Leopards Headed East. Macierewicz Confirms
Antoni Macierewicz, Polish Minister of Defence, announced that one of the tank battalions of the 11th Armoured Cavalry Brigade of the Polish Army is expected to be stationed further east, at the garrison used by the 1st Armoured Brigade in Wesoła. In practical terms, the above development means that the unit is bound to receive the Leopard 2 main battle tanks.
Antoni Macierewicz noted that the plan to shift a tank battalion to Wesoła is only possible to be implemented thanks to the fact that US units are to be deployed to Żagań. At the moment we do not know which of the units is to be transferred to Wesoła where the 1st Armoured Brigade is based now. Nonetheless, it is quite plausible the said unit is bound to have the Leopard 2 tanks at its disposal. The deployment has been confirmed in his statement for the Polish Press Agency by Bartłomiej Misiewicz, spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Defence.
The 11th Division has four tank battalions at its disposal. Two within the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade using the Leopard 2A4 vehicles, and two within the 34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, operating mainly the Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks. The Leopard 2A4 tanks used by the Polish Army are expected to be modernized up to the Leopard 2PL standard.
The 10th, as well as the 34th Brigade, during the recent years, have both been deeply involved in the NATO operations. Back in 2015, a tank battalion of the 10th Brigade became a part of the NATO VJTF component, with a unit hailing from the 34th Brigade taking on an analogous role in 2016, using the newer version of the Leopard tank. Meanwhile, during the year 2017, elements of the 10th Mechanized “Dragoons” Battalion of the 10th Brigade will form the Polish contribution to the VJTF component.
34th Armoured Cavalry Brigade is also involved in common battalion subordination initiative, with the German 41st Panzergrenadier Brigade. One of the battalions is to be subordinated to the German unit, while the Polish brigade would be in command of a German motorized infantry battalions. The third brigade of the 11th Division, the 17th “Wielkopolska” Mechanized Brigade, is the unit which utilizes the Rosomak APCs, and has no tanks at its disposal.