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Wojska Ladowe / Land Forces - Order of Battle


The Land Forces are composed of operational units, territorial defence as well as units and institutions subordinated to the Land Forces Command. In wartime, the operational forces are responsible for carrying out defence and attack activities, while in peacetime, they are involved in training, peace and humanitarian missions. The core of the operational forces is composed of four divisions: 1 st Warsaw Mechanized Division, 11 th Armoured Cavalry Division, 12 th Szczecin Mechanized Division, 16 th Pomeranian Mechanized Division. These divisions encompass general-military brigades (mechanized, armored) of armored cavalry and the Podhale riflemen. [44,300 for Brygada Zmechanizowana 154,000 for Brygady Zmechanizowanej]

Other units directly subordinated to the Land Forces Command include: 6 th Air-Assault Brigade, 25 th Air Cavalry Brigade, 2 artillery brigades, 2 engineer brigades and other units of the types of forces as well as command and support units. Their principal task is to support combat activities carried out by operational forces, and to defend particular areas and buildings. TD forces are also responsible for supporting defence units in natural disaster recovery.

The creation of a new division was announced 13 September 2018. It was given its name, the commander was designated and indicated where his staff should be. This does not mean, however, that Poland was strengthened militarily. The idea of creating the fourth division had been discussed at the Defense Ministry for several years. It was officially announced that the decision was made at the ceremony in Siedlce. Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced that it would be the 18th Mechanized Division. It is to be a reference to the 18th Infantry Division, the famous "Iron Division" from the interwar period and to the celebration of the century of regaining independence in 1918.

By 2019 most of the Polish brigades were brigades only on paper, because they lacked people and are "cropped". Part of the equipment is in garages and warehouses, because there is no one to operate it. It is not known exactly how it is, because the degree of composing individuals is a mystery. The problem is also that Polish division commands are very weak. Although they are to direct the actions of brigades and regiments and coordinate their cooperation with each other and the rest of the army, in practice they have too few people to do it efficiently. The basic numbers show this well - the headquarters of a US division has about 800 people, Poland has about 150.

The Land Forces are composed of the following types of forces: armored and mechanized forces, air-mobile forces, missile and artillery forces, air defence forces, engineer forces, chemical forces, communications and IT forces. Apart from these forces, the land forces include reconnaissance, logistics as well as electronic and psychological warfare units and subunits. The Land Forces Artillery is composed of 2 artillery brigades, an anti-tank regiment, four division artillery regiments, artillery battalions of general-military brigades, anti-tank batteries and support companies. The core of the Air-Defence forces are six anti-aircraft regiments and anti-aircraft battalions in mechanized and armoured brigades. The Land Forces have two engineer brigades, an engineer regiment, two road-bridge regiments and a communication regiment. The basic units of the chemical forces on the operational level include: a chemical regiment and a chemical battalion, on the tactical units level: chemical companies, while on the units level: chemical platoons. The basics units of the reconnaissance and electronic warfare forces include: on the operational level: reconnaissance regiments, Electronic Warfare battalions, on the tactical units level: reconnaissance battalions, on the units level: reconnaissance companies. The command process is supported by command regiments, command battalions and command and Communications subunits of the type of forces units.

The main concept behind the 2001 plan to transform the Polish armed forces was to convert them from heavy, mechanized and armored forces, focused on defence of the national territory, into light, mobile forces capable of operating abroad. One organizational aspect of this process was the creation of a mechanized corps command in May 2001 [one, not two, it seems, though some accounts appear confused by the fact that the unit is designated 2 Corps]. The corps is in command of a major share of the Polish operational land forces, comprising immediate reaction, rapid reaction, and core forces.

Four divisions (three mechanized and one armored cavalry) and six brigades (two mechanized, one armored, one coastal defence, one air-mobile and one airborne assault) form the land forces. One division is assigned to the Multi-national North-East Corps, and one armored cavalry brigade is committed to the NATO reaction force, under the German armored division structure. Each Polish mechanized corps has one artillery brigade, one engineering brigade and several other specialized units.

The two existing military district commands performed the role of territorial commands and were responsible for logistics, host nation support, administration and territorial defence. To carry out this last task, they included seven territorial defence brigades, designed to operate in the fixed areas. The eighteen existing military brigades were becoming much lighter and more mobile, including the ability to be transported by air. The restructuring aimed at making battalion-strong units operationally self-sufficient and capable of independent action. With a similar concept guiding the restructuring of the navy and theair force, the Polish army was to be converted into a much more manuverable force.

The ground forces underwent the most dramatic change in the Polish Army in the postcommunist era. They are administered in four military districts (the fourth of which, the Kraków Military District, was being established in 1992). The districts defend the northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest quadrants of the country, respectively. Once forces were redeployed to balance defenses of the eastern and western borders, Poland would have a truly omnidirectional ground defense in which two districts would engage the aggressor and the other two would serve as reserves, depending on the direction of the attack. In 1992 the Pomeranian Military District (formerly the Bydgoszcz Military District) in the northwest included three mechanized divisions (formerly designated as motorized rifle divisions), one coastal defense unit, one artillery unit, one Scud missile installation, one engineer brigade, and one SA-6 missile installation. Between 1989 and 1992, a fourth mechanized division in the district had been converted into a supply base, and a tank division had been disbanded.

In the Silesian Military District (formerly the Wroclaw Military District), two tank divisions were converted to mechanized divisions between 1990 and 1992, and one mechanized division was converted to a supply base in 1990. In 1992 those changes left the district with four mechanized divisions, two artillery units, one Scud missile installation, two engineer brigades, two SA-4 missile brigades, two antitank brigades, and one SA-6 missile regiment. Between 1990 and 1992, the Warsaw Military District, which covered all of eastern Poland pending organization of the Kraków Military District, went from one mechanized division to two mechanized divisions, plus one engineer brigade, three ceremonial guard units, one artillery battery, and one SA-6 missile regiment. Once completed, the Kraków district was to have two mechanized divisions, one air assault unit, and one mountain infantry brigade. One mobile mechanized division was held in reserve in 1992.

In addition, Poland contributes small components to U.N. peacekeeping forces in several countries. In 1992 Polish forces abroad included 176 soldiers in Cambodia, one battalion (899 troops) in Croatia, seven soldiers in Kuwait, eighty-four soldiers in Lebanon, 159 logistical support personnel in Syria, and two observers in Western Sahara. Poland also contributed staff to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission for Korea (NNSC Korea).

Restructuring of the ground forces centered on eventual creation of a single type of multipurpose division emphasizing mobility and featuring limited offensive capability. Four active tank-heavy divisions, suitable for the Warsaw Pact era but not for Poland's new defensive doctrine, would be retired or redistributed. Equipment from two divisions would go into storage while equipment from the other two divisions would go for replacement in divisions remaining active. Two additional divisions were scheduled for reductions in personnel.

By 1992 the ground forces were reduced by nearly 40,000, to 194,200 troops, including 109,800 conscripts. Logistical units numbered 28,100; training personnel, 25,900; and centrally controlled staff, 2,900.

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Page last modified: 01-03-2019 18:41:30 ZULU