The Charge Of The Polish Cavalry Against German Tanks In 1939

The Charge Of The Polish Cavalry Against German Tanks In 1939 – How It Was Turned Into A Modern Myth

Poland had a long history of horsemanship, and its light cavalry called Uhlans (A Tatar word for “Hero,” or “Rider”) were the pride of its army. When Hitler invaded on 1st of September, 1939, he swept across Poland with a different kind of cavalry ― tanks. The whole world watched the dawn of entirely different warfare. No more were the horsemen lords of war in the flatlands of Eastern Europe. Instead, they became mere cannon fodder.

Before all hell broke loose, it was obvious that the Germans were aiming to end Polish sovereignty. The Free City of Danzig, established by the Versaille treaty, was a semi-autonomous territory that acted as part of the Polish state. Part of the initial battles of the invasion was the famous cavalry charge at the village of Krojanty southwest of Danzig. This was where Hitler struck first.

At the same time, from the east, the secret part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact took effect. The Soviet Union invaded the country, causing a complete collapse of Polish attempts to defend themselves. While the Germans were practicing Blitzkrieg, the Poles were cornered and forced to fight to their death.  Even though the Polish High Command had initial success, the enemy was far better equipped and larger in numbers. The Poles relied on courage as their last resort. It all came down to heroic acts of individuals.

German tanks in Poland, 1939. By Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-318-0083-30 / Rascheit / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5477173
German tanks in Poland, 1939. Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

Thus, the Charge at Krojanty turned into a modern myth. The basis for the myth is true, as Poles did use cavalry extensively during their desperate defense attempt against the Germans, but the story later evolved into a propaganda effort by both sides.

The truth is, the Polish Cavalry did see extensive combat, and was able to rout the enemy infantry units on several occasions, but the mythic component was the story that the Poles charged the German Panzers, believing they were dummies. Now, why would they believe such a thing?

The answer lies in the restrainments of the Treaty of Versaille from 1919, which explicitly prohibited the use of tanks by the German Army. Hitler violated this agreement, but the Poles refused to believe it.

The Battle of Krojanty happened on September 1st, as part of the much larger Battle of Tuchola Forrest. This was a series of skirmishes across the Polish defense line in the countries northwest. Krojanty, a small village in northern Poland, which was under the jurisdiction of the Free City of Danzig, became the field of battle which later turned into a story for future generations.

The 18th Pomeranian Uhlans spotted a group of German infantry resting at a railroad near the village. Colonel Kazimir Mastalerz, the commander of the Uhlans, ordered Eugeniusz Świeściak, commander of the 1st Squadron, to use the element of surprise. He was ordered to charge at the Germans, with his horsemen, who were mostly equipped with lances. The two other squadrons, which included the TKS/TK-3 tankettes as support, were held in reserve.

Left: Eugeniusz Świeściak; Right: Kazimierz Mastalerz; Public Domain.
Left: Eugeniusz Świeściak; Right: Kazimierz Mastalerz.

The initial charge proved to be successful. The German infantry dispersed as the Uhlans chased them across the field. But then, German armored vehicles (most likely Leichter Panzerspähwagen or Schwerer Panzerspähwagen) joined the fight, advancing through the nearby forest. They fired a machine gun barrage which decimated the Polish horsemen. Commander Świeściak was gunned down. Colonel Mastalerz hurried to his aid, prompting the second two squadrons to advance. He was killed soon after by the same armored vehicles.

The battle ended, and German and Italian war correspondents rushed to cover the story. As they saw the dead horsemen, they immediately concluded that the charge took place against the German armor. The Italian journalist, Indro Montanelli, wrote on that day about the bravery of Polish Uhlans who charged the German tanks with lances and sabers. This article was the initial starting point of the myth.

A third of the Polish force was either dead or wounded after the Battle of Krojanty. Even though the battle was lost, it enabled the Polish 1st Rifle Battalion and National Defence Battalion Czersk to execute their tactical withdrawal from the nearby village of Chojnice. The charge left an impression on the Germans, as they ended their advance for the day. The self-confident and arrogant German officers were indeed frightened of the Uhlan’s cavalry charge, as they managed to disturb the Wehrmacht’s advance on several points along the front.

The Poles were able to outmaneuver the German Panzers and strike the supporting infantry from the rear, leaving the tanks unguarded. On 15 different occasions, the Polish Uhlans managed to stage charges, covering the retreating friendly units and causing panic and confusion within the enemy. Even though the lance stopped being part of the official cavalry arsenal in 1937, it was still available as a weapon of choice. The traditional long spear was often decorated with a small Polish flag and was thus seen as a motivational tool, as well as being an effective weapon against infantry.

Polish POWs, 1939. By nieznany/unknown - Męczeństwo, walka, zagłada Żydów w Polsce 1939–1945, Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej, Warszawa 1960, photo no 16, Јавно власништво, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47455502
Polish POWs, 1939.

After a month of fighting, Poland fell to her conqueror. The Nazis wanted to mock the defeated Poles by further developing the propaganda myth which incorporated suicidal charges of Polish cavalry on German tanks. They also wanted to point out how superior the German people were in compared with primitive Poles who still used horses in battle even though the time of cavalry had certainly passed.

The Poles saw the myth as part of their mentality ― bravery against all odds, and adopted the story proudly and defiantly. The myth survived the war and was used as Soviet propaganda to discredit the pre-war Polish officers who, allegedly, wasted the lives of their soldiers. As late as the 1990s, this story was still taught in history classes in American high schools and colleges.

