THE POLISH ARMY
(WOJSKO POLSKIE) IN 2300
ORDER OF BATTLE
ARMY HEADQUARTERS AND STRATEGIC RESERVE
1st 'Warsaw' Guards Brigade*1
1st Cavalry Army
1st 'Kiev' Armored Cavalry Division
II Polish Expeditionary Corps
7th 'Lujcyka' Naval Assault
2nd 'Lithuanian' Naval Assault
3rd 'Monte Cassino' Mountain
TERRITORIAL COMMAND EAST
1st Baltic Army
4th 'Krolewski 22nd' Mechanized
18th 'Lublin' Mechanized Division
TERRITORIAL COMMAND WEST
1st 'Warsaw' Mechanized Division
11th 'Wroclaw' Mechanized Division
RESERVE FORCE COMMAND
1st Polish Army (Reserve Forces)
2nd Polish Army (Reserve Forces)
2nd Baltic Army (Reserve Forces)
Poland, circa 2300, is a regional power with a relatively modern, large military. The nation is also surrounded by powerful neighbors, however, and the cornerstone of Polish defense strategy is long-standing and close alliance with the nations of France and Czechoslovakia. For most of the post-Twilight War era, France and Poland have had a close, albeit sometimes rocky, relationship, with the French looking to Poland (and Czechoslovakia) as a stabilizing force in central/eastern Europe and as a potential counterbalance against the German states, Russia, and the Ukraine, with more than a little success along these lines. Under French tutelage, Poland has managed to recover from the Twilight War and prosper. As a consequence of this long association, the Polish Army has been heavily influenced by the French military in terms of organization, equipment and doctrine.
The Twilight War and the 21st Century: Poland was among the most devastated regions of the world at the end of the Twilight War, and what remained of its army, at the beginning of the 21st Century, was a scattering of local warlords and city militias. The first thirty years of the 21st century were spent in a multi-faceted civil war, with the most important factions being the oligarchs of the city-state of Krakow in the south and a coalition of populist militias and stranded American and Canadian forces in the north. Besides fighting each other, these factions were also pre-occupied with dealing with Soviet military units still in the country (by incorporating the more agreeable, and destroying the more hostile) and the remnants of the Polish communist government in Lublin.
In 2026, the French managed to broker an agreement between Krakow and their northern rivals, forming a democratic National Assembly. The National Assembly's first acts were to form the Polish National Army, elect a prime minister, and begin framing a new constitution (in that order). In short order, French aid began to flow into Poland (including military equipment and advisors). The Polish Army, well-equipped compared to their rivals, had little trouble reasserting national unity and integrity in the "War of National Rebirth" (loosely from 2000 onward, more properly 2026-2033).
Ongoing chaos in the Baltic led to the Polish Army occupying Lithuania and Kaliningrad in 2037, with Lithuania (including Kaliningrad) being politically and economically incorporated into Poland as an autonomous province over the course of the next 30 years. A multi-national French, Polish, and Swedish force also briefly occupied Leningrad/St. Petersburg during the 2040s (2042-4) before internal bickering between the Swedes and French, coupled with resurgent Russian nationalism, forced the evacuation of the force.
The Polish Army nearly doubled in size during the Russo-Ukrainian War (2065-2072), dispatching a large expeditionary force to support the Ukrainians as well as launching an invasion of Russia in conjunction with Bavarian and French forces. The invasion enjoyed some initial success (Minsk fell in 2067) but stiffening Russian resistance put the Poles and their allies on the defensive, and long term disaster may have been averted only by the entry of Japan into the war in 2070.
The Polish Army spent the remainder of the century as part of a multi-national force occupying portions of European Russia (including St. Petersburg, again, which was under Franco-Polish administration until 2093). French insistence that these forces be withdrawn at the turn of the century became a lingering source of friction between the Polish and French governments (the Poles were, at the time, contemplating outright annexation of very large tracts of European Russia).
The 22nd Century: Tensions with Russia simmered just below the level of open hostility for much of the century, with a number of border "incidents," some involving battalion and brigade level cross-border raids and artillery duels. French diplomatic pressure (applied heavily on both sides) managed to keep full-scale war from breaking out, however.
