Operation Battle of Borowa Góra

The 'Battle of Borowa Góra' was in fact a series of engagements fought between German and Polish forces near the Góry Borowskie hills, to the south-west of Piotrków Trybunalski and the east of Bełchatów in Poland (2/6 September 1939).

The battle, fought in the vicinity of Łódź, was a direct consequence of the 'Battle of the Border', an early part of the German 'Weiss' (i) invasion of Poland.

The three hills, rising to a maximum height of 912 ft (278 m) above sea level, formed an important strategic point that General Erich Hoepner’s XVI Corps (mot.), an element of General Walter von Reichenau’s 10th Army in Generaloberst Gerd von Rundstedt’s Heeresgruppe 'Süd', needed to break through in order to advance toward Radomsko, Piotrków Trybunalski and Bełchatów, and thus farther into the central part of Poland. The area was defended by the Polish 2nd Legions Regiment, part of the 2nd Legions Division, under the command of Pulkownik Ludwik Czyżewski, and the 146th Regiment, part of the 44th Division, under the command of Pulkownik Artur Pollak. Both of these Polish units were belonged to Generał dywizji Juliusz Rómmel’s Łódź Armiya. The XVI Corps (mot.) comprised Generalleutnant Rudolf Schmidt’s 1st Panzerdivision, Generalleutnant Georg-Hans Reinhardt’s 4th Panzerdivision, Generalleutnant Peter Weyer’s 14th Division and Generalleutnant Rudolf Kaempfe’s 31st Division. During the intense fighting, the Polish casualties of the 2nd Legions Regiment were 663 including 16 officers and 67 non-commissioned officers.

General brygady Wiktor Thommée, commander of he Piotrków Operational Group of the Łódź Armiya, ordered Czyżewski to defend a 15.5-mile (25-km) line in the area of Rozprza, on which the Polish units were supposed to hold their positions until 4 September, when a Polish counterattack was planned from the Sulejów forests. Since Czyżewski lacked sufficient strength to fulfil his orders, he decided to man three main defensive positions and to patrol the space between them. The centre of the Polish defence was established in the Góry Borowskie hills, which Polish units began to occupy during the night of 2/3 September. Janowski’s headquarters was located at a public school in the village of Janów. Rómmel, altogether too aware of the German forces' overall numerical and technical superiority, decided to reinforce Czyżewski and despatched the 301st Light Tank Battalion, under the command of Major Edmund Karpow. The battalion had 49 7TP tanks developed in Poland from the British Vickers 6-Ton Tank.

The first German units approached the Polish positions near Rozprza at 13.00 on 3 September. Two hours later the German armour attacked the Góry Borowskie hills, and the fighting lasted for several hours until the fall of night. The German ground forces were supported by the tactical warplanes of the Luftwaffe, which bombed the Polish positions, and as a result of the combined land and air attacks some of the Polish troops abandoned their positions. In the evening, leading units of the 1st Panzerdivision captured Rozprza, but were later pushed back. At about 15.00, tanks of the 4th Panzerdivision attacked Góry Borowskie, but after a fierce battle with the 3/2nd Legions Regiment, under the command of Major Żelazowski, retreated and regrouped during night in preparation for an attack on the hills from the east during the morning of 4 September.

On 4 September, the morning saw the infantry attack of the 31st Division along the road to Bełchatów. The German infantry was pushed back, but near Rozprza, where German armour was present, the Polish defenders faced an altogether more dangerous situation. The 1st Panzerdivision attacked Rozprza, and the 4th Panzerdivision concentrated its efforts on the seizure of Jeżów. In the afternoon of this same day, the entirety of the Polish front line came under attack between Góry Borowskie and Rozprza. Fighting lasted into the night, and in the morning of 5 September, the Germans attacked again with potent tactical air support. Facing inevitable defeat, Czyżewski ordered a retreat toward Dłutów, thereby opening the road to Piotrków for the Germans. Some Polish units remained unaware of Czyżewski’s order, and in some places continued to fight until the morning of 6 September.