WW2 Wehrmacht Battle of Lwów commemorative silver 800 ring RARE Lemberg Ukraine
The Battle of Lwów (sometimes called the Siege of Lwów) was a World War II battle for the control over the Polish city of Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine) between the Polish Army and the invading Wehrmacht and the Red Army. The city was seen as the key to the so-called Romanian Bridgehead and was defended at all cost.
Sketch showing the Polish defences around September 13
Initially, the city was not to be defended, as it was considered to be too deep behind the Polish lines and too important to Polish culture for warfare. However, the speed of the Nazi invasion and the almost-complete disintegration of the Polish reserve Prusy Army after the Battle of Łódź resulted in the city being in danger of a German assault. On September 7, 1939, General Władysław Langner started to organise the defence of the city. Initially, the Polish forces were to defend the Bełżec – Rawa Ruska – Magierów line against the advancing German forces. General Rudolf Prich was given command of the Polish forces in the area, and on September 11, he prepared a plan to defend of the area. The Polish units were to defend the line of the San River, with nests of resistance along the Żółkiew – Rawa Ruska – Janów (also called Yaniv or Ivano-Frankove) to the west of the river Wereszycą – Gródek Jagielloński line.
The following day, the first German motorised units under Colonel Ferdinand Schörner, 1st Mountain Division (Wehrmacht), arrived in the area. After capturing Sambor (66 kilometres from Lwów), Schörner ordered his units to break through the weak Polish defences and to capture the city as soon as possible. The assault group was composed of two motorised infantry companies and a battery of 150 mm guns. The group outflanked the Polish defenders and reached the outskirts of the city but was bloodily repelled by the numerically-inferior Polish defenders. The Polish commander of the sector had only three infantry platoons and two 75 mm guns, but his forces were soon reinforced and held their positions until dawn. The same day, the command of the city's defence was passed to General Franciszek Sikorski, a veteran of World War I and the Polish–Soviet War.
The following day, the main forces of Schörner arrived, and at 14:00, the Germans broke into the city centre but again were driven back after heavy city fighting with the infantry units formed of local volunteers and refugees. To strengthen the Polish defences, General Kazimierz Sosnkowski left Lwów for Przemyśl on September 13 and assumed command over a group of Polish units that was trying to break through the German lines and to reinforce the city.
Schörner decided to fall back and to encircle the city while he awaited reinforcements. His forces achieved a limited success and captured the important suburb of Zboiska [pl], together with the surrounding hills. However, the Polish forces were now reinforced with units that had been withdrawn from central Poland and new volunteer units formed within the city. In addition, the Polish 10th Motorised Brigade, under Colonel Stanisław Maczek, arrived and started the heavy fighting to take back the suburb of Zboiska. The town was recaptured, but the surrounding hills remained in German hands and gave a good view of the city centre. Schörner placed his artillery there to shell the city. In addition, the city was almost constantly bombed by the Luftwaffe. Among the main targets for the German air force and artillery were prominent buildings, such as churches, hospitals, water plant and power plants.