War planes streaked through the sky, more than 1,500 troops marched, and long lines of military vehicles thundered through the centre of the Polish capital as the country marked Armed Forces Day with a bang on Tuesday.
As in previous years, troops from other NATO countries joined the annual parade, among them American, Canadian, British and Romanian units that have been deployed to help strengthen the Western military alliance’s eastern flank.
There were also soldiers from more than a dozen other allied and partner states, including Croatia, Spain, Germany and Ukraine.
Crowds of onlookers
The Warsaw parade attracted crowds of onlookers and featured 200 or so army vehicles including self-propelled howitzers, battle tanks and missile launchers. Among the hardware on show were Leopard and Twardy tanks, Rosomak armoured vehicles, Langusta missile launchers and Osa mobile air defence missile systems.
The crowd could also catch a glimpse of American Stryker armoured vehicles and Jackal and Panther vehicles used by the British army. Romanian troops showcased weaponry including Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns.
Marching detachments included students of military academies and members of paramilitary organisations. For the first time, the country’s new territorial defence force joined the event, observers noted.
Taking to the skies
More than 60 aircraft contributed to the show, which began with the Red-and-White Sparks, an aerobatic demonstration team of the Polish air force. It staged a colourful flyover, leaving a trail of smoke in national colours. There were also SW-4 Puszczyk, W-3 Sokół, Mi-8, Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters, accompanied by American Apache, Chinook and Black Hawk machines.
Also flying past were CASA C-295M, Hercules and Bryza transport airplanes as well as Orlik training planes. The air show closed with F-16, MiG-29 and Su-22 fighter jets soaring across the sky.
The parade was followed by a picnic in a city park where people could get inside some of the military vehicles and inspect a variety of historical hardware on display.
The August 15 celebration marks Poland’s landmark victory against the Russian Bolsheviks in the 1920 Battle of Warsaw, in which Polish troops led by Marshal Józef Piłsudski defeated an advancing Red Army despite being vastly outnumbered.
The day was first celebrated as a holiday from 1923 to 1947, and then restored as Armed Forces Day in 1992 after decades of Soviet-imposed communism.
Source: PAP, TVP Info, Polsat News