Poland Military

Poland is a country located in Central Europe and is bordered by Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Lithuania. It has a population of around 38 million people and the official language is Polish. The majority of the population are Roman Catholic, with some other religious denominations such as Protestantism also present.

The military of Poland consists of three branches; Army, Navy, and Air Force. The total active personnel in the military are around 100,000 people. The Army has around 90,000 personnel with a focus on ground operations and border protection. It also has a Navy with 10,000 personnel for naval operations as well as 60 combat vessels for maritime defense missions within Polish waters. The Air Force has 15,000 personnel with 80 combat aircrafts for air support operations and air defense missions within Polish borders. Poland is also part of NATO’s collective defense system as well as participating in United Nations peacekeeping missions. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Poland.


Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that POL stands for Poland. The defense, which is based on general military duty with an initial service of 9 months, comprises (2006) 141,500 men with 234,000 in reserve. The reorganization carried out after the fall of the Wall in 1989 and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact sought, in addition to adapting the organization to the CFE’s lower staffing framework, including: to create high-level alliances (equivalent to NATO’s Rapid Deployment Forces) grouped in southeastern Poland. After 1999, the reorganization is slow, mainly for financial reasons.

Poland Army

The defense consists of an army of 89,000 men, 277,000 fully manned, with four mechanized divisions and five independent mobile brigades. The Navy has 12,300 men, 24,000 fully manned, with 5 submarines, 7 larger and 16 smaller fighter vessels, 5 landing craft and a 2,000-man naval aircraft with 18 fighter aircraft. The Air Force comprises 30,000 men, 49,000 men fully manned, with 142 fighter aircraft and 18 attack helicopters. Semi-military security forces amount to 21,000 men. The equipment is semi-modern and mainly of Soviet origin, but is slowly being replaced by NATO equipment.

Defense costs fell from 8.1 to 1.9% of GDP in 1985-2006. Poland participates in a number of UN peacekeeping efforts. Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR II), Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Georgia, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Serbia, Montenegro, Sudan, Syria/Israel (UNDOF) and Western Sahara.

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It is not compulsory first-time service in Poland. In 1999, Poland joined NATO. Poland has close defense policy cooperation with the United States, which has deployed a battery of Patriot missiles in the northern part of the country. In May 2011, the two countries signed an agreement on US military presence in Poland. Along with the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, Poland participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, where there were mostly 2,500 Polish soldiers. The Polish force was withdrawn in 2008.

Poland has defense cooperation through the Visegrad Group and with the countries on the eastern flank of NATO countries in Europe. NATO contributes to defense through the Enhanced Forward Presence operation.

The total force figures for Poland’s armed forces are 117,800 active personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, 73,400 semi-military police and border guards come.


The army has a strength of 61,200 active personnel. Materials include 637 tanks (247 Leopard 2, 232 PT-91 and 158 T-72), 427 self-propelled artillery, 1636 storm- armored vehicles, 257 armored personnel vehicles and 435 self-propelled artillery, eight of which are self-propelled air defense artillery. In addition, the Army has heavy artillery, short-range anti-aircraft missiles, anti-aircraft artillery and 126 helicopters, of which 28 Mi-24 combat helicopters.

Air Force

The Air Force has a strength of 18 700 active personnel. Material comprising 32 fighters of a MiG-29, 66 fighter aircraft (48 F-16 and 18 Su-22), 46 transport, 68 trainers and 77 helicopters. In addition, the Air Force has long range air defense missiles.

The Navy

The Navy has a force of 7,000 active personnel. The fleet includes three tactical submarines (one of the Kilo class and two of the Kobben class), two frigates of the Oliver Hazard Perry class, four patrol vessels, 21 minesweepers, eight landings and 20 logistics and auxiliary vessels. In addition, the Navy has 10 maritime patrol aircraft, four light transport aircraft, 27 helicopters and coastal defense missiles.

International operations

In 2018, Poland participated in NATO operations in Afghanistan (Operation Resolute Support) with 315 personnel, in Kosovo (KFOR) with 252 personnel, and has deployed 160 personnel in Latvia (Enhanced Forward Presence).

Poland also participated in UN operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) with an observer, in Kosovo (UNMIK) with an observer, in South Sudan (UNMISS) with an observer, and in Western Sahara (MINURSO) with two observers.

In addition, Poland participated in the EU operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR) with 39 personnel.

Poland is a member of the UN and most of the UN’s special organizations, including the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The country is also a member of the OSCE Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe (from 1991) and the OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (from 1996). Poland was a member of the former cooperative organizations of the Warsaw Pact and Comecon. The country entered into a Partnership for Peace Agreement with NATO in 1994 and became a full member in 1999. Poland joined the EUMay 1, 2004 in the first pool of new members from the former communist countries. The EU Border Control Agency (FRONTEX) is headquartered in Warsaw. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has offices in Warsaw.

