The LAND FORCES (Wojska Lądowe) are a military branch of the Armed
Forces of the Republic of
Poland . They currently contain some 65,000
active personnel and form many components of
European Union and NATO
deployments around the world. Poland's recorded military history
stretches back for hundreds of years – since the 10th century (see
List of Polish wars and
History of the Polish Army
History of the Polish Army ), but Poland's
modern army was formed after 1918.
* 1 History
* 1.1 1918–1938
* 1.2 1939–1945
* 1.3 1945–1989
* 1.4 After 1989
* 2 Participation in peacekeeping operations
* 3 Equipment
* 4 Modernization of Land Forces in 2013-2022
* 5 Structure
* 5.1 Formations
* 5.2 Arms of Service
* 6 Geographic distribution
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 External links
Polish-Soviet War Polish order of battle
Poland regained independence in 1918, it recreated its military
which participated in the
Polish-Soviet War of 1919–1921, and in the
two smaller conflicts (
Polish-Ukrainian War (1918–1919) and the
Polish-Lithuanian War (1920)).
Initially, right after the
First World War ,
Poland had five military
Poznań Military District (Poznański Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in
Kraków Military District (Krakowski Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in
Łódź Military District (Łódzki Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in
Warsaw Military District (Warszawski Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in
Lublin Military District (Lubelski Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in Lublin
The Polish land forces as readied for the
Polish-Soviet War was made
up of soldiers who had formerly served in the various partitioning
empires, supported by some international volunteers. There appear to
have been a total of around 30 Polish divisions involved. Boris
Savinkov was at the head of an army of 20,000 to 30,000 largely
Russian POWs, and was accompanied by
Dmitry Merezhkovsky and Zinaida
Gippius . The Polish forces grew from approximately 100,000 in 1918 to
over 500,000 in early 1920. In August 1920, the Polish army had
reached a total strength of 737,767 people; half of that was on the
frontline. Given Soviet losses, there was rough numerical parity
between the two armies; and by the time of the Battle of
might have even had a slight advantage in numbers and logistics.
Among the major formations involved on the Polish side were a number
of Fronts , including the Lithuanian-Belarusian Front, and about seven
armies, including the First
Polish Army .
Polish army order of battle in 1939 Polish defences
at Miłosna , during the decisive battle of
Warsaw , August 1920.
The German invasion of
Poland began on 1 September 1939, and the
Wehrmacht seized half the country quickly despite heavy Polish
resistance. Among the erroneous myths generated by this campaign were
Polish cavalry charging German tanks, which did not, in
fact, take place. In the east, the
Red Army took the other half of the
country in accordance with the
Nazi-Soviet Pact . Following the
country's fall, Polish soldiers began regrouping in what was to become
Polish Army in France . Both the
Polish Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces in the West
Polish Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces in the East , as well as interior
(partisan) forces, primarily represented by the
Home Army (AK) had
land forces during the
Second World War . While the forces fighting
under the Allied banner were supported by the Polish air force and
navy, the partisan forces were an exclusive land formation.
Soldiers of the Vilnius AK Brigade
However the army operational today has its roots in the surrogate
force formed in support of Soviet interests during the establishment
of the People\'s Republic of
Poland after the
Second World War . Two
Polish armies, the
First Army (Poland) and the Second Army fought with
Red Army on the Eastern Front , supported by some Polish air force
elements. The formation of a Third Army was begun but not completed.
Polish People's Army soldiers marking new Polish-German border
Oder River in 1945. See also: Polish People\'s Army order of
The end of the war found the
Polish Army in the midst of intense
organisational development. Although the implementation of the Polish
Front concept was abandoned, new tactical unit and troop types were
created. As a result of mobilisation, troop numbers in May 1945
reached 370,000 soldiers, while in September 1945 440,000. Military
districts were organised in liberated areas. The districts exercised
direct authority over the units stationed on the territory
administered by them. Returning to the country, the Second Army was
tasked with the protection of the western border of the state from
Jelenia Gora to Kamien Pomorski, and on the basis of its headquarters,
the staff of the Poznan Military District was created at Poznań. The
southern border, from
Jelenia Gora to the Użok railway station (at
the junction of the Polish, the Soviet and the Czechoslovak borders)
was occupied by the First Army . Its headquarters staff formed the
basis of the
Silesian Military District .
