Battle of Krasnobród

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For other battles of the same name, see Battle of Krasnobród (1672) and Battle of Krasnobród (1863).
Battle of Krasnobród
Part of Invasion of Poland
Date September 23, 1939
Location Krasnobród, Lublin Voivodeship
Result Polish victory
Belligerents
 Poland  Germany
Commanders and leaders
Poland Bohdan Stachlewski
Poland Tadeusz Gerlecki
Nazi Germany Rudolf Koch-Erpach  (POW)
Strength
Nowogrodek Cavalry Brigade
2nd Horse Artillery Division
2nd Horse Rifles Regiment
1st KOP Cavalry Regiment
8th Infantry Division
Heavy East Prussian cavalry
Casualties and losses
Unknown, but heavy Unknown, but heavy,
100 men captured

The Battle of Krasnobród took place on 23 September 1939 near the town of Krasnobród. It was fought between the forces of the Polish Army and the German Wehrmacht during the Invasion of Poland. It was one of the last battles in European warfare in which cavalry was used on both sides.

At approximately 7AM a group of Polish cavalry of the Nowogródek Cavalry Brigade left the forests halfway between Zamość and Tomaszów Lubelski. The 25th Greater Polish Uhlans Regiment under Col. Bogdan Stachlewski formed the front guard of the formation and was entrusted with recapturing the pivotal town of Krasnobród. The German 8th Infantry Division fortified the town located on a hill with two lines of trenches. In order to minimize the effect of enemy numerical superiority, the Polish commander split his forces in two and ordered a cavalry charge, with each of the squadrons charging separately at a different sector of the front.

The German forces were caught completely by surprise and the first squadron successfully broke through their positions, while the German infantry started a chaotic retreat towards the centre of the town, followed by the Polish cavalry using sabres and lances. The second squadron under Lt. Tadeusz Gerlecki joined the charge towards the hill. A unit of organic cavalry from the German 8th Infantry Division counter-charged from the hill, but was repelled in what was one of the last cavalry battles in World War II. The Polish units started a pursuit after the fleeing enemy and entered the city. Although the Poles suffered heavy losses due to machine gun fire (with Gerlecki's squadron losing all but 30 men), the town was retaken and the Poles took the headquarters of the division, together with about 100 German soldiers (including the commanding officer: General Rudolf Koch-Erpach). Forty Polish combatants previously taken prisoner by the Germans were freed.

References[edit]

  1. (Polish) Maria Strycharz (2005). "Szarże kawalerii polskiej we wrześniu 1939 roku". Kawaleria polska i jej udział w II wojnie światowej. 

Coordinates: 50°32′41″N 23°13′05″E / 50.544722°N 23.218056°E / 50.544722; 23.218056