- Battle of Tuchola Forest
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Tuchola Forest|partof=Invasion of Poland
September 1- September 5, 1939
Tuchola Forest, Poland
result=Major German victory
strength2=9th Infantry Division
27th Infantry Division
Czersk Operational Group
strength1=2nd Army Corps
19th Panzer Corps
The Battle of Tuchola Forest ( _de. Schlacht in der Tucheler Heide, _pl. Bitwa w Borach Tucholskich) refers to one of the first battles of the Invasion of Poland, 1939. The battle started on
1 Septemberand ended on 5 Septemberwith a major German victory. Due to lack of coordination and poor command of forces on the Polish side and German numerical and tactical superiority, the Germans managed to cripple the Polish Army of Pomerania and connect mainland Germany with East Prussia, breaking through the Polish Corridor. Christer Jörgensen, Chris Mann, "Strategy and Tactics: Tank Warfare", Zenith Imprint, 2001, ISBN 0-7603-1016-5, p.35 [http://books.google.com/books?q=Christer+Jorgensen%2C+Chris+Mann&btnG=Search+Books Google Print] ]
Before the battle
Tuchola Forest( _pl. Bory Tucholskie, _de. Tucheler Heide) is a large forestin north-west Poland. Because of its difficult terrain it was viewed by the Poles as good defensive terrain. The German troops, on the other hand, had their "Truppenübungsplatz Gruppe" exercise area there until 1919, and were familiar with it, like Heinz Guderian, who had been born in nearby Kulm. [ Heinz Guderian: Erinnerungen eines Soldaten, "Ich hatte am 3.9 ... meinen Sohn Kurt wiedergesehen und mich dabei an den Türmen von Kulm, meiner Geburtsstadt, erfreut, die vom Ostufer der Weichsel herüberwinkten. Am 4.9 ... bei ihren Waldgefechten und endete auf dem alten deutschen Truppenübungsplatz Gruppe westlich Graudenz.", 1951, [http://books.google.com/books?id=vn4ZAAAAIAAJ&dq=%22truppen%C3%BCbungsplatz+gruppe%22&q=%22truppen%C3%BCbungsplatz+gruppe%22&pgis=1#search] ]
Polish forces in the theater were composed of elements of the Pomeranian Army: 9th Infantry Division under colonel
Józef Werobej, the 27th Infantry Division under general Juliusz Drapella, and Operational Group Czerskunder gen. Stanisław Grzmot-Skotnicki.
German forces in the theater were composed of elements of the 4th German Army under general
Günther von Kluge, specifically 19th Panzer Corps(commanded by general Heinz Guderian), and 2nd Army Corps under general Adolf Strauß. Those units were based in Western Pomerania(west of the corridor).
19th Panzer Corps consisted of the 2nd Motorized Division under general
Paul Bader, the 20th Motorized Division under general Mauritz von Wiktorinand the 3rd Panzer Divisionunder general Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg. 2nd Army Corps was composed of two infantry divisions: the 3rd Infantry Division under general Walter Licheland 32nd Infantry Division under general Franz Böhme.
Despite several tactical Polish victories, including the
Skirmish of Krojantyon 1 September, a famous Polish cavalrycharge, and the destruction of a German armored trainnear Chojnice, German forces were able to advance quickly.
Not all Polish forces were in position by
1 Septemberand the German advance managed to generate confusion in the Polish forces. In addition, communications problems meant that the Polish forces did not act cohesively. The Poles were forced to abandon plans for a counterattack and retreated, pursued by more mobile German motorized and armored troops. The German forces had a significant amount of armor support, including over 300 tanks commanded by the famous panzer expert, General Heinz Guderian.
Most of the Polish forces were surrounded by
3 September. Some were destroyed, while others managed to break through towards Bydgoszcz.
Most of the Polish forces were destroyed by
5 September. The Germans were able to break through the Polish Corridor. Some German forces were ordered to erase pockets of Polish resistance in fortified areas on the Baltic Coast, while others continued their push south-east, deeper into Polish territory.
6 September, Adolf Hitlervisited Guderian and congratulated him on his swift progress. Martin Gilbert, "The Second World War: A Complete History", Owl Books, 2004, ISBN 0-8050-7623-9 [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0805076239&id=Y_sfOn8BkOwC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=tuchola&sig=B-eDHWHuI0QVFHP61nYi_a1O6Y8&hl=en Google Print, p.6] ]
Steven J. Zaloga, "Polish Army, 1939-1945", Osprey Publishing, 1982, ISBN 0-85045-417-4, [http://books.google.com/books?id=AAdYFeW2fnoC&pg=PA8&dq=krojanty&sig=t-2oC9WAXXw6xFZlAE1YYSLl3Fg#PPA9,M1]
*pl icon [http://www.1939.pl/bitwy/bory_tucholskie.htm Bitwa w Borach Tucholskich]
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