Short biography General Maczek - Maczek Pantser Soldaten

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Short biography General Maczek

Stanislaw Wladyslaw Maczek was born on 31 March 1892 in the former Austro-Hungarian  village of Szczerzec near Lwow.  He was the son of a  lawyer. After attending Grammar school, he did his military service as a reserve officer.  From 1910-1914 he studied at the university of Lwow.

When World War I broke out he was called up for the “Tiroler Bergjagers” regiment and was sent to the Italian front as Company Commander.

In the years 1919 and 1920 he led the actions with his mobile unit against the Ukrainian Army and later the Soviet Army.  His three brothers, including his twin brother Franciszek, all died in battle.

The death of his brothers stimulated him to join the professional Polish Army.  Thanks to his extensive experience on the Front line he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel at the age of 30.  After this, he attended the Military Academy between the years 1924 and 1927.

In 1938 he took command of the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade which was the first mobile unit of the Polish Army.

During the German attack in September 1939 his Brigade fought courageously against three strong German divisions in the south east region of Poland.  Their black leather jackets earned them the name of the  “Black Brigade” and they were renowned for their formidable opposition.

When all resources had been exhausted and after many deaths Colonel Maczek was ordered to retreat with the remainder of the Brigade to Hungary.

On 19 September 1939 the Brigade crossed the border and was captured by the Hungarians and incarcerated in the fortress at Budapest.  Colonel Maczek quickly saw a way for his men to escape and they fled to North Africa. From here they advanced to France where he was promoted to Brigadier General.

In February 1940 he commanded the Polish Light Brigade that was formed from the 10th Mobile Cavalry Brigade.  He attacked the German Army south east of Paris with his incomplete Brigade.  He and his Army were forced to retreat to the Montbard area due to lack of ammunition and fuel.  The French Army capitulated on 22 June 1940 and the Polish Army was ordered to destroy its equipment and to retreat to England where they would continue the fight.

After a long journey via Marseilles and Algiers, General Maczek arrived in England.  He convinced the Polish Minister of War, General Wladyslaw Sikorski, to establish a Polish Armoured Division.  On the 25 February 1942 his wish was granted and he was ordered to form the first Polish Armoured Division.  This became the first modern Polish unit.

After the invasion of Normandy in August 1944, the Division played a crucial role in the blockade of the 7th German Army near Falaise. Thanks to the careful and tactical approach of General Maczek the city of Breda was not destroyed. On October 30, 1944 he received an honorary citizenship of the City of Breda for this achievement.

As of April 6, 1945 the battle continued and large parts of Eastern-Drente and Groningen were liberated by the Division. They then advanced to north-west Germany. On May 3, 1945, General Mazcek received a delegation from the City Council of Wilhelmshafen, (large German Naval Port)  and accepted their surrender. Shortly after, General Maczek was promoted to Commander of the First Polish Corps in Scotland and handed over the command of the Division on May 20, 1945 to Brigadier-General Klemens Rudnicki.

In September 1945, with the rank of Lieutenant General,  he was promoted to Commander in Chief of all Polish Army Units in Great Britain. In 1947, after the demobilisation , General Maczek and his family finally settled in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh . It is here, that he wrote his memoirs, which are published under the title: “Od podwody do czolgu” (........)

Stanislaw Wladyslaw Maczek died on December 11, 1992 in Edinburgh at the age of 102.

According to his wishes, he was buried with his comrades in the Polish Military Cemetery in the Ettensebaan in Breda.

1.   Lwow 1910-1914: Cadet S. Maczek
2.   Warsaw 1924: Major S. Maczek
3.   1928 : Marriage to Zofia Kurys
4.   10 November 1934: Polish Army Staff
5.   1938: Speech to the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade
6.   19 September 1939: Departure from Poland
7.   29 April 1940: In Avignon, France
8.   25 October 1941: decorated by the Polish Head of State, General W. Sykorski, Scotland
9.   7 March, 1941: Visit of the British Royal Family to 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, Forfar, Scotland.
10. 21 August After the battle, Normandy, France
11. 11 November 1944: Chassé Barracks, Breda
12. November 1944: Graanbeurs, Breda
13. November 1944, Ulvenhout near Breda
14. 25 February 1945 decorated with the Legion of Honour, Paris, France
15. 20 May 1945: Hand over of the Command to Gen. Rudnicki, Germany
16. May 1945: leaving the 1st Polish Armoured Division, Germany
17. 29 October 1964: At the Steps of the City Hall, Breda
18. Inauguration of the “Generaal Maczek Straat” ( General Maczek Street)
19. Audience with Pope John Paul II
20. 31 March 1992: 100th Birthday, Sto Lat!
21. 23 December 1994: Burial  in the Military Cemetery, Breda
22. The Grave of General Maczek

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