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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
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Posts: 1406

WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/1/2017 8:22:44 PM
Day 1
Early on the morning of Sept 1, German troops invaded Poland. The reason given was because Polish troops had invaded Germany. The larger issue was the demands that Germany have both access and control of Danzig, an international enclave under treaties after WW1 but also a city with a huge German population and a clear preference for political and cultural links with Germany. The real issue was probably just that Poland was the next on a list for Nazi control and exploitation.

Two European nations – Britain and France – had assured Poland of their support in the event of German invasion. Neither expect to be called on their commitments. Neither had the capability or power to offer practical assistance. Once German troops entered Poland, both Britain and France searched furiously for means by which they could back out of their commitments.

In a larger light, there were envoys from the US attempting to ease tensions. There were movements from Italy attempting to reduce the belligerency. But when all else was said and done, neither Britain nor France wanted to go to war over Poland. They had bluffed, and been called.

As early as this first day, German power was demonstrating it's effectiveness. Germany had, IIRC, a 3:1 superiority ratio in a/c. But she also had a military plan which made effective use of a/c, as long-range artillery, as aerial threat, as effect ground suppression.

It would take 2 days for France and Britain to declare official war against Germany. In the mean time, from almost the first hour elite German troops (including the SS LAH) were demonstrating what German conquest might mean to the Poles.
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/2/2017 2:35:49 AM
Day 2


Quote:
On September 2nd, at the instigation of the Quai d'Orsay, the Italian government suggested convening a four-power conference 'to try and find a peaceful solution to the German-Polish dispute'. But the British government having made it a condition that the Reich should first withdraw its troops from all Polish territories that they already occupied, the suggestion fell through. (From Sixty Days that shook the West, by Jacques Benoist-Méchin, edition of 1963 by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York)


 Prewar, the French Army had 33 active divisions. Mobilization of reserve divisions had begun on 22 August, and the bulk of the reserve divisions were mobilized by 2 September. The reserve divisions, however, were all over the country and suffering from deficits in manpower, transportation, armaments, and training. Most were not ready for any kind of action until a month (or more) later. The active divisions meanwhile, erected a defensive screen at France's borders behind which the reserve divisions could shake themselves out. As it was initially unclear how the situation might develop, this meant France was also devoting military forces to screening the borders of Italy and Spain, as well as those of Switzerland, Germany, and the low countries. (Source: own research; dates for mobilization and indications of unit readiness taken from Les Grandes Unités Françaises Historiques Succincts, volumes I, II, and III, French Army Historical Service, published 1967 in Paris)

 Order of battle information for Great Britain's army, navy and air force may be seen here (pages can be drilled down into for further information):
[Read More]
[Read More]
[Read More]

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/2/2017 2:49:57 AM

Quote:
Day 1
Early on the morning of Sept 1, German troops invaded Poland. The reason given was because Polish troops had invaded Germany. The larger issue was the demands that Germany have both access and control of Danzig, an international enclave under treaties after WW1 but also a city with a huge German population and a clear preference for political and cultural links with Germany. The real issue was probably just that Poland was the next on a list for Nazi control and exploitation.

Two European nations – Britain and France – had assured Poland of their support in the event of German invasion. Neither expect to be called on their commitments. Neither had the capability or power to offer practical assistance. Once German troops entered Poland, both Britain and France searched furiously for means by which they could back out of their commitments.

In a larger light, there were envoys from the US attempting to ease tensions. There were movements from Italy attempting to reduce the belligerency. But when all else was said and done, neither Britain nor France wanted to go to war over Poland. They had bluffed, and been called.

As early as this first day, German power was demonstrating it's effectiveness. Germany had, IIRC, a 3:1 superiority ratio in a/c. But she also had a military plan which made effective use of a/c, as long-range artillery, as aerial threat, as effect ground suppression.

It would take 2 days for France and Britain to declare official war against Germany. In the mean time, from almost the first hour elite German troops (including the SS LAH) were demonstrating what German conquest might mean to the Poles.
--brian grafton


 My mother-in-law and her brother were teenagers that day. Not understanding what war was really like, they spent the day at a nearby lake; she remarked it had been beautiful summer weather that day. The family later learned that two cousins from a nearby city had attempted to travel to Warsaw (reacting to German propaganda on the radio that claimed the Polish government wanted the people to fall back to the capital). The teenage boys over-nighted in a barn with others on the road. There they were discovered by German troops, who sealed the barn and set it afire.

 By 1945, the brutality of the German occupation had claimed not only the life of my mother-in-law's brother, but her older sister as well, leaving her with no surviving siblings.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/2/2017 3:02:50 AM

Quote:
Day 1
Early on the morning of Sept 1, German troops invaded Poland. The reason given was because Polish troops had invaded Germany. The larger issue was the demands that Germany have both access and control of Danzig, an international enclave under treaties after WW1 but also a city with a huge German population and a clear preference for political and cultural links with Germany. The real issue was probably just that Poland was the next on a list for Nazi control and exploitation.

Two European nations – Britain and France – had assured Poland of their support in the event of German invasion. Neither expect to be called on their commitments. Neither had the capability or power to offer practical assistance. Once German troops entered Poland, both Britain and France searched furiously for means by which they could back out of their commitments.

In a larger light, there were envoys from the US attempting to ease tensions. There were movements from Italy attempting to reduce the belligerency. But when all else was said and done, neither Britain nor France wanted to go to war over Poland. They had bluffed, and been called.

As early as this first day, German power was demonstrating it's effectiveness. Germany had, IIRC, a 3:1 superiority ratio in a/c. But she also had a military plan which made effective use of a/c, as long-range artillery, as aerial threat, as effect ground suppression.

It would take 2 days for France and Britain to declare official war against Germany. In the mean time, from almost the first hour elite German troops (including the SS LAH) were demonstrating what German conquest might mean to the Poles.
--brian grafton


 The first day is also the day the myth of Polish cavalry charges against tanks was "born", at Krojanty:


Quote:
Having been ordered to hold the area, Colonel Mastelarz decided to take the regiment’s 1st and 2nd Squadrons through the forest and attempt to attack the German infantry positions from the rear. That evening, Mastelarz’s two cavalry squadrons surprised a German infantry battalion in an open area.

Ordinarily, after cavalrymen had arrived at a battle area, they would dismount and use their rifles and other weapons to engage the enemy. However, in this case, Mastelarz had the advantage of both surprise and mobility, so he ordered a mounted saber attack against the German infantry.

The 1st and 2nd Squadrons, a force of about 250, charged out of the forest across an open area and into the German formation. With only a few casualties, the Poles quickly gained the advantage during the close-in fighting, and the Germans started falling back.

Just when it looked like the Poles were going to win the skirmish, several German armored cars equipped with machine guns and automatic cannon appeared and opened fire on the Polish cavalry who then broke off the attack and retreated from the battle scene. Losses to the Polish squadrons were about 20 killed, including Colonel Mastelarz, and an unknown number, probably about 60, wounded or captured. This was the first cavalry charge of World War II.
[Read More]

 The incident was manipulated by Italian and German propaganda personnel and presented as a "charge against tanks". The world press seized this nonsense with gusto and promoted the view of the Polish troops as heroic but idiotic. Postwar, the Soviets were happy to keep the myth alive because it served their purpose of denigrating the prewar Polish regime and army.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
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E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1406

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/2/2017 10:38:40 PM
Thanks for good links to British resources. I instinctively distrust such tables of availability, and I wish these had more explanations attached. But they provide a good base to work from.


Quote:
Prewar, the French Army had 33 active divisions. Mobilization of reserve divisions had begun on 22 August, and the bulk of the reserve divisions were mobilized by 2 September. The reserve divisions, however, were all over the country and suffering from deficits in manpower, transportation, armaments, and training. Most were not ready for any kind of action until a month (or more) later.

