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Polish Territorial Defence Forces Take Part In An Exercise With The Allies.

  • Fot. ESA-P. Carril
    Fot. ESA-P. Carril

Dragon-15 exercise, which is a joint allied training event, is going to involve a territorial defence battalion, consisting of the troops belonging to the reserve forces – as it has been announced by the General Command of the Polish Armed Forces.

The territorial defence battalion, consisting of the reserve forces troops, is going to be, for the first time in history, involved in an allied exercise. The reserve soldiers were called for service from 6th to 7th October, in a Group located near Grudziadz.

The exercise programme includes a 1 week training at the Logistics Centre of the Group (individual training, squad integration, command posts). Next, for 10 days, the platoons are going to be integrated within the scope of staff training, realized as a part of the Dragon exercise.

Many of these soldiers have not seen a weapon, or a uniform, since many many years, however they assured us that their performance is going to be at the highest achievable level.

Commander of the 5th Territorial Defence Battalion, Major Waldemar Mazurski

5th Territorial Defence battalion, in the wartime and in the crisis periods, acts under jurisdiction of the chief of the Armed Forces Support Inspectorate. The battalion is lead by soldiers of the units acting under the jurisdiction of the said inspectorate, as it was stated in a release issued by the General Command. For the first time since the training activities for the reserve forces have been reintroduced in 2013, an exercise of a unified and coherent element is organized, and this element acts as a newly-formed unit.

The Dragon exercise, planned to take place between 13th and 23rd October, is going to involve more than 6 thousand soldiers, including soldiers deployed by the NATO allies. In case of the Polish Army, the main unit involved in the operational activities is the 11th “Lubuska” Armoured Cavalry Division, including the elements of the 17th “Wielkopolska” Mechanized Brigade and 3rd and 4th Armoured Cavalry Brigades. Moreover, the exercise is also going to involve the 25th Air Cavalry Brigade, along with support units, including bomb disposal specialists and anti-aircraft artillery personnel.

The Polish Army units are going to be supported by the allies, including the British (a mechanized element with Challenger 2 tanks and Warrior infantry-fighting vehicles), the Germans (an element deployed by the 21st Armoured Brigade, equipped with the Marder 1 infantry fighting vehicles and Leopard 2A6 tanks), along with some elements of the US and Canadian Forces.

Using a single, newly formed territorial defence element, in a joint allied exercise, may be related to the activities which have been undertaken in order to raise the level of national security, in the light of the Ukrainian crisis. During the ‘professionalization’ process related to the Polish Army, the territorial defence units that acted during the peacetime were disbanded.

However, back in March this year, Tomasz Siemoniak, Minister of Defence, announced that a territorial component of the National Reserve Forces is going to be formed, out of ca. 500 professional troops and 2000 coming from the reserves. Some specialists claim that there is a great need to expand the Territorial Defence system in Poland, including implementation of regular, complex training initiatives, realized together with the operational units, or within the scope of providing proper equipment for the units that are being mobilized.