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|| POLISH PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATIONS BEFORE WORLD WAR I (1905-1914)
(This text is mainly translated from “Zarys Dziejów Wojskowości Polskiej (1864-1939)”, Wojskowy Instytut Historyczny, Redaktor Piotr Stawecki, Warsawa 1990. p.97-120.)
After Poland in 1794 had been divided among its 3 invading neighbours, Russia, Prussia and Austria, many Poles never stopped thinking and working on how to get their independence and freedom back, hopefully as a sovereign state.
To understand how it was possible for Poland to be reborn as a sovereign state, starting out from the kaos after WWI without any borders, organized military, administration, industry, weapons - anything, it is necessary to look at the Polish society and politics in the years leading up to the Great War.
The period 1864-1914 was characterized by a magnitude of changes in many areas of the national life in Poland and is also an important part of the Polish military history. The idea of an armed struggle for independence did not vanish with the defeat of the January Uprising, but 1860-1880 it was primarily cultivated by the left-wingers in exile.
Recognizing the teachings of the Kosciuszko Uprising in 1794 on its own, now was aimed on an armed uprising, specifically by supporting war efforts of foreign powers, who would fight at least one of the occupants. In this perspective Polish immigrants tried to organize Polish military formations for Italy 1866, for France 1870-1871 and for Turkey 1877-1878.
Great hopes were also associated with the victory of the Paris Commune. Jaroslaw Dabrowski, Valery Wroblewski and hundreds of Poles, who took part in the fightings on the Commune side, were guided mainly by Polish raison d'etat. They had - as clearly described by Theophilus Dabrowski, brother of Jaroslaw - nothing to loose and everything to gain. In case of victory for the revolution in France and then further in Europe, Poland could regain independence. Thus, by victory over the reactionary forces in Europe, the Poles saw an opportunity for independence of Poland.
The historical events unfolded differently.
Instead, after 1871, Europe got Imperial Germany as the new dominant power, while France, defeated and weakened, ostensibly lost interest in the Polish cause having its own national problems. England was more and more engaged in its Near- and Middle-Eastern affairs and professed towards the continent its principle of splendid isolation.
Caused by these setbacks the Polish emigrants stopped thinking in uprisings and an armed fight for independence. During the Russo-Turkish War 1877-1878, the vast majority of Poles declared against organizing a new uprising in Poland and raising a legion for Turkey. Also, the population of the Kingdom of Poland and Polish Galicia proved to be highly susceptible to start building a new organization.
Unfortunately the events in 1866, 1870-1871 and 1872-1878 to a large extent influenced the Poles, who were conscripted into the ranks of the occupants armies. Tens of thousands Poles served in Prussian, Russian and Austrian army uniforms, unwittingly contributing to the political objectives of the occupants, which often clashed with Polish national interests.
For a certain period there was a feeling of discouragement and apathy, but it did not last long.
In the end of the nineteenth century, the struggle for control of the country and regaining national sovereignty was taken up by a new social groups. A new generation of Poles grew up, who did not know the bitterness of defeat and repression after the January uprising. Much has been said and written about the fight for Polish independence, but the most consequent stand for an armed struggle for independence took the Polish labour movement, then represented by Boleslaw Limanowski and the Polish People's Association (Stowarzyszenie Ludu Polskiego) and the Polish Socialist Party (Polską Partię Socjalistyczną - PPS). Their agenda was for an armed uprising against Russia. It was to be done by the Poles themselves, caused and carried out under the most favorable external conditions, ie based on the strength of one of the occupant powers going to war with Russia (Austria-Hungary was expected to be the one) and at the same time the "old" PPS leaders predicted, it would be started by a guerrilla uprising combined with regular actions, as assumed by the majority of Polish military theorists in the mid-nineteenth century (especially Mieroslawski, Stolzman and Kamieński) and Jaroslaw Dabrowski.
But they made a fundamental error by underestimating the huge advantages of tsarist Russia, the difficulties associated with getting mass produced weapons and organizing, when the 300.000 men strong Russian Army had complete control over the Kingdom. However, one must admit the then leadership of PPS came up with a very flexible arrangement.
During the Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905, it was attempted to start organizing an uprising, as a chance was seen, if the war perhaps was to become a global conflict, but this soon stopped, as the calculations failed.
During the Russian 1905-1907 revolution, the "old hands" in PPS very cautiously approached the problem of an armed insurrection, carefully analyzing the possible chance, looking for allies and external assistance.
A permanent gain in this revolutionary period, seen in a military context, was the forming of the PPS Combat Organization (Organizacji Bojowej PPS). At the peak of its development, the Combat Organization had more than 2.000 members. These armed militant detachments in the Kingdom were the first to appear since the 1863 January Uprising. Together with the Combat Organization (Organizacja Bojowa), they became the nucleus of the Polish armed forces and breeding ground for cadres to the POW before the WWI. Other political parties could not boast of such military achievements. The Combat Organization SDKPiL (Organizacja Bojowa SDKPiL) mainly served purposes in the current revolutionary struggle and had a different purpose. The Combat PPS-Left (Bojówki PPS-Lewicy), formed after the split from the PPS, had a militia nature intended primarily to protect workers' meetings and rallies.
In continuation of the PPS Combat Organization, but at a much larger scale, was the work of the rifle organizations before World War I, the Association for Active Strugle (Związek Walki Czynnej), the Polish Rifle Druzynes (Polskie Drużyny Strzeleckie), Druzyny Bartoszowej, the Falcon Field Druzyns (Polowe Drużyny Sokole) and Druzyny Junackie), training personnel for a future Polish army to be used in an armed uprising against Russia The real great and lasting achievement of these organizations was the strengthening of the national spirit in the communities on liberation. Before the war they had about 30.000 members, activating many circles of the Polish youth and training hundreds of officers and NCOs. Later members of these groups were among the organizers of the Legions and the POW.
UNDERGROUND ACTIVITIES IN THE POLISH KINGDOM 1905-1907
The earlier revolutionary and independence struggles done by the peasants, which also had a spontaneous character, were taken as model by the working class,. They started out as workers' strikes on the manors and on the peasant's communal gatherings,where were uttered allegiance to the employers and the tsarist authorities. Later, the best solution for a sharp manifestation was to go "partisan" with interaction between workers and peasants. However, it should be noted, the revolution of 1905 did not bring any Polish armed revolt or armed struggle against the Tsar to the Polish villages. Nor were the Polish army reservists encouraged to go into the woods and form partisan groups, as in the 1863 January Uprising.
