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Poland 1939 – Preparing for 80th Anniversary of World War II

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This topic contains 121 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  jamesevans140 1 year ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 122 total)
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  • #1434127

    piers
    Participant
    13460xp

    It wasnt the Germans who reported the mythical cavalry charge on tanks, but an Italian reporter.

    Not sure why the Germans would mock cavalry formations when they fielded so many themselves.

    #1434141

    yavasa
    Participant
    4740xp

    @piers sure, he even confessed a few years ago that he lied.

    Germans made up the myth, the Italian reporter just spread it.

    #1434215

    piers
    Participant
    13460xp

    Well the Germans brought the reporters to the aftermath at Krojanty and saw dead horses and men and some Panzers that had arrived after the battle.

    Montanelli then put two and two together to get five and wrote an article on the heroic Polish cavalry charging tanks. The Germans just made use of it afterwards. It was nearly two weeks after when the Germans first mentioned it in order to suggested the Poles had underestimated German potential and poor Intel. After the war the Soviets used it to show the stupidity of Polish leadership.

    I dont think the Germans had planned for the myth from the start, as the two German reporters with Montanelli didnt mention it, they just made use of it once he had published his article, for their own propaganda.

    #1434246

    yavasa
    Participant
    4740xp

    Eh… there are two versions to Montanellis story which blend together nicely. One of them says that the reporters were assured by German soldiers on site that the cavalry charged tanks. Second one says Montanelli did write it because Italians were sympathetic of Poles and he wanted to show Polish courage on the battlefield which was not welcome by fadcists in Italy. German propaganda turned it around quickly to mock Polish stupidity. He did made things up as he confessed in 1998 but he did it from the scraps of information he recieved after the battle from German soldiers who told him there was a cavalry charge on tanks and his romantic idea of Polish soldiers bravery.

    #1434247

    piers
    Participant
    13460xp

    Probably a bit of both then… which the Germans capitalised on the whole thing.

    #1434434

    jamesevans140
    Participant
    2055xp

    Hi @piers, the Germans made a bit of a show of it taking and showing the Italian reporters  the casualties caused by the armoured cars when they counter attacked and finally displaced the cavalry after a bitter fight.  However every time this action was retold it got bigger and bigger and finally it was poor innocent tanks that the Poles used their faces to penetrate their armour. Ok I got a bit carried away, but why let facts get in the way.  😉

    Yep and we all know that German propaganda did a very poor recreation of the story.  Some how the armoured cars were forgotten about.

    This was an interesting case of a creation of a myth and an accidental user of a  story telling device,  the doomed hero has had the opposite effect to the desired propaganda.  The Germans were trying to show just how useless the Poles are.  A little revenge for the boarder wars and the humiliation to the Germans,  but instead created the doomed hero that the rest of the world had nothing but empathy and admiration for the Poles and their desperate and doomed struggle.

    As I was saying earlier to @yavasa I can understand to some extent the niggling annoyance of a myth that should have been put to bed by now but hadn’t.  In movies when they show the Australian Light Horse carrying lances in WW1 when well before this war we had retired the lance to the parade ground.

    It at first looks like the pot calling the kettle black when they mocked the Poles for having cavalry.  I believe it was meant to be an attack to humble the Poles on the international stage.  The Polish cavalry was Poland’s elite formations and during the horse and musket period the Polish Lancer in their different forms over this period were considered by many to be the best cavalry in the world.  In a childish manner the German propaganda was trying to smear both.  This childish smearing was right up Hitler’s alley like referring to the Americans as mindless noisy chickens  lead by Jewish Wall Street. This is my take on it having read the book Warlords,  if you have read it or seen the multi part documentary that the History Channel made from it takes particular interest of his liking of schoolyard humour often used by Hitler.

    By the way how is the Stalingrad book for BG coming along.  If it is not something that would be a spoiler will it be just the battle,  or will it cover the road to Stalingrad and will it include the hard fought tank battles fought a few miles to the North.  With my current study of Izyum a question stands out to me. Why was Paulus’s inability for field command such a shock to German high command when the writing was on the wall back in late January of 42. I find this curious.  While I will be using Barbarrosa to cover Izyum as you recommended,  I am looking forward to the Stalingrad supplement even if it is a way to go yet.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  jamesevans140.
    #1435114

    oriskany
    43533xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Good morning everyone.  Let me try to catch up on replies.

