Stele in memory of General Makzek Stanilaw
Polish commander of motorized and armored units.Key figure in the closing of "the Falaise pocket
" This stele is located on the site of the Montormel Memorial.
General Stanisław Maczek (1892-1994) Polish commander of motorized and armored units.
As a student at the University of Lwów, he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army during the First World War. On Polish independence, he joined the Polish Army to take part in conflicts against Ukrainian forces (1918-1919) and then Bolshevik forces (1920).
From November 1938, he commanded the 10 cavalry brigade, the only major motorized unit in the Polish army. From September 1" 1939, it held off the German XXII Motorized Corps south of Krakow, but had to be evacuated to Hungary after the Soviet attack on September 17, 1939.
With the vast majority of his men, he managed to reach France, where the 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade fought between Champagne and Burgundy in June 1940. Most of the soldiers managed to cross into Great Britain, whereGeneral Makzek created the 1st Polish Armored Division in February 1942. With 16,000 men and 380 tanks, it landed in Normandy at the end of July 1944.
Integrated into the 1st Canadian Army, it took its baptism in the fighting on the Caen plain, before outflanking the enemy at Jort (August 15) and playing a decisive role in closing the poche de Falaise-Chambois
[August 19-22). General Maczek then launched his division in pursuit of the enemy: Abbeville (September 2) and Saint-Omer (September 5) were liberated, followed by Ypres, Roeselare and Ghent in Flanders. At the end of October, the division captured Breda, then ended its 1944 campaign on the Meuse. The ultimate revenge came in 1945 with the capture of Wilhelmshaven, port and base of the Kriegsmarine. Despite his victories, this remarkable tactician was unable to return to Poland at the end of the war, as the Soviet-backed government had stripped him of his Polish nationality. He would have to wait until the end of Communism to obtain a rehabilitation and recognition commensurate with his merit.
Credit and Photos: Grasset Jacques