Under these conditions no armed mass struggle could be started. However, in the summer of 1905, some rebels operated in the countryside. They were different in nature from the usual partisans. For a long time no active groups were formed in the forests, they failed to create a command structure, they did not plan partisan actions, nor did they plan either destruction or harassment of enemy troops.
Some instances of insurrection activities took place in the Kingdom, coinciding with the groups fighting in Lodz, Warsaw, Odessa and on the battleship "Potemkin", and was initially inspired by the PPS Committees and the Polish People's Association.
The first partisan activities were observed in the districts of Garwoliń, Łuków, Krasnystaw, Lublin, Częstochowa and Łódź. Groops ranged from 20 to 50 men armed with pistols and knives. The particpants were mostly industrial workers operating in rural and semi-rural areas (Staropolsk Basin, around Ostrowca and Starachow), consisting of workers from small companies in the Warsaw area, agricultural workers, peasants and deserters from the Russian Army.
The activities and types of the combat groops were very different, but their ultimate goal was the destruction and disorganization of the tsarist administrative apparatus. From May to September 1905, there were several attacks on post offices and municipal offices for cash, on railways and telephone lines, on liquor stores, foresters' homes or offices. Stocks of alcohol, incriminating documents against the peasants were destroyed, individual police officers were disarmed and phone and communication lines were cut.
Particularly during the Russian political strikes and the uprising in Moscow, December 1905, the intensity of such activities increased,. In this period were made a series of attacks on ammunition dumps, bridges, railways, telegraph and railway lines, on railway stations and locomotives, which effectively paralyzed the movement of troops and the possibility for quick counter measures by using the telephone system. According to the incomplete balance sheets drawn up by the Russian authorities in the Polish Kingdom March 1906, the objects counted as destroyed were 253 state liquor stores, 102 municipal offices, 50 schools, 10 post offices, many municipal courts together with 16 tax and railway offices. Damaged were three railway lines, four railway stations, 10 railway bridges, 427 telegraph poles. Killed were 127 secret agents and military men and 297 were wounded.
The extent and nature of these attacks are most clearly evidenced by the reports and instructions to the Russian anti-rebel troops, who were ordered to secure post and telegraph services, water supply, electricity and gas, railway stations and railway lines.
Concerned about the development, the Russian authorities sought to counteract by any means necessary. On 2 June 1905 the Governor-General in Warsaw ordered the Warsaw Military District to use determined action to combat the revolutionary movement and relocate the army units.
The main problem was sending columns or groups of mobile troops along fixed routes to answer the calls for help from the administrative authorities. It was a fight against small groups of about 30 men armed with revolvers, small groups, who swiftly arrived and disappeared even faster. Only by using surprise, they could detect and destroy the "gangs". To this end it was recommended to gather any information possible, even through the telephone lines.
The activities of the rebels were also impressive, when the revolutionary wave ebbed out. In 1906, they still operated in about 30 municipalities in the provinces of Radom, Kielce, Warsaw, Piotrkow, Siedlce and Lublin. Alone from April to September 1906, in the Radom and Lublin provinces, were destroyed as much as 99 state liquor stores,16 municipal offices, 13 post offices and, 9 subdistrict offices.
The 1905-1907 events in the Polish Kingdom can - because of the scale and number of participants - be seen in the Polish history as one of those with most liberation movements.
The revolutionary fightings in 1905-1907, culminating in the victory of the government, showed clearly that a victory over the Tsar was not possible - even by a most vicious class struggle. It was essential for the proletariat to master the problems of an armed struggle and the principles, on how to raise and form revolutionary armed forces.
In balance the revolutionary struggle was not as all negative.
The results of the revolution in 1905-1907 were not seen until after the revival of political life in the Polish Kingdom and the other partitions, when the political powers began striving for changes and the parties had increased in numbers.
THE ORIGINS OF THE POLISH INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENTS
Growing tensions between the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary) and the Triple Entente (France, United Kingdom and Russia), especially due to the Bosnian Crisis (1908) and the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), had a significant impact on the political situation in Poland. Revived were the discussions on the possibility for one of the adversaries to win a future war and what benefits that eventually could bring the Poles. At the same time the Bosnian Crisis, the Balkan Wars and the still fiercer environment due to the international situation meant a crystallization of the orientation in the Polish political parties.
The main representative for the pro-Russians was the National-Democratic Party. A concept to resolve the matter serving Russian interests, was formulated by the leader, Roman Dmowski, of the National Democratic Party (Narodowa Demokracja), in his work: Niemcy, Rosja i kwestia polska (Germany, Russia and the Polish Question), published in 1908. In his opinion Russia should in its own interests make concessions to the Poles to get them join in a common fight against the Central Powers. These concessions were to be autonomy for the Polish Kingdom within the Russian Empire, with national freedom, self-government and creating more favorable conditions for the development of industry and agriculture. In the event of war and Russian victory, Dmowski assumed all the Polish lands would be united under the rule of the Tsar. His orientation towards Russia, together with an acceptance of the socio-economic, cultural and educational aspirations of the Poles, was supported by several in his group.
But abandoning of the fight for Polish independence and the binding of the Polish cause to Russia was only accepted with reluctance, even by the National Democrats (Stronnictwo Demokratyczne). In particular, this was obvious among the organizations and groups influenced by the National Democratic Party, consisting mainly of young people, workers, peasants and the intelligentsia.
In April 1908 finally the young opposition generation of activists, called the "Fronde", broke out from the National Democrats and this was the beginning of the many smaller and larger factions in the National Democratic Party lasting until 1914.
A lot of difficulties met Dmowski's National Democrats in the Prussian and Austrian partitions. The Wielkopolska National Democrats retained their loyalty to the German authorities, but at the same time they engaged in publishing Russian oriented newspapers.
Encouraging for all was the possibility of all the lands (the Polish areas in Russia, Prussia and Austria) to get Polish autonomy within the Russian Empire. However, anti-Russian sentiments were still very alive in Galicia, fuelled by the inflow of former 1905-1907 revolutionaries, who were received with sympathy for having fought for Polish freedom.
Close relations to the Habsburg monarchy had the conservative party in Galicia, the National Right Wing Party (Stronnictwo Prawicy Narodowej), and the middle-class Polish Democratic Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Demokratyczne).
