American howitzers are going from Legnica “to the east of the country”? No, the other way around

A train with dozens of artillery systems travels to the east of the country, the Pentagon is transporting howitzers from Germany towards the Polish border – such a message is disseminated by Russian-language websites, followed by Polish Internet users, commenting on the recording of military equipment passing through Legnica. But the howitzers were not going from Germany or towards the Polish eastern border. We explain.

A dozen or so combat vehicles – to be exact: self-propelled howitzers – pass on the platforms in front of the eyes of the people gathered on the platform. Such a scene can be seen in the recording made available online from November 23. It appeared on the Telegram social network. According to that description, the transport of military equipment was supposed to pass through the railway station in Legnica and go “to the east”. Some Polish internet users, by publishing the video, copied this description from the recording, informing that combat vehicles were transported from Germany to the East towards the Polish-Belarusian border. One wrote, for example: “I put as an” curiosity “from a telegram without any comment from me. After the telegram:” Legnica station, direction east. The trains are coming from Germany and are carrying the M109A7 Paladin self-propelled howitzers towards the Polish border ‘”(spelling of the posts in original).

There were suggestions in some posts that Americans are responsible for transportation. “The soldiers are going to war. The Pentagon transported M109A7 self-propelled howitzers from Germany to Poland. In Polish Legnica, a train with dozens of artillery systems going to the east of the country was noticed” – reported an anonymous internet user.

Some commentators wondered: “Is the US planning to invade Belarus ?!”; “I wonder if they are going to the borders or to Ukraine”, “Biden wants another war!” The film was circulated not only on Polish-language social networks. On Twitter, you can find posts that share it English, Spanish, French if Italian.

From a Telegram entry to a message from a news agency

All entries are based on a single, Russian-language source. This is a Telegram channel which in its description says: “An objective author’s view of the events in Belarus and abroad”. Previously, it had already published content that put in a bad light, inter alia, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, and the policy of the Belarusian and Russian authorities was praised. For example, in the context of the events on the Polish-Belarusian border, it is reported that “unlike the genocide of the West, Belarus is acting lawfully and humanely.”

Regarding the cars visible in the film, the author of the canal implicitly suggested that they would be used on the eastern border “against migrants”. “Yesterday (November 22 – ed.) A military echelon with the American 155 mm M109A7 Paladin artillery system was seen in the Polish city of Legnica, which came from West Germany and was moving east” – the recording described. “The main self-propelled weapon is the 155 mm M284 howitzer. The gun can fire conventional rounds at a distance of 24 km, active-reactive – at 30 km. The paladin only needs 60 seconds to prepare to fire. This system is also an offensive weapon. But against whom? This is a rhetorical question, of course not against migrants … “- we read.

Original entry with a recording from Legnica on Telegram
Original entry with a recording from Legnica on Telegram Photo: Telegram

This entry became the basis for several articles on Russian-language portals. Their authors state directly that American troops deployed combat vehicles at the Polish eastern border, visible in the video. “The United States has deployed at least 30 M109A7 Paladin self-propelled guns on the border with Russia and Belarus,” avia.pro informs in the title of the text. “At the moment it is known that the weapons were delivered by several trains from Germany. At the same time, taking into account the range of the M109A7 Paladin ACS, the territory of Russia and neighboring Belarus is in the strike zone of the American troops” – the said. Articles that “The Pentagon draws echelons to Poland with self-propelled howitzers” were also published, among others, by voennedelo.com and topcor.ru.

The article by avia.pro was cited by the Belarusian press agency BelTA. “The United States has deployed at least 30 Paladin self-propelled howitzers near the Belarusian-Polish border,” she announced in a dispatch on November 24. “According to avia.pro, the howitzers were brought from Germany by several trains. Given the range, they can fire on the territory of Belarus,” she said, almost copying sentences from the Russian-language website.

Material & quot; Disinformation Matters & quot;  (& quot; Disinformation matters & quot;)

Material “Disinformation Matters” Video: EUvsDisinfo

Then the information returned to Polish-language social networks – as a news agency report. “Belta: USA in Poland on the border with Belarus deployed ’30 self-propelled artillery mounts M109A7 Paladin caliber 155 mm” – quoted the agency’s news Dr. Wojciech Szewko, expert on security and international relations. “But they took it from avia pro, delicately putting the sensational portal” – he completed in a second tweet.

Dr. Wojciech Szewka's entries on the deployment of American equipment
Dr. Wojciech Szewka’s entries on the deployment of American equipment Photo: Twitter

Yes, it’s Legnica – but the transport goes to the West

Internet users commenting on the entries with the film confirmed that the railway station in Legnica is indeed visible on it. This is evidenced by, inter alia, the roof structure, signs on the platform or the station building visible in the background. The mere sight of the building and the warehouse moving in relation to it were indicated as evidence that military vehicles were not going east at all, but west of Legnica. “West direction;) they are also probably returning to the proving grounds to Świętoszów or Germany” – one of the internet users wrote back to the previously quoted post about “Telegram curiosity”.

The direction of the combat vehicles can be determined on the basis of their orientation in relation to the building. It is located south of the platforms, and the train runs from left to right – that is, from east to west.

Station buildings visible on the recording and on the maps of Legnica and the direction of transport
Station buildings visible on the recording and on the maps of Legnica and the direction of transport Photo: Telegram, Google Maps

Certain elements of the video indicate that the footage is from this year. You can see that part of the roof structure of the station building is missing. This is the result of the ongoing renovation of the station in Legnica, including the roofing of the platforms. The local website Legnica.naszemiasto.pl informed that half of the roof was dismantled in May this year. On the other hand, amateur videos published on YouTube show that, for example, on November 11 this year, the roof has still not been renovated and looks like it does in the recording with military transport.

Video from November 11, showing half of the roof missing
Video from November 11, showing half of the roof missing Photo: Youtube

They are not going from Germany, but to Germany for exercises

Determining the direction of the howitzers, however, does not say anything about the purpose of their transport. We asked about it, among others The Operational Command of the Kinds of Armed Forces, the Provincial Military Staff in Wrocław, the Military Transport Command in Wrocław and the Polskie Linie Kolejowe company. As commenters suggested that the equipment may belong to US troops, we also asked the US Army Europe and Africa Command.

We have not received a reply from any of the Polish military commands so far (only WSzW in Wrocław sent us to the Military Transport Command Wrocław). On November 24, the public affairs department of the US Army Europe and Africa responded to us – he informed that the purpose of transporting the equipment is the training ground in Germany, where the exercises will take place.

[Wozy bojowe] were headed to the Hohenfels military training ground in Germany for Combined Resolve exercises. Paladines [nazwa haubic] belong to the 1st Combat Team of the Armored Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. The unit is here in Europe to support Atlantic Resolve. Atlantic Resolve units conduct bilateral, joint and international training in several countries.

US Army Europe and Africa Public Affairs

This information is confirmed in publicly available sources. Atlantic Resolve is an action launched in April 2014 as a response to the Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine. They rely on the rotation of military units from the United States to Europe to increase NATO’s readiness and support.

According to the official materials of the US Army Command for Europe and Africa, 15 M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzers belonging to the 1st Combat Team of the Armored Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division are currently taking part in the rotation of armored vehicles as part of Atlantic Resolve.

Altantic Resolve infographic with information about Paladin howitzers
Altantic Resolve infographic with information about Paladin howitzers Photo: europeafrica.army.mil

Author: Michał Istel

Source: Konkret24, photo: Telegram


About Banner Leon

Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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