After the Uprising

The Activities of the general Daniel Konarzewski's Group in the East

Marek Rezler

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, the government in Warsaw started to suggest with more emphasis that it would be possible to use the Greater Poland units on the Eastern front. After the Poznan-Lviv Volunteer Company was sent to Lviv, the decision was taken to dispatch bigger forces. In Poznań, for the time being, support was provided in the form of a single infantry regiment and four heavy and light cannon batteries. The dispatch of further reinforcements (even as many as two rifle divisions) depended on the possible declaration of Marshal Foch, which would guarantee a dynamic reaction from the Entente states if any military steps were taken by the Germans against Poland. Furthermore, the coalition was supposed to deliver a certain number of cannons as well as artillery and machine gun ammunition. On 12-13 March 1919, the Greater Poland Group, commanded by Colonel Daniel Konarzewski, was put at the disposal of Gen. Iwaszkiewicz. As well as the commanding staff, it consisted of: the 1st Greater Poland Rifle Regiment, the 1st battalion of the 1st Greater Poland Light Field Artillery Regiment, the 1st Air Force Squadron and a signal platoon – about 5 officers and 3800 non-commissioned officers, three cannon batteries and seven aeroplanes.

Konarzewski’s group, which was solemnly bid farewell by the citizens and the commander-in-chief - Gen. J. Dowbor-Muśnicki and his staff - set off from the Bolechowo railway station in three transports, through Poznań–Skalmierzyce–Kalisz–Koluszki–Częstochowa–Cracow and Przemyśl to the rally point in Sudova Vyshnia. From there, together with the 2nd battalion of the 10th Infantry Regiment from Dolgomostiska, which was assigned to it, the group was supposed to break through the siege ring around Lviv. The attack started on 17 March 1919 at 6.00 a.m. The soldiers from Greater Poland initially occupied such towns as Melniki, Bar, Milatin and then Vovchukhy, Putiatychi and Dobriany. During the first day of fighting, the assigned tasks were accomplished and the route for the further march towards Lviv was prepared despite the fact that they were significantly outnumbered by the enemy: about 7000 - 8000 soldiers with 30 cannons and 40 machine guns. During the fighting, which lasted two days, and whose aim was to end the blockade at Lviv, the troops of the Greater Poland Group completely fulfilled the hopes placed in it by the Supreme Command of the Polish Armies in Warsaw. General Iwaszkiewicz, in his order dated 19 March, emphasised that the “Iron armies of the Greater Poland soldiers under the command of Colonel Konarzewski, by their resolute attack [...] contributed to the victory”. Also, Colonel Konarzewski issued a laudatory order to the troops who had been appointed to him. The losses of the Greater Poland Group on 18-19 March amounted to 17 dead and 178 wounded (including four officers) and 35 missing in action. Among other things, two cannons and five heavy machine guns were captured.

In the period between 20 March and 17 April the troops from Greater Poland switched to a holding formation, occupying a 20-kilometre section stretching from Horodok to Henryków. From 19 April, the group was subordinated to Gen. Iwaszkiewicz, who had just one month before becoming the army commander for Eastern Galicia (the “East” command) in lieu of the dismissed General Tadeusz Rozwadowski. In order to free Lviv from artillery fire from South-East, the “East” command proceeded with their “Jazda” [Cavalry] offensive operation, which was supposed to defeat the Ukrainian forces concentrated south of the Velykyi Liubin-Bartativ-Skniliv line and south of Lviv. The main task was assigned to the Greater Poland group. On 19 April, at the cost of many lives, Glinna and Navarya were taken, also a Ukrainian armoured train was damaged. The task was accomplished and the soldiers of Colonel Konarzewski, gained the recognition of the command again. For the next three weeks Konarzewski’s troops kept their positions along the Navarya-Valychkovytsi-Nagoriany-Pasiky-Zubrytski line.


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