Polish army order of battle in 1939

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Polish OOB during the invasion of Poland. In the late thirties Polish headquarters prepared "Plan Zachód" (Plan "West), a plan of mobilization of Polish Army in case of war with Germany. Earlier, the Poles did not regard the Germans as their main threat, priority was given to threat from the Soviets (see: Plan East).

The overall operational plan assumed the creation of 30 infantry divisions, 9 reserve divisions, 11 cavalry brigades, two motorized brigades, 3 mountain brigades and a number of smaller units. Most Polish forces were grouped into 6 armies and a number of corps-sized "Operational Groups". Later in the course of the war other operational units were created.

Placement of Polish divisions on September 1st
Placement of divisions on September 1, 1939
Dispositions of opposing forces, August 31, 1939, and the German plan.


Karpaty Army[edit]

Created on July 11, 1939, under Major General Kazimierz Fabrycy. Armia Karpaty was created after Germany annexed Czechoslovakia and created a puppet state of Slovakia. The main aim of the army was to secure mountain passes in the Carpathians. Initially the army consisted of 2 improvised mountain brigades and a number of smaller units, but later in the course of war was joined by forces of the withdrawing Armia Kraków.

Additionally, mobilisation plans called for creation of the Tarnów Group consisting of:

Kraków Army[edit]

Created on March 23, 1939, as the main pivot of Polish defence. Its main task was to delay advancing German troops and withdraw eastwards along the northern line of the Carpathians. It consisted of 5 infantry divisions, 1 mountain infantry division, 1 motorized cavalry brigade, 1 mountain brigade and 1 cavalry brigade under gen. Antoni Szylling.

Kraków Army Unit Polish name Commander Remarks
  Army units – gen. Antoni Szylling
6th Infantry Division from Kraków 6 Dywizja Piechoty Bernard Mond
7th Infantry Division from Częstochowa 7 Dywizja Piechoty gen. bryg. Janusz Gąsiorowski
11th Infantry Division from Stanisławów 11 Dywizja Piechoty gen. bryg. Bronisław Prugar-Ketling
Kraków Cavalry Brigade from Kraków Krakowska Brygada Kawalerii gen.bryg. Zygmunt Piasecki
10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade from Rzeszów 10 Brygada Kawalerii Zmotoryzowanej płk. Stanisław Maczek
  Śląsk Operational Group – gen. Jan Jagmin-Sadowski
23rd Infantry Division from Katowice 23 Dywizja Piechoty płk. Władysław Powierza Upper Silesian
55th Infantry Division, reserve division made of several units from the area of Upper Silesia and Jaworzno 55 Dywizja Piechoty płk. Stanisław Kalabiński reserve
  Bielsko Operational Group – gen. Mieczysław Boruta-Spiechowicz
21st Mountain Infantry Division from Nowy Sącz and Bielsko-Biała 21 Dywizja Piechoty Górskiej gen. Józef Kustroń
1st Mountain Brigade, made of several National Defence units from Żywiec, Zakopane and Jasło. 1 Brygada Górska płk Janusz Gaładyk mostly elite KOP troops

Lublin Army[edit]

An improvised army created on September 4 from 1 motorized brigade and various smaller units concentrated around Lublin, Sandomierz and upper Vistula. Commanded by mj. gen. Tadeusz Piskor.

Łódź Army[edit]

Created on March 23, 1939, under gen. Juliusz Rómmel. Armia Łódź was to become a bolt between Armies "Kraków" and "Poznań". However, because of mistakes committed by Gen. Rómmel, the army was located too close to the German border and joined fighting from the very beginning of the campaign, which deprived it of any possibilities of cooperation with the surrounding units. It consisted of 4 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades.

Modlin Army[edit]

Created on March 23, 1939, for defence of Warsaw from the north. The army was to defend fortified lines along the border with East Prussia near Mława, and then retreat towards Narew river. Led by brig. gen. Emil Krukowicz-Przedrzymirski. Consisted of 2 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades.

Pomorze Army[edit]

The Army was created on March 23, 1939, to defend Toruń and Bydgoszcz and to carry out delaying actions in the so-called "Polish Corridor". It was led by Lt.-Gen. Władysław Bortnowski and consisted of five infantry divisions, two National Defence brigades and one cavalry brigade.

Pomorze Army Unit Polish name Commander Remarks
  Army units – gen. Władysław Bortnowski
9th Infantry Division from Siedlce 9 Dywizja Piechoty płk. Józef Werobej
15th Infantry Division from Bydgoszcz 15 Dywizja Piechoty gen. Wacław Przyjałkowski Greater Polish
27th Infantry Division from Kowel 27 Dywizja Piechoty gen.bryg. Juliusz Drapella
Pomeranian National Defence Brigade Pomorska Brygada Obrony Narodowej
Chełmno National Defence Brigade Chełmska Brygada Obrony Narodowej
  Operational Group "East" – gen. Mikołaj Bołtuć
4th Infantry Division from Toruń 4 Dywizja Piechoty płk. Rawicz-Mysłowski, płk. Józef Werobej
16th Infantry Division from Grudziądz 16 Dywizja Piechoty płk. Zygmunt Szyszko-Bohusz Pomeranian
  Czersk Operational Group – gen.bryg. Stanisław Grzmot-Skotnicki
Pomeranian Cavalry Brigade from Bydgoszcz Pomorska Brygada Kawalerii gen.bryg. Stanisław Grzmot-Skotnicki
Independent Units Chojnice and Kościerzyna Oddziały Wydzielone "Chojnice" i "Kościerzyna"

Poznań Army[edit]

The Armia Poznań led by mj. gen. Tadeusz Kutrzeba was to provide flanking operations in the Grand Poland and withdraw towards lines of defence along the Warta river. It consisted of 4 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades.

