An Architecture Student and his Roach
One of the first large battles of WWII began on September 9th, 1939: the Battle of the Bzura. Polish Poznan and Pomorze armies, retreating to the east from the Poznan salient, ended up in the rear of the German Army Group South, which was aiming towards Warsaw. Moving at night, the Poles secretly reached the Bzura river and delivered a powerful blow against the left flank of the German 8th Army. The south-east offensive liberated many cities and forced the Germans to revise their plans in central Poland, moving additional tank and airplane units towards Bzura. The situation was so critical for the Germans that on September 17th, the Luftwaffe cancelled all sorties except those in the Bzura region. Nevertheless, the Poznan and Pomorze armies were unable to change the overall course of events; the Germans were at Lvov on September 12th and completed the encirclement of Warsaw on September 14th.
Among other units, the Great Poland Cavalry Brigade was a part of of the Poznan army, which in turn contained the 71st Armoured Battalion. Out of the three companies of this unit, formed just before the war (August 24th-27th), only one was equipped with vehicles which would be referred to as tanks. These were 13 machinegun-armed TKS (and possibly TK-3) tankettes, four of which were rearmed to 20 mm wz. 38 model A autocannons, classified as "super-heavy machineguns" by the Poles. One of these "heavily" armed tankettes ended up under the command of a platoon commander Sergeant Roman Edmund Orlik, a student of the Warsaw Polytechnical University, drafted on August 26th. The second member of the crew was the driver, Bronisław Zakrzewski.