Members’ Military History Lecture: Armoured Warfare in North-West Europe: The Polish Experience

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A lecture by Dr Paul Latawski, Senior Lecturer in the Department of War Studies, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

The 1st Polish Armoured Division (1PAD) was the only non-British or Commonwealth armoured formation in the 21st Army Group during the campaign in North-West Europe from 1944 to1945. Although trained and equipped according to British doctrine, the leadership cadre of the division were highly experienced (Poland 1939 and France 1940) and had been at the forefront of efforts to introduce mechanisation into the Polish Army. 

In his lecture, Dr Latawski will examine the lessons learned from 1PAD and consider how they adapted British doctrine and practice to the realities of the battlefield in 1944 North-West Europe.

Dr Paul Latawski is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He completed his PhD at Indiana University USA, specialising in Central and Eastern Europe, with particular emphasis on Poland. His current research interests centre on 21st Army Group operations in Normandy 1944, including a book project on the 1st Polish Armoured Division. His areas of research and teaching include: The Polish armed forces in the West, 1940-1945; Polish resistance to occupation, 1939-1945; the history of urban operations; problems of coalition command and the history of British Army doctrine. His book entitled, 'Falaise Pocket: Defeating the German Army in Normandy' was reprinted by The History Press in 2012.

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