September 1 - The First Day of War

There is no formal declaration of war and, at 04:45 the First World War battleship Schleswig-Holstein opens fire over the Westerplatte, a strip of land over the Vistula estuary that contains Polish military installations. This initiates the war.

Luftwaffe will begin air operations by bombing the main airfields along the border but most Polish aircrafts have been moved to more remote airstrips thus being able to continue operating. Ju-87 dive bombers “Stuka” start their (very) successful operations against frontline troops, surprising the enemy and providing interesting results. They will prove very effective in routing defensive positions along the line.

Army Group North starts the operations by moving south against specific points in the front (the called Schwerpunkt or focal points) where all force available is used. The Slovak Army also begun support operations in the South. However the main attack comes from von Rundstedt’ Army Group from west to east. All actions take the direction of Warsaw. The objectives are:
- Minimize the action of the Polish Airforce
- Cut the Polish access to Danzig
- Encircle the most of the Polish forces in the border in order to put them out of action
- Access Warsaw as soon as possible

The Poles ended the first day in a positive mood as the results come in and the German advance was smaller than expected. However this will prove as a result of lack of information to the Polish command because, indeed, the Germans had moved faster and more deep than expected.

Great Britain and France, respecting the agreements and guarantees given to Poland, demand the immediate end of hostilities and total withdrawal of the German Forces. Children are evacuated from main cities in Britain.

Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway declare their neutrality in the War.


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