Battle of Dęblin and Mińsk Mazowiecki
The Battle of Deblin and Minsk Mazowiecki took place on August 16–18, 1920, during the Polish-Soviet War. It resulted in the victory of the Polish Army (see The Miracle of the Vistula), commanded by Józef Piłsudski, General Edward Śmigły-Rydz, General Leonard Skierski, and Colonel Stanisław Wrzaliński. Soviet forces were led by General Mikhail Tukhachevsky and General Nikolai Sollohub.
Most of the Polish units, which participated in the battle, created the so-called First Assault Group (I Grupa Uderzeniowa), commanded by Pilsudski himself. The group consisted of the Third Army (Smigly-Rydz), and Fourth Army (Leonard Skierski). They concentrated in the area of Deblin, while the Second Assault Group under Wrzalinski, attacked from Warsaw, capturing Minsk Mazowiecki. Wrzalinski's group was supported by tanks.
On August 12, 1920, a few days before the Wieprz river counteroffensive, Jozef Pilsudski came to Pulawy, to inspect the troops. On the next day he arrived at Deblin, meeting with Generals Smigly-Rydz and Skierski. During the meeting, Pilsudski presented to them his plan of the attack on the Soviet positions. Facing Soviet 16th Army and Mozyr Group, Pilsudski took command of the First Assault Group, locating his headquarters at the intersection of the roads from Deblin to Kock and from Warsaw to Lublin.
On August 16, at 4 am, Pilsudski issued the order to attack. Polish objective was to reach the road connecting Warsaw with Brzesc nad Bugiem, in order to cut supply lines and evacuation routes of Soviet Western Front. Right wing of Polish advance was protected by the 3rd Infantry Division, which attacked along the line Wlodawa – Brzesc. The First Assault Group managed to destroy Mozyr Group of the Red Army and southern wing of Soviet 16th Army.
Simultaneously, Second Assault Group of Colonel Wrzalinski, concentrated near Wesola, attacked towards Minsk Mazowiecki, supported by Armoured Group of Major Nowicki (five tank units, three armoured trains, 10 airplanes). Colonel Wrzalinski and his soldiers began their offensive at 9 am. Divided into two columns, Poles advanced rapidly, crushing Soviet resistance with their tanks and artillery. 10th Rifle Division of the Red Army, which defended Debe Wielkie, abandoned its positions, and at app. 6 p.m. two Polish armoured trains entered the rail station at Minsk Mazowiecki, forcing the Soviets to retreat.
The Battle of Deblin and Minsk Mazowiecki s commemorated on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Warsaw, with the inscription "DEBLIN – MINSK MAZOWIECKI 16 – 18 VIII 1920".
- J. Odziemkowski, Leksykon wojny polsko-rosyjskiej 1919 – 1920, wyd. RYTM Warszawa 2004.
- Lech Wyszczelski, Bitwa na przedpolach Warszawy, Dom Wydawniczy Bellona 2000.
- Bogdan Skaradziński, Sąd boży 1920 roku, wyd. Świat Książki Warszawa 1996.