- II Corps (Poland)
Polish II Corps ( _pl. Drugi Korpus Wojska Polskiego), 1943–1947, was a major tactical and operational unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II. It was commanded by
Lieutenant General Władysław Andersand by 1945 it grew to well over 75,000 soldiers.
Following the signing of the Polish-Russian Military Agreement on August 14, 1941, a Polish Army on Soviet soil was born. The first commander, General
Michał Tokarzewski, began the task of forming this army in the Soviet town of Tockojeon August 17. The commander chosen by General Władysław Sikorskito ultimately lead the new army, General Władysław Anders, had been just released from the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, on August 4, and did not issue his first orders or announce his appointment as commander until August 22.
This army would grow over the following two years and provide the bulk of the units and troops of the Polish II Corps.
The Polish II Corps was created in 1943 from various units fighting alongside the Allies in all theatres of war. The
3rd Carpathian Divisionwas formed in Middle Eastfrom smaller Polish units fighting in Egypt and Tobruk, as well as the Polish Army in the East that was evacuated from the USSRthrough the Persian Corridor. Its creation was based on British Army Actof 1940 that allowed the allied units of the exiled government of Poland to be grouped on one theatre of war. However, the British command never agreed to incorporate the exiled Polish Air Force into the Corps.
In 1944 the Corps was transferred from Egypt to Italy, where it became an independent part of the
British Eighth Armyunder General Oliver Leese. During 1944-1945 the Corps fought with distinction in the Italian campaign, most notably during the fourth and final Battle of Monte Cassino, the battle of Ancona during "Operation Olive" (the fighting on the Gothic Linein September 1944) and the Bologna during the Allies' final offensive in Italy in March 1945.
In 1944 it numbered about 50,000 soldiers. During the three subsequent battles the Corps suffered heavy losses (in the final stage of the Battle of Monte Cassino even the support units were mobilised and used in combat) and it was suggested to Gen. Anders that he withdraw his units. However, since the
Soviet Unionbroke diplomatic relations with the Polish government and no Poles were allowed out of the USSR, Anders believed that the only source of recruits was ahead - in German POWcamps and concentration camps.
By 1945 new units were added composed mostly from freed POWs and Poles forced to join the
Wehrmacht, increasing the amount of soldiers to approximately 75,000; approximately 20,000 of them were transferred to other Polish units fighting in the West. After the war the divisions of the Corps were used in Italy until 1946, when they were transported to Britain and demobilised. The majority of soldiers remained in exile.
In May 1945 the Corps consisted of 55,780 men and approximately 1,500 women from auxiliary services. There was also one bear, named Wojtek. The majority of the forces were composed mostly of Polish citizens who were deported by the
NKVDto the Soviet Gulags during the annexation of Eastern Poland (Kresy Wschodnie) in 1939 by the Soviet Union. Following the Operation Barbarossaand the Sikorski-Mayski Agreementmany of them were released and allowed to join the Polish Army in the East being formed in Southern Russia and Kazakhstan. Due to political reasons the Soviet Union soon withdrew support for the creation of Polish Army on its territory and lowered the supply rate, which forced General Władysław Andersto withdraw his troops to British-held Persia and Iraq. From there the troops were moved to British Mandate of Palestine, where they joined forces with the 3rd Carpathian Division which was composed mostly of Polish soldiers who had managed to escape to French Lebanonthrough Romaniaand Hungaryafter the Polish Defensive War of 1939.
The main bulk of the soldiers were from the eastern
voivodeships of pre-war Poland. Although the majority of them were ethnic Poles, there were also members of other nationalities who joined the units of II Corps, most notably Jews, Belarusians and Ukrainians. After being relocated to Palestine, the Corps faced the problem of increased rate of desertions by Jewish soldiers, most of whom defected "en masse" to the Haganah. The most noted among them was Menachem Begin, the future Prime Minister of Israel. General Anders decided not to prosecute the deserters.
Order of Battle
*Polish 3rd Carpathian Infantry Division
CO: Maj.Gen. Bronisław Duch
**1st Carpathian Rifle Brigade
**2nd Carpathian Rifle Brigade
**3rd Carpathian Rifle Brigade (added in 1945)
Podolian Uhlan Regiment
**smaller divisional units
*Polish 5th Kresowa Infantry Division CO: Brig.Gen.
**7th Wolyn Infantry Brigade (added in 1945)
**smaller divisional units
Polish 2nd Armoured Brigade(became Polish 2nd Warsaw Armoured Divisionin 1945). CO: Brig.Gen. Bronisław Rakowski
**4th Armoured Regiment
**6th Armoured Regiment 'Children of Lwów'
**1st Krechowiecki Uhlan Regiment
WielkopolskaArmoured Regiment (added in 1945)
Corps ArtilleryGroup CO: Brig.Gen. Roman Odzierzyński
**9th Medium Artillery Regiment
**10th Heavy Artillery Regiment
**7th Horse Artillery Regiment
*Other Corps-level units
**1st Independent Polish
**Independent Carpathian Uhlan
Logistics, Medicaland other general support and reserve Corps-level units
No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron
Polish contribution to World War II
Polish government in exile
* Polish I Corps
Polish First Army
* [http://www.mpvone.co.uk/polish/index.htm The Polish Soldier]
* [http://homepage.ntlworld.com/w.werbel/dzieje/ An Illustrated History of the Polish II Corps.] Mieczyslaw Kuczynski.