In 2162, Poland fought a limited war against the German state of Brandenburg, stemming from a longstanding dispute between the two nations concerning the fate of the city of Szczecin/Stettin, which had come under the control of Brandenburg at the beginning of 21st century. The war erupted after a pro-Polish demonstration (proven, some years later, to have been instigated by allegedly "rogue elements" within the Polish secret service, which had long been engaged in attempts to undermine Brandenburg rule in the city) turned bloody, prompting Poland to dispatch forces to the border. Brandenburg matched the Polish deployment and a confused night action took place some days after the demonstration, with both sides accusing the other of firing first.
Two weeks of bloody fighting in and around the city of Stettin followed, with an attendant flow of refugees out of the city (as well as the displacement of ethnic Germans from the eastern bank of the Oder). Occuring at the height of the Alpha Centauri War, the "Stettin War" (or "Szczecin War" depending on one's perspective) was quickly terminated by diplomatic pressure from France and Bavaria, and resulted in little, save the devestation of the city of Stettin. The Polish-Brandenburg border remained fixed on the line of the Oder-Niese rivers, and Stettin remained a "lost" city as far as the Polish goverment was concerned. The most notable outcome of the war was the flow of ethnic Polish refugees out of the city into Poland (with ethnic Germans retreating from Stettin and the east bank of the Oder into Brandenburg), so that by the end of the century, Stettin's population was overwhelmingly German, ultimately solving the "Stettin Question" through demographic transition rather than diplomacy or armed might.
As a final note, Polish refugees from the city of Szczecin were assisted in resettlement by the Zapamoga organization, with a great many eventually immigrating to Provence Nouveau and Wellon on Tirane (along with a great many other Polish nationals). Displaced Brandeburg Germans from Stettin and the Oder area played a large part in rebuilding Stettin, though a sizeable minority also emigrated to Tirane.
For the remainder of the century tension remained high along the border, with two near-wars averted in 2170 and 2191 by Bavarian and French diplomatic maneuvering.
The 23rd Century: The Polish Army contributed the I Polish Expeditionary Corps to the Central Asian War, where they fought under French command. The expeditionary force suffered heavy casualties (stemming from the same shortcomings in doctrine and equipment that hampered the French war effort in general), and popular support for the war in Poland rapidly evaporated. As a result, the ruling Liberal Solidarity party suffered serious losses to the anti-war Unity party in the 2288 elections.
The Unity Party limited Polish participation in the War of German Re-Unification to a strongly worded diplomatic protest. The potential threat of of Polish belligerence, however, did serve to limit the force Germany could deploy against France. The diversion of troops is believed (by the Poles, at any rate) to have been crucial to French victory in the Battle of Picardy which halted the Germans along the Somme.
German reunification proved as volatile a political issue as the Central Asian War had been and the Unity Party's government did not survive long after the announcement of a German state, suffering heavy losses to a resurgent Liberal Solidarity party in emergency elections called in 2294. Liberal Solidarity has made reconciliation with France and military readiness the central tenets of their renewed government. While there is some lingering ill-will among French government officials concerning the failure of Poland (and the Czechs) to aid France during the war, most French citizens regard the War of German Reunification as stemming more from the folly and ineptness of the ruling military Junta.
The Kafer War: The Liberal Solidarity party offered Polish forces to assist in the defense of human space against the Kafers as early as 2299 (as a side note, participation in the war is in part a bid to secure French aid in establishing a Polish colony in the French Arm). Preparations (both diplomatic and military), as well as the scarcity of transport, delayed the deployment of Polish Forces until after the Battle of Beowulf in 2302. For more information, see II Polish Expeditionary Corps.
FIELD ARMY MISSIONS
The following outlines the general deployment and responsibilities of the Polish Army's various Field Armies.
Note that the maneuver armies (1st Cavalry Army, the Gdansk Army and the Krakow Army) receive the lions share of training funds and priority for new equipment, making them the most capable and combat ready segments of the army.
