Interesting Facts About The Invasion Of Poland: The September Campaign

The Invasion of Poland, known in Germany as the Poland Campaign, and in Poland as the September Campaign, marked the beginning of World War II. It was a joint invasion of Poland by the Soviet Union, Germany, the Free City of Danzig, and a small Slovak contingent.
The German invasion began on 1 September 1939, one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, while the Soviet invasion commenced on 17 September following the Molotov–Tōgō agreement that terminated the Soviet and Japanese hostilities in the east on 16 September.
German forces invaded Poland from the north, south, and west the morning after the Gleiwitz incident. Slovak forces advanced alongside the Germans in northern Slovakia. As the Wehrmacht advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish–German border to more established lines of defense to the east.
After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces then withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defense of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited expected support and relief from France and the United Kingdom.
While those two countries had pacts with Poland and had declared war on Germany on 3 September, in the end their aid to Poland was very limited. The Soviet Red Army’s invasion of Eastern Poland on 17 September, in accordance with a secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, rendered the Polish plan of defense obsolete.
Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded the defense of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered an emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania.
On 6 October, following the Polish defeat at the Battle of Kock, German and Soviet forces gained full control over Poland. The success of the invasion marked the end of the Second Polish Republic, though Poland never formally surrendered.
The campaign ended on 6 October with Germany and the Soviet Union dividing and annexing the whole of Poland under the terms of the German–Soviet Frontier Treaty.
Below are some interesting facts about invasion of Poland:
1. The Polish Army did not fight German tanks with horse-mounted cavalry wielding lances and swords. In 1939, only 10% of the Polish army was made up of cavalry units.
Polish cavalry never charged German tanks or entrenched infantry or artillery, but usually acted as mobile infantry (like dragoons) and reconnaissance units and executed cavalry charges only in rare situations against foot soldiers.
2. Another question concerns whether Poland inflicted any significant losses on the German forces and whether it surrendered too quickly. In the first few days, Germany sustained very heavy losses: Poland cost the Germans 993 tanks and armored vehicles as campaign losses of which 300 tanks were never recovered, thousands of soldiers, and 25% of its air strength.
3. The Molotov–Ribbentrop pact and the invasion of Poland marked the beginning of a period during which the government of the Soviet Union increasingly tried to convince itself that the actions of Germany were reasonable, and were not developments to be worried about, despite evidence to the contrary.
On 7 September 1939, just a few days after France and Britain joined the war against Germany, Stalin explained to a colleague that the war was to the advantage of the Soviet Union.
4. The British and French estimated that Poland would be able to defend itself for two to three months, while Poland estimated it could do so for at least six months. While Poland drafted its estimates based upon the expectation that the Western Allies would honor their treaty obligations and quickly start an offensive of their own, the French and British expected the war to develop into trench warfare much like World War I.
The Polish government was not notified of this strategy and based all of its defense plans on promises of quick relief by their Western allies.
5. Although the Polish military had prepared for conflict, the civilian population remained largely unprepared. Polish pre-war propaganda emphasized that any German invasion would be easily repelled. Consequently, Polish defeats during the German invasion came as a shock to the civilian population.
Lacking training for such a disaster, the civilian population panicked and retreated east, spreading chaos, lowering troop morale and making road transportation for Polish troops very difficult.

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