In mid-1945, after the end of
World War II
World War II , the Polish Army, as part
of the overall armed forces, the People\'s Army of
Poland , was
divided into six (later seven) districts. These were the Warsaw
Military District, HQ in Warsaw, the
Lublin Military District, HQ in
Kraków Military District, HQ in Kraków, the Lodz
Military District, HQ in Lodz, the Poznan Military District, HQ in
Poznan, the Pomeranian Military District, HQ in Torun (formed from the
staff of the short-lived LWP 1st Army Corps) and the Silesian Military
District, HQ in Katowice, created in the fall of 1945.
In June 1945 the 1st, 3rd and 8th Infantry Divisions were assigned
internal security duties, while the 4th Infantry Division was
reorganised for the purpose of creating the Internal Security Corps
(KBW). The rule was that military units were used primarily against
Ukrainian Insurgent Army
Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), while the Internal Security Corps
was used to fight the armed underground independence. Often however
army units fought the underground resistance, and vice versa. The
culmination of the UPA suppression operation was the so-called 'Wisła
Operation Vistula ) which took place in 1947. At the same
time demobilisation took place, moving the armed forces to a
peace-time footing. On 10 August 1945 a "decree of the partial
demobilisation" of the armed forces was issued. The next
demobilisation phase took place in February and December 1946.
Soldier aiming an SVD sniper rifle.
One of the most important tasks facing the army after the war was
national mine clearance. Between 1944 and 1956 the demining operation
involved 44 engineering units or about 19,000 sappers. They cleared
mines and other munitions in a clearance area of more than 250,000
square kilometers (80% of the country). 14.75 million munitions of
various types and 59 million bullets, bombs and other ammunition were
found and removed. The mining operations cost the lives of 646
In 1949 the military districts were reduced to four. They were the
Pomeranian Military District , HQ in Bydgoszcz, the Silesian Military
District , HQ in Wroclaw, the
Warsaw Military District , HQ in Warsaw
, and the
Kraków Military District with its headquarters in Kraków.
In November 1953, the
Kraków Military District was dissolved and
Poland was divided into three Districts.
Following victory and the movement of Polish borders these troops and
other Polish soldiers thought loyal to their Soviet overlords were
built up into a force which was to form part of the
Warsaw Pact .
Polish Army troops would have formed part of the second strategic
echelon deployed for an attack on
NATO 's Allied Forces Central Europe
. A Polish Front headquarters was formed in 1958, along with three
armies formed from 1955, the First Polish Army, the Second Army, and
the Fourth Army, mobilisation-only headquarters that were to be formed
within the three districts. The Polish Front headquarters was
eventually deactivated in 1990, and the three army mobilisation scheme
was likewise abandoned.
Polish land forces during the communist era also included troops
dedicated to internal security – the Territorial Defence Forces –
and control of the country's borders.
Until the fall of communism the army's prestige continued to fall, as
it was used by the communist government to violently suppress several
outbursts of protest, including the
Poznań 1956 protests , the Polish
1970 protests , and protests during Martial law in
1981–1982. Troops of the
Silesian Military District also took part
in the suppressing of the 1968 democratisation process of
Czechoslovakia, commonly known as the
Prague Spring .
