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Warsaw Army Museum

The Polish National Army Museum is a must-visit site for any fan of military history. I could have spent a whole day there.

In the event I only got two hours and just did the 1914-1925 stretch of it, slowed down considerably by the number of photos and notes I took.

The WWI Uniforms

There was a cabinet for each of the foreign powers that Poles served with in WWI: France, Germany, Austria and Russia. Although not of the Pygmy Wars period, so many of these soldiers served in the new Polish Army with their old uniforms and equipment I felt it was worth taking at least a few photos.

I struggled to take good photos sometimes thanks to the intervening glass and the awkward positions of some mannequins. Further reducing quality, the files have had to be compressed to fit on the site.

The WWI uniforms in Warsaw  a 2.7 MB .zip file of .jpg files  (will open in a new window)

W03: a cabinet devoted to Poles in Russian Service.
W04: Officers of the 1st Lancers Regiment
W05: A lieutenant of the 5th Siberian Rifle Division.
W06: Pulawy Legion.
W07: A colonel of the 1st Polish Corps.
W08: A captain of the 1st Engineer Corps.
W09: The cap of a lieutenant-colonel of the horse artillery.
W10: The cap of a private of the 4th Rifle division.
W11: The cap of an officer in a Murmansk unit.
W12: Some sort of dress uniform of a cavalryman.
W13: a cabinet devoted to the Polish Army in France. My notes are a trifle confused, but I think this includes a Polish Volunteer (early uniform), a Pole in French service (horizon blue), one of General Haller’s uniforms, 5th Legion (??) and a colonel of horse artillery (cap with black band and red piping) and three caps.
W14: caps belonging to officers in French service.
W15: cabinets devoted to Poles in German and Austrian service, for which I did not get time to take proper notes. I suspect “a” and “b” are a cabinet for German service, and “c” is for the Austrians. Both cabinets appear to have uniforms labelled “Polish Legion”.
W16: clearly labelled as a junior officer of the Polish Legion.
W17: clearly labelled as a hats of the Polish Legion.
W18: a uniform labelled 2nd Lancers Regiment and an officers cap of that regiment. The mannekin with fur collar next to this (in photo W15c) is also labelled as this.
W19: the left-most uniform in photo W15b is labelled as a lancer of the 1st Lancers Regiment of the Polish Legions.

The 1919-1920 Uniforms

There were loads of uniforms relating to the Soviet-Polish war: unusually for the Poles most of them being infantrymen, which was a nice change.

Again the intervening glass, awkward positions and compressed files reduce quality somewhat.

The 1919-1920 uniforms in Warsaw  a 3.3 MB .zip file of .jpg files  (will open in a new window)

W20: a cabinet for the Poznan army and the Silesian Uprising, 1919.
W21: insurgent from the time of the 3rd Silesian Uprising.
W22: the uniform of General Dowbor-Musnicki.
W23: officer of a ballon unit.
W24: corporal of the 1st Wielkopolski (Great Poland) Lancer Regiment.
W25: a cabinet labelled Russo-Polish War.
W26: a private of the 3rd Infantry regiment, with German model tunic and Springfield rifle.
W27: a trooper of the 1st Krechowiecki Lancer Regiment.
W28: uniform of General Szeptycki.
W29: a cabinet labelled Battle of Warsaw. Note the lance in the background. I believe the rifles are a Wernd and a Berthier.
W30: a uniform for a Haller unit (unfortunately my photo of the label did not come out).
W31: a trooper of the 14th Jazlowiecki Lancer Regiment.
W32: a flying officer of the Air Force.
W33: Captain of the 2nd Lancer Regiment.
W34: Aide-de-Camp to the Commander-in-Chief (a Captain)
W35: three caps (I missed the label).
W36: a second cabinet labelled the Battle of Warsaw. The rifles are a Lebel, a Moisin and a Mannlicher.  
W37: a private of the 1st Legion Infantry Division.
W38: Tartar Lancer.
W39: 4th Lancer Regiment. The fabric for this appears to be German.
W40: Two Budennovkas and a Soviet flag. Also in the background, but not visible in this picture appears to be some captured cap and tunic (judging by the red star on the cap).
W41: Life-Guard of the Commander-in-Chief.
W42: a cabinet labelled “Infantry”, which seems to be largely post-1920.
W43: The cabinet also included at least one Silesian insurgent. This may be the one in W42a to the left of the Woman Volunteer.
W44: a captain of the Volunteer Women’s Legion. No indication of if this is from the 1920 period, but the rest of the cabinet is not, so perhaps it is later. (This tunic may be cut from English cloth.)
W45: the official M1919 uniform for a corporal. (With the little eagles on the buttons, braid around the neck and helmet, it wouldn’t have been very common for the 1920 period.)
W46: a lieutenant of a Podhole Rifle unit from the post war period, but kept for the greatcoat and the odd hat. The officer mannekins either side are also post-war.
W47: There was a corresponding "Cavalry" cabinet to the “Infantry” one, but these were largely dress or post-war so I took no photos.
W48: I think this cabinet may have been labelled “The War in the East”, but I’m not entirely sure.
W49: private of the Volunteer Army. He has an Enfield. The tunic seemed to be almost Russian coloured to me. The cloth strap attaches to a leather bag.
W50: General Sosnikowski’s uniform in German grey, with a slightly greener cap.
W51: One of Piłsudski’s uniforms in pike grey, though the cap is bluer.

