Śmiały (armoured train)

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The armoured train Śmiały in December 1919

The armoured train Śmiały (Polish for Bold), also called armoured train number 53 was a Polish armoured train used by the Polish Army during the German Invasion of Poland in September 1939. The train is famous for having served under four flags - Austrian, Polish, Soviet and German and its participation in several wars in the period from 1914 to 1945. Śmiały distinguished itself in the Battle of Mokra, after which it withdrew eastwards, taking part in the Battle of Brześć Litewski. After Polish defeat, the train moved via Kowel to Lwów, where it fought in the Battle of Lwów. On September 22, 1939, abandoned by its crew, it was seized by the Red Army.

History[edit]

In November 1918 near Kraków, Poles captured an Austrian armoured train. It was renamed Śmiały and immediately entered service. Soon afterwards it was sent to Lwów to fight against the Ukrainians in the Polish-Ukrainian War. In the interbellum period up, the train was stationed in the 2. Dywizjon Pociągów Pancernych (2nd Battalion of Armoured Trains) located in Niepołomice near Kraków.[1] As all other Polish armoured trains of the period it was modernised by receiving improved wagons and a Ti3 type armoured locomotive. Before the outbreak of World War Two, the train had two howitzers (100 mm), two cannons (75 mm), and 19 heavy machine guns.

World War II[edit]

On August 27, the train, commanded by Captain Mieczysław Malinowski, was sent from Niepołomice towards Polish - German border, where it patrolled rail line Kłobuck - Działoszyn - Chorzew Siemkowice - Nowa Brzeźnica. Śmiały was assigned to the Łódź Army, to support Volhynian Cavalry Brigade. In the night of August 31/September 1, 1939, the train left for Chorzew Siemkowice, where it arrived at 5 a.m. During the Battle of Mokra, it supported the 21st Uhlan Regiment, which fought the advancing German 4th Panzer Division. After destroying a number of tanks, the train itself was hit, and forced to retreat to Działoszyn. On September 2, after several skirmishes with German units, the train left for Łask, and on the next day it found itself in Łódź, from where it moved to Koluszki, awaiting orders. In the evening of September 5, Polish units began a general retreat, and Śmiały left towards Skierniewice, Łowicz, and Warsaw.

On September 8, the train arrived at Siedlce, then via Łuków it came to Brześć nad Bugiem, arriving there on September 14. Near the station of Żabinka, Śmiały repulsed the attack of the 10th Panzer Division. In the afternoon of September 14, the Wehrmacht captured main rail station at Brześć, and Śmiały withdrew to Kowel, then to Łuck, where it arrived on September 16. On the next day, after news of the Soviet invasion of Poland reached its crew, the train headed southwards, to Lwów, where it arrived on September 18. Śmiały operated in the area of Lwów - Łyczaków rail station, supporting Polish infantry in the Battle of Lwów. On September 19, it took part in a raid on Kamionka Strumiłowa, returning to the Lwów - Podzamcze station in the evening. After capitulation of Polish forces in the city, the train was abandoned by its crew, and seized by the Red Army.


See also[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.mhf.krakow.pl/wystawy/pancerne/index.htm