Particularly noteworthy was the trend among the socialists for independence, represented by the Polish Socialist Party - Revolutionary Faction (Polską Partię Socjalistyczną - Frakcja Rewolucyjna) and the Polish Social-Democratic Party (Polską Partię Socjalno-Demokratyczną - PPSD) in Galicia and Cieszyn Silesia (PPSD) (Cieszyn Silesia is a historical region in south-eastern Silesia, centered around the towns of Cieszyn and Český Těšín and bisected by the Olza River. Wikipedia), as well as the current national-independent members, from the "Fronde" and "Secessionists" from the National Democratic Party (the group "Zarzewia", the National Association of Workers, the National Association of Peasants and the Association of Intellectuals for Independence). These two trends were seen in their activities on the idea of regaining independence from Austria-Hungary through armed action.
In the planning and implementation of such ideas the group around Jozef Pilsudski stood out. Still being a leading activist in the Polish Socialist Party, Pilsudski had since 1908 devoted himself almost exclusively to work on a military solution for independence. Using the experiences gained in the January 1863-1864 and 1905-1907 uprisings, he proposed to make Polish military preparations in case of a war broke out between the occupying empires. His new concept in the struggle for independence meant abandoning uprising based only on the working class and the Combat Organization. Instead it should be an uprising, which was based on all social classes and strata of the society. It was necessary to go beyond the framework of the party and begin preparations for the uprising, as he wrote: "not with a single party, but in much wider spheres".
Pilsudski wanted to start training cadres of officers and non-commissioned officers for a future insurgent army. These plans were intended to be achieved with the help of Austro-Hungaria, hoping for an imminent war between the occupying powers. In 1913 Pilsudski did not vision organized Polish units fighting in the front line, but imagined only partisans fighting in an uprising in the Polish Kingdom. This is clear from the military training programmes used since 1905 in the PPS Combat School of Krakow and since 1907 in the PPS Combat School of Lwow.
In Galicia were organized military kadres ready for an outbreak of war between Austria and Russia, then they were to advance into the Kingdom, heading for the Dabrowski Basin, to Sandomierz and Miechów to trigger a general uprising and organize a voluntary army. The uprising led by an insurgent government should be set up according to Pilsudski's plan and fought following the principles of a people's war, in which partisan units would play a decisive role. It should be a national insurgent army - covering all of Poland - with individually raised territorial units. On the outbreak - Pilsudski said - "anyone, who can fight, must absolutely go to fight, whether he is ready or not." It was obviously a try for a people's guerrilla war based on the theories of Henryk Kamieński and Karol Bogumir Stolzman. Partisan units were to destroy and disorganize the most sensitive enemy areas, such as telephone and telegraph networks, railways, bridges, vehicles, weapon and ammunition depots, etc.
When calculating on the future insurgent forces Pilsudski also took into account getting help from other Polish areas. First of all was counted on Galicia as the main operation base and then Poznan and Silesia, from where the weapon supplies were expected to come.
The insurgent actions in the Polish Kingdom were to be closely coordinated with the Austrian military actions, where it would be advantageous for a Polish uprising in the back of the Russian army. Austrian military circles were willing to receive intelligence from the Poles and in exchange agreed to actions carried out for Polish independence in Galicia. Anyway, contacts between the Austro-Hungarian intelligence services and the Pilsudski group existed already before this.
Pilsudski understood the orientation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as very flexible and already in 1913, his views on the possible course of the war between the superpowers and the associated tactics changed. In assessing the balance of the two opposing military blocs, he came to the conclusion that if a war breoke out: "Victory will go from West to East", that is, Germany and Austria-Hungary would beat Russia, and England and France (perhaps in alliance with the United States) would beat the Germans and Austrians. On these predictions he drew his conclusions. The first phase of the war was to be fought together with Germany and Austria against Russia, the second part together with the French and British against Germany and Austria.
The Association of Active Struggle (Związek Walki Czynnej) and the Riflemen's Associations (Związki Strzeleckie)In Lwow, June 1908, the first step towards building the future cadres for a Polish Army was taken by Casimir Sosnkowski by forming the Lwow Association of Active Struggle (Lwowie Związek Walki Czynne). It included military groups like “The Uncompromising" (Nieprzejednanych) and "Rebirth" (Odrodzenie), which had existed in Lwow since 1904 and militia groups formed by university students and pupils in secondary schools, young craftsmen and workers.
The ZWC political program proclaimed the purpose of the Association outside Russia was to train organizers and leaders for a future armed uprising in the Russian partition and to restore Poland as an independent, democratic republic.
In its first year the ZWC used experiences from the Organizacji Bojowej PPS-Frakcji (the Combat Organization of the Polish Socialist Party) and based its activities on same, even getting help from its personal and material resources. Also the ZWC organizational structure was based on the patterns in the Combat Organization. The supreme authority of the Association was the General Assembly, whereto Council members should be convened at least once a year. In the periods between assemblies it was led a membergroup of ZWC, consisting of seven members elected by the Assembly and representatives from the Combat Organization (Kazimierz Sosnkowski, Wladyslaw Jax-Rożen, Stefan Dąbkowski and Zygmunt Bohuszewicz), but the real leader of ZWC was Jozef Pilsudski.
July 11, 1909, at the first assembly everything was organized on military patterns. The smallest organizational section had six, later eight members with an the Ensign (chorąży) as leader. Two sections made a platoon under the command of a Second-Lieutenant (podporucznik) and four platoons made a company with a Captain as commander. It was planned a company could be divided into two sub-companies commanded by Lieutenants, and four companies formed a larger unit, a so-called the legion, later battalion.
In 1910, these military activities were made legal according to Austrian law, allowing for arranging military activities for the youth in Galicia on same model as used in Tyrol. In this fashion was established the Lwow Rifle Association (Lwowie Związek Strzelecki) and the Krakow Rifle Association (Krakowie Towarzystwo „Strzelec"). The legal authority of the Rifle Association was filed with the Department of Public Known Persons and the statutes of the organization approved by the Governorship, but the management of the Association rested in the hands of the secret council of ZWC, elected annually by the General Council.
In June 1912 began a new stage in the Rifle Association with the liquidation of the collective, multiperson Council and Commander in Chief became Joseph Pilsudski personally. Thereafter the ZWC supreme authority, leading the Association of Riflemen, consisted of the Central ZWC Council, the Commander in Chief of ZWC and the Privy Council to the Commander of ZWC. Since 1912 the Chief of Staff was always Kazimierz Sosnkowski.