During complex discussions between France, Britain and Poland during Day 2 (Sept 2), much of what others saw as French stalling centred on both the mobilization and the evacuation of certain Parisians deemed necessary to be removed from the capital and the imminent bombardment expected within minutes of any declaration of war. Such is the frustration between British and French officials that Britain determines to lead the way towards declaration of war.

There is a hint of distrust concerning French intentions, whether justified or not. Note the following, e.g.:
"1:30 am, FOREIGN OFFICE, WHITEHALL
...Dr Hugh Dalton, Labour's spokesman on foreign affairs, ...sees that the cabinet meeting is breaking up and intends to buttonhole Lord Halifax. ...Ivone Kirkpatrick, who has served in the Berling embassy under [Ambassador Neville] Henderson, tells him, 'If we rat on the poles now, we are absolutely sunk, whatever the French do. We shall have no chance against Hitler. But if we go ahead, we shall have two chances. First, we may shame the French into coming in, even though they would not have moved unless we had; second, even if the French say out, we shall have the opinion of the world behind us, and we at least have the Poles on our side with a chance that the United States and others will come in before we are beaten.'" The Day We Went to War, p 138.

Personal comment about Lord Halifax. I have never liked him, his attitude, his power, or his arrogance. But here is another Sept 2 vignette from that early meeting referred to above. Halifax has returned to the Foreign Office at 02:00 after the decision to challenge Hitler.
"2/00am, FOREIGN OFFICE, WHITEHALL
Now the decision [to challenge Hitler] has been taken, there is a general feeling of relief and a lightening of tension. Lord Halifax calls for beer. And bottles are brought to the Foreign Secretary's office by one of the resident clerks, who only looks half awake." The Day We Went to War, p 139.
Not a big deal, but one of those touches that reminds amateur historians that they are dealing with humans, not ciphers. Can you imagine how good that beer would have tasted?

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/3/2017 4:37:26 AM
Day 3


Quote:
On September 3rd, at 11 a.m., Great Britain declared herself in a state of war with Germany. Not without diffidence and without consulting Parliament, the French government followed suit at 5 p.m. the same day. The Second World War had begun. -- Sixty Days that shook the West



Quote:
On the 3. September 1939, a military commission will be sent from Warsaw, via Stockholm, to Paris and London. At their farewell, Marshall Rydz-Smigły stated, "The front has collapsed everywhere. We can only retreat behind the Vistula, if that is feasible." -- Polen Feldzug, Janusz Piekalkiewicz, Augsburg: Bechtermünz Verlag, 1997.



Quote:
3 Sep _____ [German] Army Group North cuts the Corridor and Army Group South crosses the Wartha. Britain and France declare war on Germany.

The first phase of the campaign in the north was completed on 3 September with the linking of the [German] Third and Fourth Armies. The Pomorze Army force assigned to the defense of the Corridor proper had been destroyed, with a loss of 15,000 men in prisoners alone, 90 field pieces, and large stocks of matériel. The Modlin Army, from which the Germans claimed to have captured 10,000 prisoners, had been forced to withdraw southward from the Mlawa area. The Corridor was cut at base and center. The northern end of the Corridor and the fortress of Westerplatte in Danzig Harbor remained in Polish hands, but under constant attack by German ground, air, and sea forces. The Podlaska Cavalry Brigade of the Narew Group made several local penetrations into East Prussia in the area held by Corps Brand during this period of operations. These actions received much publicity in the foreign press but affected the campaign very little.

Czestochowa was taken on the morning of 3 September, and [German] Tenth Army seized several bridgeheads across the Warta despite determined Polish resistance. Fourteenth Army fought its way through the fortifications about Katowice and Mikolow in its zone of advance, and moved east along the Vistula. The southern Polish armies, bypassed in numerous places by the fast-moving German columns, began a hurried withdrawal. The troops on the front noted a marked decrease in Polish resistance and made extensive gains.
[Read More]


Quote:
Great Britain and France did not therefore declare war on Hitler's Germany to help Poland, nor "in the name of fighting Fascism". They did it, because Germany, conscious of its strength, had begun to threaten its former patrons. The expansionist ambitions of the fascist regime, its pursuit of hegemony in Europe and its plans for world domination struck directly at the interests of monopoly capitalism in both of the Western powers. Nevertheless, imperialistic circles in Great Britain and France hoped that following the conquest of Poland, Germany would unleash a war against the Soviet Union.

Thus, the Second World War began as an unjust, imperialistic war, as much as from the side of fascist Germany as from that of Great Britain and France. -- Geschichte des Zweiten Weltkrieges 1939-1945 in Zwölf Banden (DDR translation of the Soviet official history of the war), Volume 3, Chief Editor: Andrei A. Grechko, Berlin: Militärverlag der DDR, 1977.


Image: Polish fortification near Mława


Cheers

BW

---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1406

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/3/2017 5:55:15 PM
Day 3: September 3, 1939 (continued)

11:35 GMT?
"Great Britain announces a naval blockade of Germany; all goods being carried to Germany on ships of any nation are to be confiscated."2194 Days of War (1979), p 21.

Also of note: WSC once again becomes First Lord of the Admiralty.

11:48 GMT
RAF Station Wyton

"Blenheim bomber N6215 of No. 139 Squadron takes off on the Royal Air Force's first operation of the war. ...Its mission is to make a reconnaissance of the German base at Wilhelmshaven. This will prepare the way for a later bombing raid. Though reluctant to order attacks on German land targets for fear of killing civilians, the Government are agreed that the German fleet is a legitimate target. Even so there are still a number of provisos in place. The ships may only be attacked if the on the high seas, or in the open waters of their bases, but definitely not while still in dockyards." The Day We Went to War (2009), p 190

This is not just British decency at play. Germany and France will abide by the same basic rules (despite the evidence of bombing across Poland) until the (probably inadvertent) bombing of Rotterdam on May 14, 1940.

Also of RAF note:
"British Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft dropped six million leaflets on cities in northern Germany and the Ruhr, the first of the propaganda raids." World War II Almanac: 1931-1945 (1981), p 91

19:39 GMT
Atlantic Ocean

SS Athenia is torpedoed by U-boat U-30, commanded by Oberleutnant Fritz-Julius Lemp. The liner was steaming for Montreal when Lemp, mistaking her for an armed cargo vessel, attacked.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

urankjj
Forest Falls, CA, USA
New User
E-2 Private
Posts: 9

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/3/2017 6:05:22 PM
Let's not forget what happened the day before that on 8/31/1939. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleiwitz_incident, I know that because my wrist watch suddenly stopped working on that same day, 78 yrs later. Go figure....

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 538

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/3/2017 11:19:07 PM
How about these two for Sept 3, 1939

The Bromberg Massacre in the Polish city of Bromberg. German infiltrators or ethnic Germans not in uniform shoot at a retreating Polish Artillery Unit which retaliates against ethnic German civilians with and without arms followed by the Germans retaliating against ethnic Polish civilians after securing the city. Estimates vary of between 200 and 450 German dead an 600-700 Polish dead.

Brian you forgot to give the number of killed on the Athenia which was 112.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 538

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/3/2017 11:26:50 PM
2 for September 4, 1939,

In the first RAF offensive action of the war they launch a raid on the German Fleet off Wilhelmshaven. Three bombs hit the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer but all three fail to explode causing minimal damage.

The United States initiates the Neutrality Patrol.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/4/2017 1:04:06 AM

Quote:
2 for September 4, 1939,

In the first RAF offensive action of the war they launch a raid on the German Fleet off Wilhelmshaven. Three bombs hit the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer but all three fail to explode causing minimal damage.

