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Wojsko Polskie (WP, or roughly translated as "Polish Military") is the national fighting defence force of Polandmarker. The name has been used since the early 19th century, but can also be applied to earlier periods. The Polish Armed Forces comprise the Army (Wojska Lądowe), Navy (Marynarka Wojenna), Air Force (Siły Powietrzne) and Special Forces (Wojska Specjalne) and are under the command of the Ministry of National Defense (Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej).


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

The modern day "Wojsko" was created in 1918, from the three separate Russianmarker, 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 September 1, 1939 the force was nearly one million men strong, but was defeated by a German attack in September 1939, which was followed on September 17, 1939 by a Soviet attack (see: Polish September Campaign).

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

After the war, the Soviet Unionmarker imposed their own structure on the military and created the People's Army of Poland. This was ultimately discarded after the fall of communism. Currently the military is being re-organized according to NATOmarker standards. One of the major problems facing the Polish Army Forces is the transition from a draft-based to a contract-based army.


The combined Polish armed forces consists of 99,170 active duty personnel and in addition 234,000 reserves.In 2009 the Armed Forces transformed into a fully professional organization and compulsory military service was abolished. Personnel levels and organization in the different branches are as follows (2004):

  • Land Forces: 56,000 (4 divisions, independent units and territorial forces)

  • Air Force: 17,000 (Air and Air Defense Corps)

  • Navy: 14,300 (2 Fleets)

  • Special Forces: 1,500 (3 Special Units - Grom, 1.PSK, Formoza)

Polish Armed Forces will have 100,000 active personnel and a new formation, National Reserve Forces, which will include 20,000 troops combat-ready in case reserves are needed.


Polish Land Forces: Leopard 2A4
Polish Land Forces: KTO Rosomak
Polish Land Forces: 18th Airborne Assault Battalion
Polish Air Force: F-16C block 52+
Polish Navy: ORP Generał Kazimierz Pułaski
Polish Special Forces: GROM

Land Forces

Air Force



The Polish military is in the middle of a long term modernisation programme. Recent modernization projects include:

Modernisation plans also include acquiring new transport helicopters, AA Missile Systems, advanced jet trainers, light infantry vehicles, aerial refueling aircraft, VIP transport aircraft, submarine and attack helicopters.


Polish Soldiers in Afghanistan
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 NATOmarker 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, cooperating with neighbouring nations (LITPOLBAT, POLUKRBAT).

Recent Operations

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 (UNDOFmarker, UNIFIL, EUFOR and KFOR). Total international deployment of Polish military is over 4,500 troops.

Current Deployment

  • International Security Assistance Force
    • Personnel: 2000
    • 8 Helicopters
  • EUFOR Chad/RCA
    • Personnel: 400
    • 3 Helicopters
    • Personnel: 200
Completed operations (as of December 2009) :
  • MNF-I'
    • Personnel: 900 (peak - 2,500)
    • 11 Helicopters
  • UN Disengagement and Observation Force
    • Personnel: 355
  • UN Interim Force
    • Personnel: 500


Polish Armed Forces are the only military entity in the world to use a two-finger salute which is only used while wearing a hat with the emblem of the Polish eagle, such as military hat rogatywka. The salute is performed with the middle and index fingers extended and touching each other, while the ring and little fingers are bent and touched by the thumb. The tips of the middle and index fingers touch the peak of the cap, two fingers meaning honour and fatherland (Honor i Ojczyzna).


The "Wojsko Polskie" consists of the following branches:

See also


  1. Polish Military personnel

External links

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