ORP Bałtyk - The oldest ship pre-war Polish Navy training ship and hulk. French protected cruiser of the early twentieth century!!
Construction of the ship was associated with the colonial expansion of France in the second half of the nineteenth century. During this period, the colonial powers often built ships specially designed for long-term service in the colonies, whose job was mainly to represent the flag of the metropolis. They were generally weaker than units built to European waters, but enough to fend off local threats and keeping order in the colonies. For fixed service colonial they directed some other ships, mostly obsolete. At the end of the nineteenth century, France had colonies relatively weak naval forces, given the modernity and strength of individual permanently stationed there ships. During this period in France alone clashed different views on the development of the navy, which was favored by the multiplicity of bodies dealing with the navy or granting funds for its expansion and frequent personnel changes the position of Secretary of the Navy. The result was the construction of mostly individual ships instead of their series and repeatedly changes the concept of the development of the Navy (including the so-called concept. Young school - Jeune Écol).
An expression of the influence of the traditionalists was to order a large colonial cruiser "D'Entrecasteaux", having the function as the flagship of the fleet colony. Requirements for the large colonial cruiser with a displacement of about 8,000 tons of the Works Council has formulated the Navy in 1891. Initially, they provide the main armament consists of four 240 mm guns in single turrets placed on the set of the diamond, then the requirements were reduced to two division; also resigned from the auxiliary sail. A jury several projects, of which selected for further work by the naval engineer and engineer Treboul Amable Lagane'a with private yard Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée (FCM) in La Seyne-sur-Mer near Toulon. Although the assessment stage priority was given to the project Treboul, but eventually contract for the construction of the ship according to their plans, she managed to get the shipyard FCM . The contract for construction was signed with her 8 November 1893 roku . Treboul project has also been approved with amendments in August 1895 years and in the budget for 1896 years envisaged the construction of a second cruiser colonial and class under the name "Jeanne d'Arc". The new Minister of the Navy - Edouard Lockroy, however, led to its replacement by the armored cruiser "Jeanne d'Arc", which is the first of the large French armored cruisers.
Keel for the construction of "D'Entrecasteaux" was placed in the yard Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée in La Seyne in June 1894 (no closer to the date of publications). The ship was named to commemorate Antoine Bruni d'Entrecasteaux, the French navigator, traveler and explorer who explored the coast of Australia in the years 1792-1793. Hull Launching June 12, 1896 year. Machinery and boilers are made in factories FCM in Marseille, and the equipment in the plant in La Seyne and Le Havre, only operates 240 mm were provided by the Navy. January 1, 1898, the ship began official sea trials. During these meetings took place April 28, 1898 until the failure of the boiler and steam burns four smokers, which caused a delay in the schedule. During the tests the maximum speed of 19.1 knot she has developed the indicated power 14 578 hp, while attempts 24-hour - average speed of 17.8 in 8893 and the power of the indicated horsepower. Attempts by the adoption of the ship by the Navy 25 January 1899 year, and 15 February 1899 he entered it into service. The cost of construction amounted to 16 693 477 francs (the equivalent of 4,846.5 kg of gold).
Before World War I
Shortly after entering the service, 6 April 1899 "D'Entrecasteaux" came from Toulon through the Suez Canal to the Far East, arriving May 12 to Saigon in French Indochina, which was the main naval base in the French colonies. June 1 has become the flagship Squadron Far East Admiral Courrejolles'a (replacing the retired old battleship "Vauban"). In April 1900 she underwent docked in Yokohama, Japan. Immediately after its completion, in May, he went to the shores of China, stricken by the anti-Western Boxer Rebellion. Since May 31, sent by rail branch 74 sailors from the "D'Entrecasteaux", under the command of Captain Darcy, protect European embassies in Beijing, and the second division under the command of Lt. Paul Henry protect Beitang cathedral, which had taken refuge approx. 3000 Chinese Christians and foreigners. During a successful defense of the cathedral on July 30 killed 13 sailors, however, and Lieutenant Henry (in whose honor was named after the destroyer "Enseigne Henry").
