“The Covert Polish Repair Shop Patching Up Ukrainian Arms” – TTG

At the factory complex, guns used by AHS Krabs lay next to combat vehicles

WARSAW—In a sprawling factory complex surrounded by derelict buildings, hundreds of technicians are working around the clock on one of the biggest challenges of Ukraine’s war: repairing artillery and heavy armor and returning it to the front line.

Mechanics buzz around the football-field-sized workshop housing three AHS Krab guns, the air thick with the smell of metal dust and automotive grease. Two of the Krabs, which look like tanks but are self-propelled 155mm howitzer guns, are missing parts of their caterpillar tracks and are riddled with bullet holes and contorted metal.

Another Krab stands sparkling clean, ready to be ferried back into Ukraine along a route that has seen the biggest transfer of arms in Europe since World War II. Each weapon can take up to two months to repair by technicians who must pass layers of security checks before they are allowed onto the floor of the factory at a location The Wall Street Journal agreed not to disclose.

In addition to the repair work in Poland, the mechanics are in constant contact with technicians in Ukraine—many of whom were civilians before the war—teaching them over encrypted apps how to repair everything from tanks to missiles.

The scale of the previously unreported Polish armaments operation highlights the complexity of a maintenance challenge that is about to grow far larger. On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced plans to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, joining European allies who will send as many as 100 German-made Leopard 2 tanks.

Polish officials say they expect the Abramses will be repaired in Poland in the western city of Poznan, making the former Soviet satellite state the leading edge of a maintenance operation that stretches to the Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria. Poland will also likely play a critical role in repairing and maintaining the Leopards, due to its arms industry’s deep experience with the tank. “It is safe to assume that Poland is a leader when it comes to servicing the equipment being used by the Ukrainians in the battlefield,” said Tomasz Smura, an expert on military technologies from Casimir Pulaski Foundation, an independent think tank in Warsaw.


Comment: According to this article there are similar maintenance operations in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania. A few months ago I read about a half dozen or so Krabs being refurbished in Lithuania. These operations supplement similar operations in Ukraine and with the impending arrival of large numbers of Western tanks and IFVs, they will be critical to keeping the Ukrainian Army in fighting trim. The US maintenance depot in Poznan for the Abrams will probably also service the Bradleys now on their way from the port of Charleston.

Russia knows how critical these maintenance facilities are to the Ukrainian war effort. I doubt they’ll try to strike them directly, but sabotage will surely be tried. There has already been one incident at a Bulgarian facility. The Poles are maintaining heavy security at their facilities, hiring only Polish citizens and subjecting them to background checks. They kept the location of this facility from the WSJ reporter. The arsenal of democracy extends far beyond the US.


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11 Responses to “The Covert Polish Repair Shop Patching Up Ukrainian Arms” – TTG

  1. Personanongrata says:

    The arsenal of democracy extends far beyond the US.

    You are wrong – it should read The arsenal of hypocrisy as there is nothing democratic about the current unpleasantness occurring in Ukraine.

    During the Vietnam War what was the US governments response to North Vietnam’s use of “sanctuaries” located in Laos & Cambodia?

    Italicized/bold text was excerpted from Wikipedia:

    Operation Barrel Roll

    Operation Barrel Roll was a covert U.S. Air Force 2nd Air Division and U.S. Navy Task Force 77, interdiction and close air support campaign conducted in the Kingdom of Laos between 14 December 1964 and 29 March 1973 concurrent with the Vietnam War. The operation resulted in 260 million bombs being dropped on Laos, making Laos “the most heavily bombed nation in history”.


    Operation Menu

    peration Menu was a covert United States Strategic Air Command (SAC) tactical bombing campaign conducted in eastern Cambodia from 18 March 1969 to 26 May 1970 as part of both the Vietnam War and the Cambodian Civil War. The targets of these attacks were sanctuaries and base areas of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN — commonly referred to during the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army [NVA]) and forces of the Viet Cong (VC), which used them for resupply, training, and resting between campaigns across the border in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).