The United States initiates the Neutrality Patrol.
--John R. Price


September 4, 1939


Quote:
Operations in Western Poland

[German] Third Army reported its XXI Corps in firm control of Grudziadz on 4 September. Engineers immediately set to work repairing the bridges across the Vistula, to establish a further linkup with Fourth Army.

On the left of the Third Army front I Corps and Corps Wodrig regrouped to resume their southward advance from Mlawa. The army group was critical of the operations just concluded at Mlawa, taking the position that Third Army should have bypassed the Polish defenses. Little resistance was encountered immediately south of Mlawa, but a stiff defense was expected along the Narew Kiver.

Fourth Army opened the second phase of operations with its XIX Corps clearing the area west of the Vistula near Grudziadz of Polish units still trying to escape from the Corridor. Reaching the river, the XIX Corps moved northward. Other Fourth Army units south of Grudziadz crossed the Vistula the same day, while fighting a series of actions with the remnants of Polish units that had infiltrated through the XIX Corps. At the base of the Corridor Fourth Army forced the Pomorze Army's 15th Infantry Division to withdraw from its positions north of Bydgoszcz.

The Advance across the Polish Plain and into Galicia

By the morning of 4 September [German] Army Group South estimated the withdrawing Poznan Army incapable of launching a heavy attack on the exposed left flank of the Eighth Army as it advanced northeastward. Tenth Army had virtually destroyed the Cracow Army's 7th Infantry Division and taken 1,000 prisoners, including the division commander. Heavy losses had also been inflicted on the Krakowska Cavalry Brigade. Tenth Army's Panzer divisions continued the drive eastward, moving beyond Radomsko, while two light divisions protected the right flank of the Panzer units and advanced to the Pilica River. Fourteenth Army reported the destruction of the Cracow Army's 6th Infantry Division and a general Polish withdrawal toward Cracow and the east.

The XXII Corps was operational under Fourteenth Army control on 4 September and advancing northward in the Novy Targ sector, with a Panzer, a mountain, and a light division attached. The XVIII Corps, which had controlled these three divisions the morning of the attack, had been withdrawn to assume control of two mountain divisions on the right front of the army and make a crossing into Poland farther to the east.
[Read More]

Image: German regimental command post in Poland, 1939


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/4/2017 1:11:22 AM

Quote:
Day 3: September 3, 1939 (continued)

11:35 GMT?
"Great Britain announces a naval blockade of Germany; all goods being carried to Germany on ships of any nation are to be confiscated."2194 Days of War (1979), p 21.

Also of note: WSC once again becomes First Lord of the Admiralty.

11:48 GMT
RAF Station Wyton

"Blenheim bomber N6215 of No. 139 Squadron takes off on the Royal Air Force's first operation of the war. ...Its mission is to make a reconnaissance of the German base at Wilhelmshaven. This will prepare the way for a later bombing raid. Though reluctant to order attacks on German land targets for fear of killing civilians, the Government are agreed that the German fleet is a legitimate target. Even so there are still a number of provisos in place. The ships may only be attacked if the on the high seas, or in the open waters of their bases, but definitely not while still in dockyards." The Day We Went to War (2009), p 190

This is not just British decency at play. Germany and France will abide by the same basic rules (despite the evidence of bombing across Poland) until the (probably inadvertent) bombing of Rotterdam on May 14, 1940.

Also of RAF note:
"British Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft dropped six million leaflets on cities in northern Germany and the Ruhr, the first of the propaganda raids." World War II Almanac: 1931-1945 (1981), p 91

19:39 GMT
Atlantic Ocean

SS Athenia is torpedoed by U-boat U-30, commanded by Oberleutnant Fritz-Julius Lemp. The liner was steaming for Montreal when Lemp, mistaking her for an armed cargo vessel, attacked.

Cheers
Brian G
--brian grafton


Image: U-30


Image: SS Athenia


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/4/2017 1:56:49 AM
Day 3: September 3, 1939 (continued)


Quote:
Thus, in Australia, soon after Chamberlain's announcement, Mr. T. J. Hawkins of the Naval Secretariat informed the Secretary of the Defence Department, Mr Shedden, that a naval signal had been received containing the order: "Commence hostilities at once against Germany." Shedden informed Mr F. Strahan, Secretary of the Prime Minister's Department, at Canberra, that although the pre-arranged signal from the Dominions Office announcing the outbreak of war had not arrived, this naval signal had been picked up. Within an hour a meeting of the Executive Council had been convened in the Prime Minister's room at the Commonwealth offices in Melbourne and the issue of a proclamation declaring the existence of a state of war approved. At 9.15 p.m. the voice of the Australian Prime Minister, Mr Menzies, was heard by listeners throughout Australia. "It is my melancholy duty", he said, "to inform you officially that, in consequence of a persistence by Germany, in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain has declared war upon her and that, as a result, Australia is also at war."
[Read More]

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/4/2017 2:39:56 AM
Day 4: September 4, 1939 (continued)


Quote:
Within a few hours of the opening of hostilities -- at 1.50 a.m. on the 4th -- Australia's first shot in the war was fired from a fort at Port Phillip Heads across the bows of a small coastal steamer which failed to stop for the examination vessel after passing through the Rip. "The Captain", said the Melbourne Sun the following morning, "explained that he had given the name of the ship and thought he could enter without heaving to"; and the paper added severely "he is not likely to repeat the mistake".
[Read More]

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/4/2017 4:22:35 AM

Quote:
Let's not forget what happened the day before that on 8/31/1939. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleiwitz_incident, I know that because my wrist watch suddenly stopped working on that same day, 78 yrs later. Go figure....
--urankjj



Quote:
As early as two hours after the bogus attack on the radio station, the Berlin radio broadcast the news in exactly this tone. Nevertheless, it was impossible to impose this line of communication to full extent, although on 1 September 1939 the first thing the world public opinion saw was the falsified information regarding the “Polish attack”. The true face of the Gliwice provocation was only known by the world through the testimony of Naujocks delivered ​​during the Nuremberg trials.

Today the radio station buildings in Tarnogórska Street form a department of the Gliwice Museum. They are no longer used for transmitting broadcasts. Only for the first few years after the war the Gliwice radio station was used for retransmitting the broadcasts of the Katowice Radio, and in the years 1950-1956 it served as a radio jamming device for disrupting the signal of the Radio Free Europe.

The historic antenna tower, which is now the highest wooden building in Europe, still serves the purpose of communication, although in a slightly different manner, by carrying dozens of different types of antennas, which in no way diminishes its tourist appeal.
[Read More]

Image: The tower at (formerly Gleiwitz) Gliwice.


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Moderator


Posts: 1406

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/4/2017 5:15:34 PM
Day 4. Sept 4, 1939 (continued)

“Spain declared its neutrality, but Franco secretly pledged support for the Axis cause.” World War II Almanac: 1939-1945, (1981), p 92. To be cited as Goralski in any of my subsequent posts.

“Advance units of the British Expeditionary Force [BEF] began landing in France.” Goralski, p. 92.

“Japan declares her neutrality and will ‘concentrate her efforts on a settlement of the China affair. Japanese troops have been fighting in China since 1931, and there has been open war since 1937.” 2194 Days of War, (1977), p . To be cited as 2194 Days in any of my subsequent posts.

