A second attempt

After the events of the First Battle of Szubin in which the Poles suffered a heavy defeat, a second attempt was planned. This time, given the strong resistance of the Germans and their well-prepared positions, the insurgents were more cautious in their approach and planned carefully.

Given the casualties in the first battle, the Poles increased the medical support with two first-aid stations now located in nearby Lachowice forest lodge and Pińsko manor farm, each with a doctor present. And any seriously wounded insurgents would be evacuated to the hospital in Kcynia.

German forces

The German forces consisted of 400 soldiers. The commander of the Szubin defence was Second Lieutenant Dost. The forces were composed of:

Second Lieutenant Dost commanded the German forces in Szubin which numbered around 400 men, which included:

  • Infantry units
  • A German Civic Guard unit led by Second Lieutenants Arno Mantey and Kisser,
  • A machine gun unit consisting of (8 heavy machine guns and 9 light machine guns, commanded by Second Lieutenant Härzer,
  • A battery of field artillery led by Second Lieutenant Falkenhayn,
  • A unit of marines commanded by Sergeant Göritz.

Polish soldiers during the uprising.

Jarocin – Portal historyczny (historiajarocina.pl)

Polish forces

The Poles were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Kazimierz Grudzielski and were divided into two attacking groups.  

Group 1 - commander: Stanisław Śliwiński:

  • The Poznań Battalion,
  • Września Infantry Regiment commanded by Zdzisław Beutler,
  • A Heavy Machine Gun unit from Września led Alojzy Nowak and with a total of 8 heavy machine guns.
  • Two Artillery Half-Batteries with two howitzers, led by Kazimierz Nieżychowski,
  • Two field artillery pieces commanded by Tadeusz Fenrych
  • A medical support unit

A total of 783 soldiers who were directed to approach Szubin from the direction of Żnin.

Group 2

  • Wyrzysk Infantry Regiment commanded by Teofil Spychała,
  • A half-battery of howitzers commanded by Jan Chylewski.

In total: About 200 people.


The attack was to be coordinated from by head of staff of the Northern Front, Second Lieutenant Mieczysław Paluch. However, the Poles lacked information on the German forces in Szubin:

Events of the Second Battle of Szubin.

Greater Poland Uprising 1918-1919

Polish attack

At 1 in the afternoon on 11 January, Polish howitzers opened fire on the German forces, with the gunfire acting as a signal for the rest of the insurgents to attack. Unlike on previous occasions, the insurgents had planned well and knew the importance of coordinating their attack carefully.

The insurgents advanced carefully and concentrated on overcoming the German defenders and capturing the objectives one at a time. Instead of a bold yet disorganised attack, the Poles adopted a much more methodical approach.

First the windmill was captured, then the brickyard followed by the cemetery and the educational institution. At each German stronghold, the defences carefully eliminated, and the location seized by the determined insurgents.

The last German defences to be eliminated in Szubin were in the railway station, which was captured by Zdzisław Beutle’s unit and marked the end of the fighting in town.

 Elsewhere, a Polish cavalry unit commanded by K. Ciążyński failed to destroy the railway tracks towards Bydgoszcz – which is where any German reinforcements would be dispatched from. When the Germans sent an armoured train, fighting broke out:

Insurgents preparing to march during the uprising.

Jarocin – Historical Portal (historiajarocina.pl)


Overall, the battle ended as a resounding success for the Poles. Other Polish units drove out the German defenders and occupied Samoklęski Małe and Złotniki Kujawskie and eventually – along with the successes at Żnin and Łabiszyn – the insurgents liberated the whole of the north-eastern Greater Poland region. 

Further reading



Jarocin – Historical Portal (historiajarocina.pl)

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.