Western View of LWP

Here is what a Cold War era Western military analyst has to say about the contemporary Ludowe Wojsko Polskie (Polish People's Military).

"...Polish strategists have made varied and well received contributions to Soviet military doctrine, and Polish amphibious troops and landing craft are assigned an important role in operations in the region of the Baltic Approaches. (...).

'no Polish diplomat can watch with any feeling of comfort, a military parade in East Berlin with German soldiers goose-stepping down the Unter den Linden to the tunes of the Kaiser's army' (Millar, 1981, 9). (...).

Poland is one of the larger European countries, and it has survived into the later twentieth century as the bearer of a defiantly distinctive national character, and with its identity (...) intact. Poland's industrial and agricultural shortcomings are a source of embarrassment to COMECON, and the Soviet leadership has almost ceased to believe that Poles can ever be proper Communists.


It would almost certainly be unjustified to draw the easy conclusion that Poland has ceased to be a net asset to the Warsaw Pact, or that the Poles have somehow become spiritual members of NATO. On the contrary every sign indicates that the Polish forces are a valued and highly integrated element of the Eastern alliance. They form the third largest military establishment in Europe (after the Soviet and West German ones), and by far the largest armed body among the satellite states.

The Polish air forces are being brought up to date, after a long period in which they sunk in obsolescence. It is also worth mentioning that amphibious warfare is a national specialty. The Polish shipyards build landing and support craft for the alliance, and the Poles are capable of employing up to two divisions in an amphibious role in the region of the Baltic Approaches. The navy is largely designed to support these amphibious desants. Its bases are strung along the estuaries and sandy coasts of Pomerania at Gdynia, Swinoujscie, Kolobrzeg and Ustka.

The main force of the army has probably been assigned an important role on the Central Front. Military service still commands respect in Poland, and, at a time when much of Europe is facing a demographic crisis, 52 per cent of Poles are aged less than thirty, which provides an ample population base for the armed services.

The Soviet military presence in Poland is surprisingly small. The Soviet Northern Group of Forces consists of two tank divisions, which are stationed at Legnica in Silesia and Borne in Pomerania. Both of these garrisons are located in former German provinces in western Poland, according to a principle agreed by the Poles and Soviets in 1947."

Taken from:

Hugh Faringdon, Confrontation; The Strategic Geography of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986.

LWP - Polish People's Military

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