    @jamesevans140 – For future however it is pointless stating to me military terms …

    Sorry to hear that.  There’s not much else I can say here.  Moving on to the text thing …

    @jamesevans140@piers@yavasa – German cavalry:  Indeed I was looking at this, hoping to include them somewhere in this campaign.  While my research is far from comprehensive, on the operational /maneuver level for Poland I only found one cavalry brigade (1st Brigade under General Feldt, part of Third Army’s reserve in Army Group North).

    On the tactical level I’m finding more.  Each infantry regiment even in First Wave divisions had a platoon / section, presumably for reconnaissance purposes.  More meaningfully, each infantry division was supposed to have a company of cavalry along with bicycles as part of its reconnaissance battalion, along with a small battery of 3.7mm ATGs and 7.5 cm IGs and even a platoon of lower-grade armored cars like Kfz-13s and SdKfz-231s.  Again, this is 1st Wave, in lower wave divisions I would assume this level of support equipment would fall off sharply.

    In any event, I’m seeing German cavalry primarily deployed in a reconnaissance role (exception being Feldt’s 1st Cavalry Brigade).

    But as mentioned before, these PL scenarios have been admittedly “cherry picked” to include the most possible mechanized / armored formations, so German infantry divisions (and thus the cavalry component units) haven’t been included so far.

    Sources:

    • Dr. Leo Niehorster – niehorster.orbat.com
    • Panzer Truppen : The Complete Guide to the Creation & Combat Employment of Germany’s Tank Force 1933-1942  by Thomas Lentz
    • The German Order of Battle – Infantry in World War II by George F. Nafziger

     

    Platoon-based approximation of the OOB of German 1939 Cavalry Brigade:

    German Cav Brigade

    German 1st Wave Division, to include Cavalry Company in the Reconaissance Regiment:

    German 1st Wave Infantry Division (Cav Co Rcn)

    German “cavalry” per Infantry Regiment:

    German Horse Inf Platoon (per Rgt)

    #1435206

    jamesevans140
    Participant
    2055xp

    @oriskany first up there is no need to use the word sorry. We have come to opposing points of view on this topic and I welcome and respect that.

    From what I have seen from divisional Order of Battle a complete cavalry division was not deployed by the Germans.  If any were deployed they had been broken up into separate brigades or regiment.

    On a side note Hitler hated horses, what does this guy not hate. When the Heer was looking at the form of cavalry for the future they looked at both the traditional horse vs modern mechanization. Rundstedt strongly opposed the replacement of the the horse.  He correctly foresaw a great need for them if they went somewhere like Russia they would run out of the European road infrastructure where mechanical mobility would be quickly lost. Hitler sided against the horse option and the Light Division was created.  In a brave rearguard action Rundstedt saved a few horse units and the Light Divisions were converted to panzer divisions after Poland as they proved inadequate. Rundstedt 1, Hitler 0.

    The thing is horse cavalry was not to go away.  In the Winter War both Finnish and Russian Recon were normally horsed. Then right up until the end of the war Russia used Cossack and tank combination.  Then shortly after 2000 US forces on a limited use reintroduced horse mobility.

    #1435263

    avernos
    Keymaster
    20015xp

    Poland hour by hour

    I thought some people may appreciate this. It’s an animation showing an hour by hour overview of the invasion.

    Keep up the excellent work guys, I’ve been fascinated by the thread.

    #1435554

    oriskany
    43533xp
    Cult of Games Member

    I know the Poland P2 and P3 videos are late.  I apologize.  Ops Center Ep 12 has been taking up a lot of time but is finally done.  I should be submitting it to the team in about an hour and than I’ll be free for a while.  Meanwhile, we have games tomorrow and Sunday (Darkstar vs. @damon and Valor & Victory Falklands vs. @elessar2590 ).  So Poland Panzer Leader P2 might not post until Monday.

    #1435619

    oriskany
    43533xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Okay, Part 02 of the third game in the campaign @yavasa is now up.  One more to go!

     

    Thanks @avernos and @jamesevans140 for helping us keep this thread going.

    #1435661

    jamesevans140
    Participant
    2055xp

    No worries @oriskany. The invasion of Poland interests and holds my fascination, however the rest of the group are not interested in buying armies that use toys for tanks.  Sad really.

    I have had a quick look through my library and unfortunately like your self I can only conform the 1st Cavalry Brigade as part of 3rd Corps,  Army Group North.

    I did come across some supporting evidence for your idea that the German cavalry had been broken into small packets.