The Flags

There were about 30 flags for each of the WWI period, the 1919-1920 period and the inter-war period hung high up on the ceiling. Generally they tended to follow the same basic designs, though the post-war ones were clearly more ornate.

I took notes on and photos of most of the 1919-1920 ones but, as they are very close together, seeing the detail in some of them was impossible. Although I was allowed to take photos, I was not permitted to use a flash. Since they were in a dark ceiling, this was too much of a challenge for my camera and meant that the pictures really didn’t come out too well. (It would take someone with an expensive camera and a tripod most of a day to get them properly, and even then the angle is always going to be bad.)

I believe that the combination of the notes and photos, as crappy as they are, allows the most common elements to emerge.

The flags in Warsaw  a 2.3 MB .zip file of .jpg files  (will open in a new window)

In the following notes, the obverse is described in the first line, the reverse in the next, and then a line noting the edging, the finial and the scarves knotted on the pole (these were particularly hard to get right). The photos are “a” for obverse, “b” for reverse and “c” onwards for supplementary pictures.

“Red” means basically the colour of the red portion of the modern Polish flag, with “scarlet” being a brighter tone. White, yellow and gold were hard to distinguish in many cases, and I would not swear I have them right. I have used the term “Madonna” to indicate the Virgin holding a child and the term “icon” to indicate when a picture is drawn in a very Orthodox style.

I often noted the wording I could see, but the angle of viewing means that the letters are only best guesses. Generally words were in capitals, though the leading letter was often larger. The flags were usually well enough made, but were entirely random in style, colouring, size and shape.

