In these days of computer science and mechanization, it seemed that there was no longer a place in the military world for one of man’s oldest friends: the horse.
However, beyond the ceremonial units that continue to use this type of mount, the horse is reluctant to disappear. Last year we already saw the case of Colombia, whose Army has formed Mounted Units after realizing its usefulness in mountainous areas. In the case of Poland, something similar has happened. The Poles are a horse-loving people, as much or more so than the Rohirrim in Tolkien’s books. In fact, Poland is the only country in Europe that dedicates one of its national holidays to cavalry (in the world I only know of one other case like this: Thailand). Let us remember that the important Battle of Warsaw in 1920 was won thanks to a powerful cavalry charge, the anniversary of which the Polish Army celebrates annually as its Armed Forces Day.
Beyond the mockery generated by the myth of the Polish cavalry charges in World War II, as Alberto Gómez Trujillo, president of the Poland First to Fight Historical-Cultural Association in 2017, already pointed out here, “the land of eastern Poland, mainly flat, but plagued by marshes and with scarce and primitive ways and roads, was much more suited to the movement of mounted troops than to the primitive and fragile vehicles of the time.”
These last hours we are seeing again the Polish military on horseback and not for a parade, but to defend the country’s borders, in this case against the migratory invasion organized by Belarus against Poland and Lithuania. Belarusian servicemen are taking to the border thousands of immigrants brought from the East and the Middle and Africa with the sole purpose of destabilizing those two neighboring countries, in a vile response of the Lukashenko dictatorship against the European Union, for its criticism of the violations of human rights in that country.
The 2nd Lublin Brigade of the Polish Army’s Territorial Defense Force (WOT), the local equivalent – so to speak – of the United States National Guard, is developing a pilot program with horse patrols to support the Border Guard of Poland against this migratory invasion.
WOT has released images of these riders, wearing wz.93 Panther camouflage uniforms and FAST special operations helmets, with the horse gear in the same mimetic pattern. An image without a doubt very striking.
As in the interwar period, these horse patrols are especially useful in the difficult border terrain between Poland and Belarus.
At the moment, these WOT horse patrols only exercise support functions for the Border Guard, which is the one that is mainly dealing with this migratory wave, in which immigrants often arrive accompanied by Belarusian soldiers who try to force them to cross. border.
The Polish military and border guards are mainly engaged in searching and locating the parties of illegal immigrants who are camping in the immediate vicinity of the border, either on the Belarusian side, waiting to pass, or once they have passed the Polish border.
But the work of the Polish military goes beyond surveillance. Members of the WOT carry medical backpacks, blankets, food and hot drinks so that they can care for illegal immigrants, who often arrive in very poor condition. First of all, what the Polish soldiers do not forget is that they are dealing with human beings, who are being used in a miserable way by a dictatorship that does not mind abandoning them in the middle of a forest without food or water.
I hope this post serves not only as a curiosity, to publicize the new use of cavalry by the Polish Army, but also to remember the role of Poland in the European Union, as a border country with Russia and Belarus, whose regimes maintain a hostile attitude towards NATO countries. These Polish soldiers are not only defending the borders of their country, but also the limits of the European Union.