In 1989 the
Pomeranian Military District controlled the 8th, 12th,
15th, 16th, and 20th Divisions, the Silesian Military District
controlled the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th Divisions, and the Warsaw
Military District the 1st, 3rd, and 9th Divisions, plus the 6th
Airborne Division earmarked for Front control. The 7th Sea Landing
Division was based within the
Pomeranian Military District but
probably earmarked for Front control. The two districts facing Germany
each controlled four divisions in 1990, which had been recently
reorganised, in line with the late 1990s Soviet defensive doctrine,
from a 3:1 mix of motor rifle : tank regiments into a 2:2 mix of motor
rifle and tank regiments. The
Warsaw Military District in the east
controlled only the 1st Mechanised Division . Two other mechanised
divisions in that district had been disbanded in 1988. There was also
the 6th Airborne Division and the 7th Sea Landing Division , possibly
intended to form part of a
Warsaw Pact attack on
Denmark , to open the
Baltic straits to the North Sea and beyond. Strength counted 205,000
personnel of which 168,000 were conscripts.
Polish Army in Kołobrzeg
Following the end of the Cold War the Wojska Lądowe was drastically
reduced and reorganised. In 1992, the
Kraków Military District was
recreated. From nine divisions, the total was planned in 2001 to fall
to four, plus six independent brigades. Since 1 January 1999, Poland
has been divided into two military districts. These are the Pomeranian
Military District (Pomorski Okręg Wojskowy) with HQ in
covering northern Poland, and the
Silesian Military District (Śląski
Okręg Wojskowy) with HQ in
Wrocław , covering southern Poland.
From that date the former Krakow Military District became the
headquarters of the Air-Mechanized Corps , which in turn later became
the headquarters of the 2nd Mechanised Corps . On 1 September 2011 the
Warsaw Mechanised Division was disbanded.
Edward Pietrzyk served as commander of the Polish Land Forces
from 2000 to September 2006. He was succeeded by General Waldemar
Skrzypczak (2006–2009). Polish soldier with UKM-2000P
Polish soldiers in Iraq
In May 2014, Defence Minister
Tomasz Siemoniak announced plans for
the future acquisition of attack helicopters in response to the
Ukraine crisis . On 25 November 2015, chief of National Defence
Commission Michał Jach, indicated the necessity to increase the
number of Polish troops from 100,000 to 150,000. However, Jach
stressed that the process was complicated and should not be rushed.
PARTICIPATION IN PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS
Polish Land Forces
PZL W-3 Sokół
From the 1950s the
Polish Land Forces have contributed troops to
peacekeeping operations, initially the Neutral Nations Supervisory
Poland contributed troops to
UNIFIL in Lebanon
since 1982, but it was announced in April 2009 that Polish troops
would withdraw completely by October 2009.
Poland sent a divisional
headquarters and a brigade to Iraq after the
2003 Iraq war . Poland
sent ten rotations of troops, manning a significant portion of
Multinational Division Central-South . At its peak
Poland had 2,500
soldiers in the south of the country.
Poland deployed about ten attack
and transport helicopters as part of its force in Iraq between 2004
and 2008. These helicopters formed the Independent Air Assault Group
(pl:Samodzielna Grupa Powietrzno-Szturmowa). The division was
disbanded in 2008, though Polish advisory and training personnel,
seemingly a Military Advisory Liaison Team (MALT) stayed until at
least 2011 (see pl:PKW Irak). One of the most recent missions was
MINURCAT in Chad and the
Central African Republic , where Poland
despatched troops from 2007–2010. Among the deployed troops were two
Reconnaissance companies, a
Military Gendarmerie unit, a component of
the 10th Logistics Brigade, elements of the 5th Military Engineers
Regiment, and three
Mil Mi-17 helicopters.
List of equipment of the Polish Land Forces
EQUIPMENT OF THE POLISH LAND FORCES
PLACE OF ORIGIN
Leopard 2 A5
Leopard 2 A4
In December 2015, Bumar-Łabędy signed an agreement with German
Rheinmetall Landsysteme Gmbh concerning the technological support of
the Polish modernization program for Leopard 2A4 tanks.
