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Help identifying military uniform in Kraków

Rumfuddle 1 | 20
20 May 2012 #1
Hi, I was in Kraków for a couple of days until today, it was my first time in Poland. I did some reading ahead of my trip and had some Polish lessons with a native speaker, I find the history and language of Poland fascinating. There seem to be some pretty well-informed people posting on this forum (along with the usual cranks and trolls..!) so maybe someone can help me with this question.

I took this photograph on Friday and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what sort of uniform the gentleman is wearing and if he was going to some sort of commemoration. Dziękuję in advance!

peterweg 37 | 2,321
21 May 2012 #2
Polish Army Dress Uniform, a doctor I think

There is a Military hospital in Krakow.
boletus 30 | 1,366
21 May 2012 #4
It looks like the bearded gentleman is a reenactor, wearing an officer's uniform from the times of The Second Republic (1918-1945). He is wearing a peaked hat model 1935, a so called "rogatywka garnizonowa" - with reinforced top, black lacquered lather visor with an oxidized metal edge. Two stripes at the top of the rim indicate a senior officer, one star and two stripes makes him a major. Modern visors are shorter, have no metal edge, but instead - one or two stripes at the edge.

Provided that I am not colour-blind, the rim is amaranth - with Polish RGB definition #E61C66, described as "clear red with a bit of pink and a tinge of purple. During the Second Republic colours of rims used to be assigned to individual regiments. [Nowadays a rim colour indicates a kind of formation of Polish Armed Forces]. Amaranth color (cap rims and in part of guidons) was assigned to several cavalry (uhlan) regiments (Pułk Ułanów), and several regiments of mounted riflemen (Pułk Strzelców Konnych). The First Light Horse Regiment also had amaranth rims, but their caps were round, not four-peaked. So here is a list of possible regiments the gentleman could represent:

1 Pułk Ułanów Krechowieckich im. płk. Bolesława Mościckiego => Krechowce fortress, near Stanisławów (Ivano-Frankovsk)
7 Pułk Ułanów Lubelskich im. gen. Kazimierza Sosnkowskiego => Lublin
9 Pułk Ułanów Małopolskich => Lesser Poland
10 Pułk Ułanów Litewskich => Lithuania
11 Pułk Ułanów Legionowych im. marszałka Edwarda Śmigłego-Rydza => Legionary
12 Pułk Ułanów Podolskich [Podolia]
20 Pułk Ułanów im. króla Jana III Sobieskiego
1 Pułk Strzelców Konnych
2 Pułk Strzelców Konnych
3 Pułk Strzelców Konnych im. hetmana polnego koronnego Stefana Czarnieckiego
4 Pułk Strzelców Konnych Ziemi £ęczyckiej => £ęczyca Region
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
21 May 2012 #5
He could have participated in one of these:

Perhaps one of his companions?
boletus 30 | 1,366
21 May 2012 #6
Perhaps one of his companions?

If his rim is turquoise, then he would represent an officer of 21 Pułk Ułanów Nadwiślańskich (21 Vistula Uhlans Regiment). Their regimental pennant was turquoise, with a narrow yellow-white stripe in the middle. This red thingie on very top of the pennant, as shown on your picture: could it be a ribbon of some sort?

Żurawiejka was a short, two-line facetious couplet, written specifically for cavalry regiments of the Polish Army in the interbellum period. It humorously and ironically presented history of a given regiment, as well as its contemporary fate.

Chociaż Wisły nie widzieli,
Nadwiślanskich miano wzięli
Lance do boju...

Nad Wołyniem błyszczą lance:
turkusowi "Nadwiślańce"
Lance do boju...

Jeden w Polsce turkusowy
To z Równego pułk morowy
Lance do boju...
Although they've never seen Vistula,
They took the "Vistulans" name
Lances to battle ...

Lances shine over Vohlynia:
turquoise "Vistulans"
Lances to battle ...

The only turquoise in Poland
is of this regiment from Równe
Lances to battle ...
OP Rumfuddle 1 | 20
21 May 2012 #7
Thank you very much for the extremely detailed and interesting replies.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
21 May 2012 #8
This red thingie on very top of the pennant

I am not sure. I like the poem.
boletus 30 | 1,366
22 May 2012 #9
Thank you very much for the extremely detailed and interesting replies.

I guess I may take some credit here, so you are very welcome. :-)

I like the poem.

More like a limerick. :-)
Originally, following Russian cavalry tradition, every uhlan regiment of the Polish Army had its żurawiejka (derived from: a crane song, żuraw=a crane). Later on, the tradition was adopted by regiments of mounted rifles - even though, as one couplet said: “Just between us - riflemen are not uhlans” (“Prawdę mówiąc między nami – strzelcy nie są ułanami"). Later, this tradition was adopted by other armed forces.

I suddenly realized that the pennant shown on the last photograph is not a regimental pennant. It is a squadron commander's pennant - specifically here: 1 squadron of 21 Uhlan (Vistula) Regiment. Derived from regimental colours, it had additional square at the base of the pennant. The squadron color codes were as follows:

amaranth - 1 squadron
white - 2 squadron
yellow - 3 squadron
royal blue - 4 squadron
black with some white symbols - A. squadron of heavy machine guns; B. signals platoon
There was one unique squadron symbol in all of Polish cavalry: a yellow crescent and star on a green background - 1 Tatar Squadron, 13 Uhlan Regiment
OP Rumfuddle 1 | 20
22 May 2012 #10
I guess I may take some credit here, so you are very welcome. :-)

Absolutely, thanks! I even directly quoted you in my Kraków Facebook album..

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