Nuclear weapons in Poland. 2007.

Krakow November 26, 2007

No cheap sensation about nuclear weapons in Poland.

Two questions.

To begin with, I have to answer two questions so that there is no doubt;

  • Did Poland have nuclear weapons in the second half of the 20th century? - NOPE.

  • Were nuclear weapons stored in Poland in the second half of the 20th century? - YES.

9P113 launcher with a 9M21 missile with a nuclear warhead. 2022. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
9P113 launcher with a 9M21 missile with a nuclear warhead. 2022. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

Political situation at the turn of the 50's / 60's.

Probably no one doubts that with the end of World War II, Poland did not regain its sovereignty. We existed on the world map as a separate country, but extremely dependent on the Kremlin. It was there that the most important decisions concerning our fate were made. Secretaries of the only rightful party of the Polish United Workers 'Party (Polish United Workers' Party) often visited the Kremlin with reports and guidelines. It was like that until 1989. The second thing was our army. Organized on the Soviet system and unfortunately subordinated to the structures of the University of Warsaw (Warsaw Pact), although they were even successful actions of carving out a certain independence and self-determination. The turn of the 1950s / 1960s was a period of intensive armaments, especially the development of nuclear weapons, often called nuclear weapons, and their means of delivery. Who then owned nuclear weapons? - USA, USSR, Great Britain (UK) and no one else. France acquired it in the mid-1960s, as did China. Neither of the great powers wanted to share their knowledge and the weapons themselves. But the threat of World War III was enormous. The Cuban conflict proved this. Therefore, potential allies had to at least have a system of adopting nuclear strike measures on their own territory. What I mean here is appropriate airports adapted to accept nuclear strike-capable aircraft, or a position for the assembly of missile launchers with nuclear warheads. It was no different with Poland. We were forced to accept Su-7 BM / BKL and ABRT (army tactical missile batteries). Of course, we did not receive airborne bombs and nuclear warheads alone. Only in the event of W, i.e. the outbreak of war, the USSR was to deliver these loads to us. Su-7 BM / BKL planes were stationed in Bydgoszcz on a daily basis. On the other hand, ABRT, as one of the most secret units of the Polish People's Army (Polish People's Army), was located in Orzysz, Choszczno, Biedrusko and Bolesławiec. Of course, their actual W operations were in the western and northern parts of Poland. According to plans from the mid-1970s, a massive nuclear attack on NATO countries was to last about an hour. At that time, Polish units were to use 131 nuclear charges: including 100 missiles (36 operational and tactical missiles with a range of up to 300 km and 64 tactical ones with a range of up to 65 km), as well as 31 nuclear air bombs. After this "introduction", the armored forces with classic weapons were to join the charge.

Exercises 1965.

In order to check the adopted system of transferring nuclear weapons to the LWP, exercises had to be conducted. Such exercises were carried out in February 1965. Their goal was to test the transport of nuclear weapons from the USSR to Poland, and more specifically to the western-northern areas. The transport was to take place in conditions as close to war as possible. The operation was led by the Soviet General Pavel Batov, who at that time was the Chief of the General Staff of the Soviet (Soviet) Army. On the Polish side, Brigadier General Tadeusz Hupałowski was in command. Four Soviet Su-7 B attack planes arrived at the airport in Debrzno. The heads were also transported by rail through the crossing in Brest to the training ground in Bornem-Sulinowo. Transport was also carried out by cars. On February 26, 1965 in Karwice, in the area of ​​the Drawsko training ground, a demonstration of operational-tactical and tactical missiles ready to be launched was held. The show was held in the presence of over 100 senior Polish and Soviet officers. Nobody was pleased. There were delays. In addition, it was found that transport was an exceptionally easy target for the enemy. One way out remained. Warhead and nuclear bomb depots had to be built in Poland.

Nuclear weapons depots in Poland. 1967.