WF01: 22nd Infantry Regiment:
    » a white eagle with “22 P.P.” on red ground.
    » an “icon” Madonna surrounded by stars straight onto white ground.
    » gold tasselling, no finial, a small red scarf and small white scarf
WF02: Wilno Rifle Regiment
    » a white eagle towards the top right and a diamond-shaped painting on the left halfway up which is surrounded by a yellow line and heavy yellow rays projecting from it, all on a material that looks like old blanket and is now a reddish-khaki colour, but was presumably redder originally.
    » a colourful (but obscured) diamond shaped painting, edged thinly in yellow, on the same blanket material
    » no edging but the end of the flag is knotted tassels, ball finial, no scarf
WF03: 33rd Infantry Regiment: quite a small flag, probably square
    » eagle with laurels and a heavily embroidered edge.
    » Madonna on whitish rectangle scattered with stars, trimmed in pale, on red ground.
    » thin white edging with heavy gold tasselling, eagle in spearhead finial, red scarf with white writing and gold tasselling at the end
WF04: 6th Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment: this flag was unusually tall
    » “6~~ ~~~” over a very ornate eagle over “II baonu 27 p.p.” all white on a deep red ground
    » “za obrone” over a big rectangular painting (undecipherable) over something like “włodzimierz a-wol” in a curve, all big white letters on a deep red ground.
    » thin white edging with heavy gold tasselling, no finial, no scarf
WF05: 149th Kresowy Rifle Regiment
    » a sacred heart emblem inside a square formed from ornate art nouveau trim, with white background
    » white eagle on red circle on white background.
    » on the obverse at least, edged in thin gold strip with red diamonds on it, tasselled gold; eagle in spearhead finial, white scarf with some writing on it
WF06: 37th Infantry Regiment
    » a picture of a town plus three heraldic shields on a white ground
    » red maltese on white, with “37”s inside large laurels in corners and writing on the red.
    » gold edging, large eagle on rectangle finial, red and white scarf with gold tasselling on the end.
WF07: 12th Infantry Regiment: a longer than usual flag on a stripey pole
    » an “icon” madonna in a square with writing around on an embroidered white ground.
    » a white eagle with “bog I ojczyznai” above in gold, on a red ground
    » thin gold edging with tasselling on the end only, eagle over rectangle finial, red-faced-white (?) scarf
WF08: 20th Infantry Regiment
    » a naïve madonna on white; “20”s shoved right into the corners, surrounded by laurels
    » eagle on quite a dark red, gold “20”s in the corners surrounded by white laurels
    vno edging, spike over ball finial, small red and white scarf
WF09: 76th Infantry Regiment
    » in the centre a large shield with an eagle on the left and a knight on the right, surrounded by red embroidery on a red background.
    » the virgin on a blue rectangle, with a thin gold edge, on an embroidered red background.
    » no edging, sharp spike instead of finial, no scarf
WF10: 28th Infantry Regiment: a very small flag, probably square
    » some messy gold on red stuff (this flag was very hard to get a good look at).
    » madonna or similar, and again messy gold on red.
    » perhaps some thin gold edging, no finial, a scarlet scarf, with white near the pole.
WF11: 6th Infantry Division: this flag may well be square, or is otherwise small
    » a sacred heart emblem inside thorns with white background
    » white eagle on red circle on white background.
    » no edging, ball finial, no scarf
WF12: 1st Podhole Rifle Regiment: quite a
    » an “icon” madonna in a gold square, trimmed with gold and with something like fleurs-de-lys poking out of the corners; all on a red background.
    » a gold eagle on red
    » thick gold edging, eagle on book (?) finial, white scarf with writing between laurels (?) on one side
WF13: 101st Soviet Rifle Regiment
    » this flag is not hung from the ceiling, but is on the wall behind one of the cabinets W40a. Only the obverse can be seen. It is a very faded red, with a small white star in the centre with a very rough hammer and sickle on the star. Below that can be seen part of the unit’s name “101ый Стреи~~ Ролк”.
WF14: 53rd Kresowy Rifle Regiment: this flag seems to be square
    » white eagle on red ground, with “53” in laurels in the corners
    » an “icon” madonna in a box on a white ground. The box is outined with white and red lines that extend past the edges a bit.
    » edged in red and white, making it look like there is a red line inside the edge, the finial is a sharp spike, the wide and long scarf is red-faced-white
WF15: 205th Infantry Regiment
    » a picture of St Francis, or someone similar, on a pale blue ground.
    » a red maltese cross on white. In gold in each corner is “205” surrounded by laurels. In the top area it reads “205” above “pulk” above “piech~~”; in the left it has “honor i”; in the right it has “ojczyzna” or similar; in the bottom it has “jana” above “kilinskiego”.
    » gold tasselling, eagle finial, red and white scarves ending in gold tasselling.
WF16: 1st Legion Infantry Regiment: this is quite a small flag.
    » a Russian style flag. A white eagle on red ground is surrounded by two concentric rectangles, the outer one nearly at the flag’s edge and the inner one’s lines extending so as to meet the outer one. In the squares formed by this in the corners are balls. (I’d guess that the lines and balls are gold)
    » a gold madonna in a circle is on a white ground which includes the outline of a maltese cross. The top box has “wilno”; the left has “19” with a “J” above and to the right; the right has “19” with some obscure letter above and to the left; and the bottom has something like “wiel=” and then below that “kamoc”.
    » gold tasselling, no finial, thin red scarves.
WF17: 12th Podhole Lancers Regiment
    » “icon” madonna in box on white ground (my notes indicate that something like “z bociem za jczyzne” appears on the flag somewhere, probably the obverse, above and below the madonna)
    » eagle on laurel
    » perhaps thin gold edging, eagle on ball finial, blue scarves trimmed in dark red (?)
WF18: 202nd Infantry Regiment
    » noted as identical in style to 201st IR (below) but perhaps a more scarlet ground.
    » eagle on laurel
    » gold tasselling, eagle on rectangle finial
WF19: 201st Infantry Regiment
    » “201st Polk” over eagle over “strzelcow pieszych” (presumably all gold) on red ground
    » “wojsko polskie” (presumably gold) on red ground
    » gold tasselling, eagle on rectangle finial, no scarf
WF20: 80th Infantry Regiment
    » “honor I ojczyzna” in gold above a gold crown above an eagle on the left and knight on the right (I had seen this emblem elsewhere in Poland)
    » Mary in a box with (religious?) writing in gold above and below, on a white background.
    » thin gold edging + tasselling, spear point over eagle/knight emblem (?) in circle, no scarf
WF21: 10th Infantry Regiment: a smallish flag probably square
    » Jesus in a large vertical rectange box on white ground, with writing around
    » red maltese cross on white, with an eagle in a red circle edged laurels and the number “10” in laurels in the corners and gold writing on the cross bits.
    » thick (gold?) edging on obverse only + tasselling, eagle  on rectangle finial, small white silk scarf.
WF22: Grudziadz Rifle Regiment: NB a small flag
    » didn’t take notes on this one, but the obverse has a dark eagle (white embroidery?) on laurels with writing curving beneath on a red ground, with a shield in the top right corner
    » reverse uncertain
    » thick gold edging, gold eagle on ball finial, gold tasselled cord.
WF23: 80th Infantry Regiment
    » a religious emblem in gold in the centre – a chalice over crossed cross and anchor (?) – and gold writing and decoration around on scarlet ground, with definitely “1920” noted
    » gold field with hard to decipher embroidery (?) in basically the same colour
    » gold (?) edging, small eagle over ball finial, no scarves
WF24: Golancza Company
    » didn’t take notes on this, but the obverse is an embroidered white eagle on red ground, with black writing above.
    » reverse uncertain
    » white edging, point over ball finial, no scarf.
WF25: 6th Wielkopolska Rifle Regiment: NB a very small flag, probably square
    » a red maltese cross on white (perhaps yellow), with a white eagle in the centre on a laurel base.
    » a small gold maltese cross on gold (sic) ground with writing around it.
    » no edging, small point finial, bright red scarf (perhaps faced white)
WF26: 1st Wielkopolska Rifle Regiment: a smallish flag.
    » a white eagle on red ground, with 4 small shields in the corners and one on the top and some cipher of the date across the bottom in black “19 ?? 19”.
    » a small maltese cross in gold on a white (?) ground
    » thin goldish edging, eagle finial, long red-faced-white scarves with writing and another in white with blue stripes by the edge.
WF27: 12th Wielkopolska Rifle Regiment: NB: a very small flag, probably square
    » a red maltese cross on white, with a white eagle in the centre (with black body?)
    » gold writing (presumably on a red ground) with a shield emblem.
    » no edging, eagle finial on ball, no scarf
WF28: 4th Silesian Insurgents Regiment
    » didn’t take notes for this, but the obverse is a white eagle on red ground, with writing above and below and a thin darkish line forming a rectange around this.
    » reverse is uncertain.
    » very thin white edging (?), ball finial, no scarf
WF29: Zaglebie Infantry Regiment:
    » didn’t take notes for this, but the obverse appears to be a white eagle on burgundy (almost purple) ground.
    » reverse is uncertain
    » no edging, ball finial, red/white scarf.
WF30: Airforce of the Wielkopolska Army:    
    » didn’t takes notes for this, but the obverse is clearly a white winged emblem on red ground.
    » reverse is uncertain
    » no edging, no finial, no scarves
WF31: the collected flags for the 1919-1920 period hanging from the ceiling.
This shows just how much variation in size and shape there was.
WF32: a picture entitled “The Decoration of the Standard of the 1st Krechowiecki Lancer Regiment”.
Although the episode probably dates to the inter-war period, it shows that at least some flags were parti-coloured red and white along the lines of the national flag. A couple of examples (outside 1919-1920) had this pattern.
WF33: an inter-war cavalry guidon.
WF34: inter-war trumpets
showing the variety of decorations, many using motifs similar to the flags but others using the regimental colours.


