How was it before?
In the interwar period, the French Renault FT 17 tanks formed the basis of the Polish armored forces for a long time. They actively supported the activities of the Polish army in the war with the Bolsheviks in 1920. However, in the 30s they were already outdated equipment and were not suitable for effective operations. Poland tried to create its own designs, such as the 7TP tank based on the British Vickers model, but its production was not enough to meet the needs of the army. Negotiations with France on Poland’s purchase of new tanks did not lead to results for a long time. The French offered us the Renault R-35, which did not meet the requirements of the Polish army, and refused to sell tanks newer than the R-35. Faced with the growing threat from Germany, the Polish authorities gave way in negotiations with the French and decided to purchase 100 “undesirable” R-35 missiles. However, the first (and only) batch of these tanks did not reach Poland until July 1939. This weapon was practically not of any importance (because it could not) have any significance during the battles in September 1939. The units were armed with them only during their formation.
The paradox of history has put us in a similar situation today
Yes, now they are similar … In terms of number, the basic armored equipment in the arsenal of the Polish army is still machines that have long passed their glory days. Yes … Tanks of the T72 family were once modern and were a formidable weapon of the Warsaw Pact countries. Just like the French Renault FT at the end of the First World War, which had no competition for its time.
And this is not the end of the analogy … In the thirties of the last century, FT tanks could not be modernized anymore. Such attempts have been made in Poland. Just like the devices from the T72 family.
Therefore, as was the case before the Second World War, it was necessary to determine what to do next. Try to build armored forces yourself, in Polish factories or buy a ready-made solution somewhere abroad. Of course, where to buy also sparked discussions. Although there are only French or British offerings to choose from.
We know how it ended from the first paragraph of the note above.
Well … perhaps we should be glad that contemporary Polish authorities do not repeat the mistakes of their predecessors from the interwar period.
Yes … Abrams tanks will not be produced in Poland. But they will quickly appear on the equipment of our army. And we’ll have time to train their crews and deliver these machines to the line units.