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  © Michal Derela, 2013-2019 Updated: 26. 03. 2019

Draisines of Polish armoured trains in 1939 – a gallery

This page is a supplement to an article about Polish armoured draisines, containing a choice of photos of Polish armoured draisines destroyed or abandoned in September 1939 campaign of World War II (photos of Tatra draisines are one a separate page). The photos were mostly taken by unknown German soldiers. Unfortunately, a quality of available copies is in most cases inadequate - we will be grateful for better copies or other photos.

Armoured trains Nr.11 and Nr.14

Polish armoured draisine R (Renault FT-17)

Armoured draisine R with octagonal turret, reg.no. W15-875, most probably from Nr 11 armoured train, abandoned near of Zduny (west of Warsaw). Before it, details of a tankette's rail runner can be seen. The tank seems to have a skull emblem on a side →

(According to one crewman's report, Nr.11 armoured train was blown up before abandonment, along with its R draisines. It raises some doubts, since the photos of the train show no external damage. Photos of the draisine above are in the same scenery, as Nr.11 train, and it might actually be present in a background, on the same track - unfortunately, a quality of upper right photo does not allow to tell.)

A photo on the right shows remains of R draisine of Nr.14 armoured train, which was blown up by the crew in the same area. We had expressed doubts as for its identification, but lately there have been published photos of this draisine coupled to Nr.14 train (buffers to the right belong to its flatcar). There are no reports about this train's destruction, and a fate of its other draisines is not known (the second R draisine was not present with the destroyed train).

Left photo depicts Renault FT tank, abandoned on a ground. Photos of this tank were described by the Germans as taken in Łowicz area, so if it was correct, it must have belonged to one of the two trains mentioned above. It is confirmed also by a shelf on a side, probably with a battery, typical for FT tanks modified with an addition of electric installation. An inscription is German. Upon an engine compartment there lies a tripod of Hotchkiss HMG.

Armoured train Nr.12

Locomotive Ti3 series draisines: TKS (1) R (1) TKS (2)TKS (3) TKS (4) R (2) TKS (5)

Photos of armoured draisines' platoon of the train Nr.12 ("Poznańczyk"), abandoned in Płochocin village, on the way towards Warsaw. Photos of the train itself are in its gallery.
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On left photo, an R armoured draisine is on a foreground (nr. 1 on a sketch), with well visible loading ramp. Next there is empty tankette runner (2), a second runner thrown off of a track (3), front of a TKS draisine (4) and front of a second R draisine (2). The armoured train is barely visible farther on the track. Other photos prove, that initially there were tankettes on all runners, and all were modified for radio equipment.
Further photos of the first R draisine (reg. no. W15-871). Behind it there is a TKS draisine (1) (below) and an ordinary locomotive, probably Ti3 class (Ti3-6?). In front of the draisine R there is an empty tankette runner (2). On a left photo there is a jack for turning a TKS draisine visible next to the track. Below, a spare wheel and external ammunition box in a radio-fitted tankette are well visible.

Above: farther draisine TKS (4) and the second draisine R (reg.no. W15-872) of the train Nr.12, parked above a culvert. The TKS tankette is fitted for radio, has a tactical sign attached to a side (rarely seen on combat vehicles) and apparently wears an old camouflage, with sharp division lines. Behind the draisine R there is another draisine TKS (5), and then a flatcar and the armoured train.

 Left and below: the same TKS-R-TKS draisine unit. Visible is last TKS draisine (5) - a way of mounting an anti-aircraft MG mast on a rear plate and an ammunition box on a left fender indicate a radio-fitted tankette. On a paralel track there is a civilian fast train locomotive Pd5-8 (Prussian S6 class).
A view from the other side, near the culvert, with the second track cleared. Visible is a draisine TKS (4) and a draisine R (2). The armoured train is in a background. The photograph shows the signal box of Płochocin train station.
An interesting photo, showing all three tankettes between draisines R. On a foreground, the draisine R (2), modified with electric installation, next the draisine TKS heading left (4). Noteworthy are both tankettes TKS heading right (2 and 3), which are lacking on majority of photographs, along with one tankette runner (3) - a purpose of removing them only is unknown. In a background, another draisine R (1).
Left: as above, but lacking one TKS (2). Below: the same draisines TKS (3 and 4) and the draisine R (2) from left side. Well-visible is an anti-aircraft MG mast on a rear slanted plate, and an ammunition box, this time on a right fender, indicating a radio-fitted tankette (3).

Draisines R (left: 1, right: 2) and TKS (4) from the train Nr. 12 taken by the Germans to some depot station (probably Ożarów Mazowiecki or Błonie).

See a gallery of the destroyed train Nr.12

Draisine platoon from the 1st Armoured Train Unit

wz.34carTK (1) TK (2)R (1) TK (3)TK (4) TK (5) R (2)wagon Kd
The photos shown an abandoned draisine platoon from the 1st Armoured Train Unit, dispatched to Tczew before the war (see below)*.