1909-1910 the ZWC was still relatively small, it only had about 200 members (in 1909 a total of 150 members, in 1910 about 220 members). Among the members of ZWC dominated university students and members of the intelligentsia (85%), which came mostly from the Polish Kingdom (66%).
More active were the activities in the Rifle Associations. In this period, the members renewed their former contacts with the PPS-fraction in the Kingdom and began to set up secret military groups in the larger centers.
Similar carefully camouflaged groups of the Rifle Association soon developed in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia (Vilnius, Grodno, Minsk, Odessa, Zhitomir, White Church (Białej Cerkwi), Kharkov, Tartu, Riga, St. Petersburg, Kiev and Moscow) and in some university cities in Western Europe (in Geneva, Zurich, Paris, Brussels and Liege). Efforts to form a Polish Association were also made in the United States.
As result of the activities, the Rifle Association clubs could in March 1914 claim to have 6.449 trained riflemen: District Krakow 3.682 riflemen, District of Rzeszow 1.131 riflemen, District Lwow 1.274 riflemen, Foreign Area - 362 riflemen. In June 1914, the ranks of the Rifle Association increased to 7.239 members.
Pictures to follow
|| POLISH PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATIONS BEFORE WORLD WAR I (1905-1914)
THE START OF THE MILITANT “EMBER” (ZARZEWIE) MOVEMENT
"POLISH ARMY", POLISH RIFLE SQUADS AND THE SECRET SCOUT MOVEMENTS - („ARMIA POLSKA", POLSKIE DRUŻYNY STRZELECKIE I TAJNY SKAUTING)
Parallel to the ZWC groups working for national independence in Galicia, emerged in 1908 in isolation the so-called "Fronde" from the National Democratic Party, who started its own militant movement. Primarily it was linked to the "Zarzewiacki", the youth movement named after the magazine „Zarzewie" (which since November 1909 had been published in Lwow), which had broken out from the National League and the National-Democratic Peasants on the independence question. At the end of 1908, initiatiated by these young people together with militants from the National Workers Association, was established the PZW (Polski Związek Wojskowy - Polish Military Association) in Krakow. It was led by Commandant Jerzy Bujalski. At first its operational area was primarily Krakow, then Lwow, which later became the center of PZW activities.
In accordance with the statutes of PZW, its task was to "prepare and mobilize the national armed forces to fight for the homeland's independence, particularly to prepare and train an officer corps for that fight."
The 1909-1910 PZW organization was small. In 1910, 311 members belonged to it, but from the start it carried out intensive military training. In Lwow (1909) was formed a PZW staff and made military schools for officer, cadet and recruit training, which was carried out with theoretical and practical courses in same way as done by the Union for Active Strugle. In the Supreme Command of PZW were: Mieczyslaw Norwid-Neugebauer, Henry Baginski and Marian Januszajtis.
On the Assembly, 3.-4.10.1919, the young "Ember" members in Kracow decided to dissolve the PZW and establish a new, secret organization called „Armia Polska" ("Polish Army."). It was divided into four districts:
Overall command of the "Polish Army" had the Supreme Command through Mieczyslaw Norwid-Neugebauer as Commander. It sought to "train gifted leaders for the future independence struggle, to form a soldier type in the Polish society, physically brave, military trained..."
A new, higher developed stage of the Ember independence movement began, when the forming of the Society of Polish Rifle Squads was approved by the Governorship in Lwow on 31 July 1911. Now the Towarzystwo PDS (PDS Society) could openly work for their secret military operation through the "Polish Army." The supreme authorities of the Society were: Federal Division, the Audit Committee and the General Assembly of the Rifle Drużyns. However, the actual power of the organization was the secretive High Command of the "Polish Army" and the Polish Rifle Drużyns, which were subject to the High Command of the ten committees. The local Headquarters of the "Polish Army" corresponded in the different localities to the PDS departments.
(The meaning of the term Drużyn – the word is difficult to translate, as it is a a very old Slavonic term, which has the meaning of a team of people working together for a common purpose. It doesn’t define either the number or structure of the team. East-European-Russian term.
1. an organized group of people called to perform common tasks.
2. the smallest infantry.sub-unit The smallest sub-unit in the army, equivalent to a section or squad, 8 - 15 men strong . In is similar to the German -Abteilung - and gives those not familiar with the particular terminology endless problems with translation between languages.
3. a group of scouts detailed in hosts.
4. a group of knights serving side by side with the ruler or nobleman.
5. a dose company, or the company.)
Most of the drużyns in the Austrian partition were established 1912-1913. During this period, the entire organization was divided into districts:
I . Lwow.
III. Warsaw, including the Russian partition.
IV. Vienna, Western European, based in Liege.
Polish Rifle Drużyns had cells even in the Ukraine (Zhytomyr, Kamieniec) and in North- and South America. 1911 -1912 the High Commander of PDS was Henryk Baginski. In the following years the command was exercised successively by Mieczyslaw Norwid-Neugebauer and Marian Januszajtis-Żegota. Among the prominent leaders of PDS should also be mentioned: Felix Młynarski Andrew Malkowski, Stefan Rowecki, Michael Żymierski, Wenceslas Tokarz, Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski and many others.
At the outbreak of World War I, the PDS had at it disposal about 80 Drużyns in Galicia, 20 in the Polish Kingdom, 5 in Austria, 4 in Belgium, 3-5 in Poznan and 3 in Ukraine. In total, they numbered more than 6,000 men. In the PDS shall also be included Podhale Drużyns. Impulse to raise such military oriented highland drużyns gave the 66 Anniversary of the Chochołów Uprising in 1846 (Powstanie chochołowskie) against the rule of Austria-Hungary, also known as "the Insurrection in the Tatra Mountains", solemnly celebrated in 1912. In the autumn of 1912 and early 1913 was organized a number of drużyns, whose task it were to arrange target shooting, fencing and drill. At the convent in Nowy Targ (May 4, 1913) was formed the Podhale Drużyn Association (Związek Drużyn Podhalańskich).
Integration of the Rifle Association with the Polish Rifle Drużyns occurred after the Second Highland Squad Convention in Nowy Targ (21.6.1914), which adopted a resolution on merger of the two organizations. The leading figure in Highland Drużyn was their president, Felix Gwiżdż, the known highland poet. After the outbreak of war and the mobilization of the Polish Rifle Drużyns also included the Podhale Drużyn.
