Heavy machine gun
A heavy machine gun or HMG is a class of machine gun implying greater characteristics than general purpose or medium machine guns. There are two recognized classes of weapons identified as heavy machine guns; the first are weapons from World War I identified as "heavy" due to the weight and encumberment of the weapons themselves. The second are large-caliber machine guns, pioneered by John Moses Browning with the M2 machine gun, designed to provide increased range and destructive power against vehicles, buildings and light fortifications beyond the standard rifle calibers used in medium or general-purpose machine guns, or the intermediate cartridges used in light machine guns; the term was used to refer to the generation of machine guns which came into widespread use in World War I. These fired standard rifle cartridges such as the 7.92 Mauser.303 British or 7.62×54mmR, but featured heavy construction, elaborate mountings, water-cooling mechanisms that enabled long-range sustained automatic fire with excellent accuracy.
However, these advantages came at the cost of being too cumbersome to move as well as requiring a crew of several soldiers to operate them. Thus, in this sense, the "heavy" aspect of the weapon referred to the weapon's bulk and ability to sustain fire, not the cartridge caliber; this class of weapons was best exemplified by the Maxim gun, invented by the American inventor Hiram Maxim, who had traveled to England to market his design and became a British subject in 1900. The Maxim was the most ubiquitous machine gun of World War I, variants of which were fielded by three separate warring nations; the modern definition refers to a class of large-caliber machine guns, pioneered by John Moses Browning with the M2 machine gun. These weapons are designed to provide increased range and destructive power against vehicles, buildings and light fortifications beyond the standard rifle calibers used in medium or general-purpose machine gun, or the intermediate cartridges used in light machine guns. In this sense, the "heavy" aspect of the weapon refers to its superior power and range over light- and medium-caliber weapons, in addition to its weight.
This class of machine gun came into widespread use during World War II, when the M2 was used in fortifications, on vehicles and in aircraft by American forces. A similar HMG capacity was fielded by the Soviets in the form of Vasily Degtyaryov's DShK in 12.7×108mm. The ubiquitous German MG42 general-purpose machine gun, though well-suited against infantry, lacked the M2's anti-fortification and anti-vehicle capability, a fact, noted and lamented by the Germans; the continued need for a longer-range machine gun with anti-materiel capability to bridge the gap between anti-infantry weapons and anti-materiel weapons has led to the widespread adoption and modernization of the class, most nations' armed forces are equipped with some type of HMG. Machine guns with calibers smaller than 10mm are considered medium or light machine guns, while those larger than 15mm are classified as autocannons instead of heavy machine guns. In the late 19th century, Gatling guns and other externally powered types such as the Nordenfelt were made in a variety of calibers, such as 0.5-inch and 1-inch.
Due to their multiple barrels, overheating was not so much of an issue, but they were quite heavy. When Maxim developed his recoil-powered machine gun using a single barrel, his first main design weighed a modest 26 pounds and fired a.45-inch rifle-caliber bullet from a 24-inch barrel. A famous photo of Maxim showed him picking it up by its 15-pound tripod with one arm, it was similar to present-day medium machine guns, but it could not be fired for extended periods due to overheating. As a result, Maxim created a water jacket cooling system to enable it to fire for extended periods. However, this added significant weight. There were thus two main types of heavy, rapid-fire weapons: the manually powered, multiple-barrel machine guns and the single-barrel Maxim guns. By the end of the 19th century, many new designs such as the M1895 Colt–Browning and Hotchkiss were developed, powered by gas operation or recoil operation. Rather than the heavy water jacket, new designs introduced other types of barrel cooling, such as barrel replacement, metal fins, heat sinks or some combination of these.
Machine guns diverged into lighter designs. The model water-cooled Maxim guns and its derivatives the MG 08 and the Vickers, as well as the American M1917 Browning machine gun, were all substantial weapons. The.303 Vickers, for example, weighed 33 lb and was mounted on a tripod that brought the total weight to 50 lb. The heavier designs could, in some cases did, fire for days on end in fixed defensive positions to repel infantry attacks; these machine guns were mounted on tripods and were water-cooled, a well-trained crew could fire nonstop for hours, given sufficient ammunition, replacement barrels and cooling water. Positioned heavy machine guns could stop an attacking force before they reached their objectives. However, during the same period a number of lighter and more portable air-cooled designs were developed weighing less than 30 lbs. In World War I they were to be as important as the heavier designs, were used to support infantry on the attack, on aircraft, on many types of vehicles.
