Every year on the 15th of August the people of Poland celebrate the Feast of the Polish Armed Forces, and yesterday JOINT-FORCES joined the party, writes Carl Schulze.
This date was chosen due to the fact that on that day in 1920, during the Polish-Soviet War (14 February 1919 to 18 March 1921), the almost beaten Polish Army defeated the Red Army outside the gates of Warsaw and by doing so saved Poland’s independence. A key part of the celebrations is a massive military parade, usually held in Warsaw. This year, due to it being the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Silesian Uprising, the parade was held at Katowice in Silesia.
Starting around 14:30 the massive military parade, under the motto ‘Faithful to Poland’, included some 2,600 troops with 60 rotary and fixed wing aircraft and about 185 wheeled and tracked combat vehicles. In addition to troops from Poland, the parade saw the participation of detachments from Canada, Estonia, Romania, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The audience viewing the parade was spearheaded by the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, hundreds of VIPs and several tens of thousands of spectators.
The parade was opened by a flypast headed by the Orlik Aerobatic Team of the Polish Air Force and included, among other aircraft types, the F-16 Fighting Falcon multi-role combat aircraft, TS-11 Iskra jet trainer, M-28 Bryza transport aircraft, C-130E Hercules transport aircraft, C295M Casa transport aircraft, Mil Mi-8 utility helicopter, W-3 Sokol utility helicopter and Mil Mi-24 Hind combat helicopter. With the flypast completed the parade on the ground went into motion.
Lead by the Pułk Reprezentacyjny Wojska Polskiego or Representative Honour Guard Regiment of the Polish Armed Forces, it started with a march past of various units of the Special Forces, Land Forces, Air Forces and Navy of the Armed Forces of Poland. Among the formations represented were the 6 Brygada Powietrznodesantowa (airborne brigade), the 25 Brygada Kawalerii Powietrznej (air assault brigade), the Jednostka Wojskowa AGAT (Special Forces Ranger Unit), the 12 Brygady Zmechanizowanej (mechanized infantry brigade) and the 1 Pomorska Brygada Logistyczna (logistic brigade).
The vehicle column that followed was headed by rolling stock of the Wojska Specjalne (WS) Special Forces Command, including Polaris MRZR 4 all-terrain vehicles, HMMWV Ground Mobility Vehicles – Special Forces (GMV-SF), Oshkosh M-ATV MRAPs and Ford 550 Super Duty Special Forces Assault Vehicles. Next followed wheeled armoured vehicles of the12 Brygady Zmechanizowanej , including Rosomak wheeled infantry fighting vehicles and Rosomak Wóz Ewakuacji Medycznej (WEM) armoured ambulances.
Then the artillery of the Wojska Lądowe showed its might including, among other vehicles, WR-40 Langusta multiple lauch rocket systems, SMK 120mm RAK Rosomak-based wheeled self-propelled mortars, Samobieżna armatohaubica wz. 1977 Dana wheeled self-propelled howitzers and 155mm AHS Krab self-propelled howitzers. Last but not least the tank forces entered the stage. Three tank companies passed the visitors, one each equipped with Leopard 2A4 MBTs, Leopard 2A5 MBTs and PT-91 Twardy MBTs.
International vehicles participating in the parade included two M1A2 SEP MBTs of the US Army and a single Jackal MWMIK of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
[images © Carl Schulze ]