Also the Secret Scout Movement was in the ideological toolbox of PDS and appeared from 1909 in Galician schoolsas secret instruction units, organized along military lines and equivalent to a company (3-4 platoons each with 10 men).
1909-1911 Training Units (Oddziały Ćwiczebne) were formed in 17 Galician city schools on the initiative of the secret "Polish Army", the predecessor of the PDS.
It was not until autumn 1911, the Training Units got significantly better operating conditions, when they were included into the legally working Falcon scout groups. Since then, there was a rapid development of the Scout Movement under Austrian rule.
In the following years new scout groups were formed strengthening the older ones. The groups did general scout activities, but to some extent also more militant ones like war-games, exercises in the field, cartography, drawing from memory etc.
Since 1911 spurred into action also the establishment of a scout movement in Russia and Prussia. Secret scouts groups were formed in schools of 9 cities in the Polish Kingdom and 4 towns in the Prussian partition.
THE POLISH GYMNASTIC SOCIETY FALCON (SOKÓŁ)
Before First World War the Polish Gymnastic Society Falcon can be considered as one of the largest Polish paramilitary organizations. It was established 1866 in Lwow, on the initiative of Clement Żukotyński and Ludwik Goltental. The name of the organization was publicly used since 1869, and from 1884 the Polish Falcon Gymnastic Society spread throughout Galicia and into the other partitions. It also was represented in larger Polish emigrant societies. Early nests (gniazda) of Falcon were formed in Stanislav, Tarnow, Przemysl, Urahowie, Kołomyja, Ternopil. Rzeszów, Wadowice, Nowy Sacz, Jaslo, Uncle, Jaroslaw, Sanok, Sambor, Drohobych and Jaworow. At this time Falcon was also joined by women (1895).
Supreme authority in Falcon had the the Mother-Nest (Gniazdo-Macierz) in Lwow, which took care of the organizational and ideological leadership. In 1892, on its first rally, the Falcons formed the Polish Gymnastic Association in Austria (Związek Polskich Towarzystw Gimnastycznych w Austrii). Iin 1894 also was started on organizational issues in the Falcon Society, when forming a mounted unit with the Mother-Nest in Lwow and Falcon nests in Krakow.
In 1896, the Falcon Society was organized into districts and these again into nests.
The political leadership of the Falcon movement rested in the hands of the National Democratic Party, which initially stood away from the militant independence movement, presented by the Rifle Association and the Polish Rifle Drużyns. In 1912, pressured by young Falcon members, the Society set up the Standing Falcon Drużyns (Stałe Drużyny Sokole), also known as the Falcon Field Drużyns (Polowymi Drużynami Sokolimi) with Joseph Haller, Captain of the Reserve, at the helm.
The basic organizational and training unit in the Standing Falcon Drużyns (SDS) was a drużyn with three platoons, each with three troops. Three drużyns made a “hufiec” - an old military term for a battlegroup. Members of the Standing Rifle Drużyns were divided into grade I and grade II members. New members admitted to the SDS were required to make 8-12 weeks of basic and military Falcon training, and underwent a series of "active membership" courses. "Active members" - the core of SDS – took part in his drużyn's planned exercises for two years and then passed to the SDS reserve.
Early were formed Falcon nests in the Prussian partition, in Inowrocław (1885), Poznan (1886), Bydgoszcz (1886), Szamotuły (1886), Gniezno, (1887), and later in Wroclaw, Bytom, Katowice, Chorzów, Zabrze, Łabędach and Opole. Falcon in the Prussian partition maintained strong ties with the Galician Falcon. In 1893 was formed the Wielkopolska Falcon Association and in 1895 the Association of Polish Falcons in Germany (Związek Sokołów Polskich w Państwie Niemieckim) after uniting with the nests in Berlin, Westphalia and the Rhineland).
First from 1905 the Falcon organization started operating in the Russian partition, but in 1907 - after short and turbulent activity - Falcon was dissolved by the Russian authorities and went under ground. In 1910, the National Democrats in the Polish Kingdom pushed for legalization under the name "Piechur"(the Wanderer - Infantry Man). The seat of the Society was in Sosnowiec. Members of the "Piechur" made courses in gymnastics and military training. They trained weapon handling, drill etc. and kept close contact with Falcon in Galicia. In 1910 representatives of the "Piechur" took part in the celebrations of the Battle of Grünwald in Krakow and in 1914 came to the Falcon rally at Chorzow, which had the nature of military manoeuvres and was attended by 1.200 members.
Outside Poland, which had the largest number of Falcon members, the Sokol organization operated in the United States of America.The first eagle nest had already been established in Chicago in 1887 and in 1894 the Association of Polish Falcons in America was established.
Falcon in USA
1912 was the breakthrough of Polish Falcon in the United States. At the news of the outbreak of the Balkan War (1912) and with the intensification of the independence movement in Galicia, a Falcon convention in the United States took place on December 15, 1912, with forming of Falcon Field Drużyns. Their first leader was Witold Rylski, a former officer of the Austrian Army Reserve. The territory of the United States was divided into eight districts, each with a drużyn, divided into platoons and sections.
The training in Falcon was carried out using the Polish Rifle Drużyn's regulations. In 1914 it had about 24 000 members, who wore uniforms patterned entirely on U.S. military uniforms.
We do not know exactly, how many members the Falcon Society totally numbered in Poland and abroad before the First World War. Any estimates seem to indicate that it was a large organization, reaching into tens of thousands. In Galicia 1904 it was calculated to have about 16.000 members in 7 districts counting 133 nests.
In the Polish Kingdom, when dissolved in 1906, it had as many as 16.000 members and in Upper Silesia, before the war, were more than 20 Falcon nests.
On Sokol in general, see:
THE THOMAS ZAN SOCIETY
The society was named after Tomasz Zan (1796 – 1855), a Polish poet and activist. In 1817 he was cofounder of the Philomatic Association (Towarzystwo Filomatów), in 1820 the Radiant Association (Towarzystwo Promienistych), in 1820-1823 President of the Filaret Association (Zgromadzenie Filaretów), all of them student organizations in Vilnius, dedicated to Polish cultural and political activities. For his activities in those organizations he was exiled by the Russian authorities to Siberia 1824 to 1837. The Tomasz Zan Society was founded on the basis of secret student societies working in Wielkopolska before 1848 and had existed for many years in the Prussian partition with seats in all the cities, which had gymnasiums. It was all about educating the young generations in the Polish spirit. Not until the Scout Movement started and successfully developed in Galicia and passed further into Wielkopolska, the leaders of the Society drew much attention to the need of developing a physical culture among its adherers.