    General Rundstedt commanding Army Group South far away from Army Group North was concerned about a Polish counter attack against his flank around 3rd Sept that never materialised.  To screen his flank security he ordered his cavalry units to take up positions.  Hitler intervened and ordered Rundstedt not to use his cavalry but use the 1st SS instead. Rundstedt concerned that the SS had no training as real soldiers and gave the job to the 30th Infantry Division instead.  So far I have not seen an Order of Battle that even mentions any cavalry attached to Army Group South.  Yet given that an infantry division was assigned the task Rundstedt cavalry must have been a sizable unit once they were combined for flank security for Army Group South.

    Also I came across a mention that a number of Light Divisions were equipped with Pz-35Ts. Although starting to shown its age it was still a formidable tank in the Polish Campaign.  Unfortunately it made no mention of which Light Divisions were equipped with them. It would have been an interesting game to balance the 7TP in an encounter.

    So hopefully this adds strength to what you were thinking.  🙂

     

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  jamesevans140.
    #1435687

    yavasa
    Participant
    4740xp

    Well, I am back from a 4 day conference and finally have some time to post here thou I need SLEEP 😀

    @oriskany @jamesevans140 when it comes to German cavalry both of you are right. Apart from the 1st Kavallerie Brigade we can find the 5th Kavallerie Regiment from Stolp (currently Słupsk) that got attached to the 4th Army from Army Group North. The regiment was partially motorized and by partially I mean the specialized units. It fought West of Gdynia and later blocked Polish units surrounded in the Hel peninsula near Wejherowo. There can be problems with finding them as a cavalty unit in the oob’s because it was used in an infantry role.

    @oriskany you are righ when it comes to the recon role of the cavalry that was attached to infantry divisions of the 1st wave. Usually the squad (problem with correct term translation on my side. According to my books it was a “dywizjon” which would be translated to a battalion but I think a squadron could also be correct) compromised of 162 men  and 133 horses. In the Light Divisions you could find Kavallerie Schutzen Regiments. They were motorized and each one of them had two motorized battalions and each one of them had a platoon of engineers (3x Mg34) and three motorized squadrons (12 rifles, 4x Mg34 and 3x leGrWr36 50mm mortars) plus infantry guns, transport columns etc. In 1939 we can find the

    • 1st Light Division with 4th Kavallerie Schutzen Regiment
    • 2nd Light Division with 6th and 7th Kavallerie Schutzen Regiments
    • 3rd Light Division with 8th and 9th Kavallerie Schutzen Regiments
    • 4th Light Division with 10th and 11th Kavallerie Schutzen Regiments

    @avernos thank you for posting 🙂

    #1435689

    yavasa
    Participant
    4740xp

    @oriskany  another video 🙂 Great!

    #1435710

    jamesevans140
    Participant
    2055xp

    I will start with the standard disclaimer.  @oriskany you should be aware,  like how many times,  FoW is a multi scalar gaming system.  When talking area you are talking on the weapons range scale which makes the average area of a games table 4km x 6km. I grant you map is still larger than this.  Please in future keep it generic and call it 15mm or for a real change use BG instead.  ***** Disclaimer  End *****

     

    well the classic definition for maneuver is movement and fire or movement to fire. So maneuver is a two part thing so taking two turns to do it properly seems fair.  In FoW you are encouraged to do the same and if you choose to do both in the same turn it is as the cost of diluting your fire.

    I liked Yavasa’s opening with his cavalry.  This is delaying action at close to its best.  It is in keeping with Polish strategy of avoiding the Germans for forcing a decision.

    I think tanks are at their best when they occupy ground that just had something obliterated off it.

    A lot of tabletop wargamers I have encountered try to reduce the game to tank on tank shooting matches and never really get to see what true CAT gets you and it is not boring either.

    Like seeing it happen,  its just not pretty what a battery of British 5.5″ or 155mm Long Tom will do to a Tiger. Best of all it is done at ranges the ‘lil’ kitty can only dream about.

    I have read several actions in Poland where the Stuka comes up under par.  The first planes are deadly accurate but after that there were so much dust and smoke obscuring targets that they were no better than level bombers. The old story of you can’t hit what you can’t see.  Oh but wait,  artillery can always plougher the field.  Why do I hear evil chuckles in the background some where?

    In all for the most part I enjoyed the second installment and truly appreciate the effort you guys went to in producing it. Not sure why but just your productions on my Samsung Tab A I have to max the volume just to hear you.

    Most definitely look forward to the final installment 🙂

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