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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
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), but Poland's modern army was formed after 1918.

Contents

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, 2013–2022 5 Rank insignia 6 Structure

6.1 Formations 6.2 Arms of Service

7 Geographic distribution 8 See also 9 References 10 External links

History 1918–1938 See also: Polish-Soviet War
Polish-Soviet War
Polish order of battle When Poland
Poland
regained independence in 1918, it recreated its military which participated in the Polish-Soviet War
Polish-Soviet War
of 1919–1921, and in the two smaller conflicts ( Polish-Ukrainian War
Polish-Ukrainian War
(1918–1919) and the Polish-Lithuanian War
Polish-Lithuanian War
(1920)). Initially, right after the First World War, Poland
Poland
had five military districts (1918–1921):

Poznań
Poznań
Military District (Poznański Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in Poznań Kraków
Kraków
Military District (Krakowski Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in Kraków Łódź
Łódź
Military District (Łódzki Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in Łódź Warsaw
Warsaw
Military District (Warszawski Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in Warsaw Lublin
Lublin
Military District (Lubelski Okręg Wojskowy), HQ in Lublin.

The Polish land forces as readied for the Polish-Soviet War
Polish-Soviet War
was made up of soldiers who had formerly served in the various partitioning empires, supported by some international volunteers.[3] 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
Dmitry Merezhkovsky
and Zinaida Gippius. The Polish forces grew from approximately 100,000 in 1918 to over 500,000 in early 1920.[4] 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 Warsaw
Warsaw
Poles might have even had a slight advantage in numbers and logistics.[5] 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. 1939–1945 See also: Polish army order of battle in 1939

Polish defences at Miłosna, during the decisive battle of Warsaw, August 1920.

The German invasion of Poland
Poland
began on 1 September 1939, and the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
seized half the country quickly despite heavy Polish resistance. Among the erroneous myths generated by this campaign were accounts of Polish cavalry
Polish cavalry
charging German tanks, which did not, in fact, take place. In the east, the Red Army
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 the Polish Army
Army
in France. Both the Polish Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces
in the West and the Polish Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces
in the East, as well as interior (partisan) forces, primarily represented by the Home Army
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
Poland
after the Second World War. Two Polish armies, the First Army
Army
(Poland) and the Second Army
Army
fought with the Red Army
Red Army
on the Eastern Front, supported by some Polish air force elements. The formation of a Third Army
Army
was begun but not completed. 1945–1989

Polish People's Army
Army
soldiers marking new Polish-German border on Oder River in 1945.

See also: Polish People's Army
Army
order of battle The end of the war found the Polish Army
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
Army
was tasked with the protection of the western border of the state from Jelenia Gora
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
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, the Polish Army, as part of the overall armed forces, the People's Army
Army
of Poland, was divided into six (later seven) districts. These were the Warsaw
Warsaw
Military District, HQ in Warsaw, the Lublin
Lublin
Military District, HQ in Lublin, the Kraków
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
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 the 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 Action' (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 sappers. 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
Warsaw
Military District, HQ in Warsaw, and the Kraków
Kraków
Military District with its headquarters in Kraków. In November 1953, the Kraków
Kraków
Military District was dissolved and until 1992, Poland
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
Warsaw
Pact. Polish Army
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.[6] 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.[7] 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
Poznań
1956 protests, the Polish 1970 protests, and protests during Martial law in Poland
Poland
in 1981–1982. Troops of the Silesian Military District
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
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.[8] The 7th Sea Landing Division was based within the Pomeranian Military District
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.[9] The Warsaw
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
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. After 1989

Hibneryt

Polish Army
Army
in Kołobrzeg

Following the end of the Cold War the Wojska Lądowe was drastically reduced and reorganised. In 1992, the Kraków
Kraków
Military District was recreated. From nine divisions, the total was planned in 2001 to fall to four, plus six independent brigades.[10] Since 1 January 1999, Poland
Poland
has been divided into two military districts. These are the Pomeranian Military District
Pomeranian Military District
(Pomorski Okręg Wojskowy) with HQ in Bydgoszcz, covering northern Poland, and the Silesian Military District (Śląski Okręg Wojskowy) with HQ in Wrocław, covering southern Poland.

Polish Mi-24

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 1st Warsaw
Warsaw
Mechanised Division was disbanded. General
General
Edward Pietrzyk served as commander of the Polish Land Forces from 2000 to September 2006. He was succeeded by General
General
Waldemar Skrzypczak (2006–2009).

