Targeting Łabiszyn

As part of their operations in this region, the insurgents focussed on the small town of Łabiszyn, located on the Noteć river near Żnin. The insurgents gathered at nearby Barcin, with the overall commander being Władysław Poczekaj and consisted of the following units:

  • Kruszwica group, commanded by Second Lieutenant Kazimierz Dratwiński.
  • Pakość group, commanded by Sergeant Kazimierz Szmańda.
  • Barcin group, commanded by Corporeal Leon Krukowski.

In total, there were 172 poorly armed yet determined insurgents. Facing them were around 100 German soldiers.

Activities on the northern front, January – February 1919.

Greater Poland Uprising 1918-1919


On 11 January, the Polish units advanced along road which connected the towns Kania and Łabiszyn, and towards the German positions, dividing into smaller units as they progressed and carefully encircling Łabiszyn.

On this occasion, Polish coordination was efficient – helped by intelligence gathered from local Polish residents - and the various units managed to launch their attacks simultaneously.

The speed and determined nature of the attack led to the quick capitulation of the defending German forces, clearly stunned by the rapid and aggressive Polish actions.  Unlike other skirmishes, the target – the town of Łabiszyn – was taken quickly and with a minimum of bloodshed.

Polish soldiers during the uprising.


On this occasion, the insurgents displayed cohesion and organisation, married to their usual determination, and were well led by Second Lieutenant Dratwiński - and it paid dividends.

The apparently stunned Germans were unable to offer any meaningful resistance to such a well-planned and executed attack, based around a simple plan which all the insurgents were able to grasp. This resulted in a resounding success for the insurgents.

Further reading


Maps – source materials:

1) Cartography*:

Atlas ziem polskich, tom I, Wielkie Księstwo Poznańskie, Zygmunt Światopełk Słupski, Poznań 1911.

Wielkie Księstwo Poznańskie, 1 300 000, pod red. Józefa Górskiego, Poznań 1919.

Posen, 1 : 10 000, Pharus, Berlin 1911.

Plan miasta Poznania, 1 : 15 000, pod kier. Eugeniusza Romera, Lwów 1922.

Mapa Szczegółowa Polski, 1 : 25 000, WIG, Warszawa 1920 – 1929.

Mapa Taktyczna Polski, 1 : 100 000, WIG, Warszawa 1924 – 1939.

Messtischblatt, 1 : 25 000, Königlich Preussische Landesaufnahme, Berlin 1889 – 1919.

2) Bibliography**:

Powstanie Wielkopolskie 1919, Bogusław Polak, Warszawa 2015.

Śladami Powstania Wielkopolskiego, Paweł Anders., Poznań 2008.

Encyklopedia Powstania Wielkopolskiego, pod red. Janusza Karwata i Marka Rezlera, Poznań 2018.

Ziemia gnieźnieńska w Powstaniu Wielkopolskim 1918/1919, Janusz Karwat, Poznań 2018.

Bój o Szubin, Włodzimierz Lewandowski, Aleksander Załęski, Poznań 1937.

Gemeindelexikon fur die Regierungsbezirke Allenstein, Danzig, Marienwerder, Posen, Bromberg und Oppeln, Verlag des Koniglichen Statistischen Landesamts, Berlin 1912.