“WILHELMSHAVEN AND BRUNSBÜTTEL

After an early Blenheim reconnaissance, 15 Blenheims and 14 Wellingtons were dispatched to bomb German warships. 5 planes from each force failed to find targets in low-cloud conditions. Most of the remaining Blenheims carried out low-level attacks on the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer and on the cruiser Eden in Wilhelmshaven harbour. At least 3 bombs hit the Admiral Scheer but they failed to explode; the Emden was damaged and suffered some casualties when a Blenheim crashed onto it. 5 Blenheims were shot town, all or most by anti-aircraft (Flak) fire; 107 Squadron lost 4 of its 5 planes on the raid. …
Little is known of the Wellington attacks on ships at Brussbrüttel in the mouth of the Kiel Canal. 4 crews reported that they had found targets to bomb. Owing to navigation error, 2 bombs were dropped on the Danish town of Esbjerg, 110 miles north of Brunsbüttel, and 2 people were killed there. Some of the Wellingtons were attacked by German fighters and 2 Wellingtons were lost.
Total effort for the day: 30 sorties, 7 aircraft (23.3 percent) lost.” Bomber Command War Diaries (1990), p 22. To be cited as BC War Diaries in any of my subsequent posts.

In dry prose, this comes across as a disaster:
• of 29 a/c, 10 did not find targets.
• of 19 continuing a/c, more than 5 (but fewer than all) Blenheims found targets and only 4 Wellingtons could make the same claim.
• For the (maximum of)13 a/c actually attacking, 7 a/c were lost. That is 53.8% loss rate for effective sorties.

This entry is indicative of RAF Bomber Command challenges until at least early 1942. Poor target finding, navigational errors, daylight vulnerability and sometimes high losses were much too high.

LEAFLET RAIDS, 4/5 September to 23/24 December 1939.
113 sorties on 22 nights during this period were undertaken. A total of 4 Whitleys were lost performing these duties. (Précis of BS War Diaries entry, pp. 22-23)

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson

top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/5/2017 1:03:18 AM

Quote:
Day 4. Sept 4, 1939 (continued)

“Spain declared its neutrality, but Franco secretly pledged support for the Axis cause.” World War II Almanac: 1939-1945, (1981), p 92. To be cited as Goralski in any of my subsequent posts.

“Advance units of the British Expeditionary Force [BEF] began landing in France.” Goralski, p. 92.

“Japan declares her neutrality and will ‘concentrate her efforts on a settlement of the China affair. Japanese troops have been fighting in China since 1931, and there has been open war since 1937.” 2194 Days of War, (1977), p . To be cited as 2194 Days in any of my subsequent posts.

“WILHELMSHAVEN AND BRUNSBÜTTEL

After an early Blenheim reconnaissance, 15 Blenheims and 14 Wellingtons were dispatched to bomb German warships. 5 planes from each force failed to find targets in low-cloud conditions. Most of the remaining Blenheims carried out low-level attacks on the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer and on the cruiser Eden in Wilhelmshaven harbour. At least 3 bombs hit the Admiral Scheer but they failed to explode; the Emden was damaged and suffered some casualties when a Blenheim crashed onto it. 5 Blenheims were shot town, all or most by anti-aircraft (Flak) fire; 107 Squadron lost 4 of its 5 planes on the raid. …
Little is known of the Wellington attacks on ships at Brussbrüttel in the mouth of the Kiel Canal. 4 crews reported that they had found targets to bomb. Owing to navigation error, 2 bombs were dropped on the Danish town of Esbjerg, 110 miles north of Brunsbüttel, and 2 people were killed there. Some of the Wellingtons were attacked by German fighters and 2 Wellingtons were lost.
Total effort for the day: 30 sorties, 7 aircraft (23.3 percent) lost.” Bomber Command War Diaries (1990), p 22. To be cited as BC War Diaries in any of my subsequent posts.

In dry prose, this comes across as a disaster:
• of 29 a/c, 10 did not find targets.
• of 19 continuing a/c, more than 5 (but fewer than all) Blenheims found targets and only 4 Wellingtons could make the same claim.
• For the (maximum of)13 a/c actually attacking, 7 a/c were lost. That is 53.8% loss rate for effective sorties.

This entry is indicative of RAF Bomber Command challenges until at least early 1942. Poor target finding, navigational errors, daylight vulnerability and sometimes high losses were much too high.

LEAFLET RAIDS, 4/5 September to 23/24 December 1939.
113 sorties on 22 nights during this period were undertaken. A total of 4 Whitleys were lost performing these duties. (Précis of BS War Diaries entry, pp. 22-23)

Cheers
Brian G
--brian grafton


Image: Vickers Wellington


Image: Bristol Blenheim


Image: Armstrong Whitworth Whitley


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/5/2017 1:11:02 AM

Quote:
Day 4. Sept 4, 1939 (continued)

“Spain declared its neutrality, but Franco secretly pledged support for the Axis cause.” World War II Almanac: 1939-1945, (1981), p 92. To be cited as Goralski in any of my subsequent posts.

“Advance units of the British Expeditionary Force [BEF] began landing in France.” Goralski, p. 92.

“Japan declares her neutrality and will ‘concentrate her efforts on a settlement of the China affair. Japanese troops have been fighting in China since 1931, and there has been open war since 1937.” 2194 Days of War, (1977), p . To be cited as 2194 Days in any of my subsequent posts.

“WILHELMSHAVEN AND BRUNSBÜTTEL

After an early Blenheim reconnaissance, 15 Blenheims and 14 Wellingtons were dispatched to bomb German warships. 5 planes from each force failed to find targets in low-cloud conditions. Most of the remaining Blenheims carried out low-level attacks on the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer and on the cruiser Eden in Wilhelmshaven harbour. At least 3 bombs hit the Admiral Scheer but they failed to explode; the Emden was damaged and suffered some casualties when a Blenheim crashed onto it. 5 Blenheims were shot town, all or most by anti-aircraft (Flak) fire; 107 Squadron lost 4 of its 5 planes on the raid. …
Little is known of the Wellington attacks on ships at Brussbrüttel in the mouth of the Kiel Canal. 4 crews reported that they had found targets to bomb. Owing to navigation error, 2 bombs were dropped on the Danish town of Esbjerg, 110 miles north of Brunsbüttel, and 2 people were killed there. Some of the Wellingtons were attacked by German fighters and 2 Wellingtons were lost.
Total effort for the day: 30 sorties, 7 aircraft (23.3 percent) lost.” Bomber Command War Diaries (1990), p 22. To be cited as BC War Diaries in any of my subsequent posts.

In dry prose, this comes across as a disaster:
• of 29 a/c, 10 did not find targets.
• of 19 continuing a/c, more than 5 (but fewer than all) Blenheims found targets and only 4 Wellingtons could make the same claim.
• For the (maximum of)13 a/c actually attacking, 7 a/c were lost. That is 53.8% loss rate for effective sorties.

This entry is indicative of RAF Bomber Command challenges until at least early 1942. Poor target finding, navigational errors, daylight vulnerability and sometimes high losses were much too high.

LEAFLET RAIDS, 4/5 September to 23/24 December 1939.
113 sorties on 22 nights during this period were undertaken. A total of 4 Whitleys were lost performing these duties. (Précis of BS War Diaries entry, pp. 22-23)

Cheers
Brian G
--brian grafton


 And, as for the Luftwaffe ...


Equipment of Luftwaffe First Line Units on September 1, 1939
[Read More]

Aircraft type Strength

He 111 bombers 780
Do 17 bombers 470
Do17 recon 280
Ju 88 bombers 20
Ju 87 dive-bombers 335
Me 109 D fighters 235
Me 109 E fighters 850
Me 110 heavy fighters 195
Ar66 fighters 5
Ar68 fighters 35
Hs126 tactical recon 195
He46 tactical recon 100
Coastal aircraft 205
Miscellaneous 65

Total 3,960


German AA guns at the start of the war


Quote:
The Germans expanded the role of flak as they assessed the Spanish Civil War, where antiaircraft artillery also served as an infantry support weapon. On the basis of that war, the Germans doubled the number of their flak units. So when World War II began, the Germans had 2,600 heavy and 6,700 light flak guns.

