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Poland's Eastern Front 1919

There are a couple of excellent books in English on the Polish-Soviet War of 1920 but effectively nothing about the Polish-Soviet campaigns of 1919, nor very much on the simultaneous war by Poland against Ukraine. I have therefore assembled a few bits and pieces that together give an introduction to these neglected campaigns.

Poland in the Fight for its Borders

Below are several chapters from Przybylski's history of Poland's wars from its renaissance in 1918 to the end of the Soviet war. Since I can't read Polish, I have had to be content with providing a translation of the French version La Pologne en lutte pour ses frontières : 1918-1920. While not ideal, it is at least a start. For those not familiar with the issues of the war I have provided an introduction. I also added notes to the chapter texts.

Introduction to Przybylski and the Ukrainian-Polish War  in pdf  (this will open in a new window)
Przybylski Chapter 4  "November 1918 – April 1919"  in pdf  (this will open in a new window)
Przybylski Chapter 5  "April – July 1919"  in pdf  (this will open in a new window)
Przybylski Chapter 6  "General Offensive on the Russian Front"  in pdf  (this will open in a new window)

The other side of the story

Sadly however, Przybylski's history is very one-sided, both politically and in his military coverage, so I have also found some articles that give at least part of the Ukrainian version:

A Ukrainian version of the Polish-Ukrainian War  in pdf  (this will open in a new window)
Order of Battle and TOE for the Ukrainian Galician Army  in pdf  (this will open in a new window)

Other formats

Please contact me if you want the above material in another format.

Further reading

The reason why I set up these pages is precisely because there isn't very much to find, but a few books are worth looking for in Western languages:

Ukrainian Armies 1914–55 by P. Abbott and E. Pinak, Osprey Men-at-Arms #412, is a useful introduction to both the Galician and Directory Ukrainian armies with, most importantly for wargamers, discussion on the uniforms in English. It is a good book on a neglected topic, spoiled only by the publisher's rigid format not allowing anywhere near enough detail. Other details on the various Ukrainian uniforms can be found in Армии Украины 1917–1920 Годов (Armii Ukraini 1917-1920) by Ya. Tinchenko (Moscow, 2002) and a small bit in  Натиональные Армии (Nationalist Armies) by A. Deryabin.

Oddly there is no decent single source for information in English (or French) on the Polish army or uniforms of the time. A small amount of material can be found in Войска Интервентов (Interventionist Forces) and Натиональные Армии (Nationalist Armies) by A. Deryabin which can be bought in translation.

A City fights for freedom : the rising of Lwów in 1918-1919 by Rosa Bailly (translated from the original French) is a massively detailed account of the battle of L'viv (Lwow), at least from the Polish side. It is however extremely unreliable concerning the Ukrainians.

Semper Fidelis : Obrona Lwowa is a collection of photographs concerning the fighting around L'viv. Descriptions are in Polish, French and English, but sadly photos are only of the Poles.

Below is some supplementary material that Henryk Szot kindly directed me to:

Another good book on the topic, although more on preparation for the wars, is: The Lands of Partitioned Poland, 1795 - 1918, Piotrs. Wandyz, 1974, Volume VII in A History of East Central Europe, Ed. Peter Sugar, Donald Treadgold, University of Washington. This book presents a fairly neutral view of the Polish - Ukrainian relationships. It provides details on Polish (in Austria, Russia and Prussia) and Ukrainian Armed Forces prior to 1 Nov 1918.

There is also The Ukrainian-Polish Defensive Alliance, 1919–1921, An Aspect of the Ukrainian Revolution by Michael Palij, 1995. The book is primarily devoted to the politics of the situation, but some information on the battles is included.
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