Invincible Black Brigade
Polish 10th Cavalry Brigade 1939
The story of the first Polish Armoured unit from its inception to the end of the Polish Campaign in September 1939, when 10th Cavalry Brigade left Poland with all its armoured vehicles. A thorough and detailed study of a much-maligned and little-known fighting unit, which faced the might of the Wehrmacht with courage and determination.
English version of the book: Niezłomna brygada płk. Maczka
Military Modelcraft Int. Sept 2011 2011-08-29
The German invasion of Poland in September, 1939, opened the WW2 conflict with a bang. It is a little surprising then that the conflict has been relatively ignored from a modeller's perspective. What has been mainly available has been a fair selection of German armour, vehicles, figures and aircraft used in the invasion. The Polish forces have been much less well represented - a small selection of fighters and light bombers in a few scales and a small group of armour, vehicle and figure models, often from smaller manufacturers.
This has meant that, for many modellers such as me, the knowledge base regarding, and actions of, the Polish forces is a bit sparse. however, just as reviewing the recent book on Spanish Civil War Tanks from Osprey enthused me with an interest in the little known AFVs from that conflict, so this latest book from Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) is firing me up on the subject of Polish AFVs and vehicles.
The Polish army's first motorised army unit, the 10th Cavalry Brigade was formed in the 1930s and in 1939 was one of the few army units to really distinguish itself in the Polish campaign. With their distinctive uniforms giving them the nickname of the "Black Brigade", the unit fought a series of actions best described as a heroic fighting retreat all the way across Poland until their withdrawal into Hungary. Personnel from the unit eventually served with the British 1st Armoured Division in western Europe following the D-day landings.
The A4 format book covers the formation of the unit and the challenges it had to overcome through the 1930s, its equipment and troops and the September campaign of 1939. The book is lavishly illustrated with dozens of photos, most of which were new to me, and it is here the real joy of the book can be found. So many vehicles were little known to me, from the TK series of tankettes and half tracked wz.34 trucks (above), to the Vickers E tanks and Polish FIAT 508 series trucks (below)
Every vehicle covered has many photos; the book has a feel of a real "labour of love" about it. To finish off, there is a colour profile section. Below are shown some unit badges and 3 of these surprising vehicles - the "Sokół" 1000 motorcycle with sidecar, the truly stunning little Polish FIAT 508 "Łazik" all-terrain car and the Polish FIAT 508/III furgon.
The views above show the TKS-D self-propelled gun, the TKS reconnaissance tank and the 47mm armed single turret version of the Vickers E light tank.
My only criticism is that the text seems a little dry and stilted in places, but this is well outweighed by the glory of all those photographs.
So what do we think?
A wonderful reference for any military historian or modeller interested in the Blitzkrieg era and an inspiration to seek out some of the rarer models of one or two of the vehicles featured. Excellent value too at current book prices. I'm off to see who manufactures a "Łazik" all-terrain car in any scale whatsoever!
Our thanks to MMP for the review sample Robin Jenkins
Military Machines Int. April 2011 2011-08-29
AFV Modeller 57 2011-08-29
French magazine 39/45 2011-08-29
The 10th Cavalry Brigade was Poland’s first motorized army unit, and despite equipment inadequacy and shortages they fought with great gallantry and some success against the German invasion in 1939. Nicknamed “The Black Brigade” because of their distinctive uniforms, the 10th retreated in good order to escape into Hungary. The majority of the troops then escaped to France, and thence to the UK to form the basis of the 1st Armored Division.
The book is soft-cover in 8 ½” x 11 format and is 120 pages in length.
This book tells the story of the Brigade’s formation, it’s pre-war training and operations against the Germans. Profusely illustrated with 252 black and white photos (many of these rare) and color profiles of representative vehicles. Twenty four of these photos are profile pictures of Polish officers.
Vehicles shown in these photos are:
British Vickers E (both single and double-turreted) 27 photos
A WZ.28 armored car
Sokol (“Falcon”) 1000 M111 motorcycle with side-car. 22 photos
“Lozik” Fiat 508/III car. 17 photos
A Mander truck
A Fiat 6211 truck
A Ford Model A
A TK-1 tankette
A TK-3 tankette. 3 photos
A Ursula WZ.29 armored car
A French 75mm field gun
TK-D tankette. 3 photos
A Fiat 621 truck
C7P Artillery tractor. 2 photos
Krupp 1.2H43 staff car. 4 photos
C4P half-tracked artillery tractor. 2 photos
TKS-1 tankette. 19 photos
Fiat 508/518 van. 5 photos
TKS-D tankette. 4 photos
Buick 90 limousine. 2 photos
Ford half-tracked truck. 2 photos
Fiat 6211 (“Tur”) 5 photos
Sokol 600 solo motorcycle. 3 photos
A Fiat 518
A Wz.34 half-tracked truck
National Engineering Works 302 tractor pulling a
Wz.36 Bofors anti-tank gun. 2 photos
7TP medium tank. 2 photos
TKF tankette. 4 photos
A Citroen-Kegresse C6P10 half-track
A 75mm field gun
A fuel trailer
A field kitchen on wheels
A WZ.36 Bofors with crew
PZLnz 302 truck with trailer. 2 photos
PZLnz 303 staff car. 2 photos
Fiat 618 “Grom” truck. 2 photos
A Fiat 621L ambulance
A Czech Praga RV all-terrain truck
A Bofors WZ.36 anti-aircraft gun
A German Pz.Kpfw. I
A Bofors WZ.36 anti-tank gun
Polish armored train. 2 photos
A WZ.14/19F 100mm howitzer
A Renault R-35 medium tank
Included also is a map of the Slovak Republic and Hugary, 2 pages in color of Polish badges, pennants and commemorative Badges of the 10th Cavalry Brigade units.
Color profile paintings are included at the back of the book for:
A “Sokol” 1000 motorcycle with side-car
A Fiat 508/III “Lozik” all-terrain car
A Fiat 508/III “Furgon” pick-up truck
A Krupp L2H42 all-terrain German staff car]
A Praga RV Czech all-terrain truck
A Fiat 6211 truck
A PZInz WZ.34 half-tracked truck
A TKS tankette
A TK-3 tankette
A C2F artillery tractor
A TKD with 47mm WZ.25 cannon mounted
A TKS-D with 37mm Bofors anti-tank cannon mounted
A TKS with 20mm FK-A WZ.38 cannon mounted
A Vickers E single turreted tank
A Vickers E double turreted tank vThis book will prove to be of interest to historians and modelers alike. Highly recommended.
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