First of Poland’s American-made tanks arriving amid modernization drive
Stars and Stripes June 27, 2023
The first batch of Abrams tanks ordered by Poland was scheduled to arrive Tuesday at a Baltic Sea port, part of a multibillion-dollar program that also includes a new maintenance center to manage the influx of American-made armor.
A port near Szczecin was slated to take delivery of 14 tanks, and additional tanks for the formation of a battalion will arrive within months, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said in a statement Monday.
The shipment serves as a milestone for the Polish army, which has been investing heavily in modernization over the past several years. Those efforts have intensified since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.
In all, Poland will incorporate 366 Abrams tanks into its arsenal in the coming years. The fleet will be a mix of the M1A1 and the more state-of-the-art M1A2 version.
Polish officials also announced Monday that a center for maintaining and servicing tanks will be created in Poznan, which is home to the U.S. Army’s first permanent base in the country.
“In the longer term, the potential of the center will also be available to U.S. troops stationed in Poland and other European countries,” a statement by the Polish Armaments Group said.
The Poznan facility further cements the city’s status as a hub for the U.S. Army, which on Monday marked a first when leadership of the service’s new garrison switched hands during a change of command ceremony at Camp Kosciuszko.
Col. Christopher Church took command of the garrison, which oversees day-to-day support operations for the Army across Poland. The camp in Poznan is also home to the Army’s V Corps forward headquarters.
Church replaced Col. Jorge Fonseca, who over the past several years led the Army’s on-the-ground effort to set up its first permanent garrison in Poland, which activated in March. There are about 500 military personnel operating at the Poznan base and 10,000 American military members in Poland.