Prusy Army[edit]

Under gen. Stefan Dąb-Biernacki. Created in the summer of 1939 as the main reserve of the Commander in Chief. According to the "Plan West" (Plan Zachód, code name for the Polish mobilization plan) it was to be composed of units mobilized as the second and third waves and its main purpose was to cooperate with the nearby armies "Poznań" and "Kraków".

Mobilized in two groups. Because of fast German advance both groups entered combat separately and most units did not reach full mobilization. It consisted of 6 infantry divisions, 1 cavalry brigade and a battalion of tanks.

Prusy Army Unit Polish name Commander Remarks
  Army units – gen. Stefan Dąb-Biernacki
39th Infantry Division, made of several regiments of the Border Defence Corps 39 Dywizja Piechoty płk. Bruno Olbrycht reserve
44th Infantry Division, made of several regiments of the Border Defence Corps 44 Dywizja Piechoty płk. Eugeniusz Żongołłowicz reserve
  Northern group – gen. Stefan Dąb-Biernacki
13th Infantry Division from Rowne 13 Dywizja Piechoty płk. Władysław Zubosz-Kaliński Kresowa
19th Infantry Division from Wilno 19 Dywizja Piechoty gen. Józef Kwaciszewski
29th Infantry Division from Grodno 29 Dywizja Piechoty płk. Ignacy Oziewicz
Wileńska Cavalry Brigade from Wilno Wileńska Brygada Kawalerii płk. Konstanty Drucki-Lubecki
1st tank battalion 1 battalion czołgów
  Southern group – gen. Stanisław Skwarczyński
3rd Legions Infantry Division from Zamość 3 Dywizja Piechoty Legionów płk. Marian Turowski
12th Infantry Division from Tarnopol 12 Dywizja Piechoty gen. Gustaw Paszkiewicz
36th Infantry Division, made from troops of Border Defence Corps of the Podole area. 36 Dywizja Piechoty płk Michał Ostrowski reserve

Warszawa Army[edit]

For a detailed description of the Warszawa Army operations see: Siege of Warsaw (1939)

Created on September 10, 1939, from various units in Warsaw and Modlin Fortress area. Initially it consisted of approximately 25 infantry battalions and 40 tanks. Later it was reinforced by forces of Łódź Army and elements of Modlin Army. It was commanded by col. Walerian Czuma, although the nominal commander was gen. Juliusz Rómmel.

Warszawa Army Unit Polish name Commander Remarks
  Modlin Fortress – gen. Wiktor Thommée
2nd Legions Infantry Division from Kielce 2 Dywizja Piechoty Legionów płk Antoni Staich elements
8th Infantry Division from Modlin 8 Dywizja Piechoty płk Tadeusz Wyrwa-Furgalski elements
28th Infantry Division from Warszawa 28 Dywizja Piechoty płk Broniewski elements
30th Infantry Division from Kobryn 30 Dywizja Piechoty gen. Leopold Cehak elements
  Western Approach – płk Marian Porwit
13th Infantry Division from Rowne 13 Dywizja Piechoty płk Władysław Zubosz-Kalinski reinforced
15th Infantry Division from Bydgoszcz 15 Dywizja Piechoty gen. Zdzisław Przyjałkowski reinforced
25th Infantry Division from Kalisz 25 Dywizja Piechoty gen. Franciszek Alter elements
Combined Cavalry Brigade Zbiorcza Brygada Kawalerii gen. Roman Abraham combined
  Eastern Approach – gen. Juliusz Zulauff
5th Infantry Division from Lwów 5 Dywizja Piechoty gen. Juliusz Zulauff elements, 1 regiment
8th Infantry Division from Modlin 8 Dywizja Piechoty płk Tadeusz Wyrwa-Furgalski routed, 1 regiment under Sosabowski
20th Infantry Division from Baranowicze 20 Dywizja Piechoty płk Wilhelm Liszka-Lawicz
44th Infantry Division 44 Dywizja Piechoty płk Eugeniusz Żongołłowicz reserve, routed
1st "Defenders of Praga" Infantry Regiment 1 pułk piechoty Obrońców Pragi płk Stanisław Milian improvised
2nd "Defenders of Praga" Infantry Regiment 2 pułk piechoty Obrońców Pragi płk Stefan Kotowski improvised

Operational Groups[edit]

Operational Group Wyszków[edit]

Was one of the reserves of the northern front of Polish defences, created on September 1, 1939. According to Plan West, it was supposed to defend the line of the Narew river from Wehrmacht units advancing from East Prussia. Due to rapid German advance, the group withdrew towards the Bug river, and on September 11, Polish Commander in Chief Edward Rydz-Śmigły ordered General Wincenty Kowalski, commandant of Operational Group Wyszków, to merge his unit with Northern Front under General Stefan Dąb-Biernacki.

It consisted of the following units:

Independent Operational Group Narew[edit]

Consisted of 2 infantry divisions and 2 cavalry brigades:

Independent Operational Group Polesie[edit]

Supporting forces[edit]

Air support

Naval and river support

See also[edit]