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Encyclopedia > Battle of Lwów (1939)
Battle of Lwów
Conflict Polish Defence War of 1939
Date September 12 to 22, 1939
Place Lwów, Poland
Result Polish defeat
Combatants
Germany, Soviet Union Poland
Commanders
Ferdinand Schörner, Filip Golikov Władysław Langner, Stanisław Sikorski
Strength
Casualties
unknown unknown
Polish Defence War of 1939
Westerplatte - Krojanty - Mława - Mokra - Gdańsk Bay - Mikołów - Pszczyna - Węgierska Górka - Jordanów - Tuchola Forest - Łódź - Borowa Góra - Piotrków - Tomaszów - Różan - Radom - Łomża - Wola Cyrusowa - Hel - Wizna - Gdynia - Iłża - Warsaw - Bzura - Jarosław - Modlin - Kałuszyn - Węgrów - Lwów - Kobryń - Brześć - Kępa Oksywska - Tomaszów Lubelski - Kampinos Forest - Janów Lubelski, Wereszyca and Hołosko - Krasnystaw - Grodno - Cześniki - Krasnobród - Władypol - Szack - Wytyczno - Parczew - Kock

The Battle of Lwów (sometimes called the Siege of Lwów) was a battle for the control over the Polish city of Lwów between the Polish Army and the invading Wehrmacht and the Red Army. The city was seen as the key to the so-called Romanian Bridgehead and was defended at all cost. Polish Defence War of 1939 Conflict World War II Date 1 September - 6 October 1939 Place Poland Result Decisive German and Soviet victory The Polish September Campaign (alternatively refered to as the German plan Fall Weiss) refers to the conquest of Poland by the armies of Nazi Germany and the... September 12 is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years). ... September 22 is the 265th day of the year (266th in leap years). ... 1939 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Lviv coat of arms Motto: Semper fidelis Municipal government City council (Львівська міська рада) Mayor City chairman Lyubomyr Bunyak Area 171,01 km² Population    total 2000    density 808,900 4786/km² Founded city rights 13th century 1353 Area code + 0322 Latitude Longitude 49°51′ N 24°01′ E Twin towns... Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner Ferdinand Schörner (December 5, 1892 _ February 7, 1973) was a German general and later field marshal during World War II. He was born in Munich, Bavaria. ... Westerplatte Conflict Polish Defence War of 1939 Date September 1 to September 7, 1939 Place Westerplatte peninsula in Gdańsk Result ? Westerplatte is a peninsula in Gdańsk, at an estuary of the Dead Vistula (one of the Vistula delta estuaries), in the Gdańsk harbour channel. ... Battle of Krojanty Conflict Polish Defence War of 1939 Date September 1, 1939 Place near the village of Krojanty, Pomerania Result Polish victory The Battle of Krojanty was part of the Polish September Campaign. ... In the history of warfare there were several battles fought in the vicinity of the city of Łódź: Battle of Łódź (1914) during World War I Battle of Łódź (1939) during Polish Defence War of 1939 This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might... Battle of Wizna Conflict Polish Defence War of 1939 Date September 7-September 10, 1939 Place Wizna near Poland Result unconcluded Battle of Wizna (sometimes referred to as the Polish Thermopylae) was fought between September 6 and September 10, 1939, between the forces of Poland and Germany during the initial... Battle of Warsaw Conflict Polish Defence War of 1939 Date 8 to September 28, 1939 Place Warsaw, Poland Result Polish defeat The 1939 Battle of Warsaw was fought between the Polish Warsaw Army (Armia Warszawa) garrisoned and entrenched in the capital of Poland (Warsaw) and the German Army. ... Polish Bofors AA gun and a bombed column of Polish Army during the battle Categories: Historical stubs | World War II operations and battles of Poland | Polish battles ... Battle of Kobryń Conflict Polish Defence War of 1939 Date September 14-September 17, 1939 Place Kobryń Result unconcluded Battle of Kobryń was one of the battles of the Polish Defence War of 1939. ... Battle of Brześć Conflict Polish Defence War of 1939 Date September 14-September 17, 1939 Place Fortress of Brześć Result unconcluded Battle of Brześć Litewski (otherwise known as the Siege of Brześć, Battle of Brest-Litovsk or simply Battle of Brześć) was a World War II battle that took place... Battle of Szack Conflict Polish Defence War of 1939 Date September 28, 1939 Place Szack, Poland Result Polish victory Battle of Szack was one of the major battles between the Polish Army and the Red Army fought during the Polish Defence War of 1939. ... Battle of Kock Conflict Polish Defence War of 1939 Date October 2nd - 5th, 1939 Place near Kock, Poland Germany Commanders Franciszek Kleeberg Gustav von Wiedesheim Strength ? ? Casualties 250 KIA unknown The Battle of Kock was the final battle of the Polish September Campaign at the beginning of World War II... Lviv coat of arms Motto: Semper fidelis Municipal government City council (Львівська міська рада) Mayor City chairman Lyubomyr Bunyak Area 171,01 km² Population    total 2000    density 808,900 4786/km² Founded city rights 13th century 1353 Area code + 0322 Latitude Longitude 49°51′ N 24°01′ E Twin towns... Polish Army (Polish Wojsko Polskie) is the name applied to the military forces of Poland. ... Wehrmacht was the name of the armed forces of Germany from 1935 to 1945. ... Red Army flag The short forms Red Army and RKKA refer to the Workers and Peasants Red Army, (Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия - Raboche-Krestyanskaya Krasnaya Armiya in Russian), the armed forces organised by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War in 1918. ... The Romanian Bridgehead (Polish Przedmoście rumuńskie) was an area in South-Eastern Poland, nowadays located in Ukraine. ...

