The LAH along the Prosna river - September 1939
- Published: 12 December 2010 12 December 2010
- Last Updated: 07 April 2012 07 April 2012
Yet Poland already took some measures to strenghtened its defense hence on Minister of Defense's order dated 26 March 1937 had organized a militia like unit called unit of defense national (OBRONA NARODOWA – ON). These units were military formations organized on territorial bases for an early warning and the dfense of the international border in case of war; it had the brigade as the biggest unit with 4 to 6 battalions. Hence was created the Brigade ON Sieradz with four ON battalions: Wielún, Wielún II, Klobuck and Lubliniec.
Both ON battalions, Wielún and Wielún II were organized in May 1939 with three rifle companies reinforced with recce, mg and engr platoons. The CO of the Battalion ON Wielún was Captain Stefan Tkaczyński with Company ON Wielún, Company ON Wieruszow and Company ON Rudniki. The CO of the Wielún II was Captain Edward Rajpold with Company ON Osjakow (Lt Zabicki), Company ON Wielún II (Lt Stepokur) and Company ON Działoszyn (Lt Stanislaw Jangis).
On Aug 30 1939 both Battalions ON were deployed in the area of Parcic. Wielún east of Parcic in order to block the road Bolesławiec - Parcice - Czastary – Skomlin. Wielún II west of Parcic in order to close the exit from the forest of Nalepa – Mieleszyn and ready to counteratack towards Boleslawiec. Ahead of them were the squadrons of one border guard’s cavalry regiment (1 pułku kawalerii KOP - Korpusu Ochrony Pogranicza).
On Aug 31 1939, at 16.00 hours, the XIII. Korps ordered the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler and its subordinated II./AR 46 to prepare for a march." At 19.00 hours, the leading elements of the Regiment began to march toward the border. Order of the march: reinforced III. Bataillon, 6./AR46. Regimentsstab, Nachrichtenzug, reinforced II, Bataillon, remainder of II./AR 46, reinforced I. Bataillon.
The mission for 1.9 as stated in Korpsbefehl No. 78/39 gKdos. of 29.8 was as follows:
The Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler is to capture the bridge at Gola in a surprise attack and to open the crossings over the Prosna at Boleslawez [sic for Bolesal-wice], Wieruszow, and as far as Weglewice from the back. It is then to halt and secure the Prosna bridges until the arrival of the leading elements of the 10. and 17. Div. Code words: “Fall Weiss” (White Case); Attack’s date: September 01 1939 at 04:45 hours.
The attack missions were assigned as follows:
An advance detachment is to open up the crossing over the Prosna in a surprise attack beginning at 04.45 hours and then to proceed directly along the designated march route. Armed reconnaissance is to proceed as far as the railway line to the east of Wieruszow and as far as the crossing over the Prosna west of Wieruszow. The reinforced III./LAH (6./AR 46, one reinforced Panzerspahtrupp [armored reconnaissance car section], one Zug of the 14. [Panzerjager], one Zug of the 13. [IG., Pionierzug]) is to join the bulk of the unit and follow the advance detachment; units of it are to move ahead to cover the right flank from Gola via Wojcin, the eastern edge of Wiewiorka, and Point 185 in the Sokolniki forest. The first attack objective of the reinforced III. Bataillon: the crossings over the Prosna at Boleslawez [sic] and Wieruszow.
At 04.45 hours (01 Sep 1939), after surprise fire on the customs station by the light Infanteriegeschutz, an assault detachment composed of Panzerspähwagen. a Kradschützengruppe, and one Zug of the 9. Kompanie under Obersturmführer Frey waged a surprise attack on the crossing over the Prosna.
Hand grenades exploded, several shots sounded through the air and the obstacles were blown into the sky; the light armored vehicles entered at top speed into Gola and the infantry assault troops seized the bridge over the river undamaged (Heinrich Bauch of the engineers troops, had removed the fuse from the pot filled with explosives in time and thus preserved the bridge for our advance).
