elementsof
twodivisionsclosedintothe Fourth Army area inthe north. In the
south, the remainder of three corps and their divisions moved into
Tenth Army assembly areas; one light and two panzer divisions ar-
rived in the area of the Fourteenth Army. For security purposes,a
number of the armored and motorized units moved in organic trans-
portationbynightfrom maneuverareasincentral Germany.
Concurrent naval movements from mid-August brought fleet
units and attached air elements within striking range of Poland or
intoposition tocounter British and French attempts at intervention.
On 19August 14long-rangesubmarinesleft their homebasesatWil-
7 2 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
helmshaven and Kiel for Atlantic war stations and the British Isles
area. The  Graf  Spee departed on 21August to rendezvous with the
supply ship  AUmark, and take up position as a commerce raider in
theSouth Atlantic. Twomoresubmarinesleft for theAtlantic area
on22and23August.
Naval Command West  (Marinegruppe  West) was organized on23
August tocontrolfleetunitssent oninterception missionsagainst the
British andFrench. The Deutschlandleft Wilhelmshaven for aren-
dezvouswith thesupply ship  Westenoald, andthemission of raiding
AlliedcommerceintheNorth Atlantic. The Scharnhorstand Gneis-
enautook up positions in the North Sea. The  Admiral  Scheer,the
cruisers  Hipper and  Leipzig, 3 divisions of destroyers (6 or more
ships),24ofthesmallersubmarines,approximately 100naval aircraft,
and anumber of light vesselsfor patrol purposes,minesweeping, and
localdefense missionscompleted thenaval units assigned tomeetany
Alliedattackfromthewest.
Naval Command East was assigned the  Nuernberg as flagship for
thedirectionofoperationsagainst thePolishNavy,merchant marine,
andportdefenses. Thecruisers,2flotillasofdestroyers,14submarines,
and other naval vessels and aircraft to becommitted against Poland
were in the Baltic area and prepared for active operations on short
notice.
The First Air Force headquarters moved to East Prussia and the
Fourth to Breslau. The First Air Force comprised 800aircraft, in-
cluding500bombers,180divebombers,and 120 fighters. The Fourth
Air Force controlled 590 aircraft, including 310 bombers, 160 dive
bombers,and 120 fighters. Thebomber aircraft weremostly Messer-
schmitt Ill' s and Dornier 17's. The divebomberswereJunkers 87's,
morepopularly known as Stukas. The fighters were mostly Messer-
schmitt 109's and 110's. The OKL reserve had a few additional
bombers and two air groups with approximately 250 Junkers 52
transports for paratroop operations. Air units unable to mount
their first strikes against Poland from home bases because of range
movedtopermanentairbasesineasternGermanyfirst,thentolanding
stripsinthevicinityofthefrontier onY-l.
The codeword  Befehlsuebernahms ("assume command") was sent
outbyOKH upon Hitler's decision setting Y-day,and Army Groups
North and South andArmy Group Cand their armiesbecameopera-
tional on the 23d. Naval and air force headquarters designated to
participate also become operational at the same time as the army
commands.
With the build-up of forces complete Hitler set dawn on Y-day,
26August,asthetimefor theattack,knowingtheRussianswouldnot
intervene. As General Haider noted in his diary, there would beno
73 THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS
further orders—everything would proceed according to plan.
10
The
divisions and other units moved to their final concentration areas as
scheduled.
Within theKeichZoneof theInterior,theremainingsecond,third,
and fourth-wave divisions were mobilized. A number of Luftwaffe
reserve units were also called up for service. Noreinforcement was
considered necessary for the Navy, which would mobilize only if
Britain andFranceenteredthewar.
The Period of Indecision
Hitler rescinded his order to attack late on 25 August when the
BritishandFrenchrefused hisoverturesandChamberlain guaranteed
supporttothePoles. SomeGermanunitswerealreadymovingtoward
their final assembly areas, and officer messengers, and in somecases
commandersthemselves,had tointercept theattack forces personally
and relay theorder tohalt theopeningof hostilities. In a few cases
small German unitscrossed the frontier and engaged in clashes with
Polishborderguardsbeforetheycouldberecalled. Apparently,these
skirmishes were considered only an additional provocation by the
PolesandpartoftheGermanwarofnerves.
While the Polish and German forces waited under arms,both re-
ported numerous violations of the frontier and occasional shootings,
although none was sufficiently sharp to precipitate hostilities. The
Germans still hoped to achieveanother bloodlessconquest; the Poles
thought thefirmattitude of theAllies would discourage Hitler from
startingwhatmustsurelydevelopintoageneral war.
Thedelay in the attack allowed sufficient time for the 10th Panzer
Division, just formed in the Protectorate, to move into the area of
Fourth Army. (There wereno Panzer divisions 6through 9at this
time. These numbers wereto be assigned to the Panzer divisions to
beformed from thefour light divisions.)
The Navy dispatched two more submarines to Atlantic stations.
On30AugustOKMreceivedareportfrom aradiointercept unit that
thePolish destroyers  Grom, Blyzkawica, and Burza had left Gdynia.
ThePolish vesselswerekept under observation until it was apparent
that they were enroute to the British Isles area. Orders were then
issuedtransferring thecruisers,threeofthedestroyers,and anumber
oftorpedoboatsoftheNavalCommandEastforcetoNavalCommand
West. Ordersalready issued for theminingof theGdynia Bay area
werecancelled. Thestrikingunitsof NavalCommand East wouldbe
reducedtothe Schlesivig-Holsteiri, afew destroyers,14submarines,a
numberof smaller surface craft, andattached Luftwaffe units.
10
 Krieg8tagebuch des  Oeneralobersten Franz  Haider,  Band  I (hereafter referred to as the
"Haider Diary"), p.26. Copy in Foreign Studies Br,OCMH.
7 4 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
Meanwhile, Hitler had regained his determination. Warning or-
ders to the Army, Navy, and Air Force on 30August instructed the
participating headquarters of allthree servicestoprepare for opera-
tions on 1September. In the course of the afternoon of 31August,
they weredirected to proceed with the attack: the time for thecom-
mencementof hostilitieswassetfor0445.
Asof 31August the German ground force arrayed against Poland
comprised a total of 55 divisions; its composition and dispositions
varied in a number of details from the original plan of operations.
Plan WEISS had provided for the commitment only of active units
to the initial attack; a number of reserve corps and divisions had
been added bythe mobilization that had proceeded after Hitler post-
poned the time of attack en 25 August. Several new organizations
formed overtheprecedingfewmonthswerealsoready for operations,
and a number of provisional commands had been formed. [See
chart  If\.
A provisional corps,called Wodrig after its commander, had been
created in Third Army control tocontroltwodivisionsmovingsouth
on Warsaw from East Prussia. The XXI Corps, a Wave I I com-
mand, had also been added to Third Army. The XI X Corps, an
activecommand formed inthecourseof thesummer, wasunder Gen-
eral der Panzertruppen Heinz Guderian, former chief of Mobile
Troops, and would control the Panzer and motorized infantry divi-
sions of Fourth Army. (As the XIV, XV, and XVI Corps, it had
no corresponding  Wehrkreis organization.) The Panzer brigade
sent to East Prussia had been raised to the status of a provisional
division and would be committed to operations as Panzer Division
Kempf. The 10th Panzer Division had been added to Army Group
North. The Kuestrin Frontier Command had been redesignated the
50th Infantry Division. No major changes were made in the order
of battleor dispositions of Army Group South but aWave I I corps
and several divisions on the right flank of Fourteenth Army would
beabletocompletetheir concentration andenterthecampaign sooner
thanwouldhavebeenthecasehadoperationscommencedon26August
as scheduled.
Thefrontier commands werealsotoplay amoreimportant part in
operations than had first been planned. The three frontier com-
mandsalongtheWestwall wereapart of the activeArmy, but those
intheeastwerepoliceforces undertheReichMinistry ofthe Interior
in peacetime and came under Army control for security duties in
the event of war. For the campaign against Poland, the frontier
commands in several cases would fill acombat role.
•From OKH Chart of same date.
CHART 4- GERMAN ORDER OF BATTLE I SEPTEMBER 1939'
NORTH I
Ge.i.Oberst vBock
FOURTH|
Gtn.d.Art.r Klvat
L_i_jG<fCm< DU
[XJ2O7
LXJ
2
"
Gtn.Ltii.Bihmt Gen.Maj.Frh. Gen.Ltnr. 6tn.MaJ.
Gtn LtnfrhGtyr.r. Gen.Ma/.Lichtl 6m.Ltn.*.Beth GtnLtn.Bock
LXj Gold.p
Scbweppenbarg
Gtn.Ltn.Sarscht Gtn.Ltn. Col.Noltt
|X]20<M1l)
t.d.Ltytn
Gtn.Ltn.Wikionn
Get).Maj.
r. Gobltm
Gtn.Maj.Suttntr
Kortltltiteh
OttrnbQChtr
JEbtrharit
GenMajFhryGrot* Ge/i.Maj Baititr Gen.Mcj.Ebertiard
Army Group Reserves
CXI 208
Gea.Maj Bitltr GenMoj.School Gtn Un.Hofl Gen.Ma/.Andreas
SOUTH
Gen.Oberstv./fundstedt
FOURTEENTH|
Gtn.Oterst Litt
I XVI ( | VIII j I XVII| |xviti[
Gtn.4.Art.
6tn.4.CMr.
Gtn.d.Art Gtn.if.Car Gen.4.Inf. Gen.4Inf. Gtn.4.Inf. Gen.d.Inf.
Z.t.UltM Frh.r.Wtichs Lett
Gtn Ma/. GenLfn.r Gen.Ltn. Gen Ma/.
'. Briestn Opiffelder MaIerne Hvaicki
Gtn.Ltn.Wtftr Gtn.Ltn.r. Gen.Ma/.
Vietinanott Dittl
Gtn.LlitKaempfe
|  XIV  I 
Gen d. Inf. r. Wiettnheim Gend.Ctr.tr
r.Kltltt
jXJ.Itt |XJ2MI
n.Mt/.
Gtn.Ma/ Gen Ltn.
Army Group Reserves
Gen dInf.
Mftfrr.Se/tatfrt
|XJ239
IXJea
Gtn.Maj. Gtn.Ltn.
Pfluabtil
Gtn.Ma/.
I'Hommt dt
Court/ere
Gtn. Ma/.
Keiner
Col.Srai/i>
Gtn.Ltn.
Btrgmann
• FnjmOKtl Chort Of Some Dotf
75 THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS
On its extreme left Third Army in East Prussia assigned a small
provisional corps of limited combat potential to secure the frontier
AvithLithuania andtheexposedsalientof Germanterritory extending
into Poland in the direction of Grodno. This force, named Brand,
had only two brigades of border and local defense troops. On the
Third Army right XXI Corps would cross the frontier with two
infantry divisions in a southwesterly direction, with the immediate
task of establishing contact with the Fourth Army near Grudziadz.
In thecenter of theThird Army linethe I Corps and Corps Wodrig
weretoattack withonePanzer and four infantry divisions in adrive
south toward Warsaw. The 1st Cavalry Brigade was to secure the
left flank of the force moving on the Polish capital. One infantry
division would form the army reserve. Troops of the XI Frontier
Commandwouldbeavailabletoholdtherear areasandgapsbetween
Army units as the front moved forward. Third Army would also
controlthe force at Danzig,designated astheEberhard Brigade and
assignedthecaptureofthecityfrom within. [See map7.]
Fourth ArmyinPomerania hadthepreponderanceof armored and
motorized troops in Army Group North. Opposite Gdynia and
Danzig,the1stFrontier Command would severtheupper part of the
Corridor. Southofthe1stFrontier Command,theXIX Corps,with
its one Panzer and two motorized divisions, was to form the major
strikingforceofFourthArmyandcuttheCorridoratitsbase. Tothe
right of the XIX Corps, II Corps would commit two infantry divi-
sions. TheI I I Corpswouldcontroloneinfantry divisionandaprovi-
sional brigade to the south of II Corps. The II and XII Frontier
Commands,thelatter holding theheavily fortified region east of the
junction of theWartha and Oder Eivers,would completethe Fourth
Armyfront toajunctionwithKundstedt'sArmy GroupSouth. Two
infantry divisionswould form the army reserve,disposed behind the
centeroftheFourthArmyline.
Army Group North reserves would comprise oneinfantry division
in East Prussia, and onePanzer and two infantry divisions in Pom-
erania. The division in East Prussia was concentrated in the area
immediately adjacent to the junction of the Lithuanian, Polish, and
German frontiers. The divisions in Pomerania were concentrated
behindthecenterandrightoftheFourthArmyline.
Ontheleft, EighthArmy,thesmallest ofthethreearmiesof Army
Group South,would haveonitsright XI I I Corpswith two infantry
divisions. The X Corps with two infantry divisions would becom-
mitted in the center of the army front. The XIII Frontier Com-
mand wouldbedisposed tothe left of X Corps and extend the army
groupfront northwardtoajunctionwdththeXII Frontier Command
of Brock's Army Group North. Eighth Army would have no di-
7 6 THE GEJtMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)
visions of its own in reserve, but an infantry division of the army
groupreservewouldbedisposedinitsarea.
Tenth Army would attack in the center of Army Group South.
On the right XV Corps would commit one light division. In the
right center IV Corpswould havetwoinfantry divisions. The XVI
Corps,consisting of two Panzer and twoinfantry divisions wouldbe
committed north of the IV Corps. The XI Corps would be on the
left of theTenthArmy front withtwoinfantry divisions. The XIV
Corps,withtwomotorized infantry divisions,andtwolight divisions
would form the army reserve. The XIV Corps wasdisposed on the
armynorthflank,onelight division waslocatedbehindtheXI Corps,
and onelight division to the rear of the junction of the IV and XV
Corps.
Ontheright of Army Group South,Fourteenth Army wouldcom-
mit the XVIII Corps,made up of onemountain, onelight, and one
Panzer division. Several Slovak battalions would supplement Ger-
man reconnaissance units on the extreme right flank and capture a
number of villages in Poland that the Slovaks claimed astheir own.
TheXVII Corpswould form thecenter of theFourteenth Army line
with its three infantry divisions. The left of the Fourteenth Army
would beheld bythe VIII Corps,with onePanzer and two infantry
divisions. The XXII Corps and two mountain divisions were still
arrivingandwouldjointheattack later.
Army Group South reserves would comprise oneinfantry division
of the VII Corps, and five other infantry divisions. The reserve
corpswould follow Tenth Army inthe attack,behind theXV Corps.
Two of the other five infantry divisions would be disposed at the
junction of Eighth and Tenth Armies, one would be disposed in the
areaofTenthArmy,andtw
r
oatthejunctionofTenthand Fourteenth
armies.
In the west, Army Group C had been mobilized and become op-
erational at thesametime asthe army groupsonthe Polish frontier,
with Generaloberst Hitter von Leeb, recalled from retirement, in
command. Twelve active, 6 second-wave, 12 third-wave and three
fourth-wave divisions comprised Leeb's defense force, supported by
the Second Air Force in the north and the Third Air Force in the
south. This would hardly suffice to hold a general attack by the
French Army, supported by the British Army and Eoyal Air Force.
However,eventhough the OKH planners didnotshareHitler'sopti-
mism and were convinced France and Britain would declare war in
the event of an attack on Poland, they felt that the Allies would be
besitant to attack and that the Wehrmacht would be able to achieve
aquickvictoryinPoland. TheWestwalldefenses,meanwhile,would
77 THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS
discourage any British and French offensive until German troops
couldbeshifted from Polandtothewest.
On the eve of operations, Germany had all of its divisions under
arms. The bulk of the Army, including all of Germany's panzer,
motorized, and light divisions, was concentrated in the east. In the
west, a minimum force, all infantry divisions, held the Westwall
against apossibleFrench and British attack. The remainder of the
German ground force, afew reserveinfantry divisions,wasscattered
aboutintheinteriorof theEeich.
The strength figures for the German ground forces in the east in-
cluded630,000meninArmyGroupNorthand886,000inArmy Group
South. Of the Army Group North total, 320,000 were in the Third
Army and 230,000in Fourth Army; the remaining 80,000comprised
armygrouptroopsorunitsretainedunderthedirectcontrolof OKH.
Of the Army Group South total, 180,000 were with Eighth Army,
300,000 with Tenth Army, and 210,000 with Fourteenth Army; the
remaining196,000werearmygrouporOKHtroops.
11
Nounforseen incidentsarosetodisrupt preparations. Theweather
remained clear as the troops closed in their final assembly areas for
theattack.
11
 Ibid.,p. 44.

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D.C. 20402 . Government Printing Office Washington.S. 20 -255 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) BY ROBERT M.DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PAMPHLET NO.Price $9. U.20 Stock Number 008-020-00555-0 . KENNEDY MAJOR. INFANTRY UNITED STATES ARMY HAY 1 9 1996 DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY APRIL 1956 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents.

D. see SR 320-50-1. DISTRIBUTION : Active Army: Gen Staff. Brucker. United /States Army. [AG385 (14Sep55)] By Order of Wilber M. Official: JOHN A. General. KLEIN. United States Army.DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WASHINGTON 25. Chief of Staff. units—same as Active Army. Secretary of the Army: MAXWELL D. Major General. C . 18 April 1956 Department of the Army Pamphlet 20-255 is published for the information and use of all concerned. The Adjutant General. U8AR: Same as Active Army. For explanation of abbreviations used. DA (5) Armies (5) SS. TAYLOR. . DA (5) Div (1) Adm & Tec Svc Bd (1) Gen & Br Svc Sen (5) Hq CONARC (25) PMST (1) OS Maj Comd (10) Mil Dist (1) MDW (1) NO: State AG (1) . DA (5) Corps (3) TecSvc.

Department of the Army Pamphlets Published in the GERMAN REPORT SERIES No. Title Publibation date 20-201 20-202 20-230 20-231 20-232 20-233 20-234 20-236 20-240 20-242 20-243 20-260 20-261a 20-269 20-290 20-291 20-292 Military Improvisations During the Russian Campaign German Tank Maintenance in World War II Russian Combat Methods in World War II Combat in Russian Forests and Swamps Airborne Operations: A German Appraisal German Defense Tactics Against Russian Break-ThroughsOperations of Encircled Forces—German Experience in Russia Night Combat Rear Area Security in Russia—The Soviet Second Front Behind the German Lines German Armored Traffic Control During the Russian Cam­ paign German Antiguerrilla Operations in the Balkins (1941­ 1944) The German Campaigns in the Balkans (Spring 1941) The German Campaign in Russia—Planning and Operations (1940-1942) Small Unit Actions During the German Campaign in Russia Terrain Factors in the Russian Campaign Effects of Climate on Combat in European Russia Warfare in the Far North Aug Jun Nov. Jul Oct Oct 51 54 50 51 51 51 Jan 52 Jun 53 Jul 51 Jun 52 Aug 54 Nov 53 Mar 55 Jul Jul Feb Oct 53 51 52 51 iii .

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in Finland. in Norway. They will also prove of value to all who are interested in military affairs. in Russia. These campaign studies are being made available to the General Staff and to the Army schools and colleges as reference works.FOREWORD The Office of the Chief of Military History of the Department of the Army is currently preparing a series of studies on German mili­ tary operations in World War II against forces other than those of the United States. and in France and the Low Countries. These monographs will cover German operations in the Balkans. . The brief Polish-German struggle in late 1939 was the first of these operations in order of occurrence.

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These former German officers included Generaloberst Franz Haider. and to fill gaps in the official records. The complete destruc­ tion of the Polish state and the removal of Poland from the map of eastern Europe were grim portents of the fate of the vanquished in the new concept of total war. Since no other pamphlet in the series will discuss the expansion of the German Armed Forces and the various diplomatic events that preceded the outbreak of hostilities. and such Polish accounts as were available. Poland also formed the testing ground for new theories on the use of armored forces and close air support of ground troops. Chief of the Army General Staff through the period of the Polish Campaign. the Balkan states. Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth. contacts with the Red Army at division and lower vii . An enormous source of German material exists on this opening cam­ paign of World War II. The replies and comments of these surviving key participants are referred to in the footnotes and are available in the author's file in the Office of the Chief of Military History for study by interested researchers. Department of the Army. Europe. monographs prepared by a number of former German officers for the Historical Division. these are included in part one of the study. Two preliminary drafts of the study and a series of questionnaires were distributed to a committee of former German general officers for reply and comment on their part in planning and operations.PREFACE The German attack on Poland precipitated World War II. Time and personnel considerations presently make impossible any detailed study of such significant features of the Polish Campaign as German experiences with irregulars and guerrillas in the rear areas. based on source material from captured records currently in the custody of The Adjutant General. General der Infanterie Guenther Blumentritt. The lessons learned by the German Army in its operations in Poland were put to use in the later campaigns against the western Allies. United States Army. The purpose of this campaign study is to provide the United States Army with a factual account of German military operations against Poland. General der Artillerie Walter Warlimont. making the Polish campaign one of particular significance to the student of the 1939^5 conflict. and General der Infanterie Kurt von Tippels­ kirch. and the Soviet Union.

Robert M. Office of the Chief of Military History. under the direction of the chief of the Special Studies Division. . This vast store of unexplored docu­ ments and untranslated books. Appreciation is expressed to all who participated in the preparation of this study.Vlii PREFACE command levels. This study was written by Maj. and the establishment of a security force to police the occupied area and provide a buffer against a possible Soviet attack from the rear while the main German armies were engaged in the 1940 campaign in western Europe. and other writings still presents a challenge to the serious researcher who desires to obtain more com­ prehensive information on the matters which could be touched upon only briefly in the scope of this study. articles. Kennedy.

1-22 August The Pact with the Russians "'I 1 1 2 3 4 6 8 8 9 10 14 16 17 20 22 22 25 26 28 31 33 35 36 38 38 39 41 42 44 PART TWO. THE BACKGROUND OF THE CONFLICT Chapter 1. 1939-40 Diplomatic Developm ents. German Military Developments to March 1939 The Treaty Restrictions The Reichswehr The Army The Navy The Covert Air Force The National Socialists in Power The Wehrmacht The New Army Expansion The Westwall Mobilization Divisional Organization Command Organization The New Navy The New Air Force The German Military Situation in March 1939 3. April-July Events. Polish-German Relations to March 1939 General The Versailles Treaty and the Rise of Hitler The Polish-German Nonaggression Pact The Austrian and Czechoslovak Crises The Revival of German Claims against Poland 2. The Polish State and the Armed Forces Government Population and Economy Topography The Armed Forces General The Army The Navy Defense Plan and Dispositions 47 47 47 48 48 50 50 51 54 55 ix . POLAND'S POSITION AND GERMANY'S PREPARATIONS FOR THE ATTACK Chapter 4. Events Leading up to the Outbreak of Hostilities General The Annual Military Directive.CONTENTS PART ONE.