Reserve Armies: Though their specific
order of battle has been omitted here for the sake of
brevity, each of the three Reserve Armies (2nd Baltic and
1st and 2nd Polish Armies) consist of four motorized
infantry divisions and supporting troops. Units
typically only exist at 50-66% of their authorized
strength (though they maintain complete equipment sets),
so mobilizing them for wartime operations would take
several months. The wartime mission for the
reserves is to provide relatively static, positional
defenses around which more mobile active-duty forces can
ORGANIZATION BELOW DIVISION LEVEL
Air Assault Battalion and Mountain Rifle Battalion: Identical, except for differences in training. As noted above, Polish Mountain Rifle battalions are trained and employed like light infantry formations in other armies (though they do have some training in specialized climbing skills). Air Assault Battalions are trained for airmobile insertion (6th Pomeranian AAD was originally a parachute formation, but Polish doctrine has abandoned the idea of attempting a mass tactical jump in the European environment). Either battalion includes a headquarters and
Armored Regiment: Consists of a regimental HQ (with one command tank, a battery of MRLs with 4 self-propelled artillery vehicles, an a reconnaissance troop with two DOP-80As, plus soft-skinned vehicles), and four armored squadrons. Each armored squadron has a total of 10 tanks (Orzel tracked MBTs or AC-8 or AC-12 HBTs), in three 3 vehicle troops (referred to as "saber troops" or "lancer troops" depending on the unit's lineage), plus a HQ tank. Total strength for a squadron is 41 AFVs, though it is common for an armored regiment to have a cross-attached mechanized infantry company replacing on of its squadrons. A Naval Armored Regiment, and the units of the 36th Armored Cavalry Brigade are identical, except all vehicles are hovercraft for littoral operations.
Attack Regiment: Attack regiments are the proper nomenclature for divisional gunship regiments. Each has 20 Aerofabrique Zephyr X-Wing gunships. The gunship squadron is usually employed as the divisional reserve to support the main effort (in the offense) or blunt enemy attacks, but in some cases the regiment may break down into two "demi-regiments" of 10 aircraft apiece and be attached to a divisional Battlegroup.
Mechanized Infantry Battalion: Battalion headquarters includes an MRL battery (4 launcher vehicles), an anti-tank troop (3 OP-80A, 1 DOP-80A), and a recon troop with two DOP-80As. Four mechanized infantry companies, each with 10 IFVs (BWP-90s, except in Naval Assault divisions) in three 3 vehicle platoons (each platoon has 27 men assigned) and a one vehicle headquarters. Like an armored regiment, it is customary for a cross-attached tank company to replace one of the mechanized infantry companies. A battalion from a Naval Assault Regiment is identical, except that AFVs and supporting vehicles are hovercraft.
Reconnaissance Regiment: Consists of regimental HQ, two close reconnaissance squadrons, and two anti-tank squadrons.
Sapper Regiment: Organic at both the division and army level (in Engineer Brigades), sapper regiments are composed of one Heavy Squadron (equipped with 10 'Dzik' Combat Engineer Vehicles and 10 Armored Vehicle Launcher Bridges) and three Light Squadrons equipped with trucks or wz.81 APCs (in the heavy units of the manuever armies).
Special Operations Regiment: These battalion-sized organizations are organized like an Air Assault or Mountain Rifle battalion, except that the Weapons Company has been replaced with a fourth line company (approximate strength 550 men). Basic armament is the same as for an infantry battalion, but may be altered extensively for specific missions.
SPECIAL OPERATIONS CAPABILITIES
Each of the three Polish special operations brigades are configured for a specific area of operations, for which they receive specialized training and area familiarization. Special operations forces would generally function, in wartime, as strategic reconnaissance forces and carry out sabotage and direct action missions against hostile nations. Areas of responsibility are as follows:
The brigades are optimized for use in these areas (including necessary language skills), but, in wartime, would be deployed as necessary against whatever opponent Poland was fighting.
Because it is anticipated that II Polish Expeditionary Corps would be involved in operations in the Ukrainian colony of Novoya Kiev it was decided that one regiment of the 2nd Special Operations Brigade should be attached to the corps to provide for liaison with Ukrainian forces, as well as providing the corps an organic special operations force for other missions.
