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Polish Amphibious Ships

The fleet 2nd Amphibious Brigade was organised in 1965, and gradually acquired new landing vessels andships of Polish production. Initially, the unit had 10 new ships and boats that could carry 15 landing operation in the strength of 45 tanks and 1,500 soldiers with light equipment. In 1977 Poland had 23 Polnocny [Polnochnyi] and 2 Ropucha, and had also begun to use a small landing craft, the Kuter Desantowy. In the peak period, the unit had 1 command ship, 22 medium landing ships and 18 assault cutters [kutrow desantowych].

In accordance with the Protocol of commitments in the framework of the Polish armed forces with the parties to the Warsaw Pact, the Polish Navy placed landing ships at the disposal of assault troops to ensure that the transport and landing ashore in a single wave of a reinforced assault Regiment. The backbone of the marine amphibious forces of the Polish Navy was built from 1962-71. In the first half of the 1970s Poland built the command assault ORP Grunwald, and three missile landing vessels of Project 719 ("Marabout") of glass laminate. At the end of 1975, the Polish Navy had 22 medium landing ships, the assault naval command ship and 18 assault craft. At the same time, they were able to support the projection of an assault force composed of the soldiers of "Blue Berets" and Sappers of the Polish Navy, and the projection of the main force consisting of from 111 to 122 combat vehicles of the 7th Assault Division with the ship landing.

Participation in the operation was the most important assault task for the Polish Navy. This required it to have modern assault boats. Already in the 1980s there were plans to build a new generation of ships for the Polish Navy. The implementation of the program of development of forces and means of work commenced in 1977. The Navy began with the development of the substantive grounds to take the preliminary design work on new types of amphibious ships. In 1978, based on the emergency tactical analysis developed in 1977, work started to perform analysis of the military-technical-economic study of the general characteristics and project preliminary requirement. The pre-project study in 1979 developed seven preliminary designs, which were three catamarans of all sizes, landing ship-through cargo hold of an open, straight from the closed hold, and the small dock landing ship.

In 1983 the Navy revived the previously rejected idea of having un-guided assault missile launchers in the middle of the ship. Accordingly, several new concepts were evaluated, two of which had been developed in the Center for Marine Technology and three in the BPKT Northern Shipyard. At the breakthrough meeting convened at the request of the head of the Polish Navy on 11 April 1984, none of the five conceptual design options presented were selected for further development. Modified requirements were formulated and the task of drawing up a new version of the design was undertaken. On 16 May 1984 a meeting was held in which four new versions of the design were presented, assuming that the Navy did not want un-guided rockets (this was a return to the old concept) and want to have a large cargo capacity with limited draft.

At the beginning of the 1980s, the Polish Navy forecast for amphibious ships and boats included construction of medium-sized landing ships and boats to replace the existing landing units. Meanwhile, in May 1984 an operational-tactical task was developed to build a small assault ship. It was to be armed with automatic universal gun bore, 2 pieces of missile launchers and a minimum of 2 sets of loads. At a speed of 12 knots, the small amphibious landing was intended to ensure the transport of sub-division assault landing wave. In June 1984 a task of analysis was developed to examine the possibility of the construction of a small assault ship with a capacity 3 T-72 tanks and 50 people landing on the basis of the study design developed in-chief of Maritime Technology Center. In November 1984 the analysis of opportunities was developed to build a small Navy assault ship. A staff assessment of the project was made, and accepted by the Polish Navy, suggesting the construction of 20 ships of about 50 meters length, with the possibility of transporting from 3 to 4 tanks. The construction of the prototype was planned to begin in 1989, and with construction of three ships per year starting 1991.

In June 1984, a meeting of the Presidium of Defense for Science and Technology for Development program considered scientific and technical questions concerning the program of development of technical measures of the marine transport of landing. It was intended to maintain the basic forces of the ship, with domestic industry as the source of supply. It was also planned to keep the loading capacity of ships and boats, and amphibious assault ships, and to gradually replace them with new ships with the increased loading capacity until 1995. It was also decided to build in the years 1991 to 1995 four fire support ships, armed with rocket launchers and unguided one command ship landings. This plan was approved for implementation. All the development work associated with the search for reasonable means of sea transport landing was extensively debated, having regard to the tasks to amphibious forces, hydrometeorological characteristics of the reservoir, the politico-military situation in the theater of military operations, the state and the level of potential enemy forces, capabilities and potential of the industry and research facilities.

The Polish Navy finally agreed on the types and quantities of units planned for the construction of landing facilities. Until 1996 forecast to build:

  • 1 command ship landings [okret dowodzenia desantem]
  • 4 fire support ships [okrety wsparcia ogniowego]
  • 12 medium landing ships [srednich okretow desantowych] (with 9-10 fighting vehicles)
  • 20 small landing craft [malych okretow desantowych] (3-4 combat vehicles)
  • 12 landing boats [kutrow desantowych] (1 combat vehicle).
The total capacity of the Polish Navy amphibious forces would clearly increase and reach a level of 180 to 212 combat vehicles in one landing. The problem seemed to be with large variation in amphibious unit types. Units directly involved in the landing landing on the beach were to be three types of ships. Next to the landings command ship was the second specialised project which was to be a fire support ship. It was a logical consequence of not installing unguided rocket launchers on landing ships. It is not known whether next to the tactical considerations do not account for the economic production.

Medium landing ships, ships of fire support and assault command ship were to be built at the Northern Shipyard in Gdansk, while the Naval Shipyard in Gdynia, would fill the order for the large series of 20 small amphibious ship. They would have the capacity of only a few medium-sized ships, while the cost of construction would be much larger than the extension of the series in the Northern Yard. It is true that the use of the small amphibious ships would result in greater concentration of transported combat power, but at the same time could cause much greater problems for the escort forces of the Polish Navy.

In November 1985 the North and Centre of Maritime Shipbuilding Techniques was commissioned to identify opportunities and to support the fire support Project 768, and subsequently the assault command Project 769 [there is some confusion among sources, with most sources designated the command ship as the Project 776 Polnocny-C]. In summary, in the years 1977-85 there were many studies in both versions of the technical requirements and design documentation-General characteristics. The effects of this work were adopted for implementation.

In view of the changing political situation after 1989, Poland decided not to cooperate in planning amphibious operations. The effect of the political decision in 1989-91 was to withdraw 21 medium-sized amphibious proj. "770/771", with the exception of the ORP "Cedynia", early on a transport ship (decommissioned in 2000) and Project 776 Polnocny-C ORP Grunwald (withdrawal of the ship occurred in 2005).

This hampered the development of amphibious forces. The Polish Navy completely abandon the program construction of small amphibious Naval Yard. Only 5 Project 767 LSMs were built in the North shipyard. At the same time the Navy abandoned further work and naval fire support Project 768 and Project command ship landings 769. Six amphibious landing craft were in service in 1992. All had been built in Poland; the Polnocny was a Soviet design. Five Lublin-type craft have a capacity of 130 troops and eight tanks, and the single Polnocny craft could transport 180 troops and six tanks. The Lublins, introduced in 1989, were the last major upgrade of the Polish amphibious capability under the Warsaw Pact. The Polnocny was used as a command ship in 1992. Three Deba-type utility landing craft are used, but not for amphibious operations. Ten craft serve in support of naval operations.

After the withdrawal of all medium landing craft projects 770 and 771, in 1993, the 2.Brygade amphibious assault ships was reorganized to 2.Dywizjon Shipping Ship-term 9.FOW for transportation and minefields in Swinoujscie.

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Page last modified: 14-08-2012 14:40:07 ZULU