7-17 September Eighth Army Tenth Army Fourteenth Army 8. 1-3 September The Opening Battles Third Army Operations. Attack and Breakthrough 78 78 The Opening of the Attack Army Group North. 1-6 September The Advance to the Warta (Warthe) The Advance across the Polish Plain and into Galicia The Air Force and Navy 7. The End of the Campaign 91 92 92 94 98 99 100 101 103 106 109 General The Battles for Warsaw and Modlin Early Surrender Overtures Initial German Attacks The Eighth Army Attack The Capture of Modlin Gdynia and Hela The Evacuation of Eastern Poland The Army Group North Area The Army Group South Area Results of the Campaign 9. The Destruction of the Polish Army 78 79 79 80 81 82 83 83 85 88 91 General Army Group North. OPERATIONS IN POLAND Chapter 6. 2 September Fourth Army Operations. 4-17 September Operations in Western Poland Operations in Eastern Poland Operations at Brzesc The Intervention of the Russians Army Group South. The Fourth Partition and German Occupation of Po­ land 122 124 126 . The German Plan and Preliminary Movements page 58 April-May 1939 The OKH Operation Order of 15 June 1939 The OKW Timetable Logistical Support The Navy and Air Force The Concentration of Forces The Period of Indecision 58 60 63 64 68 70 73 PART THREE. The Intervention of the Soviet Union 109 109 109 110 111 113 114 116 117 118 120 122 Diplomatic Negotiations The Red Army's Intervention Forces 10. 2 September The Junction of Third and Fourth Armies Army Group South.X CONTENTS PART TWO—Continued Chapter 5.

General Reference Map faces p. Typical Barracks of the New Wehrmacht Mark II Tank Mark III Tank Mark IV Tank Artist's Conception of German Pocket Battleship The U-25 The Messerschmitt 109. 2. 7. 3 September 1939 inside back cover Army Group South. 4. 1939 following p. 3. 1 Eastern Frontier Changes Following World War I 4 The Wehrkreis Organization. Standard German Fighter The Junkers 87 (Stuka) Dive Bomber The Battleship Schleswig-Holstein Polish Fortification Near Mlawa The Tczew (Dirschau) Bridge Destroyed by the Poles German 20-ton Ponton Bridge Across the Vistula at Gniew (Mewe) German Regimental Command Post in Poland German Infantry on the March in Poland 12 23 29 29 29 34 34 34 34 80 80 80 80 87 87 . 1939 32 The Polish Ground and Air Force (Peacetime Establishment) following p. The Organization of the Reichsheer. 1934.CONTENTS Xi PART THREE—Continued Chapter 1 1 . 14. 58 The Concentration of German Forces following p. 9. 17 September 1939 inside back cover ILLUSTRATIONS 1. 1 September 1939 inside back cover Army Group North. 1921 -_ following p. 12. 1. 13. 32 The Polish Defense Plan and Estimate of German Strength in the Frontier Area. 9. August 1939 following p.. 70 German Dispositions and Objectives for the First Day. 2. 56 The German Concept of Ground Operations following p. Conclusions General Lessons Learned by the Wehrmacht Materiel Organization Equipment Training and Tactics Air Support Bibliographical Note Chronology of Events--Rank Designations of German General and Flag Officers Page 130 131 131 133 133 134 135 136 138 141 CHARTS No. 8. 5. 5. 1 September 1939 following p. 3. 4. 6 September 1939 inside back cover German Situation. 7. as of 0445. 10. 15. 74 MAPS 1. 4. Troops of the Reichsheer's 11th Infantry Regiment in Training. 3. 6. 2. 8. 10 The Wehrmacht and the Armed Services High Commands. 50 German Order of Battle. 11. 10. 6.

1954). German 75mm Infantry Gun Firing on Target Near Warsaw 20. Julius Weber. Gebirgsjaeger (Bad Nauheim. Figure 1—Mr. CONTENTS Page 16. Polish Light Tank Disabled by Antitank Fire near Warsaw 17. AH others are from Department of Defense files. Polish Garrison of Warsaw Marching out of City After the Surrender __ Credit. 106 106 111 111 119 . German Antiaircraft Gun Supporting Advancing Infantry Along the Bzura River 18. German 150mm Howitzer Firing on Warsaw 19. Figure 2—Qen Hubert Lanz.xii No.

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GENERAL REFERENCE MAP L I T H U A N I A EAST P R U S S I A Vienna A U S T R I A .

Nationalist aspirations were not extinguished. set up a Polish Government on 5 November 1916 in an effort to gain the favor of the nationalists. the government organized two years before by the German occupation authorities. The Allies announced as one of their war aims the reestablishment of an independent Polish state. Pilsudski was invested ith the powers of a military dictator and immediately invited Pader­ r ski and other Polish leaders in exile to return. A coalition govern­ nt was formed under Paderewski on 17 January 1919. and Russia in three partitions of 1772. Langer. and 1795. under Ignace Paderewski. and determined fac­ tions within Poland's former frontiers and in exile waged a persistent struggle for the restoration of independence in the century and a quarter that followed. Encyclopedia of World History (Boston. The Regency Council promptly called upon Jozef Pilsudski. . the strongest exile group. Jnless otherwise noted. Polish support was sought by both the Allies and the Central Powers in World War I.PART ONE THE BACKGROUND OF THE CONFLICT Chapter 1 Polish-German Relations to March 1939 General The Polish state temporarily ceased to exist when the territories of the once-powerful Kingdom of Poland were divided among Prussia. 1952). occupying the country with the Austrians after driving out the Russian armies. and the Polish National Committee in Paris. 1793. William L. The Polish Republic was proclaimed by nationalist leaders at Warsaw on 3 November 1918. Austria. the military leader who had led Polish troops in Austrian service against the Russians. The Ger­ mans. Executive power was assumed by the Regency Council. to assume the leadership of the new republic. The Allied offer had a greater appeal to the Poles. identi­ fied itself with the Allies. as it became obvious that the Central Powers were about to suffer a military collapse. the material for this chapter was taken from.

to represent the Free City in foreign affairs. and to keep a small military force in the harbor area. disrupted much of the Reich's economy. In 1933 Adolf Hitler became chancellor and brought a new revolutionary system of government to the Reich. at the expense of the prewar Reich. Germain between the Allies and Austria-Hungary on 10 September 1919. Reconstruction and economic recovery in Poland were to take far longer than was the case with most other World War I participants. Poland was permitted to control Danzig's customs.~\ Germany was preoccupied with internal troubles and reduced to the position of an inferior power in the several years that followed. with a League of Nations commissioner and its own elected legislature. A Polish-French treaty of alliance on 19 February 1921 was designed to maintain the territorial arrangements that had been made and to provide France with an eastern counterweight to future Ger­ man expansion. and the German and Austrian occupation forces had systematically exploited the country in the several years that followed. ended a successful campaign by the newly established state against Soviet Russia and determined Poland's eastern and northeastern frontiers. its livestock decimated. . Despite heated German protests. but the poles secured several of the more desirable areas by force in a sudden rising on 18 August 1919. The Versailles Treaty and the Rise of Hitler The territorial clauses of the treaty between Germany and the Allies provided Poland with a land corridor to the Baltic Sea and the site of the future port of Gdynia. The end of the war found Poland's factories destroyed or idle. Later plebiscites divided other areas along lines corresponding to the wishes of the local popula­ tion. The Reich was beset with inflation until 1923 and plagued with un­ employment in the general depression after 1929.2 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) The new Polish state commenced its existence in the midst of ruin and poverty. Danzig. and its southern frontier by the Treaty of St. and the nation's economy in a state of chaos. these areas were incorporated into Poland. and placed thousands of Germans in the Corridor within the borders of the new Polish state. 18 March 1921. Poland's northwestern and western borders werefixedby the Treaty of Versailles between Germany and the Allies on 28 June 1919. The Treaty of Riga (Latvia). a major port at the mouth of the Vistula and populated almost completely by Germans. was made a free city. Its territory had been the scene of heavy fighting be­ tween the Central Powers and the Russians in the opening stages of World War I. A pleb­ iscite was to be held to determine the frontier in parts of Upper Silesia. This arrangement isolated the province of East Prussia from Germany. [See map 2.

An Air Force had been organized. declaring it instrumental in easing tension between the two countries. Britain and France were reluctant to engage in an armed conflict with Germany to compel compliance with the territorial changes made at the time of Allied victory which were not absolutely essential to their own vital interests. A dictatorship was created and opposition suppressed. and his foreign policy became a game of bluff. The agreement was to be in effect for 10 years. On 30 January 1937 Hitler reaffirmed the importance of the PolishGerman pact to the assembled Reichstag. However. An extensive armaments program. Hitler claimed that he had entered into the pact to prevent the crystallization of bad feelings over the boundaries into a traditional enmity between the Germans and Poles. Their armed forces had not been modernized or equipped with great num­ bers of the latest weapons. The former Allies presented an obstacle to whatever plans Hitlet may have had to recover the territories taken from Germany. France had the largest reservoir of trained manpower in western Europe by reason of its conscription program. The Polish-German Nonaggression Pact On 26 January 1934 the Polish and German Governments announced the signing of a pact binding both to the arbitration of differences. Hitler estimated correctly this sentiment of the former Allied nations. new .POLISH-GERMAN RELATIONS TO MARCH 1939 3 Hitler's National Socialist regime quickly assumed complete control over Germany's national life and future. France had made de­ fensive arrangements with Romania and the postwar states of Czecho­ slovakia and Yugoslavia. But to minimize the risks of an armed conflict while he executed his first designs in Europe. ex­ pansion of the small armed force permitted the Reich under the treaty. in addition to its alliance with Poland. Britain had the preponderance of seapower and could rely upon the population and material resources of its world-wide empire for support. Moreover. and public construction work brought Germany a measure of economic recovery and improved the country's military posture. and Hitler desired to better these relations in the interests of peace. since making the original agreement. Germany had reintroduced conscription and greatly expanded its Army. the German dictator felt it necessary to effect a rapproachment with Poland. unless renounced 6 months in advance by either of the contracting parties. but these countries collectively controlled an industrial and military base stronger than Germany's. Germany soon regained a semblance of the position it had held as a European power before its defeat in 1918. Relations with Poland had been bad at the time the National Socialist government was established. In his justifi­ cation of the agreement to the German people.

both soon to feel the pressure of Hitler's demands. Dr. he was fully occupied in his machinations to gain control of Austria and of Czecho­ slovakia's Sudetenland area that had been part of Austria prior to World War I and was inhabited by a German-speaking population. was forced to take the National Socialist Dr. and an underseas fleet created. Germany had remilitarized the Khineland in March of the preceding year. The Austrian and Czechoslovak Crises Hitler gave the Poles no cause to doubt his intentions through the remainder of 1937 and into late 1938 During that time. Kurt Schuschnigg. and National Socialist agitators were stirring up trouble in Austria and Czechoslovakia. Arthur Seyss-Inquart into his cabinet as Minister of the Interior. giving Seyss-Inquart control of the police.THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) EASTERN FRONTIER CHANGES FOLLOWING WORLD WAR I Areas ceded by G < C Z E C H O S L O V A K I A warships constructed. The Austrian Chancellor. .

000. resigned in favor of Seyss-Inquart. the alternative undoubtedly would have been war. The Republic of Austria was dissolved and its territory incorporated into the Reich." By the provisions of the agreement.POLISH-GERMAN RELATIONS TO MARCH 1939 5 Hitler accelerated his war of nerves. On 29 September the former Allies and the pro-German Italians met with Hitler at Munich to hear his claims. On 2 November Hungary took 5. there was another deep encroachment on the state's sovereignty and territorial integrity.000. Konrad Henlein's Sudeten German Party within the country claimed to represent Czechoslovakia's three million ethnic Germans and clamored for autonomy and union with the Reich. Tiso and a number of other leaders were quite frank about their close ties with Germany. and Germany took control of areas with a total popu­ lation of 3. seized by Czechoslovakia at the time Czechoslovakia and Poland were formed.000 of mixed Czech and Polish origin. with a popula­ tion of 1. accepted the stipu­ lations laid down by Hitler.500. Polish troops moved into the Teschen region on 2 October.000 square miles of southern Slovakia. Within Czechoslovakia itself. 576-178 0-75-2 . The pact was hailed in the west for attaining "peace in our time. and the name of the State was changed to Czecho-Slovakia. A strong separa­ tist movement in Slovakia forced the government to grant autonomy to the Slovaks. an area Hungary had lost to Czechoslovakia in 1919. The Czecho­ slovak government. Hitler's threatening attitude caused the Prague government to order full mobilization in September 1938. The annexation of Austria increased considerably the German threat to Czechoslovakia. Territorial losses and establishment of a large autonomous area within a weak federal system combined to make Czecho-Slovakia a rump state. and in March 1938 Dr. Schusch­ nigg. but an agreement Avas reached granting the German leader's demands. and German troops marched into the country. Scheduled plebiscites were not held. Fortifications which would have made a German invasion difficult if not impossible at the time were turned over to the German Army intact. Czechoslovak forces evacuated the Sudeten areas between 1 and 10 October. War appeared imminent.000 were Czechs. almost powerless to repel inva­ sion. of whom 700. Czechoslovakia was not represented at the meeting.000. Both Polish and Hungarian acquisitions were condoned by Germany and Italy. without British or French support. British and French attempts to enlist the support of the Soviet Union were unavailing. reluctant to bring on war. urged by Britain and France. taking control of 400 square miles of territory and a population of 240. under Joseph Tiso. Poland took advantage of the opportunity to gain the remainder of the Teschen industrial area.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. and agreed to grant German troops passage to certain frontier areas. were occupied by German troops on 15 March. In return for these concessions. and President Hacha was summoned to Berlin and induced to place Czecho-Slovakia under German protection. A day later Tiso requested that Hitler also place Slovakia under German protection. the Reich Foreign Minister.6 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) The Revival of German Claims Against Poland The Czechoslovak question settled temporarily. port. This arrangement would enable Germany to use Slovak territory as a base of operations against Poland from the south in the event of hostilities. hitherto an advocate of appeasement. For the first time Hitler had gone be­ yond his irredentist claims and swallowed up an area with a predomi­ nantly non-German population. Poland was also to permit the construction of an extraterritorial road and railroad across the Corridor. The German proposals involved the return of Danzig to Germany. The establishment of the protectorate and Hitler's proclamation in Prague that Bohemia and Moravia belonged to the German lebens­ raum (living space) made obvious to the world the extent of Na­ tional Socialist ambitions. made a series of requests that reopened old Polish-German wounds and precipitated a new crisis. Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. Pilsudski had warned his countrymen years earlier that the German attitude toward Danzig would be an indication of Germany's true intentions toward Poland and Polish public opinion would never condone the surrender of Poland's sovereignty in part of the Corridor. stated two days later that this latest acquisition had raised the question of German . Tiso was supported by Hitler. Hitler was free to turn his attention to Poland. A German official was appointed Protector of Bohemia and Moravia. Germany would guarantee the Polish-German frontiers and extend the nonaggression pact as long as 25 years. all that remained of the truncated Czechoslovak state. with President Hacha retained as the nominal Chief of State. The diplomatic world was not surprised when Poland firmly rejected the German offer. with Poland assured railway. In March 1939 a series of significant events in Czecho-Slovakia strengthened the German position in the controversy with Poland. and other economic facilities. Bohemia and Moravia. These events began with the dismissal of Tiso from office by the Prague government for allegedly scheming to take Slovakia out of the federal union. Slovakia was granted full independence and Carpatho-Ukraine was annexed by Hungary. On 24 October 1938 Joachim von Rib­ bentrop.

parti­ ally resolving a pressing problem for the conduct of military opera­ tions by the German Armed Forces. for their part. On 23 March 1939 Lithuania acceded to German demands for the Memelland. were determined to reject all German demands. The issue of peace or war was left for Germany and Poland to decide. The following day Germany and Romania concluded an economic agreement whereby the Germans would acquire almost the entire product of Romania's extensive oil industry. since it was apparent to them that any concession would mean the fate that had befallen Czechoslovakia. a small strip of former Reich territory along Lithuania's southwestern frontier. This was the state of relations between Germany and Poland at the end of March 1939. and Britain was to act as spokesman for the two nations. Hitler would not permit much further delay in arriving at a solution of the territorial controversy favorable to Germany. . On 31 March Chamberlain addressed the British House of Com­ mons. From this point British determination to contain Hitler gained support. stating that Britain and France would assist Poland in the event Poland were attacked. The British and French Governments had reached an understanding. The Poles.POLISH-GERMAN RELATIONS TO MARCH 1939 7 domination of the world.

Chapter 2 German Military Developments to March 1939 The Treaty Restrictions The military clauses of the Versailles Treaty in 1919 limited the German armed forces establishment to a small organization of longterm volunteers. 12 destroyers. 2 cruisers. including 1. and 12 torpedo boats were permitted the fleet. including 4. No troops were to be permitted in a demili­ tarized zone extending 50 kilometers (approximately 31 miles) east of the Rhine. incapable of carrying out any aggressive action outside the Reich. were not permitted. A further restriction limited naval guns to a maximum of 280 mm (approximately 11 inches). in East Prussia. and major offensive weapons.000 men. tanks. such as aircraft. The new German military organization could therefore be little more than a police and coastal patrol force.000 tons was prohibited.500 officers.000 men. 6 light cruisers. The building of ships displacing over 10. 4 destroy­ ers. Conscription and universal training were pro­ hibited. and sub­ marines. Noncommissioned officers and privates were to be enlisted for 12 years. Even as a defensive organization. and officers were to be required to serve for a period of 25 years.000 of­ ficers. with the exception of a few fixed guns of heavier caliber in the old fortress of Koenigsberg. and 4 torpedo boats in reserve. The Navy was authorized 15. The detailed organization and arma­ ment of all units formed had first to be approved by the Allies. The Army was allowed a total of 100. Arms and munitions industries and factories producing military equipment were reduced in number to the minimum essential to main­ tain authorized stocks. These various requirements and the prohibition against conscription and universal training effectively prevented the formation of a reserve of any size. A further stipulation by the Allies provided that no more than 5 percent of the officers and enlisted personnel could be released yearly by reason of termination of their period of service. with 2 battleships. Six obsolete battleships. Allied control commissions were to be allowed to in­ . the postwar armed forces would re­ quire considerable reinforcement to protect the Reich in the event of war with one or more of its stronger neighbors. No field pieces larger than 105 mm were to be used.

but emphasis soon came to be placed on the procurement of younger men. The Reichswehr 1 It devolved upon the German Republic under President Ebert to create as effective an armed force as possible within the framework of the restrictions imposed by the Allies. the material in this section was taken from Die Reichswehr (Cologne. Justic. so the senior officers of the two services held positions analogous to that of Chiefs of Staff. and numerous incentives were offered in order to acquire a high type of personnel. . responsible directly to the Minis­ ter of Defense. Its two services were the Reichsheer (Army) and the Reichsmarine (Navy). the military leaders proceeded to develop an elite force. Ebert called upon Generalleutnant Hans von Seeckt to head a commis­ sion to study the matter and submit recommendations on which the organization of the postwar force could be based. Strict discipline gained the Reichsioehr the respect of the civilian population. The predominant part played by the land service gave many the impression that the Reichswehr and Army were identical. Enlisted pay was raised and barracks conditions were improved. howevier. was called the Reichswehr (Reich Defense Force). a cabinet officer and coequal of the Ministers of the Interior. and relations with the local inhabitants in gar­ rison and port areas were usually excellent. and the tiny Navy received little attention. and the new organization. was normally exercised by the Minister of Defense. Band I. A large number of officers and noncommissioned officers with World War I experience were available to command and cadre the small postwar force at first. In practice.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 9 spect arms factories and the Army and Navy for compliance with the treaty and the Reich defense laws enacted in conformity with its provisions. operations. created by the Defense Law of 23 March 1921. 1937). II. with some modifications and changes. and training. Handbuch der Neuzeitlichen Wehrivissenschaften. a temporary mili­ tary organization existed under a reichstag law of 6 March 1919. Upon discharge Reichs­ wehr personnel were given priority in obtaining civilian positions 1 Unless otherwise noted. the Chiefs of Staff directed planning. Commanders for the Army and Navy were prohibited by the Ver­ sailles Treaty. and other members of the Presi­ dent's official family. The nominal Commander in Chief of the Reichswehr was the Presi­ dent. and IV (Berlin and Leipzig. Seeckt's recommendations were adopted. Forced to make do with what they had. and the Minister of Defense restricted his activities to representing the Reichsivehr before the Reichstag and performing similar ministerial functions. Actual authority. Foreign Affairs. and H. 1933) . Meanwhile. Franke. III.

though personnel were rotated to sea and shore assignments on a regular schedule. Another important morale factor for the Eeichsheer was the policy of recruitment on a local basis. though this did not preclude General Staff appointments at lower echelons of command. The tactical forces of the Reichsheer comprised seven small infantry and three cavalry divisions. a privileg the 43d Infantry had won by capturing a dog-drawn drum from the Austrians at the Battle of Koeniggratz in 1866. pp. the 1st Company of the 9th Infantry took charge of the battle flags of the 1st Prussian Foot Guards. and cere­ monies held before it on official holidays. The headquarters of the Army Command was in Berlin. which had been disbanded in compliance with the Versailles Treaty. Survivors of the old units and the families of members who had been killed in battle were contacted and invited to the memorial services. The Reichswehr adopted the traditions of the disbanded units of the old imperial forces. Men with more than 10 years service could receive training for a civilian occupation while still in uniform. An­ other effective means of promoting organization spirit was the assignment of a band to every battalion-sized and larger unit. 1954). Band I. Each unit of battalian size or larger had its permanent station and recruited the bulk of its personnel from that general region. or were granted financial support up to a maxi­ mum of three years while readjusting to civilian life.10 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) with the government. Das Heer Ms sum Kriegs­ beginn (Darmstadt. the material on the organization of the Reichsheer was taken from Burkhart Mueller-Hillebrand. A memorial honor­ ing the parent unit was installed in each barracks square. with fif ers and drummers down to the company. the former numbered 1 through 7 and 2 Unless otherwise noted. A similar arrangement for the Reichsmarine would have been impracticable. Das Heer (1933-45). Personnel assignments were relatively stable and individuals remained in units composed largely of men from their home areas. e. Tradition was carried to an extreme with the 1st Infantry. 14-20. Where possible. which adopted the old 43 d Infantry's traditions—the bass drum in the regimental band was carried in parades on a cart drawn by a St. The most important of the five sections of his staff was the Truppenamt. The Army 2 The Chief of Staff of the Army was known as the Chief of the Army Command {Chef der Heeresleitung). older officers and men still in the military service were assigned to the Reichswehr unit which was to carry their old unit's tradition. g. Bernard dog. an all-encompassing organi­ zation with many of the functions of the Imperial General Staff. .

.

