Polish Land Forces attend Idaho National Guard tank training

Polish soldiers attended Idaho National Guard M1 Abrams tank training in October and November to observe best practices as Polish Land Forces seek to develop their own training capability.

The Polish military – a U.S. ally, NATO member and official state partner of the Illinois National Guard – wants to buy a fleet of M1A2 SEPv3 tanks and is working through the State Department and the Department of Defense to identify opportunities to partner in armor crewmember training.

The Illinois National Guard and the Republic of Poland enjoy an enduring relationship under the State Partnership Program focused on professional military education, crisis management and response and operational training and combat deployments. However, the Illinois National Guard does not operate the M1 tank, so the Idaho National Guard is assisting.

…During the visit, schoolhouse instructors and armor experts provided training and insight for Polish soldiers.

“The 1st of the 204th Armored Training Battalion is the only National Guard battalion that teaches a full catalog of armored training courses,” said Maj. Noah Siple, commander….

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Soldiers also attending the course from the Idaho, Kansas, Oregon and Texas National Guards had the opportunity to interface with the Polish soldiers before graduating Nov. 22.

The 27-day course is designed for enlisted members in the ranks of sergeant and staff sergeant. The platoon-level coursework provides training in the technical and tactical skills to employ the M1A1 SA MTB or M1A2 SEP tank against enemy positions during unified land operations.

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“We integrated the Polish soldiers as much as possible into the training course to give them many of the same opportunities we give our U.S. students. They already have a familiarity with tanks, which was helpful. However, the M1 is a different kind of tank with a lot of new things to learn.”

Throughout the course, Polish members took turns rotating through the driver, loader, gunner and commander crew stations; participated in-tank simulators where they operated as both tank commander and gunner while engaging simulated targets; and conducted live-fire familiarization in the OCTC, where they fired different weapon systems of the tank, including an M240 and .50-caliber machine gun.

Photograph: U.S. Army