Kleeberg, Franciszek.

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Kleeberg, Franciszek, born 01-02-1888, in Tarnopol Poland. Franciszek was of German and Swedish ancestry on his paternal side. His father, an officer of the Austrian Dragoons, took part in the Polish uprising of 1863/64. After the fall of the uprising he returned home, and according to the family legend said: “Now the country, Poland, will need good soldiers. ‘Franek’ will be a soldier.” After graduation from the military vocational school at Hranice (Mährisch Weißkirchen) in Moravia, Kleeberg continued studies at military academy in Mödling, Lower Austria. Promoted to the 2nd Lieutenant in artillery, he served in the capital Vienna, where he completed studies at the Academy of the General Staff

He took part in the First World War, first in the Austro-Hungarian army, and after May 1915 as an officer in the Polish Legion. The Polish Legions was a name of the Polish military force (the first active Polish army in generations) established in August 1914 in Galicia soon after World War I erupted between the opposing alliances of the Triple Entente on one side (comprising the British Empire, the French Republic and the Russian Empire); and the Central Powers on the other side, comprising the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. The Legions became “a founding myth for the creation of modern Poland” in spite of their considerably short existence; they were replaced by the Polish Auxiliary Corps formation on 20-09-1916, merged with Polish II Corps in Russia on 19-02-1918 for the Battle of Rarańcza against Austria-Hungary, and disbanded following the military defeat at the Battle of Kaniów in May 1918, against Imperial Germany. General Józep Haller (13 August 1873 – 4 June 1960, age 86) escaped to France to form the Polish army in the West against the anti-Polish German-Bolshevik treaty

Franciszek commanded a regiment in the Polish–Soviet War of 1919-21. In 1925 he completed studies at a French military school in Paris and became the commander of the Supreme Military School in Warsaw. After Jozef Pilsudski’s coup d’état, he was dismissed from that post in 1927 and sent to command an infantry division in Grodno.

At the time of the outbreak of World War II he was the commander of the IX Army Corps in Brzesc in the rear operational zone. Yet soon the situation changed in view of massive enemy air raids and rapid advance of its armoured and mechanized troops. On 11-09-1939 his corps were transformed into the Operation Group Polesie, but were lacking in heavy equipment, and on by 14 September were already in combat with the most advanced German troops. General Kleeberg managed to organize a defence by withdrawing dispersed units from under the strike of the German forces, but found many of his units also attacked by the Red army. He also managed to gather remnants of the Polish forces destroyed in the east to Vistula and south-east to Narew into a new grouping, with which he tried to break through towards besieged Warsaw. After hearing of Warsaw’s capitulation, he dug his troops in, resulting in the battle of Kock. On 05-10-1939 General Kleeberg decided to surrender, as his forces were out of ammunition and food.

Death and burial ground of Kleeberg Franciszek.

 General Kleeberg was imprisoned in Oflag IV-B Königstein, where he lost his sight and became unable to walk. He died 05-04-1941, aged 53 in the camp hospital and was buried in Dresden. In 1969, his remains were exhumed, brought to Poland and re-buried at the Kock, militairy cemetery in Poland, among the fallen soldiers of the Operation Group Polesie.

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