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  • Poland Betrayed

    There is a relatively new book on the Polish German campaign titled "Poland betrayed, The Nazi Soviet Invasions of 1939" by David Williamson. It is the most readable English language book on this campaign. When considering the crushing superiority in numbers and quality of aircraft, artillery, tanks, and mobility which the Germans enjoyed, the individual Polish soldier was the equal of his German counterpart.

    In the few instances where the Poles had equal numbers and didn't have deal with crushing German control of the skies, they outfought the Germans. I specifically mentioned the Battle of the Bzura . In the first 2 days, the Poles for the first time had numerical superiority and decimated at least 2 German divisions. Another instance is the Polish air force Pursuit squadrons outfought the Germans in dog fights.

    A French military report on the campaign concluded "with equality of material the Polish troops were always superior to the enemy ".

  • #2
    And? This doesn't change the fact that the Polish army was prepared to fight with a method ill-suited to compete with German doctrine. Further the Polish army deployed in the worst manner possible (for obvious political reasons). The Polish counterattack at Bzura failed because the German method was flexible enough to react to the attack and bring it to a halt in short order. The counterattack neither complicated the over all German strategy nor effected the outcome of the campaign.

    The Polish front had essentially collapsed by Sept 6th or 7th and the campaign was decided. The rest is denoument.
    Last edited by The Purist; 02 Mar 10, 21:48.
    The Purist

    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by GKZHUKOV View Post
      A French military report on the campaign concluded "with equality of material the Polish troops were always superior to the enemy ".
      As much as I try to view that statement with balance, all I can think of is 'wishfull thinking'.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
        As much as I try to view that statement with balance, all I can think of is 'wishfull thinking'.
        The German army was not the juggernaut they would become beginning with the invasion of Norway. Except for officers, none of the troops had ever been in battle. I know they thought of themselves as "supermen" but despite their very good training they were not. The book recounts instances where the Polish troops could not be move out of a good defensive position . It took either tanks , Stuka attacks, or heavy artillery fire to accomplish the mission. There was only one major clash where the Poles briefly had numerical superiority: The Battle of Bzura. 2 German divisions were decimated. Germans only obtained the upper hand when their vastly superior mobility allow them to gain numerical superiority ( which they constantly had as well as firepower superiority in every other battle).

        The Purist dismisses the Battle of Bzura by making my argument. The Germans only turned the tide of that battle by their great advantage in motorization allowing them to quickly regain numerical superiority. They didn't gain the upper hand by their infantry outfighting the Polish infantry with relatively numerical equality.

        This is not wishful thinking. The title of the book revisits an issue which had been discussed on this forum before. The word BETRAYED ,of course, indicates the British author of this book, makes a case that the British and especially the French BETRAYED Poland. He documents how both the French and the British , as early as April 1939, absolutely refused to give any real aid to the Poles. The British would not give the Poles any armor, artillery or aircraft as did the French. The British , for their own reasons refused to give real aid. Ironically, it would assisted the allies much more in the end. The same items the Poles requested from the British in Spring 1939 eventually were left on the beaches of Dunkirk.

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        • #5
          The Poles fought bravely, so did the French and British in 1940, so did the Red Army in 1941. I can only re-iterate what TP posted, they were thoroughly outmanoeuvred by more mobile and more flexible opponents.

          Reading through Hansard (the records of the Parliamentary debates) regarding the aid sent to Poland, or the relative lack of it, is far more enlightening that the hindsight this 'historian' uses (or appears to from the way its painted) in place of analysis.
          Signing out.

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          • #6
            The recent trend of authors to seek some means of blaming France and Britain for Polands demise is revisionism at its worst. Poland chose to forge its own path between 1936 and March 1939 under Beck and the colonels when they all but turned their backs on their alliance with France, undermining their ally by signing a non-aggression pact with Germany. Beck tried to take advantage of Germany while it was weak and Hitler was happy to oblige. Beck would continue to run Poland's foreign policy as if it were a major power and alienated France and its potential allies on numerous occasions.

            Poland did not turn back to France until Beck was surprised by the German annexation of the rump of Czechoslovakia in 1939. Like Chamberlain, Beck was "awakened" to Hitler's real intent and the Poles suddenly found themselves vulnerable with potential friends few and far away. Poland is as much an author of its own down fall as any mythical betrayal by Britain or France.
            Last edited by The Purist; 05 Mar 10, 12:50.
            The Purist

            Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Purist View Post
              Beck would continue to run Poland's foreign policy as if it were a major power
              This seems to be Poland's main foreign policy issue in a nutshell.
              www.histours.ru

              Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                The recent trend of authors to seek some means of blaming France and Britain for Polands demise is revisionism at its worst. Poland chose to forge its own path between 1936 and March 1939 under Beck and the colonels when they all but turned their backs on their alliance with France, undermining their ally by signing a non-aggression pact with Germany. Beck tried to take advantage of Germany while it was weak and Hitler was happy to oblige. Beck would continue to run Poland's foreign policy as if it were a major power and aliented France and its potential allies on numerous occasions.

                Poland did not turn back to France until Beck was surprised by the German annexation of the rump of Czechoslovakia in 1939. Like Chamberlain, Beck was "awakened" to Hitler's real intent and the Poles suddenly found themselves vulnerable with potential friends few and far away. Poland is as much an author of its own down fall as any mythical betrayal by Britain or France.
                When Hitler came to power in 1933 Pilsudski initially proposed joint Franco-Polish intervention to remove him, but the French rejected such action.This caused Pilsudski to become disillusioned with the French.

