::::  Naval Vessels - POLAND
Code - 3MPOL2
Description - POLISH NAVY OF WORLD WAR 2 In the early 1920’s the Polish navy consisted of only a few old torpedo boats and auxiliary vessels acquired after the end of WW1.However in 1924 a plan was devised for the fleet to be expanded by 2 cruisers, 6 destroyers, 12 torpedo boats and 12 submarines. Of these only the three Wilk class submarines were ordered, due to financial difficulties, but in 1925 approval was gained for the purchase of 2 destroyers, Wicher & Burza from France. The decision to order from France was purely for political reasons, and the ships, variations of the French Bourrasque class, were never considered satisfactory. In 1932 it was decided to replace the old First World War ex-German minesweepers operated by the Polish Navy with new vessels built in Poland. The Jasolka class were the result, and six were built between 1935 and 1939. The ships were a great success, and in 1939 even the Romanian navy was considering the construction of several of this class. By the mid 1930’s it was clear that War could not long be delayed and the Poles strengthened their Navy by the addition of the new minelayer Gryf, two more submarines, with others planned and the two large destroyers Blyskawica and Grom built by J Samuel White in England. Prior to the outbreak of war it had been decided that in the event of a German invasion the best ships in the Navy would be transferred to British Ports, as their position in the Baltic would be untenable. In addition to the submarine force the vessels selected were Blyskawica, Grom and Burza, with the latter ship being given the task of acting as rear guard if the force was attacked. In the event, all three vessels arrived in Scotland safely on 1 September 1939. They were joined by the submarines, Wilk and Orzel, the remaining submarines having been interned in Sweden. The remaining destroyer, Wicher and the minelayer Gryf were sunk by German Air attacks. Of the minesweepers, both Jasolka and Czalpa were sunk by air attack on 14 September, and Mewa had been sunk in shallow water at the same time as Wicher and Gryf. The remaining three vessels were scuttled. These three ships, and the damaged Mewa were subsequently raised by the Germans, and served throughout the War, being returned to Poland in 1946. Of the vessels arriving in England, both Blyskawica and Grom were quickly cut down in height, loosing their funnel caps, to make them more suitable for service in the North Sea. Together with Burza, all three ships were active in the early part of the war, with Grom being sunk by aircraft off Narvik in May 1940. Blyskawica was later re-armed with British weapons. Both of the remaining destroyers were used less after 1944 as both were “non” standard, and involved heavy upkeep. Blyskawica was returned to Poland in 1946, but Burza was not returned until 1951, as she had been formally handed over to the Royal Navy in 1946. Of the submarines, Orzel was lost in action in 1940, but Wilk and the three interned submarines were returned to Poland after the War. GROM x 2 N8H51 Polish Destroyer completed 1937 Sister Blyskawica Displacement 3,383 tons Dimensions 374’ x 36’ x 11’ Armament 7 x 4.7” D.P. 4 x 40mm A.A., 8 x 13.2mm M.G. Torpedo Tubes 6 x 21” Mines 44 could be carried Speed 39 knots BLYSKAWICA x 2 N8H51A Polish destroyer completed 1937. Modernized as model, with sister, Grom in 1940 by removing funnel cap and other weights to improve stability. Displacement 3,383 tons full load Dimensions 374’ x 36’ x 11’ Armament 7 x 4.7” D.P., 1 x 4” A.A. 4 x 40mm A.A., 8 x 13.2mm M.G. Torpedo Tubes 3 x 21” Speed 39 knots (on completion) BLYSKAWICA N8H51B Polish destroyer completed 1937. Modernized in 1940, and again, as model in 1941 replacing her original armament by British twin 4” A.A.. Displacement 3,383 tons full load Dimensions 374’ x 36’ x 11’ Armament 8 x 4” A.A., 4 x 40mm 4 x 20mm Torpedo Tubes 6 x 21” (2 x twin) later replaced by 1 quad 21” in rear position. Speed 39 knots (on completion) WICHER CLASS x 2 N8H52 Polish Destroyer completed 1930. Sister Burza Displacement 1,540 tons Dimensions 352’ x 33’ x 11’ Armament 4 x 130mm 2 x 40mm, 2 x 13.2mm Torpedo Tubes 6 x 550 mm Mines 60 Speed 33 knots ORZEL CLASS x 2 N8H61 Polish submarine completed 1939. Sister Sep Displacement 1,100 tons/1,473 tons Dimensions 276’ x 22’ x 14’ Armament 1 x 105mm 2 x 40mm Torpedo Tubes 12 x 550 mm Speed 20 knots/9 knots WILK CLASS x 3 N8H62 Polish submarine completed 1930 Sisterships Rys & Zbik Displacement 980 tins/1,250 tons Dimensions 258’ x 19’ x 14’ Armament 1 x 100mm 1 x 40mm Torpedo Tubes 6 x 550mm Mines 40 Speed 14 knots/9 knots GRYF N8H71 Polish Minelayer completed 1938. Displacement 2,250 tons Dimensions 339’ x 43’ x 12’ Armament 6 x 120mm 4 x 40mm, 4 x 13.2mm Mines 600 Speed 20 knots JASOLKA CLASS x 6 N8H72 Polish Minesweepers completed 1935. Sisters:- Mewa, Rybitwa, Czajka, Czapla and Zuraw.The could also act as minelayers, carrying 20 mines. Displacement 183 tons Dimensions 148’ x 18’ x 5’ Armament 1 x 75mm 2 x M.G. (1 x 13.2mm AA added later) Speed 17 ½ knots