Ten minutes after the war started it had already ended for the Polish company (ON). The age's average within the storm troops was 19 years and within their leaders 25 years. Panzermeyer (14./ LAH’s CO) who was following the spearhead told: “I was suddenly standing in front of the corpse of a Polish Officer. A round on the throat had killed him. The warm blood was spurting from the wound. Yes, this was war!”. (Frey reported: “One uniformed soldier was found dead in the zone of fire”).
The motorcyclits ground their way through the deep sand of the village streets of Gola and Chroscin under constant sniper fire. Thick morning fog, enemy contact along the southern edge of Boleslawez.The first heavy Panzerspähwagen rolled to a smoking halt. Its wheels had hardly stopped when the second one was also destroyed. Both armored cars were about 150 meters in front of the antitank gun.
The first heavy vehicle was hit by three antitank rounds from the southern edge of Boleslawice. Schütze Zülmann and Schütze Elert were wounded. The second Panzerspähwagen (radio) was hit from below in the main fuel tank by ricocheting shells. Unterscharführer Szepaniak was killed. (As per the panzerspähwagen patrol report were killed Unterscharführer Szepaniak, Sturmmann Schulte, Sturmmann Ventzke. Badly wounded was Sturmmann Harders; slightly wounded by shrapnel in right leg was Rottenführer Zülmann).
The enemy had let the spearhead of the advance detachment, composed of two heavy and one light Panzerspahwagen and two or three Kradschutzen-gruppen, pass; he then immediately opened fire on it from fortified field positions and on the III. Bataillon (spearheaded by the 9. Kompanie), which was already on foot and in the field. Polish cavalry came galloping out of the smoke screen. They were charging directly towards the SS troops. It was only when the motorcycle platoon opened fire and brought down some horses that the fierce cavalry troop galloped back into the fog.
At 09.20 hours, Boleslawice was captured in street fighting. In the meantime, the unit composed of the reinforced 10./LAH (one Panzerspähtrupp of three vehicles, two Kradschützengruppen), assigned to protect the right flank, had come into combat with the eastern extension of the Polish fortifications in Boleslawice, near Wojcin.
Both spearheads battled on until 12.55 hours: to the right the reinforced 10. Kompanie, fighting at first through Wojcin (Sturmann Herlitze was fatally wounded there) and later through the terrain to the north across Wiewiórka; and to the left the bulk of the reinforced III. Bataillon (less the 10.) through the village along the roads between Boleslawiec, Chotynin Piaski and Kamionka up to the line Podjaworek - north edge of Kamionka.
Here the enemy resistance grew stronger at first, reinforced by Polish high-angle and flat fire from the higher ground of the Sokolniki forest and from the commanding position at Mieleszyn [sometimes spelled Meleschin in German]. There the german advance was halted due to the counterattack carried out by two companies of defense national; the Company ON Wieruszów and the Company ON Wieluń II.
With the brilliant support from the subordinated II./AR 46, which was deployed here for the first time, the line Point 185 — Sokolniki forest — Mieleszyn had been taken by 15.30 hours. The II./AR 46 subsequently fought enemy artillery east of Klatka (east of Wieruszow), near Pieczyska and in Wieruszow itself. The Regimental headquarters followed to the western edge of Kamionka.
21.00 hours: a Panzerspahtrupp moving toward Wieruszow and the railway line on both sides of it established contact with the 17. Division, but the machine gunner of one of the light Panzerspahwagen, Unterscharfuhrer Stoepke, was killed in the action.
By nightfall both polish battalions ON had left its previous positions taken advantage of the darkness in order to take new positions in the area of Sokolniki. The approaching darkness hid the day’s destruction. The battlefield’s misery was only visible in the illumination of nearby fires.
As was later revealed, the Regiment had knocked against troops belonging to the border patrol, reinforced by ON, along the line Wojcin - Boleslawice; these troops had orders to hold the major roads parallel to the border open as long as possible and to provide cover for the advance units of the Polish 19th Division and a cavalry brigade that were operating in the area east of Wieruszow.
Sources usedRudolf Lehmann - Leibstandarte
Kurt Meyer - Grenadiers
Jacek Solarz - SS Verfügunstruppen 1939