55 sailors from the French ships under the command of Lieutenant Douguet department 65 mm directed to the protection of the French concession in Tianjin. Sailors from the cruiser then took part in an international expedition two thousandth of the British Vice Admiral Edward Seymour, who went on June 10 to the relief of the embassy district in Beijing. A total of three French ships in the expedition was attended by 160 sailors from one department 65 mm, under the personal command of the commander "D'Entrecasteaux" Commander de Marroles. This unit took part in battles with insurgents and Chinese troops, trying to get to Beijing, but the expedition did not reach the goal. After the back to Tianjin on June 26, de Marroles commanded located there, the French forces until July 9, when he handed over command of the newcomer with meals Colonel Marines. According to some publications, June 17 troops from the cruiser took part in the attack on the Taku forts. According to other information, the cruiser artillery shelled on June 17 Chinese positions, however, "D'Entrecasteaux" is not mentioned among the ships taking part in the storming of the Taku forts. At the beginning of October, "D'Entrecasteaux" was replaced by the battleship "Redoutable" and its sailors completed their participation in the Chinese expedition. October 5 cruiser left the Taku and visiting Japanese ports along the way, on December 1, he returned to Saigon.
Due to disclosed the need to strengthen locks guns of 240 mm, it was decided to send the ship to France and 9 January 1901 he arrived through the Suez Canal to Toulon, where he was retracted to reserve (as a flagship in the Far East, was replaced by the cruiser "Amiral Charner"). In France, the ship went down cadmium. Courrejolles and 8 February the new commander was Captain Louis Dartige du Fournet (to March 1903). After the renovation of artillery and machines, 10 July 1901 "D'Entrecasteaux" sailed again for the Far East and 8 August came to Saigon and then on August 22 to Taku, turning there, "Amiral Charner" as the ship Admiral Bayle. The ship then mostly hovered between the ports of China, Japan and Indochina, and outside this area, August 20, 1902 the squadron visited Vladivostok. The most interesting episodes, 23 February 1902 the cruiser had brought the Emperor Annamu family from Tourane to Hanoi, and the admiral's boat won the French ship in May in Nagasaki in the race with a crew from the American cruiser "New Orleans". January 3, 1903 "D'Entrecasteaux" sailed to France and 2 February reached Toulon (while avoiding capture by two French cruisers in the Strait of Bonifacio). February 4 from the ship went down cadmium. Bayle, after which she was retracted into reserve. The cruiser was then Toulon and continued on it works to improve the cooling chambers ammunition.
September 1, 1905 "D'Entrecasteaux" has been restored to active duty and 25 November went on a cruise from Toulon, this time directed to the Division of the Indian Ocean. 17 December sailed to Djibouti, where he became the flagship Squadron commander, replacing in that role cruiser "Infernet." There operated mainly from Diego Suarez in Madagascar. July 13, 1906, however, was directed for the third time to Indochina, reaching 15 August to Saigon, and on August 20 was the flagship of the commander of the Far Eastern Division of cadmium. Boisse. March 9, 1907 the ship ran aground on the northwest of the island of Hainan in the Gulf of Tonkin, but could it go down at high tide, not referring at the major damage. In May 1907 he took part in attempts to rescue cruiser "Chanzy", which ran aground, but they were not effective. December 20, 1907 there was a change in the person Squadron commander, which was cadmium. Perrin. Apart from the traditional region of China - Japan - Indochina, March 10, 1908. She visited Manila, and again on July 22 in Vladivostok.
After another year campaign in the Far East, October 25, 1909. "D'Entrecasteaux" sailed from Saigon to France, arriving at Toulon on December 18. With the ship went down there Admiral Perrin, and January 1, 1910 the ship was allowed to reserve. Only after a year, in January 1911 they launched a limited renovation combined with a little modernization. Among others dismantled torpedo launchers, mounted rangefinders Barr & Stroud and radio equipment (at the admiral's galley), listed part of of plating. January 1, 1912 year, "D'Entrecasteaux" was restored to service as the flagship of the Mediterranean Squadron School Admiral Sourrieu, and adapted to the training of specialists. The role of the flagship Squadron School held to 15 November 1913 (replaced by the battleship "Suffren"). In 1913, during rehearsals he was able to develop a maximum speed of 18.4 knots. At the end of this year, she set aside in a special reserve in Toulon. Considered replacing him cruiser "Pothuau" as a school ship artillery, but there has been no implementation of these plans.
