WORLD WAR II: CAVALRY'S FINAL HOUR
1939 – Valiant Polish Cavalry Decimated by German Tanks
The most widespread myths of World War II is that of an infamous Polish cavalry charge against German armor. The story came from a skirmish where two Polish Lancer squadrons engaged and destroyed German infantry. After the encounter, German armored vehicles appeared and the exposed Lancers were decimated. Italian war correspondents came upon the scene and were told by German soldiers that it resulted from the cavalry having charged the tanks. The false story was then spread, and the truth was effectively buried. In reality, Polish cavalry brigades were in the process of mechanizing their forces, and were already equipped with anti-tank weapons. They would never have charged tanks with sabers or lances as portrayed by the Germans and Italians.
1943 – The Last Cavalry Charge
In the cold winter of 1943, on the steppes of the Ukraine, the German tanks were literally frozen in their tracks. Cossacks descended on the tanks, mounted on ponies which were descendants of the horses of the ancient Scythians, the first masters of cavalry.
The Cossacks swept over the frozen plain firing machine guns and throwing grenades into the German forces with deadly effect. The Cossacks fled on their swift horses before the astonished Germans had time to react.