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Posted: 12/8/2010 1:33:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/8/2010 1:33:59 PM EST by EXPcustom]
Did not know this, I always assumed they were decimated by MGs and armor...

Link:

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Posted: 12/8/2010 1:40:21 PM EST
There seems to be a few vids out there of the cavalry getting torn up pretty good by the Germans.
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Posted: 12/8/2010 1:42:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/8/2010 1:43:30 PM EST by FLAL1A]
The other interesting and little-known fact is that the 1939 invasion of Poland pitted 2 fascist governments against each other. Sort of an ideological dress rehearsal for the invasion of the USSR, though the Poles & Germans wouldn't have admitted it any more than the Soviets & Germans did..

ETA: I accidentally the word "fact."
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Posted: 12/8/2010 1:43:36 PM EST
Cavalry worked pretty well when armor was absent. There was a cavalry charge in the Phillipines against the Japanese also.

Kind of hard to keep cavalry supplied, however.
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Posted: 12/8/2010 1:44:33 PM EST
The Poles gave a lot better than they're given credit for. A lot more than, for example, the French.

It was never in the interest of the Allies (who sold out Poland twice) or the Soviets to talk about it much.
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Posted: 12/9/2010 2:51:13 AM EST
Originally Posted By Spade:
The Poles gave a lot better than they're given credit for. A lot more than, for example, the French.

It was never in the interest of the Allies (who sold out Poland twice) or the Soviets to talk about it much.


The western powers actually sold out Poland three times - you left out 1921 after the Polish/Soviet War.

Also, the Polish government of that time wasn't 'facist' - it was authoritarian anti-Communist, but hardly 'facist'.
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Posted: 12/9/2010 3:10:03 AM EST
Early German armor was not very good. Not much of a factor.
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Posted: 12/9/2010 3:29:00 AM EST
I've always found it "interesting" when watching documentaries about Germany's invasion of Poland. They always talk about Germany doing it in, I think, 4 weeks but also talk about how the Luftwaffe sufferred a significant loss of aircraft. Always seemed to suggest that the Poles put up a pretty good fight.
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Posted: 12/9/2010 3:42:06 AM EST
Never knew much about the history of Poland, but I'm getting a crash course as we research my wife's genealogy. She's got paperwork showing a 1908 arrival in NY of one of her alphabetski forebears, but it shows "Austrian" as the nationality. Weren't no Poland then. Word is they fled to escape cossack raids.

The Poles have choked down a nearly unending series of shit sandwiches throughout their history.
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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:25:26 AM EST
Some comments about the Polish Campaign.

1. study it.
Poland was largely unpaved roads. Although it had been almost a generation, the Poles had beaten the Soviets. The mobilization had taken place. There were plans. As the Germans advanced, Polish forces withdrew from their forward bases of operation close to the Polish-German border to more established lines of defense to the east. After the mid-September Polish defeat in the Battle of the Bzura, the Germans gained an undisputed advantage. Polish forces then withdrew to the southeast where they prepared for a long defense of the Romanian Bridgehead and awaited expected French and British support and relief.

The Soviet Red Army's invasion of the Kresy on 17 September rendered the Polish plan of defense obsolete. Facing a second front, the Polish government concluded the defense of the Romanian Bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered an emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania
2. The invincible German Blitzkrieg army was far from what was depicted in the propaganda films. The German armor was supplemented by Czech armor taken in 1938. The German Army extensively used horses.
3. The key to success was destruction of the post offices from the air. The Army did not have its own communications network. It relied upon post offices. For those of you who are not old enough, I will describe. As late as the 1970s, if people wanted to make telephone calls and did not have a telephone, they went to the post office and made a call (I personally saw this in Portugal). The post offices in Poland had the communication system. The Army did not.

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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:28:59 AM EST
Originally Posted By paris-dakar:
Originally Posted By Spade:
The Poles gave a lot better than they're given credit for. A lot more than, for example, the French.

It was never in the interest of the Allies (who sold out Poland twice) or the Soviets to talk about it much.


