The Polish army in the battle of France 1940

Jul 2016
62
France
The first division of grenadiers, composed of 16,165 men under the command of General Bolesław Bronisław Duch, was based in Lorraine near Colombey-les-Belles. Holding part of the Maginot line from 9 June, it was integrated into the system of the 4th French Army. The first few days were only patrolling and some skirmishes. She came into action on 14 June. After two days of fighting, having confined the German assaults to its positions near Lagarde, on the Marne-Rhine canal, she was forced to retire, covering the retreat of the 52nd French division in complete disintegration. Then there were fights of delay, counter-attacks to clear out units likely to be encircled. On 21 June, after seeing the collapse of the French defenses in the area, General Duch ordered the dissolution of his unit in order to form itself into small groups; Many of the soldiers, including the general, managed to evacuate to Great Britain.
However, the order of dissolution was not able to reach all units in time: the 2nd battalion of the 3rd regiment still engaged in the Moyenmoutier region had difficulty disengaging and retreated to Saint-Dié by delivering the last fighting . Part of the elements of the 5th Company was captured on 22 June by the Germans who had entered Saint-Dié.
The dead of the division rest in the military cemetery of Dieuze (Moselle).
The 2nd Hunters' Division (about 15 800 men) under the command of General Bronisław Prugar-Ketling was stationed from December 1939 to May 1940 in Parthenay. This division, integrated into the 45th Corps of General Daille, was charged with the defense of the environs of Belfort. Engaged in heavy fighting from June 17 to 19 near the Doubs and the Saone, she stopped the German attack on the hills of the Clos du Doubs, but due to the retreat of the neighboring French forces, she was encircled by the forces German; However, she managed to break through to Switzerland on 20 and 21 June. The division, including General Prugar-Ketling, was interned.
The 10th armored brigade commanded by General Stanisław Maczek fought in Champagne and Burgundy. It covered the flank of the 4th and 6th French armies near Champaubert to the north-west of Dijon. On the 16th of June she defeated the Germans near Montbard, but found herself isolated, the French units on both flanks being routed or retreating. On 18 June, the brigade was virtually encircled and run out of gasoline and ammunition. General Maczek ordered the destruction of the material of unity and the dispersion of men. The brigade was later recreated under its command in Great Britain where it became the famous 1st Polish Armored Division; General Maczek was considered one of the best Polish commanders, including armored vehicles, during the Second World War.
The Polish hunting group GC 1/145 "Warsaw" participated in the Battle of France, as well as other detached elements in French units. Of the 175 Polish pilots trained in France, about 130 to 135 participated in the fighting, credited with 50 to 55 victories for losses of 15 to 25 pilots4. Most of the personnel of the Polish Air Force succeeded in gaining the United Kingdom.
A Polish patrol, commanded by the porcznik (lieutenant) Henneberg, based in Chateauroux, and composed of two MB.152 and a MB.151, plus a Caudron Simoun, flew on 17 June 1940 for Bordeaux. On 18 June, the squadron re-started and stopped in Nantes, where a wing commander of the RAF provided directions to the RAF base at Tangmere (Sussex). After refueling, the Polish group took off at 2 pm and landed at Tangmere at 4.30 pm. It was the only Polish unit to arrive in the United Kingdom with its planes.