Polish soldier with UKM-2000P

Polish soldiers in Iraq

In May 2014, Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak
Tomasz Siemoniak
announced plans for the future acquisition of attack helicopters in response to the Ukraine crisis.[11] 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.[12] Participation in peacekeeping operations

Polish Land Forces
Polish Land Forces
PZL W-3 Sokół

From the 1950s the Polish Land Forces
Polish Land Forces
have contributed troops to peacekeeping operations, initially the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in Korea. Poland
Poland
contributed troops to UNIFIL
UNIFIL
in Lebanon since 1982, but it was announced in April 2009 that Polish troops would withdraw completely by October 2009.[13] Poland
Poland
sent a divisional headquarters and a brigade to Iraq after the 2003 Iraq war. Poland
Poland
sent ten rotations of troops, manning a significant portion of Multinational Division Central-South. At its peak Poland
Poland
had 2,500 soldiers in the south of the country. Poland
Poland
deployed about ten attack and transport helicopters as part of its force in Iraq between 2004 and 2008.[14] 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
MINURCAT
in Chad and the Central African Republic, where Poland despatched troops from 2007–2010. Among the deployed troops were two Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
companies, a Military Gendarmerie
Military Gendarmerie
unit, a component of the 10th Logistics Brigade, elements of the 5th Military Engineers Regiment, and three Mil Mi-17
Mil Mi-17
helicopters. Equipment Main article: List of equipment of the Polish Land Forces

Equipment of the Polish Land Forces

Photo Name Place of origin Number Notes

Leopard 2
Leopard 2
A5 Germany 105

Leopard 2
Leopard 2
A4 Germany 142 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
Poland
in March 2018. The upgrades include: third generation night vision systems (the production of the Warsaw
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
Leopard 2
NJ Germany 2 Training version

PT-91
PT-91
"Twardy" Poland 232 In 2016, over a dozen tanks have undergone modernization using the PCO Modular Thermal Imaging (PCM) Modification Package.

T-72 Soviet Union Poland 528 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.

KTO Rosomak Poland Finland 690 Under the 2013 contract with Finnish Patria Vehicles Oy, the delivery of the next batch of 307 units is planned in 2014-2019 in various versions.

BMP-1 Soviet Union 1268 By 2019, the prototype of the successor of the floating BWP is planned. The program is nicknamed "Badger".

Humvee United States 217 Their total in number in all versions

Skorpion-3 Poland 90

LPG Poland

Built on the basis of the Opal-II transporter. Command vehicles will be an integral part of REGINA and Cancer.

M-113 United States 35 Total number of all vehicles in all versions. Purchased with Leopard 2 tanks.

WR-40 Langusta Poland 75 It has an automated Topaz artillery fire management set.

BM-21 Grad Soviet Union 75

RM-70 Czechoslovakia 30

2S1 Goździk Soviet Union Poland 342 Equipped with automated Topaz artillery fire management.

wz. 1977 Dana Czechoslovakia Poland 111 It has an automated Topaz artillery fire management set. Designed to be replaced by AHS Kryl.

AHS Krab Poland 24/120 By 2025 it will hit five squadrons of 24 each.

ZSU-23-4MP Biała Poland 28

WPT Mors Poland 74

WZT-2 Poland 40

WZT-3 Poland 29

Bergepanzer 2 Germany 28 Purchased with Leopard 2
Leopard 2
tanks and used to operate them.

Modernization of Land Forces, 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. The new Leopard 2
Leopard 2
A5 and Leopard 2
Leopard 2
A4 tanks will be upgraded to Leopard 2PL (first Leopard 2
Leopard 2
PL arrive in March 2018) by the end of 2020. Now the Polish Army
Army
has a stock of 1009 tanks (2017). There are a total of 249 Leopard 2
Leopard 2
tanks in 142 Leopard 2
Leopard 2
A4, 105 Leopard 2
Leopard 2
A5, 2 Leopard 2
Leopard 2
NJ, 232 PT-91
PT-91
tanks that underwent modernization in 2016 and 528 T-72. T-72
T-72
tanks will be replaced by direct support vehicles. The program is called "Gepard". The Polish army has about 690 vehicles of the KTO Rosomak. BWP-1
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
WR-40 Langusta
rocket launchers equipped with state-of-the-art Topaz fire control. The BM-21 Grad
BM-21 Grad
and RM-70 rockets will be replaced by the "Homar" Rocket artillery of 300 km range. The AHS Krab
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.

