2016 in the General Command of the Types of Armed Forces (DG RSZ)
The most important events of the last 12 months include the organization of and participation in the Anaconda–16 exercise, as well as securing the NATO Summit held in Warsaw and the World Youth Day event.
The priority actions of the General Command of the Types of Armed Forces (DG RSZ) are the preparation of subordinate troops to act in accordance with their intended role, in particular by the training of units. In 2016, almost 300 different types of exercises were carried out in Poland and abroad, thus at a national and international level, with an emphasis on joint activities involving all the types of armed forces including land forces, the Air Force, Navy, special forces and the territorial defense force.
Some 670,000 soldiers held their training at military training grounds. However, soldiers underwent training not only there, but also at shooting ranges, on simulators, trainers, lecture halls, exercise fields and on treadmills belonging to military units. The most important training projects in the past 12 months included the Anaconda–16 exercise, Common Challenge–16, Borsuk–16, Tumak–16, Puma–16, Saber Strike–16, Ostrobok–16, Wargacz–16, Baltops–16, and others. In the past year, soldiers performed 35,000 parachute jumps. Special forces performed 22,000 parachute jumps and as part of their training regime, spent another 22,000 hours in under water training situations.
Anaconda–16 is the largest recurring exercise conducted in Poland of a joint, combined nature, carried out in a multi-national framework, with this year's edition being the largest exercise of the Polish Armed Forces since 1989.
In addition to the units separated out from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland (SZ RP), eighteen Member States of the Alliance, and four partner States (Finland, Macedonia, Sweden and Ukraine) took part in the exercise—some 31,000 soldiers taking part in all. The exercise confirmed the ability to plan, organize and carry out combined defense operations. With no major glitches, 20,000 troops were successfully deployed to Poland, together with their equipment.
A significant task involved the DG RSZ and sub-units in securing the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July 2016. Principle tasks were defined in the area of land and air transport, the strengthening of air defense, emergency response, and the preparation and implementation of the NATO National Days.
Towards the end of the year, preparations for the stationing of NATO troops and the U.S. Army in Poland picked up in momentum. Already in January 2017 in Żagań and in several other garrisons in western Poland, a U.S. Armored Brigade Combat Team and elements of an Airborne Combat Team will begin deployment. A bit little later in 2017, a Battalion Combat Team will be deployed, as part of the enhanced forward presence of NATO troops on the eastern flank (eFP—enhanced Forward Presence).
Similar tasks, as were performed during the NATO Summit occurred during the World Youth Day marking the Pope's visit in Poland. More than 4,100 soldiers and 3,800 pieces of various kinds of equipment supported police forces and the Government Protection Bureau (Pol.: BOR), by strengthening the air defense systems of the country, security, engineering, medical and logistics.
Polish soldiers also participated in forming international structures in NATO and the EU. 150 professional soldiers were and will be delegated to serve in different posts outside the country in 2016 and 2017. Also, 1,700 soldiers of the DG RSZ were sent to Polish Military Contingents in 2016, under 8 quotas set for among locations, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Kosovo. In recent months, dozens of soldiers took part in missions as observers.
Polish soldiers performed tasks in the framework of the International Assurance Measures operation, during which a mechanized infantry company trained for 3 months in the Baltic States. In addition, Polish instructors prepared the Ukrainian military within the framework of the JMTG–U. Military units heralding from the Vistula River partook in combat duty with separate forces (including means) as the NATO Response Force and the V4 EU Battle Group.
Different training courses took place during the year in Poland where 8,000 soldiers were trained, and some 1,000 candidates pursued their education abroad.
As part of ongoing efforts of clearing Polish territory from explosives and otherwise dangerous devices, 7,399 leads were followed up on, resulting in the destruction of: 1,004 aerial bombs, 5,683 mortar grenades, 2,383 grenades, 2,556 land mines, 17,356 artillery shells, 153 missiles, 1 depth bomb, 228,115 rounds of small arms ammunition, 993 grenade launcher ammunition rounds and 7,540 detonators. In addition, nearly 300 classes were conducted with school children, warning them of the danger caused by such found, unexploded devices.
In the field of sports, a Polish Army representation took part in the Military World Championships in seven sports disciplines, winning 24 medals (8 gold, 6 silver, and 10 bronze). The Polish national team taking part in the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro provided 40 soldiers representing the Military Sports Teams. The most important accomplishment was a silver medal-won by platoon leader, Piotr Małachowski—discus throw, Lance corporal Oktawia Nowacka—bronze medal in the modern pentathlon and Lance corporal Monika Michalik—bronze medal in wrestling.
Text: Lt. Col. Szczepan Głuszczak
Photos: Platoon leader Patryk Cieliński