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Battle of Stoczek
The Russian Army commanded by Field Marshal Ivan Dybich entered Poland on February 4 and started a fast advance towards Warsaw. Dybich planned to outflank the Poles from the north and sent a Corps under Teodor Geismar to the Brześć road. Although both Geismar and Dybich were informed of the Polish presence in the area, underestimated the enemy and decided to ignore the Polish units operating in the area. General Józef Dwernicki , commander of the Polish forces in the area, decided to reorganise his units into a weak cavalry division. He managed to gather 14 cavalry squadrons, 3 infantry battalions and 6 guns (approximately 1000 men at arms altogether) and on February 10 he crossed the Vistula River.
The main forces of Field Marshal Dybich were marching towards Warsaw from the direction of Lublin while the Corps of General Geismar was marching along the Brześć road. The two units lost contact with each other and left a huge gap in between, which was used by Dwernicki to drive his wedge to the rear of the advancing Russians. Moreover, the northern part of the Russian army was marching in two columns, without any cover or contact with the other column.
In the morning of February 14 the first of the columns was ambushed by the, numerically inferior, Polish cavalry. Before the Russians regrouped, they were bombarded with a flanking fire of Polish artillery and their ranks quickly collapsed. The Russian column was captured between the rear column of Geismar's forces and the charging Polish cavalry. When the latter unit entered combat, it had to form the lines under Polish fire and with own forces already in retreat. After a short battle, Geismar ordered all his troops to retreat.
The battle of Stoczek was the first Polish victory in the war and had a tremendous effect on Polish morale. Also, although Dwernicki did not destroy the enemy unit completely, it did not join the rest of the Russian forces and the left flank of the Polish forces preparing for the Battle of Olszynka Grochowska was secured.
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