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  © Michal Derela, 2002-2019 Updated: 14. 1. 2019

Polish armoured train Nr.13 ("Generał Sosnkowski") – the gallery

The page contains a walkaround gallery of Polish World War II armoured train Nr.13 (former "Generał Sosnkowski"), destroyed by German bombers – probably Ju 87 Stuka – on 10 September 1939 at Łochów (Wikipedia) station. It undoubtedly became a popular "tourist attraction" for German soldiers, including the Führer himself, and Japanese attaché. The war had just started, and such sights have not became familiar yet, especially, that the train was much more powerful, than its German half-improvised counterparts of that time, and derailed heavy wagons surely made an impressive sight. Judging from a number of photos, that keep being revealed in the Internet, it became one of most often photographed armoured trains ever – possibly even the most photographed one (although Polish armoured train Nr.12 might be a competitor). At least until late autumn it remained a major landmark on a line from Warsaw to northern east (towards Białystok). It is worth to mention, that for fifty years after the war, only a handful of photos were published.

The photos come from different sources, and were mostly taken by anonymous German soldiers. They are published in an educational and research purpose. A quality of many photographs is not good, but they give valuable insight. Most of photos can be enlarged. We are looking for new photos, or better scans of exisitng ones - contributors will be thanked. (N) marks new photos, added during later updates (N1 - February 2014, N2 - July 2016, N3 - January 2019).

Left side general view of the armoured train Nr.13 damaged and abandoned due to bombardment. Move direction was to the left. Close miss of a 500-kg bomb threw a leading artillery wagon and a locomotive off of the track, leaving a huge crater, and fast moving train drove several dozen meters more by inertia (the locomotive was typically driving tender ahead in combat alert, so that a commander's post was forward). Trees on the left hide one more big crater. [3]
 The train's composition was standard for Polish trains - from the left: a flatcar, the first artillery wagon, the armoured locomotive with a tender, the assault wagon, the second artillery wagon and the second flatcar (not visible are two additional wagons of auxiliary section, attached to the train to the right).

  Below: general view from the other side. (N)
Armoured train Nr.13 from the right side

Polish armoured trains of the 1st Unit: Nos. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
Amoured train Nr.13 from the right sidePhotos of right side of the train. Move direction: to the right:

In a foreground, a flatcar protecting the train against mines and used to carrry tools and rails to repair a track. Note camouflage of tree branches.
Amoured train Nr.13 from the right sideFrom the left: the second artillery wagon, the assault wagon, the locomotive, the first artillery wagon. An outer right track seems unused.
Amoured train Nr.13 from the right sideCloser view. On the center of the wagon's roof, there is an anti-aircraft MG turret. Note, that a side track is blocked by the train as well. A standard Polish Army's vehicles three-tone camouflage of greyish sand and dark brown upon olive green, is evident on the photos.
Close-up of the second artillery wagon. Note rear entrances to artillery turrets, apparently covering with sliding doors. Two cylindrical HMG mountings are visible on a side, with machine guns dismounted by the Poles. There is also some German graffiti.

(courtesy of Arthur Przeczek)
Amoured train Nr.13 from the right sideSimilar scene, with less trash. Sleepers have been put on the track next to the assault wagon. A sand covering the track is from the bomb's blast on opposite side.
Pociąg pancerny nr 13Well visible camouflage layout - in fact it was less contrasting, that on this photo. (N1)
Armoured train Nr.13 General Sosnkowski The photo is from a later date, with a detour track made. For unknown reason, a far right track has been apparently out of use, in spite of lack of damage. A steam seems to come out of the locomotive, which is hard to explain. (N)
It took some time, until the Germans built a detour on a jammed side track, well visible here (not before 23 September). It seems, that the station was impassable for several weeks. (N)
Armoured train nr.13 from right side ← Later photograph, with a detour track.

Close-up of artillery wagon's doors →
Armoured train nr.13 from the right side
Amoured train Nr.13 from the right sideUnidentified activities concerning the train. (N3)

Views of the assault wagon and Ti3-3 locomotive.

