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The Austrian book, "Heigl's Taschenbuch der Tanks" by von Zezschwitz printed 1938 started it all...

Did a Polish A7V ever exist? I doubt it. One source in Austria sites that A7V units were transferred to Poland via France after the Great War. Historical writer after writer quotes the same Austrian source*. The problem is, nobody has ever seen a picture of a Polish A7V tank. Did any Polish A7V tanks take part in the war with the Soviet Union just following the Great War? Written combat records have never surfaced, nor has any historian in Poland or France ever documented any information on this tank. The Soviets did not record an encounter with an A7V specifically. Were the tanks immediately scrapped by Poland? Did France ever really transfer these units? Did Germany "hide" these tanks? Was it a clerical mistake? Perhaps it is simply a myth - just like Polish cavalry charging German tanks.

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The A7V

Current re-milled information that western authors state...

An example:

AFV 1914'19 (Profile, England 1970) edited by Duncan Crow (again) has:

German A7V; used captured 57 mm Russian Sokol gun as this was better than the 50 mm infantry or naval guns tried. "After the war some surplus A7Vs were acquired by Poland, and these played a brief and undecisive role in the Russo-Polish war of 1920. Five are reported to have taken part in the Battle of Warsaw. The A7V remained officially in Polish service until 1921." (page 64)



And now the truth: "I carefully read the page from the Heigl book, which you have on Internet. It states that Poland had some A7V tanks as well as British Mark V and Mark V* tanks and that is nonsense. Such a story goes against the credibility of the author. I am beginning to think that Heigl did not have good information, rather some rumors. I will ask again: which A7V did Poland get? I can account for each and every tank, hence where are they coming from? Few words on the unending story of German A7V in Polish army during the war of 1920. I hope to put the whole issue to rest. Based on the available information all A7V tanks were destroyed during or after the end of the First World War. Walther Nehring made the first mention of A7V in literature, afterwards writers just keep rewriting it. No Polish source mentions use of A7V by Polish troops. Sources to Battle of Warsaw, which is particularly well described in literature, does not mention use of A7V in any of the encounters. Until proven wrong I will unequivocally state that Poland did not use or own A7V at all. None of Polish publications on tanks and specifically on A7V claims any of these tanks in Polish army. There is no documentation to support Nehrings claim. The total production was 20 tanks. I can account for each and every of these tanks:

501 "Gretchen" scraped by the Allies in 1919.
502 Scraped by Germans in October 1918.
503 Scraped by Germans in October 1918.
504 "Schnuck" lost at Fremicourt 08/31/1918.
505 Baden 1 scraped by the Allies in 1919.
506 Mephisto lost at Villers-Bretonneux 04/24/1918, recovered by Australians, now in Queensland Museum in Brisbane, Australia.
507 "Cyklop" scraped by the Allies in 1919.
525 "Siegfried" scraped by the Allies in 1919.
526 Scraped by Germans in 06/1/1918.
527 "Lotti" lost at Pompelle Fort 06/01/1918.
528 "Hagen" lost at Fremicourt 08/31/1918.
529 "Nixe 2" lost at Remis 05/31/1918, recovered by Americans and scraped at Aberdeen Proving Grounds Museum in 1942.
540 "Heiland" scraped by the Allies in 1919.
541 Scraped by the Allies in 1919.
542 "Elfride" lost at Villers-Bretonneux 04/24/1918
543 "Hagen", "Adalbert", "Konig Wilhelm" scraped by the Allies in 1919.
560 "Alter Fritz" lost at Iwuy 10/11/1918.
561 "Nixe" scraped by Germans 04/24/1918.
562 "Herkules" scraped by Germans after 08/31/1918.
563 "Wotan" scraped by the Allies in 1919.
564 Scraped by the Allies in 1919.

There was one more A7V tank, probably completed after the war from existing parts. It belonged to Kampfwagenabteilung Vetter and later participated infighting Communists in Lipsk in first half on 1919. Later scraped. This account should put an end to the on going saga of A7V in Polish army. Heigl who mentioned that rumor was clearly wrong.

Sincerely,

Witold J. Lawrynowicz

A note from TANKS!: Mr. Lawrynowicz is an expert on Polish armor.


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Last Update: Thursday, February 13, 2003

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