Poland was a member of the UN Security Council in 2018–2019. It was the sixth time Poland was a member of the UN Security Council.

Poland has 88 embassies, 35 consulates, eight permanent delegations to international organizations and one representative office (to the PLO).

Poland – Warsaw


Warsaw, capital of Poland; 1. 8 million residents (2018). Warsaw is located in the middle of the country, on the river Wisła. Like other Eastern European cities, after the Second World War, the city was supplied with large-scale industries such as steel mills. Administration and cultural life are highly centralized in Warsaw with, among other things, parliament, the Supreme Court, scientific central institutions and archives. In Warsaw there are also universities (founded in 1817), twelve colleges, a large number of museums and theaters, concert halls and book publishers. The tramways here form the backbone of public transport, but Warsaw’s first metro line was inaugurated in 1995. Warsaw is Poland’s most important traffic hub with five railway stations and the Okęcie International Airport. The oldest parts of the city are located on Wisła’s western shore above a marked slope.

Architecture and cityscape

Also in its post-1945 rebuilt state, Warsaw is an architectural attraction. The Old Town (Stare Miasto) is a walled medieval town with regular street networks and a large square with gabled houses. The new city (Nowe Miasto) is a late medieval new founding, originally a city of its own.

Only during Sigismund  III Vasa’s time did Warsaw become a more significant city, and the medieval castle on the southern edge of Stare Miasto was converted into a royal residence. Churches and nobles’ palaces in the Italian Renaissance characterized the new cityscape. From the Castle Square (Plac Zamkowy) and to the south, the long and richly varied street street leads to Krakowskie Przedmieście-Nowy Świat. To the south of the then city, the classicist castle castle Łazienki (1775–95) was erected by Domenico Merlini (1730–97). In 1820’s Warsaw, new institutions were built in classicist forms by Antonio Corazzi (1792-1877), including the Stock Exchange and the Finance Minister’s Palace.

The reconstruction after 1945 was in the older districts a reconstruction that took hold at all stages of Warsaw’s architectural heritage, from the late Middle Ages to classicism, but left most of the 19th century aside. The reconstructed Stare Miasto became the most prestigious building of the European 1950s and has been declared a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The Palace of Culture, designed by Russian architects and erected as a gift from the Soviet Union, became even more criticized. At the same stage belong some large institutions designed by Bohdan Pniewski (1897-1965), among others. National Bank and the reconstructed Teatr Wielki. Since the 1960s, Warsaw has been expanded with very large and often criticized residential suburbs in the modernist spirit, eg. Ursynów.

In the southern surroundings of Warsaw lies the baroque castle Wilanów (‘Villa Nova’) with Johan  Park Sobieski and its associated park facilities.


Warsaw, first mentioned in the sources in 1224 as a village emerging around a castle erected by the Duke of Masovia, was developed through its location at Wisła to the trading center. When the Masovian prince died, Warsaw was incorporated in Poland in 1526. Not least the proximity to Lithuania increased Warsaw’s political significance: in 1569 it became the seat of the Polish-Lithuanian Parliament, and in 1596 it took over Kraków’s role as royal residence city. Thus began an economic and cultural upswing, temporarily interrupted by Swedish ravages in the mid-1650s and 1702. Since Poland was divided between the great powers in the late 1700s, Warsaw became the capital of the Napoleonic city of Warsaw, founded in 1807-15, thereafter Russian-dominated so-called Congress-Poland.

During the Russian era, Warsaw, which gained its own university in 1816, served as a rallying point in the struggle for the Polish state’s resurrection and the center of the uprising movement against Russia. Through the rapid industrialization of the 19th century, Warsaw gained a strong labor movement. The social and economic transformation continued during the interwar period, when Warsaw was the capital of the resurrected Poland.

Warsaw was taken by German troops during the First World War. The city was under German occupation from the beginning of August 1915 until the end of the war in November 1918. During the war between Poland and Bolshevik Russia 1919-20, the Red Army stood at Warsaw’s gates around midsummer 1920, but in the battle of the city the Poles in August were taken over after the threat of Soviet occupation was averted.

In September 1939, the city was conquered by German troops, severely injuring the castle and several churches and palaces. The German occupation especially affected its many Jewish residents. These were brought together in 1940 in a ghetto that was destroyed by the Germans after the ghetto uprising in 1943. The following year, Warsaw became the scene of yet another forcibly rebel (see Warsaw Uprising). After World War II, the city was rebuilt as the center of Communist Poland.