The company will design, document and execute six prototypes. The
first upgraded Leopard 2PL will reach
Poland in March 2018. The
upgrades include: third generation night vision systems (the
production of the
Warsaw PCO), new additional armor modules and
anti-splash lining, removal of flammable components (tower propulsion
system and main propulsion system), installation of new fire
protection system, modernization of the tank's integrated monitoring
and testing equipment, Possibility of using new types of ammunition
(programmable DM-11 and DM-63), auxiliary generator set (APU).
Construction of all 142 units will be completed by the end of 2020
Leopard 2 NJ
In 2016, over a dozen tanks have undergone modernization using the
PCO Modular Thermal Imaging (PCM) Modification Package.
Designed for the replacement of the new design of the Direct Support
Cars (WWB) code-named "Cheetah".
As expected, these are tracked vehicles equipped with a turret with a
120 mm caliber cannon.
Under the 2013 contract with Finnish Patria Vehicles Oy, the
delivery of the next batch of 307 units is planned in 2014-2019 in
By 2019, the prototype of the successor of the floating BWP is
planned. The program is nicknamed "Badger".
Their total in number in all versions
Built on the basis of the Opal-II transporter. Command vehicles
will be an integral part of REGINA and Cancer.
Total number of all vehicles in all versions. Purchased with
Leopard 2 tanks.
It has an automated Topaz artillery fire management set.
Equipped with automated Topaz artillery fire management.
wz. 1977 Dana
It has an automated Topaz artillery fire management set.
Designed to be replaced by AHS Kryl.
By 2025 it will hit five squadrons of 24 each.
Leopard 2 tanks and used to operate them.
MODERNIZATION OF LAND FORCES IN 2013-2022
The armed forces of the Polish Republic have a long-term plan for the
modernization of the army. It has the task of replacing used equipment
over a decade with new equipment. Some of this system already works.
Leopard 2 A5 and
Leopard 2 A4 tanks will be upgraded to
Leopard 2PL (first
Leopard 2 PL arrive in March 2018) by the end of
2020. Now the
Polish Army has a stock of 1009 tanks (2017). There are
a total of 249
Leopard 2 tanks in 142
Leopard 2 A4, 105
Leopard 2 A5,
Leopard 2 NJ, 232
PT-91 tanks that underwent modernization in 2016
T-72 tanks will be replaced by direct support vehicles.
The program is called "Gepard". The Polish army has about 690 vehicles
KTO Rosomak .
BWP-1 will be replaced by the end of 2019 by the
Borsuk infantry fighting vehicles (the first prototypes are already in
place). Introduced are the
WR-40 Langusta rocket launchers equipped
with state-of-the-art Topaz fire control. The
BM-21 Grad and RM-70
rockets will be replaced by the "Homar" Rocket artillery of 300 km
AHS Krab self-propelled new AHS Krab, which will replace
2S1 Goździk , new AHS Kryl will replace wz. 1977 Dana. The RAK Mortar
(built on the basis of KTO Rosomak) was purchased. From 2016 to the
service are new technical recognition vehicles Rosomak WRT. In 2022,
the so-called soldier of the prodigal TYTAN. This is an integrated
combat system that includes a personal soldier's computer, new
protective uniforms, night vision devices, etc.
