The 1st Polish Armoured Division and the Falaise Pocket

National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London
The 1st Polish Armoured Division and the Falaise Pocket image
Event has ended
This event ended on Friday 23rd of August 2019

Booking is recommended.

Venue Information

National Army Museum
Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, SW3 4HT

Nearest Stations

Sloane Square 0.47 miles


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Join Dr Paul Latowski as he examines the role of the 1st Polish Armoured Division in this key Allied victory of the Second World War.

The Battle of the Falaise Pocket brought an end to the hard-fought Normandy campaign of 1944. The 1st Polish Armoured Division had arrived in Normandy in early August, and was attached to the Canadian Army during the operations around Falaise.

On 19 August, as thousands of German soldiers were escaping through the Chambois-St Lambert gap, the Poles captured a ridge overlooking their escape route, known as Hill 262.

Cut off from reinforcements and short of ammunition, 1,500 Poles from the division faced 100,000 desperate retreating German soldiers. For two days, they held out against furious German assaults until they were finally reinforced by the Canadians.

Addressing the Polish forces, who lost 350 men at Hill 262, General Bernard Montgomery said: 'The Germans were trapped as if in a bottle; you were the cork in that bottle.'

Dr Paul Latowski is a senior lecturer at Sandhurst and has edited a number of books including 'Contemporary Nationalism in East Central Europe'.


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