The lightest of the new designs were not capable of sustained automatic fire, as they did
Bolesław Bronisław Duch
Bolesław Bronisław Duch was a Polish Major General and General Inspector of the Armed Forces. Duch served during 1914 -- 18, in the Polish Legions. After Poland regained independence, he served in the Polish Army. In 1935-1938 he commanded the 73rd Infantry Regiment. At the outbreak of World War II, the commander of the 39th Reserve Infantry Division General Bruno Olbrycht was ill and the division was de facto commanded by Duch. After Poland was overrun by Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939, Duch managed to evade capture and served in western Europe, becoming commander successively of the Polish 1st Grenadier Division in France, 1st Rifle Brigade of the 1st Polish Corps in Scotland, of the 3rd Carpathian Infantry Division of the 2nd Polish Corps. In 1947, Duch settled in London and became chairman of the Council of the World Polish Veterans' Association, he was the last General Inspector of the Armed Forces. 1914: Lieutenant 1919: First Lieutenant 1919: Captain 1924: Major 1929: Lieutenant Colonel 1938: Colonel 1940: Brigadier 1945: Major General Knight's Cross of the Virtuti Militari, Gold Cross and Silver Cross Commander's Cross with Star of the Polonia Restituta Cross of Merit, with Swords Cross of Valour, 8 times Cross of Independence Gold Cross of Merit with Swords Gold Cross of Merit Croix de Guerre Military Cross Medal Międzysojuszniczy "Medaille Interalliée" Commandeur dans l'ordre de la Légion d'honneur Source: Roger Bruge "Les combattants du 18 juin".
List of Poles
A mortar is a simple, man portable, muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smooth-bore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount and a sight. They launch explosive shells in high-arcing ballistic trajectories. Mortars are used as indirect fire weapons for close fire support with a variety of ammunition. Mortars have been used for hundreds of years in siege warfare. Many historians consider the first mortars to have been used at the 1453 siege of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. An Italian account of the 1456 siege of Belgrade by Giovanni da Tagliacozzo said that the Ottoman Turks used seven mortars that fired "stone shots one Italian mile high"; the time of flight of these was long enough that casualties could be avoided by posting observers to give warning of their trajectories. However, earlier mortars were used in Korea in a 1413 naval battle when Korean gunsmiths developed the Wan'gu; the earliest version of the Wan'gu dates back to 1407. Choi Hae-san, the son of Choe Mu-seon, is credited with inventing the first Wan'gu.
Early mortars, such as the Pumhart von Steyr, were large and heavy, could not be transported. Made, these weapons were no more than iron bowls reminiscent of the kitchen and apothecary mortars whence they drew their name. An early transportable mortar was invented by Baron Menno van Coehoorn; this mortar fired an exploding shell. This innovation was taken up, necessitating a new form of naval ship, the bomb vessel. Mortars played a significant role in the Venetian conquest of Morea and in the course of this campaign an ammunition store in the Parthenon was blown up. An early use of these more mobile mortars as field weapons was by British forces in the suppression of the Jacobite rising of 1719 at the Battle of Glen Shiel. High angle trajectory mortars held a great advantage over standard field guns in the rough terrain of the West Highlands of Scotland; the mortar had fallen out of general use in Europe by the Napoleonic era and interest in the weapon was not revived until the beginning of the 20th century.
