How Sturdy Is Poland’s Army and May It Tackle Russia?

Poland: How modernized is their navy? “You’ve Come A Lengthy Means, Child” was a longtime slogan for the Virginia Slims cigarette model, however it might additionally describe the Polish military, formally often known as the Wojska Lądowe (“Land Forces”). Throughout the Chilly Conflict, Poland was a key member of the Warsaw Pact, however the collapse of the united states eliminated the stigma and bondage of being a Soviet satellite tv for pc nation. These days, Poland is a NATO member-state standing on the alliance’s jap edge, and due to this fact serving as a bulwark towards Russian revanchist ambitions. What’s extra, Wojska Lądowe’s proud motto is Bóg, Honor, Ojczyzna (God, Honor, Fatherland), the primary phrase of which might’ve been forbidden throughout the days of atheist Communism. 

So how sturdy is Poland’s military as we speak?

Poland: Respectable Numbers, Lofty Ambitions

The overall manpower of the Polish Land Forces at present sits at roughly 63,000, and it’s divided amongst an armored cavalry division, three mechanized divisions, an aviation brigade, an airborne brigade, an air cavalry brigade, and ten so-called straight reporting regiments – three recon, 4 engineering, two CBRN, and one PSYOPS. Per the web site, “For 2022, Poland is ranked 24 of 142 out of the international locations thought-about for the annual GFP assessment. It holds a PwrIndx rating of 0.4179 (a rating of 0.0000 is taken into account ‘good’).”

The first infantry rifle is the Fabryka Broni FB Beryl 5.56mm rifle, which replaces the Warsaw Pact’s AKM 7.62x39mm rifles. This offers Polish troops compatibility with the rifle caliber of their NATO allies, all whereas sustaining the legendary Kalashnikov normal of reliability

Alongside those self same traces, the P-83 Wanad pistol within the Russian 9x18mm Makarov caliber is being phased out in favor of the PR-15 RAGUN and WIST-94 pistols, each of that are chambered in NATO’s 9mm Luger cartridge. 

Poland’s tank power stands at 551 most important battle tanks, 249 of that are the extremely succesful German-made Leopard 2. There are nonetheless 69 Soviet-era T-72s left within the arsenal. That tank was thought-about top-of-the-line within the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, however it misplaced a variety of luster after getting slaughtered by the M1 Abrams throughout Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Now, it’s taking grievous losses throughout the struggle in Ukraine. 

Polish Protection Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has made it clear that he doesn’t intend for his nation’s military to relaxation on its laurels. Błaszczak declared in late July that Poland can have “essentially the most highly effective land forces in Europe” due to ongoing investments by the federal government, which lately raised the protection price range to three% of GDP – one of many highest ranges in NATO – and goals to additional improve it to five%. Notes from Poland chief editor Daniel Tilles elaborates additional: 

“Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Warsaw has launched into a navy spending spree. This week, it confirmed a cope with South Korea that can see Poland purchase virtually 1,000 tanks and over 600 howitzers. It has additionally lately agreed the acquisition of 250 new and 116 used Abrams tanks from the US…For comparability, Germany has 266 battle tanks in service and France 406, in keeping with International Firepower, which collates information on the power of navy forces.”

GROM: A Particular (Operations) Breed

Essentially the most respected unit of the Polish military is their elite particular forces unit, the JW GROM (Navy Unit Group for Operational Maneuvering Response), which was stood up in 1990 and obtained coaching from America’s Delta Pressure and the British Particular Air Service. GROM commandos put themselves on the proverbial map amongst Western observers with their contributions to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 – particularly their key function within the seize of the Port of Umm Qasr

GROM operators have earned the nickname of “The Surgeons” due to their in depth medical coaching and information, in addition to their surgical skill to coordinate and execute particular operations. Understandably, their whole numerical power is classed.

Poland’s Navy: My Private Observations

My very own private observations of the Polish Land Forces personnel are admittedly restricted, however I embrace them herein for no matter they’re value. Whereas I by no means truly skilled with them, I bought a good quantity of private interplay with their personnel assigned to the Kosovo Pressure (KFOR) multinational peacekeeping pressure whereas I used to be a contractor with DynCorp (now a part of Amentum) at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo

My interactions with the Wojska Lądowe KFOR contingent principally consisted of watching them safely clear their weapons on the clearing barrels located on the base entry management factors, socializing with them on the base meals court docket, and attending Catholic Mass celebrated by their chaplain. That is admittedly very anecdotal, however all of the Polish troopers I both spoke with in-person or noticed from a distance struck me as very skilled, squared-away, and with a excessive state of morale.

Presently there are 27 Troop Contributing Nations in KFOR, combining for a complete troop power of three,735. Poland’s contribution is 247 troopers, which equates to six.6% of the overall.

U.S. Army M1 Abrams Fundamental Battle Tank variation fires at a goal at Bucierz Vary at Drawsko Pomorskie Coaching Space, Poland, August 11, 2020. DEFENDER-Europe 20 was designed as a deployment train to construct strategic readiness in assist of the U.S. Nationwide Protection Technique and NATO deterrence goals. In response to COVID-19, DEFENDER-Europe 20 was modified in dimension and scope. Section I of the modified DEFENDER-Europe 20 was linked to train Allied Spirit, which came about at Drawsko Pomorskie Coaching Space, Poland, June 5-19 with roughly 6,000 U.S. and Polish Troopers. In section II of the modified DEFENDER-Europe 20, a U.S.-based mixed arms battalion will conduct an emergency Deployment Readiness Train to Europe July 14-Aug. 22.

These observations, mixed with the exterior analysis I carried out for this text, give me a really excessive diploma of confidence that ought to the unthinkable occur – ought to Vladimir Putin launch a standard invasion of NATO lands – the Polish Armed Forces will likely be keen and in a position to struggle the scourge.

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Pressure Safety Forces officer, Federal regulation enforcement officer, and personal navy contractor (with assignments labored in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon). Chris holds a B.A. in Worldwide Relations from the College of Southern California (USC) and an M.A. in Intelligence Research (focus in Terrorism Research) from American Navy College (AMU). He has additionally been revealed in The Each day Torch and The Journal of Intelligence and Cyber Safety. Final however not least, he’s a Companion of the Order of the Naval Order of america (NOUS). In his spare time, he enjoys taking pictures, eating out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, journey, USC Trojans school soccer, and Washington DC skilled sports activities.