On 1 January 1938 the British had only 180 antiaircraft guns larger then 50mm. This number slowly increased to 341 by September 1938 (Munich), to 540 in September 1939 (declaration of war), and 1,140 during the Battle of Britain. (Archie, Flak, AAA, and SAM, Dr. Kenneth P. Werrell, Maxwell Air Force Base: Air University Press, 1988).


 (Werrell's book may be downloaded as a PDF at) [Read More]

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/5/2017 1:23:20 AM
September 5, 1939


Quote:
[German] Army Group North was obliged to revise its plan with the receipt of orders from OKH on 4 September and during the night of 4-5 September. In the first of the two orders, OKH authorized the organization of only a small provisional force of fortress troops and reservists from units already available in East Prussia to move on Lomza. The second order directed the Fourth Army to continue its drive on Warsaw from the northwest. Panzer and motorized units (XIX Corps) could be shifted to the left front of Third Army, but would have to remain west of the line Ostrow Mazowiecka-Warsaw in the drive on the Polish capital.



Quote:
Additional gains were reported by all three armies on 5 September. Eighth Army was advancing rapidly to the northeast, while its X Corps presented a front to the north. Several battalions of the IV Frontier Command, a regiment of the 62d Infantry Division, and elements of the 252d Infantry Division crossed the Reich frontier to fill the gap formed as Eighth Army moved farther eastward. The frontier command and the infantry units were immediately organized into a task force known as Group Gienanth and given responsibility for the defense of Army Group South's exposed left flank. As Eighth Army continued to move eastward the front presented by the X Corps became more extended despite the relief afforded by the commitment of Group Gienanth. The Poznan Army to the north had not been engaged as heavily as the other Polish armies in the frontier area and still possessed a considerable combat potential.

Tenth Army units were across the Pilica by 5 September, and the way was open for an advance across the Polish Plain to the capital. The Polish reserves had been committed and there were a few units to be drawn upon to reinforce the sagging defense line before Warsaw.

Fourteenth Army drove eastward on Cracow against stiffening resistance on 5 September. The XXII Corps below the Vistula moved in the direction of the San River, and the XVIII Corps fought a way into Poland through the eastern Carpathian passes.
[Read More]

 (A map of the Polish campaign for 1 to 14 September 1939 may be seen at--) [Read More]

Image: Pilica River near Sulejów.


Cheers

BW

---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/5/2017 9:23:24 PM
Day 5. September 5, 1939 (continued)

“General Jan Christian Smuts was named prime minister of South Africa after the legislature defeated a proposal that the country declare its neutrality. Many South Africans of Dutch descent were sympathetic to Germany’s racial policies and were not disposed to aid the British in any way.” Goralski, p 92.

A day after establishing what FDR calls Neutrality Patrols, the US proclaims its neutrality. Goralski, p 92; 2194 Days, p 25.

No offensive action by RAF except on-going leaflet raids. Reconnaissance flights will begin on 20 September. No offensive Bomber Command action until 29 September 1939. BC War Diaries, p 24.

NOTE
An earlier post concerning Sept 3 events (by John R. Price) raised the issue of the Bromberg Massacre.
Quote:
The Bromberg Massacre in the Polish city of Bromberg. German infiltrators or ethnic Germans not in uniform shoot at a retreating Polish Artillery Unit which retaliates against ethnic German civilians with and without arms followed by the Germans retaliating against ethnic Polish civilians after securing the city. Estimates vary of between 200 and 450 German dead an 600-700 Polish dead.


According to Goralski (p 92) this event occurred on Sept 5 – if Goralski is discussing the same event. I don't know which date – Goralski's or John R. Price's – is more accurate.
“Polish rear guards and armed civilians offered determined resistance at Bydgoszcz before yielding to German III Corps units. The invaders found hundreds of German residents of the city massacred by the fleeing Poles. Hitler used these instances of such documented atrocities to justify the invasion.”

There is a (possibly biased) history of Bydgoszcz, which has also from time to time been known as Bromberg, available at the following link, found doing a random search of the web under “Other Names for Bydgoszcz”.
[Read More]
Other sites may offer different histories, but it appears that Bydgoszcz was from its appearance in the 11th century a frontier outpost, with allegiance at various times to the Teutonic Order, to Poland, and perhaps to Germany. There was a treaty signed there under what appears to be its German name (Treaty of Bromberg) in 1657, and by 1919 the population by nationality (or at least by declared nationality) was 80% German, 20% Polish. That changed with the reincorporation of Bydgoszcz into Poland in 1920, when large portions of the German community (and a proportion of the Jewish community) left. By the 1930s, about 6.5% of the population identified itself as German.

Had John R. Price not made a note of "the Bromberg Massacre", I wouldn't have included Goralski's comments. John feels it an important event. The obvious point is that unless more folks participate in this process, all kinds of events might be missed. Some of them may be of personal interest as the day-to-day of the chronicle develops: that's okay. E.g., I had a British relative of sorts who was in Danzig when the war broke out. Somewhere I have scanned copies of the relevant pages of his British passport, showing the travel stamps he received to be ferried out of Danzig to a neutral nation in western Europe. If I can find them, I think that might add something to the chronicle.

Cheers
Brian G

---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/6/2017 2:00:33 AM
Brian,

Shocking revelations about the ineffectiveness and ineptitude of BC's early attempts to make its mark.

I wonder how far this reflects British preparedness for war in general.

There are aspects of government that suggest a thorough and pretty competent preparation for the conflict on the Home Front.

Maybe the civilian population was more successfully marshalled than the armed forces.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson

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Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/6/2017 2:50:19 AM
I don't know which date – Goralski's or John R. Price's – is more accurate.

 Goralski has it wrong and didn't mention the sniping by German persons of some kind (agents, civilians, special ops personnel, etc.) against retreating Polish troops. John's version of the event matched how it is described by current historiography and has the correct date.

 I think it likely, that besides return fire from Polish troops, that some Polish civilians may have attacked German civilians in the city. The chaos of war, coupled with two ethnic groups who had no great affection for each other could have easily led to criminal acts IMO. The situation is made somewhat more murky by the fact the city was bombed by the Luftwaffe during the tactical actions in and around the city, and so civilians of both ethnic groups suffered casualties from that as well.

 I'm leaping ahead in the chronology, but the accounts of sniping at Bromberg sound like what was reported by French and British troops in 1940. It was apparently common. One French captain noted in his diary, "we shoot the ones we capture (meaning snipers not wearing a uniform), all that is required by headquarters is that we keep a count of how many we have shot".

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/6/2017 3:22:49 AM
September 6, 1939


Quote:
Declaration of war by the Union of South Africa against Germany. (Soviet history of the war, Vol. 3)



Quote:
An additional link was established between the Third and Fourth Armies southeast of Grudziadz on 6 September, and the German line across the Southeastern area of the Corridor was shortened. The XIX Corps headquarters and one division were immediately withdrawn and moved to the left flank of Third Army, where the corps would organize the provisional force OKH had authorized for the move on Lomza. Army Group North moved its headquarters to Allenstein in East Prussia the same day, and remained there to the end of the campaign. Third Army moved to the frontier area south of Allenstein and Fourth Army shifted to a point within the Corridor northwest of Bydgoszcz.

