• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland



  • 9 June 2016

    More than 12,000 paratroopers from Poland, the US and the UK were dropped on a firing ground near Torun on Tuesday as part of the Anakonda-16 exercise. Some troops were flown directly from across the Atlantic.

    The drop was delivered by over 30 aircraft. The Americans set off from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and were directly transported to the vicinity of Torun. The British started from the US Ramstein base in Germany. The Poles took off from a base in Balice near Krakow. The US C-17 Globemaster transport planes joined in one formation with British UK C-130 Hercules and Polish C-295M aircraft.



    According to military sources, the exercise near Torun is meant to demonstrate the capabilities of the US and NATO troops to respond to threats quickly and irrespective of the distance and the origin. It also demonstrates the capability to concentrate scattered forces in a timely manner.


    The paratrooper forces are composed of almost 400 soldiers from the 16th airborne battalion of the 6th Airborne Brigade in Krakow, around 500 Americans from the 82th Airborne Division and around 230 British troops from the 16th Air Assault Brigade. The units jumped from the height of 400 metres.


    The drop zone "Kijewo" on the grounds of the Artillery and Armaments Training Centre near Torun also received vehicles. A total of almost 2,000 troops are exercising at the site. An advanced guard ahead of Tuesday’s main drop landed in the early hours of Monday.


    The operation is the first joint element of two military exercises. The first one, Anakonda-16, is the largest military exercise in Poland since 1989. It involves some 31,000 troops, including approximately 12,000 from Poland and 13,900 from the US. Besides the Polish Army, soldiers from 18 NATO members and five partners have been deployed, with 3,000 vehicles, over 100 planes and helicopters, and 12 vessels.


    Organised by the Operational Command of the Armed Forces, Anakonda is held every two years since 2006. Lieutenant-General Marek Tomaszycki, Combatant Commander of the Armed Forces, is in charge of the exercise. The goal of this year’s manoeuvres is to integrate national and coalition commands and units into a joint defence operation in the conditions of hybrid threats.


    The landing is also part of a cyclical Swift Response exercise of airborne troops. It is made up of two stages, the first of which takes place from Monday to Wednesday in Poland, the second will be in Germany. Swift Response-16 brings together several thousand troops from 10 NATO members. The exercise is meant to integrate the elements of a multinational grouping of NATO airborne troops and to test its capability of rapid deployment to a designated area in Europe with a simultaneous military operation there.


    Altogether, the scenario provides for a few paratrooper drops near Torun, who will take control of designated targets at the firing ground and in the city. The main operation objective will be executed by the 16th airborne battalion from Krakow, which is to take the Gen. Elżbieta Zawacka road bridge in Torun. On Wednesday a column of American Stryker armoured carriers will go over it, heading for the Baltic states as part of Saber Strike, another associated exercise which will test the possibilities of moving troops from Germany via Poland to the Baltics.


    The taking of the bridge in Torun will be the first such exercise of ground troops at a large civilian facility in many years. Passenger and heavy traffic as well as public transport will be diverted. On Wednesday from 8:30 am until 1 pm, the Gen. Elżbieta Zawacka road bridge will be closed for traffic. Lorries over 12 tonnes will be directed to the Home Army bridge, while passenger cars are recommended to take the Józef Piłsudski bridge.


    Also on Tuesday afternoon, but in Świdwin (Zachodniopomorskie province), the Anakonda-16 exercise will feature the landing of some 900 paratroopers from the US 173th Airborne Brigade stationed near Vicenza, Italy. They will be flown aboard C-130 Hercules aircraft from the Ramstein base in Germany. Directly after the drop, the troops are to take control of designated targets at the airfield. Seizing airfields is the basic training objective for the 173th Airborne Brigade.





    Tags: NATO

    Drukuj Print Share: