On the third of September 1939, a violent clash erupted near the rural hamlet of Bukowiec in Poland. It was to be a battle of immense consequence, as the valiant 16th Greater Poland Uhlan Regiment, commanded by the resolute Lt. Col. Julian Arnoldt-Russocki, would lock horns with the formidable Wehrmacht 3rd Panzer Division.

This was a battle that would be won or lost in an instant, and the fate of many hung in the balance.

To bolster their efforts, the Polish forces were supported by the 2nd battery of the 11th horse artillery squadron, led by the courageous Capt. Janusz Pasturak.

However, the enemy was not to be underestimated, for they too had brought their full might to bear, reinforced by a unit of the 23rd Motorized Infantry Regiment and a lethal squadron of seventeen Luftwaffe bombers.

The stage was set for a bloody confrontation, as the two sides squared off against each other in a deadly game of tactics and strategy. It was a battle that would test the mettle of even the most hardened warrior, and the outcome would be decided by a razor's edge. The only certainty was that the consequences of this clash would reverberate across Europe, shaping the course of history for years to come.

A rich history

Bukowiec is a small village located in central Poland, with a history that dates back to the Middle Ages. The village was initially settled by Germanic tribes in the 5th century, and it wasn't until the 10th century that the Slavic tribes, specifically the Piasts, established their rule over the region.

During the 14th century, Bukowiec was a part of the Kingdom of Poland, which was ruled by the Jagiellonian dynasty. The village was granted certain privileges by King Casimir III the Great, including the right to hold weekly markets and annual fairs. These events helped to spur the local economy and attract traders and merchants from nearby regions.

In the 16th century, Bukowiec became a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which was a federal state that existed from 1569 to 1795. The Commonwealth was one of the largest and most populous states in Europe at the time, and it played an important role in the political and cultural life of the region.

During the 18th century, Bukowiec was annexed by Prussia as a result of the partitions of Poland. This period was marked by significant political and economic upheaval, as the village was forced to adapt to new rulers and new systems of governance.

In the late 19th century, Bukowiec became a part of the Russian Empire, following the third partition of Poland. During this time, the village saw significant growth and development, with the construction of new roads, buildings, and other infrastructure.

In 1918, following the end of the First World War, Bukowiec became a part of the newly created Second Polish Republic. This period was marked by significant economic and social development, as the country worked to rebuild after the devastation of the war.


At the break of dawn on September 3, the 16th Greater Poland Uhlans Regiment, despite their limited resources and armaments, set off on a perilous mission towards Poledno - Gruczno. Their intrepid commander, Lt. Col. Arnoldt-Russocki, had been given a crucial order: "Insure the retreating brigade towards the town of Bukowiec. To break away from the enemy not earlier than at 12:00".

The regiment's journey was fraught with danger, as they navigated treacherous terrain and enemy territory. However, their steadfast determination and unwavering resolve propelled them forward towards their objective.

As they approached Bukowiec, approximately 2 kilometers away, they stumbled upon a fortuitous encounter with the 2nd battery of the 11th horse artillery squadron, under the command of the indomitable Capt. Janusz Pasturczak. After a brief exchange, the audacious captain proposed a joint effort, determined not to remain idle while their compatriots battled on the front lines.

It was a daring move, but one that exemplified the tenacity and resourcefulness of these Polish troops. With a steely resolve and an unwavering determination, the 16th Greater Poland Uhlans Regiment and the 2nd battery of the 11th horse artillery squadron pushed forward, determined to secure their mission and defend their homeland against the encroaching German forces.

A clash of arms

As the 16th Regiment braced themselves for an impending enemy attack, they took up positions along the railroad tracks, determined to defend their homeland at all costs. In a bold move, they dispatched a reconnaissance team to investigate and report back on the enemy's movements.

What they discovered was cause for great concern, as a large group of Wehrmacht tanks, numbering approximately 100 vehicles, were spotted in Polskie Łąki, a mere 3 kilometers from their battle site.

Undeterred, the 2nd battery of the 11th DAC took its place at the rail-road crossing in front of the German troops, awaiting the inevitable clash. As the first vehicles appeared on the horizon, the Polish forces sprang into action, repulsing the enemy's initial attack and destroying 15 of the 3rd Panzer Division's tanks.

The 2nd battery of the 11th Dak was especially impressive, accounting for nearly half of the enemy's losses in the battle. However, their victory was short-lived, as the Germans launched a larger and more ferocious second attack, supported by a barrage of Luftwaffe bombers.

The Polish forces were taking heavy losses, and both of their radio stations were lost in the chaos of battle. It was a grim situation, and as losses continued to mount, Lt. Col. Arnoldt-Russocki made the difficult decision to order a withdrawal from the battlefield after 12 o'clock.

Though it was a painful setback for the Polish army, the courage and determination shown by the 16th Regiment and the 2nd battery of the 11th DAC were a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Polish people. Despite being vastly outnumbered and outgunned, they refused to give up without a fight, and their bravery in the face of such overwhelming odds would inspire future generations to stand up for their beliefs and fight for their freedom.

The battle in and around the village of Bukowiec was a bitter and bloody conflict that claimed the lives of 131 soldiers from the 16th Regiment of Greater Poland Lancers.

These valiant fighters laid down their lives in defence of their homeland, standing firm against the Nazi invaders who sought to crush their spirit and subjugate their people.