Defensive war 1939 in Poland

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Information about Defensive war 1939 in Poland

Published on February 21, 2014

Author: annaszsp9


Defensive War 1939 in Poland Presentation made by: Laura Poradnik class IV c, SP 9 Dzierżoniów, Poland


First bombs were dropped at 4:40 on town Wieluń

German Army crossed Polish border in a lot of places

On 25th August a German battleship Schleswig-Holstein arrived on a "courtesy visit" to the Free City of Danzig.

It berthed near Gdańsk harbour just opposite... WESTERPLATTE

It bombarded the Polish base at Westerplatte in the early morning hours of 1st September 1939.

At 4:48 Schleswig-Holstein started bombarded Westerplatte. This event symbolizes the beginning of World War Two.

The Germans repeatedly bombarded Westerplatte with naval artillery and heavy field artillery along with dive-bombing raids by Junkers Ju 87 Stukas. Repeated attacks by 3500 German soldiers were repelled by the 180 Polish soldiers for seven days. Major Henryk Sucharski had been informed that no help from the Polish Army would come. Cut off, with no reinforcements or chance of resupply, he continued his defense, keeping the main German force stalled at Westerplatte and so preventing further attacks along the Polish coast. On September 7th the Major decided to surrender, due to lack of ammunition and supplies.

On Westerplatte about 20 Polish soldiers were killed and about 50 were wounded. The German Army: 300-400 killed and 700 -1000 wounded.


The Polish Post Office (Poczta Polska) in the Free City of Danzig was created in 1920 under the Treaty of Versailles, and its buildings were considered extraterritorial Polish property. In the Polish Post Office complex on 1st September 1939 there were 57 people: Konrad Guderski (the commander of Polish defense), 42 local Polish employees, 10 employees from Gdynia and Bydgoszcz, and the building keeper with his wife and 10-year old daughter who lived in the complex. At 04:00 Germans cut the phone and electricity lines to the building. At 04:45, just as the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein started shelling the nearby Polish Army military outpost at Westerplatte, German forces began their assault on the Polish Post.

Defense of the Polish Post Office in Danzing lasted for about 14 hours. After Polish defenders repelled two German attacks, the Germans used a 105 mm artillery piece, a unit of sappers dug under the walls and prepared a 600 kg explosive device. At 17:00 the bomb was set off, collapsing part of the wall, and German forces under the cover of three artillery pieces attacked again, this time capturing most of the building except the basement. At 18:00 Germans brought automatic pumps, gasoline tanks and flamethrowers, which they used to flood the basements with burning gasoline. After three Poles were burnt alive (bringing the total Polish casualties to six killed in action), the rest decided to capitulate. Most of them were sentenced by Germans to death penalty, rest of them were sent to concentartion camps. Only four defenders who managed to escape and hide survived the war.

Captured defenders of the Polish Post Office

In 1939 Poles believed that after German invasion they would have to fight for a several days only, till France and Great Britain according to international packs would attack Germany. Unfortunately, Poland was left alone…

Despite many problems and lack of weapons Polish Army defended against German invaders. The main battles in September 1939: 1-7 September - Westerplatte 1 September - Mokra 1-5 September - Bory Tucholskie 2-5 September - Borowska Góra 5 September - Piotrków Trybunalski and Tomaszów Mazowiecki 2-4 September - Jordanów 7-10 September - Łomża 7-10 September - Wizna 7-8 September - Barak 1-19 September - Kępa Oksywska 13-29 September - Twierdza (stronghold) Modlin

2-5 September - Kock 1-4 September - Mława 8-9 September - Iłża 9-18 September - Bzura 15-16 September - Jaworów 8-26 September - Warszawa - siege of Warsaw and its capitulation

No help from: - Great Britain - France

STRANGE WAR The Allied governments declared war on Germany on 3rd September. However, they failed to provide any meaningful support.

On 8th September 1939 German soldiers reached the borders of the capital city of Poland WARSAW

The 1939 Battle of Warsaw was fought between the Polish Warsaw Army (Armia Warszawa) and the German Army. It started with huge aerial bombardments by the Luftwaffe starting on September 1, 1939. Land fighting started on September 8, when the first German armored units reached the Wola area and south-western suburbs of the city. Despite German radio broadcasts claiming to have captured Warsaw, the attack was stopped and soon afterwards Warsaw was placed under siege. The siege lasted until September 28, when the Polish garrison capitulated. The following day approximately 100,000 Polish soldiers left the city and were taken as prisoners of war. On October 1 the Wehrmacht entered Warsaw, which started a period of German occupation that lasted until January 17, 1945.

On September 6th Polish government left the capital city. Stefan Starzyoski – President of Warsaw refused leaving the city and was the commander of Warsaw defense.

On September 7th in Warsaw posters with appeal to the population appeared. It asked the citizens of Warsaw to defence their city against German invasion.

13-15 September Warsaw was totally surrounded.

On September 28th Warsaw surrendered. WARSAW CAPITULATED

Without a formal declaration of war on 17th September 1939 Poland was invaded by Soviet Union

The invasion took place according to the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed on 23 August 1939. This was a non-aggression pact containing a secret protocol dividing Poland into German and Soviet spheres of influence. The Red Army entered the eastern regions of Poland with seven field armies, containing between 450,000 and 1,000,000 troopers, split between two fronts. Polish commanders didn’t expect Soviet invasion and it was a big problem as Poland assumed the Soviet Union would remain neutral during a conflict with Germany. As a result, Polish commanders deployed most of their troops to the west, to face the German invasion. Polish commanders ordered not to fight against Soviet Army.

This way Poland was devided by Germany and Soviet Union and had to fight against two cruel invaders.

In September 1939 invading Poland German Army used about 1,8 million soldiers, 2800 tanks, 3000 planes and 10 000 cannons. The Slovaks attacked Poland with Field Army Bernolak with about 50 000 soldiers and not many planes. The Soviets invaded Poland with 1,5 million soldiers, 6 000 tanks and 1800 planes.

During defensive war 1939 Poland had about 1 million soldiers, 880 tanks, 400 planes and 4300 cannons.

War losts during defensive war 1939 in Poland: Poland lost about 70 000 soldiers, about 140 000 soldiers were wounded, about 400 000 Polish soldiers were imprisoned by Germany and about 130 000 by Soviet Union. Germans according to official data lost about 17 000 soldiers and about 30 000 German soldiers were wounded. But some years ago some secret documents in Germany were found according to which during 4 weeks in Poland German Army lost 91 000 soldiers and about 63 000 were wounded.


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