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ORP Mazur - heroic school ship, which fought to the end. The first Polish Navy ship sunken in combat and the first Allied warship sunk during World War II.




Before the outbreak of World War I Koninklijke Marine (Dutch Royal Navy) ordered in the Szczecin shipyard Stettiner Maschinenbau AG Vulcan four torpedo boats. They were to receive the designation of "Z 1" to "Z 4". Formally classified as seagoing vessels - in fact, due to the small displacement, were units intended for operations in coastal waters. Keel was laid for the future "Z 1" (number of shipbuilding 353) took place in 1913. After the start of World War unfinished ship, located still on the slipway, 10 August 1914 was commandeered by the German Navy. Launching took place on August 26. Torpedo boat was then called "V-105". For service in the Kaiserliche Marine was incorporated March 23, 1915 year. He was used as an artillery school ship. After the end of World War I, the ship was on the Baltic Sea. On the basis of an agreement concluded November 18, 1918 by and between the victorious countries and Germany, she moved to the UK.


After the end of World War I, the victorious powers divided among themselves the German fleet. With the reluctant position of the United Kingdom, Decision of the Council of Ambassadors of December 9, 1919 year to Poland was awarded six torpedo boats. In November 1920, the Department for Maritime Affairs (Departamencie dla Spraw Morskich -DSM) started to prepare to take over the ships. Rosyth went to Admiral Waclaw Kloczkowski and November 6, together with the Brazilian attaché conducted a review found there torpedo, which then by lottery fund were both Navy. Torpedo boat "V 105" in December 1919, he was awarded Brazil. The new buyer of the ship sold it to an English private company, J.A. White Shipbreaker. The company, which purchased from Brazil also twin "V 106", April 28, 1921 he sent to the DSM exchange offer of one of these ships bestowed on Poland "A 69" (as the most destroyed, he served as a warehouse of spare parts for other torpedo boats), for an additional charge £ 1000. Admiral Kloczkowski 30 June acquainted with the offer and began negotiations with the bidder. As a result, English company reduced the price to £ 900!, and also the Polish side may choose to ship in better condition and fill in the missing part of the second. On the basis of the contract of purchase-exchange signed August 5, 1921, by and among the Company, J.A. White Shipbreaker and DSM, represented by Commander Francis Dyrne, "V 105" was exchanged for granted Poland "A 69". The unit received no official command name "Mazur" (named for the Mazurian people), which was formerly known as swapped "A 69". Also, the ship's commander, Lieutenant Commander Witold Zajaczkowski appointed to this post February 10, 1921 year moved from the disposed on the acquired unit.

September 8, 1921, a group of torpedo boats composed of "Mazur", "Ślązak" and "Góral" went on a trip to the Poland, towed by the tug "Bullger". During the cruise officers communicated in Russian, and non-commissioned officers in the German language. This was due to the lack of Polish naval terminology. (For 123 years did not used to exist Polish Navy) At night, however, was used for the communication code signal in the Polish language. After seven days of towing "Mazur", together with the other units arrived to Gdansk September 15, 1921.


Torpedo boat began service under the Polish flag 1 August 1922 year, and the next day was the ceremonial raising of the flag. August 1 was incorporated into Dywizjonu Torpedowców (Division torpedo). Armament torpedo boat after entering the service consisted of two parcels cal. 47 mm and two machine guns cal. 7.92 mm. In 1925 she rearmed with two cannons on the basis of marine cal. 75 mm; They installed a dual torpedo launcher cal. 450 mm and the track minefield. The main task of "Mazur" was the training of new personnel for the Polish Navy. For this purpose, he held cruises to the Baltic ports. In 1922, he visited with other torpedos Copenhagen. In July 1925, together with "Podhalanin" held training cruise to Kalmar. In 1927, the torpedo boat transported from Gdynia to Gdansk coffin with ashes of Juliusz Słowacki - a Polish Romantic poet. "Mazur" served as the ship welcoming during a visit July 31, 1929 year to the roads in Gdynia, a team of Italian cruisers school "Francesco Ferrucio" and "Pisa". At the beginning of July 1930, he was with the "Wicher" role of an escort ship for ship "SS Polonia", on board of which flowed from an official visit to Estonia President of the Poland Ignacy Moscicki. In the same year, during the training, practice torpedo launched from the "Ślązak" hit in the side, "Mazur", thrusting the half and causing great damage. In the years 1935-1937 she underwent another reconstruction, during which he removed the rear chimney and rear mast and made retooling. After the reconstruction, 1 June 1937, he was again drafted into service in PMW under the command of Navy Captain Marian Wojcieszek. He served as the ship's Center for Training Specialists Fleet.