Rundstedt's headquarters revised its earlier estimate of the Poznan Army's capabilities on the Eighth Army flank on 6 September and prepared to meet a Polish attack from the north. The army group commander requested additional cavalry for reconnaissance purposes but OKH could make no cavalry available. To restrict the Poznam Army's movement and channel its withdrawal, two infantry divisions of the army group reserve were sent into line between X Corps and Group Gienanth, strengthening that part of the Eighth Army front facing north.

Tenth Army continued to move northeastward on a wide front on 6 September, making deep penetrations with its Panzer divisions. The Poles contested the advance of the Panzer divisions bitterly, since they were closest to Warsaw and threatened the eastward retreat of the Lodz and Poznan Armies. The Panzer divisions were followed by infantry divisions, which quickly cleared the captured areas of bypassed Polish units and stragglers. The Panzer division on the northern flank beat off heavy counterattacks, inflicted severe losses on the Poles, and captured the commander of the Polish general reserve's 29th Infantry Division. Fourteenth Army captured the key city of Cracow the same day. Intelligence reports indicated that the Poles were attempting to rally remnants of their Cracow Army in the area of Radom.

The first phase of Army Group South's operations was completed by 6 September. The Poznan Army had been forced to withdraw eastward. The Lodz Army was under heavy attack. Cracow had been taken and remanants of the Cracow Army at Radom were about to be enveloped by Tenth Army. The Carpathian Army had been forced to withdraw toward Lublin and Lwow.

No great number of prisoners had been taken in a single engagement, as had happened in the Corridor to the north a few days earlier. However, Army Group South reported several thousand captives in the Cracow area, and Tenth Army had bypassed thousands of Polish troops in its advance across the Warta; these were still being captured by the infantry units that had followed the armor. The Poles also committed a larger proportion of their general reserve to stem the rapid advance of the stronger southern army group and to meet the threat Rundstedt posed to the capital and control center of the Polish defense effort. Tenth Army had had innumerable obstacles with which to contend, as the Poles destroyed bridges and other construction before its tank columns, and part of Fourteenth Army had had to fight its way through mountain passes defended by picked Polish mountain troops.
[Read More]

Image: Polish 7TP tanks in 1939.





Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Posts: 2889

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/6/2017 9:19:34 AM

Quote:
Day 1
Early on the morning of Sept 1, German troops invaded Poland. The reason given was because Polish troops had invaded Germany. The larger issue was the demands that Germany have both access and control of Danzig, an international enclave under treaties after WW1 but also a city with a huge German population and a clear preference for political and cultural links with Germany. The real issue was probably just that Poland was the next on a list for Nazi control and exploitation.

Two European nations – Britain and France – had assured Poland of their support in the event of German invasion. Neither expect to be called on their commitments. Neither had the capability or power to offer practical assistance. Once German troops entered Poland, both Britain and France searched furiously for means by which they could back out of their commitments.

In a larger light, there were envoys from the US attempting to ease tensions. There were movements from Italy attempting to reduce the belligerency. But when all else was said and done, neither Britain nor France wanted to go to war over Poland. They had bluffed, and been called.

As early as this first day, German power was demonstrating it's effectiveness. Germany had, IIRC, a 3:1 superiority ratio in a/c. But she also had a military plan which made effective use of a/c, as long-range artillery, as aerial threat, as effect ground suppression.

It would take 2 days for France and Britain to declare official war against Germany. In the mean time, from almost the first hour elite German troops (including the SS LAH) were demonstrating what German conquest might mean to the Poles.
--brian grafton



Brian,

Sad times for Western Civilization!

[Read More]

good thread,
MD
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John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
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Posts: 538

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/6/2017 2:28:14 PM
Brian,

My information/dates came from a article published by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance in 2004 by a Polish historian, Thomasz Chincinski and from the testimony of a British eyewitness in Bromberg on Sep 3, 1939.

The information I have on population is that according to the Polish Census of 1932 there were about 137,000 ethnuc Germans in Bromberg but by 1939 there were only about 10,000 left.

I don't feel it a very important event in the overall picture but it is certainly as important as a bombing raid in which only three bombs hit a major target and all three failed to explode. It in no way is a excuse or explination of what the Nazis did but shows that not only one side is guilty of atrocities.

---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/6/2017 7:52:19 PM
Day 6. September 6, 1939 (continued)

"Britain’s first air raid warning turned out to be false. RAF planes sent aloft to intercept the imagined attackers ended up shooting at each other. Spitfires shot down two Hurricanes.Goralski, p 92.
Wrong on one count, misleading on another. The first air raid sirens were heard at 11:28 on 3 Sept, just after war was declared by Britain. Those sirens were false as well, but that was not known during the event. And the raid Goralski cites was the result of a false reading by the Chain Home network, Britain’s primitive defensive radar system.

The RAF timeline for 1939 offers the following:
“Also on this day is the Battle of Barking Creek, when a error in identification in the Chain Home Radar system led to RAF aircraft engaging each other over the Thames Estuary. Blenheims, Hurricanes and Spitfires, not physically unlike the German Ju 88 and Bf 109, reported seeing enemy aircraft and several claims were made.”
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

brian grafton
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/6/2017 9:24:17 PM

Quote:
Shocking revelations about the ineffectiveness and ineptitude of BC's early attempts to make its mark.

I wonder how far this reflects British preparedness for war in general.

Phil, that's a question for a more organized and encompassing brain than mine, to be honest. But I think all armed services of the UK demonstrated early military weaknesses that basically demonstrated civilian government misapplication of reality to issues. In a nutshell, government was forced to choose between reputation and capability through a time of economic and social hardship and upheaval. Obligations under the "Ten Year Rule" were obscured, manipulated or falsely represented: the history of the Fairiy "Battle" demonstrates. Decisions concerning high-angle guns for RN vessels were laughable, based on dismissal of actual test findings (from friendly navies) to ungrounded assumptions of attack probabilities. RN destroyers, as a result, were equipped with a maximum elevation of 40°. Only Capital Ships were considered viable targets, and dive bombers were discounted. More efficient and effective high angle a-a was designed for larger vessels, but only while rejecting many of the difficulties of high-angle shooting (stabilization is an obvious one) while underway.

The costs of developing or maintaining military preparedness were prohibitive, of course, at a time when the promised "home for heroes" had a particularly hollow ring outside the Home Counties. Massive unemployment, massive poverty, the indignity of the "dole". But the government was doing little to alleviate those issues (and in fact showed no signs of wishing to alleviate them). In truth, it had little money, and it seems to have opted to maintain the cultural status quo and the image of Empire rather than offer wide-ranged assistance to its working poor or a strong defence force for any national emergency.

Here I go on my high horse! Sorry.


Quote:
There are aspects of government that suggest a thorough and pretty competent preparation for the conflict on the Home Front.

Maybe the civilian population was more successfully marshalled than the armed forces.

I think you are right in saying there are suggestions of preparation for conflict. There were, IMHO, three weaknesses in their approach.

First, a problem that affected most European nations that were active in WW1: aerial bombing, and the attendant Douhet phenomenon. Crudely explained, the population is divided into three groups: those who are trained in war, and can face the trials of combat; those who are civilians, and who are untrained for trials of combat; naifs, who are vulnerable to issues without understanding or even recognizing them. In WW1, young officers on leave from the trenches never spoke honestly about the horrors of trench warfare, because the sanctuary of civilian ignorance was part of the world they were protecting.

Douhet simply said that, because of aerial warfare, there would no longer be a separation between a battlefield of soldiers and a battlefield of civilians, except... . Civilians were not capable of surviving a military attack. Bombers would kill them in huge numbers, creating panic and revulsion so strong that governments would be forced to sue for peace. Answer: evacuate those most in peril of bombing. This was done in England and in France, at the very least. I think the model might have been developed in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, but I'm not certain.