CHART I . 1921 ARMY COMMAND (Berlin) TERRITORIAL (Wehrkreis) ORGANIZATION TACTICAL FORCES GPHO I (Berlin) 6P HQ 2 Kossel] I (Koenigsberg)' II (Stettin)­ in (Berlin) X X I (Frankfurt -am -Oder) IV (Dresden)­ 2(Bres1ou) V (Stuttgart) VI (Moenster) VII (Munich) 11 X 3 (Weimar .ORGANIZATION OF THE REICHSHEER.

their staffs also functioned in two capacities. Former tank officers were assigned to the supply and transportation services. signal. though their headquarters were situated in one Wehrkreis or the other. the numbers in each case being identical. e.] The divisions were controlled by two Gruppenkommandos (group commands). the divisions in southern and western Germany. The Wehrkreise were charged with recruiting. and general housekeeping functions. transportation. The strength of the infantry division was approximately 12. Gruppenkommando 2. with three infantry regiments. who became the first Chief of Staff and remained in that position until 1926. Trucks were made into mock tanks for training purposes by the addition of cardboard and wooden superstructures. controlled the divisions in northern and eastern Germany. The infantry divisions. Such passive air defense measures as camouflage were stressed. and covered the entire territory of the Reich. and medical battalions. the 7th Infantry Division was composed of Bavarians. the 7th Infantry Division was assigned to Wehrkreise VII. The area commands of the Reichsheer. the 3d Cavalry Division. in Berlin. and 180flyingofficers of World War I were distributed throughout the . Emphasis was then placed on field training. The cavalry di­ vision had six small cavalry regiments and an artillery battalion. an artillery regiment of three light battalions. The commanders of the infantry divisions had a dual responsibility. the capital of Bavaria. The two group com­ mands were responsible to the Chief of Staff of the Reichsheer.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 11 the latter 1 through 3. and a total strength of 5. e. were seven in number. g.300 men. e. The time spent on the school of the soldier and close order drill Avas reduced once discipline had been established. [See chart 1. maknig the group headquarters purely tactical commands. Seeckt believed that the mobility lost in the trench warfare of World War I could be regained by the infantry-artillery team with tank and air support. with head­ quarters in Munich. in Kassel. logistical support of tactical units within their areas. were drawn almost entirely from the Wehrkreise in which they had their home stations. The training of the Reichsheer was one of the most important im­ prints left by General von Seeckt. Gruppenkommando 1. since they were territorial commanders as well. known as Wehrkreise.000 men. engineer. The three cavalry divisions. g. and small reconnaissance. with headquarters at Weimar in Thuringia. The seven infantry divisions were distributed one to each of the seven Wehrkreise. designated by Roman numerals I through VII. g. in accordance with the policy of local recruitment. were drawn from a wider area. included one cavalry regiment composed of Bavarians. The Wehrkreise were also responsible directly to the Chief of Staff of the Reichsheer.

12 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) Army in various other capacities. artillery. during Seeckt's tenure. Nevertheless. To supplement the efforts of the Reichsheer. and a number of future army and army group commanders and staffs had the oppor­ tunity to experiment with new theories and techniques. local militia were frequently organized for short periods . but the headquarters functioned as in a tactical situa­ tion. Many of the deficiencies of the Imperial Army's communication system were corrected in the course of these exercises. determined block of 100. giving credence to the belief that the Army represented the German nation and not the administra­ tion in office. Consequently. An icy. the Reichsheer was committed to securing the internal stability of the Reich and maintaining law and order. Troops of the Reichsheer's 11th Infantry Regiment in training. aloof individual. and engineers participated. A core of 3. all available signal troops. 1934­ General von Seeckt's policy required military personnel to refrain from engaging in political activities. and a skeleton force of infantry.000 armed men and the ultimate government force. the dispersal of units in garrisons from East Prussia to Bavaria. Seeckt spoke for the Army as a solid. In the first several years following its organization. The small number of troops. and budgetary considerations restricted maneuvers and large-scale exercises. later 15 air specialists was assigned to the headquarters of the Army Command. Troops were present only in sufficient numbers to estab­ lish front lines. Figure 1. Commanders and staffs. there was con­ siderable deference by political leaders to the Reichsheer. to train com­ manders and staffs from battalion level upwards a type of realistic war game exercise was adopted.

as time passed. financed in large part by such industrial firms as the Junkers Aircraft Company. "Reiehswehr und Rote Armee. so German designers prepared blue­ prints for various new guns and other armament. these soon had to be disbanded upon the insistence of the Allied control commissions. a small army air force. Arms and equipment would be avail­ able for approximately two-thirds of this force. I (1953). By 1924 the situation in Germany had settled to the extent that the Reichsheer could perform its mission without assistance. . Should it be necessary for Germany to mobilize. the Russians permitted the German Army to test weapons and equipment and to train cadres unhampered by the Allied control commissions." Vierteljahrshefte fuer Zeitegeschichte. and the Reichsheer organ­ ized additional signal and antiaircraft units and improved some of its artillery and other weapons. and the infantry regiment would be equipped with antitank guns. In exchange for technical advice and the services of German experts. and a tank battalion. Significant evasions of the treaty terms involved the establishment of military installations and armaments industries in the Soviet Union. 55 antiaircraft batteries. The plans for an increase in the size 3 Helm Speidel. 33 batteries of heavy artillery. In 1932 further studies were made for a gradual expansion of arms and munitions plant capacities to meet these needs. The German government supported these arrangements. there was no prohibition against drawing up plans for improved weapons. vol. Seeckt and the government leaders also adopted the broadest possible interpretation of the restrictions in­ cluded in the treaty. the 7 infantry divisions of the Reichsheer would be expanded to 21. A medium battalion would be added to the artillery regi­ ment of the infantry division. g. but ammunition would be an insurmountable problem. desperately in need of foreign engineers and technicians to build up their own air and tank arms and their chemical war­ fare service. In addition to its 21 infantry divisions. giving Germany various advantages not intended by the treaty writers. However. p. some restrictions on Germany's armed forces were relaxed or simply not enforced. but these veterans were growing older and the German youth were receiving no military training aside from the Reichsheer and police forces. 18.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 13 of time. the Reichsheer on mobiliza­ tion would comprise 3 or 4 cavalry divisions. The millions of World War I veterans could be drawn upon to fill the 21 divisions.3 By 1930 the Army felt secure enough to proceed with the planning work started by Seeckt and to prepare for an expansion of its small force in the event of war. Gradually. This evasion of the treaty terms was welcomed by the Russians. e.

the problem of retaining highly specialized construction and maintenance personnel and training crews for the German underseas fleet of a later day was not simple of solution. 530-607. . the German submarine engineers strove to simplify gear and equipment. thereby keep­ ing German construction personnel employed and giving submarine engineers the opportunity to experiment with new designs and tech­ nical improvements. T. 1947). A start was made in reviving submarine building in 1922 when the Navy subsidized a Dutch shipbuilding firm in The Hague and staffed it with German submarine engineers.4 Since the Versailles Treaty contained no pro­ hibition against replacing old vessels. with representatives of the Allied control commis­ sions inspecting German port areas and the naval budget. Only a few naval engineers and technicians managed to keep busy in the submarine construction field on contract for the Jap­ anese Government in the immediate postwar period. in order to make easier assembly-line production of craft and the training of crews. In their experimental work. 1919-1935.14 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) of the German forces in the event of mobilization were interrupted by the appointment of Hitler as Chancellor. pp. Memo has been reprinted as Doc 156-c in Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the Interna­ tional Military Tribunal (hereafter cited as /. The Navy The Navy had more difficulty than the Army during this period in evading the treaty terms that reduced it to little more than a coastal patrol force. XXXIV. The 250-ton submarines built and tested in Finland were to become the prototypes of the U-l through U-24-'. M. However. Der Kampf der Marine gegen Versailles. The Naval Command (Marinelietung) found a serious obstacle in those provisions of the Versailles Treaty that prohibited submarines to the German naval service. The building of a Ger­ man-controlled torpedo factory and testing center in Spain allowed German engineers to develop new types of torpedoes. the Navy began a limited building program as soon as the internal political situation of the immediate postwar period had settled. including the electrically controlled torpedo. * The information on the Navy's evasion of the treaty terms is taken from a printed memo by a Capt Schuessler. The purpose of the firm was to build U-boats on contract for foreign governments.) (Nuernberg. new naval con­ struction in German yards had to adhere closely to the limitations set by the Allies. the 750-ton boat built in Spain and eventually sold to the Turkish Government was to become the prototype of the U-25 and U-26. Similar arrangements were made with ship­ building companies in Finland and Spain.

Two new battleships. 6. The two ships of this class were to displace 26. many of the Navy's enterprises became self-sup­ porting. and many of the illegal undertakings being carried on in foreign countries could be shifted back to the Reich. to replace the treaty cruisers. with their build­ ing success abroad. and Graf Spee (not launched until 1934) were built.) Treaty limita­ tions in this case were ignored. Schleisien (1906). A new type of armored cruiser. This warship displaced 10. Taschenbuch der Kriegsflotten (Munich. Eventually.000 tons and mount 11-inch guns. when Hitler became Chancellor.5 Six light cruisers were also constructed or begun during this period. In 1927 a scandal brought a number of these covert naval activities to light and made necessary their curtailment. Two of the armored cruisers had been launched and one of them. The keel for the first of this class was laid down in 1929 and three in all. However. the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. and the component parts for 12 sub­ marines made and stored.) In addition to its activities in submarine construction. . The Emden displaced 5. the Koenigsberg and Karlsruhe (1927). 5 See : Alexander Bredt. the Reichs­ marine also managed to hold its position in the field of fire control equipment. (Thus the first of the new underseas fleet could make its appearance less than six months after Hitler's an­ nouncement of rearmament in 1935. 1935 and 1940). popularly known as the "pocket battleship. Admiral Scheer (1933). the Han­ nover (1905). (Some sources refer to these ships as battle cruisers. and brought back in small lots. assembly lines to build 6 U-boats at a time were constructed at Kiel. Holland. the Allied control cor"1 missions had been withdrawn earlier the same year. and the Nuernburg (not launched until 1934).400 tons.000 tons. the Koeln (1928). Long before the abroga­ tion of the Versailles Treaty.000 tons and had 11-inch guns in its main batteries. By 1933. Work was soon to commence on the two new battleships. the Deutschland. and Schleswig-FIolstein (1906). the remaining five. at the time of the Armistice in 1918. in compliance with the treaty limitations.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 15 The financing of these undertakings was accomplished at first with naval funds diverted for the purpose. to carry out experimental work on fire control and similar equipment unimpeded by the Allied Commissions. were planned. These were the Emden (1925). the Leipzig (1929).9 inch guns in their main armament. A trainload of range-finders and technical equipment had been shipped into hiding at Venlo. Later the Navy purchased a Dutch firm manufacturing precision instruments in Germany. the Reichmarine had a fleet of three old battleships of the pre-World War I period." was developed during the replacement building program. All six cruisers had 5. the Deutsch­ land (1931).

and the sixth was under construction. ceiling. and German aviation reached a high point in technical development. as head of the Air Office. then limited as to weight. German aviation managed to retain its proficiency in building and flying aircraft dur­ ing the period of restrictions that followed. and horsepower. and the direction of German civil aviation in the immediate postwar years was delegated to the Air Office in the Ministry of Trans­ portation. Five of the new light cruisers were al­ ready in service. a World War I flying officer named Brandenburg. or government-sponsored airline. The Covert Air Force Military aviation was prohibited completely under the Versailles Treaty. The small number of Reichswehr officers permitted to taking flying instructions for obtaining weather data or in preparation for the possible use of the Reichswehr in support of the civil police was increased from its' ceiling of 5 per year to 72 in 1926. All of the treaty cruisers had been removed from the active list. Der deutsche Generalstab (Frankfurt). Night and all-weather flying techniques were improved. Twelve de­ stroyers had been built during the preiod 1926-28 to replace worn-out treaty destroyers.6 Restrictions on flight training for military officers were relaxed as time passed. Ger­ man aircraft were already flying on regular schedules to various countries in eastern Europe. Cooperation between the highly centralized German civil aviation organization and the Reichswehr was assured. A series of agreements with members of the former Allies soon permitted the Lufthansa to establish regular routes in western Europe. pp. A small nucleus for the future German Air Force was formed within the Lufthansa organization shortly after its creation. That same year several small corporations were amalga­ mated to form the Lufthansa. The construction of civil aircraft was prohibited until 1922.16 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939} was almost ready for sea. The restrictions on German aircraft construction were also lifted in 1926. The interest of the German public in aviation matters was also kept alive in gliding clubs and similar air-minded associations. speed. . By 1931 the "secret" air force had a total of four fighter. In 1924 General von Seeckt succeeded in engineering the appoint­ ment of his own candidate. Though it operated under a sharp disadvantage. and three bomber squadrons. and from this point on the development of German civil aviation was controlled and directed to a considerable extent by the military. eight observation. 365-66. Flight training was carried on in the four • Walter Goerlltz. and a number of torpedo boats and tenders had been rebuilt and reconditioned.

Some pilots had also been trained or had maintained their skill by flying for the civil airlines in Germany or abroad. the Reichsheer studied the. and assigned missions in support of the ground forces. A party of German aviation experts moved to the Soviet Union in 1924. there were still too few qualified flying personnel available for a new air force at the time Hitler organized his government. many of the German com­ mercial aircraft could be put to immediate military use if necessary. and Dornier had had several successes in building aircraft factories aboard. The Focke-Wulf concern was estab­ lished at Bremen. but tactical training was neces­ sarily restricted.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 17 schools maintained by the Lufthansa. Junkers was developing one of Europe's largest aircraft factories at Dessau. However. As a conse­ quence. With the military influence throughout their development. The National Socialists in Power Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor by the aged President Hindenburg on 30 January 1933 and the Enabling Act of the Reich­ stag on 23 March granted Hitler's National Socialist government dic­ tatorial powers. To raise the Reich to what he considered its right­ ful place among the nations and to accomplish his foreign policy aims. the aircraft and tactics developed in the Soviet Union reflected this thinking.air forces of the other world power and planned measures for de­ fense against possible air attack. Another air installation was later set up in the Caucasus Mountains area. With a little retooling the plants producing sports aircraft and commercial transports could build observation and liaison planes. and bombers. . In Germany. Some progress in German military aviation was also made in the experimental installations in the Soviet Union during this period. Heinkel had a large plant at Warne­ muende. Preoccupied with the defense. the Reichsheer felt that any future air force should be part of the army. The Reich­ nheer concept of the air arm as an adjunct to the Army and the few aircraft types developed as a result of this policy helped little in form­ ing a foundation upon which to organize an air force capable of operating in its proper sphere. Messerschmitt was already produc­ ing light aircraft in quantity. and most of the German military air effort of the period was devoted to fighters and observation work. Only a small number of pilots in all were trained in the Soviet Union. and in 1926 a group of fighter and reconnaissance pilots began training in the vicinity of Moscow. Germany was in a somewhat better position by 1933 insofar as pro­ duction facilities were concerned. troop carriers. A little more work would be necessary to build fighters and attack aircraft.

to form an army more representative of the new National Socialist state. 7 8 Speidel. Goerlitz. On 30 June 1934 Roehm and several score others were executed without legal process of any kind as a threat to the security of the state. p. Hitler had to resolve the growing rift and decided in favor of the Reichsheer. op. . Henceforth. 413-21. 41. The President's death on 2 August 1934 was followed immediately by a major change in this organization of com­ mand. not al­ lowing itself to be bound by such restrictions as the Versailles Treaty. and Hitler became Chief of State and Commander in Chief of its armed forces. All officers and men of the Army and Navy were required to swear a personal oath of obedience to the new Chief of State and Commander in Chief. Hitler made use of this opportunity to rid himself of numerous political opponents as wTell as the embarrassing SA leaders. Hitler then insisted on moving the target date for the expansion of the armed forces up to the autumn of 1934. or Storm Troops. pp. advocated the absorption of the Reichsheer into his own uniformed force. op. which had already been violated repeatedly. a series of conflicts had arisen between the more extreme elements of the National Socialist Party's uniformed Strwnab­ teilungen (SA). cit.7 On 14 October of the same year Hitler's government withdrew from the disarmament conference then in progress and from the League of Nations. dt. This was a radical departure from the practice of swearing allegiance only to the state. The Army was to be increased to 21 divisions and a total strength of 300. Hitler decided to apply these plans to a peacetime expansion instead.8 Hindenburg as President was still the nominal Commander in Chief of the armed forces. as had been done under the German Re­ public.000 men. Hitler put an end to the military and industrial collaboration with the Soviet Union in the summer of 1933. Hitler adopted the title of Fuehrer and Reich Chancellor (Der Fuehrer und Reichskanzler).. A similar oath to the Kaiser had been the custom in imperial times.18 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) Hitler had to have a large and well-equipped armed force and the war industry to support it. and the Reichsheer. Ernst Roehm. Needless to say. but under the pre-World War I system of government the Kaiser had personified the state and people. Ger­ many was to follow a more independent path in foreign affairs. leader of the SA. Hitler's assumption of authority was approved by a national plebiscite on 19 August 1934. The functions of the Presidency were absorbed into the new office. and the office of President was abolished. Planning had already been accomplished for a wartime armed force to be formed by the expansion of the Reichs­ icehr. Meanwhile. At first the year 1937 was set as the target date for the completion of this program..

An adequate population and industrial base existed to support an expanded armed force.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 19 The tempo of rearmament was increased and the strength of the Army rose to 2*0. yet were in the age groups from which a large part of the reserve had to be drawn. According to Milch's calculations. director of the Lufhansa. The Fuehrer took advantage of the occasion to promulgate a new defense law that provided for an increase in the size of the peacetime Army to 12 corps and 36 divisions and reinstituted conscription. Hermann Goering. Political considerations were later to require an acceleration of this program.. 699-703. . Conscription offices proceeded to register the class of 1914 (all men born in that year). which immedi­ ately began a period of rapid expansion. The law of 21 May also set the period of training for conscripts at one year. op. and the large mass of men of the classes 1901 to 1913 and too young to have had service in the Imperial Army. Fifteen months later the expansion of the armed forces would permit the extension of the period of service to two years. those" born in the first few years between 1901 and 1913 were al­ ready becoming a little old to begin military training. Goering selected Erhard Milch. of 21 May 1935. brought the Air Force into the open and established it as a separate service. where the maximum was set at 55 years). a large proportion of these classes received two or three months of training and were assigned to those new reserve divisions which would be utilized for defensive service or in a security capacity. or to various support units. cit. was appointed to the newly created position of Air Minister and assumed control of the covert air force. Few had had any military training. a period of 8 to 10 years would be necessary to build up an adequate nucleus for the new service. This large group of men born in the years 1901 to 1913 were to form a special problem. pp.9 The restriction of conscript training to one year was necessitated by a lack of cadre personnel. The clauses of the Versailles Treaty that had disarmed Germany were publicly denounced by Hitler on 16 March 1935. veterans of World War I still within military age limits (18 to 45 years._Milch did most of the planning work for the new air force. and in­ » Franke. Wehrpolitik und Kriegfuehrung. Hitler's heir-apparent. While Goering occupied himself with political matters. except in East Prussia. A subsequent law. As a result. With his well-known passion for uniforms and display. The Reich's population prior to the annexa­ tion of Austria and the Sudetenland was almost 70 million. Also. Band I. Goering was appointed a General der Infanterie in the ground forces pending the unveiling of the new German Air Force.000 by the end of the year. Wehrgeaetz B. As his deputy. Milch began im­ mediately to increase the production of training aircraft.

The expanding services soon began to suffer acute growing pains. The Truppenamt was re­ established as the Army General Staff..10 Generaloberst Werner von Blomberg. while the Reichsmarine became the Kriegs­ marine (Navy). the Reichswehr was renamed the Wehrmacht (armed forces). The Wehrmacht The expansion of Germany's armed forces and the creation of a separate Air Force were accompanied by a number of changes in the command organization. The Air Force was placed under the command of Hermann Goering. The reorganization of the Army was accomplished largely by the Chief of Staff then in office. Educational rew Goerlitz. . In the reorganization Fritsch became the commander in chief of the Army and Beck chief of the reconstituted Army General Staff. became the first Minister of War and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. The Reich produced more than 22 million tons of steel yearly and over 200 million tons of coal. with a distinctive uniform and organization. The merchant marine totalled more than 4 million tons. and the Reichsheer became the Heer (Army). The country was highly de­ veloped industrially . and port facilities were extensive. The Air Force was designated the Luftwaffe. The command of the Navy was retained by Admiral Erich Raeder. The high and rigid standards established by the Reichswehr could not be maintained during this period of growth. Hitler assumed the title of Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces {Der Oberste Befehlshdber der Wehrmacht). and had excellent transportation and communications systems.20 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) creased by more than 10 million when these two areas became part of Germany.with large motor vehicle and tool plants. 422-23. The Army was . Hitler's Minister of Defense. The Minister of Defense became the Minister of War and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces {Oberbefehlshaber der Wehrmacht) . The Reichswehr's officers and noncommissioned officers were far too few to command and staff the large citizen force being raised although some relief was afforded by the incorporation of militarized police units into the Army with a large number of trained officers and non­ commissioned officers. cit.affected by the loss of many officers to the new Luftwaffe. former chief of the Naval Command. pp. General­ leutnant Ludwig Beck. in his new rank (and uniform) of General der Flieger. op. and for some time much air staff work had to be accomplished by former ground officers not qualified as pilots or experienced in air operations. General der Artillerie Werner von Fritsch and the chief of the Truppenamt. By the new defense laws.

and from 4 February 1938 Hitler exercised supreme command through a new headquarters. but several years would be required to provide a sufficient number of trained commanders and staff officers of the age groups young enough for full field service. the officers trained in the Soviet Union. A series of events that occurred much later during the period of expansion. was forced by Hitler to resign his position as Minister of War and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.11 The post of Minister of War was abolished. and the men commissioned from the ranks of the Army still could not pro­ vide a sufficient number of officers for the numerous new units formed. op.3 . The 4. (3). Work continued on a number of keels already laid and construction started on a few other major units. and combat aircraft. tanks. and to training a Navy that more than doubled in size within a year. Goerlitz.75 . pp. Hitler's reluctance to antag­ onize the British also played a part in this decision. (2) Wolfgang Foerster. Blom­ berg. formed from u The details of the intrigues that ended with the dismissal of Blomberg and Fritsch are to be found in the following : (1) Graf Kielmansegg. Sein Kampf gegen den Krieg (Munich.. B-17^0 .000 officers of the Eeichsheer. and warships at the pace required by the rearmament program required more raw material and a larger trained labor force than Germany could immediately muster. but most of the naval effort was devoted to pro­ ducing small craft and submarines. The manufacture of so many aircraft. 1953). artillery. 447-62. Some con­ cessions had to be made at the expense of one or the other of the three services. Der Fritachprozess 1938 (Hamburg. which required less construction time than capital ships. placed Hitler in actual command of the three armed services and disposed of Fritsch and those other senior officers who had advised against the Fuehrer's mili­ tary policy of bluff and bluster and preferred instead a steady growth and consolidation within the services. 1938). in January and February 1938. A production problem also existed. and several thousand non­ commissioned officers of the Reichswehr became junior officers in the Wehrmacht. while other thousands of Reichswehr privates (or sea­ men) became noncommissioned officers in the new force. and the Navy was forced to curtail an ambitious program of shipbuilding to allow the Army and Air Force to forge ahead with tanks. cit. Scandalous charges later proved false were used as a pretext to force Fritsch out of his position as commander in chief of the Army. artillery. even though he was not among the active opponents of Hitler's policies. These events started with the marriage of Blomberg to a woman of questionable reputation.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 21 quirements for officers had to be lowered. Oetueraloierst Ludwig Beck. Thousands of World War I officers had to be recalled to active duty and bridged the gap to a certain extent.

Hitler was determined to brook no opposition to his military policy and would accept no word of caution. General der Artillerie Walther von Brauchitsch. These barracks were usually designed to house a battalion or regiment. soon began to circumvent OKW and to address themselves to Hitler personally. according to a literal translation of the German title. Author's file. and Air Force. General Keitel lacked the position and seniority of Blomberg and almost any activity of the OKW headquarters. or High Command of the Armed Forces. and were of brick or stone construction. In his new post. and the transfer of other officers to field duties. No clear dividing line was established between the responsibilities of the joint armed forces com­ mand and the commands of the Army. freed from their common superior. thereby strengthening the Fuehrer's control of military affairs. the Wehrmachtfuehrungsamt. Ltr. and Air Force. Navy. Firing ranges for small arms. became the suc­ cessor to Fritsch. commander of a Heeresgruppenkommamdo. but with little of the actual responsibility that the title implied. came to be regarded as encroaching on the responsibilities of the three services and met with resistance. 15 Apr 55. Accommodations at the large training areas were improved and expanded. became chief. under Col. OKW. particularly of its planning staff. Walter Warli­ mont to August 1939. . Workshop and indoor training facilities were excellent. Keitel became chief of Hitler's working staff and assumed the duties of the former Minister of War. The commanders in chief of the Army.22 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) Blomberg's staff and called the Oberkormnando der Wehrmacht (OKW). not uncommon under Blomberg. General der Artillerie Wilhelm Keitel.12 The New Army Expansion An extensive program to house the growing active Army was begun in 1935 and in the course of the next two years a large number of barracks were built. These events were followed by the retirement for reasons of health of a large number of senior officers. Friction. and open fields and wooded areas for limited field exercises were usually situated within a few miles of the barracks proper. Alfred Jodl from April to November of 1938 and Col. Navy. Gen Warlimont to OCMH. increased considerably under this new command organization. Blomberg. as the old Gruppenkommamdo was henceforth to be called. Keitel was actually to hold a position similar to that of a chief of staff. Headquarters OKW was to expand its operations and planning staff into the Wehr­ machtfuehrungsamt (Armed Forces Operations Office).

000 men under arms. op. The corps commander functioned in a dual capacity as Wehrkreis commander in garrison. Typical barracks for the Xew Wehrmacht. and its tactical force consisted of 4 group commands and 14 corps. . but most of the cavalry regiments were reassigned as corps troops and some of the personnel transferred to the new Panzer force. since it was formed to control the motorized divisions throughout the Reich and had no territorial responsibility. The status of the Wehrkreis was also raised. but relinquished his territorial functions to a deputy when he took his corps into the field.13 The cavalry divisions had been deactivated. pp. with 39 active divisions. The Wehrkreise were responsible directly to the commander in chief of the Army.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 23 Figure 2. The relationship between the tactical corps and Wehrkreis of the Wehrmacht was similar to that which had obtained the tactical division and Wehrkreis of the Reichswehr. cit. The XIV Corps had no corresponding Wehrkreis organization. including 4 motorized infantry and 3 Panzer (armored) divisions. By October 1937 the active Army had 500. In the tactical chain of command. One cavalry brigade was retained. Twenty-nine reserve divisions had been organized and could be called into service onJ mobilization. the corps headquarters 13 Mueller-Hillebrand. The number of Wehrkreise had been increased increased to 13 in the process of Army expansion. The number of reserve divisions would increase as men were released from the active Army upon completion of their period of compulsory training.. 25 and 61.000-600.

e. The expansion of the active Army beyond the level of 12 corps and 36 divisions established by Hitler was ordered in the annual mobilization plan. had a dual function as area com­ manders for the two Wehrkreise into which Austria was divided. which in turn were responsible to the Army's commander in chief. Saar. for the Ardennes. The Aus­ trian Army was reorganized to form one light. one panzer. i. The creation of reserve divisions that could be mobilized on short notice increased the combat potential of the Army considerably and kept the trained manpower at a fair state of proficiency by participation in annual maneuvers and special troop exercises. These headquarters bore no numerical designations. and conscripts at first were absorbed into units being 14 Ibid. Neither the XV nor XVI Corps had a corresponding Wehrkreis organization or territorial responsibilities. All three were assigned to Germany's western def en ses. 76-77. the XV and XVI Corps were formed to control the light and Panzer divisions. .. and Upper Rhine frontier areas. 46. two infantry. but were known as Frontier Commands Eifel. The commanders of the XVII and XVIII Corps. equipped and trained for operations in mountainous areas and deep snow. and two of the mountain divisions organized by the Wehr­ macht that year. and three mountain divisions. The mountain division was an adaptation of the infantry division. respectively. and the XVII and XVIII Corps became the tactical corps in Austria. and Oberr­ hein. Two group commands and seven corps headquarters were activated in 1938. Other active units organized included three infantry divisions. Three of the corps were frontier commands. 25. with no terri­ torial responsibilities aside from security. and the absorption of the Austrian Army into the Wehrmacht.14 Of the other four corps headquarters. two Panzer divisions. four light divisions (small motorized infantry di­ visions. they had no correspond­ ing Wehrkreis organization. The Sudetenland was incorporated into several existing Wehrk­ reise for military administration following its annexation to Germany in October 1938. pp.24 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) were subordinated to the Heeresgruppenkommandos. with an organic tank battalion). It was planned to convert the light divisions to Panzer divisions in the autumn of 1939 as sufficient materiel became available. Provision was also made for the organization of an additional 22 reserve divisions. however. and 156. The increase in the number of active divisions in 1938 can be attributed partially to the annexation of Austria in March. which directed the creation of additional active and reserve units year by year. Saarpfalz.

e. As of March 1939 the Army had a total of 102 active and reserve divisions and 1 active cavalry brigade. in the event of mobilization. to include the Luxembourg and Belgian frontiers and a part of the Dutch frontier in the Aachen area.15 The variance in strength figures for an equal number of active and reserve divisions can be explained by the diversion of a large part of the reserve to form sup­ port. was made responsible for the con­ struction project. A short time later Hitler directed an acceleration of the work and the extension of the Westwall to the north. and defenses distributed in depth. The original plan envisaged a 12-year project and the building of a defensive system the length of the German frontier facing France. i. Personnel assigned to the work included road construction crews grouped under a force identified after the director of the project as the Organization Todt. Construction work on the Westwall (sometimes referred to is the "Siegfried Line") commenced in 1937. on the whole. or to staff administrative head­ quarters. and other troops. . and certain units. a large proportion of reserve personnel would not be assigned to field divisions. The 51 active divisions. The total strength of the active Army was approximately 730. The Luftwaffe supplemented this ground defensive system with one of its own to secure the border area to a depth of 30 miles against air penetrations. The 51 reserve divisions were all infantry divisions. In contrast to the elaborate fortifications of the French Maginot Line. and cam­ ouflage was extensive and thorough. Other reserve personnel would not be called up immediately upon mobiliza­ tion because of employment in critical war industries. tank traps and obstacles.000. their organization was similar to that of the active infantry divisions. One of the infantry divisions formed in 1938 was also composed largely of Sudetenland inhabitants. p.000: that of the reserve. were maintained close to full strength.100. 16 Ibid.. The Director of the Bureau of Roads (Generalinspekteur fuer das deutsche Strassenwesen).GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 25 formed by those Wehrkreise. Army engineers. The Westwall It was felt that the Reich had need of a ground defensive system to secure its Avestern flank while its armies mobilized or in the event its armies were already engaged elsewhere and the French were to attack. about l. Adja­ cent bunkers could support one another with protective fire. armament in short supply. and training units. medical. a large force of the German Labor Service (youths of premilitary age groups). though they lacked some items of equipment. Todt. the Westwall was a series of smaller bunkers. and transportation services to take the field. and required only certain supply. Dr. 66. security.

Army Group C and the 10 army headquarters would be operational by the second day of mobilization. active divisions (numbered in the 1-50 block). including many individuals of the 1901-1913 classes and World War I veterans who had had one or more short periods of refresher training. The Wave II corps headquarters would become opera­ tional on the third day of mobilization and the Wave II divisions would be ready within four days of mobilization to move into the field with the active divisions. superseded previous instructions and provided for the mobiliza­ tion of the active and reserve forces of the Army by "waves. The active corps headquarters. Wave III would call into service 21 divisions (numbered in the block 201-250) consisting mostly of reservists with less training. Fourth. Kriegsgliederungen 8 Dez 1938. the Panzer and light divisions. Wave II would include a number of corps headquarters to be or­ ganized from the reserve. H l/309/2a. and 16 fully trained reserve divisions (numbered in the block 51-100). The remaining units of the active infantry divisions would be mobilized by the third day.16 Wave I would involve only higher headquarters. which were found to be deficient in a number of respects. Fifth. TAG. « Besondere Anlaye 2 zum Mob. Captured Records Section (CRS). Plan Heer. Seventh. The Wehrkreise would attend to the procurement and training of replacements for units of the tactical corps and divisions once the tactical commands left for the field. Third. The head­ quarters for 1 army group (Army Group C) and 10 armies (First. issued 8 December 1938. These divisions were to assemble by the sixth day following mobilization. and the support units of the infantry divisions would also be mobilized by the second day. Operational headquarters for the Army High Command would be set up within six hours of the time mobilization was ordered. with a cadre of active personnel. com­ posed largely of personnel who had completed their period of compul­ sory training. A special annex to the annual mobilization plan. Since only 6 group commands existed and 11 higher headquarters were planned. Tenth.26 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) Mobilization The assembly of forces at the time of the Austrian and Czech crises gave the German planners the opportunity to test their existing mobil­ ization plans'. and supporting units. Eighth. Second. Twelfth." Four such waves were planned. 5 corps headquarters would provide personnel for an equal number of army headquarters as well as their own headquarters on mobilization. and their mobilization could be accom­ plished almost simultaneously. . and Fourteenth) would be formed from the existing Heeresgruppenkom­ mandos and several of the active corps headquarters.

could be accomplished only by procurement commissions. usually older reserve and retired officers. for the Replacement and Training Army (Ersatzheer). the trucks and other motor vehicles of government agencies out­ side the armed forces. The selection of vehicles and horses. Corps headquarters and active and reserve divisions were designated for allocation to. the army group. permitting the Army High Command to devote its attention to directing the operations of its armies in the field. would be mobilized to assume responsibility for the Zone of the In­ terior. e. and could be committed to combat operations in a restricted role. Heeresgruppenkom­ mando 2 at Frankfurt-am-Main would become Army Group C. The same procedure applied to horses. the extensive German postal organization. The frontier commands would be responsible for security and garrison duties in the Westwall area pending mobilization. In accordance with standard German prac­ tice. Fifth Army wTould be formed by VI Corps and the Eifel Frontier Command. Wave IV would include 14 divisions (numbered in the block 251­ 300) to be formed from training units within Germany. Additional motor vehicles' and horses would be required by the Army on mobilization. Personnel as well as units were designated for mobilization assign­ ments. As of the seventh day a new headquarters. g. these divi­ sions were to be formed by the sixth day of mobilization and would supplement the Wave III divisions. Fifth. In the event of mobilization. to control the First. they would secure rear areas. First Army would be formed by XII Corps and the Saar­ pfalz Frontier Command. Certain officers and enlisted men of the active Army were to be assigned to reserve units as they formed. Seventh Army would be formed by V Corps and the Upper Rhine Frontier Command. Fifth. and would pass to the control of the army group and its armies upon orders mobilizing Army Group C and directing it to assume . were familiar with their duties.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 27 The Wave III divisions would fill the vacuum caused by the departure of the active and Wave II divisions for the field. A number of active officers in Wehrkreis and station complement assignments would re­ main in the various garrison areas until their replacements. Special reference should be made at this point to the mobilization assignment planned for Army Group C and the First. and private owners were registered with the local Wehrkrei* for military use. The active officers would then rejoin their commands in the field. to fill the extensive requirements of the reserve infantry divi­ sions and support units. and Seventh Armies. business corporations. however. Both vehicles and horses wTould be requi­ sitioned when reserve units were mobilized. and Seventh Armies in the defense of the Westwall.

The code name for the mili­ tary movements for this contingency was Plan WEST. . 1922a. and 3d had 1 tank and 1 motorized infantry brigade each. 20 December 1938. weighed 111/2 tons. The Mark I vehicle was 2-man tankette. The 4 light divisions also varied in their organization. The 1st Light Division had a recon­ naissance battalion. 20 Mark III. and mounted a 20mm gun. 3d.. e. and 56 Mark IV tanks. a reconnaissance bat­ talion with motorcycle and armored car companies. Each of the light divi­ sions had an organic light tank battalion. a signal battalion. the 4th Panzer Division had a tank brigade and only a regiment of motorized infantry. and the 1st Light Division had an organic tank regiment. the 2d and 4th Light Divisions had 2 motorized infantry regiments each. la Nr. and 5th Panzer Divisions would each have 124 Mark I. The division artillery of the light divisions was the same as that of the Panzer divisions. 2d. an antitank bat­ talion with towed 37mm guns. The 1st. g. and mounted a short-barreled 75mm gun.28 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) responsibility for the western frontier. 160/38 g. The authorized strength of the panzer division was approximately 12. and 4th Light Divisions had reconnaissance regiments. and the 3d Light Division had a motorized infantry regiment and a motorcycle battalion. This figure in tank strength. i. the 1st Light Division had a motorized infantry brigade of 1 regiment and a motorcycle battalion. 138 Mark II. and mounted 2 machine guns. the variations in organization accounting for some differences in personnel strength from one Panzer division to the other. 112 Mark I I I . Each Panzer division had about 300 tanks. 4th. carried a crew of 5. weighed approximately 6 tons. the Mark I I and all heavier tanks had 1 or more machine guns in addition to their main armament. including all 4 types then in service. while the 2d. and 24 Mark IV tanks. The Mark II tank was a 3-man vehicle. 3d. the 1st Panzer Division would have 56 Mark I. which weighed 26 tons. The heaviest tank of the period was the Mark IV. CRS. e. The 2d.17 Divisional Organization The 5 Panzer divisions varied somewhat in their composition. The Mark I I I model had a crew of 5. the 5th had a tank brigade and 2 infantry regi­ ments. In addition. 78 Mark II. an engineer battalion. weighed approximately 2414 tons and had a 37mm gun. As planned. Kdos. TAG. and rear trains and services. each Panzer division had a motorized artillery regiment with 2 battalions of 105mm howitzers. 2 light battalions of 17 Heeresgruppenkommando t. could not be reached in all cases by the time the Panzer divisions took the field against Poland. particularly for the Mark III.000 officers and men.

GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 29 Figure 3. Mark II Tank. . Figure 4.Mark III Tank.

The antitank . As a matter of interest. it became a heavy machine gun. the heavy weapons companies. All transportation for the rifle and heavy weapons companies was horsedrawn. The cannon company had 6 light (75mm) and 2 heavy (150mm) infantry howitzers. the light and heavy machine gun were the same air-cooled weapon. a cannon company. The line (rifle) com­ panies had a total of 9 light and 2 heavy machine guns and 3 light (50mm) mortars each. with the tripod mount. was con­ sidered a light machine gun. model of 1934. signal. towed howitzers. The 35 active infantry divisions had 3 infantry regiments of 3 battalions. Engineer. The battalions were 4-company organizations.000 officers and men.30 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) Figure 5. with the fourth. Mark IV Tank. as it was known. and an antitank company each. and 12th companies (companies were numbered 1 through 14 in the regiment) filling the role of heavy weapons companies in the com­ parable United States Army organization. 8 heavy machine guns and six 81mm mortars each. all were motorized. eighth. With the bipod mount the MG 34. The strength of the light division was approximately 11. and other normal attachments were similar to those of the infantry and Panzer divisions.

GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 31 company had twelve 37mm towed guns and was the only completely motorized unit of the regiment. and Wave III divisions larger by approximately 600 men. and an observation battalion. equipped with 105mm and 150mm howitzers.000 men or more. The 1st Mountain Division had 3 infantry regiments and 4 gun battalions in its artillery regi­ ment. Wave II and IV divisions were smaller by 1. . The authorized strength of the mountain division was approximately 17. a signal battalion. [See map <!] Control over the Army's tactical forces was exercised through the six group commands. and the medium artillery bat­ talions were equipped with 150mm howitzers of the type used by the infantry divisions.000 men. the 2d and 3d Mountain Divisions had only 2 regiments of infantry and 3 battalions of artillery apiece. an engineer battalion. Command Organization General von Brauchitsch was still the Army's commander in chief in March 1939. with General der Artillerie Franz Haider as his chief of staff. Other divisional units for both active and reserve infantry divi­ sions were a reconnaissance battalion.875 officers and men. [See chart &] For administration and other station complement functions OKH controlled 15 Wehrkreise. though the 1st Mountain Division for a time had a total strength of over 24.000 to 2. The 4 motorized infantry divisions were smaller than the active standard infantry divisions by approximately 1. an antitank battalion with 37mm guns. None of the re­ serve divisions had an observation battalion. which could be dismantled and carried by mules. The artillery element of the active infantry division was a mixed regiment of 3 light and 1 medium battalions. XVII. The total strength authorized the active infantry division was 17. and rear trains and services.000 officers and men. and XVIII. numbered I through XIII. The headquarters of the Army was known as the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH). and most of their firing battalions had obsolete artillery pieces from World War I. The light mountain artillery battalions were equipped with 75mm pack guns. or the High Command of the Army.400 men. The 3 mountain divisions resembled the standard infantry divi­ sions but were not organized uniformly. Each of the motorized infantry divisions comprised 3 infantry regiments and was organized much as a standard division except that all elements of the division were transported by motor vehicle. The reserve divisions were organized in similar fashion but their regiments lacked heavy infantry howitzers and the third and fourth wave divisions had obsolete machine guns from World War I.

32

THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)

Supreme Command of the Armed Forces HITLER OKW (Keitel)

OKH

Brauchitsch

OKL

Goering

OKM

Raeder

Air Forces Group Commands Corps Divisions Wehrkreise Fleet Commands Luftgaue Shore Commands

Air Divisions

Chart 2. The Wehrmacht and the Armed Services High Commands, 1939.

Group Command 1, controlling the I, II, III, and VIII Corps, was in Berlin. Group Command 2 (Plan WEST) was at Frankfurt-amMain and to it were attached the V, VI, and XII Corps, and the 3 frontier commands. Dresden was headquarters for Group Command 3, to which the IV, VII, and XIII Corps were responsible. Group Command 4 controlled the XIV Corps (motorized infantry divisions),
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GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939

33

XV Corps (light divisions), and XVI Corps (Panzer divisions), and was the forerunner of the Panzer armies of a later date; the head­ quarters of this group command was in Leipzig. Group Command 5 had its headquarters in Vienna, and controlled the XVII and XVIII Corps. Hannover was headquarters for Group Command 6, to which were attached the IX, X, and XI Corps. This peacetime subordination of corps would not necessarily pertain on mobilization, when the group commands became armies. As in the United States Army, corps in the German Army could be shifted from control of one army to the other.
The New Navy

Germany was permitted by terms of an agreement with the British on 18 June 1935 to build up to 35 percent of the latter's total naval tonnage and 45 percent of Britain's submarine tonnage. Following as it did on Hitler's denunciation of the military limitations imposed on the Reich by the Versailles Treaty, the naval agreement constituted tacit British consent to German rearmament. The British were tem­ porarily reassured by the German agreement to limit the size of the Reich's new navy. However, the French were distressed by the in­ crease in German naval power, and a wedge wras driven in the Allied front. By March 1939 the Hannover had been decommissioned and the obsolete battleships Schlesien and Schleswig-FIolstein were being used as cadet training ships. Still armed, the old battleships could be used for secondary naval missions. The battle fleet proper was composed of the battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau; the 3 armored cruisers (pocket battleships) ; 2 new heavy cruisers, the Bluecher and Admiral Hipper, displacing 10,000 tons and mounting 8-inch guns; the 6 light cruisers' built during the replacement construction program; 22 de­ stroyers of the Maass and Boeder classes (1,625 and 1,811 tons), with 5-inch guns; and 43 submarines. The U-l through U-24 and the U-56 displaced from 250 to 300 tons and were restricted to the coastal waters of the Baltic and North Seas. The U-25 and U-26 were 712­ ton boats, and the U-37 through TJ-39 displaced 740 tons each; these larger submarines were capable of operating as far as mid-Atlantic without refueling. The U-27 through U-36 displaced 500 tons; the U-45, U-4-6, and TJ-51, 517 tons each. These last boats were capable of operations in the North Sea and the waters about the British Isles. Some additional submarines in various' stages of construction would also be ready for operations by the outbreak of hostilities.18
18

Bredt, op. cit., pp. 6-12.

34

THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)

••••••••Hil

*

• '

Figure 6. Artist's conception of German Pocket Battleship.

Figure 7. The U-25.

Figure 8. The Messerschmitt 109, standard German fighte*

arsenals. which had separate channels of command for its tactical and administrative components.] Tactical air units were dispersed about Germany in eight air divi­ sions. The four major subordinate air commands were designated as Luftflotten (air forces).Luftwaffe units at­ tached to the Navy. controlled thefleet. [See chart 2. [See chart 2. The shore commands were responsible for the training units and schools ashore. The Junkers 87 (Stuka) Dive Bomber. and provided the tactical air units with logistical support. This arrange­ ment contrasted sharply with that of the Army. 552 transports. sub­ marine arm.180 bombers. were known as Luftgaue. and shore commands for the Baltic and North Sea coastal regions. 48. 10 in number. 1.303 operational aircraft available by the outbreak of hostilities.] The New Air Force The Luftwaffe by March 1939 was a potent attack force. 1949). coast ar­ tillery units. and controlled both tactical and administrative units. The administrative commands. in Werner Baumbach.179 fighters. 721 observation planes. . Admiral Raeder's OberJcommando der Kriegsraarine (OKM). Zu Spaet (Munich. and other land installations of the Navy. These would include 1. which would have 4.19 Goering's headquarters was known as the Oberkommando der Luft­ waffe (OKL). similar to the Army's Wehrkrei. or High Command of the Air Force. or High Command of the Navy. The fleet comprised the heavy surface units. and 95 miscellaneous airplanes. and naval reconnaissance forces.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 35 Figure 9. 240 naval air­ craft. 336 dive bombers. p. 19 Meldung des Generalquartiermeisters der Luftwaffe vom September 1939.se.

and the range of many of the U-boats was restricted. g. dispersed over northwestern Germany. and the Westwall was of limited value to the defense of the Reich. was located in Munich. this meant that the large German merchant fleet would be restricted mainly to the North and Baltic Seas. Vienna was headquarters for the Fourth Air Force. The bulk of the tanks (Mark I and II) were known to be too light but could not be replaced at once with the heavier Mark III and Mark IV models. while formidable by early 1939. The German submarine force. The Navy was far inferior in strength to the British Navy alone. each of the four air forces contained all types of aircraft in service. responsible for Austria and a portion of southeastern Germany. and would be no match for the combined fleets of Britain and France. The crop of 250. was much lighter in ton­ nage.000 Army conscripts that finished training each year was beginning to fill the reserve ranks. The Third Air Force.36 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) The organization of each air force was arranged to meet the par­ ticular needs of its respective mission. The German Military Situation in March 1939 The power of the Wehrmacht. The Luftwaffe's training pro­ gram had turned out a sufficient number of pilots and air crews to . The German Navy had few capital ships. Five years was hardly sufficient time for the three services to build up and thoroughly integrate a large cadre of professional officers and noncommissioned officers. In the event of war. e. fighters. As a consequence. responsible for southwestern and southern Germany. transports. In general.000-300. The active Army could be considered as one of the best trained in Europe. Braunschweig was the headquarters of the Second Air Force. though it would soon equal the British in numbers. but lacked a sufficient number of qualified signal personnel and its Panzer forces were an untried experiment. nor did it possess a sufficient number of destroyers to provide escort for the Reich's merchant vessels carrying critical materials from abroad. had been exaggerated by German and foreign news media out of proper proportion. and reconnaissance planes. but training of the older men of the 1901-1913 age classes had lagged. organiza­ tion varied from one air force to the other. A separate tactical and administrative command of corps size was assigned to East Prussia and retained under OKL control. The German Air Force would experience no immediate problem insofar as personnel wras concerned. The First Air Force had its headquarters in Berlin and responsibility for northern and eastern Germany. Kolling stock and truck transportation were in short supply and it would take time to organize additional reserve divisions and train the large number of men who had not yet seen service. bombers'.

