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Gen. Stanisław Władysław Maczek (Lwow, March 31, 1892 - Edinburgh, December 11, 1994) was the last Commander of the First Polish Army Corps under Allied Command, and who previously led the famous First Polish Armoured Division.
Maczek served in World War I, as an officer of the Austrian Army who fought on the Italian front in 1914. Following the outbreak of World War I, Polish units were organized around the cities of Krakow and Lwow, and young Maczek volunteered his services to the reborn units of the Polish Army. He later served with distinction during World War II.
When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, Colonel Maczek commanded the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade , which had fought several battles before. On orders from Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly, the Brigade fighting the encircling Nazi forces crossed the Hungarian border where it was interned. It is considered to be the only Polish unit not to lose a single battle in 1939.
After the end of the September campaing he made it to France, where he prepared a detailed report of the Blitzkrieg tactics, its usage, effectiveness and possible precautions. This report was however completly disregarded by French stuff (Germans captured it - unopened). When Nazis invaded France in 1940, Gen. Maczek was given charge of the 10th Polish Armoured Cavalry Brigade , which fought bloody battles against the invader on June 16 and 17, and scored important victories in the vicinity of Montbard, and on the Burgundy Canal.
In February 1942, Gen. Maczek formed the 1st Polish Armoured Division which proved its worth during the 1944 invasion of Europe. During the Battle of Normandy, Polish troops took part in the encircling move against Nazi troops, and were credited with the closing of the Caen-Falaise Gap, where 14 German divisions were trapped and destroyed (see: Falaise).
The Division's "moment of glory" came when its forces captured the German port of Wilhelmshaven and accepted the surrender of the entire garrison, which included some 200 vessels of Hitler's navy.
Gen. Maczek commanded the First Armoured until the end of the hostilities in Europe, and was named Lieutenant General that same year.
After the war he was deprived of Polish citizenship by the Communist puppet government in Poland and thus had to stay in Britain. As he was not considered an Allied soldier, the British authorities declined combatant rights and military pension to him. Until the sixties he worked as a bartender in a hotel in Edinburgh. He died in 1994 at the age of 102. He is buried among his soldiers at the Polish military cementery in Breda, Holland.
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