Emerging Anxieties

You may remember from a previous post that Jósef had been sent from Katowice to the Pszczyna district in late August 39. As the situation worsens and the outbreak of war draws very close, tensions are clearly building.

27/08/1939

On the 27th August I pass by a new detachment of infantry and artillery that’s been sent here and I experience a strange feeling. Why is each company supplied with different uniforms? Why such different weapons? Where are our full ammunition stores?

Something here is not right. If it is so bad in the first few days of mobilisation…what will it be like later?

I didn’t have time to reflect on this because on that same day Dr Stawarski informed me that the head of health for 23rd Infantry Division is urgently looking for me. Is this possible? He sent me here himself and now he is searching for me. Even though war hasn’t yet broken out, they’re already struggling to keep track of the people they have dispatched. I know I have to lug all my belongings with me because they continually move you around and nobody knows for how long. So I pack my goods and chattels along with these unbearable boot-shapers, throw them into Dr Stawarski’s car, and we go to find the lead doctor of the battalion.

The Lieut. Colonel’s menacing look signalled that for me, nothing good would come of “getting lost”; it seems I am at fault for him losing me!

In “Poland 1939 – the Birth of Blitzkrieg” Steven J Zaloga reports that “the Polish infantry was well-equipped with modern small arms” (p.28) and that “Of all the combat arms, the German and Polish infantry division were most closely matched in terms of organisation and equipment […] though some Polish reserve formations had other weapons” (p 30).

It seems from my father’s diary entry that he believed there were failings in the provision of equipment. Regardless of whether this is accurate or not, impressions that they were relatively ill-equipped must have impacted on the confidence of the soldiers.

In the next extract I upload, you will read that as tensions rise still further, Jósef finds himself on the receiving end of the wrath of his superior.

 

Ref: Poland 1939 – the Birth of Blitzkrieg by Steven J Zaloga, Osprey 2002

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