For its part.GERMAN MILITARY DEVELOPMENTS TO MARCH 1939 37 man an expanded wartime Air Force. however. His series of successes in Austria and Czechoslovakia and the continued reluctance of Britain and France to take action. a practice that was to become typical of the Reich's World War II operations. . The military training program had already made inroads on the strength of the labor force. however. were not nearly extensive enough for a major war effort. Saar. According to the Ger­ man planners. Repair facilities. German industry had provided the Luftwaffe with some of the most advanced opera­ tional aircraft of the day. though well organized. but a considerable number of their aircraft were obsolete or obsolescent. and mobilization would de­ prive it of additional thousands of technicians and workers who had completed their period of compulsory service and were assigned to reserve units. with its heavy plants in the Ruhr. Germany was prepared only for a limited war of short duration. and Silesian areas. In short. inclined Hitler to become more reck­ less. however. The Luftwaffe lacked airframe and engine replacements for sustained operations. Germany had an excellent industrial base for war. German military planning thus had to include numerous im­ provisations to meet sudden demands. and the disaster of 1918 still acted to dampen the enthusiasm of the general public for military adventures. Gasoline and ammunition reserves would not suffice for simultaneous large-scale operations in the east and west. several more years were still needed to attain a production rate high enough to supply the materiel and ammunition for a major war. The British and French Air Forces were larger.

Stories of atrocities against the German minority in the Corridor were given wide dissemination. More­ over. Goering con­ 1 /.1 This involved a gamble on the part of Hitler. The WarsawT government remained firm in its refusal to cede Polish rights in Danzig or sovereignty in the Corridor area. M. op. the western nations were now aroused and might intervene to stop further German expansion.. German and Polish propaganda agencies were already engaged in a noisy campaign against one another. It was obvious from the outset that the Poles could not be intimi­ dated. Ribbentrop's threatening manner and lack of tact appeared typical of Germany's foreign policy. and the situation became increasingly grave. cit. Hitler attempted by threat of military action against the Poles to obtain concessions in Danzig and the Corridor. 100R.Chapter 3 Events Leading up to the Outbreak of Hostilities General The diplomatic and military events that preceded hostilities were closely interrelated. Germans arriving from Poland as volunteers for the armed forces or Reich Labor Service related further incidents of anti-German activi­ ties beyond the border. Much also hinged on the circle of Hitler's chief lieutenants during this period. A statement of Hitler's intentions was made to the chief of OKW and the commander in chief of the Army on 25 March 1939 when the Fuehrer instructed these officers to initiate preparations for a solution of the problem of Poland by military means. T. and X. p. Doc. Joachim von Ribbentrop as Foreign Minister had in­ curred considerable ill will abroad. 38 .. Hitler then resolved to dissuade the British and French from their stand in support of the Poles and to settle the problem by force if necessary. since he had no understanding with the British and French as he had had the preceding year at Munich during the Czech crisis. p. 274 . XXXVIII. Ribbentrop completely underestimated the British and their determination to honor their obligation to Poland. Hitler's racial theories and in particular his anti-Semitic policy had done Germany irreparable harm in the public opinion of the western world. 513. Moreover.

and could utilize Slovak territory. M. and a quick conquest would preclude external assistance. op. The covering letter. and differences among the Army. and secure sea communi­ cation with East Prussia. since these were believed to be the greater threat to Germany. the North and Baltic Sea areas. the Wehrmacht would have the mission of destroying Poland's armed forces by surprise attack. The Luftwaffe would destroy the Polish Air Force. The chiefs of the armed services were in no position to oppose any pre­ mature military adventures the Fuehrer might entertain. mobilization would not be ordered until immedi­ ately before the attack.. signed by Keitel. 1939-40 2 Part II of OKW's "Directive for the Armed Forces. XXXIV. The Navy would destroy or neutralize the Polish fleet and merchant marine. Should war occur. Only active units would be used in the opening attack. Plan WEISS opened with a brief discussion (drafted by Hitler himself) of relations with Poland. The three services were directed to submit their compaign plans and recommendations for this timetable by 1 May. 1939-40" was issued on 3 April and formed Hitler's reply to Chamberlain's pledge of support to Poland made in the House of Commons three days earlier. stated that a timetable of preparations was to be made by OKW. 120-C. Josef Goebbels had organ­ ized a highly effective propaganda machine for the furtherance of National Socialist policies. in /. Poland would be isolated. OKW. T. A pliable man had been found in Walter Funk. . Part II was entitled "Plan WEISS". pp. These would be coordinated by OKAY. 380-442. so preparations were to be made by 1 September to settle the problem for all time. cit. Kdos Chefs Lie. Plan WEISS also took the Western Allies into consideration. Navy. 37/39g. 2 Weisung fuer die einheitliche Kriegsvorbereitunff der Wehrmacht fuer 1939/40. To preserve secrecy. and Air Force would be worked out in joint conferences. disrupt Polish mobilization. The attitude of Poland might require a solution by force. and the air defense of Germany. Doc. The Annual Military Directive. and its issue before the rest of the directive proper attested to its urgency. and render the Army close support.. The Army would establish contact between East Prussia and the Reich at the beginning of operations. who succeeded Hjalmar Schacht as Minister of Economics when the latter warned Hitler against reckless military expenditures. blockade Polish ports. WFA Nr. Measures were to be taken to secure the West wall. and these would be moved into concentration areas in the frontier region on Hitler's order.EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES 39 tinued to build up an offensive air force.

a solution by force. A partial mobilization of reserves might be required but this would not necessarily involve the mobilization of industry. As for Danzig. Part I gave detailed instructions for defensive arrange­ ments on Germany's frontiers. If neither of these was successful. While protecting its own war industries and sources of supply. In effect. both reserves and industry would be mobilized immediately. Germany was to utilize those produc­ tion centers it could capture intact and would limit damage in opera­ tions to the minimum. issued on 21 April.40 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) Parts I and I I I of the directive. However. this study. specified that there would be no declaration of war in implementing Plan WEISS. In connection with Plan WEISS. Part IV consisted of special instructions to the commander of I Corps in East Prussia. Part V of the annual directive determined the boundaries for the theaters of operations in the east and west. or might seize Danzig by surprise. it might be possible to seize the city from East Prussia should a diplomatic situation favorable to Germany develop. [For detailed planning and preliminary German military movements see Ch. The extent of defensive preparations would depend upon the situation with Germany's neighbors. A special annex to the directive. in the event of war. issued separately on 11 April. The preparations in the first two months following the issuance of the directive were concerned mostly with planning the movement of units and logistical installations into posi­ tion to launch an overwhelming attack against Poland should the Fuehrer decide upon the alternative of war. were recapitulations of instructions included in the directive for the pre­ ceding year. I Corps would provide personnel for the headquarters of Third Army. and the army commander would be responsible for the defense of the exposed German province. the indus­ trial areas of Poland centering on Cracow and Teschen were of particular importance. Hitler might direct the implementation of Plan WEISS. Defensive measures to be taken in the west would secure Germany against attack by Britain and France while differences with Poland were being settled. 1939^0" initiated preparations to resolve the matter of German claims against Poland. in the event of a general war. Part III restated a previous plan to seize Danzig without war. Germany might be able to exert sufficient pressure on the Poles to obtain Danzig and special privileges in the Corridor.] . 5. The issuance of the "Directive for the Armed Forces. Part VI was of particular concern to the German war economy.

Germany's strong diplomatic position at this point required one more support to discourage British and French intervention and assure Hitler a free hand in Poland—the collaboration or at least the friendly neutrality of the Soviet Union. and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria. clamored for reunion with the Reich. and the Russians refused to commit themselves to any coalition agreement. Negotiations were slow. wThen their Charge d'Affaires had approached a representative of the German Foreign Office in the course of discussions on commercial matters. as did the German Ambassador in Moscow. the anniversary of Pilsudski's death. where Britain and France were attempting to enlist the aid of the Soviet Union in presenting a solid front to Germany. The Russians had already indicated a desire to normalize and improve relations with Germany the preceding April. and the Italian dictator wa9 even assured that there would be no war for the next several years. The advantage to Germany lay in obtaining a secure flank to the south and preventing an agreement between Italy and the Allies. Hitler received visits of state from the Hungarian Prime Minister. This involved no military support. April-July On 28 April 1939 Hitler abrogated the Polish-German Nonaggres­ sion Pact of 1934 and the London Naval Agreement of 1935 in a Reichstag speech. but a rapprochement with the Russians would be welcomed in wide diplomatic and military circles in Germany. in Berlin. Meanwhile. dominating the city government. Polish flags were torn down and Polish property was damaged on 12 May. Ribbentrop favored an arrangement of this na­ ture. All visits featured military shows and a display of Germany's armed power. Agitators were sent into Danzig to embarrass and annoy the Polish government. Shortly afterward a Polish customs house was attacked. . Hitler would forsake his own anti-Communist policy by such a step. Count von der Schulenberg. Regent Paul of Yugoslavia. Polish measures against the German population in Danzig and the Corridor were given wide publicity in the German press and broadcasts. and Danzig's National Socialist faction. Hitler stated further that the issue of Danzig must be settled.EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES 41 Diplomatic Developments. The major diplomatic scene shifted to Moscow by early summer. and Britain's naval position and the Suez Canal would be threatened by the Italian fleet. A pact with the Italians on 22 May 1939 brought Mussolini into Hitler's camp. Italy on France's eastern frontier would neutralize part of the large French Army.

. giving the Germans more propaganda material for consumption in the Reich. pp. op. Danzig was infiltrated by German agents and military personnel in civilian clothing throughout August. and the attitude of the Western Allies served to strengthen Polish determination to resist German demands. accepted the offer. 337. and Ciano left the meeting thoroughly embittered at the German Breach of faith. 4-^7. Other incidents were touched off in the Corridor border areas. however. Foreign Studies Br. 1-22 August Disorders in Danzig and the Polish Corridor became increasingly serious during the first three weeks of August. and Albania. Der Feldzug gegen Polen.42 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) Hitler seized upon the opportunity to settle outstanding differences and offered the Russians uncontested domination of Latvia and Esthonia. willing to bargain with Hitler in Polish.. MS #C-065. grew more threatening as the diplomatic situation deteriorated. Hitler was adamant. An attempt to dissuade Hitler was made by Count Galeazzo Ciano. in a conference with Hitler and Rib­ bentrop on 12 and 13 August. The police were openly antiPolish and assisted the Germans in organizing military forces inside the city. Latvian. OCMH. XXVI. M. thence east of the San River. cit. The Italian services required reorganization and modern equipment and would not be ready for the field until 1942 or later. * I.. when the Wehr­ macht was ordered to supply Reinhard Heydrich. Concluding that time was working to his disadvantage.3 Events. head of the National Socialist Party in Danzig. Doc 795-PS. made no secret of his visits to Hitler and his aim of incorporating the Free City into the Reich. The Russians. the Fuehrer hastened in his course. Preparations for the incident necessary to give Germany a pre­ text for invading Poland were made on 17 August. Poland east of Warsaw and the Vistula from Warsaw to the south. Mussolini's Foreign Minister. and Esthonian soil and lives. deputy to Heinrich Himmler. The increasing seriousness of the situation and the denial of its commercial rights by the city administration caused the Polish Government to take measures of reprisal in the na­ ture of embargoes. though camouflaged as maneuvers. Mussolini was not ready for war and desired a period of several years in which Italy might recover from its military ventures in Ethiopia. p. with Polish uniforms.4 The purpose of this was to create 3 Helmuth Greiner. German military concentrations in the east. Forster. T. and German pressure against the Poles was intensified. in exchange for a free hand west of that line. Britain and France repeated their assurances to the Polish Government. Spain. Lithuanian.

193.5 There was also another vitally important factor to be considered. •Adolf Hitler.7 Hitler's actions from Greiner. if they did. 7-13. 657. According to Hitler. The morality of such a device was inconsequential. pp. he felt that the time was ripe to resolve German differences with Poland by war and to test the Reich's new military machine. Sixteen years earlier Hitler had outlined in his book Mein Kcompf the program on which he was about to embark. and property. and in moving forces into Poland to restore order in a situation which the Polish govern­ ment could not control. to the Soviet Union and the states dominated (according to Hitler) by Moscow. In substance.EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES 43 incidents wherein German soil would be violated by persons identified as members of the Polish Armed Forces. Moreover. Britain and France would move against the Reich immediately. ''Ibid. Hitler would then be in position to claim that he was justified in ordering the Wehrmacht to defend German territory. Stalin was no friend of the Poles and the agreement with him would strengthen the German economic front considerably. since Britain and France would not wait a decade until the new coalition became too strong for them to defeat. Hitler closed his address with an assurance to the assembled commanders that he was certain the armed services could accomplish any task set for them.. Britain and France had promised Po­ land support.6 He had also discussed the matter of an alliance with the Soviet Union and had stated that it would mean war. with no intention of honoring the obligations they would incur by an alliance. Instead. Ribbentrop had left for Moscow earlier that day. Mein Kampf (Munich. lives. Hitler held a conference with his service chiefs. to obtain the signature of Foreign Commissar Molotov to the agreement al­ ready worked out by German and Russian representatives. 650-51. It was unlikely that Britain and France would intervene. op. the British and French leaders would hesitate to draw their respective nations into a general war.9).. Victory was all that mattered. Germany would be able to carry on a long war if necessary. Hitler felt.. Hitler had stated that future efforts at German expansion would be directed toward the east. cit. the commanders of the major forces being deployed against Poland. In this rambling account of his early struggles and his philosophy. but were in no position to render material aid of any consequence. pp. an appropriate "incident" would be used to justify the German attack on Poland. The Fuehrer had also charged the Soviet leaders as criminals. The Fuehrer's speech was a rambling mono­ logue lasting for hours. and the chief of OKW on 22 August. 5 . The Russians were about to sign a nonaggression pact with the Ger­ mans. p.

nor were Polish representatives invited to attend. The reply to Hitler's offer to support the British Empire was de­ livered by the Ambassador in Berlin. 8 Department of State. the Italian dictator saw the beginning of a realization of further Italian designs on the Balkan Peninsula should the war spread. The Polish Ambassador was not present at these meetings. The Pact With the Russians The announcement of the 23 August 1939 agreement with the Soviet Union exploded all hopes of a peaceful settlement between Germany and Poland. The Fuehrer immediately set about to deter the British and French by an offer of German guarantees to support the British Empire and respect existing frontiers with France. In that part of the document made public. which meant that the Russians would not intervene on the side of Poland were that country to be attacked by Germany. when it came to the attention of the Reich government the following day. the Soviet Union and Germany made a simple statement of nonaggression. 1948). The pact served to alienate the Japanese. 78.44 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) this point were to reveal his utter cynicism. and Lithuania within the German sphere of interest. However. caused Hitler to rescind the order he had given to commence operations against Poland on 26 August. A secret provision added to the pact established the line of the Narew. and San Rivers as the boundary between the German and Soviet spheres of interest in Poland. Esthonia. obli­ gating both Britain and France to come to the aid of Poland in the event Germany launched an attack. At 1915 on 29 August the British Ambassador was informed that a Polish plenipotentiary would have to be in Berlin the following day. and Latvia would fall within the Russian. On 24 August the British gave written guarantees to Poland. Hitler gave no answer at the time. This unexpected development. Henderson reemphasized Britain's position in the event of German hostilities against Poland. Neither Britain nor France were moved by Hitler's offer. Nazi-Soviet Relations (Washington. p. Mussolini already held Albania and coveted portions of Yugoslavia and Greece. The German dictator was fully aware of the risk of bringing on a general war. Poland was shunted aside. Vistula. despite the assurances to his military leaders that there would be no war with the west over Poland. but promised Ambassador Henderson a reply the following day. with full powers to negotiate a settlement. . and Mussolini decided to remain aloof from the lighting. and Hitler dealt with the British representatives as spokesmen for the Polish Government as well as the French from this point.8 Finland. Sir Nevile Henderson. on 28 August.

though combat aircraft might cross the border in defending the Reich against British and French air attacks in force. /. Early in the evening of 31 August Ribbentrop received the Polish Ambassador. cit.9 The time for the attack on Poland was set for 0445 the following day. IV. 1 fuer die Kriegfuehrung. Chefs LI. but the latter was not empowered to act as plenipo­ tentiary for his government and the meeting accomplished nothing. The plenipotentiary would also have to be in the Reich capital by midnight of 30 August. pp. At 2000. g. To complete the justification of the action he was about to under­ take. as diplo­ matic practice required. K. op. M. OKW/WFA Nr. 456-59.8. op.39. 1 for the Conduct of the War". .. A short broadcast in Polish followed. cit. pp. 31 August.. and furnished no copy of his text to either British or Polish representatives. 170/39. and the British Government would have to send the mes­ sage to the Polish Government. The British Ambas­ sador had first to inform his government of the Reich's most recent demand. The German demands had been expanded to include a plebiscite in the entire Corridor region on a return to the Reich. Doc 12C-C. XXXIV. and no authority was forthcoming for the Polish Ambassador to act in such a role. The German Foreign Minister read off the demands of his government to Ambas­ sador Henderson. Neutrals were to be scrupulously respected and hostilities in the west would be initiated only by Britain and France. Ribbentrop stated that the time limit allowed the Poles had expired. Ribbentrop then announced that negotia­ tions were at an end. in 10 M. in addition to the outright return of Danzig. 242-44. On the following day.. Any crossing of the German frontier in the course of military counteraction would require Hitler's personal approval. without benefit of translation. /. In the event retaliation against Britain became necessary. T. SI. Hitler re­ served to himself the right to order air attacks against London. and then the "attackers" were driven off. leaving one dead man behind. When no Polish plenipotentiary ap­ peared by midnight on 30 August.. Hitler had his agents set off a number of carefully prepared "incidents" in the Polish border area. which in turn would have to give one individual full authority to sign any agreement put forth by the Germans. T.10 " Weisung Xr. a band of men "captured" the radio station at Gleiwitz in German Silesia. The same evening the German Government broadcast its demands against Poland and blamed the breakdown in negotiation on the in­ transigence of Warsaw. 1 September 1939. Hitler signed "Directive No.EVfNTS LEADING UP TO THE OUTBREAK OF HOSTILITIES 45 The German proposal was all but impossible. announcing an attack on Germany.

46

THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)

The "casualties" for these incidents, provided from among con­ demned prisoners and clad in Polish uniforms, were killed or rendered unconscious by fatal injections, then shot and left to be found by German police. The carrying out of the Gleiwitz operation had been assigned by Heydrich to an SS official, Alfred Nau jocks. De­ spite its crudity, the Gleiwitz incident was to be used by Hitler in his charge that regular Polish forces had violated Reich territory and that German troops had been forced to return their fire.

PART TWO POLAND'S POSITION AND GERMANY'S PREPARATIONS FOR THE ATTACK Chapter 4 The Polish State and the Armed Forces
Government

Poland had made considerable progress in the short period of its existence as a modern state.1 The Polish State in 1939 was a re­ public, organized under the constitution of 23 April 1935. The Presi­ dent was chosen indirectly by an assembly of electors, who were themselves elected by popular vote. The legislature consisted of a senate and Sejm, or lower house. Elections to the legislature were held every five years except for one-third of the senate seats, filled by Presidential appointment. The President served for a term of seven years, and nominated his own ministers. As Chief of State, the President controlled the usual executive organs of government. In practice, the Polish President was a strong figure, mainly due to the influence of Marshal Pilsudski, who had been the power behind the government almost continuously from the time of its founding until the new constitution was written and put into force a month before his death on 12 May 1935. Ignace Moscicki, a close personal friend of Pilsudski, was Presi­ dent in 1939. Jozef Beck was Foreign Minister and Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly was the Inspector General of the Armed Forces. These three and a few others controlled what was essentially an authoritarian form of government, wherein the executive branch of the government dominated the legislature. Despite their own National Socialist form of dictatorship, the Germans took full advantage of the opportunity to criticise the Polish form of authoritarianism in their propaganda campaign.
1

Ltr, Gen Blumentritt to OCMH, 28 Dec 54.

47

48

THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939)

Population and Economy

As of the beginning of 1939 the Polish State had a total population of 34% million, of whom 22 million were ethnic Poles. The larger minorities were the Ukrainians ( 3 ^ million), Jews (2% million), Ruthenians (21,4 million), and Germans (% million). Smaller num­ bers of Russians, Lithuanians, Slovaks, and other Slavic groups com­ prised the remainder of the minorities resident within Poland's borders. Sixty-five percent of this population was engaged in agriculture, producing large quantities of grain, potatoes, sugar beets, and dairy products for export. With 23 percent of its area covered by forests, chiefly in the east and Carpathian Mountains regions, lumber was likewise an important item for export. Some coal was also shipped abroad, from the mining region southwest of Cracow. Poland's mineral deposits included substantial reserves of coal, lignite (brown coal), oil, potassium salts (important in the manu­ facture of gunpowder and fertilizers), and zinc. Poland produced approximately IV2 million tons of steel yearly, forty million tons of coal, and one-half million tons of petroleum products. Poland's chief export customer as well as the source of most of Poland's imports was Germany. In exchange for foodstuffs and lum­ ber, Germany shipped to Poland large numbers of motor vehicles and machines, as well as textiles, finished metal goods, and chemicals. A favorable rate of exchange for the German mark prompted many Germans in the border areas to buy leather goods and other con­ sumer products in Poland. The low wage level of its workers gave Poland some advantage in competing in the world's markets. The Polish merchant marine in 1939, according to Lloyd's Register, comprised 63 vessels and 121,630 gross tons. Poland's sole port, Gdynia, had been built into a center of commerce from the small fishing village of 1919, and Poland had free access to the excellent facilities of the harbor at Danzig. Within Poland itself, there were over 3,800 miles of navigable rivers and canals, including 1,534 miles of the Vistula. These sup­ plemented the 12,000 miles of government-operated railway lines for moving heavy freight. Poland also possessed 37,000 miles of improved highways. Commercial air transportation was not significant by western European standards.
Topography

Poland forms a vast land bridge from the North German Plain in the west to the marshy lowlands of Byelorussia (White Russia) and the rich steppe of the Ukraine in the east. The country possesses no

The Cen­ tra] Plain is the largest area of the country and has come to be re­ garded as typical of Poland's geography. and White Russia. North of the mountains. The climate of Poland becomes increasingly continental from west to east. Poland generally has abundant rain. except to a limited degree in the Car­ pathian Mountains in the south. though their average elevation is much less. causing frequent flooding of the rivers in the more level portions of the country. and merging into the Pripyat Marshes. slightly smaller in extent than the state of California.THE POLISH STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES 49 good natural defense lines. Operations by any but small infantry forces would be almost impossible in the vast Pripyat Marshes in the east. with correspondingly wider ranges in daily and annual tem­ peratures. These uplands on Poland's northern border reach ele­ vations of 600-700 feet. . In the Polish Corridor. extending from Poznan to Warsaw and the east. The terrain and the road and rail network of this area offer excellent opportunities for military operations. The area is gene-rally well suited to the conduct of military operations by motorized and armored units as well as by infantry. with peaks up to 8. would still be necessary to force many of the passes into Poland if they were defended. Vistula.470 square miles.700 feet. with heavy snowfall. the low hills west of the Polish port of Gdynia form little obstacle to north-south or east-west move­ ment. preferably mountain infantry. Lithuania. Along the southern frontier. and along the course of the Narew.000 feet in some places. which extends from Cracow in a northeasterly direction to Lublin and includes the rich plateau of Galicia. but form no natural boundary with East Prussia. The uplands reach altitudes of 2. North of this upland region is the extensive Central Polish Plain. However. In the more easterly regions of the country. which continue into White Russia. but the most difficult areas to traverse lie on the Czech side and several roads and rail lines give direct access to the industrial region in southwestern Poland. the Carpathians reach their greatest altitude in the High Tatra. which bisect Poland in a general north-south line. infantry. These floods could form a serious obstacle to the conduct of extensive military operations. The passes through the mountains are limited in number. it has long been the center of Polish national life. the Carpathian Plain merges into the southern upland area of Poland. To the north of the Central Polish Plain is another belt of uplands extending from German Pomerania to East Prussia. summers are quite warm and the winter season cold. in par­ ticular the use of armor. and San Rivers. As of August 1939 the area of Poland comprised 150.