    Operation Freedom Deal

    Operation Freedom Deal was a United States Seventh Air Force interdiction and close air support campaign waged in Cambodia between 19 May 1970 and 15 August 1973, as an expansion of the Vietnam War, as well as the Cambodian Civil War. Launched by Richard Nixon as a follow-up to the earlier ground invasion during the Cambodian Campaign, the initial targets of the operation were the base areas and border sanctuaries of the People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) and the Viet Cong (VC).


    Cambodian campaign

    The Cambodian campaign (also known as the Cambodian incursion and the Cambodian invasion) was a brief series of military operations conducted in eastern Cambodia in 1970 by South Vietnam and the United States as an extension of the Vietnam War and the Cambodian Civil War. Thirteen major operations were conducted by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) between 29 April and 22 July and by U.S. forces between 1 May and 30 June 1970.


    What allowed the US to carry out these operations with complete impunity at home?

    The fact that Laos & Cambodia (Vietnam too) were militarily/economically weak agrarian nations without the ability to strike the US mainland in retaliation.

    As any fool knows turnabout is fair play in love & war.

    • TTG says:


      These logistical nodes would certainly be tempting targets for Russia. Do you think they’ll dare strike them? Are they willing to expand this to a full on NATO shooting war? Russian missiles heading across the border will activate the NATO defenses. We’ll see how Aegis Ashore works in conjunction with other NATO air assets. At that point will NATO A2/AD begin extending into Ukrainian territory. The Russian may also try a drone strike, but manned aircraft is out of the question. They can’t even get to Lviv. And a ground thrust is absurd. They’ll never get across the Dnieper again.

      In SE Asia, we hit the sanctuary areas because we had the capability to do so. Russia’s capability are far less and the risks are far greater.

      • Fred says:


        If the Russians are never getting across the Dnieper again then it looks like the Ukrainians won’t need those F16s after all.

        • TTG says:


          The Ukrainians still have to clear the Russians out of Crimea and the Donbas.

          • Fred says:

            It’s America’s obligation to ensure the borders established by Kruschev in ’54 are restored. If only you or I had known that back when we were on active duty. Damn that Eisenhower, and LBJ, and all the rest for not figuring out we needed to be defending Ukraine all those years. Thank goodness for Biden and his visionary leadership.

          • LeaNder says:

            As a Russian saying has it, “Yes, when crabs learn to whistle.”

            But we’ll see dear.
            Ted Snider writes on Antiwar, so he surely reads the signs out there differently then you do:

            The soft chimes of a song Ukraine doesn’t want to hear


            Citation above is final sentence of Anatol Lieven’s latest contribution on Responsible Statecraft, discussing arguments concerning the total defeat of Russia.

          • A. Pols says:

            They’d like to clear the Russians out of Donbas and Crimea, but it’s not going to happen.

    • Fred says:


      You think the Russians are going to follow for other provocations after getting provoked into this war? These repair shops are a sideshow givien the economic war (sanctions) that are boomeranging on the Europeans.(And the “climate change” domestic sanctions that are driving fuel inflation in the US that looks to do the same thing to the American middle class.) I believe the Turks and Iranians are also involved in some ‘war profiteering’ operations with drones and electronics.

    • blue peacock says:

      Hey, what do you think the Communist Soviets did when they colonized Eastern Europe? How about the Chinese Communist Party when they crushed the Tibetans by force?

      Are you gonna denounce them or only the Americans?

  2. Leith says:

    I’m thinking the depot level maintenance for Ukraine M1s and Bradleys will be with the US V Corps Forward Base in Poznan, aptly named Camp Kościuszko. Or close by. They are undoubtedly aware of possible sabotage attempts and will have both US and Polish security on the facility.

    The bigger sabotage threat would be during ship to shore transfer. They are using several ports to unload. It’s no secret that there are US port detachments in Poland and Germany plus the ones in the Denmark, Netherlands, and Latvia. It must be a nightmare to protect against all potential threats in those port facilities.

    • TTG says:


      There are also all the railways to watch. Fortunately the European rail system is top notch. The Russians can’t even interdict the Ukrainian railways effectively. I doubt they can do more than nuisance sabotage in Europe. I have a feeling a lot of their spetsnaz troops have been pissed away in zerg rushes.

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