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Polish Carpathian Bde

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Polish Independent Carpathian

Rifle Brigade

12-Apr-40 Formed in the French Levant (Syria) from Polish exiles, as part of the French Army of the Levant. Two

regiments of infantry, one horsed cavalry regiment, some artillery and MT - around 3,500 officers and men.
20-Jun-40 Came under command British GHQ Middle East following the Fall of France.
28-Jun-40 The brigade transfers to Palestine
     Oct-40 The brigade moves to Egypt to take up guard duty and coast defence at Alexandria
     Aug-41 The brigade relieves the 18th Australian Brigade at Tobruk
     Dec-41 Following the relief of Tobruk the brigade supports New Zealand troops near Gazala and then South African troops at Bardia
15-Mar-42 The brigade withdraws to Egypt, then Palestine to reorganise as part of The Division of Carpathian Rifles
03-May-42 Reorganised as 1 Carpathian Rifle Brigade of The Division of Carpathian Rifles (later 3 Carpathian Rifles Division)
Note: Polish units assigned to the brigade on 01-May-40


Maj Gen S Kopanski

Brigade Troops

Antitank Companies

1 Atk Coy

2 Atk Coy

Field Regiments

Carpathian Artillery Regiment

Engineers Grp (HQ, 2 Coys)

Machine Gun

Carpathian HMG Battalion

Medical Services (2 Coys, 2 Sects, Fwd Hopsital)

Transport Column (3 Plns)

Carpathian Lancers Regiment

Signals Grp (HQ, 1 Coy, 3 Plns



I Rifle Battalion
II Rifle Battalion
III Rifle Battalion
11th Czechoslovak (Middle Eastern) Battalion 29-Aug-41 13-Dec-41 attached
2/13 Aus Inf Battalion 02-Oct-41 17-Oct-41 attached
The Legion of Polish Officers 12-Nov-40 18-Aug-41 attached (? dates)

Higher formations served under

French Army of the Levant 12-Apr-40 20-Jun-40

GHQ Middle East Forces 20-Jun-40 28-Jun-40

HQ British Forces in Palestine & 28-Jun-40 02-Oct-40 (?)


HQ British Troops Egypt 02-Oct-40 21-Aug-41

Cairo Base Sub-Area 02-Oct-40 25-May-41 (?)

Mersa Matruh Sub-Area 25-May-41 18-Aug-41 (?)

Tobruk Fortress 21-Aug-41 11-Dec-41 (? until)

XIII Corps 11-Dec-41 03-Feb-42 (? dates)

1 SA Infantry Division 03-Feb-42 15-Mar-42

Polish Army in the East 17-Mar-42 03-May-42 (?)


French Levant -Syria 12-Apr-40 28-Jun-40

Palestine 28-Jun-40 01-Oct-40

Egypt 02-Oct-40 21-Aug-41

At Sea 21-Aug-41 22-Aug-41

Libya 22-Aug-41 15-Mar-42

Egypt 15-Mar-42 17-Mar-42

Palestine 17-Mar-42 03-May-42

Battles, actions and engagements


TOBRUK 1941 18-Nov-41 10-Dec-41

Alem Hamza 14-Dec-41 16-Dec-41

Bardia, 1942 31-Dec-41 02-Jan-42

Poland's Bravest Sons
The Rats of Tobruk Association
For books on Poland in World War II click here


22 October 2017


Contact Steve Rothwell with comments and additional information