ORP "Mazur" in defense of the Polish coast in 01.09.1939


Before the war, "Mazur" perform tasks related to transport war material from Gdynia to Hel. The outbreak of war found him in the harbor war in Oksywie, where it was moored at the west pier in a pool No. 2 commander of the ship was Captain mar. Tadeusz Rutkowski. That day she had to evacuate to Hel employee of the Department of Information of the Independent Fleet Command, Anna Starkównę. At. 14.00 Port attacked the 32 German planes dive-Junkers Ju 87B 'Stuka' squadron IV. (St) / LG 1. Ready to leave port, "Mazur", with half the crew of machine positions led anti-fire with 40 mm cannon and machine guns cal. 13.2 mm and 7.92 mm. At the end of the raid on the ship came a bomber, which dropped three bombs. The first of them were in a part of the beak lifting it away from the rest of the ship.

The second exploded at the height of the pier running guns No. 1 and No. 2, and the explosion threw the ship from the waterfront at approx. 70 meters. Through broken skin began to fill with water, and the ship slowly began to sink. Despite numerous destruction and the loss of about 40 people, the other crew members conducted antiaircraft fire. The longest - until the waves washed away their deck, fought Lieutenant sailor. Jacenty Dehnel and artillery sailor Waclaw Armada attendant stern caliber anti-aircraft gun. 40 mm.


From the wreckage they were dismantled and placed on the ground 75 mm cannon. Other equipment installed in improvised armored train "Smok Kaszubski", which used the Land Coastal Defence. After the war, the wreck was excavated by the Germans and cut into scrap.


The heroic attitude of the staff and continuous fire antiaircraft limit losses on the first day at the port despite the superior forces of the enemy in the air. ORP "Mazur" became the first Polish Navy ship sunken in combat and the first Allied warship sunk during World War II.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Romania's Amiral Murgescu, Queen of the Black Sea


This beast was the largest and most active Romanian-built warship of WW2, launched on 14 June 1939. She was the first sea-going warship of Romanian construction, displacement was from 812 tons standard to 1068 tons full, carried 2 x 102 mm Bofors, 2 x 37 mm Rheinmetall, 2-4 x 20 mm Oerlikon and 2 x 13 mm hotchkiss, plus 120-135 mines. Top speed was of 16-18 knots, wartime crew of 135.


She was employed as both minelayer and escort ship. As a minelayer, she laid mines that destroyed around 10 Soviet submarines and 1 Soviet flotilla leader, in total cladding the whole Romanian and Bulgarian coast in a thick shield of mines. As an escort ship, she shot down 12 enemy aircraft and during the evacuation of Crimea in May 1944, she proved her courage by being the last Romanian warship to leave the peninsula, carrying on board 1000 troops together with German General Walter Hartmann, recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. After this achievement, she herself was decorated with the Order of the Star of Romania. She was captured by the Soviets in late 1944 and was sold for scrap only in July 1989, thus proving the superiority of Romanian shipbuilding.

This is a true hero of her country Romania, of Germany, of Bulgaria and later even of the Soviet Union pretty, sinking more warships during the War than entire navies, proving her worth over and over again, leading a long life of tireless service of over 50 years.


I called her a beast not due to her size, but due to what she achieved, and what she represents. And I dare say that this is the most underrated warship ever.

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Romanian naval engagements (as in ship-vs-ship combat) was very sparse, due to the Luftwaffe bombing the surface ships, Soviets losing coastline as the Germans and Romanians advanced and Romanian mines keeping surface ships away while sinking around 10 subs. However, there are two battles that really note mentioning.


On 22-23 June 1941, the Romanian Tulcea Tactical Group (river monitors Mihail Kogălniceanu and Basarabia plus 4 patrol boats) repelled two attacks of the Soviet Danube Flotilla, sinking 1 patrol boat and damaging 2 more, as well as 2 monitors. This was the only thing needed in order to make the Soviets loose initiative: they blocked our ships with mine barrages starting 24 June until 18 July, when they left the Danube due to our troops' land offensive. You see, the Ruskies had an impressive brute force of attack: 6 monitors, 22 gunboats, 7 trawlers, and even 1 minelayer, but only 6 patrol boats (really small, crew of two) and as we put out of action half of their observation force, they simply backed down.


On 26 June 1941, they attacked our main Black Sea port at Constanța. Defending the port were our destroyers Mărăști and Mărășești, our dear Amiral Murgescu, and German coastal artillery. Our 2 destroyers attacked the Soviet ones as they were shelling our harbor, resulting in the only action between opposing major warships of all the war in the Black Sea. Under pressure from the two Romanian destroyers, the lotilla leader Moskva retreated, only to be sunk by a Romanian minefield, got split in half sank within minutes. The Soviet cruiser Voroshilov was also damaged by one of our mines while Moskva's sister, Kharkov, was damaged by the German artillery. Another moral-crushing defeat for the Ruskies, Amiral Murgescu did not waste time, she shot down her first 2 aircraft during this engagement.