But, going to point two, at least in England it was not done effectively across the board. National policy would be delegated to county authority, who might delegate further to local or city officials. These were officials elected on merits that were not necessarily supportive of evacuation or other ARP measures. "Duty", I admit, is a glorious concept which was adopted by many of the wealthy and influential in British society, and which provided (through WA and other extraordinary groups) volunteer assistance on a vast scale across Great Britain. But those often came after the realization that the official in charge of civilian protection and control had determined the issue was low on his list of priorities.

Third point (and this is in some ways part of the larger, emotional impact of Douhet), much of the prep for Home Front issues was misdirected and miscalculated on a scale hard to believe. The percentage of deaths expected; the levels of panic expected, the requirement for medical incarceration were all way out of proportion to what actually occurred. I have read of 500,000 papier mache coffins stockpiled to look after the first two weeks' dead in London. Bad as things were, they never reached those levels by some levels of magnitude. What the planning didn't prepare for or expect was the need for housing, for a square meal, for replacement of clothing, for a means of checking up on family and friends.

I'll stop now. A good volume to find and read is Tom Harrisson's Living Through the Blitz (1976). Harrisson was one of the founders of M-O (Mass-Observation), and this volume draws on M-O diaries and journals to give an interesting description of how prepared the Home Front was, and how well the home folk coped during a huge crisis.

Cheers
Brian G

---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson

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Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/7/2017 1:37:27 AM
September 7, 1939


Quote:
All three of its armies reported progress as [German] Army Group South entered the second phase of operations, and OKH cancelled its planned airborne attack on the Vistula crossing at Pulawy. The three army headquarters had to displace forward again to maintain proper control over their advancing units. On 7 September [German] Eighth Army moved to the vicinity of Lodz, as it pressed the attack against that city and the Lodz Army.
[Read More]

 Elements of four French corps subordinated to three different field armies began a limited offensive in the region south of Saarbrücken. Ostensibly intended to assist Poland as part of a Franco-Polish military alliance, the offensive moved too slowly to impact German operations in Poland. The French command was rent with dissent regarding the wisdom of the offensive, the French air force was not prepared to provide support to French troops on the ground, and the difficulties imposed by rough terrain, the Westwall and its minefields, a sparse road network, and the presence of enough Category I and II German divisions ensured any French advance would be neither rapid nor decisive in terms of impact on the fate of Poland.



Image: Vistula River by Puławy.


---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/7/2017 7:28:17 AM
Brian,

Many thanks for answering my post and discussing the question of preparedness - or otherwise - in the military and civilian realms.

I am profoundly impressed by your knowledge and grasp, to the extent that I feel out of my depth.

The deficiencies - some of them seem staggering in retrospect - that were extant must not obscure the huge achievements ....indeed, in a sense they are all the more remarkable on account of those very defects.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

brian grafton
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/7/2017 6:06:02 PM
Day 7. September 7, 1939 (continued)

The Battle of Westerplatte ends with Polish surrender. Westerplatte was under fire from Day 1, including being shelled by the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein, in Danzig on a “good will” visit when war broke out.

“Hitler, in a meeting with Admiral Erich Raeder, directed the German Navy, ‘in order not to provoke neutral countries, the United States in Particular, it is forbidden to torpedo passenger steamers, even when sailing in convoy. …The order was the result of the Athenia sinking… .” Goralski, p 92.

While speaking of the German navy, remember that two Panzershiffe were at sea as surface raiders. Admiral Graf Spee had sailed on 21 August 1939 and Deutschland, which would be renamed Lützow, on 24 August 1939. They would receive attack orders on 26 September 1939.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson

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Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/8/2017 12:56:17 AM
September 7, 1939 (continued)

Image: Action at Westerplatte (Wolne Miasto Gdańsk = Free City of Danzig)



Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/8/2017 1:04:35 AM

Quote:
Day 7. September 7, 1939 (continued)

The Battle of Westerplatte ends with Polish surrender. Westerplatte was under fire from Day 1, including being shelled by the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein, in Danzig on a “good will” visit when war broke out.

“Hitler, in a meeting with Admiral Erich Raeder, directed the German Navy, ‘in order not to provoke neutral countries, the United States in Particular, it is forbidden to torpedo passenger steamers, even when sailing in convoy. …The order was the result of the Athenia sinking… .” Goralski, p 92.

While speaking of the German navy, remember that two Panzershiffe were at sea as surface raiders. Admiral Graf Spee had sailed on 21 August 1939 and Deutschland, which would be renamed Lützow, on 24 August 1939. They would receive attack orders on 26 September 1939.

Cheers
Brian G
--brian grafton


Image: DKM Admiral Graf Spee


Image: DKM Deutschland


Image: DKM Schleswig-Holstein


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/8/2017 3:35:38 AM
Does memory serve me if I mention that the Germans were so impressed by the defence put up by the Poles in that place that they accorded the garrison full military honours when they surrendered ?

It's such a contrast with the usual narrative of German conduct in Poland, and seems so quirky, that I deem it worthy of reference.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

BWilson

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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/8/2017 7:56:37 AM

Quote:
Does memory serve me if I mention that the Germans were so impressed by the defence put up by the Poles in that place that they accorded the garrison full military honours when they surrendered ?

It's such a contrast with the usual narrative of German conduct in Poland, and seems so quirky, that I deem it worthy of reference.

Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade


 The Wikipedia article makes it out to be a mixed bag, but apparently honors were accorded.


Quote:
At 0945 the white flag appeared; the Polish defense had impressed the Germans so much that the German commander, General Friedrich-Georg Eberhardt, allowed Sucharski to retain his ceremonial szabla (Polish sabre) in captivity (it was apparently confiscated later). . . At the same time Polish wireless operator Kazimierz Rasiński was murdered by Germans after the capitulation; after brutal interrogation, he had refused to hand over radio codes and was shot.

Sucharski surrendered the post to Kleikamp and the Germans paraded in full order when the Polish garrison marched out at 1130, still proud and erect, though exhausted.


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/8/2017 12:34:23 PM
September 8, 1939


Quote:
(German) Army Group North received a welcome but premature message from Rundstedt's headquarters the evening of 8 September. According to Army Group South, the XVI Corps had taken Warsaw and established several crossings on the Vistula. The entry in the headquarters journal of Army Group North noted that "The drama is approaching its finale." The hope of a quick victory was dashed when it was learned that only one division had reached Warsaw and had been forced to withdraw, and that no crossing had been made along the Vistula.

The combat potential of (German) Eighth Army was increased considerably at the outset of the second phase of Army Group South's operations with the attachment of the XI and XVI Corps from Tenth Army. The XI Corps held the right of the army line, while XVI Corps reached the suburbs of Warsaw with its 4th Panzer Division on 8 September and its 1st Panzer Division penetrated to the Vistula.
[Read More]


Quote:
[In Kutno] on September 8, a Polish force of eight divisions and two cavalry brigades, taken from Armies Poznan and Pomerania, is massing in preparation for a counter-attack. . . .

The Polish military attaché in Paris wrote in his report for September 8, "Until September 7, 1939, 10 o'clock, Western Europe is not truly at war. Neither the French nor the Germans are shooting. Air operations do not take place. As usual, I have no direct contact with General Gamelin. One talks mostly with his liaison officer, General Dentz, who gives me no straightforward responses. My assessment: the French are not further mobilizing, they await the outcome of the fighting in Poland." (Soviet history of the war, volume 3)


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

BWilson

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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/8/2017 12:43:19 PM
 A comment. Quite a pace of events when one takes in the whole picture. The Allies may have attempted to appease Hitler early on, but when push came to shove, there was no waiting months on end ("Saddam, this is your last chance to leave Kuwait, or we'll talk bad about you for yet another month!") ... no, Hitler was told to get out of Poland, and when he did not do so, the British and French went to war. In truth, their operations were less than half-hearted and they had no clear idea of what to expect from modern warfare. But eight days into the war, there is already a major campaign on the ground in Poland, air raids, skirmishing along the Westwall, and submarine and surface naval operations taking place.

