Łódź Army

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Monument to Łódź Army in Park Helenów in Łódź

Łódź Army (Polish: Armia Łódź) was one of the Polish armies that took part in the Polish Defensive War of 1939. It was officially created on 23 March 1939 with the task of filling the gap between Poznań Army in the north and Kraków Army in the south. Commanded by Juliusz Rómmel, it consisted of five infantry divisions and two cavalry brigades with support from the air force.

Tasks[edit]

Forces as of 31 August and German plan of attack.
Forces as of 14 September with troop movements up to this date.
Forces after 14 September with troop movements after this date

The army's task was to fill the gap between Army Poznań in the north (defending Greater Poland under general Tadeusz Kutrzeba) and Army Kraków in the south (operating in Silesia and Lesser Poland under general Antoni Szylling), prevent enemy attacks in the direction of Łódź and Piotrków Trybunalski and if possible, advance towards Sieradz. It was also to cover the mobilization of a reserve Prusy Army behind the Polish lines. Because of that, the main strategic purpose of the army was to gain time and offer delaying actions and harsh resistance on the expected main German offensive line (Częstochowa-Łódź-Warsaw)in order for the mobilization to be accomplished.

Operational history[edit]

Despite several early successes, such as the Battle of Mokra on 1 September, where the Volhynian Cavalry Brigade stopped the German 4th Panzer Division, the army was forced to withdraw towards the Vistula River under increasing German pressure. The German Army Group South under Gerd von Rundstedt struck along the lines dividing the Polish Army Łódź from Army Poznań and Army Kraków. Without any natural defences, and facing a significant enemy force while lacking support, Rómmel's army was easily outmanouevred and cut off from the rest of the Polish forces during the remainder of the battle of the Border, with most of its units being outflanked by the German Eighth Army and the German Tenth Army. Łódź was taken by the Germans on 8 September. By the beginning of the second week of fighting, Army Łódź had suffered heavy casualties and failed to carry out its task of defending its part of the Polish borders.

General Rómmel advanced with a small contingent of forces through towards Warsaw, where he assumed command of the improvised Warsaw Army tasked with defending the Polish capital (see siege of Warsaw), but he left most of his forces behind. General Wiktor Thommée assumed command of the remaining units. Piotrków Group, or as it became known after its commander, Thommée's Group, was much more successful, managing to avoid encirclement, and after the Battle of Wola Cyrusowa (September 8) his corps' last battle was the defence of the Modlin fortress (capitulated on 29 September).

Organization[edit]

Army's commander was general Juliusz Rómmel. His chief of staff was colonel Aleksander Pragłowski. The Army also contained an Operational Group 'Piotrków' under general Wiktor Thommée.

Kraków Army Unit Polish name Commander Remarks
  Army units - gen. Juliusz Rómmel*
2nd Legions Infantry Division 2. Dywizja Piechoty Legionów col. Edward Dojan-Surówka in reserve, in combat from 2 September
10th Infantry Division 10. Dywizja Piechoty gen. bryg. Franciszek Józef Dindorf-Ankowicz
22nd Mountain Infantry Division 22. Dywizja Piechoty Górskiej col. Leopold Engel-Ragis in theory reserve of Łódź Army, in practice delays made it unavailable on that part of the front (part of Karpaty Army till 2 September, Kraków Army afterwards
28th Infantry Division 28. Dywizja Piechoty gen. bryg. Władysław Bończa-Uzdowski
Kresy Cavalry Brigade Kresowa Brygada Kawalerii col. Stefan Hanka-Kulesza in reserve, in combat from 2 September
Sieradz National Defence Brigade Sieradzka Brygada Obrony Narodowej
  Piotrków Operational Group - gen. Wiktor Thommée
Wołyńska Cavalry Brigade Wołyńska Brygada Kawalerii col. Julian Filipowicz
30th Infantry Division 30. Dywizja Piechoty gen.bryg. Leopold Cehak
  Army's Airforce - col.Wacław Iwaszkiewicz
Pluton Łącznikowy nr 10
32. Eskadra Rozpoznawcza
III/6. Dywizjon Myśliwski
63. Eskadra Obserwacyjna
66. Eskadra Obserwacyjna

The Army also had smaller notable units, such as two armoured trains (no.52 and no.53).

References[edit]