scope of Zambrow-breakout 11.09.1939 (Zareby)

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Dimitrii
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scope of Zambrow-breakout 11.09.1939 (Zareby)

Post by Dimitrii » 25 Feb 2021 14:57

Hello everybody,

Another piece of the puzzle. If I read correctly on the forum, the Polish 18.Div. tried to breakout and in the process caused a big number of German casualties, as per great posts on this forum by Peter K.

Now I was wondering: are all deaths near Zambrow on 11.09.1939 to be attributed to this, to be more precise near Zareby too that day?

It looks to me, since Zareby is to the south of Zambrow, that this break-out was in a southren direction. It seems to have hit some German Aufkl.Abt. very significant?

Thanks in advance and sorry for asking so many questions.

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Re: scope of Zambrow-breakout 11.09.1939 (Zareby)

Post by GregSingh » 27 Feb 2021 08:31

See AA20 and AR20 losses during 11-12 Sep 1939 in Zareby:
http://www.20pzgrendiv.eu/verlustliste-1939/
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Dimitrii
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Re: scope of Zambrow-breakout 11.09.1939 (Zareby)

Post by Dimitrii » 28 Feb 2021 14:57

Hello Greg,
Yes, I found that site too, the owner used to post here as well.

Do you think the attack hit the lead elements of other units? Or did the polish attack simply hit everything in its way? I notice on that day many Aufkl.Abt. were hit.

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Re: scope of Zambrow-breakout 11.09.1939 (Zareby)

Post by GregSingh » 02 Mar 2021 09:39

According to Zawilski, mostly cavalry units managed a breakout to the East.
He wrote that German 20.PzD was holding firmly Zambrów and Czyżewo, with AA20 and some motorized infantry patrolling in between.

Look at the map. Units of Suwalska Cavalry Brigade (1st Regiment) were passing Zaręby, after crossing Zambrów-Czyżewo road south of Osowiec.

Units of Polish 18 Inf.Div. most likely were not involved near Zaręby as these were surrounded and destroyed just N of Andrzejewo.

Zawilski.jpg
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Re: scope of Zambrow-breakout 11.09.1939 (Zareby)

Post by Dimitrii » 04 Mar 2021 22:53

Thanks a bunch for showing this map, Greg! Excellent things. It does look like 18.Polish Unit was never at Zareby.
further it looks like polish cavalry was very effective.

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Re: scope of Zambrow-breakout 11.09.1939 (Zareby)

Post by gebhk » 08 Mar 2021 10:49

Hi Dimitrii

What is probably closer is that Polish cavalry was more mobile in defeat. That is, when a cavalry unit was beaten it was often able to mount up and withdraw to fight another day (albeit with rapidly diminishing effectiveness due to loss of logistical support and cohesion). On the other hand, an infantry unit losing a fight tended to be overrun and destroyed.

Regarding direction of movement of 18th Division it's impossible to be categorical. Without going into the detail, there was a great deal of confusion. Best as I can make out from PSZ w DWS, the initial plan had been for 18th Division to move East through Zambrow with the cavalry protecting the southern flank. It became apparent that German opposition in Zambrow was proving too tough a nut to crack and the Division was redirected southwards. However, later in the day it became clear that the Zambrow - Czyzewo road was weakly held by the Germans (essentially only by roving motorised patrols) and that the way to the East was still open below Zambrow between Osowiec and Ciemne. The cavalry were ordered to advance directly eastwards which they did with some success as you can see from the above map. 18th Division was to follow. Unfortunately, the umpteenth change of orders reached some but not all units of 18th Division (indeed it is not clear if the divisional CO received them), the orders themselves in some cases mixed up geographical locations and German resistance stiffened along the Z-C road. In effect, instead of pivoting around Zambrow and heading East in the wake of the Cavalry, only weak and ineffectual effort could be made and, having failed to punch through the German cordon as earlier the cavalry had done,18th Division was herded southwards towards Andrzejewo, surrounded and the rest you know.

Thus, as Greg Singh has noted, Zareby did not lie in the path of 18th Division, but was in the path of the Suwalska Cavalry Brigade and quite likely Operational Group HQ and support elements.

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Re: scope of Zambrow-breakout 11.09.1939 (Zareby)

Post by GregSingh » 08 Mar 2021 22:04

Noticed an error in my earlier post. German unit involved was obviously 20.ID (mot) !
You can get pretty damn far in life by just saying what you're going to do and then doing it.

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