Army Rumour Service

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Did the western powers cripple the Defence of Poland 1939

Always had an interest in Poland, as my grandfather was polish... I was reading Erich von Manstein's Book 'Lost Victories' and on Page 41 came across an interesting aside, where he was discussing the Invasion of Poland in 1939. It suggested, that the British had demanded, that in return for a promise, Poland would configure its forces in an Offensive posture in the event of war and thus our stupidity, resulted in Poland falling weeks earlier than they're should have.
 
Last edited:
Always had an interest in Poland, as my grandfather was polish... I was reading Erich von Manstein's Book 'Lost Victories' and on Page 41 came across an interesting aside, where he was discussing the Invasion of Poland in 1939. It suggested, that the British had demanded, that in return for a promise, Poland would configure its forces in an Offensive posture in the event of war and thus our stupidity, resulted in Poland falling weeks earlier than they're should have.
Calling crap on that

Why would Poland want or agree to configure its forces to attack German in the event of a war that only begins if Germany attacks Poland.

Why would the UK make such a demand.


Quite possibly it was agreed that if possible Polish forces would not simply defend Poland but would also continue into Germany to ensure Germanys defeat.

Elstwise we are expected to believe that either

Having been attacked - Poland assembled its forces not to defend but to strike.
Or
That Poland, trying to avoid war - did so by the rather provocotave means of preparing for an attack on Germany

Neither of which makes any sense, Sounds more like the Nazis - "we attacked in self defence "- propoganda writ large
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
We crippled the defence of Czechoslovakia but I don't think Poland can be pinned on us. Anything with the Wehrmacht on one side and the Red Army on the other is going to struggle a bit.
 
We crippled the defence of Czechoslovakia but I don't think Poland can be pinned on us. Anything with the Wehrmacht on one side and the Red Army on the other is going to struggle a bit.
I would imagine, if the Poles had gone on the offensive the USSR would have waltzed in the back door. Taking advantage of the “Ribbentrop deal”!
 

4(T)

LE
ISTR Manstein first comes out with some piffle that Germany had to attack Poland to preempt a Polish invasion of Germany, and then just a few paragraphs later he is gloating that the Poles never had a chance to form a defence against the mighty German army.

I'm not sure his memoires are any more reliable than those of other German officers.
 
We crippled the defence of Czechoslovakia but I don't think Poland can be pinned on us. Anything with the Wehrmacht on one side and the Red Army on the other is going to struggle a bit.

Deciding whether business came before pleasure, as the old line has it...

In the version that I have access to (via the Internet Archive, being a cheapskate who's not bought the actual book), he says the following on this:

Of some interest in this connexion is a confidential report which we received just before the outbreak of war on the subject of Poland's allegedly offensive intentions. It emanated from a source - hitherto regarded as completely reliable - in the immediate circle of either the Polish President or Marshal RydzSmigly, and contended that the Polish deployment would be offensive in character and include the concentration of strong forces in the province of Poznan. Most remarkable of all was the allegation that this plan of campaign had actually been proposed, if not demanded, by the British! In the circumstances we found the whole thing rather improbable.​

I'd suggest that Manstein didn't take the claim that seriously, but as you note, he wasn't particularly complimentary about the way in which the UK and France appeared to have left Poland in the lurch, as he argued that without the Allies intervening, all Poland could do was play for time. He was also, of course, not particularly impressed with the plans the Poles followed, noting that Weygand's suggested deployment was 'the only proper recommendation to make', but that as this involved giving up Silesia to the invader, it was politically impossible.
 
Deciding whether business came before pleasure, as the old line has it...

In the version that I have access to (via the Internet Archive, being a cheapskate who's not bought the actual book), he says the following on this:

Of some interest in this connexion is a confidential report which we received just before the outbreak of war on the subject of Poland's allegedly offensive intentions. It emanated from a source - hitherto regarded as completely reliable - in the immediate circle of either the Polish President or Marshal RydzSmigly, and contended that the Polish deployment would be offensive in character and include the concentration of strong forces in the province of Poznan. Most remarkable of all was the allegation that this plan of campaign had actually been proposed, if not demanded, by the British! In the circumstances we found the whole thing rather improbable.​

I'd suggest that Manstein didn't take the claim that seriously, but as you note, he wasn't particularly complimentary about the way in which the UK and France appeared to have left Poland in the lurch, as he argued that without the Allies intervening, all Poland could do was play for time. He was also, of course, not particularly impressed with the plans the Poles followed, noting that Weygand's suggested deployment was 'the only proper recommendation to make', but that as this involved giving up Silesia to the invader, it was politically impossible.
Kutrezeba deployment seemed to have been modified and the poles did station 2 cavalry+2 Infantry forward of Poznan and Manstein, seemed to suggest that the polish plans were operating a defensive plan (reserves east of Poland) and this forward presence.

I wonder if the allies assumed the germans might take a little while to sort themselves out and were planning a spoiling attack in the first week, with the supposed Saar Offensive to follow up a week later.. The fact the germans had been ready to go a week earlier had not been fully realised and was a serious failure of military intelligence by all the allies.
 
Last edited:
I would imagine, if the Poles had gone on the offensive the USSR would have waltzed in the back door. Taking advantage of the “Ribbentrop deal”!
I thought that the Sovs did waltz in the backdoor to take their share a few days after the German invasion.
 

Latest Threads

Top