Mortars were used by both sides during the American Civil War. At the Siege of Vicksburg, General US Grant reported making coehorn mortars "by taking logs of the toughest wood that could be found, boring them out for six- or twelve-pound shells and binding them with strong iron bands; these answered as Coehorns, shells were thrown from them into the trenches of the enemy". During the Russo-Japanese War, Lieutenant-General Leonid Gobyato of the Imperial Russian Army applied the principles of indirect fire from closed firing positions in the field and, with the collaboration of General Roman Kondratenko, he designed the first mortar that fired navy shells; the German Army studied the Siege of Port Arthur, where heavy artillery had been unable to destroy defensive structures like barbed wire and bunkers. As a result, they developed. Used during World War I, they were made in three sizes. World War I saw the introduction of the Stokes mortar, it was the forerunner of all modern mortars in use today.
These modern weapons are light, easy to operate, yet possess enough accuracy and firepower to provide infantry with quality close fire support against soft and hard targets more than any other means. It was not until the Stokes Mortar was devised by Sir Wilfred Stokes in 1915 during the First World War that the modern mortar transportable by one person was born. In the conditions of trench warfare, there was a great need for a versatile and portable weapon that could be manned by troops undercover in the trenches. Stokes's design was rejected in June 1915 because it was unable to use existing stocks of British mortar ammunition, it took the intervention of David Lloyd George and Lieutenant-Colonel J. C. Matheson of the Trench Warfare Supply Department to expedite manufacture of the Stokes mortar; the weapon proved to be useful in the muddy trenches of the Western Front, as a mortar round could be aimed to fall directly into trenches, where artillery shells, due to their low angle of flight, could not go.
The Stokes mortar was a simple muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smoothbore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount. When a mortar bomb was dropped into the tube, an impact sensitive primer in the base of the bomb would make contact with a firing pin at the base of the tube, detonate, firing the bomb towards the target, it could fire as many as 25 bombs per minute and had a maximum range of 800 yards firing the original cylindrical unstabilised projectile. A modified version of the mortar, which fired a modern fin-stabilised streamlined projectile and had a booster charge for longer range, was developed after World War I. By World War II, it could fire as many as 30 bombs per minute, had a range of over 2,500 yards with some shell types; the French developed an improved version of the Stokes mortar as the Brandt Mle 27, further refined as the Brandt Mle 31. These weapons were the prototypes for all subsequent light mortar developments around the world. Mortar carriers are vehicles.
Numerous vehicles have been used to mount morta
3rd Armored Division (France)
The 3rd Armoured Division is a unit of the French Army. The Division is the heir 3rd Algerian Infantry Division formed in 1943 and dissolved in 1946; the 3rd Armoured Division was created in 1951 dissolved in 1991. The 3rd Mechanised Brigade, created in 1999 inherited the traditions of the division; the 3rd Division was recreated on June 20, 2016 within the cadre of the reorganization of the French Army. The 3rd Algerian Infantry Division was created on April 15, 1943; the brigade became designated as 3rd Light Armored Brigade in 2014. It was under the signs of Latin traditions that général de Monsabert wanted to place the 3rd Algerian Infantry Division 3e DIA during creation on May 1, 1943; the insignia of "Victory" of Cirta is supported by three crescents representing the Muslims, which composed the majority of the division, Allied to the "métros". Origin of the insignia, La Victoire de Cirta The "Victory" was a Roman goddess protector of the Emperors that the Legio III Augusta de Cirta venerated.
She was found within a search at Constantine in the 19th century. The motto of the 3rd Armoured Division is: « Plus d'honneur que d'honneurs » in French which translates to « More honor than the honors »; the motto of the 3rd Light Armoured Brigade was: « Un seul but: La victoire ». The 3rd Algerian Infantry Division, formed on April 15, 1943, fought in the Italy and France during World War II under general Joseph de Goislard de Monsabert and Augustin Guillaume; the division was dissolved on April 15, 1946. The 3rd Division was reconstituted in 1951 at the corps of the French Forces in Germany; this was a grand unit of 15000 men covering the Western part of Germany and comprising three brigades: The 5th Mechanised Brigade at Tübingen. Three infantry regiments, two tank regiments, two artillery regiments, one engineer regiment, one command and support regiment. During the transformation of the FFA into FFECSA, the division was redimensioned and dissolved in 1991. Two tank regiments, three infantry regiments, two artillery regiments, one engineer regiment, one command and support regiment: Based in Fribourg-en-Brisgau.
