Poland / Polish cavalry / lancer pennant collar badges

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  • Item Category: Militaria & Weapons
  • Source: eBay UK
  • Sold Date: Sep 13, 2011
  • Channel: Auction House

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Poland / Polish cavalry / lancer pennant collar badges

Condition: As shown

Polish Cavalry

During the invasion of Poland in 1939 cavalry was 10% of the Polish army. Cavalry units were organised in 11 cavalry brigades, each composed of 3 to 4 cavalry regiments with organic artillery, armoured unit and infantry battalion. Two additional brigades had recently been converted to motorized and armoured units, but they retained their cavalry traditions. In addition, every infantry division had an organic cavalry detachment used for reconnaissance.

In contrast with its traditional role in armed conflicts of the past (even in the Polish-Bolshevik War ), the cavalry was no longer seen as a unit capable of breaking through enemy lines. Instead, it was used as a mobile reserve of the Polish armies and was using mostly infantry tactics: the soldiers dismounted before the battle and fought as a standard (yet fast) infantry. Despite media reports of the time, particularly in respect of the Battle of Krojanty , no cavalry charges were made by the Polish Cavalry against German tanks. [3]

Although the cavalrymen retained their sabres , after 1937 the lance was dropped and it was issued to cavalrymen as a weapon of choice only. Instead, the cavalry units were equipped with modern armament, including 75 mm guns, tankettes , 37mm AT guns , 40mm AA guns , anti-tank rifles and other pieces of modern weaponry.

During the campaign, the brigades were distributed among the Polish armies and served as mobile reserves. In this role, the Polish cavalry proved itself a successful measure in filling the gaps in the front and covering the withdrawal of friendly units. Polish cavalry units took part in most of the battles of 1939 and on several occasions proved to be the elite of the Polish Army .

After the September Campaign, the Polish Army on the Western Front continued its pre-war tradition of Uhlan regiments giving their names to armoured units, while Polish units on the Eastern Front used cavalry as mobile infantry until the end of the war.

Polish army in exile

After Poland’s defeat in the 1939 campaign, the Polish government in exile quickly organized in France a new army of about 80,000 men. In 1940 a Polish Highland Brigade took part in the Battle of Narvik (Norway), and two Polish divisions ( First Grenadier Division , and Second Infantry Fusiliers Division ) took part in the defense of France , while a Polish motorized brigade and two infantry divisions were in process of forming. A Polish Independent Carpathian Brigade was formed in French-mandated Syria , to which many Polish troops had escaped from Romania . The Polish Air Force in France comprised eighty-six aircraft in four squadrons, one and a half of the squadrons being fully operational while the rest were in various stages of training.

After the fall of France, numbers of Polish personnel had died in the fighting (some 6,000) or been interned in Switzerland (some 13,000). Nevertheless, General Władysław Sikorski , Polish commander-in-chief and prime minister , was able to evacuate many Polish troops to the United Kingdom. In 1941, following an agreement between the Polish government in exile and Joseph Stalin , the Soviets released Polish citizens, from whom a 75,000-strong army was formed in the USSR under General Władysław Anders . Without any support from the Soviets to train, equip and maintain this army, the Polish government in exile followed Anders' advice for a transfer of some 80,000 (and around 20,000 civilians), in March and August 1942, across the Caspian Sea to Iran . In the Middle East , this "Anders' Army" joined the British 8th army , where it became the Polish II Corps .

The Polish armed forces in the west fought under the British command and numbered 195,000 in March 1944 and 165,000 at the end of that year, including about 20,000 personnel in the Polish Air Force and 3,000 in the Polish Navy . At the end...