The western powers actually sold out Poland three times - you left out 1921 after the Polish/Soviet War.

Also, the Polish government of that time wasn't 'facist' - it was authoritarian anti-Communist, but hardly 'facist'.


How about a couple months ago with missile defense?
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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:41:58 AM EST
There ended up being a large contingent of Poles in the British Army and the RAF in WWII, folks displaced by the Blitzkrieg.

Slavomir Rawicz, the guy who wrote The Long Walk, ended up joining the Free Poles with the British Army after he escaped from the gulag.
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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:42:58 AM EST
For someone to claim that the Polish government of 1939 wasn't fascist is extremely naive. While certainly not in the same league as Germany or even Italy, the Polish government was extremely nationalistic and thouroughly repressed all their minorities (except, ironically, the Germans, mainly due to fear I suspect). Despite this, the Poles were certainly the victims of 'realpolitik' and the Western Allies callously sold them out at every turn - and the Russians even worse of course. Despite this, the Poles put up quite a fight considering their resources. Note: the Germans also used cavalry in Poland (a brigade), as well as in every other campaign during the war (except North Africa, thought the Italians did use camel-mounted scouts), as did the Soviets and Axis allies in Russia.
Both the US and Great Britain had cavalry units during the war, though neither used them operationally (though the Brits did see some action in Palestine against Arabs and Jews).
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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:43:04 AM EST

Originally Posted By bdcochran01:
2. The invincible German Blitzkrieg army was far from what was depicted in the propaganda films. The German armor was supplemented by Czech armor taken in 1938. The German Army extensively used horses.



Also, a lot of the German armor at the time was crap.
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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:43:45 AM EST

Originally Posted By Jarhead_22:
There ended up being a large contingent of Poles in the British Army and the RAF in WWII, folks displaced by the Blitzkrieg.

Slavomir Rawicz, the guy who wrote The Long Walk, ended up joining the Free Poles with the British Army after he escaped from the gulag.


"A Question of Honor" is another good one.
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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:46:13 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/9/2010 4:50:42 AM EST by delacrue]



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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:56:13 AM EST
There is not a shred of evidence that shows they kicked butt in that video. It even says their most effective maneuver was against a German infantry unit resting in a woods. Germany smashed Poland with what we now called combined arms-air and land assets working in concert, in 36 days. All that video shows is Polish cav riding around on their horsies, not engaging in combat with German armor which, no matter how poor some of you assert it was, is still better than an open-air saddle. At best they were a speed bump.
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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:58:06 AM EST
Poland's air force and the close air support offered by the Luftwaffe are as much to blame as anything else.

The Luftwaffe, and the Condor Legion, had just gotten back from Spain where they had studied, evolved, and perfected the technique.

The Poles, on the other hand, had a very small, ill equipped air force. They scattered when the Germans invaded but couldn't mount a good counterattack as they had almost no communication links between the air force and army units. Even when they did they were hammered by the better trained and equipped German fighters.

The Luftwaffe did suffer worse than they thought but this was traced to the Poles AA at the front during close air support missions. The Luftwaffe's success in general was sheer luck. The campaign was so short that they had almost nothing stockpiled (I think a few weeks of bombs and a few more weeks of ammo). The Luftwaffe General Staff was so convinced that the entire war was going to be short they even sent their instructor pilots into the fray!
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Posted: 12/9/2010 4:58:42 AM EST
Trust me, the good Polish folk FREQUENTLY gave Adolf 'One Ball' Hitler a bloody good thrashing!

They were a brilliant and valuable ally for us in Britain.

No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron was one of 16 Polish squadrons in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. It was the highest scoring RAF squadron of the Battle of Britain.






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Posted: 12/9/2010 5:08:49 AM EST
For the final effective use of cavalry, one must look to the Italians:

From an old Ghosts Calendar:

On August 23, 1942 the last cavalry charge took place.

At Izbushensky, 600 mounted men of the Italian Savoy Cavalry, with sabres and hand grenades, charge about 2,000 Russians armed with mortars and machine guns. Result? Russians flee...

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