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History of Polish Armor

The development of the Polish armored forces essentially began with the allied victory of 1918. The first Polish armed forces consisted of former legion units in France with the core represented by an army under the command of Józef Haller. This army was created in France on 4.6.1917 as a result of major political pressure from Polish exiles and it fought the German forces until the end of the war.

The Polish units in France received their equipment mostly from the French military (as well as the Americans later on) and after the Great War ended, the Polish forces returning to the newly re-established Poland were well equipped (for example roughly 1000 cars and trucks and 500 motorcycles). The core of the emerging Polish armored forces however consisted of 120 French Renault FT light tanks, which were at that time the most modern armored vehicles in the world. This made the Polish military very powerful from early on – only the superpowers had comparable numbers of armor at their disposal.

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The first tank unit (1st Tank Regiment - 1 Pułk Czołgów) was formed while the men were still in France. Of its 120 Renault FT tanks, 75 were equipped with the 37mm SA18 Puteaux cannon, while the remaining 45 vehicles were equipped with 8mm Hotchkiss machineguns. Apart from the tanks, the regiment was equipped with a large number of supporting vehicles, trucks and some tractors. The regiment consisted of two tank battalions, a command section and a repair section. The first battalion had two companies of tanks and the second had three. Each company consisted of three platoons with five tanks each as well as one command platoon and one technical platoon.

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