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Poles fighting for France - a relatively unknown chapter of WW2

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1939 - 1942' started by GRW, May 22, 2021.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Found this fascinating fact on FB.
    "Poles fighting for France - a relatively unknown chapter of WW2
    81 years ago on 10 May 1940, Germany attacked France and the Low Countries. The successful German blitzkrieg-style campaign soon led to the collapse of France, one of the most important Polish allies and one of the leading countries of the anti-Hitler coalition.
    The sacrifice of Poles during the Battle of France is still a relatively unknown chapter of WW2.
    Approximately 1,300 Polish soldiers died in combat, 5,000 were wounded, and 15,000 became POWs. Polish 1st Grenadier Division lost over 5,000 men during the Battle of Lagarde.
    In January 1940, five months before the German aggression on France, an agreement between the Polish Government-in-Exile and the French Government, allowing the creation of the Polish Army in France, was signed. By spring 1940, 80, 000 Polish soldiers were ready to face their enemy once again, this time on French soil.
    The newly-established Polish Government was initially based in Paris, then Angers, and after France’s defeat it was evacuated to London. As the Polish authorities decided to continue fighting against the German invader, the most important issue became the recreation of the army. It was known that thousands of military men and scouts were risking their lives trying to leave the German- and Soviet-occupied country.
    To help them transfer centres were organised along with a network supplying them with documents and money. It was also estimated that there were approx. 100,000 Polish citizens in France fit for military service. Only 40 per cent of them were called up by June 1940.
    In June 1940, Polish soldiers fought to defend France. Scattered among various French units, they battled the Germans on the Saar River, the Marne-Rhine Canal, near Lagarde, on the Somme, in Champagne, and in sundry other locations. Polish pilots defended Belgium and northern France, protecting among others Paris.
    Due to the overwhelming pace of German offensive, only some of the reconstructed Polish Armed Forces could be salvaged from the collapse of France and evacuated to the British Isles.
    Although weakened again after the downfall of France, Poland became Great Britain’s chief European ally for several months. President Raczkiewicz was personally welcomed in Britain by the king with great honours. As every soldier mattered, another reconstruction of the Polish Armed Forces began, and an army of over 30,000 was raised."
    Embassy of the Republic of Poland in London
     
    Kai-Petri likes this.
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The rage of the Poles and Czechs, I think it gives you more rage to kill Germans.
     
  3. Owen

    Owen O

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    In June 1940 some Polish troops crossed the border into Switzerland rather than surrender to the Germans.

    It was members 2nd Polish Division under General Prugar-Ketling that were interned in Switzerland.
    There are photos of them crossing the border.
     

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