Warsaw. The Armed Forces General The Polish concept of national forces considered only two services. more as a representative of the Inspector General than as civilian head of the armed forces. the Army and Navy. and empties into the sea at Danzig. with no immediate prospect of the heavy rains that would cause the rivers to flood and turn the countryside into a muddy morass. particularly armored and motorized units. including some personnel matters and industrial mobilization. Az. The Navy was supervised by the Minister of War. supervised training.2 2 Grasses Orientierunggheft Polen. 550/39. air units formed part of both Army and Navy. Nr. OKW 1957. In the east central portion of Poland a number of smaller rivers flow into the Pripyat Marshes. CRS. Other major rivers of Central Poland are the Bug. and controlled the administrative areas and tactical commands of the Army. wends its way through the west cen­ tral part of Poland. made recom­ mendations on matters pertaining to national defense. but delegated the ac­ tual exercise of command to the Inspector General of the Armed Forces and the Minister of War. TAG. and the Dzisna flows across the frontier to the east to become the Soviet Union's Dvina. (Ill) GenStdH. all of which flow into the Vistula. In the northeast the Niemen flows from east to west across that extension of Poland bordered by White Russia and Lithuania. San. which rises just inside the Polish frontier southwest of Cracow. and the movement of armored and motorized units. OKH. The Minister of War represented the services in the President's cabinet. to flow into the latter coun­ try. There was no separate air force. 3 a/n.50 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) The chief river is the Vistula. all of these rivers could form obstacles to the movement of troops. The weather remained warm and dry in late August 1939. and was responsible for a number of diverse functions. the obstacles in some places would be all but insurmountable. . 50-12. and Narew. in time of war he would become the commander in chief. With the rivers in flood. Oberste Kommando­ behoerden und Gliederung der hoeheren Einheiten im Frieden. In peacetime the Inspector Gen­ eral prepared mobilization plans. Stand Fruehjahr 1939. The President of the Polish Republic was the nominal commander in chief. bisects the capital. In the west. Kapitel 3a. the Warta (Wartha) flows into Germany and becomes a tributary of the Oder. In the southeast the Dniester flows into Romania and the Soviet Union. With their bridges destroyed. den 1 April 1939. Abt. Instead. its size relegated the naval service to a very subordinate role in the Polish Armed Forces Establishment. the Polish plains offered excellent opportunities to German military op­ erations.

.

The Polish Ground and Air Force (Peacetime Establishment)* I Corps Area (Warsaw) 8 Uodlin JT Corps Area (Lublin) 13 ID Zamosc [Xj'8 Lomzo 28 Warsaw 127 Kowel L/JWolynsko Rowne Hrubieszow Hrubieszow Rzetzow Rzeszow Corps Area (Grodno) Suwolki Wilno Bialystok Suwalki ET Corps Area (Lodz) 10 Czesiochowa Skierniertice IT Corps Area (Cracow) 6 Cracow Corps Area 112 (Lwow) Krtsowa Brody \y//\ Podolska |p<J2l Ml Bielsko-Siala 23 Katowice Cracow Stanislawow Tarnopol Stanislowow S2T Corps Area (Poznan) Wielkopolsko 4 Torun YHI Corps Area ( To run) I15 Bydgoszcz \ Pomorska Bydgoszcz Poznon Poznan • IX Corps Area (Brest -Litovsk) J9 Siedlce X Corps Area (Przemysl) 2(L) |22Mt LXJ 2 0 Baronowicze | 30 Kobryn L/jNowogrodzko Nowogrodek [XJ 24 Jaroslaw Kielce Przemysl oo Warsaw O O Warsaw |exo|l Warsaw |cx»|2 Cracow Poznan oo 4 Torun Intelligence Study of April 1939 .Chart 3.

In time of war. More trust was placed in the effectiveness of Polish infantry and horse cavalry than was justified by later events. and other critical supplies would be vulnerable to capture in war and could not be re­ placed from current production. and were identical save for the 21st and 22d Divisions. for annual maneuvers. In addition to this. The Army [See chart 3. and stockpiles had to be built up throughout the country in peacetime. and considerable reliance was placed on the assistance of Britain and France. g. The personnel ceiling of this peacetime force was set at 280. This worked to the disadvantage of the Poles in that the relatively immobile stocks of ammunition. The fate of Czechoslovakia had not been forgotten. and the traditional Slav resentment of German expansion eastward played its part in strength­ ening Polish determination to resist. A number of separate engineer. e. However. the Army maintained three higher headquarters known as inspectorates and commanded by senior general officers. but many were assigned a training rather than tactical mission. Army and army group headquarters did not exist in peacetime. artillery. From time to time.000. the inspectorates would become army or task force commands. there was little doubt of the Polish willingness to fight. making it necessary to maintain the divisions and brigades at a much reduced strength. with the major mining and industrial complex centering about Cracow in southwest­ ern Poland. The peacetime Army was authorized 30 infantry divisions and sev­ eral small mountain infantry brigades. these presumably would be drawn from the corps area commands. The total production of both areas in munitions and other military supplies was still limited. and Lwow (Lemberg). Available records make no mention of tactical corps headquarters in wartime. and other supporting units also existed. at Torun (Thorn). 1 mechanized cavalry brigade. another industrial region had grown up in the Lublin-Radom area of south central Poland. and 2 air divisions. 14 horse cavalry brigades. which were classified as mountain divisions and assigned to that part of Poland . Wilna.] Poland was divided into 10 corps areas for purposes of military administration and tactical units were attached to the corps area com­ mands for logistical support. these inspectorates would be as­ signed tactical divisions and functions as army headquarters. The divisions were numbered 1 through 30. fuel. The 30 active divisions were distributed 3 to each of the 10 corps areas as of early 1939.THE POLISH STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES 51 The industrial base to support the Polish Armed Forces was still in the process of expansion and modernization in 1939. Instead.

and II. signal troops. Polskie Sily Zbrojne W Drugiej Wofnie. and telephone com­ munication outside the divisions and cavalry brigades was maintained by 4 separate signal battalions. 1951). Friedensglieder/tng des pol­ nischen Heeres. the cavalry brigades were designated by the name of the area in which they had their home stations. Bewaffnung und Staerken der einzelnen Waffen in Frieden (einschl. rate of 1 or more to 8 of the 10 corps areas. Only 11 active horse cavalry brigades appear to have been in existence. Marine). Russian. disposed at the. CRS. "The Sikorski Institute. An additional 560. I. Elements of the mechanized cavalry brigade were assigned to several corps areas. and other services. ISO.000 reservists of the 1888-97 period would also be available if necessary. The period of active service varied from iy2 years for infantry trainees to 22% months for those of the cavalry. Junior officers were carefully selected and given uniform training. Most of the corps areas also had antiaircraft units (from the Polish Army'9 5 regiments and several separate battalions). The active noncommissioned officers corps of 30. Czesc Pierwaea (London.000 was regarded as well qualified despite its lack of training with modern weapons and techniques. Kampania Wrzesniotoa 1939. The average soldier wa9 hardy and willing to learn.600 conscripts and volunteers in Army service in 1939. The situation with the 16.300 active officers was somewhat more complex.3 Supporting (army) troops were distributed throughout all 10 areas. Oliederung. s Grosses Orientierungsheft Polen.500. * Orosses Orientierungsheft Polen. 178. TAG. AustroHungarian. but a lack of modern equipment restricted technical training. Kapitel 3a. . p. modeled on that of France. 31-36.pi>. As of 1939.000 reservists of the classes 1898-1915 (men 24 to 42 years of age) could be called up on mobilization. pp. and the Air Force and Navy expanded. CRS.4 Poland's universal conscription program. Obrona Narodowa (NationaleVerteidigung). Stand vom April 1939. but field and general officers in most cases had acquired their background in the diverse German. some 15 reserve divisions and supporting units called into service. A signal regiment maintained radio contact between Polish Army Headquarters and major commands in the field. Anlage 4. artillery. Tom I. OKW 1957. The majority of this group were long-term volunteers and thoroughly schooled. had 204. TAG. and varied widely in their methods and abilities. Kapitel 3b.5 The peacetime divisions and army troops would be brought to full strength on mobilization. OKW 1957. 1. Unlike the numbered infantry divisions. and engineers.52 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) bordered by the Carpathian Mountains. each of which had 1 medium artillery regiment and 1 or more separate tank battalions (of a total of 13). and engineers (a total of 14 separate battalions). but their age (43 to 52) would restrict the use of these troops to security duties and work in the rear areas.

and volunteers not yet subject to conscription (21 years of age). The total strength of the regiment. to supplement the active Army and reserve units. an antitank company.n » U . pp. 209-12. this had progressed only to the point where some divisions had small engineer detachments. a signal company. and the cannon platoon had two 75mmfieldpieces of Russian manufacture. Brigades and regiments were commanded by active officers. men who had not received the prescribed conscript training for one reason or another (including a large number who had been surplus to the draft quotas). The weapons companies had 12 heavy machine guns and two 81mm mortars of French origin.000 men. and units up to brigade level were organized. most of the fire control equipment was obsolete. and small replacement and service detachments. As of 1939. unless it was assigned to border security duties. and one battalion of 100mm howitzers of Czech or Polish origin. but classified as a machine gun) and three 46mm mortars of Polish manufacture.350 men. and ammunition at the local depots of the active units. an antiaircraft com­ pany. In all.8" . It was planned that each division would have its own engineer battalion and antitank company. and a total strength of from 2. an artillery regiment. The artillery regiment had two battalions of 75mm guns of French or Polish manufacture. of three rifle companies and one heavy weapons company each. a cannon platoon. The Polish National Guard brigade consisted of two regiments of four battalions each.6 The infantry regiments each comprised three battalions. Regiments assigned a border security mission were increased in strength to 2.450 officers and men. one in each corps area and a naval brigade in Gdynia. The antitank company had nine 37mm gun9. The authorized strength of the artillery regiment was * Ibid. Training on a part-time basis was carried on. a reconnaissance battalion. most of the other officers were from the reserve.500 to 4. Transportation in the infantry division was horse drawn. The National Guard consisted of men who had completed their training but were without mobilization assignments.THE POLISH STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES 53 A National Guard (Obrona Narodowa) also existed.15 . and rear trains and services. The replacement of foreign artillery pieces with Polish-made 105mm and 155mm howitzers was making progress as of 1939 but was still far from complete. The rifle companies each had 9 light machine guns (similar to the United States Army's Browning automatic rifle. was 1. 11 brigades were formed. signal platoon. The weapons and uniforms issued the National Guard were retained in their homes. In the event of war the National Guard brigades would come under the control of local military commanders. engineer platoon.. The active Polish infantry division had three infantry regiments. 576.

and Burza (Squall).9 The Navy The surface fleet of the Polish Navy in 1939 was built around the four destroyers Blyskawica (Lightning). 178. p. 1-30. The submarine force consisted of the Orzel (Eagle). pp. The cavalry brigade consisted of three or four cavalry regiments. 300 fighters. all five were the long-range type. • The Sikorski Institute. and six groups of liaison aircraft were in existence in mid-1939. depend­ ing upon the brigade's mission.. 31-36. signal troops. and a small remount and replacement detachment. The shore de'anses of Gdynia and Hela were manned by Navy personnel. Upon mobilization. light ma­ chine guns. an antitank platoon with four 37mm guns. Obrona Narodowa (Rationale Verteidigung). The tactical unit was the group (three to six per regiment). a machine gun squadron with 12 heavy machine guns. sabers. 8 . and Zbih (Wildcat). pp. and lances. Ten reconnaissance. and engineers.144 tons. Wilk (Wolf). clt. a large number of these were obsolete or obsolescent. Sep (Vulture). and 135 liaison planes. CRS. including 350 recon­ naissance type.. the artillery regiment lacked one or more of its battalions or the battalion one battery. In peacetime the air divisions received technical direction from the Air Department in the Ministry of War. and one squadron each of pack artillery.473 tons. 212-14.54 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) 780 officers and men. Few except artillery units in border areas had their authorized allocation of transportation. with two to four squadrons. Marine). 150 fighter-bombers. one -• Ibid. the latter two. the Air Force would be reorganized to provide air support for the ground forces and would operate under the tactical control of the army. The heaviest arma­ ment comprised 5. five fighter-bomber. Grosses Orientierungsheft Polen. Grom (Thunderbolt). The first two vessels each displaced 2. TAG.300 officers and men. Rys (Lynx). and II.7 The authorized strength of the brigade varied from 720 officers and men to a total of 875.8 Total personnel strength of the Army Air Force was 6. pp.1-inch guns and all four destroyers were based at Gdynia. Each regiment had four line squadrons armed with rifles. Kapitel 3b. seven fighter. However. The two air divisions and their air regiments (six in all) had administrative functions only. Wicker (Hurricane). Bewaffnung und Staerken der einzelnen Waffen in Frieden (einschl. displacing from 980 tons to 1. I Gliederung. In many cases. The total number of aircraft was 935. There were also two additional air regiments in the process of activation in eastern Poland. op. l>540 tons. Two naval infantry battalions also existed. each with 10-12 aircraft of similar type. and suitable only for training purposes. OKW 1957. based at Hela.

many of the works were delayed until the harvest and were not ready when needed. In the main. as it was called. Meanwhile. some of them only field type. and twTo torpedobomber squadrons. pp. p. It was estimated the Germans would be able to mobilize 110-120 divisions in all. 4 light. three fighter squadrons. they consisted only of earthen en­ trenchments. and for this purpose maintained 16 river gunboats and two reconnais­ sance squadrons of 10 aircraft each. with a total of 85 aircraft. with the result that there was little uniformity and the extent of the work depended largely upon the initiative of the individual officers. west of Poznan (Posen). Air support for the Navy consisted of three reconnaissance squadrons.100 officers and men. west of Lodz (Lodsch). Their con­ struction was entrusted to local military commanders. Moreover. about Czestochowa. and 4 motorized infantry divisions would be available for operations against Poland. 178. and west of Katowice (Kat­ towitz) and Cracow. Additional fortifications were built or in the process of construction at Mlawa and along the approaches from East Prussia. 257-62. and two additional bat­ talions were in the process of organization.10 Defense Plan and Dispositions The Polish defense plan was based on a study originally prepared in 1938 and revised as the Reich gained additional territories sur­ rounding Poland. and tank traps.11 Permanent defensive works already existed along the Narew River. west of Bydgoszcz at the base of the Corridor. other German attacks would be launched from Pomerania and East Prussia. including all 5 panzer.. at Torun.barbed wire obstacles. and along the frontier south to Slovakia. An attack from southern Silesia and Slovakia would secure the right flank of the main German attack force. some of these fortifications had been built prior to World War I. about Bydgoszcz (Bromberg) and south to the Warta.. Ibid. The total peacetime strength of the Polish Naval Force was approximately 3. The Polish Navy was also responsible for the Vistula River. the Poles estimated in March 1939 that the Germans would make their main attack from Silesia in the direction of Warsaw. The field fortifications constructed were far less formidable than might be expected.. These fortifications. to cut the Corridor and support the main drive on the Polish capital.THE POLISH STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES 55 at Gdynia and the other a few miles inland. According to Plan "Z". . of which 70-80. would be used to form the first Polish line of defense. The blocking of smaller rivers to make possible later flood­ ln n Ibid.

under Maj. Orders deploying the Polish Army according to Plan "Z" were is­ sued on 23 March 1939. On the left of the Narew Group. Gen. Bortnowski. the Corridor and Poznan areas contained a large part of Poland's ag­ ricultural resources. Five infantry divisions and two cavalry brigades. E. Gen. A. and units in the Cracow area would be threatened by encirclement from Slovakia and southern Silesia. a similar force of two infantry divisions and two cavalry brigades. The deployment was an obvious attempt to hold the entire country. under the command of Maj.56 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) ing was unsuccessful due to the dry weather which held all through the summer. Szylling. to facilitate the movement of reserves to threatened points. W. Gen. since the Corridor was indefensible and troop units in that area would be in constant danger of encirclement from East Prussia and Pomerania. held the Corridor to a junction with the com­ mand of Maj. J. The deployment was faulty from a military standpoint. Gen. a special force of two infantry divisions and two cav­ alry brigades. Temporary bridges were built along the Vistula and the Warta. and probably based on the belief that the in­ tervention of Britain and France in the west would force a number of German divisions to withdraw. T. In the north. held the Lodz area (Lodz Army) and south­ ward to a junction with the force of Brig. Another force of five infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade (Pomorze Army). However. National Guard units in the Cor­ ridor and Poznan areas were mobilized for frontier defense service. Several in­ fantry divisions and smaller units were transferred from their gar­ rison areas in eastern Poland to the central and western parts of the country. Polish forces deployed in the Poznan area would be situated in a salient flanked on the north and south by German territory. assigned four infantry divisions and two cavalry brigades for the defense of the Poznan salient (Poznan Army). under Brig. Przedzymirski-Krukowicz. Mlot-Fijalkowski. Gen. and Cracow the country's mines and heavy in­ dustry. Rommel. Kutrzeba. the psychological ef­ fect of the surrender of these vital areas without a struggle had to be considered. was assigned the defense of the Mlawa area and the direct route to War­ saw (Modlin Army). under command of Maj. A number of individual reservists were called up for serv­ ice and several reserve divisions mobilized and assigned to defensive missions with the active divisions. Gen. In addition to these economic aspects. assigned seven infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade for the defense of the . was disposed along the Biebrza and Narew Rivers and assigned the mission of hold­ ing that part of the Polish frontier north of the Grodno-Warsaw rail line and the frontier with Lithuania (Narew Group). C.

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2 Panzer Divs. \ ^ Lodz./ f Gen. Brigs. i Cav. Divs. IX.cit. Divs. ' 2 Cav. .313. Div.y v Lodz Army > . Szkic nr. 9 inf. Brig I Tank Brig.1939.' (Crocow Army \ \ 7 Inf. I Cav. Divs. \ ( Katowice*x iCovBrig I 'r^^^Cracow \ I M«ch / NBrlg/ Carpathian \ Army ' UK**) Semi -permanent fortifications <*~-*> Defense lines -HI— Newly erected bridges "From " Plon Koncentracji Aktualny W Oniu I. Reserve» 2 Inf. op. Brig. I 8jnf.. Divs I Panzer Div. '. Divs. * * \ Poznon Army Norew Group £ Inf.^ THE POLISH DEFENSE PLAN '^coostoiDefense AND ESTIMATE OF GERMAN STRENGTH "-~" ' " ' IN THE FRONTIER AREA. \ 4 Inf. Divs. p. 9" Polskie Sily Zbrojne W Druglej Wojnie Swiotowej. Map 4 ( Pomorze Army\ 5 Inf. 31 AUG 3 9 " ( Rear Admir.

The Carpathian Army was allocated only three mountain infantry brigades. In ad­ dition.000 aircraft. and Cracow Armies and the general reserve force were assigned reserve divisions which would be called up on mobilization. This was the force.000 tanks and more than 4. and one horse cavalry brigade. and seamen assigned to shore installations. In some cases units had to move to areas better situated for defense. supported by a total of 3.THE POLISH STATE AND THE ARMED FORCES 57 vital Cracow region (Cracow Army). The Car­ pathian Army was formed under Maj. Fabrycy to defend the southern frontier of Poland. The Polish commands formed had no standard corps organization and few other units except infantry divisions and cavalry brigades. except for the Narew Group. the mech­ anized cavalry brigade. Gen. but an additional force formed for the general reserve and consisting of one active division and a partially mobilized reserve division was stationed in the area in the immediate rear of Fabrycy's force. with the name of the geographic area they were assigned to defend. troops were retained in garrison areas and the units assigned defensive missions. Some changes were made in the dispositions of these Polish forces during the several months preceding the German attack. Temporarily. and the bulk of the naval personnel assigned to shore duties. consisted of twelve infantry divisions. The ground defensive organization involved most of the active and several reserve (infantry) divisions. Lodz. an infantry division of the Lodz Army was transferred to the general reserve. centered about Warsaw and in two concentrations to the northeast and north­ west of the capital. not fully mobilized. light forces would hold the crossings from Slovakia. [ See map 4-] . However. the Pomorze. The general reserve force. reference is generally made to them as armies. Where possible. with which Poland was to confront the bulk of Germany's 102 divisions. and a provisional tank brigade was organized and attached to the general reserve. In the Corridor area these moves aroused the resentment of the German part of the population and formed the basis for German charges of war preparations on the part of the Poles. reservists. The mechanized cavalry brigade was transferred to the Cracow Army. all the active cavalry brigades. The port area of Gdynia also organized a defense force the strength of a small division by combining the naval infantry force. K. These con­ centrations of the general reserve would counterattack major German penetrations in the direction of Warsaw and provide the force neces­ sary if the Poles were eventually to go over to the offensive.