PERSONNEL AND RECRUITING
Enlisted: The Polish Army relies on a combination of conscript and volunteer force.
Personnel for the "Territorial Armies" (1st Baltic, Lublin, Pomeranian, and Silesian Armies) are short-service conscripts drafted for a two year term of service under the auspices of the Polish National Service Program (Obowiazkowa Sluzba Naradowy or OSN) at the age of eighteen. The OSN is actually primarily geared towards filling low level civil service positions and providing vocational training to young Poles; the military typically only receives a small portion of the men and women called up for national service each year. In practice most conscripts who enter the military do so voluntarily (though the state retains the right to allocate OSN personnel as necessary, should the military or another sector have a staffing shortfall). Sociologists have noted a trend over the past 250 years for a "military caste" to grow up as a result, with certain families and communities contributing the bulk of conscripts during each generation. For instance, the port city of Gdansk is traditionally over-represented in the conscript system, and the town of Kepno in central Poland typically has 90% of more of its OSN inductees entering military service.
Conscripts undergo a three month training period, including job specific training, at the OSN Military Service Camp outside the city of Radom. This is deemed sufficient to produce a functional, minimally trained soldier (by 24th century standards). In many ways the divisions of Territorial Armies function as training divisions, and conscripts spend much of their first year of service enduring the "zataczac sie OSN" (literally "the OSN stagger") in preparation for yearly fall maneuvers where Territorial Armies conduct division and army level operations against Maneuver Army forces serving as OPFOR.
During their second year of conscript service, personnel are given the option of transferring to the volunteer force, if they so desire. Personnel who choose to do so are transferred to one of the maneuver armies (1st Cavalry, Gdansk, and Krakow Armies) where they will serve alongside those who enlist directly into the volunteer force. Volunteers endure a three month period of basic training at the Maneuver Army Training Camp near Torun (regarded as more difficult than the OSN basic training program), after which they and incoming conscripts undergo an additional six months of additional training (primarily geared towards job specific skills). Maneuver army units have their own equivalent of the "OSN stagger," though pacing is somewhat less rushed (maneuver army personnel do not participate in the yearly field exercises until their second year of service).
Non-Commissioned Officers: The Polish Army's rank system includes a relatively large number of NCO ranks (see below). Personnel become eligible for promotion NCO ranks as soon as they reach the rank of Senior Private (Starzy Szeregowy), which typically occurs within the first nine to twelve months of service. It is possible, though uncommon, for a conscript to reach the rank of Sergeant, but most NCOs are volunteers, serving in both the territorial and maneuver armies.
Promotion to the ranks of Corporal, Sergeant, and Leading Sergeant each require the attendance of branch-specific training schools (lasting anywhere from two weeks to four months, depending on the rank and the branch). Promotion to the Senior grade of each of those ranks is at the discretion of the brigade or division commander, though informal standards regarding time in service and skill level are in effect army-wide (typically a minimum of one year's service must be spent in grade for promotion to senior corporal, with two or more year's service required for promotion to the senior sergeant ranks).
Warrant Officers: The Polish Army has found it useful to employ Warrant Officer ranks for various technical specialists (primarily technicians and medical personnel). Warrant officers are drawn from the ranks of the Polish Army (typically being NCOs in supporting arms selected for additional special education) as well as direct recruitment of civilians with necessary job skills. A Warrant Officer Academy, located at the OSN Military Service Camp, provides basic military training, though job-specific skills are typically already possessed by a warrant officer cadet. Additional professional training is often provided by sending warrant officers to civilian universities or (for medical personnel) by serving alongside the staff of civilian hospitals (typically in emergency room settings to develop trauma management skills).
Officers: Poland maintains a National Military Academy in Warsaw as well as a commissioning program for qualifying enlisted personnel and NCOs from the volunteer force. The military academy functions as a four year university, while the commissioning program last a year, plus an additional six months to eight months of branch specific training (which military academy graduates must also go through after completion of schooling). The National Military Academy also conducts training courses or staff colleges for those receiving company, battalion, brigade, and division commands.
It is not uncommon for Polish field grade officers to
attend French professional development schools or serve
with French units under exchange programs in place with
the French government.