1912 was a turning point. The Poznań Society of Tomasz Zan introduced secret scout training in Malcie and at Wolf's Mill (Wilczym Młynie) on the Warta. Slowly it was transformed into a military group. It the beginning of 1914, via contacts to the Polish Rifle Drużyns in Galicia, instructors were sent to Poznan. Here they organized expert lectures on military matters and laid the ground for a future military organization. From Poznan a group, including Jerzy Stam, Henryk Bukowski, Joseph Łakiński, was sent to Krakow and Nowy Sacz, where they in July 1914 took part in the manoeuvres of the Rifle Drużyns. It was planned, they after returning would organize a large scale military exercise in the Prussian partition, but the Poznanians first returned home after outbreak of the war.
This organization was named after Bartosz Glowacki, who in 1794 distinguished himself in the battle of Raclawice. Coming from poor peasant stock Glowacki later became a national hero and received a battlefied promotion to the rank of chorazy, in the newly created Cracow Grenadier Regiment (Grenadierzy Krakowscy). When forming the Drużyn over a hundred years later, Glowacki’s status as a hero had grown considerably, especially after Matejko’s painting of that battle in 1888, which places him in a central position on the canvas.
In the beginning of 1908, the Drużyny Bartoszowe was formed on the initiative of Architect Wawrzyniec Dayczak, a member of the Polish Youth Organization "Zet", a secret organization of Polish students at universities in the three Polish partitions and at other European universities with larger groups of Polish students.
Formally the drużyns got their inspiration from the National Democratic Party, assembling followers among the rural youth, interested in Polish cultural life, and educating them in the virtues of citizens and soldiers. In fact, the main purpose was to organize paramilitary drużyns in the Polish Eastern Galicia villages, working against the majority of Ukrainians being a rural "military brotherhood" with an established command structure.
Highest authority of the drużyns was the Supreme Council (elected at the annual general conferences) together with the Commanding Headquarters (Naczelnikiem Głównym.) The Supreme Council led the “banners” (chorągwie) headed by commissioners. The detachments were organized in drużyns formed in particular villages within one or more districts. The organization introduced officer ranks (chorąży and porucznik) and non-commissioned officers (rotnik, młodszy podoficer, podchorąży and starszy podoficer). Since 1912 uniforms and field equipment were introduced as in the other paramilitary organizations.
1908-1909 the Drużyny Bartoszowe totalled 659 members in 18 drużyns, in 1910 - 2.405 members in 58 drużyns, in 1911 - 3.520 members in 79 drużyns, and in 1913 – 6358 in 172 drużyns. Most were formed in the Sub-Carpathian area, the historical region of Central Europe, at the foot of the Carpathian mountains, in a broad belt from Kołomyja up to Sanok.
In 1913-1914 the Drużyny Bartoszowe in particular experienced a rapid development. There were major changes in the organization and much more emphasis was put on military activities. A Military Section was established by the Supreme Council under Stanislaus Śmigielski, who led all the military activities. In 1913 the Military Section arranged several courses for drużyn instructors.
Further were issued drill and weapon regulations and instructions on rifle shooting.
In Lwow 1913 the High Council (Rada Naczelna) organzied groups to deal with military, medical and quarter-master services. The Council was successively lead by: Wawrzyniec Dajczak between 1908-1912 and Stanislaw Bac 1913-1914. For many years Stefan Pasławski was Secretary-General and the Deputy Leader of the Commanding Headquarters. At the outbreak of the War in Galicia the Bartoszowej Drużyns numbered more than 10.000 members in 286 well-trained military Drużyns.
The Drużyny Bartoszowe did not limit the activities to the Galician area, their presence was also felt in Cieszyn Silesia, in Bukovina and the Polish Kingdom.
Bartoszowe Druzyn doing a sharp shooting course at Dublany, August, 1913.
Druzyn Bartoszowe course in Brzuchowice 1912
Bartosowe druzyn from Crackow
Bartosowe cap badge
See also: Maria Dayczak-Domanasiewicz, Drużyny Bartoszowe www.lwow.com.pl/dayczak.html
In secret was in the Polish Kingdom also founded the scout movement Drużyny Junackie (The Brave Young Men's Group) organized along the same lines as the Bartoszowej Drużyns and with connection to same via the Supreme Council in Lwow, instantly were sent training instructors. It existed from autumn 1912 to November 1916 and worked in Lublin, Warsaw and Lomza areas.
The founder and creator of the secret Junacki movement was Stefan Plewiński, a member of the National League, helped by Adam Chętnik, editor and publisher of the magazine "Drużyna" for rural youth, published in Warsaw in co-operation with Wenceslas Szczesny, a high school teacher.
The Junackies remained under ideological influence from the intellectual wing of the National-Democratic Party, gathered around the magazine „Tygodnik Polski" ("The Polish Weekly"). They also benefited of support from the ideological activists of the „Zarzewia".
Leading the Junackich Drużyns was the Drużyn High Command, which acted on behalf of the Commissioner of the Drużyny Junackie, Stefan Plewiński.
This in turn, appointed as Commander-in-Chief, Wenceslas Szczesny, and as his deputy Antoni Jaros. Further was The Privy Council, which was made up by: Waclaw Dzicwulski, Viktor Ambroziewicz, Waclaw Podwiński, Wladyslaw Radwan, Janina Porazińska and Adam Chętnik.
The structure was based on the same pattern as the Scout Movement. The smallest unit was a zastęp, four zastęps formed a platoon and four platoons a drużyn. The training of new members was based on the Bartoszowej regulations.
The strongest centers of the Junacki movement were in Warsaw and the Lublin District I and District II. 1913-1914 was in Warsaw and surrounding areas founded 7 male and female drużyns and in the Lublin area 10 drużyns (Lublin, Krzczonów, Bzite, Chodel, Kiełczewice, Klementowice, Zamosc, Końskowola, Głusk and Chelm).
Junackie Drużyns were also organized in Lomza, Lodz, Rawa Mazowsze, Wloclawek, Dąbrowa Górnicza and the Suwalki Region. In addition there were separate zastęps and platoons in Vilnius and its surroundings, in Kutno, Bialystok and in many rural villages, organized by the readers of "Drużyna".
