12th Mechanised Division (Poland)

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Coordinates: 49°51′05″N 18°18′35″E / 49.851331°N 18.309671°E / 49.851331; 18.309671

12th Mechanised Division
Polish 12th Mech Div insignia.png
Active 1958–present (traditions from 1919)
Country Poland
Branch Polish Land Forces
Type Mechanised infantry
Part of Armed Forces General Command
Garrison/HQ Szczecin
Patron Boleslaw Krywousty
Anniversaries 28 June (feast day since 2008), 15 March (feast day before 2008)
Engagements
Battle honours Szczecin
Website https://12sdz.wp.mil.pl/pl/
Commanders
Current
commander
Major General Maciej Jabłoński
Insignia
Vehicle identification symbol (Polish People's Army) Znak 12DZmech.PNG

The 12th Bolesław Krzywousty Szczecin Mechanised Division (Polish: 12 Szczecińska Dywizja Zmechanizowana im. Bolesława Krzywoustego (12 DZ, 12 SDZ)) is a division of the Polish Armed Forces, headquartered in Szczecin.

It traces its heritage back to the 1919 formation of the 6th Polish Rifle Division of the Blue Army in France. The division returned to Poland and was redesignated as the 12th Infantry Division (Polish: 12 Dywizja Piechoty) later that year, fighting in the Polish–Soviet War. During the September 1939 Invasion of Poland, the division was part of the southern group of the Prusy Army and was surrounded and destroyed by German forces during the Battle of Radom. It was briefly reformed in 1944 as part of the Home Army, and later that year the Polish People's Army briefly formed a 12th Infantry Division as part of the abortive 3rd Polish Army, but it was quickly broken up. The Polish People's Army reformed the division in Poznań during the final weeks of World War II, and it was sent to Szczecin to secure the area and expel the German population in the immediate postwar period. The division has remained headquartered at Szczecin since then, and was converted into a mechanised division in 1958.

Interwar period[edit]

Between the wars, the divsion was stationed in Tarnopol. It consisted of several regiments, scattered in towns of Podolia:

  • 51st Kresy Rifles Infantry Regiment of Giuseppe Garibaldi, stationed in Brzeżany and Czortkow,
  • 52nd Kresy Rifles Infantry Regiment, stationed in Zloczow,
  • 54th Kresy Rifles Infantry Regiment, stationed in Tarnopol,
  • 12th Kresy Light Artillery Regiment, stationed in Zloczow,
  • 12th Heavy Artillery Regiment, stationed in Tarnopol.

Polish September Campaign[edit]

In June 1939 the Division, under General Gustaw Paszkiewicz, was ordered to remain in reserve and became part of the southern wing of the Prusy Army. In early September 1939, it was transported from Tarnopol to the area of Kielce.

On September 7, 12th I.D. left its positions by Skarżysko-Kamienna and headed towards Iłża. There, it engaged in combat with 3rd Light Division of the Wehrmacht. In the following days, the unit fought a bloody battle with German XV Light Corps of General Hermann Hoth. On September 9, Polish soldiers got to German positions but were stopped by tanks. As a result, the Poles panicked, the Division was cut off from the line of the Vistula and as such ceased to exist. Its remnants crossed the river and were recreated as brigades, taking part in the Battle of Tomaszów Lubelski, where they capitulated on September 27.

Home Army[edit]

In the first half of 1944, when Operation Tempest was prepared, the 12th I.D. was recreated in the area of Tarnopol and Lwów.

Polish People's Army[edit]

The 12th Infantry Division was formed by the Polish People's Army in the Zamość region beginning on 6 October 1944. It was intended to become part of the 3rd Polish Army, and included the 19th, 21st, and 25th Infantry Regiments, the 41st Light Artillery Regiment, and the 8th Self-Propelled Artillery Battalion equipped with the SU-76, among other support units. The attempt to create the 3rd Polish Army was abandoned on 15 November, and the personnel of the 12th, still beginning their organization, were dispersed to units of the 2nd Polish Army, while the weapons and equipment were returned to the storage of the 1st Belorussian Front.[1]

The second 12th Infantry Division of the Polish People's Army began forming on 15 March 1945 under the command of Red Army officer Colonel Viktor Lemantovich. Its headquarters, 41st Rifle Regiment, 34th Light Artillery Regiment, and 15th Anti-Tank Artillery Battalion, with other support units, formed in Poznań, while the 43rd Rifle Regiment formed in Biedrusko and the 39th Rifle Regiment and remaining support units formed in Gniezno. It completed its formation by May. After the end of the war, the elements of the division left their places of formation on 9 June and became part of the 2nd Polish Army in Western Pomerania. There, they participated in agricultural work and mine clearance, securing the region and organizing military settlement.[1]

Its main task was to protect the border in the region of Szczecin. A combined infantry regiment from the division took part in Operation Vistula in 1947, against the Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

In December 1958 the 12th Infantry Division was reorganized as a mechanised division (pl:12 Dywizja Zmechanizowana).[2] Headquarters was located as Szczecin.

Current Structure[edit]

On 19 April 1994, the division received the honorific Szczecin in honor of its headquarters location, and Medieval Duke of Poland Bolesław III Wrymouth was made its patron. By a 16 March 2009 decision of the Polish Minister of National Defence, the 12th Mechanised Division inherited the traditions of the 6th Polish Rifle Division, 12th Infantry Division, 12th Infantry Division of the Home Army, in addition to those of the 12th Infantry Division of the Polish People's Army. Its feast day was changed to 28 June, the anniversary of the establishment of the 6th Polish Rifle Division.[3]

12th Mechanised Division (Poland) is located in Poland
12 Mech. Div.
12 Mech. Div.
2 Mech.
2 Mech.
7 Coastal
7 Coastal
12 Mech.
12 Mech.
5 Art. Rgt.
5 Art. Rgt.
8 Air-Def. Rgt.
8 Air-Def. Rgt.
Location of the 12th Mechanized Division and its units 2015.

As of 2018, the 12th Mechanised Division comprises:[4]

The division is part of the NATO-aligned Multinational Corps North East.

Commanders[edit]

  • Major General Maciej Jabłoński (29 June 2018–present)[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b Komornicki 1977, pp. 164–165.
  2. ^ Order No. 0010/Org MON. from October 2, 1958
  3. ^ "Święto 12 Szczecińskiej Dywizji Zmechanizowanej" [Banner of the 12th Szczeciń Mechanised Division]. Ministry of National Defence (in Polish). 1 July 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Struktura" [Structure] (in Polish). 12th Mechanised Division. 16 January 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Kierownictwo" [Headquarters] (in Polish). 12th Mechanised Division. Retrieved 16 September 2018.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Komornicki, Stanisław (1977). Wojsko Polskie. Krótki informator historyczny o Wojsku Polskim w latach II wojny światowej [Polish Army: A short historical guide on the Polish Army during the Second World War] (in Polish). 1: Regularne jednostki ludowego Wojska Polskiego. Formowanie, działania bojowe, organizacja, uzbrojenie, metryki jednostek piechoty [Regular units of the Polish People's Army: Formation, combat operations, organization, and armaments of infantry units]. Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Ministerstwa Obrony Narodowej Warszawa.