Origins

ppłk Leopold Górka (pierwszy z prawej) ze swoimi podwładnymiThe origins of Military Institute of Technical Engineering date back to the year 1927, when Engineer and Sapper Troops Test Office was founded. At the beginning it functioned as a technical laboratory under the command OF FIRST Maj. Sobiesław ZALESKI and then Capt. Leopold GÓRKA. In 1928 the Test Office was transformed into Sapper Troops Technical Test Office, which between the years 1928 and 1934 constituted a department of Engineering Test Institute. In the period 1934-1939 it became an independent entity. As a central institution, the Office was initially subordinated to the sapper Troops Commander and he, in turn, was subordinated to the Sapper Command of Ministry of Military Affairs.
Until 1934, the organisation and equipment of sapper units were adjusted to a typical definition of an „infantry sapper” from the World War One period. The training resembled that of World War I period and, according to the French doctrine, a sapper was not perceived as a full combat soldier. At that time that view contributed to the central authorities’ poor interest in sapper troops and caused a harmful lack of understanding for their role and requirements. The Office’s scope of work included railway bridge conversion, designing a bar pontoon bridge and carrying out the trials. Changes were introduced into a Birago pontoon bridge which was stored in a large number. The methods of bridge construction were altered through the introduction of new connectors. Trials with carts provided with rubber tyres and springs adjusted to be towed by trucks, were performed. Engineer works in the range of supports construction (pile-drivers), woodworking (bits, saws) etc. were being mechanised. Between 1933 and 1936, the number of works performed by the Office was significantly reduced. Since 1935 a large-scale reorganisation, motorisation and mechanisation of armies in the Poland’s neighbouring countries began. Studies of those armies’ development, together with new “art of war” principles, introduced a change of views at the role of the Polish sapper troops in the upcoming war. Gradually, the German doctrine started to prevail. It stated that first of all a sapper is a combat soldier. This assumption resulted in a need of adjusting sapper activity to modern war tasks, i.e. fighting armoured weapon systems, rapid demolition and reconstruction of communication routes. Modern sappers were to be characterised by good mobility and tasks performed quickly in the fight with armoured units.
In 1936 Sapper Command of the Ministry of Military Affairs initiated a restructuring and armament revision in sapper troops, starting with trials performed and experiments with their equipment. Those works were carried out by the Sapper Troops Technical Test Office, provided with the latest Swiss test machines and a chemical laboratory. Since 1936, a new epoch began under a new command and modern motorised sapper troops were being organised. Strict cooperation between Sapper Troops Technical Test Office and Commission for Sapper Troops Procurement enabled the involvement of an ever-growing number of factories in fulfilment of orders, the proper supervision and the acceptance of the equipment by troops.
Then, in 1940, the Sapper Troops Technical Test Office was founded abroad, namely in Scotland, at first as a part of the Sapper Concentration in the Polish Armed Forces camp in Crafford, and later of the Sapper Training Centre created in 1941 in Dundee (subsequently transferred to Falkirk and then to Irvine). However, the role of the Office was not significant due to conditions at that time. Its work was limited to acquainting themselves with the British sappers’ equipment, making records and drawing conclusions for the future.
Still, one important invention of that period needs to be mentioned here, namely the Polish mine detector, whose invaluable merits helped to save much blood of both the Polish and the allied soldiers.

Post-war period

After World War II, the process of restructuring the organisational structure of the Polish Armed Forces and providing them with modern armament as well as technical equipment. The contemporary military equipment and armament were outdated and worn out after the war. In order to create proper workshop, necessary for developing new armament and equipment models based on the latest scientific achievements, military research-development entities were gradually being created.

Pursuant to the Ordinance of Minister of National Defence dated October 15th, 1947 Research Proving Ground for Engineer Troops was established, becoming first such technical institution in the Polish Armed Forces.

The Proving Ground was transformed into the Research Centre for Engineer Equipment, which up to 1951 was subordinated to the 8th Department of the General Staff of the Polish Army. In the following years it was directly subordinated to the Chief of Engineer Troops of the Ministry of National Defence. In 1974 the Centre was subordinated to the Chief Inspector of Technology of the Polish Army through the Military Technology Research and Development Command. The next subordinations of the Military Institute of Technical Engineering were as follows: Development and Implementation Department and Armament Policy Department. On the 5th of January, 2007 the Director of the Armament Policy Department of the Ministry of National Defence sent a letter to the Institute with information that according to § 27 of Organizational Regulations of the Ministry of National Defence, Department of Science and Military Education at University Degree takes over the tasks of the unit being the direct supervisor of research-development entities.

As you can see, the outpost underwent a number of structural changes caused by the growing importance of tasks it was assigned. Finally, in 1976, it became the basis of Military Institute of Engineer Technology (WITI).

The Institute’s position and role have been strictly connected with requirements of engineer troops, which should have modern armament and up-to-date engineer equipment in order to perform essential tasks of supporting the combat operations.

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