Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum

Welcome to the original English language Poland and Polish discussion group board. This message forum is a place where English-speaking Poles, foreigners (expats) living in Poland, and anyone with a genuine interest in Poland can discuss and read the views of others concerning Poland. Subjects include: Polish news and current affairs; Life in Poland; politics; genealogy research; Polish culture and history; advice and tips on visiting Poland; Polish property and investment issues. The aim of our group is to increase awareness of wonderful Poland using the English language and allow and foster the honest debate and exchange of opinions on anything vaguely related to Poland and Polish - positive, negative and/or neutral! To state the obvious: all opinions and views expressed on this site are solely those of their respective authors and are not necessarily those of anyone else! Messages consisting of ads will be deleted.

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Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum
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Sposób na polaka!

A Polish historian friend of mine reminded me recently how to deal with aggressive history-fixated Poles who want to drag you into a "I hate Churchill" argument:
Ask the loser (strange how it's always losers who want to argue) how many Brits fought on the German side during WWI. When confronted with a puzzled expression, follow it up with a comment along the lines of ... " and my grandma lost her boyfriend in the Somme fighting against an army packed with Poles. And that in a war where Poland gained her independence paid for largely in foreign blood."
Then storm off before he can marshal his thoughts!
Now as for whether Poles fought in the Somme or Verdun - I'll leave that to others to find out, but it is juicy rhetoric. It could also be a new line in historical research: how many Polish soldiers fought on the western front. No Polish historians seem to be interested in that sort of agenda. Peculiar, don't you think?

Re: Sposób na polaka!

According to data collected by Polish Central Military Archives and published in 1932; Germany, between 1914 and 1918, mobilized 779 508 Poles.

Haller’s “Blue Army” had nearly 35,000 former POW’s from the German and Austro-Hungarian armies prior to the Armistice. That number doubled after the Armistice so that approximately 60-70% of Haller’s 100,000-strong army that arrived in Poland from France had previously served in the German and Austro-Hungarian armies.

There is a photograph of Pilsudski’s general staff from the winter of 1919-20 where one can see the officer’s great-coats, trench-coats, overcoats and capes from the Russian, German, Austrian and French armies but with Polish insignia.

Re: Sposób na polaka!

You are a veritable mine of information - I'm always learning interesting stuff from you.

Re: Sposób na polaka!

Seconded. Always very informative.

Re: Sposób na polaka!

You are the ones asking the interesting questions.

Now, aside from being an opportunity to flummox a person with more attitude than knowledge of history, I am not sure that the activities of coerced individuals conscripted into the service of the Kaiser equates with the national policy stands of Churchill. But there are other contretemps between men at arms of both countries with which to spice up the conversation.

It is generally accepted that there was a fair amount of British knights at the Battle of Grunwald participating in the Bon-Vivant mercenary activities of their class for that era. But their defeat was extracurricular from English policy.

Certainly the Polish prowess for the tactics of movement and deployment of light cavalry as combatants at a time that Western countries used light cavalry for communications and reconnaissance was well known in England for centuries.

“Such was the very armour he had on
When he the ambitious Norway combated;
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.”

But the clash of organized British and Polish units as instruments of national policy date to the Napoleonic era.

During the Peninsular war in Spain at the Battle of Albuera (1811) Polish lancers contributed to the 70% casualty rate of Colborne's Brigade. In Portugal, at the Battle of Fuengirola, (1810) a much smaller Polish garrison held off British troops commanded by Lord Blayney who ended up being captured.

The efficacy of the Polish Uhlans was so universally recognized by all the nations of Europe that they emulated the Polish cavalry in not only formation but in equipment and even uniform. Shortly after the Napoleonic Wars the British 16th Light Dragoon Regiment was equipped as lancers. The uniforms, lances and pennants can all be traced in style to the Polish regiments that inspired them. Later the British 17th Lancers were also constituted on the Polish model.

One of the curiosities of history is that the 17th Lancers became famous for their participation at Balaklava in "The Charge of the Light Brigade". After attaining the heights at which the Russian guns were located, the 17th retreated through the fire again because a regiment of Polish lancers in Russian service arrived to cut off their rear.