3rd Dragoon Regiment 12th Cuirassiers Regiment 19th Group Mounted Chasseurs 42nd Infantry Regiment 152nd Infantry Regiment Support: 11th Artillery Regiment 34th Artillery Regiment 11th Engineer Regiment Other support: 3rd Command and Support Regiment The 3rd Mechanised Brigade created in 1999 retook traditions. The headquarter staff was based in Limoges. In 2011, the headquarter staff of the 3e BM garrisoned at Clermont-Ferrand. On March 18, 2014, the 3rd Mechanised Brigade became designated as the 3rd Light Armoured Brigade; the 3rd Division was recreated during a ceremony on June 20, 2016. Interarm, the division is formed of three brigades part of the Scorpion Force alongside the 1st Division, units stationed in outre-mer and overseas. Headquarter staff is garrisoned in Marseille; the 3rd Division is subordinated to the Commandement des Forces Terrestres CFT. At creation, the division managed 4 headquarter staffs and one instruction school. Effectifs form 25000 men and 4000 reservists in: 2e Régiment de Dragons - Défense Nucléaire Biologique et chimique NBC-defense Regiment in Fontevraud-l'Abbaye 54e Régiment d'Artillerie - Air-defense Regiment in Hyères with Mistral 31e Régiment du Génie - Engineer Regiment in Castelsarrasin Based in Illkirch-Graffenstaden.
2e Compagnie de Commandement et de Transmissions - Command and Signals Company in Illkirch-Graffenstaden with VAB 12e Régiment de Cuirassiers - Armoured Regiment in Olivet with 60 Leclerc 501e Régiment de chars de combat - Armoured Regiment in Mourmelon-le-Grand with 60 Leclerc Régiment de Marche du Tchad - Marine Infantry Regiment in Meyenheim with VBCI 16e Bataillon de Chasseurs - Infantry Battalion in Bitche with VBCI 92e Régiment d'Infanterie - Infantry Regiment in Clermont-Ferrand with VBCI 40e Régiment d'Artillerie Self-propelled Howitzer Regiment in Suippes with 32 GCT 155mm and 12 120mm mortars 13e Régiment du Génie - Engineer Regiment in Valdahon Based in Nîmes. 6e Compagnie de Commandement et de Transmissions - Command and Signals Company in Nîmes with VAB 1er Régiment de Spahis – Cavalry Regiment in Valence with AMX 10 RC and ERC 90 1er Régiment Etranger de Cavalerie Foreign Legion - Cavalry Regiment in Orange with AMX 10 RC and ERC 90 2e Régiment Etranger d'Infanterie - Foreign Legion Infantry Regiment in Nîmes with VBCI 13e Demi Brigad
10th Parachute Division (France)
The 10th Parachute Division was a formation of the French Army, part of the French Airborne Units. It consisted predominantly of infantry troops, it specialized in airborne air assault. Established in 1956, it fought in the Suez Crisis and the Algerian War, it was dissolved after the Algiers putsch of 1961. On July 1, 1956, the 10e D. P. is created with the following units: Support: 60th Headquarters company 60th Transmission company of Platoon of Army Light Aviation Transport group n°507 60th Airborne Engineers Company 60th Divisional Maintenance company 405th Medical company 60th Military logistics section Airborne infantry: 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment, replaced by the 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment on April 1960 2nd Colonial Infantry Parachute Regiment 3rd Colonial Infantry Parachute Regiment 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment 6th Colonial Infantry Parachute Regiment Airborne artillery 20th Parachute Artillery Group Note: On the 1 December 1958, the "Colonial infantry" was renamed "Marine infantry".
