1939 Polish cavalry - Polish Forces | Gallery

1939 Polish cavalry

During the invasion of Poland in 1939, cavalry units were organised in 11 cavalry brigades, each composed of 3 to 4 cavalry regiments with organic artillery, armoured unit and infantry battalion. Two additional brigades had recently been converted to motorized and armoured units, but they retained their cavalry traditions. In addition, every infantry division had an organic cavalry detachment used for reconnaissance.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://ww2incolor.com/gallery/polish-forces/23706/1939-polish-cavalry

The Brits claim to have made the ‘last’ cavalry charge in Europe during WWI. But, I think the last cavalry charge goes to the Polish in 1939 against the German tanks.

Yes, Bart. The plan was to have the Polish hold the bulk of the German Army around Warsaw while the French and British armies invaded Germany in October 1939 and put an end to the Nazi regime. Stalin’s invasion of Poland from the East meant that the Polish forces had no hope in holding out against the double threat.

Cavalry served long beyond 39 and on many fronts (also there is great debate as to whether Polish Cavalry attacked Panzers mounted, with a lot of scholars beleiving it is a legend). Italian Cavalry (Savoia Division ?) made mounted charges in the Stalingrad campaign, Soviet Cavalry fought right through in the East (read about them at Korsun).

Yes, the stories of Polish charging tanks is a product of German propaganda, and never happened. There was at least one instance, however, of German armor arriving after a mounted action had begun. However, Polish cavalry typically fought dismounted, using the horses to get to the front. Also, IIRC, the last mounted cavalry vs.cavalry charge is said to have between Germans and Poles during a Polish counterattack into Prussia. Also correct that other nations had cavalry that made mounted charges later in the war, including but probably not limited to the already-mentioned Soviets, and Italians, as well as the Hungarians. I wasn’t aware of Italian use at Stalingrad, though I believe there was a notable charge in the campaign leading up to the city. The Soviets used cavalry during the battle itself: I’ve read at one one account which described such cavalry attacks as being especially effective when it when it was so cold that the German armor was all but immobilized.

Poor horses… If it’s cold enough that the tanks were immobilized, one can only hope the horses were held sufficiently warm. Interestingly enough, the removal of horses from warfare was not only good for the horses (duh), but also the civilian population. Throughout history, civilians suffered most from hay being taken away from their cattle and used for the army’s horses…