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Polish soldiers in France 1940

Article about: Hi all, As some of you may or may not know, my father was a Polish soldier in WW2. To honour my father's memory and to honour the sacrifice made by Polish soldiers in the war against Nazi an

  1. #1

    Default Polish soldiers in France 1940

    Hi all,

    As some of you may or may not know, my father was a Polish soldier in WW2. To honour my father's memory and to honour the sacrifice made by Polish soldiers in the war against Nazi and Soviet tyranny and oppression, I am working on a display of the Polish soldier in WW2 based around my father's service. It is my intention to show this display at militaria shows and the like.

    I had originally intended to focus on the 1939 Polish Defensive War and the battles in Normandy and Holland as these are the best known, and frankly as a milsurp collector, I had wanted to acquire a few prewar Polish firearms (hard to find and somewhat expensive, but not impossible to acquire for a person of limited means). And again as a milsurp collector in Canada, the firearms used by the Poles in the West are available (at a moderate price). Plus I have my father's British battledress blouse (and maybe the pants), his medals and awards plus his photographs (although some of his kit including photographs were stolen while he was recovering in England after being severely wounded in Holland). Prewar Polish, Canadian and British kit, authentic or reproductions, are available too.

    I always thought that this photograph was taken in England but upon closer inspection I realized it was France, 1940.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Polish Army soldiers France 1940.jpg 
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ID:	385094

    So I've decided it is only right and proper that I attempt to portray the Polish soldier in France 1940 as well. That is going to be a challenge as French militaria seems not to be collected by most Canadians - we are more focused on Canadian, British, German and American militaria and milsups.

    So please post photographs of Polish soldiers in France if you have them. Also please recommend some readings, books or web sites (in English please) about the Polish efforts there. Even a good, accurate book about the Battle for France in 1940 to provide context would be appreciated. I need more information on training, uniforms, equipment, battles etc.

    Thanks for any and all help.
    Last edited by dastier; 08-19-2012 at 08:53 PM.

  2. #2
    jbk
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    Default Re: Polish soldiers in France 1940

    Try: "Żołnierz losu nie wybierał" by Stefan Kazimierczak, I think its rather good (so far). Just ignore the communist text lines which ( I can only assume) had to be inserted? What I mean is....for example: "The soviets entered poland in 1939 to protect the ukrainian minority" etc. Otherwise I think its interesting...(my opinion)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Polish soldiers in France 1940

    Here's a link to a previous thread I started about the 10e Brigade Blindée Polonaise which was attached to the French Fourth Army in 1940:

    10e Brigade Blindée Polonaise, France 1940

    Unfortunately it received no replies... but does have an interesting photo of a Renault UE with I believe a Polish soldier riding along!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Polish soldiers in France 1940

    Quote by jbk View Post
    Try: "Żołnierz losu nie wybierał" by Stefan Kazimierczak, I think its rather good (so far). Just ignore the communist text lines which ( I can only assume) had to be inserted? What I mean is....for example: "The soviets entered poland in 1939 to protect the ukrainian minority" etc. Otherwise I think its interesting...(my opinion)
    Unfortunately I don't speak or read Polish (I know, hard to believe but what can I say...)

  5. #5
    jbk
    jbk is offline
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    Default Re: Polish soldiers in France 1940

    No worries I will try and look harder...

  6. #6

    Default Re: Polish soldiers in France 1940

    No problem, jbk.

    Please post photos of any Polish soldiers in France 1940 as you find them. Many photos online are in the public domain or can be copied for educational purpose with or without credit. (as a rule I like to ask first when I'm able - no one has said 'no' so far).

    Here's one from Gunboards.com member 'sangle':

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Poles in Arras France 1940.jpg 
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ID:	385738

    This one shows Polish infantry in Arras. Note the different helmets and rifles compared to my earlier post. Here the Poles are using French Adrian helmets and Lebel Fusil Mle 1886 M93 rifles.

  7. #7
    jbk
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    Default Re: Polish soldiers in France 1940

    Poland in Exile - The Polish Army In France 1939 - 1940

    - - Updated - -

    Chec k the link above out if you want...

    - - Updated - -

    http://www.ww2.pl/Campaign,in,France,137.html

  8. #8
    jbk
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    Default Re: Polish soldiers in France 1940

    Good stuff, hope it helps, but I guess you might know these already?

    - - Updated - -

    These links contain photos too,...(as they usually do, I guess)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Polish soldiers in France 1940

    Thanks jbk. Any help is most appreciated. Some links I know but I'm sure there are many I don't. Besides you never know what may turn up when your searching. Right now I'd like to find books in English about the Poles in France 1940 but I suspect that might be impossible (in French possible, but I'm uni-lingual English).

    I also would like to find more photo evidence as photos don't lie - they just need to be interpreted correctly and I have received help in this matter from French militaria collectors on Gunboards.

    If you're interested I have found some info on the French Army in 1940 and the Battle for France from a French perspective - only passing mention of the Poles unfortunately.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Polish soldiers in France 1940

    Hi Dastier,

    I have found the following photographs of Polish Soldiers in France from 1939 to June 1940, I hope that you like them.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

Name:	2nd Rifle Division soldiers marching in France 1940.jpg 
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ID:	386197   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Coetquidan Polish soldiers issued with their new rifles.jpg 
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ID:	386198  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	3rd May 1940 1st Grenadier Division pass in review at Autreville Martigny.jpg 
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ID:	386199   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	1939 or 1940 Polish recruits arrive in France.jpg 
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ID:	386200  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	3rd May 1940 1st Grenadier Division review General Sikorski with French Generals Denain and Requ.jpg 
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ID:	386201   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	10PSK in France in 1940 speaking with a local.jpg 
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ID:	386209  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Polish Officers visiting Verdun 1939 or 1940.jpg 
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ID:	386211   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Coetquidan 1940.jpg 
Views:	303 
Size:	117.1 KB 
ID:	386210  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Polish Recruits arrive in France.jpg 
Views:	289 
Size:	95.6 KB 
ID:	386212   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Polish soldier stops for lunch.jpg 
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ID:	386213  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Map reading France 1940.jpg 
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ID:	386214   Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Polish soldiers training in France new drill 1940.jpg 
Views:	947 
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ID:	386218  

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Polish soldiers and sailor in France March 1940.jpg 
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ID:	386217  

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