Created, the 10e D. P. took part in the Suez Crisis in Egypt, in an operation named "Operation Musketeer". The 10e D. P was reinforced for this purpose with: One squadron of the 2nd Foreign Cavalry Regiment comprising 148 men and 17 AMX-13. 10 LVT Alligator with 40 men A platoon of 6 Delahaye jeeps with SS.10 anti-tank missiles The 453rd anti-aircraft artillery group: 803 menOn 5 November 1956, elements of the 10e D. P. were dropped on Port Fuad and Port Said, completed the next morning by amphibious assaults on both towns. Although the battle was a military success, allied troops had to withdraw due to pressure from the United States. In Algiers, the National Liberation Front was carrying out a wave of terrorist attacks an urban guerilla which made many casualties Muslim civilians. In January 1957, Robert Lacoste, Minister Resident in Algeria, reacted by giving full powers to General Massu over the Algiers area. Massu sent the 10e D. P. to search out and question FLN members. The battle of Algiers proved to be a clear success for the French military, with most prominent FLN leaders killed or arrested and terrorist attacks stopped.
However, the use of torture against some FLN members led to an increasing opposition to war in France and internationally. In 1956, the newly independent Republic of Tunisia was helping the FLN by smuggling weapons and men through its territory; the electrified fence known as the Morice Line was built up to prevent Algerian FLN guerrillas from entering the French colony of Algeria from Tunisia. The 10e D. P. was assigned to the surveillance of a portion of the electrified border, in order to intercept rebel bands that have managed to cross it. The Morice Line had a significant impact of the reduction of guerrillas activities by forces that originated from Tunisia. However, general Massu, the commanding officer of the 10e D. P. was relieved of his command. Despite the military successes, French Prime Minister Michel Debré's government started secret negotiations with the anti-colonialist FLN in order to grant independence to Algeria. French settlers and soldiers were stunned by this decision and a putsch was organized in Algiers.
With the exception of the 3e RPIMa, the rest of the 10e D. P. supported the coup. When the putsch failed the 25e D. P. along with the 10e D. P. were dissolved and the 1er R. E. P was the only regiment disbanded. Except for the Legionnaires of the 1e REP that conserve the Green Beret; the Archangel Saint Michael, patron of the French paratroopers is celebrated on September 29. The prière du Para was written by André Zirnheld in 1938. Just like the paratrooper Brevet of the French Army; the French Army Insignia of metropolitan Paratroopers represents a closed "winged armed dextrochere", meaning a "right winged arm" armed with a sword pointing upwards. The Insignia makes reference to the Patron of Paratroopers. In fact, the Insignia represents "the right Arm of Saint Michael", the Archangel which according to Liturgy is the "Armed Arm of God"; this Insignia is the symbol of righteous fidelity to superior missions. The French Army Insignia of Marine Infantry Paratroopers is backgrounded by a Marine Anchor.
Airborne Units of France 25th Parachute Division 11th Parachute Brigade Pierre Côme André Segrétain Pierre Paul Jeanpierre Barthélémy Rémy Raffali Paul Arnaud de Foïard Hélie de Saint Marc Georges Hamacek Guy Rubin de Cervens History of the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment, 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment, 14th Parachute Chasseur Regiment and 18th Parachute Chasseur Regiment
Władysław Eugeniusz Sikorski was a Polish military and political leader. Prior to the First World War, Sikorski established and participated in several underground organizations that promoted the cause of the independence of Poland from the Russian Empire, he fought with distinction in the Polish Legions during the First World War, in the newly created Polish Army during the Polish–Soviet War of 1919 to 1921. In that war he played a prominent role in the decisive Battle of Warsaw. In the early years of the Second Polish Republic, Sikorski held government posts, including serving as Prime Minister and as Minister of Military Affairs. Following Józef Piłsudski's May Coup of 1926 and the installation of the Sanation government, he fell out of favor with the new régime. During the Second World War, Sikorski became Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, a vigorous advocate of the Polish cause in the diplomatic sphere, he supported the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Soviet Union, severed after the Soviet pact with Germany and the 1939 invasion of Poland—however, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin broke off Soviet-Polish diplomatic relations in April 1943 following Sikorski's request that the International Red Cross investigate the Katyń Forest massacre.
