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In late January 2021, the Polish Armed Forces carried out a simulated war against an “Eastern Enemy” and in the best traditions of Polish military thought lost it in a matter of 5 days.
The war simulation “Winter-20” ended as the Polish army ceased to exist. Interestingly, the war games included new weapons systems ordered by Poland, although not yet delivered – F-35 joint strike fighters, Patriot missiles, HIMRAS systems and more.
According to reports in Polish media, aviation and Navy ceased to exist despite NATO support. East of the Vistula, Polish units were to suffer a devastating defeat. First-line battalions lost 60 to 80 percent of their troops and equipment. The imaginary enemy reached the Vistula line on the fifth day of the virtual conflict, while Warsaw was encircled on the fourth day. Strategic ports were either blocked or occupied.
The military command exercises included several thousand officers and were among the largest ever for Polish forces. The solutions introduced by the reform of the military command and control system, in force since the end of 2018, were also checked and apparently demonstrated an unprecedented success. The initial plans were to defend for 22 days, but this target was easily beat. Nonetheless, this military success did not go without some small difficulties.
“Everything went wrong. The commanders of individual divisions were shocked, they refused to carry out some orders because they were simply incomprehensible to them,” Polish media quoted one of the sources informed of the drill as saying. Most likely, this quote was just a kind of disinformation that somehow infiltrated the respectful press.
The Chancellery of the President and the Ministry of National Defense preferred to not provide further details, referring to the confidentiality of the drill. Another unanswered question is the military exercises’ legend.
Official statements and documents by the US military leadership say that the ‘Polish partners’ work in the direction of neutralizing the ‘Eastern Enemy’ in Kaliningrad and consider a pre-emptive strike on ‘enemy facilities’ there. So, Polish media that rushed to criticize the country’s military and leadership did not have to hurry.
It could be that the ‘partners in Washington’ just allowed Poland to heroically exchange its existence for destroying some targets in Kaliningrad. Also, the Pentagon planners likely prepared some plan for a Polish government in exile that will continue the traditions of military might and successes from somewhere near Sacramento. Therefore, all should be fine.
If it is not, “mistakes” happen and it’s the role of the leadership to avoid making them in the first place. Next time, Washington’s plan for the Polish military adventures would have a government in exile option for sure.