Hey Indy, how did Polish troops get to France and Britain after the German Invasion? Being smuggled by boat seems most logical, but did polish troops also manage to sneak through Germany to France as well?
I would agree that at this point in the war it would not be too difficult for some troops to have escaped via the French and British navies. However, troops that were cut off from ports had a few options available to them. Firstly they could just surrender to the Germans or Soviets which many did. Later those captured by the Soviets would be freed and sent down through Russia to the Middle East and link up with the Allied forces in North Africa. Another option available to the troops was to ignore the enemy orders to turn themselves in and blend back in as civilians and from there try to make your way to the Hungarian border and from there to France. I have not found a source specifying what or where they would go after reaching Neutral (at that time) Hungary. Lastly I have read of whole Polish units who crossed into Hungary and were interned for a time before leaving and (needs more research as to why they were allowed to leave) ultimately ending up in France ready to continue the fight. This last scenario happened to Stanislaw Maczek and his famous “Black Brigade” officially known as the Polish 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade. They eventually made their way to France to fight again. They were again soon surrounded by German troops after the German Blitzkrieg into France and were forced to separate into small groups to more easily slip through the German lines and reach the Channel coast to escape to Britain.
There are several great books that cover the exodus of the Polish military after the invasion:
“The Forgotten Few, The Polish Air Force in World War II” by Adam Zamoysky
“Destiny Can Wait, The Polish Air Force in the Second World War”
“The Eagle Unbowed, Poland and the Poles in the Second World War” by Halik Kochanski
“Freely I Served” Stanislaw Sosabowski
The following books, available on Kindle, cover the exile of Poles in the Soviet Union, their “liberation”, and their travels to the Middle East:
“Trail of Hope” by Norman Davies
“Goodbye Poland” by Stefan B. Maczka
Can someone move this to the answered questions? Indy covered this topic in one OOTF video.