A week after the start of the Polish campaign (1st Sept-6th Oct 1939), elements of the 4th Panzer Division had exploited a gap in Polish defences and quickly reached the outskirts of Warsaw. Breaking into the Ochota suburbs southwest of the city, the 4th Panzer Division would face a staunch resistance by Polish units that had been assembled just in time to defend the capital.
In this picture, a 37mm anti-tank gun defends a key intersection, knocking out a PzKpfw II light tank. Taken by surprise, the tank’s accompanying Panzergrenadiers dash across the road for cover as Polish infantry take aim from behind a barricade. Another PzKpfw II, knocked out in an earlier engagement, has started to burn in the background. In the foreground, a Polish infantry officer directs one of his men to another firing position.
Such encounters were typical of the combat in the suburbs of Warsaw: lightly-armoured Panzers, moving through unfamiliar streets and lacking adequate infantry support, were easy targets for well-positioned field guns and anti-tank guns. The 4th Panzer Division’s attack gradually stopped on 9th September, when it was recalled further west to halt a counter-attack along the Bzura River. This temporarily postponed the siege of Warsaw until 15th September.
By Ibrahim Zamir