Close-up of the burnt-out assault wagon. Note a Maxim wz.08 machine gun in a cylindrical mounting. →
View towards train's end. Move direction: to the right. Note three rows of aerial masts upon the assault wagon, and a commander's turret with an open hatch. Two-part side doors were hinged on the tender and loosely touched the driver's booth walls, so that the tender had some freedom of movement. [3]

 Below: the first artillery wagon and the locomotive. Visible are four masts of a short-range radio aerial upon a tender. Note cleaned up debris on most photos. Lower left photo might be with a detour. Noteworthy details are transversal girders in a higher turret's base.

A look upon the tender. Command compartment is well visible. Upper door part is open. (N2)
Who says, that the Germans had no cavalry?... Well visible is command turret and coal compartment. There are some unidentified pieces of material upon the boiler. (N3)

Right side of the train, move direction to the right. On the left there are visible two auxiliary wagons attached to the armoured part (described later). In a foreground there is some rail cart, dismantled on several other photos. (N2)
Leading artillery wagon. A cannon is Polish 75 mm wz.02/26 (modified Russian 76.2 mm M.02; the same type constituted the train's armament). The gun was probably brought here by the Germans (on a way from battlefields to depots?).
Other view showing two 75 mm wz.02/26 guns with limbers. (N2)
"...I was here..."

(photo courtesy of Grażyna Walter)
The first artillery wagon. The soldiers are holding 75 mm artillery rounds. Apparently some extra ammunition was carried in boxes upon flatcars.

(Photo: Helmut Riemann, from an exhibition "To break bariers, to build bridges", Museum of History of Photography, Kraków 2004.)
An 'artist's signature' is already written... (N)
Leading artillery wagon, view as above. Well visible camouflage of the roof. A sign in German says: "Betreten des Platzes verboten" (Entrance forbidden). One might wonder, if it concerned German soldiers...

(photo courtesy of Arthur Przeczek)
Interesting scene of ammunition disembarking. The train was armed with 4 guns 75 mm wz.02/26, firing unitary rounds, visible in a center and on the left. Rounds on the left (possibly shrapnells) have fuses screwed in. Cases in a foreground are probably spent. Shells without cases and short cases on the right seem to be 100 mm howitzer ammunition, but this train was not armed with 100 mm howitzers (possibly they were transported on a flatcar for other units?... Or come from different transport?) (N2)

Partly obscured, but priceless view of the wagon's details. (N3)

Views of the first artillery wagon, from the right side. Note an observation slot. Inscriptions on destroyed flatcar's boxes: "ŁUBKI" and "PODKŁADKI" means 'rail connectors' and 'washers' - they were used in track repairing (left photo courtesy of Arthur Przeczek).
Views of the first artillery wagon, from the right side - a turret next to the locomotive. (N/N)
As above.
← The first artillery wagon, from right side. The detour has been already built.

↓ Interesting view from the train's front. Note warped track (you can compare with a photo above). (N)

Polish armoured trains of the 1st Unit in Legionowo: Nos. 11, 12, 12, 14, 15
Photos of the left side of the train, move direction to the left:

Visible are: leading flatcar and artillery wagon, next the locomotive with a tender, assault wagon and the second artillery wagon. On far right there is one more track.

Similar views.

Below left: an inscription "ŚRUBY" on a flatcar's box means 'bolts'. The flatcar was used to carry engineer materials and tools for track repair.
(courtesy of Artur Przeczek).

As is apparent from a photo below right, the train remained in place until late autumn, with snow.

Derailed leading artillery wagon, showing its chassis (likely of a Russian origin - bogeys of so-called "diamond" type). [3]

The first artillery wagon, from left side. The tender is visible to the right. Note, that an excavation is not a crater of the bomb, that derailed the train, but another crater, behind all tracks, hardly noticeable on air photos (there must be in fact two tracks between this crater and the train) [3]

The same as above. Apparently the visitors supported the wagon with a beam, not trusting in safety. (N3)

View along right side of the train: from the front (←) and from the rear (→). Noteworthy are aerial insulators.

