Polish army (lots of pictures)

July 17th, 2009  

Topic: Polish army (lots of pictures)

Today the Western schools learn extensively about Normandy campaign, the Ardennes, even the invasion of France.

The German-Polish war of 1939 is glossed over as "lighting victory" half-truths and outright lies are being repeated to show Poland as then weak and defencless, partially to justify the fact that Poland was betrayed by its allies in 1939 and sold out in 1945 and partially out of chauvinism because Polish army despite its inadequacies in armament was in 1939 the most powerfull military organization of the Western allies which it has proven during the month long campaign.

This thread is devoted to dispelling myths about the Polish Army of 1939 and introduce you to the true power, potential and achievements of this force and proving that Germany was succesfull as it was only due to the invasion of the Red Army.

First we shall present the weapons of the Polish land forces and of the Polish airforce.

The Polish military was a conscript force with a highly professional core, during the 1939 September campaign Poland fielded one milion troops.

The Polish infantryman was the opposite of his French ally, highly motivated he would refuse to back down even against overwhelming odds, commanded by professional and skilled junior officers, he did not enjoy the heavy artillery, armor and air support of his Western compatriots but made up for it by raw skill, determination and some of the most advanced infantry weapons in the world making him by far the most lethal opponent the Wehrmacht soldier faced during the entire length of the World War 2 (which i will elaborate upon in the further sections of this thread).

I present to you the Polish infantryman (and cavalryman) and their weapons.

Polish infantry as seen in September 1939:

July 17th, 2009  
These troops an wide array of highly modern weapons available to them.

Polish infantry weapons:

The staple of all European infantry in 1939, the bolt action rifle, Poland produced several variants of the German based Mauser bolt action rifle, a highly reliable weapon.

For squad support the troopers had two different automatic rifles:

Brownings Automatic Rifle, better known as BAR, standard issue infantry support automatic weapon of the Polish infantry, the weapon was supplemented by a domestic Polish design:

An extremely advanced design, much of which was allegedly copied in German Sturmgewehr, this Polish rifle was the most advanced automatic rifle in the world in its time, light compact and extremely accurate.

Another highly advanced infantry weapon was the Polish designed submachinegun "Mors" (Walrus).

Heavy Machineguns of the Polish Army:

July 17th, 2009  
In case of encounter with a tank the infantry could fall back on some of the most modern AT assets in Europe which resulted in horrendous casualities among German armor.

First of those was the 37.mm Bofors AT gun.

The Bofors could penetrate the armor of any German tank at the time but the gun despite its relatively light weight was not light enough, therefore Polish infantry was also equipped with an array of modern AT rifles.

Polish large caliber AT rifle, this domestic product could penetrate any German light tank and was significantly superior than all similar weapons in the West due to superior range.

An even more advanced AT asset was the Karabin ppanc 7,92 mm wz. 35 "Kb.Ur.", another domestic design of the Polish armed forces this AT rifle could penetrate the armor of any German tank at ranges over 200 meters, the weapon was compact, light and deadly.

The gun was so succesfull Germans pressed it into their own service upon the completion of the campaign.

Lethal to any light tank at ranges over 400 meters, capable of destroying any German tank in 1939 at ranges below 200 meters - the most advanced AT rifle of WW2.

Polish infantry was an advanced, well armed and extremely determined force (as i will later forward when discussing the campaign itself).

Next, Polish armored and motorised forces and artillery.
July 17th, 2009  
Polish trucks, cars, armored cars and artillery tractors:

One of the major trucks used both for transportation of troops and towing duty, the Polski Fiat 621 "Tur" (and a good picture of the Barliet truck also used by the Polish army).

"Tur" truck of the motorised infantry units.

Polish Fiat 618 (in the military ambulance variant).

Tankette tranport variant:

Polish halftrack, 200 of those were to be equipped in 1939/1940l, the number that made it to the troops unknown but significant, Pzinż 222:

July 17th, 2009  
Polish halftracks, artillery tractors and recon unit cars and bikes.


Artillery platoon.

Recon cars and bikes.

Fiat recon car and some Polish recon bikes "Sokół-1000" (Hawk-1000):

Polish recon in 1939.

And the bike itself.

July 17th, 2009  
Great work!
July 17th, 2009  
Polish heavy artillery tractors based on &TP Polish tanks chassis.

Towing 220mm mortars somewhere in Poland, 6th September.

A defilade in 1938.

Deploying Bofors AA guns in the defence of Warsaw.


July 17th, 2009  
Polish armored cars, mostly obsolete due to poor offroad capacity they still had significant success in urban areas or in good terrain, heavily armed with cannons and heavy machineguns they supplemented cavalry, motorised and armored units.

An armoed car column, from left to right.

Citroen halftrack.
Halftracked (and relatively modern) canon armed wz 28 armored cars.
Older machinegun armed Peugot armored cars.

An armored car unit, most likely attached to a motorized cavalry regiment.
July 17th, 2009  
Polish armor utilized an array of light tanks and tankettes, while some designs such as FT-17 were definitely outdated others such as TP-7 or the R-35 have been effective fighting machines, with around 800 armored vehicles the Polish army was outnumbered by Wehrmachts armor at 3 to 1 but still where fielded it had a great impact.

Arguably the first tank ace of World War 2, Polish major Orlik using his self propelled 20mm gun destroyed 3 pz35(t) in a single engagement.

Polish armor.

TP-7, this 9 ton light tank was the most modern weapon in the Polish armored arsenal, it could destroy any German tank in 1939 with ease.

TP-7s at war.

Armored regiment inspected by commanding officer.

During manouvers.

After a won engagement.
July 17th, 2009  
Other tanks in Polish service.




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