There were also a collection of small arms on display. I'm not much into that sort of thing, so I was pretty sparse with the photos. I did note though that virtually every country's weapons were on display, showing the heterogenerous nature of Poland's armaments in 1919 and 1920 pretty well.

Outside there was an excellent collection of tanks, planes and artillery. I was only interested in the guns used by Poland in 1919-1920, of which there were several.

Weapons in Warsaw  a 1.0 MB .zip file of .jpg files  (will open in a new window)

W49: there were many weapons scattered around as well between the uniforms, especially machine-guns and mortars. The rifles were mostly attached with appropriate mannequins, and I have noted some, but not all, of them. There were also French, German and, I suppose, Russian saddles.
W50: M1904 76.2mm Mountain Gun. Stated as designed by the Obuchovsky Factory in Russia, and designed to be broken into 5 pieces for transport by mule. Apparently 294 were ordered by the Russian Army and used in WWI.
W51: M1909 76.2mm Mountain Gun. Built by Schneider in France, and then from 1909 in Russia. Designed to be broken into 6 main components for transport by mules. By 1914 the Russian Army had 440 of them, and in 1941 there were 1,121. This particular gun was produced in 1915 at the Putilov Factory in St Petersburg.
W52: M1902/30 76.2mm Field Gun. Based on the Putilov M1902 gun, of which there were 7,621 by June 1917. In 1930 the Perm Artillery Factory modernised the carriage and added a longer barrel. The M1902 model was also remodelled by the Polish Army between the wars to take 75mm shells and designated the 02/26 model.
W53: BL Mk1 60-pdr Field Gun (127mm). Built in Great Britain, and 52 delivered to Russia. This gun was used by the Red Army and captured by the Poles on the Northern Front in 1920.
W54: M1910/30 122mm Field Howitzer. The original model was designed by Schneider in France. There were 558 produced in the Obuchovsky Factory in Russia up to 1917. Production continued by the Red Army, and in 1930 the Perm factory modernised the chassis.
W54: M1917 155mm Field Howitzer. Built by the Schneider company in France, a number were delivered to Poland in mid-1919 and were used at the Battle of Warsaw. There were 206 in the Polish Armed forces in October 1920. They served into WWII.
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