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The Battle of Krechowce (Polish: Bitwa pod Krechowcami) took place on July 24, 1917, during World War One. Polish uhlans, who fought in the Imperial Russian Army, were ordered to halt the advance of German Army, which tried to capture the city of Stanislawow, located at that time in Austrian Galicia. The battle between Polish and German forces took place near the village of Krechowce (Крихівці). The uhlans managed to check the Germans for a whole day, and then retreated to Stanislawow. On July 21, 1917, 1st Uhlan Regiment (400 soldiers), which was part of the so-called Pulawy Legion entered Stanislawow, where it defended civilian population from Russian marauders, who looted the city. In the outskirts of Stanislawow, Russian 11th Infantry Division was located, but another Russian unit ordered to defend the area in the south, 19th Infantry Division, did not take its positions, as most of its soldiers had fled. Russian general Pavel Sytin, who commanded 11th I.D. was well aware of the danger of encirclement from the south and ordered his troops to prepare retreat through two bridges over the rivers of Bystrzyca Solotwinska and Bystrzyca Nadwornianska, east of Stanislawow. Sytin then asked Polish 1st Uhlan Regiment to protect the retreat and check the Germans for as long as possible, in order to save most of his troops and artillery. Colonel Boleslaw Moscicki, who commanded the Regiment, split his forces into two groups, which, due to the hilly terrain, were not in touch with each other. Furthermore, he decided to attack the enemy with mounted troops. His 4th squadron protected the road from Radzcza to Stanislawow, 2nd squadron attacked the village of Krechowce, 3rd squadron advanced behing 2nd squadron, and 1st squadron remained in reserve. On July 24, 1917, at 3:30 p.m., Polish forces, reinforced by a Russian armored vehicle, went into action. Krechowce was manned by Bavarian infantry, supported by artillery and armored vehicle. After reaching the center of the village, Polish soldiers had to retreat, due to superior German firepower. Soldiers of 2nd and 3rd squadrons got off their horses and awaited action. Colonel Moscicki sent a few patrols to Krechowce, simulating another attack. They returned at app. 8 p.m., informing about German reinforcements, which had appeared in the village. In late afternoon, a battalion of Russian 41st Infantry Regiment arrived to support Polish uhlans. Meanwhile, bulk of Russian 11th I.D. had crossed both bridges, which were then blown up by Poles. 4th uhlan squadron, operating east of Stanislawow, at some point met two squadrons of German cavalry. The enemy retreated, and Poles, while in pursuit, found themselves under strong infantry fire in the village of Drohomirczany. To save the situation, 1st Polish squadron joined 4th squadron, chasing away the infantry, which turned out to be a Bosnian unit in Austrian service. Before nightfall, all Polish forces were ordered to retreat to a location south of Stanislawow. Despite crushing superiority of the enemy, the Regiment, with its 400 soldiers and without artillery, managed to check the advance of 2000 Germans for 5 hours. The Battle of Krechowce was not important from strategic point of view, and did not affect the events of World War One, but it became legendary among Poles. 1st Uhlan Regiment became to be known as 1st Krechowce Uhlan Regiment, and the battle was commemorated on Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Warsaw, with the inscription “KRECHOWCE 24 VII 1917”. The inscription was removed by Communist authorities, and returned after 1990.

Sources[]

  • Andrzej Suchcitz Dzieje 1 Pułku Ułanów Krechowieckich 1941-1947 wyd. Veritas Fundation Publication Centra. Londyn 2002 ISBN 0-948202-99-8.
  • Aleksander Wojciechowski 1 Pułk Ułanów Krechowieckich (z cyklu Zarys historii wojennej pułków polskich 1918-1920) wyd. Warszawa 1929.
  • Jan Litewski, Władysław Dziewanowski Dzieje 1-go Pułku Ułanów Krechowieckich (pamięci poległych oficerów i ułanów pułku) wyd. Wojskowe Biuro Historyczne, Warszawa 1932
  • Bolesław Jan Kukiełka Teki B.J. Kukiełki (Materiały do dziejów 1 Pułku Ułanów Krechowieckich), Londyn 1985

See also[]

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