Leopard 2A4

Leopard 2A5

PT-91

KTO Rosomak

HMMWV

Skorpion-3

WR-40 Langusta

AHS Krab

RAK Mortar

Spike ATGM

Jelcz
Jelcz
P662D.34/35

Star 226

9K33 Osa

Mil Mi-17

Mil Mi-24

PZL W-3 Sokół

Rank insignia Main article: Polish Armed Forces
Polish Armed Forces
rank insignia

Officers

NATO
NATO
Code OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1

Army

Polish name generał1 generał broni generał dywizji generał brygady pułkownik podpułkownik major kapitan porucznik podporucznik

Abbreviation gen. gen.broni gen.dyw. gen.bryg. płk ppłk mjr kpt. por. ppor.

U.S./U.K. equivalent General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General, Brigadier Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant, Lieutenant Second Lieutenant

1 Until 2004 Generał armii

Enlisted

NATO
NATO
Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1

Army

Polish name starszy chorąży sztabowy starszy chorąży chorąży młodszy chorąży starszy sierżant sierżant plutonowy starszy kapral kapral starszy szeregowy szeregowy

Abbreviation st.chor.szt. st.chor. chor. mł.chor. st.sierż. sierż. plut. st.kpr. kpr. st.szer. szer.

U.S./Commonwealth equivalent Command Sergeant Major Sergeant Major Master Sergeant Sergeant 1st Class Staff Sergeant Sergeant Corporal Specialist Lance Corporal Private 1st Class Private E-1 Private E-2

Structure Main article: Operational Structure of the Polish Land Forces

Polish Land Forces
Polish Land Forces
Chart (click to enlarge)

Polish Armed Forces

Branches

  Land Forces   Air Force   Navy    Special
Special
Forces   Territorial Defence Force

History

Timeline Wars

Personnel

Senior officers Rank insignia Awards Oaths

Equipment

Land Forces Navy

v t e

Formations

11th Armoured Cavalry Division
11th Armoured Cavalry Division
(Żagań)

10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade
10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade
(Świętoszów) 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade (Żagań) 17th Mechanized Brigade (Międzyrzecz)

12th Mechanised Division "Szczecin" (Szczecin)

2nd Legion Mechanized Brigade (Złocieniec-Budowo) 7th "Pomeranian" Coastal Defence Brigade (Słupsk) 12th Mechanised Brigade (Szczecin)

16th "Pomeranian" Mechanised Division (Elbląg)

1st "Varsovian" Armoured Brigade (Warsaw) 9th Armoured Cavalry Brigade (Braniewo) 15th "Giżycka" Mechanized Brigade (Giżycko) 20th "Bartoszycka" Mechanized Brigade (Bartoszyce)

Independent Units

1st Aviation Brigade (Inowrocław) 6th Airborne Brigade (Kraków) 18th Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Regiment (Białystok) 21st Podhale Rifles
Podhale Rifles
Brigade (Rzeszow) 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) Air-mobile
Air-mobile
(Airborne forces) Forces (Wojska Aeromobilne) Engineer Forces (Wojska Inżynieryjne) Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
& Early Warning (Rozpoznanie i Wczesne Ostrzeganie) Signals & Information Technology Forces (Wojska Łączności i Informatyki) Chemical Forces (Wojska Chemiczne) Logistics (Logistyka)

Geographic distribution

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.

See also

List of Polish armoured fighting vehicles Podhale Rifles Territorial Defence Force (Poland)

References

^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 October 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2011.  ^ ":: Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej – serwis internetowy :: Uzbrojenie ::". Mon.gov.pl. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. 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) [1972]. 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
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 ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2011.  ^ 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
Poland
to accelerate arms programmes". Jane's Information Group. Retrieved 31 May 2014.  ^ "Defence official: Polish armed forces to be increased by half".  ^ ' Poland
Poland
to withdraw from UN's UNIFIL
UNIFIL
mission in Lebanon,', 11 April 2009 ^ 6 PZL W-3 Sokół
PZL W-3 Sokół
Helicopters (2003–2006) and four W-3 helicopters 2007–08 <http://gdziewojsko.wordpress.com/listy/w-3-sokol>. 6 Mil Mi-24
Mil Mi-24
attack helicopters (2004–2008) <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 December 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. >. 4 Mil Mi-8
Mil Mi-8
helicopters (2003–2008)("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 27 February 2008.  and "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2011. ).

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dowództwo Wojsk Lądowych.

Official Website of the Wojska Lądowe Military Vehicles database – Poland Ministry of National Defence

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States with limited recognition

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.