Territorial Defence Force (Poland)
|Polish Territorial Defence Forces|
|Wojska Obrony Terytorialnej|
|Founded||January 1, 2017|
|Allegiance||Polish Armed Forces|
|Size||14,000 (October 2018)|
|BG Wiesław Kukuła|
The Territorial Defence Force - TDF (Polish: Wojska Obrony Terytorialnej – WOT) is the fifth military branch of the Polish Armed Forces, following Land Forces, Air Force, Navy and Special Forces. The force is made up of professional and part-time volunteer soldiers, forming part of the country's defence and deterrence system. Began forming in 2016, it has reached 14,000 by October 2018 and is slated to reach a size of 53,000 personnel in 17 light infantry brigades by 2021. Creation of Polish TDF relates to the reforms in Baltic states' Territorial Defence Forces to provide response during the early stages of a hybrid conflict.
The Territorial Defence Force is a planned reserve component of Poland's military. A similar, identically named, organization had existed in the country since 1965 but was disbanded in 2008 as part of a modernization program. The re-creation of the Territorial Defence Force was first announced in 2015 in reaction to the collapse of Ukrainian forces during the War in Donbass and concern that Poland's existing military would be ill-equipped to confront an adversary under similar conditions of low-intensity conflict. According to government officials, public reception to the idea was positive with 11,000 persons registering interest in joining the force within the first few months after the initial announcement. The program was subsequently formalized with the signing of "a new document concerning the functioning of the territorial defense concept" by Minister of Defence of Poland Antoni Macierewicz in a ceremony held at Warsaw's Waldemar Milewicz General Secondary School on April 27, 2016.
On May 21, 2017 in Bialystok, Lublin and Rzeszow took place the first military oath in the history of WOT.
On the basis of Decision No. 140 / MON of the Minister of National Defense of 28 June 2017, TDF was declared the successor to the traditions of the Home Army National Command (1942-1945) of the Second World War.
Plans announced in January 2016 called for what officials said would eventually become a 46,000-man contingent, though initially the WOT would consist of just three brigades sited in the north east of the country and funded with an annual appropriation of approximately €60 million; it was later reported the force would have a maximum size of 35,000 personnel. As envisaged, the Territorial Defence Force is to be a part-time, all-volunteer organization, with soldiers receiving 30 days of military training per year. Unlike existing reserve forces, which upon mobilization are integrated into regular components of the Polish military, the Territorial Defence Force will be designed to operate autonomously in home areas and with personnel drawn from the local population. According to Polish military planners, this set-up would be most effective in countering hybrid warfare. As part of the Ministry of Defense acquisition plans for 2017-2022, the total number of volunteers was set to 50,000 and a budget of 3.2 billion zloty outlaid to arm and equip them.
Besides responding to external military threats, the WOT will, according to the Defense Ministry, help strengthen Poland's "patriotic and Christian foundations".
Poland is divided into 16 Voivodeships. The Territorial Defence Troops follow the administrative division with a brigade formed in each voievodship. The exception is the Masovian, which has two territorial defence brigades due to the significance of the capital Warsaw. For mobilisation duties and liaison to the local authorities there is a Voievodship Military Staff in each of the 16 voievodships and the territorial brigades's HQs are located nearby. The commander of the Territorial Defence Troops is a brigade general and the brigades are commanded by colonels.
- HQ in Warsaw
- 1st Podlaska Territorial Defence Brigade "Col. Władysław Liniarski „Mścisław”" in Białystok
- 2nd Lublin Territorial Defence Brigade "Maj. Hieronim Dekutowski „Zapora”" in Lublin
- 3rd Podkarpacka Territorial Defence Brigade "Col. Łukasz Ciepliński" in Rzeszów
- 4th Warmian-Masurian Territorial Defence Brigade "Capt. Gracjan Klaudiusz Fróg „Szczerbiec”" in Olsztyn
- 5th Masovian Territorial Defence Brigade "Mst. Sgt. Mieczysław Dziemieszkiewicz „Rój”" in Ciechanów (covering Northern Masovia)
- 6th Masovian Territorial Defence Brigade "Rotmistrz Witold Pilecki" in Radom (or Warsaw Cytadela ?)
- 7th Pomeranian Territorial Defence Brigade in Gdańsk
- 8th Kuyavian-Pomeranian Territorial Defence Brigade in Bydgoszcz
- 9th Łódź Territorial Defence Brigade in Łódź
- 10th Świętokrzyska Territorial Defence Brigade in Kielce
- 101st Light Infantry Battalion in Kielce
- 102nd Light Infantry Battalion
- 11th Lesser Poland Territorial Defence Brigade in Kraków
- 12th Greater Poland Territorial Defence Brigade in Poznań
- 13th Silesian Territorial Defence Brigade in Katowice
- Lower Silesian Territorial Defence Brigade in Wrocław (planned)
- West Pomeranian Territorial Defence Brigade in Szczecin (planned)
- Lubusz Territorial Defence Brigade in Zielona Góra (planned)
- Opole Territorial Defence Brigade in Opole (planned)
Each brigade also has a command, a signals, a combat engineer and a logistical company, carrying the brigade's number.
Tasks of the Territorial Defense Forces
The Territorial Defense Forces are dedicated to:
- Conducting defense activities in cooperation with the Operational Forces and supporting elements of the non-military system.
- Carrying out unconventional activities, anti-sabotage and offensive landing.
- Participate in safeguarding the reception and development of allied reinforcement forces in commanded areas.
- Implementation of projects in the area of: Crisis Management, the eradication of natural disasters and the elimination of their effects, property protection, search and rescue operations.
- Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Poland (10 May 2017). "Territorial Defence Forces". Official website of the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Poland. Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- Piotr, Szymański (20 Mar 2015). "The Baltic states' Territorial Defence Forces in the face of hybrid threats". The Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW). Retrieved 6 July 2017.
- "Poland to stand up Territorial Defence Force". Jane's. 22 March 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- "Polish MoD Discusses The National Reserve Forces Reform And The Territorial Defence Units. 11 Thousand Recruits Registered For Training". Defence24. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- "The Signing of the Territorial Defense Concept". mon.gov.pl. Ministry of National Defence of Poland. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- "Poland plans paramilitary force of 35,000 to counter Russia". BBC News. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- Day, Matthew (25 January 2016). "Poland to establish 46,000-strong national guard in the face of war in eastern Ukraine". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- "Poland To Spend $14.5 Billion For Military Procurement From 2017-2022". Defense Talk.com. 7 Dec 2016. Missing or empty
- "MON w Sejmie: Wiara chrześcijańska polskich żołnierzy gwarantem bezpieczeństwa Polski". Newsweek Polska. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.