The beginnings of the 2nd Podhale Rifles Regiment go back to 1918 when the first units of the Polish forces were formed. At that time, the 32nd reserve Regiment of State Defence in which Poles comprised half of the stuff stationed in the town of Bochnia (nearby Cracow). To hear of collapse of the Austro - Hungarian monarchy they communicated between themselves and in a short time took over magazines of weapons, uniforms and food. There started surging of voluntaries from Bochnia and surroundings. Soon, a headquarter of the regiment and the reserve battalion was organized. In progress of the surge of voluntaries the new companies began to be formed. In eastern Lesser Poland bloody fights against Ukrainians had been already waging at that time. Advancing along the Carpathian range Ukrainians took over Khyriv (Polish: Chyrów) on 7 December 1918. To hear of that, the headquarter of the General District in Cracow ordered to send immediately one battalion of the 2nd Regiment to rescue Khyriv. Since the regiment did not dispose any formed battalion yet, there was sent the battalion combined with one company from Bochnia, one from Nowy Targ and a squad of machine guns from Nowy Sącz. All these companies joined up in Nowy Sącz on 9 December 1918 and got a name of the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Podhale Rifles Regiment. Sometime later the 2nd Battalion was formed in Bochnia and then the 3rd in the spring of 1919. An organizer and the first commander of the regiment became a Colonel Jerzy Kazimierz Dobrodzicki. At the day of coming into existence the 1st Battalion was transported to Sanok and set out to the Ukrainian front on 11 December 1918. The 1st Battalion met with new unknown so far enemy " the Red Army in June 1919. All three Battalions of the 2nd Regiment joined its forces in Sławeczno on 25th April 1920 and within the 1st Mountain Brigade took part in the great offensive against the Red Army in Ukraine. The 2nd Regiment invaded into the capital of Ukraine and garrisoned northern suburbs of the city holding positions for a month, that is until an order to withdraw. The regiment also took part in the Polish counteroffensive form the Wieprz river, which began on 16 August 1920, and covered itself in glory in the battle of the Neman river (Polish: Niemen) capturing, among others, the city of Grodno. The regiment came back to Sanok on 6 December 1920 and stationed here until WWII. Shortly after arriving from the front line the regimental commemorative date was appointed on the day of 23rd September (the date of the battle of Kuźnica in 1920). The regiment received a flag on 15 July 1923 during celebrations in Sanok district of Błonie. The flag was consecrated by a bishop of the Przemyśl dioceses " saint Józef Sebastian Pelczar. In the inter war period commanders of the 2nd Regiment were as follows: Col. Jerzy Dobrodzicki (1919-1920), Col. Stanisław Wróblewski (1919-1920), Col. Gustaw Truskolaski (1920-1922), Col. Franciszek Stutzman (1922-1927), Lt. Col. Eugeniusz Zuger (1927-1930), Col. Janusz Sęp-Dłużniakiewicz (1930-32), Col. Karol Swiniarski (1932-35), Lt. Col. Karol Lenczowski (1935-36), Col. Zygmunt Csadek (1936-38) and Lt. Col. Stefan Szlaszewski (1938-39). In September 1939 the 2nd Regiment was included in the 22nd Mountain Infantry Division and along with the latter became a part of the 'Cracow' Army. The Regiment manned the region of the villages of Rabsztyn and Bogucice, but on 5 September the Regiment along with the whole division started withdrawing beyond the Nida river towards Skalbmierz which reached on 6 September. Day later the regiment was unexpectedly attacked by German tanks and was dispersed. Next days are the time of constant retreat and heavy fights. The Regiment comprised the rear guard of the 22nd Mountain Infantry Division and protected the crossing over the Nida river. While performing the tusk the unit suffered severe losses near the village of Koniecmosty (the site of operation of the 1st Battalion) and Jurków (the 2nd Battalion). Despite 'Podhalans' heroic attitude, they did not prevent the drama. The remains of the 2nd Regiment under command of Lt. Col. Stefan Szlaszewski moved eastward and on 10 September 1939 crossed the Vistula river then on 19 September forced their way to the region of Bełżec and fled into the forest. After certain time soldiers headed towards the south along the Tanew river and on 22 December on the way between Tarnogród - Sieniawa they were surrounded by Germans and captured. During the fights in the region of Skrobaczów the Regimental flag was buried and handed over in the custody of the local forester Józef Jedynak who gave it to the Museum of Polish Army in Warsaw in 1966. The flag returned for a short while to Sanok in 1993 and was presented in the Historical Museum during an exhibition devoted to history of the 2nd Podhale Rifles Regiment.
 
