Polish Armed Forces

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Polish Armed Forces
Military manpower
Military age18 years of age
Availabilitymales age 15–49: 10,354,978 (2003 est.)
Reaching military age annuallymales: 343,500 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures
Dollar figure$5.56 billion (FY2005 est.)
Percent of GDP1.95% (FY2005 est.)

Wojsko Polskie (WP, Polish Army) is the name applied to the military forces of Poland. The name has been used since the early 19th century, although it can be used to refer to earlier formations as well. Polish Armed Forces consist of the Army (Wojsko Lądowe), Navy (Marynarka Wojenna) and Air Force (Siły Powietrzne) branches and are under the command of the Ministry of Defense (Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej).


[edit] History

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces (probably 16th-17th century) singing the Bogurodzica hymn before the battle. Painting by Józef Brandt.

Main articles: History of the Polish Army, Armia Krajowa (Home Army), Polish contribution to World War II

Polish Armed Forces
Image:POL Wojska Lądowe.svg Land Forces
Image:POL Marynarka Wojenna.svg Navy
Image:POL Wojska Lotnicze.svg Air Force



Senior officers
Rank insignia


Land Forces

The modern day Wojsko was created in 1918, from the three separate Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and Prussian armies and equipment left following World War I. The force expanded during the Polish-Soviet War of 1919–1922 to nearly 800,000 men, but then was reduced when peace was reestablished. During the Second World War, on 1 September, 1939 the force was nearly one million men strong, but was defeated by a German attack in September 1939, which was followed on 17 September 1939 by a Soviet attack.

Some Polish forces escaped from the region and joined Allied forces fighting in other theatres while those that remained in Poland splintered into guerilla units and partisan groups which fought in clandestine ways against the foreign occupiers of Poland.

After the war, the Soviets imposed their own structure on the military, which was ultimately discarded after the fall of communism. Currently the military is being re-organized according to NATO standards. Some of the major problems facing the Polish Army Forces are the transition from a draft-based to a contract-based army and elimination of "fala" - the bullying of young conscripts by older ones.

[edit] Organization

Image:Engineers Pakistan.jpg
Military engineers of the Polish Armed Forces at work in Pakistan

The combined Polish armed forces consists of 140,000 active duty personnel and in addition 450,000 reserves. The armed forces are made up of conscripts who serve for a period of 9 months, and professional soldiers. Personnel levels and organization in the different branches are as follows (2004):

  • Army: 93,570 (3 Mechanized Divisions and 1 Armoured Division)
  • Air Force: 31,147 (Air and Air Defense Corps)
  • Navy: 15,976 (1 Battle Fleet, 2 Coastal Defense Brigades)

As of 2006 professional soldiers make up 60% of military personnel, while the current government of Poland intends to make the Army fully professional by 2012 by ending the draft or reducing it to short training of recruits that would last up to two or three months[1].

[edit] Equipment

Main article: Equipment of the Polish Army

The Polish military continues to use mostly Soviet-era equipment, however after joining NATO in 1999 Poland has begun upgrading and modernizing its hardware to Western standards. The General Staff has been reorganized into a NATO-compatible J/G-1 through J/G-6 structure. Recent modernization projects include the acquisition of F-16 fighter jets from the United States, Leopard 2 MBTs from Germany, ATGM technology from Israel (as well as possible future acquisition of Rafael Python 5 and Arrow missiles), and Patria AMV 8x8 AFVs from Finland. Equipment, see in detail:

[edit] Mission

The most basic goal of the armed forces is the defense of Polish territorial integrity, and Polish interests abroad. Poland's national security goal is to further integrate with NATO and other west European defense, economic, and political institutions via a modernization and reorganization of its military. Polish military doctrine reflects the same defense nature as its NATO partners. Poland continues to be a regional leader in support and participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace Program and has actively engaged most of its neighbors and other regional actors to build stable foundations for future European security arrangements. Poland is also playing an increasingly larger role as a major European peacekeeping power in the world through various UN peacekeeping actions.

[edit] Recent operations

Image:Polish patrol Babylon DF-SD-04-16537.jpg
A Polish Army soldier patrol leader debriefs his team after completing an afternoon patrol around the perimeter of Camp Babylon, Iraq

Polish Armed Forces took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, deploying 2,500 soldiers in the south of that country and commanding the 17-nation Multinational force in Iraq. In addition to this, Polish soldiers are currently deployed in five separate UN Peacekeeping Operations (UNDOF, UNIFIL, SFOR, AFOR and KFOR) with a total of approximately 2,200 troops, on top of the 1,500 soldiers remaining in southern Iraq. Total international deployment of Polish military is 3,727 troops.

Current deployment (2006):

  • Lebanon: UN Interim Force (PMC/UNIFIL) – 632 soldiers
  • Golan Heights, Syria: UN Disengagement and Observation Force (PMC/UNDOF) – 355 soldiers
  • Balkans: Stabilization Force (PMU/SFOR) – 300 soldiers
  • Albania: International Force in Albania (PMU/AFOR) – 140 soldiers

[edit] Trivia

Polish military forces are the origin of the two-fingers salute.

[edit] Branches

The Wojsko consists of the following branches:

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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