* [http://www.historicaleye.com/montecass.html The Polish II Corps at Monte Cassino]
* Piotr Żaroń, Armia Polska w ZSRR, na Bliskim i Środkowym Wschodzie, Warszawa 1981,
* Witold Biegański, Krótki informator historyczny o Wojsku Polskim w latach II wojny światowej, tom 5, Regularne jednostki Wojska Polskiego na Zachodzie, Warszawa 1967,
* Andrzej Przemyski, Ostatni komendant. Generał
Leopold Okulicki, Lublin 1990,
* Igor Błagowieszczański, Artyleria w II wojnie światowej, Warszawa 1983,
* Bronisław Dzikiewicz, Z teodolitem pod
Monte Cassino, Warszawa 1984,
Wacław Król, Polskie dywizjony lotnicze w Wielkiej Brytanii 1940-1945, Warszawa 1982,
* Jan Paśnicki, Podniebni artylerzyści, Polska Zbrojna, 1994 (artykuł byłego pilota 663 DSA na temat 50 rocznicy powstania jednostki i kontynuowaniu jej tradycji przez brytyjski 663 Dywizjon Korpusu Lotnictwa Wojsk Lądowych),
* Michał Polak, Logistyczne zabezpieczenie działań 2 Korpusu Polskiego (grudzień 1944 – kwiecień 1945),
Przegląd Historyczno-Wojskowy, Nr 4 (209), Warszawa 2005,
* Janusz Odziemkowski, Służba Duszpasterska Wojska Polskiego 1914-1945, Warszawa 1998,
* Maciej Zajączkowski, Sztylet Komandosa, Warszawa 1991,
* Adam Majewski, Wojna, ludzie i medycyna, Lublin 1972,
* Kazimierz Frontczak, Siły Zbrojne Polski Ludowej. Przejście na stopę pokojową 1945-1947, Warszawa 1974,
* Yury Hrybouski, Losy żołnierzy Polskich Sił Zbrojnych na Zachodzie po powrocie na Białoruś, Przegląd Historyczno-Wojskowy nr 2 (197) z 2003 r., ISSN|1640-6281,
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Corps of Cadets (Warsaw) — Corps of Cadets, Warsaw, by Zygmunt Vogel Szkoła Rycerska (English: School of Knights) or Akademia Szlachecka Korpusu Kadetów Jego Królewskiej Mości i Rzeczypospolitej (English: Nobles Academy of the Corps of Cadets of His Majesty and… … Wikipedia
Poland — Polska redirects here. For other uses, see Polska (disambiguation). This article is about the country. For other uses, see Poland (disambiguation). Republic of Poland Rzeczpospolita Polska … Wikipedia
Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City — Gendarme Corps of Vatican City State Corpo della Gendarmeria dello Stato della Città del Vaticano Agency overview Formed 1816 Legal personality Governmental: Government agency … Wikipedia
II Corps — List of military corps mdash; List of military corps by numberA number of countries have Second, or II, Corps:*II Anzac Corps (Australia and New Zealand) *II Corps (Australia) *II Corps (France) *II Corps (United Kingdom) *Finnish II Corps… … Wikipedia
Cabinet of Poland — Poland This article is part of the series: Politics and government of Poland … Wikipedia
2nd Armoured Regiment (Poland) — Poland raised the 2nd Polish Armoured Regiment in France on 29 January 1940 as the 2nd Tank Battalion and fought under this title in the French campaign of 1940. Members of the regiment reformed in Scotland on 13 November 1942 after the fall of… … Wikipedia
Soviet invasion of Poland — This article is about the invasion in 1939. For the Soviet invasion of Poland in 1920, see Polish Soviet War. Soviet invasion of Poland Part of the invasion of Poland in World War II … Wikipedia
Polish I Corps in Russia — ( pl. I Korpus Polski w Rosji) was a Polish military formation formed in Belarus, in August 1917 in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution of 1917, from soldiers of Polish origin serving in the Russian Army. Its goal was to defend Poles… … Wikipedia
Polish Resettlement Corps — The Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC; pl. Polski Korpus Przysposobienia i Rozmieszczenia) was an organisation formed by the British Government in 1946 as a holding unit for members of the Polish Armed Forces who had been serving with the British… … Wikipedia
Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland — Chancellery of the Prime Minister of the Polish Republic Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej Agency … Wikipedia