At the beginning, the places where the warehouses were to be built were designated. Their number was set at three. They were located appropriately; Object 3001 - Podborsk near Białogard, Object 3002 - Brzeźnica-Kolonia near Jastrów, Object 3003 - Templewo near Trzemeszno Lubuski. The construction of secret warehouses began in 1967. They were designed by the Soviet side and the Soviet side provided the equipment. However, it was Poland that paid for everything. A total of PLN 180 million. The construction was carried out by construction units of the Polish Army, among others, from Piła. The works were carried out under the guise that the constructed facilities would serve as secret centers for communications troops. Polish military engineers completed the work on January 30, 1970. Three protocols of the state commissioning commission and commissioning of completed construction sites have survived. Then the objects were taken over by the Soviets. Each of the buildings was a complex and resembled a fortress. It could accommodate 120 soldiers, 60 officers and technicians. The basic objects were two "explosives and detonators" depots. It was in them that nuclear weapons were kept. There were administrative and barracks buildings. There were garages and fuel storage facilities. Each complex was protected by a Spetsnaz unit. From the air, the area looked like hills covered with forest. In the event of an airborne landing, rows of metal poles waited for the paratroopers. Asphalt and concrete roads were covered with a camouflage mesh at the top. The remains of metal rings supporting them have survived to this day. The whole thing was surrounded by triple barbed wire connected to high voltage. There were also light shelters with machine guns. There were a dozen or so of these bunkers. There were also walls with arrowslits arranged in an appropriate manner. The interior of the nuclear weapons warehouses was guarded by four pairs of steel doors, half a meter thick, and they were opened by a hydraulic mechanism and motors. Reinforced concrete was used to build the rooms. All rooms were equipped with radiation meters, the so-called Geiger counters. In the mid-1980s, these warehouses contained 178 nuclear charges (about 60 each), including 14 warheads with a capacity of 500 kt, 35 with a capacity of 200 kt, 83 with a capacity of 10 kt, and 2 aerial bombs with the capacity of 200 kt, 24 with a capacity of 15 kt and 10 with a capacity of 0.5 kt. For comparison, a bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. had a power of 15 kt.

Folder codenamed WISŁA.

In 2006. the file codenamed WISŁA was declassified by the Minister of National Defense. In the times of the Polish People's Republic, it was one of the most kept secrets, because it talked about Soviet nuclear weapons stored in Poland. This file was handed over to the Institute of National Remembrance (Institute of National Remembrance). What's in this folder? - it consists of several documents confirming the storage of nuclear weapons in Poland. There are documents from which we find out for the first time how many warheads were stored in our territory. The materials also show that in the event of war, the warheads and nuclear bombs will be handed over to the LWP. Polish missile and air units were selected to receive these weapons and to take part in a nuclear strike against European NATO countries. Among the materials of the WISŁA operation, which are currently at the Institute of National Remembrance, there is an agreement of February 25, 1967. concluded in Moscow by the Minister of Defense of the Polish People's Republic, Marian Spychalski, and the Minister of National Defense of the USSR, Marshal Andrei Grieczka. It was this agreement that provided for the placement of nuclear weapons storage in Poland. Poland financed the construction, Moscow had the exclusive right to use the warehouses. There are also detailed plans, as well as instructions for handing over warheads and bombs to the Polish Army units. Authorizations to collect warheads issued to Polish officers by the General Staff of the Polish Army and a list of 12 highest-ranking military admitted to secrecy have also survived. All documents bear a top secret griffin. Documents show that after the outbreak of the war, the Polish army was to fire 178 warheads at targets in Western Europe. The secret was kept to the end. Still in March 1990. deputy chief of the General Staff and head of the operational board (i.e. commander of the Polish front), Maj. Gen. Franciszek Puchała handed over documents codenamed WISŁA to his successor, Brig. Marian Robełek as the biggest secret.

1992 year.

When the Soviet troops left Poland, they took nuclear weapons with them. It happened until 1992. On the basis of the available materials, we know a lot about nuclear weapons intended to equip the Polish army. However, there is still the issue of nuclear weapons intended for the Soviet army stationed in Poland. With a high degree of probability, we can assume that behind our backs the Soviets had other magazines for such weapons.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman