Fort Riley soldiers give Polish military crash course in Abrams tanks

FILE - Abrams tank firing live round at Fort Riley's gunnery range, first time since COVID-19...
FILE - Abrams tank firing live round at Fort Riley's gunnery range, first time since COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.(WIBW)
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 11:51 AM CDT
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DRAWSKO POMORSKIE TRAINING AREA, Poland (WIBW) - The Polish military got a crash course in Abrams tanks from soldiers from Fort Riley during a 3-day Summit in Europe.

The U.S. Army says soldiers from Fort Riley’s 2nd Battalion, 34th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division hosted their first Abrams Operations Summit with soldiers from Polish Land Forces from April 26 - 28.

The Army said the summit introduced Polish Land Forces leaders to U.S. Army systems and procedures to support successful Abrams tank operations at the company and battalion levels. It said Polish soldiers who participated learned capabilities, tactics, sustainment operations and master gunner operations for Abrams.

“We developed the Abrams Operations Summit in conjunction with the Polish Land Forces to be the first step in a series of events we’re going to do to introduce the Abrams tank platform to the Polish forces,” said U.S. Army Col. Geoffrey Norman, deputy commanding officer for support of the 1st Infantry Division and director of the summit. “The purpose of the summit was to introduce the Polish Land Forces to how the U.S. Army operates with the Abrams tank.”

Soldiers said the first day consisted of classroom instruction, in which Polish soldiers learned about officer and noncommissioned officer development, crew management, training management, operational facilities and maintenance, and ended with demonstrations of how an Abrams tank platoon conducts actions on contact.

The next day, the Army said sessions covered gunnery practical exercises and panels on field maintenance and sustainment. Throughout the day, it said Polish service members were also given live demonstrations on range operations, recovery operations, service station resupply and refueling while on the move.

Soldiers said the summit ended with a leader panel on mobility operations and subject matter expert discussions on combined arms breaching operations. At the end of the discussions, they said 2-34 Armor provided a live-fire demonstration of a combined arms breach.

“We’re thankful for the cooperation during the operations summit because this event helps us understand what the needs of this equipment are and how to implement that in our structures,” said Polish Land Forces 1st Lt. Kamil Gromadzinski, a company commander with the 1st Warsaw Brigade.

This summer, the Army said Polish crews will start formal training on the M1A2SEPV2 Abrams tank and the M88A2 HERCULES recovery vehicle to become certified on them. It said this will enhance interoperability and deepen the U.S. commitment to NATO allies.

While the training is held, the Army said some Polish soldiers will continue to embed with U.S. Army units through the Abrams Apprenticeship Program where they will continue to learn master gunner and maintenance operations.

“The Abrams Summit represents an important step in familiarizing and subsequently integrating the Abrams tank into the Polish army,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. John S. Kolasheski, commanding general of V Corps. “This is a big deal. Fielding this combat vehicle will not only increase their lethality, it will improve our collective interoperability and combat capability while further enhancing the partnership we have with Polish Land Forces.”

The Army noted that the Polish army bought 250 M1A3SEPV2 Abrams tanks, along with necessary maintenance equipment and training to modernize their fleet. It said the sale was approved by U.S. Congress in February and will see the first delivery of tanks in late 2024 with a number of the M1S2SEPV2 tanks being provided early to train.

The Army said Fort Riley’s 1st Infantry Division is among other units assigned to V Corps - America’s forward-deployed corps in Europe which works alongside NATO allies and regional security partners to provide combat-credible forces; execute joint, bilateral, and multinational training exercises; and provides command and control for rotational and assigned units in the European theater.

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