Polish uhlan with wz. 35 anti-tank rifle. By Ministerstwo Wojny 1938 - Ministerstwo Wojny, "Instrukcja o noszeniu, troczeniu i pakowaniu wyposażenia kawalerii", Warszawa 1938., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31913573
Polish uhlan with wz. 35 anti-tank rifle.

Nevertheless, the story remains inspirational as it depicts romantic bravery against a far superior enemy. A Nobel Prize winning author, Gunther Grass, was particularly struck by the news of the Poles charging the German tanks. He wrote in his famous 1959 novel, “The Tin Drum”:

O insane cavalry… with what aplomb they will kiss the hand of death, as though death were a lady; but first they gather, with sunset behind them – for color and romance are their reserves – and ahead of them the German tanks, stallions from the studs of Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, no nobler steeds in all the world. But Pan Kichot, the eccentric knight in love with death, lowers his lance with the red-and-white pennant and calls on his men to kiss the lady’s hand. The storks clatter white and red on rooftops, and the sunset spits out pits like cherries, as he cries to his cavalry: “Ye noble Poles on horseback, these are no steel tanks, they are mere windmills or sheep, I summon you to kiss the lady’s hand”.

137 Comments
  1. StevUnsush
  2. tinyurl.com
  3. rules of survival hack android
  4. http://tinyurl.com/vb8qv65
  5. that coconut oil
  6. plenty of fish dating site
  7. ps4 games
  8. quest bars cheap
  9. quest bars cheap coupon twitter
  10. quest bars cheap coupon twitter
  11. photo to painting
  12. ps4 games
  13. carpet tile
  14. ps4 games
  15. carpet tile
  16. carpet tile
  17. carpet installation new york
  18. carpet tiles
  19. ps4 games
  20. next page
  21. ps4 games
  22. carpet installer
  23. quest bars cheap
  24. Evaria Face Serum
  25. quest bars cheap
  26. Nuvo Keto Review
  27. quest bars cheap
  28. CannaLeafz
  29. Painting Contractors
  30. Apex Alpha Testosterone REviews
  31. ps4 games
  32. ps4 games
  33. ps4 games
  34. Natural Impact CBD REview
  35. Class room scavenger hunts
  36. Secret Love notes Creator
  37. Brain teasers for education
  38. Secret Message Creator
  39. HeatBlast Heater Review
  40. Hidden Messages in Postcards
  41. Secret Love notes Creator
  42. window replacement San Antonio
  43. ps4 games
  44. coconut oil
  45. https://howareyoumrdan.tumblr.com/
  46. coconut oil
  47. Extra Fast Keto Reviews
  48. Aurora
  49. SurgenX Keto Diets
  50. Ultra Male Enhancement
  51. Online Simply Clear CBD
  52. slot pulsa
  53. Mohammed Watterston
  54. SlimGen
  55. Iron Core Edge Reviews
  56. alpxxx.com
  57. chattrube
  58. coconut oil
  59. Anke
  60. Carroll
  61. download s128 apk
  62. judipakaipulsa.blogspot.com
  63. fraud
  64. köpek eğitimi
  65. google
  66. match.com free trial
  67. best make money fast
  68. plenty of fish vs match.com free trial
  69. match.com free trial
  70. asksylphoflight.tumblr.com
  71. https://russellwebster.tumblr.com/
  72. http://aprilmartinsonot.over-blog.com
  73. http://tinyurl.com/sling-tv-45840
  74. kafadan salla
  75. sling tv
  76. site
  77. The Baked Cat
  78. search engine marketing
  79. sling tv
  80. instagram takipci hilesi
  81. sling tv asksylphoflight
  82. tecavüz porno
  83. diet plan
  84. tecavüz porno
  85. sbobet
  86. sweatcoin cheat
  87. KAT
  88. 강남건마
  89. köpek egitimi
  90. bosanma
  91. pvc kapi pencere
  92. test anglais gratuit b2
  93. istanbul Anadolu Yakasi Nakliyat
  94. kondilom tedavisi
  95. genital sigil
  96. tuzla nakliye
  97. emekli maaşı hesaplama
  98. aliexpress alışveriş
  99. altının gramı kaç tl
  100. istanbul köpek eğitim
  101. Lourdes
  102. Zqqux
  103. http://klikberita.org/
  104. penis buyutme egzersizleri
  105. swimming
  106. İstanbul Nakliye Firmalari
  107. istanbul Catering
  108. sling tv
  109. sling tv
  110. erken bosalma
  111. Nakliyat
  112. sling tv
  113. Max
  114. qwegqweqw
  115. crypto news
  116. StevUnsush
  117. video porno bonne baise
  118. sling tv
  119. bosanma hukuku
  120. hasan kalyoncu
  121. sling tv
  122. Elektrikli süpürge modelleri
  123. Aliexpress indirim kodu
  124. yavru köpek eğitimi
  125. sling tv
  126. yavru köpek eğitimi
  127. tuzla nakliyat
  128. aliexpress alışveriş yapmak
  129. köpek eğitim merkezi
  130. altın gram fiyatı
  131. lawyer salary
  132. instagram takipci hilesi
  133. lawyer salary
  134. Ultra Fit Keto Pills

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

× Live chat