Advertisement

Polish II Corps

From Academic Kids

Missing image
2Corps_Insignia.jpg
Polish II Corps Insignia.

Polish II Corps (Polish Drugi Korpus Wojska Polskiego, 1943-1947), was a major tactical and operational unit of the Polish Armed Forces in the West during World War II. It was commanded by Lieutenant General Władysław Anders and by 1945 it grew to well over 75,000 soldiers.

Contents

History

The Corps was created in 1943 from various units fighting alongside the Allies on all theatres of war. 3rd Carpathian Division was formed in Middle East from smaller Polish units fighting in Egypt and Tobruk, as well as Polish Army in the East evacuated from the USSR through the Persian Corridor. Its creation was based on British Army Act of 1940 that allowed the allied units of the exiled government of Poland to be grouped on one theatre of war. However, the British command never agreed to incorporate the Polish exiled Air force to be joined with the Corps.

Missing image
Poles_Phantom_Hill.jpg
Polish infantry charging up the Phantom Hill (Monte Cassino)
In 1944 the Corps was transferred from Egypt to Italy, where it became an independent part of the British Eighth Army under General Oliver Leese. During 1944-1945 the Corps fought on the Italian front, most notably during the Battle of Monte Cassino and the battles of Ancona and Bologna. The forces of the 2nd Polish Corps were crucial in breaking the Gustav Line and the Gothic Line.

In 1944 it numbered about 50,000 soldiers. During the three subsequent battles the Corps suffered heavy losses (in the final stage of the Battle of Monte Cassino even the support units were mobilised and used in combat) and Gen. Anders was proposed to withdraw his units. However, since the Soviet Union broke diplomatic relations with the Polish government and no Poles were allowed out of the USSR, Anders believed that the only source of recruits was ahead - in German POW camps and concentration camps.

By 1945 new units were added composed mostly from freed POWs and Poles forced to join the Wehrmacht, increasing the amount of soldiers to approximately 75.000; approximately 20.000 of them were transferred to other Polish units fighting in the West. After the war the divisions of the Corps were used in Italy until 1946, when they were transported to Britain and demobilised. The majority of soldiers remained in exile.

Missing image
Polish_Flag_Monte_Cassino3.jpg
Polish flag flew over the ruins of the Monte Cassino monastery. The road to Rome was open.

Composition

In May 1945 the Corps numbered 55.780 men and approximately 1.500 women from auxiliary services. The forces were composed mostly of the Poles who were sent to Soviet GULags after the annexation of Eastern Poland in 1939. Following the Operation Barbarossa and the Sikorski-Mayski Agreement many of them were released and allowed to join the Polish Army in the East being formed in Southern Russia and Kazakhstan. Due to political reasons the Soviet Union soon withdrew support for the creation of Polish Army on its territory and lowered the supply rate, which forced general Władysław Anders to withdraw his troops to British-held Persia and Iraq. From there the troops were moved to British Mandate of Palestine, where they were joined with the 3rd Carpathian Division composed mostly of the Polish soldiers who managed to escape to French Lebanon through Romania and Hungary after the Polish Defence War of 1939.

The main bulk of the soldiers were from the eastern voivodships of pre-war Poland. Although the majority of them were ethnic Poles, there were also members of other nationalities who joined the units of 2nd Corps, most notably Jews, Belarusans and Ukrainians. After being relocated to Palestine, the Corps faced the problem of increased rate of desertions of soldiers of Jewish nationality, most of whom defected en masse to the Haganah. The most noted among them was Menachem Begin, the future Prime Minister of Israel. General Anders decided not to prosecute the deserters.

Missing image
Polish_Bugler_Monte_Cassino.jpg
A Polish soldier plays the Hejnał Mariacki in the Monte Cassino monastery ruins.

The armament was as follows:

Losses

During the Italian Campaign the 2nd Polish Corps lost 11.379 men. Among them were 2301 KIA, 8543 WIA and 535 MIA.

OOB

Missing image
Poles_Americans_Bologna.jpg
Polish and American soldiers meet in the streets of Bologna.

See also:

External link

Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools