September 14, 2018




Polish Abandoned Przemyśl.   The Battle of Przemysl was fought by Polish forces attempting to defend the town of Przemysl from German attacks. The Luftwaffe targeted the important military garrison repeatedly since the start of hostilities. By September 9th, an evacuation of the towns civil servants and para-military was ordered, but proceeded in a state of chaos as thousands more refugees, civilians as well as Polish soldiers, poured into the area while trying to escape from the western part of Poland.  On September 11, German 2nd Panzer Division reached the area of Przemyśl, in hot pursuit behind the Polish 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade. Meanwhile the 4th Light Division attempted to capture the city by surprise but were repelled by ferocious Polish artillery fire. Despite this success, the military situation for the Poles began to worsen as motorized German units captured Dobromil, and were approaching Przemysl but failed to seize the city. On September 14, the Polish troops consisted of seven infantry battalions, a company of engineers, and six platoons of artillery, numbering several thousand soldiers altogether.  German forces consisted of 7th Infantry Division, and elements of 44th and 45th Infantry Divisions.  The Germans advanced towards the city and attempted to capture it in a frontal attack, but were again repelled by Polish machine gun and artillery fire power.  The main fighting took place in the village of Kruhel Maly, in the district of Przemysl but the Poles launched a counterattack with bayonets, and by evening the situation was under control. The German attacks in the northern area, also failed.  By the evening, Colonel J. Matuszek received an order from General Kazimierz Sosnkowski, commanding him to abandon Przemysl and advance eastwards to Lwow.  Polish units began blowing up bridges as they retreated towards Mosciska.  The next day the Germans entered Przemysl.

First U-Boat Sunk by Allies. On September 14, 1939, just 27 days after the German submarine U-39 began its first patrol it spotted the Ark Royal, a British aircraft carrier at Rockall Bank, northwest of Scotland, and attempted to sink her by firing two torpedoes.  The crew of the Ark Royal spotted the torpedo tracks and the Royal made a turn, reducing her cross-section, and avoided the torpedoes, which fired short of their target.  Immediately afterwards, three British destroyers, the HMS Faulknor, the Firedrake, and the Foxhound, pursed the U-39 and all three destroyers launched depth charges until the U-39 surfaced.  All crew were rescued and taken ashore in Scotland where they were interned in POW camps for the remainder of the war, and in the Tower of London. They were later sent to Canada.


Polish and Soviet forces occupied Warsaw’s eastern bank. From the outset of the Warsaw Uprising, the Poles established control of much of central Warsaw, amid an overpowering German onslaught. Soviet troops did not advance past the city outer limits, and refrained from maintaining radio contact with the Polish insurgents.  The Poles fought alone. On September 13, the Germans had destroyed the remaining bridges over the Vistula, which indicated that they were abandoning all their positions east of the river. In the Praga area, Polish units under the command of General Zygmunt Berling fought on the Soviet side. On the night of September 14/15, three patrols of his First Polish Army landed in the Czerniaków and Powiśle areas of Warsaw and linked up with Armia Krajowa (Polish Home Army forces).  Soviet troops provided artillery cover and air support as Polish units were crossing the river, but it was insufficient to counter ferocious German machine gun fire. As a result, the Polish landing troops sustained very heavy casualties during the crossing. Only 1,200 Polish men made it ashore from the I and III battalions of 9th infantry regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.  The 1st Polish Army was the only external land force to support to Warsaw Uprising.  The absence of sufficient Soviet assistance led to suspicions that Stalin's objective may have been to assure Polish defeat.  Incidentally, the Soviet air base was within five minutes flying time, which gave the Soviets ample opportunity and time to increase the number of sorties. 

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