Polish Defense Plan

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The one chance that Poland might have had to counter the German invasion successfully was to fight a delaying action back to the Narew-Vistula-San line and to hold there until the Western powers could bring their forces to bear. This strategy would, however, have sacrificed the country’s industrial base and so carried with it the seeds of eventual defeat. The Polish General Staff chose instead to defend all of its frontiers with seven armies and several smaller groupings in territorial deployment. It thereby eliminated at the outset the possibility of concentrating its strength at the most gravely threatened points. The planners apparently believed that the war, following older patterns, would begin with border skirmishes that would only gradually evolve into full-scale battles.

The Polish commander in chief was Marshal Edward Smigly-Rydz, inspector general of the armed forces. The army’s full potential strength was about 1,800,000 men. Mobilization began in July, and apparently more than 1,000,000 men were called up, about 800,000 of them west of the German-Soviet demarcation line. Most of the weapons in the army’s stocks dated from World War I, and its armor, except for a few light tanks, consisted of some companies of armored scout cars. The air units had 9,35 aircraft, less than half of which were modern. The navy consisted of 4 destroyers, 5 submarines, and some smaller craft.

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Polish Campaign

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German War Plan

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