The Polish Army tends to be NCO heavy, with Corporals and Lance Corporals leading three or four man fire teams and Sergeants leading infantry squads or dismounted infantry sections. AFVs are typically commanded by Senior Sergeants. As described above, warrant officer ranks are actually distinct from enlisted/NCO ranks and are held by technical specialists.
Second Lieutenants in the Polish Army actually function more as officer cadets, spending the first six months of so after receiving their commission filling junior staff positions and attached to a platoon leader (First Lieutenant) further learning their job. At the next level of organization, Captains are, again, staff officers, with Majors commanding platoons. Battalions are commanded by colonels, with lieutenant colonels (as well as senior majors) filling staff positions.
General ranks function in typical fashion, with
Brigadiers commanding independent brigades of divisional
battlegroups, Major Generals commanding divisions,
Lieutenant Generals commanding Armies, and Generals
commanding major territorial commands.
Poland's armed forces make use of a good deal of equipment purchased from France, though there is also an indigenous arms industry which has traditionally (since the mid-21st century) worked in close association with Czechoslovakian state and independent firms to produce equipment tailored to Eastern European conditions and national doctrines.
Small Arms: The standard weapon for the Polish military (as well as Czech forces) is the 8mm binary Karabin kbk wz94, usually known simply as the vz94 (its Czech designation) or wz94. Squad-level sharpshooters are equipped with the 50-01 vz97 laser rifle, a very reliable, accurate weapon. The only French small arm imported in quantity is the FTE-10 sniper rifle, which is used at the platoon level by Polish air assault and mountain rifle forces. Polish troops do not use man-portable light machineguns, though a vehicle-mounted coaxial MG is in service, firing the same round as the 8mm vz94 assault rifle.
Heavy Weapons: A greater French influence is seen in the realm of man-portable support weapons. The Quinn-Darlan Mk.2-A2 plasma gun is in service as a squad level support weapon (replacing the obsolete wz77 23mm storm gun, which is still in service with reserve units). Man-portable missiles include the Blindicide-9 (as well as Blindicide-3 missiles, also in service with reserve units), and the Martel SAM.
Protective Equipment: The standard field uniform for non-combat personnel consists of camouflage battledress augmented by an inertial body armor vest and high threat helmet. Combat arms personnel substitute a non-rigid ballistic cloth body suit for the standard battledress (however, members of the 6th Air Assault Division, 10th Air Cavalry Division, and the various Mountain Rifle units omit the armored body suit in favor of standard fatigues, as they function as light infantry). Polish high threat helmets incorporate integral communications (3 km planning range), heads up display (which integrates with Polish and Czech small arms), and other features common to modern helmets.
Armored Fighting Vehicles: The backbone of the Polish armored vehicle fleet is the tracked wz.91 Orzel ("Eagle") main battle tank and the wz.90 infantry fighting vehicle (based on a lightened version of the wz.91 chassis). Imported French hovercraft (AVCI-3s, AC-8s and AC-12s) are used in smaller numbers, including specialized UAV tender and tank-destroyer versions of the AVCI-3. In addition, the ABR-76 armored car and the CC-21 heavy tanks are both used in limited numbers.
Unit designation for divisions is mostly taken from Twilight 2000 sources, with some new units as well. Brigades sized units are primarily fictional, though some have their roots in online information concerning the current Polish Army ORBAT.
The Franco-Polish alliance is based on the description of Central Europe in the AG, and is also extremely logical for a nation caught between Russia, Germany, and the Ukraine. Polish national defense against any of those three nations is probably predicated on French assistance, though the current low likelihood of war with any of those nations makes this an acceptable state of affairs for the Polish government. They are, however, involved in a modest modernization program to improve their general military capabilities at the beginning of the 24th century.
The alliance with Czechoslovakia is vaguely suggested by the AG which has the French helping rebuild both nations and is, again, quite logical in terms of geography. The idea that the Czechs and Poles are pooling their resources for weapons R&D is an outgrowth of this, and an attempt to put an interesting spin on an alternate scenario to just having everything sole-sourced from the French.