Roger Moorhouse 🇺🇦 Profile picture
Historian: Third Reich, Poland & WW2. Author, visiting prof & reviewer. Sometimes vulgar. Never knowingly relevant. Semper desperandum. Rep: @GeorginaCapel

Aug 26, 2018, 8 tweets

Hitler had planned for his invasion of #Poland to start #OTD on this day in 1939 - however he was momentarily spooked by the Anglo-Polish alliance and the prospect of Mussolini's arbitration and so decided to rescind the invasion order... #WW2

One detachment of #German soldiers, however, had already left their starting positions when the halt order came through, and could not be reached by radio. The group under Lt. Hans-Albrecht Herzner was invading Poland on their own.

Herzner's task was to capture and hold the strategically important rail tunnel beneath Jablunka Pass on the Polish frontier, and wait for the arrival of the German 10th Army, which he assumed would be following hard on his heels. #WW2

Herzner's men proceeded as ordered, capturing the tunnel as well as the nearby railway station at Mosty, on the Polish side of the frontier. But they soon realised that they were on their own. The 10th Army was not coming to their aid, and Polish forces were closing in. #WW2

After making radio contact and realising his error, Herzner opted for a tactical retreat. His men commandeered a train and set off back across the frontier, arriving the following morning. #WW2

The following afternoon, the local Polish commander; Gen Józef Kustroń, confronted his German counterpart to ask what had happened at Mosty, was it "peace or war" he asked. The German officer replied that the action was the work of a rogue unit, whose commander had gone insane.

A few days later, after the German invasion, Herzner posed with a few of his men outside the train station that they had captured, no doubt reminiscing about their adventure and when they single-handedly invaded #Poland. #WW2

Later that autumn, Hans-Albrecht Herzner was awarded the Iron Cross for the Jablunka action. He would not survive the war. #WW2

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