Contents

First clashes

On September 7, 1939, general Władysław Langner started to organise the defence of the city. Initially the Polish forces were to defend the Bełżec — Rawa Ruska — Magierów line against the advancing German forces. General Rudolf Prich was assigned the commander of the Polish forces in the area and on September 11 he prepared a plan of defence of the area. The Polish units were to defend the line of the San river, with nests of resistance along the Żółkiew - Rawa Ruska - Janów — Gródek Jagielloński line. September 7 is the 250th day of the year (251st in leap years). ... 1939 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Belzec was the first of the Nazi German extermination camps created for implementing Operation Reinhard during the Holocaust. ... September 11 is the 254th day of the year (255th in leap years). ... San (or santo) is the Spanish word for saint, as in San Francisco (Saint Francis) and San Diego. ...


The following day the first German motorised units under colonel Ferdinand Schoerner arrived to the area. After capturing Sambor (some 66 kilometres from Lwów), the German commander ordered his units to break through the weak Polish defences and capture the city of Lwów as soon as possible. The German assault group was composed of two motorised infantry companies and a battery of 150mm guns. The group outflanked the Poles and reached the outskirts of the city, but was bloodily repelled by the - numerically inferior - Polish defenders. The Polish commander of the sector had only three infantry platoons and two 75mm guns, but his forces were soon reinforced by the Police forces and held his positions until dawn. The same day the command over the defence of the city was passed to general Franciszek Sikorski, a World War I and Polish-Bolshevik War veteran, and brother of general Władysław Sikorski. Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner Ferdinand Schörner (December 5, 1892 - February 7, 1973) was a German general and later field marshal during World War II. He was born in Munich, Bavaria. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... Polish-Bolshevik War Conflict Polish-Bolshevik War Date 1919–1921 Place Central and Eastern Europe Result Polish victory The Polish-Soviet War (also known as the Polish-Bolshevik War or the Polish-Russian War) was the war (February 1919 – March 1921) that determined the borders between the Russian Soviet Federated... Władysław Sikorski during World War II. Władysław Eugeniusz Sikorski ( May 20, 1881 – July 4, 1943) was a Polish military and political leader. ...


The following day the main forces of col. Shoerner arrived and at 14.00 the Germans broke through to the city centre, but were driven back after heavy city fights with the small infantry units formed of local volunteers and reffugees. To strengthen the Polish defences, on September 13 general Kazimierz Sosnkowski left Lwów for Przemyśl and assumed command over a group of Polish units trying to break through the German lines and reach the city of Lwów. September 13 is the 256th day of the year (257th in leap years). ... For alternative meanings of Przemysl see: Przemysl (disambiguation page). ...


The German commander decided to fall back and encircle the city waiting for more reinforcements to arrive. His forces achieved a limited success and captured an important suburb of Zboiska together with surrounding hills. However, the Polish forces were also reinforced with units withdrawn from central Poland and new volunteer units formed within the city. In addition, the Polish 10th Motorised Brigade under col. Stanisław Maczek arrived and started heavy fights over the suburb of Zboiska. The town was re-captured by the Polish forces, but the surrounding hills remained in German hands. The hills gave a good overview of the city centre and the German commander placed his artillery there to shell the city with artillery fire. In addition, the city was almost constantly bombed from the air by the Luftwaffe. The main targets for the German air force were churches, hospitals, water plant and power plants. Gen. ... The Luftwaffe (literally, air weapon, pronounced looft-vaaf-feh) is the air force of Germany. ...


