- Plan West
Plan Zachód (Plan West) was a
military planof the Polish Armyof the Second Polish Republic, for defence against invasion from Nazi Germany. It was designed in the late 1930s.
During the time
Józef Piłsudskiwas the dictator of Poland, most of Polish planning concentrated on contingences in case of a possible attack from the East. It was only after Piłsudski's death in 1935 that the new Polish government and military reevaluated the situation and decided that the current Polish plan for a Polish-German war, dating from the mid-1920s (Plan "S"), was inadequate and needed to be revised. However up to 1938, the priority was war in the East, not the West, and a majority of Polish fortificationswere being erected on the Polish-Soviet border.pl icon [http://www.wpk.p.lodz.pl/~bolas/main/uzbrojenie/armpol/zachod.htm POLSKI PLAN OBRONNY ZACHÓD] ]
The authors of Plan Zachód included generals
Wacław Stachiewicz, Tadeusz Kutrzeba, Leon Berbecki, Juliusz Rómmeland Władysław Bortnowski.
The first version predicted that Germans would attack from
Pomeraniatowards Warsaw, with supporting thrusts from Silesiaand Prussia, aiming at establishing an early link through the Polish Corridorbetween German Pomerania and Prussia. After German annexation of parts of Czechoslovakiaand changes of borders, Polish planners revised the plan with the expectation that a main thrust would originate from Silesia - through Piotrkówand Łódźtowards Warsaw and Kraków. The Polish planners correctly predicted the direction of most German thrusts, with one crucial exception: they assigned low priority to a possible deep, flanking, eastward push from Prussia and Slovakia, a push that was however assigned high priority in the German plan (Fall Weiß).
A controversy involved the decision whether Polish forces should defend the lengthy borders, or withdraw east and south and try a defense along a shorter line, backed with rivers. Although the second plan was more militarily sound, political considerations outweighed them, as Polish politicians were concerned that Germany could be satisfied with occupation of some disputed territories (like the
Free City of Danzig, the Polish Corridorand Silesia), and push for an early end of the war after occupying those territories. The western regions were also the most densely populated and had major industrial centers, crucial for mobilizationand any continued military production of equipment and supply for the Polish army.
Even with the decision to protect the borders, due to Poland being virtually encircled from three sides by the Germans, it was decided that some areas had to be abandoned early on, as their defence would be next to impossible. Thus the north-west
Pomorze Voivodshipand Poznań Voivodshipwere to be abandoned early on, with a separate force, the Land Coastal Defenceprotecting key parts of the coast as long as possible, and most of the surface Polish Navyevacuated to the United Kingdomas specified in the Peking Plan( submarineswere to engage the enemy in the Baltic Seaas per the Worek Plan). The main Polish defence line was to be formed on the regions of the Augustów Primeval Forest- BiebrzaRiver - NarewRiver - VistulaRiver (and the towns of Modlin, Toruń, Bydgoszcz) - Inowrocławlakes - WartaRiver - WidawkaRiver - town of Częstochowa- Silesian fortifications - town of Bielsko-Biała- town of Żywiec- village of Chabówka- and the town of Nowy Sącz). The second defensive line was based on the Augustów Forest - Biebrza River - Narew River - Bug River - Vistula River - and DunajecRiver. Finally, the third defensive line involved retreating southeast towards the Romanian border, and holding as long as possible in the Romanian bridgeheadregion.
The plan assumed the
Soviet Unionwould be neutral, as a Nazi-Soviet alliance seemed unlikely. The plan however allowed for a Lithuanian attempt to take Wilno, a city disputed between Poland and Lithuania, and a small Polish force - primarily elite units of Border Defence Corps- was detached to secure that region.pl icon [http://www.strategie.com.pl/dzial/akademia/artykul/288 Plan "Zachód"] ]
The plan assumed that Polish forces would be able to hold for several months but due to German numerical and technical superiority would be pushed back (it was estimated Germans would have two to three fold advantage), until pressure from Western Allies (
Franceand United Kingdom) who were obliged (through the Franco-Polish Military Allianceand Polish-British Common Defence Pact) to launch an offensive from the West would draw enough German forces away from the Polish front to allow Polish forces to launch a counteroffensive.
The plan correctly assumed the size, location and most directions of attack by the enemy. By the time of the German attack, however, the second and further defensive lines and related items were not fully defined by the plan, nor had any of its aspects been subject to a military exercise. There were also other unfinished parts, particularly dealing with communications and supplies.
When Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Polish forces were dealt a significant defeat at the
Battle of the Border, just as the critics of the plan predicted. Further factors, such as underestimating German mobility and blitzkriegstrategy, and overestimating Polish mobility, the Soviet invasion of Poland and lack of promised aid from the Western Allies, contributed to the Polish forces' defeat by early October 1939.
Plan Wschód(Plan East), a Polish defensive plan in case of an attack by the Soviet Union
* [wrzesien.za.pl/planasc.htm Plan "Zachód"]
* JOHN P. DUNN, "POLISH DEFENSE PLANNING, 1919-1939: MYTH VS. REALITY", 1987, dissertation, FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY, [http://digitalcommons.fau.edu/dissertations/AAI1332198/]
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