Each service selected one or more major commands to direct opera­ tions in the field. The timetable would form the master schedule for the movements. the naval equipment of the HeeresgruppenJiommando. Some deviation from. was designated to form the headquarters of Army Group North. however. The provisional headquarters was to be known as Arbeitsstdb Rwndstedt (Working Staff Kundstedt) temporarily. that would normally have become Second Army on mobilization. The Luftwaffe selected its First and Fourth Air Forces. and other steps necessary to enable the German forces to launch an attack at the time and in the manner directed by Hitler should the Fuehrer decide to settle his differences with Poland by war. The peacetime Heeresgruppenkommomdo 1. As his chief of staff.the mobilization plan of the Army was found to be necessary in the case of the higher ground commands. under Gen­ eraloberst Fedor von Bock. would have to await the recommendations of the three services.Chapter 5 The German Plan and Preliminary Movements April-May 1939 Headquarters OKW began to draft the timetable of preparations for the concentration against Poland immediately following the issue on 3 April of the second part of the annual armed forces directive. Bock's chief of staff was Generalleutnant Hans von Salmuth and his operations officer was Colonel Wilhelm Haase at the time. this headquarters would become Army Group South. Headquarters OKH also directed the organi­ zation of a provisional headquarters under Generaloberst Gerd von Kundstedt. The Navy designated Naval Command East (Marine­ gruppenkommando Ost). security measures. as OKH directed the organization of two army group head­ quarters. 58 . with a staff composed largely of VII Corps personnel who wTould have been assigned to form Twelfth Army on mobilization. then in retirement at Kassel. as the headquarters for fleet units to be committed to the campaign. which began their planning and prepared recommendations for the deployment of forces on the basis of the instructions contained in Plan WEISS. Its completion.

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•^1 Infontry Divisio Donzig° 2 Regiments E A S T P R U S S I A \\ I Covalry Brigode\ \ I Cavalry Brigade \ \ I 8 Infantry Divisions Cavalry Brigade I Panter Brigade FOURTH ARMY*" 3 Infontry Divisions 3 Motorized Divisions! GROUP NORTH RESERVE 3 Infantry Diviiions 3 .) . Light and Motorized Divisions of the time they drew up this plan. 5 Infantry Oivisions^/i 3 Motorized Oivisions { S Infantry Divisions I Covalry Brigade I Motorized Brigade ' (Note the number of Motorized Divisions.4 Infantry Divislo \ GENERAL RESERVE 6-7 Infantry Divisions EIGHTH ARMY 5 Infontry Divisions ARMY GROUP SOUTH RESERVE 9 Infantry Divisions 6 Infantry Divisions 7 Motorized Divisions FOURTEENTH ARM . The planners undoubtedly combined Panzer.THE GERMAN CONCEPT OF GROUND OPERATIONS" ..

Fourth Army would cut the Corridor at its base and take Grudziadz (Graudenz). As the recommendations of these headquarters were received. P-210. respectively. OCMH. CRS.THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 59 Eundstedt was assigned Generalleutnant Fritz Erich von Manstein. Mai/Juni 1939-43. la Nr. while Manstein and Blumentritt continued as division commander and OKH staff officer. Tagebuch-Notizen z. Kdos. commander of an infantry division. Col. The SS military force was still in the process of development. The Fuehrer approved the OKH concept of an attack by two army groups. and initiated detailed planning by Heeresgruppenkommando 1 and Rund­ stedt's staff. The Army. diverting sufficient forces to hold any Polish attack on its right flank from Galicia and the southeast. from north and south. TAG . . the Army plan included the commitment of two regiments and several smaller separate units of the SS Verfuegungstruppen. Oktober 1939. On the southern front Rundstedt's army group would advance on Warsaw on a broad front. I. P 274g. and Air Force drew up three separate but coordi­ nated campaign plans. As a point of interest. chief of training at OKH. and almost all of the Arbeitssbab Eundstedt planning had to be carried on by the three officers originally assigned and by two General Staff officers detailed to the project in the course of the summer. Both sent appropriate orders to the peacetime commands that would forhi their army headquarters to initiate planning at the next lower level. Foreign Studies Br. Bock and Rundstedt submitted their comments and recommendations to OKH late in May. [See map 5. The establishment of contact between the Reich proper and East Prussia by Fourth Army would be followed by a Third Army attack from East Prussia in the direction of Warsaw. they were incorporated into the plans of Rundstedt and Heeresgruppenkommando 1. the armed affiliate of the National Socialist Party.1 1 Entwurf Aufmarschanweisung Weiss. p. Hitler was briefed on the Army's plan on 26-27 April. Polen-Feldzug. v. Navy. Arbeitsstab Run/Astedt. was to become Rundstedt's operations offi­ cer. 2-4 (hereafter referred to as the "Bock Diary"). Gen Feldm. The provisional headquarters had no peacetime counterpart. working on the plans as an additional duty. Bock. Blumen­ tritt's dual position in operational planning and normal training made it possible to camouflage many of the preoperational movements of troops as part of the annual training and maneuver program. destroying the Polish armies in the western part of the country and capturing Warsaw. and only four regiments and a few separate small units were in existence in 1939. 20. Rund­ stedt remained much of the time at his home. 1/39 g. On the northern front. Mai 19S9. Guenther Blumentritt.] A directive embodying the Army's campaign plan was sent by OKH to Rundstedt and Bock on 1 May for comment and elaboration.

would leave the German center open to Polish counter­ Bernhard von Lossberg. Direct communication with subordinate headquarters was authorized for planning purposes. Keitel transmitted the request to the Fuehrer. 1. TAG. Abt (I) Gen 8t d H. The plan of campaign was expressed in detail. As his OKW planners viewed the situation. This plan of attack. and supporting troops considered necessary to accomplish their missions. 1. Both army groups had attached to them the commands of the active Army that would form army headquarters on mobilization. Itn Wehrmachtfuehrungsstdb (Hamburg. A copy of this order will be found in the Arleitsstab Rundstedt planning pa­ pers. with two army groups attacking from north and south in the direction of the Polish capital. cutting across normal administrative channels. » Aufmarschanweisung Fall Wei»s.60 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) One attempt was made about this time to discourage Hitler from precipitating a major war by a rash move. adhering to the general concept of operations. and the corps. The movement of troops to the frontier areas would be directed by OKH. 15. Kdos. The operation order added one change in directing Third Army to attack simul­ taneously with Fourth Army and send a strong force to assist Fourth Army in seizing crossings on the Vistula. divi­ sions. Therefore. CRS. with the German striking power on the north and south. The major force of Third Army. would attack in the direction of Warsaw without waiting for Fourth Army to establish land contact between the Reich proper and East Prussia. The target date by which the two headquarters were to have worked out all details on coordination with the Air Force (and with the Navy. members of the planning staff proposed a war game to consider all features of Germany'9 strategic situation.. p. The OKH Operation Order of 15 June 1939 The first OKH operation order directed Bock's and Rundstedt's headquarters to pursue their planning under their original designa­ tions as Heeresgruppenkommando 1 and Arheitsstab Rwndstedt. a war involving the British and French and other western powers could end only in disaster. 1950). meanwhile. 27. Hitler was firmly convinced that there would be no war with the west over Poland. OKH. Orders directing specific prepara­ tions could also be issued by the two headquarters scheduled to become army groups. Nr.200/39 g. 3 . in the case of Army Group North) was set for 20 July. P 274 k. The Polish Army would be destroyed in the western part of Poland. and reserves would be prevented from mobilizing or concentrating to resist the German advance.2 Meanwhile^ OKH revised its campaign plan and OKL and OKM continued with their own planning work. and was refused on the grounds that security and diplomatic negotiations might be endangered. Juni 1939.

from Kluge's Group Command 6. and a cavalry brigade. cutting off the Polish forces in the northern part of the Corridor and securing the communication and transportation lines between Germany proper and East Prussia. Army Group South. The force of Third Army that attacked to the southwest and the Fourth Army would join in the attack toward Warsaw when their mission in the Corridor area was completed. a Panzer division.THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 61 blows. 2 Panzer. While Third Army commenced operations from East Prussia. Army Group North would thus include 14 standard infantry divisions. The attack in the direction of Warsaw would form Third Army's major effort. the stronger of the two major German ground forces. and a Panzer division. the Fourth Army. Fourteenth Army. under command of General der Artillerie Georg von Kuechler and General der Artillerie Guenther von Kluge. un­ der General der Infanterie Johannes Blaskowitz. Eighth Army would comprise four infantry divisions. Four­ teenth Army. Fourth Army would attack to the east and south. frontier guard units and some reservists would take up defensive positions east of the Oder Eiver at Frankfurt-amOder. The capture of Danzig would be accomplished by German reservists already in the city. in that order. would include the Eighth. Army Group North was to control the Third and Fourth Armies. Two infantry divisions would be the army group reserve. Third Army would be composed of 8 infantry divisions. Tenth Army would be composed of 6 infantry. and corps troops. Local attacks would be launched by these frontier guards and reserv­ ists to deceive the Poles and tie down Polish units that might otherwise be moved to oppose the drives of the northern and southern army groups. Tenth Army. 2 motorized infantry divisions. General der Artil­ lerie Walther von Reichenau. Eighth Army would be formed from Blaskowitz's Group Com­ mand 3. and Generaloberst Wilhelm List. from List's Group Command 5. 2 motorized infantry. and Fourteenth Armies. together with army group. securing the vital river crossings into the interior of Germany. The Eighth and Tenth Armies would attack from northern Silesia. The headquarters for Third Army would be formed from Kuechler's I Corps in East Prussia. from Reichenau's Group Command 4. a Panzer brigade. The force of Third Army that would attack to the southwest and assist Fourth Army in securing crossings along the Vistula would be smaller. and . army. 2 motorized infantry divisions. Fourth Army would make its attack from North Germany's Pomerania. Tenth. from southern Silesia and the satellite state of Slovakia. Fourth Army would comprise 4 standard infantry divisions. and a cavalry brigade. a Panzer brigade. Consequently.

4 Panzer. Abt. The main effort would be made by Tenth Army. 4-5. OKH allocated the motorized SS Regiment Adolf Hitler to the Eighth Army. and executing a deep drive east of the Polish capital to prevent the escape of Polish forces into the vast Pripyat Marches. 1. Accordingly. but the major effort would be in the east.62 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) 3 light divisions. Army Group South thus would have 21 infantry. The situation a9 it developed in the area of Army Group South would determine the further employ­ ment of Eighth Army. Eighth Army would move on Lodz and secure the left (north) flank of Tenth Army against strong Polish forces known to be in the Poznan-Kutno area and capable of inter­ fering with Tenth Army's mission. The future army group commanders held several dissenting opinions concerning the OKH plan. 2 motorized infantry. CRS.. OKH. Bock questioned the advisability of a heavy attack on Warsaw from the west. 1 light. striking toward Warsaw. P 274 a. once the Corridor had been cut. 5 "Bock Diary." pp. 4 light. including armored exercises in central Germany. . but his major objection to the OKH concept was not resolved until operations were under way. and 2 Panzer divisions. The junction of Army Group North and Tenth Army at Warsaw would seal off Polish units in western Poland and prevent their escape to the area east of the Narew-Vistula-San River line. Nr. Maneuvers had been scheduled. strongest of the three. Kdos. TAG. Rundstedt also desired more cavalry to screen his left flank. Fourteenth Army would include 5 infantry. Juni 1989. in the Arbeitsatab Rundstedt papers.5 Troop movements to begin the implementation of the OKH plan would be carried out in three series. Bock was granted some additional latitude in directing his campaign. Instead he favored strengthening Third Army at the ex­ pense of Fourth Army.4 For his part. Haider to Manstein. and 3 moun­ tain divisions. and the Reich had announced the intention of strengthening its east­ <Ltr. The first of these would involve the movement of a number of infantry divisions and supporting units to Germany's eastern frontier area and to East Prussia. 2. (/) Gen 8t d H. Three mountain and 6 infantry divisions would be the army group reserve. Smaller German forces could be used to tie down the Poles west of Warsaw. di­ verting some units if necessary from the drive on Warsaw. Rundstedt believed that Tenth Army should move first to destroy the Polish forces on its front. Fourteenth Army would take Cracow and push to the east to protect the right flank of Tenth Army from attack by Polish forces moving into western Galicia from Lwow and the east. 4I6O/SO g. On the right (southeast) flank of Army Group South. This was resolved when Rundstedt was ordered to move directly on the Polish capita] with the Tenth Army.

.000 Luftwaffe reservists would be ordered to report for active duty. as the transportation and postal services.S9. as soon as Hitler specified the exact date for Y-day. TAG. Troops from the Reich were also scheduled to participate in the Tannenberg Memorial ceremonies in East Prussia in August. A total of 386. the armored. after which the "X" mobiliza­ 'Zeittafel fuer den Fall Weixs. Chefs. etc. Orders to various departments of the Reich government. CRS. . and the remain­ ing elements of the infantry divisions. Rather. WFA/L I 92/39. the "Y" or final move­ ment would be ordered. In addition to the movement of active units to the east. so the first troop movements would not necessarily ap­ pear as a hostile gesture toward Poland. and Air Force on 14 July and scheduled the movement of forces as recom­ mended by the services to enable them to execute their attack plans. Notations in the timetable called for decisions by Hitler prior to the undertaking of successive major steps planned. light. Y-2. and motorized infantry divisions.THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 63 ern frontiers. were also to be given by OKW. The timetable provided for securing the Fuehrer's decision regard­ ing Y-Day by 23 August. it provided only a schedule. or eastern counterpart of the Westwall.7. v. The second and third series of movements would involve the headquarters staffs and their supporting troops. had already begun. H. the time­ table provided for the mobilization of a number of reservists for the Army and Air Force prior to the attack. Where political or diplomatic considera­ tions were involved. The movement of some Army units for the purpose of working on the Ostwall. ostensibly for maneuvers. Final preparations were to be scheduled as Y-3. Hitler's order for the attack was to be given by 1200. OKW 129. so the timetable contained the schedule for the remainder of the move­ ments in the first series of troop shifts. With this decision. and orders for movements or measures to be taken had to be given by OKW or the service directly concerned. Navy. The OKW Timetable 6 The timetable of preparations was issued to the Army. and units in concentration areas would begin their moves to assembly areas for the attack. thereby enabling the Fuehrer to exercise close control over the entire undertaking.000 Army and 55. to commemorate the victory of Hinden­ burg's Eighth Army over the Russian Narew Army in the Allenstein area in August 1914. On Y-l. OKW reserved decision or gave specific authori­ zation to one of the services to order appropriate action. The day all preparations would be completed for the attack was designated as Y-day. The timetable itself did not constitute an order.

Enormous stocks of rations. which controlled the tele­ phone and telegraph systems as well as the mails. and ob­ structions to traffic repaired immediately. Hitler's order of Y-l setting the exact time for the attack was to be followed by the implementation of Plan WEST. ammunition. Stops for motor columns would be kept available. and hay and . The trucks and other motor vehicles necessary for military use would be requisitioned from government agencies. etc. On Y-l the special nets for military traffic were to be opened. and the code word setting the precise time for the at­ tack was to be communicated to the headquarters of the three services. and Seventh Armies. with the rest of the German transportation system. and communications traffic to foreign countries was to be monitored or held up. several of which were already training in the western frontier area. The Autobahn highway system was to be inspected effective 17 August. On Y-l the security of rail lines and installations was to be strengthened by additional railway police and the Reichsbahn. gasoline. All telephone and telegraph communications to Poland and Lithuania were to be cut off at midnight of the day preceding Y-day. carefully scheduled. required no mobilization of the German railroad system. bridging equipment. On Y-2 the Reichsbahn would make the necessary arrangements preliminary to its mobilization. Regular telephone and telegraph traffic would be kept to the minimum. Fifth. The Reiohspost (German Postal Service). spare parts for a wide range of vehicle types. Foreign rail traffic in Germany was to be kept under observation and preparations made to halt it if necessary. there was to be a curtailment of traffic and as many special trains as possible (excursions. On Y-2 all telephone and telegraph installations would be secured. As of 16 August. held available special lines for long-distance military traffic even in peacetime. Logistical Support The Reiclisbahn (German Federal Railways) would transport the bulk of the troops and their equipment to the frontier area. and private owners. On 18 August precautions were to be taken to safeguard rail lines and installations. however. The frontier commands were to be absorbed into the First.64 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) tion would be directed (calling up the reserve divisions without public proclamation). On Y-l the special tele­ phone system of the Autobahn was to be tied in with the rest of the German telephone communications system. The first west­ ward movement would involve seven active divisions.) would be cancelled. and Army Group C would be assigned responsibility for the defense of the Westwall. Move­ ments to mid-August. industry. would go on a wartime basis.

drawing on depots in East Prussia and separated from the Reich. with headquarters in Breslau. and would store four extra loads for those Fourth Army units Bock planned to move to East Prussia once a junction was effected across the Polish Corridor. Third Army. at Stettin (Pomerania). in Koen­ igsberg (East Prussia). every light machine gun 3. and Fourth Army by Wehrkreis II. Rations for the troops were to be secured in advance of operations from the Wehrkreise and stored in depots by each army. Provisions would also have to be made for moving depots forward as the units advanced.750 rounds. and artillery ammuni­ tion). hay. and submachine gun ammunition) and in the trucks. since the issue bread would remain fresh for approximately one week only. in Vienna. for each of the four loads. A notation in the OKH field order that biscuits would be provided in place of bread for the last 3 days of the 10-day period. corps. e. Eighth and Tenth Armies were to be supplied with rations by Wehrkreis VIII. if the units overextended their supply lines or army ration installations were unable to maintain the rate of advance of the combat units. Should further rations. wagons. According to German practice. Third Army was to be supplied by Wehrkreis I. and forage not be available for issue after the start of operations. It was estimated the fuel prob­ lem would be particularly acute with the armored columns.THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 65 forage for the animals of the infantry and mountain divisions were to be made available. Fourteenth Army would draw upon Wehrkreis XVII. The food supplies required by the troops prior to the attack would be provided by the local Wehrkreise. Initial stocks were to consist of a 10-day supply of field rations and one emergency ration. may perhaps serve as an example for the completeness of preparations. and army troop units would draw directly on these depots. Every rifleman required 90 rounds. A total of four times the basic load of ammunition (a specified amount to be carried by the troops or in unit transportation) was to be made available. A 10-day supply of oats and sufficient hay for the animals for 2 days would be stored in the same depot and issued with the rations. moving through a primarily agricultural country. and every division artillery piece 300 rounds. One load would be carried by individuals (pistol. rifle. A second load would be available for issue from the army ammunition depot. mortar. and two more loads would be stored on rail sidings and moved forward as the situation necessitated. . was to have a total of six loads available. and trains of the unit (machine gun. the divisions might permit local requi­ sitioning down to battalion. g. the divisions.

Tenth Army the motor pools in Breslau and Oppeln. and Fourteenth Army the motor pool in Vienna. Stocks equal to this initial issue of fuel were to be kept in tank cars along the rail lines. until such time as veteri­ nary service in the army rear areas could be established. a form of mar­ tial law) in designated areas of Silesia would be granted to the . Sick and wounded personnel requiring hospitalization would be sent to available garrison or civilian hospitals. All motor pools and their supply warehouses were to receive special issues of spare parts by 20 August. or demolitions. was to have an additional allocation of 1. pending the organization of general hospitals in the army rear areas. and a number of engineer bridging units attached to each army group and army. In anticipation of these contingencies.66 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (19391 Gasoline and oil sufficient to drive each vehicle a total of 750 kilo­ meters (approximately 450 miles) under normal operating conditions was to be provided units in assembly areas. the artillery's prime movers. were in the general vicinity of the motor pools or in nearby cities. Veterinarians were to use civilian facilities whenever military installations for the care of sick and injured animals were not available. and tanks. tires. general service. ready to move ahead for issue as the units advanced. or in the regimental and division trains. The various armies were to draw replacement vehicles. It was presumed that the Poles would destroy a large number of bridges. In the Army Group South area.500 tons of fuel. Rail lines and terminal installations might also be damaged by bomb­ ing. bridging equipment was to be stored in each army group area. Temporary executive power (vollziehende Gewalt. Many of the Polish roads would not stand up well under sustained pounding by trucks. and construction engineer bat­ talions. Special engineer staffs would be attached to the army groups and armies to provide technical direction for all engineer work within the army group and army areas. on unit supply trucks. Third Army would use the motor pool in Koenigsberg and Fourth Army that in Stettin. with its heavy concentration of armored vehicles. each army group and army was to receive road building. Eighth Army would use the motor pool in Breslau. All gasoline tanks were to be filled and the surplus carried in cans on each vehicle. particularly those across the Vistula and the broader rivers. In addition to the bridging units. for the most part. artillery fire. The tire depots. Army Group South. Railway engineer personnel would be available for putting captured rail lines back into operation. and spare parts from specified motor pools and tire depots in the Zone of the Interior. to be held on trucks in the vicinity of Breslau and ready to move on short notice to units where it was needed. In the Army Group North area. Major repairs would also be effected by the repair shops of these motor pools.

but rather as temporary holding points pending further evacuation or exchange. and in portions of Moravia and Slovakia to the commander of Fourteenth Army. These ad­ vance preparations could be made only within the Reich. With this authority. Those units of Fourteenth Army that would concentrate in Slovakia would be moving into an area not occupied by German garrison troops and any overt activity would be certain to draw the attention of the residents of the region and quite possibly their Polish neighbors. the Commanders of each were to be granted temporary executive power over designated areas of Reich territory. all prisoners of war would come under the control of the Replacement and Training Army (Ersatzheer) upon arrival at the collecting point. In the Army Group North area. Thus Fourteenth Army was to plan lines to be installed hastily when the units to concentrate in Slovakia moved into their assembly areas. but normal traffic of garrison troops maintained to avoid arousing the suspicions of the Poles. prisoners of war taken by Eighth and Tenth Armies would be evacuated to collecting points in Silesia. With the exception of those sent to Slovakia. the respective army group and army commanders. Radio silence was to be observed by all units in their concentration and assembly areas. The APO number system would go into effect with the arrival of troops in concentration areas. Land cables and tele­ phone lines for use by the incoming headquarters staffs were to be installed by garrison troops and special signal personnel. . in the event of emergency. This authority was to devolve upon the army com­ manders once the German forces crossed the border into Poland. In the area of Army Group South. Fourteenth Army would erect such detention centers in Slovakia as it deemed necessary. Since the two armies of Army Group North would be operating from either side of the Polish Corridor. Arrangements were also to be made for evacuation of prisoners taken. Fourth Army's captives would be evacuated to a central collecting point at Stargard. could utilize civilian manpower and installations. Third Army's would go to collecting points to be set up by Wehrkreis I. No mail was to be delivered or col­ lected for a period of five days following the start of operations.THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 67 commander of Army Group South. Special signal troops would be assigned the army groups to put cap­ tured Polish signal installations and facilities back into operation as the attack progressed. and control the police and local public officials. The time such authority should take effect would in each case be directed by OKH. however. The collecting points themselves were not considered as camps for final disposition.

