The 1st (Polish) Armoured Division was raised under the command of Major-General Stanislaw Maczek in 1942 in Scotland after the fall of France. This formation, included the 10th (Polish) Armoured Brigade (1st (Polish) and 2nd (Polish) Armoured Regiments and 24th Lancers) and the 3rd (Polish) Infantry Brigade (1st (Highland), 8th and 9th Polish Battalions) as well as an armoured reconnaissance regiment, the 10th (Polish) Mounted Rifles.

The Division landed in France at the end of July 1944 as a part of II Canadian Corps, its most memorable action being the closing of the 'Falaise Gap' 19-22 August 1944.

After Normandy, the Division participated in the liberation of Belgium and Holland ending the war in northwestern Germany. One of the Division's more poignant tasks was the liberation, on 12 April 1945, of the Oberlangen prisoner-of-war camp which contained some 1700 Polish women, captured during the Warsaw uprising.

Today the 11th Armoured Division of the Polish Army perpetuates the wartime formation.

For further reading see: Stanislaw Maczek, Avec mes blindés, Paris: Presses de la Cité, 1967 and John Marteinson and Michael McNorgan, Read More
The 1st (Polish) Armoured Division was raised under the command of Major-General Stanislaw Maczek in 1942 in Scotland after the fall of France. This formation, included the 10th (Polish) Armoured Brigade (1st (Polish) and 2nd (Polish) Armoured Regiments and 24th Lancers) and the 3rd (Polish) Infantry Brigade (1st (Highland), 8th and 9th Polish Battalions) as well as an armoured reconnaissance regiment, the 10th (Polish) Mounted Rifles.

The Division landed in France at the end of July 1944 as a part of II Canadian Corps, its most memorable action being the closing of the 'Falaise Gap' 19-22 August 1944.

After Normandy, the Division participated in the liberation of Belgium and Holland ending the war in northwestern Germany. One of the Division's more poignant tasks was the liberation, on 12 April 1945, of the Oberlangen prisoner-of-war camp which contained some 1700 Polish women, captured during the Warsaw uprising.

Today the 11th Armoured Division of the Polish Army perpetuates the wartime formation.

For further reading see: Stanislaw Maczek, Avec mes blindés, Paris: Presses de la Cité, 1967 and John Marteinson and Michael McNorgan, The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps: An Illustrated History, Robin Brass Studio, 2000.

© 2001, Canadian War Museum

The 1st (Polish) Armoured Division

The 1st (Polish) Armoured Division was raised under the command of Major-General Stanislaw Maczek in 1942 in Scotland after the fall of France.

Canadian War Museum

© 2001, Canadian War Museum


Poland

Second World War Uniform Shoulder Flash

Canadian War Museum

© 2001, Canadian War Museum


1st (Polish) Armoured Division Collar Pennon

1st (Polish) Armoured Division Collar Pennon

Canadian War Museum

© 2001, Canadian War Museum


Battle Honours: Second World War

Tilly la Campagne, Soignolles, La Bu-sur-Rouvres, Yort, Trun, Chambois, Abbeville, Hesdin, Wittes, Ypres, Roulers-Gits, Axel, Merxplas, Zondereigen, Baarle-Nassau, Gilze – Breda, Made-Wagenberg, Moerdijk, Ter Apel – Odoorn, Borgermoor – Strucklingen, Scharrel, Remels, Grossander, Halsbek.

Historical Sketch of the 10th (Polish) Mounted Rifles in Normandy

Raised as a cavalry squadron in 1918, the 10th Mounted Rifles served in the 1919 - 1920 war between Poland and Russia; the regiment's commemorative day of 29 April recalls an engagement of that conflict fought in 1919. In 1940 they served in France as a component of the 10th (Polish) Armoured Brigade. Reformed in Scotland in 1942 the unit was designated as the divisional armoured reconnaissance unit of the 1st (Polish) Armoured Division.

The 10th Mounted Rifles landed in Normandy in late July 1944 with its parent division. As the divisional armoured reconnaissance unit it was frequently expected to provide support to the division's infantry as well as acting as a reconnaissance unit, that is seeking infor Read More

Battle Honours: Second World War

Tilly la Campagne, Soignolles, La Bu-sur-Rouvres, Yort, Trun, Chambois, Abbeville, Hesdin, Wittes, Ypres, Roulers-Gits, Axel, Merxplas, Zondereigen, Baarle-Nassau, Gilze – Breda, Made-Wagenberg, Moerdijk, Ter Apel – Odoorn, Borgermoor – Strucklingen, Scharrel, Remels, Grossander, Halsbek.

Historical Sketch of the 10th (Polish) Mounted Rifles in Normandy

Raised as a cavalry squadron in 1918, the 10th Mounted Rifles served in the 1919 - 1920 war between Poland and Russia; the regiment's commemorative day of 29 April recalls an engagement of that conflict fought in 1919. In 1940 they served in France as a component of the 10th (Polish) Armoured Brigade. Reformed in Scotland in 1942 the unit was designated as the divisional armoured reconnaissance unit of the 1st (Polish) Armoured Division.

The 10th Mounted Rifles landed in Normandy in late July 1944 with its parent division. As the divisional armoured reconnaissance unit it was frequently expected to provide support to the division's infantry as well as acting as a reconnaissance unit, that is seeking information on the enemy and terrain for the divisional commander. The only other unit with this configuration and task in First Canadian Army was the South Alberta Regiment in 4th Canadian Armoured Division.

Following the Normandy campaign, the regiment fought in Belgium, Holland.

Today the 10th (Polish) Mounted Rifles are a part of the 11th (Polish) Armoured Division.

For further reading see: Stanislaw Maczek, Avec mes blindés, Paris: Presses de la Cité, 1967 and John Marteinson and Michael McNorgan, The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps: An Illustrated History, Robin Brass Studio, 2000.


© 2001, Canadian War Museum

Crest

Crest

Canadian War Museum

© 2001, Canadian War Museum


10th (Polish) Mounted Rifles Collar Pennon

10th (Polish) Mounted Rifles Collar Pennon

Canadian War Museum

© 2001, Canadian War Museum


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • find out more information about the final days of the Normandy Campaign of 1944;
  • identify at least 4 patches or badges used in the Second World War;
  • explain most of the terms used in the glossary.

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