First World War
"D'Entrecasteaux" was returned to service in connection with the mobilization of the French July 29, 1914 r., And Aug. 6 went from Toulon to Malta, where he joined the Army, Marine (Armée Navale). Was incorporated into the Squadron of the Special cadmium. Gabriel Darrieus, shrouding transports troops from Africa on August 9 in the 2nd Squadron of the second line. At the beginning of World War I, mainly patrolling in the Mediterranean, including north of Corfu (from 25 August to 7 October and November) and in the Strait of Messina (December 1914). At the end of December 1914 it sent him to Syria water (which is then part of the Ottoman Empire and also including Jordan and Palestine). December 29 was included in the Maritime Squadron Syria (under the command of British wiceadm. Richard Peirse'a). Then, in connection with the Turkish attack in the direction of Egypt, "D'Entrecasteaux" joined the naval support defense of the Suez Canal and January 26, 1915 anchored in the Great Bitter Lake. Attack of the Turkish 4th Army, which began before dawn on February 3, focusing mainly on the lake Timsah, was repulsed with a significant share of the French artillery, naval vessels anchored at Timsah old battleship of coastal defense "Requin" and "D'Entrecasteaux". The cruiser was anchored north of the Great Bitter Lake and fired on the day of the Turkish infantry and cavalry, forcing them to retreat.
In February 1915, "D'Entrecasteaux" was included in the newly created Division 1. 3. Squadron, which replaced the Maritime Squadron Syria. Briefly, from 21 February to 13 March, while traveling from Bizerte to Port Said by the Syrian ports, he served as flagship of the squadron commander Rear Admiral Dartige du Fournet. Stationed on March 12 in Port Said, mainly patrolling the waters of Syria, among others, Gulf of Alexandretta. March 27 cruiser sank at Alexan small sailing boat, whose crew previously fired from the guns of the cruiser boat sent for inspection, killing a sailor. On 3-24 May supervised the Ismailia on the Suez Canal, and then returned to service at the shores of Syria, patrolling, in August of Rhodes. 20 August 1915 "D'Entrecasteaux" came from Port Said to repair to Brest - for the first time on the Atlantic coast of France, where he swam on September 3.
After the renovation, and a short stay in Lorient, then returned to the Mediterranean Sea under the flag of cadmium. de Spitz, reaching Port Said on December 20, 1915. The cruiser continued to patrol the coast of Turkey April 15, 1916, when he went with him cadmium. de Spitz, and "D'Entrecasteaux" was sent to the western Mediterranean, arriving on April 23 to Oran. Then he patrolled the Moroccan coast, based in local ports. September 14 has been changed by the cruiser "Lavoisier", after which he was sent through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea. 17 October "D'Entrecasteaux" arrived in Djibouti, where he participated in pacyfikowaniu riots between Catholics and Muslims. At the end of October it has been activated (with "Pothuau") to the British cruiser squadron based in Jeddah, under the orders of cadmium. Wemyss. French cruisers patrolled mainly in the area and work in the western Indian Ocean. November 28, 1916 "D'Entrecasteaux" ran aground off the coast of Somalia, but could it go down with the help of British ships. At the beginning of 1917 due to the presence in the Indian Ocean the German raider "Wolf," "D'Entrecasteaux" patrolling in the Gulf of Aden, escorted a convoy from the Red Sea to Madagascar. August 5 returned to the Mediterranean to Port Said, after which he was sent to Malta in order to repair the wooden plating damaged during the groundings.
After the renovation completed October 11, 1917, "D'Entrecasteaux" went to Bizerte, where it was designed to transport troops and November transported Eastern Army (Armée d'Orient) between Taranto and Itea in Greece. December 12 in the area of the island Atokos was attacked by a German submarine UC-38, which fired a torpedo, but none hit (14 December the victim is serving in the same role cruiser "Châteautenault"). As an army transport "D'Entrecasteaux" was used during the war to 20 June 1918, when the failure occurred machine. It was not until September 10, 1918 began the renovation Bizerta, lasting until the beginning of December. There she found the end of the war. From February to June 1919 he continues carrying demobilized soldiers from Itea to Tarentum. June 19 came from Tarentum, leaving the last time the Mediterranean Sea, to Brest, where he arrived on July 2, 1919. There was escorted to the reserve and sent to repair. During the renovation, it was decided to adapt its boilers for firing liquid fuel.
