Military exercises currently taking place in the area of Poland’s Vistula Spit Canal, which is a major infrastructure project opened to shipping in October last year. The war games hosted by the 16th Mechanized Division, codenamed Zalew-23 (Lagoon-23), run from Monday to Friday and features cooperation with allied forces.
During the exercises, the Polish Navy’s ships will use the Vistula Spit canal for the first time. About 15 tracked vehicles were loaded onto the minelayer-landing ship ORP Toruń on Tuesday, which sailed towards the border with the Kaliningrad Oblast on the Vistula Lagoon.
The exercise is being carried out in cooperation with the NATO Battalion Battle Group, the Polish Navy, the Polish Territorial Defense Forces, and the Polish Engineering Forces. In total, 2,500 soldiers and 500 units of combat and logistical equipment, are expected to participate.
The exercise’s primary objective is to demonstrate the capabilities of subunits and units of the 16th Mechanized Division to respond to military and non-military threats from the sea, using the new waterway through the Vistula Spit in the border area. The generalsStaff of the Polish Army posted a video clip of the exercises on Twitter.
Polish Armed Forces are preparing for various potential scenarios, such as effective conduct of operations in the event of a terrorist attack, reconnaissance by the navy on the Gulf of Gdańsk and the Vistula Lagoon, demonstration operations on the Gulf of Gdańsk, and operations in the event of environmental contamination.
The Vistula Spit canal run across the Polish section of the Vistula Spit sandbar that creates a second connection between the Vistula Lagoon and Baltic Sea. It allows ships to enter the Vistula Lagoon and the Polish port of Elbląg without having to rely on the Russian Strait of Baltiysk, saving a 100 km journey. The construction of the canal started in February 2019; it was officially inaugurated on 17 September 2022. It is 1305 m long and allows ships of draft up to 4 metres.