Polnische Wehrmacht

Polnische Wehrmacht

Polnische Wehrmacht

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Polnische Wehrmacht (German for Polish Army, ) was a military formation created by Imperial Germany during World War I as the armed forces of their puppet Kingdom of Poland.

The Polnische Wehrmacht was created on 10 April 1917, as a result of the Act of November 5th of 1916 and the creation of Kingdom of Poland. The backbone of the formation were the soldiers of the Polish Legions, fighting together with the Austro-Hungarian Army against Russia. Most of the soldiers of that formation were to be transferred to the new unit under German command.

However, as a result of the Oath Crisis of July 1917, most of the soldiers of the Polish Legions denied to pledge loyalty to the German Kaiser. Approximately 15 000 of them were interned in internment camps in Beniaminów and Szczypiorno, while almost 3 000 were drafted to the Austro-Hungarian Army.

As a result, the planned force of 50 000 had only 2 775 soldiers, mostly untrained recruits from Central Poland. After the command of the unit was passed to the Polish Regency Council on 19 October 1918 the number soon reached 9 000. After Poland declared her independence on 11 November 1918, the Polnische Wehrmacht became part of the newly-formed Polish Army.

The titular commander of the unit was general-governor Hans Hartwig von Beseler, while the actual commander was General der Infanterie Felix von Barth.

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