SOCIAL COMPOSITION OF THE POLISH PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATIONS
The social composition of the paramilitary organizations was quite diverse. In the Rifle Associations and the Polish Rifle Drużyns prevailed the young intelligentsia, although the percentage of workers also was significant. However, the Bartoszowych, Junackich and the Podhale Highland drużyns all were dominated by peasant youth. The social composition in Falcon also varied depending on the country regions.
At the moment of the formation of the Rifle Associations, the Polish Rifle Drużyns as well as the remaining organisations, their High Commands strived for uniformity in the arms, equipment and uniform among their members. In principle, from 1912,every military unit had such uniformity, apart from some small minor details. therefore generally they wore a uniform comprised of a tunic with a half rigid collar, breeches with knee length socks and a coat closed with two rows of buttons with shoulder-straps and casual, laced-up shoes. The colour of the uniform was light grey with a slight green tinge.
The differences were only apparent in the headdress. The Rifle Associations and the Polish Rifle Drużyns wore caps,- maciejowki- with black peaks and black chinstraps made of lacquered leather. The Bartosz Drużyns wore Rogatywki and the Sokol Field Drużyns - the brimmed hats (Kapelusze) or the Sokol field caps, called the “Radziwillowki”. (What did that model look like? A scout hat with one side turned up,- like the Australian Hat? Pictures?)
Before the outbreak of World War I and with the agreement of the Austrian authorities, The Polish Rifle Drużyns, the Rifle Association in Lwow, the Rifle Society„Strzelec" in Krakow, the Bartosz Drużyns and the Sokol Field Drużyns established by the Sokol Gymnastic Association carried out preliminary military training amongst the Polish youth.
From 1912 a new pattern of uniform appeared among the Polish independence organisations in Galicia.. This was the prototype uniform of the future Polish legions. In 1912 consideration was given to a number of uniform projects for the Rifle units. It was at that thought was give to the pattern of the rogatywka, which was universally recognised as the typical Polish headdress. A project arose for a light grey-blue coloured, soft cloth rogatywka with a double-band which could be pulled down over the ears and neck. Such a headdress was very practical in winter.
For political reasons the Rifle Association objected to some elements of the uniform. The cap (rogatywka) was accused of being pretentious and theatrical. For these reasons and shortly afterwards the Polish Legions replaced it with the classical “maciejowka”. However the Rogatywka remained the only headdress of the Sokol Field Drużyns, In keeping with the Krakus tradition,this was without a peak and the top was no wider that the crown. Later the cap evolved to have a peak, carried a cockade in national colours and had falcon's feathers attached to the left side.
From 1913 the uniform colour was changed to a light grey/blue (feldgrau), the austrian field-uniform colour. Similarly the colour of the Maciejowka, its peak and strapsw ere also changed to this colour, with the buttons being oxydised metal.
The regulation footwear was laced-up shoes and long socks (sztuce). Riding boots or ankle boots with puttees or gaiters, were rarely worn. Yellow-leather belts and straps completed the uniform.
Initially members of the paramilitary organisations equipped themselves at their own cost. From the middle of 1913, they did this through the District Supply Commissions in the case of the Rifle Association and Sokol Field Drużyns, the Supply and Equipment section in the case of the permanent Sokol Drużyns and the High Command Supply Department in the Bartosz Drużyns. The uniforms for the paramilitary organisations were sewn at tailoring factories in Stryj.
WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT
In the early years, members of the Rifle Associations, PDS and other organizations borrowed rifles from the nearest Austrian National Defence Command (Landwehr) for shooting practice, only having to buy the needed ammunition. Later, with the increase of organizational funds, they tried to buy own weapons for their organizations. All organizations assumed each private to have an Austrian repeating rifle, a Mannlicher M.95, with bayonet or an outdated single-shot Werndl rifle with bayonet. For non-commissioned officers and officers were anticipated cylinder revolvers and swords.
In each organization the quartermaster service encountered numerous difficulties in providing adequate equipment and weaponry. First of all, there was a lack of funds. This meant that in the Rifle Associations before the war only 30-40% of their members had complete uniforms and equipment, in total only 412 guns. Slightly better off in this respect was the Polish Rifle drużyns. From 1 October 1912 to 30 September 1913, the PDS Supply Commission spent 224.595 Crowns on equipment and weapons for their drużyns.
In a much better position was the largest organization, the Falcon Society with its Field Drużyns. They had acquired a more significant number of weapons, uniforms and equipment.
Worse was the matter for the Drużyny Bartoszoweje. Due to their ideological, anti-Ukrainian views the Austrian authorities restricted their acquisition of weapons.
The Polish paramilitary organizations intended to prepare cadres for a future Polish Army. From the beginning military service was taught both in theory and practice. Already 1908-1909 the Union of Active Struggle in Lwow organized lectures on weapons, ballistics, Russian military organization, mapreading and planning, explosives, field fortifications, etc. Classes on intelligence service were carried out at closed premises (explosives and weapon techniques) or outside the city in nearby forests. Over time the training system got organizationed on three levels: military school (lower course), non-commissioned officers (middle course) and officers (higher course). The basis for the training were the regulations of the OB PPS-faction, based on the regulations of the Austro-Hungarian Army, but from 1911 own printed regulations were issued.
Once the Rifle Association was declared legitime, the military training system became significantly enhanced and modified. Lower courses, designed for labour and rural members, had in addition to basic military field training, teachings on reading and writing to the illiterate. The school for Non-Commissioned Officers (middle course) was to give good and exact service knowledge to NCOs. It was divided into two courses: a Soldiers School and a Non-Commissioned Officers School. Having gone through the Soldiers School, followed the Non-Commissioned Officers School, which lasted one year.
Officers School was also divided into two courses. The first one lasted one and a half years and included lectures on tactics, explosives, field fortifications, company and battalion economy, military history and field exercises. The second - for an unlimited period - was organized in the War Academy and taking care of a) higher studies and b) basic strategy studies.
The military training in the Polish Military Association, the "Polish Army" and the Polish Rifle Drużyns was not different from that in the Rifle Associations. It also worked on training of recruits, non-commissioned officers and officers in accordance with regulations issued by the PDS Combat Group (Wydział Bojowy PDS) and the drill regulations of 1910, made by Boleslaw Biskupski. The lecturers were reserve officers. In 1910, the Polish Military Association trained a dozen officers, dozens of non-commissioned officers and more than 200 soldiers.