Gen. Gustaw Truskolaski
Orchestra of the 2nd Regiment on Kościuszki street in Sanok, 3 May 1923 Ceremony of presentation of the flag to the 2nd Regiment The 1st Company of machine guns, 2 August 1925
 The House of the Polish Soldier in Sanoku, Mickiewicza street, 1929, Photograph by F. Strachocki Orchestra of the 2nd Regiment, c. 1930, a chaplain Col. Firek sits in the middle Group of non-commissioned officers and officers along with the commander of the 2nd Regiment Festival of Orchestras of the Podhale Regiments in Sanok
Saint Nicolas feast
Color Guard of the 2nd Regiment during commemoratives in Stara Wieś, 29 May 1938
Col. Zygmunt Cšadek
 Lt. Col. Stefan Szlaszewski



The mementos of the 2nd Podhale Rifles Regiment in the collection of the Historical Museum
The Historical Museum in Sanok has a certain amount of mementos relevant to history and activity of the 2nd Podhale Rifles Regiment which garrisoned in Sanok throughout the interwar period. Amid the artefacts there are five noteworthy regimental badges two of them are officer ones. A pattern and regulations of the regimental badge were confirmed in Dz. Rozk. MSWojsk. no 32 pos. 312 from October 16, 1929. The badge has one-piece form and is made in two versions " the officer's enamelled badge could be worn only by the officers and the warrant officers whereas the not enamelled badge was worn by the non-commissioned officers and the rifles. The badge shows golden laurels with the swastika ornamented with the enamelled dark blue contour. Shoulders of the swastika separate the spruce twigs enamelled with green. The white shield with initials and a number of the regiment are situated in the centre of the badge. The officer's badges were pressed in silver whereas the soldiers' in tombac, silvered and patinated. Each badge was numbered and given along with the identity card. An adjutant of the regiment kept the evidence of people being decorated. One book contains a list of the officers and civilians who were honourably decorated whereas second one contains a list of the non-commissioned officers and the rifles. The badges were mainly made in the engraving workshop of Wiktor Gontarczyk in Warsaw at 19 Miodowa Street. We have in our collection the badge of Matylda Wasylewicz who was a director of Primary School in Sanok and was given the badge for conducting training courses for non-commissioned officers and rifles. Apart from the badges we have also four four-pointed caps called also a peaked cap (Polish: rogatywka) and three 'podhale' hats and a belt. One of the interested artefacts is a clarinet used in the regimental orchestra. Yet, among the regimental mementos the most numerous group comprises photographs depicting singular soldiers as well as the whole companies. The collection of mementos are completed with posters informing about events organized or participated by the regiment, invitations and several documents produced in the regimental office such as certificates, cards or diplomas.

 

Andrzej Romaniak

Translated by: Piotr Zelny
 
 
 Officer’s memorial badge of the 2nd Regiment, a manufacture of W. Gontarczyk, Miodowa street 19, Warsaw, silver, enamel Soldier’s memorial badge of the 2nd Regiment, a manufacture of W. Gontarczyk, Miodowa street 19, Warsaw, silvered tombac  Peaked cap ‘rogatywka’, a model from 1927 with distinctions of Lt. Col. ‘Podhale’ hat, a model from 1919 with distinctions of Lt. Col.
Certificate of presenting the memorial badge of the 2nd Regiment to Capt. Tadeusz  Janiszewski, 23 March 1938 Certificate of presenting the memorial badge of the 2nd Regiment to Capt. Tadeusz Janiszewski, 23 March 1938 Invitation to the Dancing Evening for dr. Karol Zaleski, 28 September 1919 Rifle diploma of a sergeant Stanisław Glazer for a winning the 8th position in the rifle competition, 3 June 1933
 Poster: Ceremony of presentation of weaponry to the 2nd Regiment, 11 November 1938, paper, print by F. Patała in Sanok Credit mark of the Collective of the 2nd Regiment of a denomination of 1 zl Ex libris of the Library of the 2nd Regiment, the interwar period Notification of presenting the Memory Badge of the 2nd Regiment to Matylda Wasylewicz, 21 September 1936

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