Thursday, December 26, 2013

Panzers in Poland

Poland is flat. Russia is all Russian-like. And German armor is cheap.

We withdrew our last main battle tank from Europe not too long ago. While I hope we have the ability to ship afloat heavy unit sets of equipment to Europe (and wish we'd put a couple heavy unit sets in southern Poland), Poland is making sure they don't get left on the wrong side of a new Iron Curtain that might come down across Europe:

Poland has agreed to buy 119 more German Leopard 2 tanks for about $2 million each and the deal includes lots of spare parts and support equipment. Most of these are 2A5s although 14 are older 2A4s. Back in 2003 Poland obtained 128 of these tanks from Germany for the bargain basement price of $21.6 million along with 23 MiG-29 fighters for only $30 million. ...

Poland is using the Leopards as part of its ongoing post-Cold War military reforms. In 2000 the Polish military had 185,000 troops and depended a lot on conscripts who were in for only a year. By 2010 troop strength was down to 100,000 and, as of 2009, conscription was gone.

Germany and other users of the Leopard II have been shedding tanks on to a flooded market.

Back in 2008, Poland also had close to a quarter million reservists, too. I assume that has been trimmed.

By the end of this decade, Poland's armed forces are supposed to be up to NATO standards. Their soldiers won't be civil servants in uniform, we can be sure.