September 4, 2010

Polish Army Retreats At Mlawa

September 4, 1939

After three days of heavy fighting Polish infantry divisions retreated at Mlawa, in north-central Poland.  A German column of tanks led the attack supported by the Luftwaffe but could not push through Polish lines. The initial assault was repelled by Polish-made 37mm  Armata ppanc.wz 36 anti-tank guns. The commander of the German army ordered his troops to attack the Polish units several times in a row but all attacks were repelled and by nightfall the Germans were forced to return to their original positions. Yesterday the Germans opened fire on Rzehnow on the right flank of the Poles for over two hours continuously until the Polish units started to waver. Polish counter-attack by then was unsuccessful. The Commander of the Polish Modlin army ordered his Division to regroup further eastward to establish a defense of it's right flank between the villages of Debsk and Nosarzewo. Meanwhile the Germans were preparing for a counter-attack. The Manzovian Cavalry Brigade was also in the area and vulnerable to German attack.  The Polish Commander ordered his Brigade to split into two forces and attack from different directions, but conflicting information about German positions disrupted the plan and led to chaos among his troops. By evening most of the Polish units were destroyed but the 21st Infantry Regiment of Colonel Stanislaw Sosabowski managed to withdraw from the battlegrounds towards Modlin Fortress.

Map of surrounding area of Mlawa 1939

One of the Polish anti-tank artillery

Polish tanks mobilizing for attack

German engineers were able to cut through Polish anti-tank barriers and used local civilians as human shields. Despite being able to capture several bunkers on the left flank of the Polish forces they could not move farther.  German attacks on the right flank proved more successful and by late evening the German units had broken through the lines of the Polish 79th Infantry Regiment.  Rather than face the risk of being surrounded, General Emil Krukowicz-Przedrzymirski ordered his troops to withdraw towards Warsaw and Modlin abandoning their fortified positions.

German mechanized units suffered heavy losses and were unable to take pursuit. The Polish regiment retreated to the south of Mlawa but because the area is lightly forested their position was easily detected and they were bombed and strafed continuously by the Luftwaffe.


German troops occupied Czestochowa seizing all property and making mass arrests of Jewish Poles. They were led to public areas where hundreds were systematically executed in broad daylight in a massacre that has been referred to as "Bloody Monday."

German soldiers in Czestochowa watch Polish Jewish prisoners


Czestochowa: Jews were lined up along the wall. Moments later they were executed.

Eleven Polish planes and 3 bombers were obliterated by a fleet of German Me109 fighters over Lodz Poland today.  In the north, the Polish Modlin army is in a state of retreat after putting up a stubborn defense against the German war machine. Meanwhile the German 10th Army forces from the south have made significant gains and advanced more than 50 miles inland.

In a daylight raid in German airspace the British RAF flew 29 Blenheim and Wellington bombers targeting German warships in the Heligoland Bight. The German cruiser Emden was damaged but by the wreckage of a shot-down Blenheim. The RAF hit the Admiral Scheer 3 times but the bombs did not detonate.  Britain lost 7 of their planes.

Prime Minister Chamberlain gave a radio message to Germany and speaking in German denounced the Nazi regime and explained the British stand. Last night began the first of a series of propaganda raids in which the British RAF will be dropping 6 million leaflets on cities in northern Germany and the Ruhr.

In France, advance elements of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) are landing from destroyers docked at Cherbourg, in northwestern France. Sources indicate that intermittent skirmishes are taking place in "No Man's Land" between the French Maginot Line and the German Siegfried Line.

In a German article published in the official newspaper of the National Socialist German Worker's Party (NSDAP), the Volkischer Beobachter, Goebbel claims that the sinking of the SS Athenia was planned by Churchill to provoke hostilities between Germany and the United States.

The Japanese government continues to claim neutrality stating that they will concentrate "efforts on a settlement of the China affair."


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