Operational Structure of the Polish Land Forces
Polish Land Forces Chart (click to enlarge)
TERRITORIAL DEFENCE FORCE
11th Armoured Cavalry Division (
10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade (
* 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade (
* 17th Mechanized Brigade (
* 12th Mechanised Division "Szczecin" (
* 2nd Legion Mechanized Brigade (Złocieniec-Budowo )
* 7th "Pomeranian" Coastal Defence Brigade (
* 12th Mechanised Brigade (Szczecin)
* 16th "Pomeranian" Mechanised Division (
* 1st "Varsovian" Armoured Brigade (
* 9th Armoured Cavalry Brigade (
* 15th "Giżycka" Mechanized Brigade (
* 20th "Bartoszycka" Mechanized Brigade (
* 1st Aviation Brigade (
* 6th Airborne Brigade (
Reconnaissance Regiment (
Podhale Rifles Brigade (
* 25th Air Cavalry Brigade (
Tomaszów Mazowiecki )
ARMS OF SERVICE
* Armored & Mechanized Forces (Wojska Pancerne i Zmechanizowane)
* Missile & Artillery Forces (Wojska Rakietowe i Artyleria)
* Air Defense Forces (Wojska Obrony Przeciwlotniczej)
Airborne forces ) Forces (Wojska Aeromobilne)
* Engineer Forces (Wojska Inżynieryjne)
Reconnaissance & Early Warning (Rozpoznanie i Wczesne Ostrzeganie)
* Signals float:none;clear:both;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto">
WARSAW 1 Aviation 6 Airborne 21
Podhale Rifles 25
Cavalry 16 MECH. DIV. 1 Armored 9 Armored 15 Mech. 20
Mech. 11 Art. Rgt. 15 Air-Def. Rgt. 12 MECH. DIV. 2 Mech.
7 Coastal 12 Mech.
5 Engineer Rgt. 5 Art. Rgt. 8 Air-Def. Rgt. 11 ARMORED DIV.
10 Armored 17 Mech 34 Armored 23 Art. Rgt. 4 Air-Def.
Rgt. 2 Recon Rgt. 9 Recon Rgt. 18 Recon Rgt. 1 Combat Eng.
2 Combat Eng. 2 Engineer Rgt. 4 CBRN-Def. 5 CBRN-Def.
List of Polish armoured fighting vehicles
* Territorial Defense Forces (
Poland - Modern)
* ^ http://www.bip.mon.gov.pl/pliki/file/wersja%20polska.ppt
* ^ ":: Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej – serwis internetowy ::
Uzbrojenie ::". Mon.gov.pl. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
Janusz Cisek , Kosciuszko, We Are Here: American Pilots of the
Kosciuszko Squadron in Defense of Poland, 1919–1921, McFarland &
Company, 2002, ISBN 978-0-7864-1240-2 , Google Print
* ^ Davies, Norman Richard (2003) . White Eagle, Red Star: the
Polish-Soviet War, 1919–20 (New ed.). New York City: Pimlico /
Random House Inc. ISBN 978-0-7126-0694-3 , p83
* ^ Davies, White Eagle..., Polish edition, p.162 and p.202.
* ^ Andrew A. Michta, 'Red Eagle: the army in Polish politics
1944–1988,' Hoover Press, 1990, p.54. Michta says that in 1958,
Poland's deputy defence minister, General Duszynski, suggested that
the Inspectorate of Training become the nucleus of a 'Polish Front.'
According to the plan, in wartime, fifteen Polish divisions would
operate in three armies as a 'Front' under a Polish commander.
According to one source, the Soviets accepted the proposal and allowed
the Inspectorate of Training to become the skeleton for the front. The
notion of the front was modified in the mid 1960s and General
Duszynski was dismissed in 1964. See also Michta, 1990, p.56.
* ^ Glenn E. Curtis (ed.),
Poland : a country study, p. 267,
Washington: GPO, 1994
* ^ Chris Westhorp, 'The World's Armies,' Salamander Books, 1991,
p.92 ISBN 0-517-05240-7 . See also Jane's Soviet Intelligence Review
for March 1990.
* ^ Grzegorz Holdanowicz, 'Polish government agrees to
modernisation plan,' Jane\'s Defence Weekly , 4 February 2001
* ^ "
Poland to accelerate arms programmes". Jane\'s Information
Group . Retrieved 31 May 2014.
* ^ "Defence official: Polish armed forces to be increased by
* ^ \'
Poland to withdraw from UN\'s
UNIFIL mission in Lebanon,\',
11 April 2009
* ^ 6
PZL W-3 Sokół Helicopters (2003–2006) and four W-3
helicopters 2007–08 . 6
Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters (2004–2008) .
Mil Mi-8 helicopters
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