Marine­ gruppe Ost.7 Naval units would participate in operations to the extent of destroying or capturing the small Polish naval and merchant fleets. B.. would take up battle stations in the North Sea and the Atlantic. la Op i8/S9. giving the latest estimates of Polish naval strength and assign­ ing specific missions to units designated to participate in the attack on Poland. 14 submarines. surface craft. after which both Danzig and Gdynia were to be blockaded by mines. Doc. 1 Ski. ready to engage the British and French in the event of Allied intervention. T. under command of Generaladmiral Conrad Albrecht.. The naval units assigned to missions against Poland were assured of a 48-hour advance warning period to reach these assigned stations. Odkos Chefs. The property of neutrals was to be scrupu­ lously respected to prevent incidents. op. Other surface units would proceed out of sight of land to Gdynia and Hela (a Polish fort on the Hela Peninsula in the Bay of Danzig) and destroy their coastal batteries. pp. 16. cit. including most of the opera­ tional U-boats. Mai 1939. to prevent losses to German aircraft scheduled to make a feint attack at first light to cover the approach of the surface craft. August 1939. 126-C. and submarines. in ibid. 1 fuer Linienschiff "Schleswig-Holstein. Special care was to be taken to avoid damage to the city of Danzig. An operation order was issued on 21 August by Naval Command East. 448-55. and rendering Army Group North such assistance as it might require in the course of its operations. in /.68 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) The Navy and Air Force The role of the Navy in the Polish Campaign was outlined in Admiral Raeder's annual directive on 16 May. and German warships would not enter neutral waters. would control 3 cruisers. pp. These naval units were to be so deployed in the Baltic area so as to be able to reach their assigned battle stations before hostilities were begun. 2 flotillas of destroyers (8 or more ships). and a number of torpedo boats and other light craft. B. Neu­ tral ships would be given 10 hours to clear the ports.. and was to anchor in the harbor there. 7 Weisung Fall "Weiss. The Navy would be instructed to commence hostilities by a system of code words and numbers disguised as radio traffic of the merchant marine. its mission was the bombardment of Polish shore installations." OKM. 21. Okds 250/39 Chefs. 428-42. . keeping clear the sea lanes to East Prussia.8 The training ship (formerly battleship) SchZeswigHolstein was to be sent on a visit to Danzig shortly before the outbreak of hostilities. The bulk of the fleet. 8 Operationsbefehl Nr. Nr." Marinegruppenkomtnando Ost. Nr. XXXIV. blockading Danzig and Gdynia. AT. bombarding Polish shore installations. If. Fire was to be opened on Hela at H-hour and on Gdynia one hour later.

or Air Commander for Special Employ­ ment. (Parachute troops were part of the Luftwaffe under the German concept of organization. Goering had forced this arrangement for paratroop units and anti­ aircraft units already formed by the Army at the time the armed forces had been expanded. and his force consisted of approximately one air division. commanded by Generalleutnant Helmuth Foerster. The First Air Force would operate in the area of Army Group North and give close support to the Third and Fourth Armies. Tenth. the First Air Force would control the 1st Air Division. commanded by Generallieutenant Ulrich Grauert. The 9 Die Planting und Vorkereitung des Lulkrietges gegen Polen. Planung und Vorbereitung.8 As major subordinate headquarters. under Generalleutnant Bruno Loerzer. The OKL reserve was to consist of the 7th Air Division at Liegnitz in Silesia. The Air Force plan of operations gave first priority to the de­ struction of the Polish Air Force in the air and on the ground.) The two air forces assigned to direct the air effort against Poland would control 36 groups and approximately 1. operating from bases in East Prussia.) The Richthofen Air Division was to establish its headquarters ap­ proximately 70 miles southeast of Breslau. V. TAG.. and Fourteenth Armies. and a provisional command known as the Richthofen Air Division. operating from bases in Pomerania. (The German term for General major Wolfgang Freiherr von Richthofen's position was Fliegerfuehrer z. Air force planinng proceeded in much the same manner as planning by the Army. respec­ tively. The First and Fourth Air Forces. enabling the division to support Fourteenth Army. with headquar­ ters 25 miles southeast of Breslau in German Silesia. and 50 percent of the fighter force would be committed to operations. the Fourth Air Force was to control the 2d Air Division. The 7th Air Division included the 1st Parachute Infantry Regiment and several air transport groups. were commanded at that time by General der Flieger Albert Kesselring and General der Flieger Alexander Loehr.THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 69 The Luftwaffe issued its first directive for operations against Poland in mid-May. and the two air forces deployed to meet an attack in the west would be weakened by the diversion of combat units to the air effort in the east. 1939. The Fourth Air Force was to operate in the area of Army Group South and support the Eighth. . All of the Luftwaffe's dive bomber force. designated to direct the air effort.400 offensively armed aircraft. CRS. and the Luftwaffe Train­ ing Division (consisting of picked squadrons formerly assigned to experimental work). For its major sub­ ordinate headquarters. b. 70 percent of its bombers. Von Rohden Collection. Teil C.

A possible Polish attack against East Prussia in the event of hostilities made it essential that this easternmost German area be secured while troops were concentrating in Pomerania and Silesia. involved a number of infantry divisions. The Concentration of Forces The first troop movements to the east. The German Air Force would then be able to turn its attention to bombing and strafing Polish columns moving to the front. The exposed province of East Prussia. A signal regiment arrived in Pomerania to set up the communications net for Army Group North headquarters. A corps headquarters. and an infantry division moved into Eighth . some of the corps headquarters. made necessary such preparation for a quick transition from a peace to a war footing. and bombing marshalling yards and rear areas where Polish reserves would be gathering. Five more infantry divisions followed between 15 July and 4 August. engineers and military police. and the first few days should suffice to eliminate any Polish threat from the skies. and many of the service units required to establish communications and supply installations that would be needed by the troops to follow. Third Army in peacetime had a small permanent staff and could organize rapidly for defense. surrounded on its land sides by Poland and Lithuania. An infantry division and panzer brigade arrived in East Prussia during the first week of August. This measure helped allay Polish fears about an imminent invasion. In some cases troop units dispatched to the frontier areas were rotated back to their home stations once again before their final move to concentration areas shortly before the at­ tack. from late June to midAugust. when four infantry divisions were dispatched to Pome­ rania and Silesia. A LuftwafFe commander for all air reconnaissance and flak units sup­ porting the Army was also detailed to each of the two army group headquarters. The first movement occurred between 26 June and 15 July. The concluding movements in the first phase of deployment east­ ward were completed in early August. To maintain close contact with Army units it wTas to support. and a corps headquarters and two infantry divisions arrived in the Fourth Army area. Part IV of the annual military directive provided for the organization of Third Army by I Corps in East Prussia in the event of mobilization.70 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) 12 major Polish air bases and 75 smaller air fields and landing strips were known to the Luftwaffe. Unlike the other army head­ quarters that would be formed from existing group commands and corps. the Air Force detailed liaison officers to the major ground commands.

.

undated mop .THE CONCENTRATION OF GERMAN FORCES * O 10 Zp 30 40 SO P R U S S I A P 0 L A N D SOUTH! Op peln . Ixl3(D * From Aufmor»ch det H««r«t. foil WEISS.

construction engineers. as well as those of the army group and armies in the north. A signal regiment and military police units also arrived as the forward echelon of Army Group South's army group troops. signal units. and three infantry divisions moved into the area of the Fourteenth Army. and air units directly attached to the ground forces for observa­ tion and courier purposes. The "Y" movement followed immediately upon the "A" movement and was set in motion with Hitler's decision of 23 August setting 26 August as Y-day. when all preparations were to be complete. artil­ lery. a signal regiment. together with army group. On 16 August four reserve divisions com­ posed of personnel resident in East Prussia were called up for training. On 19 August 14 long-range submarines left their home bases at Wil­ . Eighth Army headquarters assembled at Breslau. and three light divisions. Personnel to form Fourth Army established headquarters at Jastrow. would become operational on OKH order. The remaining elements of two divisions closed into the Fourth Army area in the north. and set in motion in mid-August with Hitler's decision to continue with the build-up of forces. One corps headquarters moved into Fourteenth Army's area. a number of the armored and motorized units moved in organic trans­ portation by night from maneuver areas in central Germany.] In the south. A corps headquarters. Units scheduled to become army group and army troops and moved in at the same time included engineers. Tenth Army at Oppeln. For security purposes. A corps headquarters. the personnel assigned to form the army group staff moved to Bad Polzin and established head­ quarters. and separate units were moved in.THE: GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 71 Army's area. Concurrent naval movements from mid-August brought fleet units and attached air elements within striking range of Poland or into position to counter British and French attempts at intervention. [See map 6. with two Panzer. two motorized infantry. The second series of transfers was designated as the "A" movement. and additional corps. army. the headquarters of Rundstedt's army group was estab­ lished at Neisse. and Fourteenth Army headquarters at Neu­ titschein. The corps headquarters and divisions deployed in the "A" movement to the Army Group South area included elements of three Tenth Army corps. In the south. Two corps headquarters. In the north. and two infantry divisions moved into the Tenth Army's area. All of these headquarters. and corps troops. divi­ sions. a signal regiment. a panzer division. The remaining elements of the divisions and corps which redeployed only part of their forces in the "A" movement were brought up. the remainder of three corps and their divisions moved into Tenth Army assembly areas. and elements of two motorized divisions were shifted into the Fourth Army area. one light and two panzer divisions ar­ rived in the area of the Fourteenth Army.

more popularly known as Stukas. The First Air Force comprised 800 aircraft. The bomber aircraft were mostly Messer­ schmitt Ill's and Dornier 17's. With the build-up of forces complete Hitler set dawn on Y-day. Air units unable to mount their first strikes against Poland from home bases because of range moved to permanent air bases in eastern Germany first. and other naval vessels and aircraft to be committed against Poland were in the Baltic area and prepared for active operations on short notice. The First Air Force headquarters moved to East Prussia and the Fourth to Breslau. The OKL reserve had a few additional bombers and two air groups with approximately 250 Junkers 52 transports for paratroop operations. 2flotillasof destroyers. the cruisers Hipper and Leipzig. and local defense missions completed the naval units assigned to meet any Allied attack from the west. Two more submarines left for the Atlantic area on 22 and 23 August. approximately 100 naval aircraft. and the mission of raiding Allied commerce in the North Atlantic. 180 dive bombers. The fighters were mostly Messer­ schmitt 109's and 110's. then to landing strips in the vicinity of the frontier on Y-l. and 120 fighters.72 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) helmshaven and Kiel for Atlantic war stations and the British Isles area. and port defenses. in­ cluding 500 bombers. knowing the Russians would not intervene. and Army Groups North and South and Army Group C and their armies became opera­ tional on the 23d. The dive bombers were Junkers 87's. As General Haider noted in his diary. 24 of the smaller submarines. as the time for the attack. there would be no . and take up position as a commerce raider in the South Atlantic. including 310 bombers. 14 submarines. Naval and air force headquarters designated to participate also become operational at the same time as the army commands. The Scharnhorst and Gneis­ enau took up positions in the North Sea. Naval Command East was assigned the Nuernberg as flagship for the direction of operations against the Polish Navy. 160 dive bombers. merchant marine. The Fourth Air Force controlled 590 aircraft. The Graf Spee departed on 21 August to rendezvous with the supply ship AUmark. 26 August. The Admiral Scheer. The codeword Befehlsuebernahms ("assume command") was sent out by OKH upon Hitler's decision setting Y-day. minesweeping. Naval Command West (Marinegruppe West) was organized on 23 August to control fleet units sent on interception missions against the British and French. The Deutschland left Wilhelmshaven for a ren­ dezvous with the supply ship Westenoald. The cruisers. 3 divisions of destroyers (6 or more ships). and 120 fighters. and a number of light vessels for patrol purposes.

which would mobilize only if Britain and France entered the war. 14 submarines. The Polish vessels were kept under observation until it was apparent that they were enroute to the British Isles area. a few destroyers. In a few cases small German units crossed the frontier and engaged in clashes with Polish border guards before they could be recalled. and in some cases commanders themselves. just formed in the Protectorate. a number of smaller surface craft. the remaining second. these skirmishes were considered only an additional provocation by the Poles and part of the German war of nerves. although none was sufficiently sharp to precipitate hostilities. and fourth-wave divisions were mobilized. While the Polish and German forces waited under arms. three of the destroyers. and Burza had left Gdynia. A number of Luftwaffe reserve units were also called up for service.10 The divisions and other units moved to their final concentration areas as scheduled. The striking units of Naval Command East would be reduced to the Schlesivig-Holsteiri. OCMH. (There were no Panzer divisions 6 through 9 at this time. Within the Keich Zone of the Interior. Some German units were already moving toward their final assembly areas. On 30 August OKM received a report from a radio intercept unit that the Polish destroyers Grom. . Orders already issued for the mining of the Gdynia Bay area were cancelled. No reinforcement was considered necessary for the Navy. The delay in the attack allowed sufficient time for the 10th Panzer Division. Copy in Foreign Studies Br. had to intercept the attack forces personally and relay the order to halt the opening of hostilities. Apparently. both re­ ported numerous violations of the frontier and occasional shootings. third. and officer messengers. p. Band I (hereafter referred to as the "Haider Diary"). These numbers were to be assigned to the Panzer divisions to be formed from the four light divisions. and attached Luftwaffe units. the Poles thought the firm attitude of the Allies would discourage Hitler from starting what must surely develop into a general war. to move into the area of Fourth Army. 10 Krieg8tagebuch des Oeneralobersten Franz Haider. and a number of torpedo boats of the Naval Command East force to Naval Command West.) The Navy dispatched two more submarines to Atlantic stations. Blyzkawica. The Germans still hoped to achieve another bloodless conquest. Orders were then issued transferring the cruisers. The Period of Indecision Hitler rescinded his order to attack late on 25 August when the British and French refused his overtures and Chamberlain guaranteed support to the Poles. 26.THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 73 further orders—everything would proceed according to plan.

The X I X Corps. Hitler had regained his determination. a Wave I I com­ mand. As of 31 August the German ground force arrayed against Poland comprised a total of 55 divisions. •From OKH Chart of same date. The three frontier com­ mands along the Westwall were a part of the active Army. called Wodrig after its commander. it had no corresponding Wehrkreis organization. The 10th Panzer Division had been added to Army Group North. [See chart If\. A provisional corps. For the campaign against Poland. Navy. and a number of provisional commands had been formed. Plan WEISS had provided for the commitment only of active units to the initial attack. former chief of Mobile Troops. they were directed to proceed with the attack: the time for the com­ mencement of hostilities was set for 0445. its composition and dispositions varied in a number of details from the original plan of operations. (As the XIV. and XVI Corps. a number of reserve corps and divisions had been added by the mobilization that had proceeded after Hitler post­ poned the time of attack en 25 August. XV. an active command formed in the course of the summer. In the course of the afternoon of 31 August. Warning or­ ders to the Army. The frontier commands were also to play a more important part in operations than had first been planned. had also been added to Third Army. Several new organizations formed over the preceding few months were also ready for operations. was under Gen­ eral der Panzertruppen Heinz Guderian. . The XXI Corps. and Air Force on 30 August instructed the participating headquarters of all three services to prepare for opera­ tions on 1 September. the frontier commands in several cases would fill a combat role. No major changes were made in the order of battle or dispositions of Army Group South but a Wave I I corps and several divisions on the right flank of Fourteenth Army would be able to complete their concentration and enter the campaign sooner than would have been the case had operations commenced on 26 August as scheduled. and would control the Panzer and motorized infantry divi­ sions of Fourth Army.) The Panzer brigade sent to East Prussia had been raised to the status of a provisional division and would be committed to operations as Panzer Division Kempf.74 THE GERMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) Meanwhile. The Kuestrin Frontier Command had been redesignated the 50th Infantry Division. but those in the east were police forces under the Reich Ministry of the Interior in peacetime and came under Army control for security duties in the event of war. had been created in Third Army control to control two divisions moving south on Warsaw from East Prussia.

Ma/. OttrnbQChtr L X j Gold. L lit Kaempfe | XIV I Gen d.Ma/. jXJ.Oberst v. d.Ebertiard Army Group Reserves CXI 208 Gea.Wtichs Gtn. Maj. Ma I erne Gen Ma/. MaJ.Bihmt Gen.r Opiffelder Gen.Bock Gen. Briestn Gen Lfn. Keiner IXJea Col. Ma/.Hofl Gen. Art. L tn. d. Army Group Reserves Gen d Inf. *.tr r.t.r. Inf.Ltn. Oterst Litt I XVI ( Gtn.Ltn.Maj. Inf.Ma/ |XJ2MI Gen Ltn. Gtn.CHART 4. Pfluabtil Gtn. d.Maj Bait itr JEbtrharit Gen.4.GERMAN ORDER OF BATTLE I SEPTEMBER 1939' NORTH I Ge.Mt/. t. Ltn. Maj. Z. Beth Gtn Ltn. I XVII | Gtn.Frh. Wikionn [XJ2O7 Get). LXJ2" Gtn.Suttntr 6m. Andreas SOUTH Gen. Vietinanott Gen. Inf. Art Lett Gtn. Gen. Inf. Hvaicki Gtn.CMr. Noltt Gen Maj Fhry Grot* Ge/i. '.Ltii.Maj Bitltr Gen Moj. r.Se/tatfrt |XJ239 Gtn. Ma/. 4 Inf. r. Gtn Ma/.Maj. I'Hommt dt Court/ere Gtn.Ctr. Wiettnheim Gend. Ltn. r Klvat L_i_jG<fCm< DU Gtn. Gobltm Gtn LtnfrhGtyr.Lichtl Scbweppenbarg Gtn. Ltn. Art. Mftfrr. Car Gen.r.Ltytn Col. | VIII j Gen.p Gtn.Mcj. Dittl Gtn.d.Oberst v Bock FOURTH| Gtn.Itt Gtn. 4.Ltn. r.4.Ltn r.Kltltt n.4. Kortltltiteh 6tn.UltM 6tn. |xviti[ Gen. if. L tn. Frh. /fundstedt FOURTEENTH| Gtn.Srai/i> Gtn.Sarscht |X]20<M1l) Gtn. School Gtn Un.i. Ma/.Wtftr Gtn. Btrgmann • Fnjm OKtl Chort Of Some Dotf . Ltn.

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On the Third Army right XXI Corps would cross the frontier with two infantry divisions in a southwesterly direction. Troops of the XI Frontier Command would be available to hold the rear areas and gaps between Army units as the front moved forward. To the right of the XIX Corps.] Fourth Army in Pomerania had the preponderance of armored and motorized troops in Army Group North. Opposite Gdynia and Danzig. The XIII Frontier Com­ mand would be disposed to the left of X Corps and extend the army group front northward to a junction wdth the XII Frontier Command of Brock's Army Group North. Army Group North reserves would comprise one infantry division in East Prussia. and German frontiers. The divisions in Pomerania were concentrated behind the center and right of the Fourth Army line. The III Corps would control one infantry division and a provi­ sional brigade to the south of II Corps. would complete the Fourth Army front to a junction with Kundstedt's Army Group South. named Brand. Third Army would also control the force at Danzig. One infantry division would form the army reserve. The division in East Prussia was concentrated in the area immediately adjacent to the junction of the Lithuanian. with its one Panzer and two motorized divisions. had only two brigades of border and local defense troops. II Corps would commit two infantry divi­ sions. Eighth Army. South of the 1st Frontier Command. Eighth Army would have no di­ .THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 75 On its extreme left Third Army in East Prussia assigned a small provisional corps of limited combat potential to secure the frontier Avith Lithuania and the exposed salient of German territory extending into Poland in the direction of Grodno. was to form the major striking force of Fourth Army and cut the Corridor at its base. designated as the Eberhard Brigade and assigned the capture of the city from within. Two infantry divisions would form the army reserve. The II and XII Frontier Commands. Polish. the smallest of the three armies of Army Group South. the XIX Corps. [See map 7. the latter holding the heavily fortified region east of the junction of the Wartha and Oder Eivers. and one Panzer and two infantry divisions in Pom­ erania. disposed behind the center of the Fourth Army line. The X Corps with two infantry divisions would be com­ mitted in the center of the army front. On the left. The 1st Cavalry Brigade was to secure the left flank of the force moving on the Polish capital. In the center of the Third Army line the I Corps and Corps Wodrig were to attack with one Panzer and four infantry divisions in a drive south toward Warsaw. with the immediate task of establishing contact with the Fourth Army near Grudziadz. the 1st Frontier Command would sever the upper part of the Corridor. would have on its right X I I I Corps with two infantry divisions. This force.

Several Slovak battalions would supplement Ger­ man reconnaissance units on the extreme right flank and capture a number of villages in Poland that the Slovaks claimed as their own. The XIV Corps. 12 third-wave and three fourth-wave divisions comprised Leeb's defense force. and two light divisions would form the army reserve. would . On the right of Army Group South. behind the XV Corps. However.76 THE GEJtMAN CAMPAIGN IN POLAND (1939) visions of its own in reserve. The XVI Corps. The left of the Fourteenth Army would be held by the VIII Corps. The XVII Corps would form the center of the Fourteenth Army line with its three infantry divisions. and one Panzer division. and five other infantry divisions. in command. consisting of two Panzer and two infantry divisions would be committed north of the IV Corps. Army Group C had been mobilized and become op­ erational at the same time as the army groups on the Polish frontier. This would hardly suffice to hold a general attack by the French Army. The XIV Corps was disposed on the army north flank. Tenth Army would attack in the center of Army Group South. one light division was located behind the XI Corps. with one Panzer and two infantry divisions. they felt that the Allies would be besitant to attack and that the Wehrmacht would be able to achieve a quick victory in Poland. one would be disposed in the area of Tenth Army. even though the OKH planners did not share Hitler's opti­ mism and were convinced France and Britain would declare war in the event of an attack on Poland. Fourteenth Army would com­ mit the XVIII Corps. Twelve active. In the right center IV Corps would have two infantry divisions. meanwhile. 6 second-wave. one light. The XI Corps would be on the left of the Tenth Army front with two infantry divisions. On the right XV Corps would commit one light division. with two motorized infantry divisions. The Westwall defenses. made up of one mountain. recalled from retirement. In the west. Army Group South reserves would comprise one infantry division of the VII Corps. and one light division to the rear of the junction of the IV and XV Corps. and twro at the junction of Tenth and Fourteenth armies. Two of the other five infantry divisions would be disposed at the junction of Eighth and Tenth Armies. The reserve corps would follow Tenth Army in the attack. with Generaloberst Hitter von Leeb. but an infantry division of the army group reserve would be disposed in its area. supported by the Second Air Force in the north and the Third Air Force in the south. The XXII Corps and two mountain divisions were still arriving and would join the attack later. supported by the British Army and Eoyal Air Force.

Germany had all of its divisions under arms. the remaining 80.. held the Westwall against a possible French and British attack. including all of Germany's panzer. 300. The weather remained clear as the troops closed in their final assembly areas for the attack. 11 Ibid. The remainder of the German ground force. 180.000 men in Army Group North and 886. In the west. the remaining 196. and 210. a few reserve infantry divisions.000 with Fourteenth Army. all infantry divisions. The strength figures for the German ground forces in the east in­ cluded 630. and light divisions. was scattered about in the interior of the Eeich.000 were army group or OKH troops. .000 were in the Third Army and 230. 44. 320.THE GERMAN PLAN AND PRELIMINARY MOVEMENTS 77 discourage any British and French offensive until German troops could be shifted from Poland to the west. Of the Army Group North total.000 in Army Group South. The bulk of the Army.000 were with Eighth Army.000 with Tenth Army.000 in Fourth Army. motorized. Of the Army Group South total.11 No unforseen incidents arose to disrupt preparations. p. On the eve of operations.000 comprised army group troops or units retained under the direct control of OKH. a minimum force. was concentrated in the east.

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