                Since Hitler had to consolidate his power in Germany and thus offered time for Poland to strengthen their arm forces, Pilsudski reacted to the French rebuff by signing the 10 year non-aggression pact with Germany. It wasn't Beck.Why don't those who seek to let Britain and France off for their betrayal of Poland which was very real , at least get their facts straight. So Purist , your assertion Poland turned their back on France is inaccurate. Pilsudski was perceptive since he obviously saw France didn't have the stomach to fight Germany again.

                France certainly proved Pilsudski's perception of France was right on the money. As to the assertion , Beck acted like Poland was a great power, and rejected alliances , except for the mistake of not allying with Czechoslovakia, there were no countries which were reliable enough to form an alliance with. Poland did attempt to form an alliance with Romania. Who should Poland have formed an alliance with after they were rejected by France? The Soviet Union?
                Last edited by GKZHUKOV; 04 Mar 10, 17:59.

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                • #9
                  Poland knowing both Germany and the USSR wanted to end it's independence , chose to follow Pilsudski's "policy of equilibrium " between Germany and the USSR. They signed a non aggression pact with the USSR in 1932 to maintain as friendly relations as possible , so neither of the 2 threats to Poland would have an excuse to attack Poland. The absurd assertion Poland turned their back on France is shown to be false by the fact in 1936, when German troops marched into the Rhineland, Beck informed the French Ambassador to Poland , Leon Noel, that Poland was ready to fulfil her obligations to France should war break out. Poland never lost sight that Germany and the Soviet Union were the real threats and made it clear they would join the French in a war with Germany. The absurd remark Beck's foreign policy can be summarized as Poland acted like a great power shows rank ignorance.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GKZHUKOV View Post
                    They signed a non aggression pact with the USSR in 1932 to maintain as friendly relations as possible
                    They might have signed whatever they wanted, but the Soviet Union was considered Poland's most hated enemy and treated accordingly in terms of foreign policy. The pact did little to nothing to lower this maniacal hatred. Poland made itself enemies with the ease of a great power which it hadn't been for at least 2,5 centuries.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheism

                    The absurd remark Beck's foreign policy can be summarized as Poland acted like a great power shows rank ignorance.
                    I'm forced to admit my ignorance rank is way lower than yours, Ignoramissimus.
                    www.histours.ru

                    Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ShAA View Post
                      They might have signed whatever they wanted, but the Soviet Union was considered Poland's most hated enemy and treated accordingly in terms of foreign policy. The pact did little to nothing to lower this maniacal hatred. Poland made itself enemies with the ease of a great power which it hadn't been for at least 2,5 centuries.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prometheism



                      I'm forced to admit my ignorance rank is way lower than yours, Ignoramissimus.
                      Kiss my ass. All you know about history is Russian BS.Anyone can be a tour guide. You are just a parrot who repeats hostile comments about about Poles. Why don't you learn basic English. What is an "Ignoramissimus" ? Wow. you are quite a scholar quoting Wikipedia (NOT). You have nothing to back up your absurdly ignorant statements.
                      Last edited by GKZHUKOV; 05 Mar 10, 00:30.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GKZHUKOV View Post
                        Kiss my ass. All you know about history is Russian BS. Anyone can be a tour guide. You are just a parrot who repeats hostile comments about about Poles. Why don't you learn basic English. What is an "Ignoramissimus" ? Wow. you are quite a scholar quoting Wikipedia (NOT). You have nothing to back up your absurdly ignorant statements.
                        So you have zero to answer my comments? Another frustrated Pole with deep hatred for the Russians.

                        Just for you, smartie-pants - ingoramus+generalissimus

                        And get a life as you obviously don't have one.
                        www.histours.ru

                        Siege of Leningrad battlefield tour

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by GKZHUKOV View Post

                          France certainly proved Pilsudski's perception of France was right on the money. As to the assertion , Beck acted like Poland was a great power, and rejected alliances , except for the mistake of not allying with Czechoslovakia, there were no countries which were reliable enough to form an alliance with. Poland did attempt to form an alliance with Romania. Who should Poland have formed an alliance with after they were rejected by France?
                          I think you answered your own question there.

                          The Polish leadership must have been incredibly dim not to realise that after the Rhineland, Austria and the Sudetenland that they would be next.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gooner View Post
                            I think you answered your own question there.

                            The Polish leadership must have been incredibly dim not to realise that after the Rhineland, Austria and the Sudetenland that they would be next.
                            What makes you think the Poles didn't believe Germany was a major threat. When Pilsudski signed the non-aggression treaty with Germany in 1934, he said "We have moved from appetizer to dessert".

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ShAA View Post
                              So you have zero to answer my comments? Another frustrated Pole with deep hatred for the Russians.

                              Just for you, smartie-pants - ingoramus+generalissimus

                              And get a life as you obviously don't have one.
                              I don't hate Russians. Why would I take as a screen name the name of greatest general of WWII Georgyi K. Zhukov, if I didn't admire them.

                              You and others are blaming the victim when you assert Poland rejected help.

                              Hitler knew the British and French well. After Poland received the guarantees of it's independence from Britain and France, Hitler immediately ordered the planning of the invasion of Poland.

                              He knew these "guarantees" were worthless because France and Britain wouldn't lift a finger to assist Poland. Up until that time, he still considered Poland as a possible satellite as Romania and Hungary became, in his planned invasion of the Soviet Union.
                              Last edited by GKZHUKOV; 05 Mar 10, 07:01.

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