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

brian grafton
Victoria, BC, Canada
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/8/2017 6:46:01 PM

Quote:
A comment. Quite a pace of events when one takes in the whole picture. The Allies may have attempted to appease Hitler early on, but when push came to shove, there was no waiting months on end ("Saddam, this is your last chance to leave Kuwait, or we'll talk bad about you for yet another month!") ... no, Hitler was told to get out of Poland, and when he did not do so, the British and French went to war. In truth, their operations were less than half-hearted and they had no clear idea of what to expect from modern warfare. But eight days into the war, there is already a major campaign on the ground in Poland, air raids, skirmishing along the Westwall, and submarine and surface naval operations taking place.

Further to BW's comment, with which I whole-heartedly agree. Phil, if you're reading this, put my earlier post about British readiness into this context.

As Bill suggests, the pace of events in the first seven days is extraordinary, particularly when compared with Gulf War rhetoric. It is possible to argue, of course, that there had been threats and counter-threats since Hitler's rise to power in 1933, the violation of the Munich Agreement on 15 March 1939 became the line in the sand for Britain and, to a lesser extent, France. Once he marched into Prague, I would argue the march to war had begun.

Reluctance and resolution are strange bed-fellows. Yet Britain and France declared war on Germany. And as Bill says, they had no idea what to expect.All the Allies knew was what they didn't want to have happen. There were sufficient fears to argue reaction and declarations might be fine, but don't rock the boat. Some of this was cynical, as the descriptions of French dabbling in the region of the Saar demonstrate, but some was elemental, as the desperation to evacuate the innocent from London and other centres shows.

Nobody knew what war would mean. Few at any level seemed to understand the limitations of warfare, being too conscious of the potential. Take as an example the following from September 1, the day of the invasion:
"2.00pm, FOREIGN OFFICE, WHITEHALL
A telegram is received from Sir Howard Kennard, the British ambassador in Warsaw. In it he includes the request from Polish foreign minister Colonel Beck that the RAF should mount 'some military action from the air this afternoon'.", Day We Went to War, p 93.
Set aside the fact that no RAF bomber could reach Poland, or was even at war with Germany, the time of the request. Set aside the fact that no RAF aircraft was sanctioned to fly over neutral territory (Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway Sweden) and it would be a strain for an RAF bomber to strike Germany. Berg (and his rank suggests at least a passing acquaintance with military issues) surely didnt' believe such a raid was possible. Or does he simply not understand air war? Or is he (at the time of his country's greatest need) mocking Britain for a lack of response (after nine hours of the invasion)?

We're one week in. British troops are in France, and French troops are in enemy territory. RAF BC has already begun to discover how inappropriate its prewar plans are; Allied shipping has already had some fearsome losses; most news commentators have noted none of civilians the belligerent nations (except Poland for the first 24-36 hours) are showing support for the war. In Poland, it is increasingly clear that: 1) Polish forces cannot match the Germans; and 2) help is not on the way. The blow from the east has yet to occur.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

brian grafton
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/8/2017 8:11:11 PM
Day 8. September 8, 1939 (continued)

FDR began defining his nation’s concept of neutrality, including expansion of military enlistments in various services.

Initial German assaults on Warsaw’s suburbs were repulsed.

“Declaring that Germany was resorting to unrestricted submarine warfare, Britain announced a long-range blockade, broadening the original blockade announcement of Sept 3.” Goralski, p 93.
Though not a direct response to the sinking of Athenia, this probably reflects WSC’s desire to make the RN an aggressive force.

“The British revive the convoy system for their merchant ships. Three protected routes are established, two from Liverpool and from the Thames to the Atlantic, one from the Thames and the Firth of Forth.”2194 Days, p. 26.
Help from other members requested: re. the last listing from 2194 Days. I have always read the "one from the Thames and the Firth of Forth" to mean "one between the Thames and the Firth of Forth", seeing this as bad writing. In-shore shipping was vital to Britain, and would become a point of some dispute as German presence in the English Channel and the North Sea became more prevalent and aggressive.

Have I been misreading this? Are there other explanations for this reference to shipping between the Thames to the Firth of Forth? The issue will arise in a different form in about 10 months' time, when the "Kanalkamf" is at its height.

Cheers
Brian G
---------------
"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly.

"The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

BWilson

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Posts: 3454

Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/9/2017 2:38:22 AM

Quote:
Day 8. September 8, 1939 (continued)

FDR began defining his nation’s concept of neutrality, including expansion of military enlistments in various services.

Initial German assaults on Warsaw’s suburbs were repulsed.

“Declaring that Germany was resorting to unrestricted submarine warfare, Britain announced a long-range blockade, broadening the original blockade announcement of Sept 3.” Goralski, p 93.
Though not a direct response to the sinking of Athenia, this probably reflects WSC’s desire to make the RN an aggressive force.

“The British revive the convoy system for their merchant ships. Three protected routes are established, two from Liverpool and from the Thames to the Atlantic, one from the Thames and the Firth of Forth.”2194 Days, p. 26.
Help from other members requested: re. the last listing from 2194 Days. I have always read the "one from the Thames and the Firth of Forth" to mean "one between the Thames and the Firth of Forth", seeing this as bad writing. In-shore shipping was vital to Britain, and would become a point of some dispute as German presence in the English Channel and the North Sea became more prevalent and aggressive.

Have I been misreading this? Are there other explanations for this reference to shipping between the Thames to the Firth of Forth? The issue will arise in a different form in about 10 months' time, when the "Kanalkamf" is at its height.

Cheers
Brian G
--brian grafton



Quote:
The earliest mercantile convoys of the war were the east coast convoys between the Thames and the Firth of Forth (F.N.) or vice versa (F.S.). They started on the 6th of September and were initially sailed in each direction every second day. These convoys were the special responsibility of the Rosyth Escort Force--composed of ships with good anti-aircraft as well as anti-submarine armaments. On the 7th of September outward-bound ocean convoys were started. One series (O.A.) sailed every alternate day down-Channel from Southend and another (O.B.) left Liverpool, generally on the same day, and steamed south through the Irish Sea. During the first phase of the war these outward ocean convoys were only given close escort as far as Longitude 121/2° West; west-bound ships dispersed two days after the escorts had left And continued to their destinations independently. The destroyers generally waited at the rendezvous to bring back the next inward convoy. South-bound ships from the O.A. and O.B. convoys were formed into Gibraltar (O.G.) convoys when they reached a position off the Scilly Islands and proceeded with an ocean escort only, until they were met by anti-submarine vessels from Gibraltar to the west of the Straits. (War at Sea 1939-1945 Volume I The Defensive [U.K. official history])




Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Phil andrade
London, UK
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Re: WW2: day-to-day
Posted on: 9/9/2017 3:54:44 AM
Brian,

Conscious of the fact that I'm not contributing much here, I'm anxious to assure that I find this thread captivating and hope to make a better account of myself when I get home to my bookshelves.

I wonder how far the Nazi Soviet pact deterred the Franco British alliance from making a move effective demonstration on behalf of Poland.

In the meantime, evidence of what folks were thinking during these days must be available in a multiplicity of sources.

I would be keen to explore testimony for examples of a generational divide, between those who had undergone the experience of 1914 - 18, and those who, like my Dad, had been born in the immediate aftermath of the Great War.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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