II Polish Corps
On December 20, 1917 the forming of the II Polish Corps began in earnest. The role as organizer had the Executive Committee of the Military Association of Poles (KW ZWP - Komitet Wykonawczy Związku Wojskowych Polaków) on the Romanian Front, made up from friends to the activists and ideological orientated in the camp of pro-Austrian legionaries. This committee was selected at a meeting of Military Poles, which from 25 November to 2 December 1917, was held in Kishinev. Organizational basis for the work was authorized by General Dmitri Szczerbaczew, Commander on the Romanian Front. As commander of the Corps was appointed General Jan Stankiewicz. The KW ZWP of the Romanian Front remained to have a dominant influence on the fate of units being part of the Corps.
However, the decision to create the II Polish Corps came too late. When the Romanian Front collapsed, it was supposed, still about 100.000 Poles were serving in the Russian Army. But these men did not at all think of any further military service, they only wanted to return home. On the other hand there was no lack of arms and military equipment. The II Polish Corps was organized mainly in Sorokach on Dniester. Until the beginning of March 1918 its numbers reached to just above 4.000 men.
On March 6, 1918, after the fightings at Rarańcza (the Battle of Rarańcza was fought between Polish Legionnaires and Austrian-Hungarian forces, February 15 - 16, 1918, near Rarańcza (Redkovtsy) in Bukovina, and ended with a Polish victory.), the II Legion Brigade amalgamated with the II Polish Corps. To amalgamate with the Brigade was dangerous business facing the serious threats from the Austrian-Hungarian Army, which on Feb. 28, 1918, resumed its offensive operations in connection with the break down of the Brest negotiations, and the II Corps sought to Odessa. It looked like a coming encirclement of II Polish Corps, which was particularly dangerous for the former soldiers from the II Legion Brigade, accused of the state crime, mutiny, by participating in the fightings at Rarańczą. The II Polish Corps was also of the opinion that the Central Powers forces were hostile, so it made contact to the French military mission in Romania, and succeeded in getting a declaration from the Entente for the Polish case, issued March 2, 1918, in Iasi (Jassach).
To avoid the dangerous situation the II Polish Corps had to get out of the Austrian-Hungarian and Germans occupation zones. During the march to the East there was a change of command in the Corps. After the inept Janie Stankiewicz, who finished his career under the command of General Anton Denikin, the II Corps was led by Colonel Joseph Haller and later by General Mazowiecki, who was appointed general of the II Polish Corps by the Supreme Council (Rada Naczelna), formed on the former ZWP KW of the Romanian Front. Chief of staff was Colonel Michael Zymierski, using the pseudonym "Morski".
On their march to the East the II Polish Corps was halted at Kaniów. It happened on orders issued April 12, 1918 by General Alexander Osinski, who for a couple of days commanded the Supreme Headquarters of the Polish Army in Ukraine and was appointed by the Regency Council in Warsaw.
At that time II Polish Corps numbered some 8.000 men in:
4th Rifle Regiment, Colonel Francis Zielinski,
13th Rifle Regiment, Colonel Nowicki,
14th Rifle Regiment, Lt.-Colonel Kazimierz Orlik-Łukoski (former 2nd Regiment in the Polish Legion);
5th Rifle Regiment, Lt.-Colonel Stanislaus Machcewicz,
15th Rifle Regiment, Lt.-Col. Joseph Zajac (former 3rd Regiment of the Polish Legion),
16th Rifle, Regiment Lt.-Colonel Korewo;
Light Artillery Brigade, Colonel. J. Altfatera,
Battalion of heavy howitzers, Colonel Nicholas Gomólicki,
Independent horse artillery unit (in other source mentioned as a sub-unit to the 5th Lancers.)
5th Lancers, Lt.-Colonel Stanislaus Sochaczewski,
6th Lancers, Major Wladyslaw Tomasiewicz.
There were also several support and rear area units.
After the stop at Kaniów, came on May 11, 1918, the fighting of the II Polish Corps against the Germans.
From the Battle of Kaniow.
More than half the soldiers from the defeated Corps were sent to German POW camps. The rest managed to escape captivity and sought opportunities for going to Murmansk, Volga Federal District or the Kuban area.
Officers II Corps, 5th Ulan Regiment