New enemy

On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union broke all pacts with Poland and joined Nazi Germany in its war against her. The forces of 6th Red Army of the Ukrainian Front under Filip Golikov crossed the border just east of Lwów and started a fast march towards the city. The Soviet invasion made all plans of the defence of the Romanian Bridgehead obsolete and the Polish commander of the defence of Lwów decided to withdraw all his units to the close perimeter and decided to defend only the city itself instead of screening the whole area. This strengthened the Polish defences. On September 18 the German air force dropped thousands of leaflets over the city urging the Poles to surrender. This was ignored and a general assault was started on the city, but yet again it was repelled. September 17 is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years). ... 1939 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Red Army flag The short forms Red Army and RKKA refer to the Workers and Peasants Red Army, (Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия - Raboche-Krestyanskaya Krasnaya Armiya in Russian), the armed forces organised by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War in 1918. ... The Romanian Bridgehead (Polish Przedmoście rumuńskie) was an area in South-Eastern Poland, nowadays located in Ukraine. ... September 18 is the 261st day of the year (262nd in leap years). ...


In the early morning of September 19 the first Soviet armoured units arrived to the eastern outskirts of the city and the suburb of Łyczaków. After a short fight the Soviet units were pushed back. However, overnight the Soviet forces completed the encirclement of the city and joined up with the German army besieging Lwów from the west. September 19 is the 262nd day of the year (263rd in leap years). ...


The Polish defences were composed mainly of field fortifications and barricades constructed by the local residents under supervision of military engineers. General Sikorski ordered organised defence of the outer city rim, with in-depth defences prepared. In the morning of September 19 the first Soviet envoys arrived and started negotiations with the Polish officers. Colonel Ivanov, the commander of a tank brigade, announced to the Polish envoy colonel Bronisław Rakowski that the Red Army entered Poland to help it fight the Germans and that the top priority for his units is to enter the city of Lwów. September 19 is the 262nd day of the year (263rd in leap years). ...


The same day the German commander sent his envoy and demanded that the city be surrendered to Germany. When the Polish envoy replied that he had no intention of signing such a document, he was informed that the general assault was ordered on September 21 and that the city would most surely be taken. However, on September 20 the Germans left their positions to the north and south of the city, and are replaced with Soviet soldiers. The following day general Sikorski decided that the situation of his forces is hopeless. The reserves, human resources and war materiel were plentiful, but further defence of the city would be fruitless and would only result in more civilian casualties. It was decided to start the surrender talks with the Red Army. September 21 is the 264th day of the year (265th in leap years). ... September 20 is the 263rd day of the year (264th in leap years). ...


Surrender

On September 22, 1939, the act of surrender was signed in the suburb of Winniki. The Red Army accepted all conditions proposed by general Langner. The privates and NCOs were to leave the city, register themselves at the Soviet authorities and be allowed to go home. The officers were to be allowed to keep their belongings and leave Poland for whichever country accepts them. The same day the Soviet forces entered the city and a period of Soviet occupation started. The act of surrender signed in the morning was broken by the Soviets shortly after noon, when the NKVD started arresting Polish officers. They were escorted to Tarnopol, from where they were sent to various GULags in Russia, mostly to the infamous camp in Starobielsk. Most of them, including general Stanisław Sikorski himself, were murdered in what became as the Katyn Massacre in 1940. September 22 is the 265th day of the year (266th in leap years). ... 1939 was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Black Ravens by Boris Vladimirski, a depiction of the cars used by NKVD agents. ... Ternopil (Тернопіль in Ukrainian, Tarnopol in Polish, Ternopol in Russian) is a city in Western Ukraine, located at the banks of the Seret river. ... Gulag (from the Russian ГУЛАГ: Главное Управление Исправительно— Трудовых Лагерей, Glavnoye Upravleniye Ispravitelno-trudovykh Lagerey, The Chief Directorate [or Administration] of Corrective Labour Camps) was the branch of the Soviet internal police and security service that operated the penal system of forced labour camps and associated detention and transit camps... Starobielsk is a village near Kharkov in Ukraine. ... The Katyń Forest Massacre, also known as the Katyn massacre, was the mass execution of Polish citizens by the Soviet Union during World War II. Initially, the expression referred to the massacre of the Polish officers from the Kozielsk POW camp in Katyn forest near the village of Gnezdovo, a... 1940 was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Order of Battle

The Polish defences were still not organised enough and consisted only of token forces. General Sikorski had approximately 11 infantry battalions, 5 batteries of artillery (mainly 75mm guns), cavalry unit, engineering platoon and a small number of soldiers who retreated into the city.


The German units consisted of an entire 1st Mountain Division.


The Soviet forces consisted of the 6th Red Army.


See also


 
 

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