After the renovation, Sept. 5, 1919, "D'Entrecasteaux" was returned to service in the Atlantic Division School in Brest. From 1 April 1920 (after the withdrawal of the battleship "Justice"), is the flagship of the commander of the squadron, cadmium. Laugier, then from December 17, 1920 - cadmium. Estienne. He served as a training ship, among others, for signalers, carpenters and marine reserve officers. He held this position until 1 June 1921, when it was disarmed and escorted. May 17, 1922 it was decided to withdraw the ship, but then it was decided to transfer it to Belgium. October 27, 1922 deleted from the list of the French fleet.
Service in the Belgium Navy
Belgium after World War I proceeded to create the Navy, composed mainly of former German torpedo boats. Therefore he applied to France by ship loan, which could be used for training purposes, as well as housing for the crews of the ships. In order to pass, "D'Entrecasteaux", was carried out on the ship repair and adaptation work in the arsenal of Brest, involving, among others, the removal of guns, picture screws. They dismantled two boilers and a boiler designed for auxiliary purposes was replaced at the request and expense of the Belgian by more modern water tube boiler Belleville battleship coastal "Furieux." After completing the repair, May 24, 1923 "D'Entrecasteaux" was towed by the tug "Mastodonte" to Zeebrugge.
May 25, 1923 "D'Entrecasteaux" was taken over by the Belgian Navy, where he served as a hulk residential and school, being both the largest unit of the fleet. His ministry, however, there is not lasted long, because in June 1926 the government decided to solve the Belgian Navy, relying on the army and the declaration of neutrality. Now useless hulk was returned to France, on 3-4 February 1927 it was at the expense of the Belgian towed from Bruges to Cherbourg. They planned to sell it for scrap, but then on February 28 came the offer to purchase by the Polish Navy.
Service in the Polish Navy
The project to buy the cruiser was established in Poland in the mid-20s he had used as a depot ship for the created division submarines. Then it was decided also that it can accommodate the School of Marine Specialists, moved in 1927 from Swiecie to Gdynia (school office placed temporarily on steamer ORP"Admiral Sierpinek"). It was agreed in the purchase order in France, the former armored cruiser "Desaix", which had to first be stripped of machinery and weapons. Before signing a contract, however, the opportunity arose to purchase the "D'Entrecasteaux", who just returned from Belgium and was partially adapted to the function of the ship school, which allowed for a reduction in expenditure. March 7, 1927 the old cruiser was purchased by Poland under the conditions developed for "Desaix" (according to some publications, the price of scrap). The total cost amounted to 2 822 000 francs, including hull: 1 200 000 francs, accessory: 1 282 745 francs and towing 350 000. Price was to be covered by a credit armaments obtained in France. The first commander at the time was a trip to the Polish Cdr Jerzy Łątkiewicz (head of the Polish naval base at Cherbourg).
July 30, 1927 was to increase the ship Polish flag in Cherbourg. The management of the Navy gave the ship a name ... "King Władysław IV," whose name was called old school barracks in Swiecie. July 30, 1927 she came out of Cherbourg in tow tugs "Mammouth" and "Pingouin", then flowing through the Kiel Canal, arrived in Gdynia on August 11. September 17, 1927, Major-General Daniel Konarzewski in place of the Minister of Military Affairs "nabytemu in France, zdeklasyfikowanemu cruiser with a temporary name of" Władysław IV " gave the name: ORP "Bałtyk" and portrayed him in the Navy with effect from July 30, 1927 name change was due from concerns that the royal name will contribute to strengthening the position of monarchists in Poland.
The arrival of ORP "Baltic" to Gdansk caused terror among the Germans, and since then she called sneeringly "Polnisch Panzerschiff". Shortly after arriving in Gdynia, she was directed to repair to the German Gdansk Shipyard. After his return to Gdynia, June 26, 1928, further work conducted workshops Naval Port. In August 1928 Admiralty apartments on the "Bałtyk" lived while in Gdynia by Polish President Ignacy Moscicki, but then moved to the ship "Gdynia" (according to relations because of the insects on the ship). Once again, "Bałtyk" was docked in Gdansk in order to remove copper plating and copper piping components, and eventually returned to Gdynia, December 7, 1928. According to some accounts, the copper plate (removed due to the risk of galvanic corrosion moored alongside units) were part of the payment for the cost of docking. Among other changes, primarily removed both towers artillery, repaired some installations (eg heating system), dismantled and blinded bottom valves. Then removed the covers from the chimneys. According to some accounts, in addition to artillery towers, the tower was dismantled command but do not confirm this photo (armored command tower was part of the construction of the superstructure bow). They left the machine and existing boilers, although efficient was the only auxiliary boiler (one of the boilers allocated later on the reservoir of drinking water). Adapted further interior for school and residential: on the lower deck was organized living quarters School, and battery classrooms and offices. In the room the fore created a school machine shop. Some conversion work was carried out until the end of the service. The ship was anchored in the port area, before entering into the pool no X in Oksywie, becoming a regular feature of the landscape port in Gdynia. Communication with the mainland provide a longboat dragged on a rope.