The "Polish Army" and PDS, in addition to the training programs for recruits, non-commissioned officers and officers, also paid close attention to the training of female members in a two-year course. Also was started on making a Polish military academy as an essential institution for the education of higher officers. An important part in the nco and officer training courses played (eg the PDS inter-partition instructor-course from June 29 to July 15, 1912) the special holliday camps for officers from the Rifle Associations in Stróża at Zakopane from 1913 and for the Rifle Drużyns in Nowy Sacz in 1914.
The other military organizations (Falcon, Drużyny Bartoszoweje et al.) received a bit less effective training, caused by a lack of officer cadres in Drużyny Bartoszoweje, their very small amount of weapons and the negative attitudes from the Austrian authorities, whereas the negative attitude from the authorities towards the Falcon Society stemmed from its wish for military training. In Drużyny Bartoszoweje these difficulties were partially alleviated by having enough nco-cadres, most of these having been trained in the Austro-Hungarian Army and in special camps organized in Brzuchowice, Dublany, Nowy Sacz, Kołomyja, Bochni and Krakow.
In the first period the drużyns trained on the basis of regulations compiled from the Austrian 1908 Infantry Regulations and the Polish 1861 Insurgent Regulations published in Paris and hectographed and published in Poland 1909 by the Supreme Council.
In 1912, the publication Drużyn released a new regulation on infantry drill developed on the basis of several regulations: the Austrian of 1911, the Japanese of 1909 and the Prussian of 1906. It used military terms from the Polish regulations of 1831-1848 and 1863. As result of this activity were before 1914 trained 11 Lieutenants, 10 Ensigns, 15 Cadets, 68 rotników (Platoon Leaders) and 76 junior instructors, not counting the number of trained drużyn members, the drużynników.
The Falcon Field Drużyn members underwent training courses on military drill, field service, sharp shooting and NCO and officer courses, how to form and move in firing lines, the use of fire in attack and defense.
Initially, the Falcon Field Drużyns used for their training the Bartoszoweje Regulations and those of other organizations. In 1913 it published its own instructions and regulations (including Manual for Instructors, an elementary Course in Field Exercises for the Falcon Field Drużyns (Podręcznik dla instruktorów elementarnego kursu ćwiczeń polowych Stałych Drużyn Sokolich).
On July 6, 1913, on the 50th anniversary of the 1863 January Uprising, was organized a rally by SDS in Lwow to review its strength. The military exercises were led by Joseph Haller and 20 battalions took part.
In the second half of 1913, the enthusiasm for the SDS military work weakened, as the leaders of Falcon had again taken up a more militant development in their Falcon Field Drużyns.
In summary one must conclude that training in the Polish paramilitary organizations had a good standard and matched the training of ncos and officers in the partition armies and developed its own theoretical and military thinking. the Russo-Japanese War gave impulses, which also were incorporated in the practical exercises. The emphasis in the exercises was on secured marching, out-post service, reconnaissance, communications and night exercises.
ATTEMPTS TO MERGE THE POLISH MILITANT MOVEMENTS 1912-1913 - uniting the polish paramilitary resourcess through a temporary commission consisting of all the Polish independence factions
In the middle of 1912 increasing international tensions, and so danger for outbreak of an European war, caused a temporary rapprochement between the National-Independence and Socialist-Independence parties. On a confidential meeting of independence representatives on 25-26.August 1912, called by the PPS-faction, a Polish Military Treasury (Polski Skarb Wojskowy) was set up and elected an interim management. Director of the six-man board, representing the Rifle Associations and Polish Rifle Drużyns, was Boleslaw Limanowski, Secretary was Walery Slawek and Treasurer was Hipolit Sliwinski. The Polish Military Treasury was set up to raise money to finance the Polish military organizations through public contributions and donations from Polish emigrants.
November 10, 1912, the parties held an Independence Congress, in which took part from the Russian partition: the Polish Socialist Party (PPS-fraction), the National Association of Workers (NZR), the National Association of Peasant (NZCH), the Association of Peasants (ZCH), the Association of Patriots (ZP) and the Independence Intelligence Association (ZIN), from the Austrian partition: the Polish Social-Democratic Party of Galicia and Silesia (PPSD), the Polish Progressive Party (PSP) and the Polish Peasant Party (PSL). Established was the Temporary Commission of Confederate Independence Parties (KTSSN), which was to be the governing body of the Polish military preparations for war and to supervise the activities of the Polish Military Treasury. In December 1912, KTSSN issued a proclamation calling on all Poles to “immediately join the organization and prepare for the armed struggle" and to "immediately collect cash for the Interim Military Treasury set up by the Commission."
ESTABLISHING THE JOINT SUPREME COMMAND OF THE RIFLE ASSOCIATIONS (KOMENDY NACZELNEJ ORGANIZACJI STRZELECKICH)
On December 1, 1912, the KTSSN met. Secretary was Witold Jodko-Narkiewicz and Commander of the armed forces was Jozef Pilsudski.
KTSSN and its military decisions were not recognized by the Falcon Society or the Bartosz Drużyns, who - inspired by the Galician Group in the Sejm - on December 19, 1912 established the Citizens' Committee (Komitet Obywatelski). Both organizations were under influence of the National League and remained opposed to military actions against Russia. So the authority of the Supreme Command, formed by the KTSSN, only included the Union for Active Struggle and the subordinated Rifle Associations together with the Polish Army, subordinated the Polish Rifle Drużyns.
In spring 1913, when an Austro-Russian war had been expected, a cooperation agreement between KTSSN and the Polish Rifle Drużyns in the Supreme Command of the Rifle Associations and the Polish Rifle Drużyns was made.
In spring 1914, the Polish Rifle Drużyns left the KSSN (from 30 November the term of "Temporary" Commission was abolished), leading to the breaking of organizational links between the ZWC and the Rifle Associations to the Polish Army and Polish Rifle.Drużyns, contacts were first reestablished on the eve of WWI.
The leaders understood that a Polish independence movement based on Austria-Hungary had no real chance, as the partitioning powers (Austro-Hungary and Germany) did not accept restoration of an independent Polish state. However, the effects of Polish paramilitary activities before the war should be viewed positively. Noteworthy was the impact of the military organizations in activating the Polish society and the severity of its liberation aspirations. Not without significance was the significant staff educations, making the participants well prepared to serve as officers and NCOs. The paramilitary organizations conducting military training before WWI had about 30.000 members. In the future, the members of the drużyns, particularly the PDS and Rifle Associations, provided the cadres of the reborn new Polish Army.
Pictures to follow
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