Operation Battle of Studzianki

The 'Battle of Studzianki' was a tactical engagement within 'Bagration' between elements of the Soviet and Polish forces and the German army in an area to the south of Warsaw in Poland (9/16 August 1944).

This battle involved elements of General Major Aleksei I. Radzievsky’s 2nd Guards Tank Army used as a cavalry mechanised group of Marshal Sovetskogo Soyuza Konstantin K. Rokossovsky’s 1st Belorussian Front, together with Polish 1st Armoured Brigade in combat with elements of General Nikolaus von Vormann’s 9th Army of Generalfeldmarschall Walter Model’s Heeresgruppe 'Nordukraine'. The battle was part of the Soviet 'Lublin-Brest Offensive Operation within 'Bagration'.

The 2nd Tank Army was launched through the breach in General Hermann Balck’s 4th Panzerarmee between Parczew and Chełm, and bypassing Lublin attempted to effect a crossing of the Vistula river. The Soviet assault was supported by General Leytenant Zygmunt Berling’s Polish 1st Army, which include the Polish 1st Armoured Brigade. In a fast-moving encounter battle, the 1st Armoured Brigade was located in the first echelon of the 2nd Guards Tank Army. At the point where the army was able to occupy the Magnuszew bridgehead, the Polish brigade engaged advance elements of Generalmajor Wilhelm Schmalz’s counterattacking Fallschirmpanzerdivision 1 'Hermann Göring' of General Gustav Höhne’s VIII Corps, which had express orders to prevent any Soviet crossing of the Vistula river. The German counterattack tried to dislodge the Soviet engineers and the Polish troops providing support for them, behind the Vistula river, out of their bridgehead.

On 9 August, the Germans captured the village of Grabnowola before attempting to push forward to destroy the Soviet forward elements. Initially achieving some success until an attack by the Polish 3rd Tank Company pushed them back before, on 11 August an attack by the 1st Tank Company drove them from the village of Studzianki. Fierce fighting followed as the German attack stalled as the 1st Tank Company was forced to fight for the village on more than seven occasions, until on 15 August the majority of German forces were encircled and destroyed. Remaining German elements continued to fight for another day however, before retreating by 17 August.

For the Germans, the battle had been a complete defeat. While they had initially achieved some tactical success, driving all the way to the bridgehead itself, they had then been forced back by the Polish counterattack in a battle which had been costly in terms of men and matériel.