The first artillery wagon and the armoured locomotive Ti3-3. A small two-leaf doors was for a compressor maintenance.
(photo courtesy of Arthur Przeczek)
Similar scenes with some hatches closed. (N)

    Below: views from the left, towards the train's end. (N3/ )

A spectacular group photograph to send home. Note the wagon's bogey in the air. (N3)
Views of assault wagon.

← curiosity almost killed a cat... (N)

Left side view of the second artillery wagon, towards the train's front (move direction: to the left).
Similar view, as above. The second artillery wagon is well visible. Note provisional "stairs" to the assault wagon.
...You can play in spotting differences.
...as above... (N1)
View from a longer perspective. Note trees attached to the flatcar, in an elusive camouflage purpose.
...little more towards the assault wagon. (N2)
A group photo above the crater, from a later period. Poland have been just conquered, everything is fine, and probably none of the Kameraden could predict, that the war would last over five years more, and many of them would die, in Africa or Russia... (N2)
← Left side of burned assault wagon from the rear. Note a 7.92 mm Maxim wz.08 machine gun present in its cylindrical mounting.

Rear artillery wagon. A turret observation hatch is half-shut. →
The second artillery wagon, with guns removed (also on upper left photo and some photos below).
Now somebody should clean the mess made by Luftwaffe Kameraden... Note, that the flatcar had been already removed. (N/N)
The second artillery wagon. Left: note a depth of the crater. On the right photo, the crater has been filled and the track restored.
Polish armoured trains of the 1st Unit in Legionowo: Nos. 11, 12, 12, 14, 15

On 22 September 1939 the train had a dubious honour to be examined by Adolf Hitler himself (all photos below are of the train's right side).

source 1← The second artillery wagon [1]

The locomotive and the first artillery wagon ↓
The second artillery wagon [41 →]
source 1

← The second artillery wagon and the assault wagon. Note torn joint of armoured plates on a turret's base, due to a collision with an assault wagon.

The first artillery wagon

↑ A high altitude air photo of Łochów station (unfortunately poor quality). Similar perspective must have had Stuka pilots... The armoured train, visible in lower part, was moving upwards. Note two big craters. (N)

← Well-known photo showing results of SC 500 bomb explosion. Move direction - downwards. Notice spare rails falling out of the forward flatcar.
source 4
↓↑ At a moment of an air raid, the armoured section had two wagons of an auxiliary section attached: a water tanker and guards' wagon, visible on the left. Move direction was to the right. It may be assumed, that the train on the right was present during the air raid, since it could not get there anymore from Warsaw direction afterwards. [4 / 1]
source 1
↓ Interesting, although partially obscured view from the other side (move direction to the left). (N2)
Poor quality, nevertheless interesting shot from the rear, with a crater well visible.
Right side of the train from the rear, with both auxiliary wagons visible, camouflaged with branches.

(courtesy of Grażyna Walter)

An epilogue - both artillery wagons and locomotive of the Nr.13 train recovered by the Germans. Unfortunately, further fate of the train is not known. (N3/ )

We are looking for further or better quality photos, especially of the train put on wheels. Contributors will be thanked.

Back to armoured train nr. 13 ("Generał Sosnkowski") page.

Sources published:
1. Slawomir F. Wucyna: "Fall Weiss - Wrzesień 1939 w niemieckiej fotografii"; CB; Warsaw 1997
3. Paul Malmassari, "Les Trains Blindes 1826 - 1989"; Heimdal Editions 1989
4. Heinrich Hoffmann, "Mit Hitler in Polen"


All additional photos (or exisiting ones in better quality) and comments are welcome!

Our thanks to Arthur Przeczek, Jarkko Vihavainen and other friends, who helped

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All photos and pictures remain the property of their owners. They are published in non-commercial educational and research purpose.
Text and arrangement copyright to Michal Derela.