From left: a half-track car wz.34 of a repair patrol on a rail runner (reg.no. W10-961), a draisine TK (TK-3) (heading right), empty TK tankette runer (heading left), a draisine R (heading right), empty TK tankette runner (heading right), two draisines TK and a draisine R (heading right). Note rather symbolic camouflage of tree branches.
A close-up of two TK draisines (4 and 5), probably burned by their crews. Both are fitted for radio (they have external ammunition boxes and anti-aircraft masts moved to a rear wall). The second tankette has damaged track gear. Between them, a destroyed sidecar motorcycle, probably CWS M-111 (Sokół 1000).

Photo courtesy of Adam Jońca
Draisines TK (4 and 5) and R (2) of this unit, apparently hauled away by the Germans to an other location.
A close-up of a draisine TK (4) in original location. Paint condition suggests, that it was burnt. A rarely visible searchlight is mounted on a left side (it was usually carried inside). Visible is a fragment of a supporting beam below the tankette, lifted high. A machine gun 7.92 mm Hotchkiss wz.25 has not been removed by the crew.
A close-up of a draisine R (2), with a conical turret. Visible is a driving shaft below the draisine. Rear lamps prove, that the tank was fitted with electric installation. A purpose of a plate above a track and a pipe guard(?) on a right side, below a turret, remains unidentified.

* The photographs have been identified as a platoon from the 1st Armoured Train Unit (1 Dywizjon Pociągów Pancernych) in Legionowo, initially meant for armoured train Nr.13. The platoon was sent before the war to guard a railway bridge in Tczew (Dirschau), which was a border between Poland and Free City of Danzig (the Germans made an attempt to capture the bridge at the outbreak of the war, by sending a troop train instead of a scheduled passenger train, but thanks to sacrifice of Polish railroaders, they failed to deceive the defenders and the bridge was blown up). The platoon was later withdrawn towards Warsaw and there is no information on its fate. The area might be a railway jam due to bombing of an ammunition train near Ożarów Mazowiecki, west of Warsaw. According to other publications, it is a vicinity of Toruń. Our thanks to Kamil Stepan for help in identification.

Armoured train Nr.54

TKS (1)TKS (2) TKS (3) R draisinetank wagon
Draisine R and three draisines TKS of the train Nr.54 ("Groźny"), abandoned at Biadoliny station. The draisine R has front lights visible. This train lost one TKS draisine and/or R draisine in an accident.
Poor quality photo, showing the same platoon from the other side, with a tanker wagon (R series) in a background.
Partially obscured, nevertheless interesting photo of Nr.54 train's draisines - this time without a tanker. Note a way of mounting a spare wheel, different than in Nr.12 train's tankettes. Along with moving an AAMG mast to a rear slanted plate, it indicated tankettes fitted for radio.

Armoured train Nr.55

Renault FT tank of the train Nr.55 ("Bartosz Głowacki"), damaged and left on 14 September 1939 in Zhabinka. Closer examination of upper left photograph reveals, that initially the tank had intact tracks and stood on left track, then it must have been pushed to a strip between the tracks, where it is seen on most photographs. On upper right photograph, original trackprint of long-pitch FT tracks is visible (one might wonder, why the tank was pushed there, where it apparently blocked both tracks, instead of just being pushed aside...). On bottom photos there are visible empty runners for TKS tankette (three tankettes were lost at Zhabinka on the ground) and for FT tank (on the right). According to A. Jońca, the tank formerly had a number 1038, although a box with a number comes from the tank 1028 (these numbers were abandoned in 1937, when military vehicles received unified registration numbers).

Unidentified draisines

Draisine R with conical turret, from unidentified train (photos apparently come from different locations). It has a number 2 on a rear plate. Note small bulges on a turret on both sides of a gun, rarely seen on Renault FT (one of rare exceptions is the tank from Nr.55 train above). There seems some body of water behind the track on right photo. It seems, that this tank has no electric wiring.

Unidentified draisines TK and R with an octagonal turret. A split hatch indicates TKS tankette. Note a way of carrying the tank's registration plate (W04-142?) inside a hatch (rail runners had separate numbers).

Unidentified draisine R with a conical turret and an empty tankette runner, abandoned in a forest (a poor photo, but we publish it for completness).

A draisine R loaded upon a flatcar by the Germans, along with two tankette runners. The tank has not embarked the chassis completely, showing a supporting beam. The tank has electric lightning.
A watermarked photo, but we publish it because of an interesting subject. The photo shows the same draisine R and a draisine TKS, ran over by a flatcar. The scene suggests some railway station, probably the same as above. There are other photos showing a tankette with ruined front standing next to a track - it is not clear if it is the same one.

Polish armoured draisines page


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