In July 1943, a plane carrying Sikorski plunged into the sea after takeoff from Gibraltar, killing all on board except the pilot. The exact circumstances of Sikorski's death have been disputed and have given rise to a number of different theories surrounding the crash and his death. Sikorski had been the most prestigious leader of the Polish exiles, his death was a severe setback for the Polish cause. Sikorski was born in Galicia, at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he was the third child in his family. His grandfather, Tomasz Kopaszyna Sikorski, had fought and been wounded at the Battle of Olszynka Grochowska in the November Uprising, during which he received the Virtuti Militari medal. Sikorski attended the gimnazjum in Rzeszów from 1893 to 1897 transferred for a year to a Rzeszów teachers' college. In 1899 he attended the Lwów Franciszek Józef Gymnasium, in 1902 he passed his final high school exam there. Starting that year, young Sikorski studied engineering at the Lwów Polytechnic, specializing in road and bridge construction, graduated in 1908 with a diploma in hydraulic engineering.
In 1906 Sikorski volunteered for a year's service in the Austro-Hungarian army and attended the Austrian Military School, obtaining an officer's diploma and becoming an army reserve second lieutenant. In 1909 he married Helena Zubczewska. In 1912 they had Zofia. After graduation he lived in Leżajsk and worked for the Galician administration's hydraulic engineering department, working on the regulation of the San river, was involved in private enterprises related to construction, real estate and petroleum trade. During his studies at the Polytechnic, Sikorski became involved in the People's School Association, an organization dedicated to spreading literacy among the rural populace. Around 1904–1905 he was involved with the endecja Association of the Polish Youth "Zet", drifted towards paramilitary socialist organizations related to the Polish Socialist Party, intent on securing Polish independence, he made contact with the socialist movement around 1905–1906 through the Union for the Resurrection of the Polish Nation.
In 1908, in Lwów, Sikorski—together with Józef Piłsudski, Marian Kukiel, Walery Sławek, Kazimierz Sosnkowski, Witold Jodko-Narkiewicz and Henryk Minkiewicz—organized the secret Union for Active Struggle, with the aim of bringing about an uprising against the Russian Empire, one of Poland's three partitioners. In 1910 in Lwów, Sikorski helped to organize a Riflemen's Association, became the president of its Lwów chapter, became responsible for the military arm within the Commission of Confederated Independence Parties. Having a military education, he lectured other activists on military tactics. Upon the outbreak of the First World War in July 1914, Sikorski was mobilized, but through KSSN influence he was allowed to participate in the organizing of the Polish military units, rather than being delegated to other duties by the Austro-Hungarian military command. In the first few weeks of the war he became the chief of the Military Department in the Supreme National Committee and remained in this post until 1916.
He was a commissioner in charge of the recruitment to the Polish Legions in Kraków, choosing this role over the opportunity to serve in the Legions as a frontline commander. On 30 September 1914 he was promoted to podpułkownik, soon after that he became the commander of a Legions officer school; the Legions — the army created by Józef Piłsudski to liberate Poland from Russian and Austro-Hungarian and German rule — fought in alliance with Austria-Hungary against Russia. From August 1915 there was growing tension between Sikorski, who advocated cooperation with Austria-Hungary, Piłsudski, who felt that Austria-Hungary and Germany had betrayed the trust of the Polish people. In 1916 Piłsudski campaigned to have the
Poland the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With a population of 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin. Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north and Ukraine to the east and Czech Republic, to the south, Germany to the west; the establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin; this union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic. Poland is regional power, it has the fifth largest economy by GDP in the European Union and one of the most dynamic economies in the world achieving a high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with high standards of living, life quality, safety and economic freedom.
Having a developed school educational system, the country provides free university education, state-funded social security, a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, the Visegrád Group; the origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole". In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites, which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I. Early Bronze Age in Poland begun around 2400 BC, while the Iron Age commenced in 750 BC. During this time, the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became prominent; the most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about 400 BC to 500 AD. These groups are identified as Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes. Recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland; these were most expeditionary missions sent out to protect the amber trade. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented; the Slavic tribes who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day Poland was Slavic paganism. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church.
However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the 1030s. Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty. Poland's first documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity with the Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official religion of his subjects; the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave, continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of Gniezno and created the metropolis of Gniezno and the dioceses of Kraków, Kołobrzeg, Wrocław. However, the pagan unrest led to the transfer of the capital to Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the Restorer. In 1109, Prince Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the Ge