With weapons, "Bałtyk" had only 6 plots 47mm Hotchkiss wz.85 used as salutacyjne. At the end of the 20s was considered transformation "Bałtyk" in a floating anti-aircraft battery that protects Oksywie, armed with 8 purchased at this time in France cannon caliber 75 mm wz.1924 on the basis of marine, but they abandoned this idea, among others, because of fears the loss of all guns in case of the bombing of the ship (the division of ultimately created 1 and 2 of the Maritime Squadron Flak).
School Specialists Marine, moved to Gdynia, September 1, 1927, it has been placed on the "Bałtyk" at the beginning of 1929 from the first half of the school year 1928-1929. Also placed on the officer's mess and a law school. 1 April 1930 "Bałtyk" became part of the Division of School as a School of Marine Specialists (from 1 June 1935 - Training Centre Specialist Fleet) and a training ship of the group. It was used also by the technical group. Carried out on the courses for sailors and non-commissioned specialists and application courses for lieutenants. On board the ship were held festive promotions lieutenants and marine specialists - the first promotion of officers took place on August 15, 1928.
ORP "Bałtyk" also served as a representative function, being the flagship of the fleet commander Captain (from 1933 Rear Admiral) Józef Unruga. On board accepted commanders foreign ships visiting Gdynia.
Before the outbreak of war in the summer of 1939 years the idea of using armor plates from the "Bałtyk" to the fortifications of Civil Defense Coast, but it turned out to be pointless (it should be remembered that the main armored deck was made of mild steel). It is not entirely solved the issue of weapons - by some accounts, it is set to "Bałtyk", two 75 mm cannons and converted land salutacyjne to combat caliber 47 mm. However, no sources confirming the armament of the ship operates in 75 mm and showing their type (at the same time, all purchased 12 anti-aircraft guns wz.1924 was used for land stations in the composition of the 1st and 2nd MDAPlot). M. Twardowski also reports questioned the exchange of plots of 47 mm, noting that even for salutacyjnych plots used the same model Hotchkiss wz.85, and the plot of the model used on land probably came from warehouses in Modlin (perhaps mistakenly thought them to be plot of "Bałtyk")
The Second World War
On the first day of the war air force bomb he hits him in the aft superstructure. It survived numerous bombings. Ship despite the the inability to move around he took part in the antiaircraft defense the port of Gdynia and tried to shoot his artillery German unit attacking Gdynia. Because of the terrible situation in the defense of the Polish coast. 11.09.1939 dismantled armament of the ship and the crew joined in to defend city Gdynia and Oksywie from the land. Germany for almost a week shooting abandoned ship. Even the battleship “Schleswig-Holstein”shoot ORP "Baltic", but all artillery shells were placed were not the target. On September 21, after heavy fighting Polish naval base Oksywie (district of Gdynia), and with them and ORP "Bałtyk" fall into the hands of the Germans. For a time, "Bałtyk" was used by the Germans as a hulk apartment crews U-boots, and was scrapped. Most common in version of the scrapped ship in Gdansk in 1942.
At ORP "Baltic" was a half sets Library Polish Navy. Books and records of ships, machinery, weapons, navigation manuals, plans, sketches and diagrams - all were then destroyed and burnt by the Germans in the furnace of the ship. Polish seamen in captivity, who cleaned the ship for the Germans allowed to take as many books as they could carry.
The preserved parts of the ship
With of the ship survived three anchors admiral two in city Gdynia and one in Warsaw. Gdynia House Mariner; Avenue of the Marshal Piłsudski Faculty of Navigation Gdynia Maritime University; Avenue of John Paul II Warsaw Before the building of the Ministry Navigation Services