One crippling defeat in the Danube, one morally-crushing in the Black Sea. Both enough to deterr them. We did not fight much not because we did not want or could not to, our opponents simply got the message.

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When you say Moskva, do you mean the Leningrad class destroyer Moskva? I just looked it up and that appears to be the case. She was sunk just after bombarding Constanta in early June. It is not known of course, who placed the mine that sank her, but it is almost certain that she did sink by hitting a mine.

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One crippling defeat in the Danube, one morally-crushing in the Black Sea. Both enough to deterr them. We did not fight much not because we did not want or could not to, our opponents simply got the message.









When you say Moskva, do you mean the Leningrad class destroyer Moskva? I just looked it up and that appears to be the case. She was sunk just after bombarding Constanta in early June. It is not known of course, who placed the mine that sank her, but it is almost certain that she did sink by hitting a mine.







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Further Romanian naval actions:


Four Soviet submarines were depth-charged and sunk by Romanian warships: M-58 by destroyer Regina Maria on 4 November 1941, M-59 by destroyer Regele Ferdinand on 17 December 1941, M-118 by gunboats Ghiculescu and Stihi on 1 October 1942 and M-31 by destroyer Mărășești.

On 8 July 1941, Romanian torpedo boat Năluca aided by motor torpedo boats Viscolul and Vijelia attacked and sunk the Soviet Shchuka-class submarine Shch-206.


On 11 July, Soviet armored gunboats BKA-111 and BKA-134 were sunk by Romanian gunfire during a Soviet landing operation. The Soviets lost 5 more such boats during Operation Munchen, either sunk as well or scuttled, though these two are the only ones specifically stated to be sunk by Romanian gunfire. One of the 7 was salvaged, reparied, and commissioned in the Romanian Navy as V12 in 1943.

In September 1943, after Italy surrendered, Romanian forces seized the small Italian flotilla of 5 CB-class midget submarines operating in the Black Sea. Cute boats really, check them out.

On 26 June 1942, as German and Romanian troops moved into Sevastopol, the Soviets scuttled the submarines A-1 (American-Holland class) and D-6 (Dekabrist class). And yes, this should be counted as a Romanian naval killing, albeit a shared one, because it was Romanian troops who advanced up the Chernaya River towards the mouth of the river and Severnaya Bay, thus taking vital overlooking heights and considerably speeding the fall of the city. The Wikipedia makes the importance of our contribution even more clear: "In the centre, the Romanians took up the slack."

On 23 August 1942, as Romanian troops moved into the small Azov port of Temryuk, the Soviets scuttled 3 large gunboats (named Don. Bug and Dniester), each of 840 tons and armed with 2 x 130 mm.

Finally, ~10 Soviet submarines found their way in Romanian mines and sank, but these were not related to any kind of battle, they were simply doing their patrols and sank, no other warship around.

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About how the German battleship Gneisenau became the first Polish battleship and went to the scrap for the reconstruction of the destroyed country.



Circumstances of the sinking of the German battleship Gneisenau.


The following quote interesting part of the book Edward Obertyńskiego "Hunters wrecks" (1977), an employee of Polskiego Ratownictwa Okrętowego Polish Ship Salvage (PRO), about the circumstances of the sinking of the German battleship Gneisenau. Because access is worth recall how did the ship was in the port of Gdynia.

Undoubtedly, the beginning of the destruction Gneisenau be discerned before, even during the spectacular tear through the English Channel on 11-13 February 1942, accompanied by twin SCHARNHORST, the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen and light units. During this march Gneisenau up by a landmine sea. Suffered damage were not great, but nevertheless require docking of the ship in Kiel. And it was there that, on the night of 26 on February 27, 1942, the British air force bombed it accurately heavy bombs. One of the bombs exploded in the front chamber of ammunition to effect almost complete destruction of the forward part of the ship. Gneisenau Mutilated in April went to Gdynia, where he would be subjected not only renovated, but also retooling. Including planned changing the main armament of 9 guns caliber 280 mm on 6 guns 380 mm. Intentions remained only on paper - the demobilization of units 1 July 1942 and after removing the heavy artillery, all work stopped in January 1943 and never have them taken ...

"Command port decided to use in March 1945 not renovated yet hull of the battleship Gneisenau to block one of the entrances to the port of Gdynia. The battleship was led out by tugs from the port and is set near the main entrance to the port so that their cut off and damaged the bow was based on the right head of the breakwater, while the stern came into the interior of the port based on the left breakwater entrance. "

"Nazi commander was simultaneously the destruction of a mighty ship, whose introduction to the action of sea can not be so quickly was to count, and to block the entrance to the port. At the same time sinking Gneisenau at the main entrance to the harbor prepared was sinking ZÄHRINGEN the entrance to the port wewmętrznego. In this way the port of Gdynia was supposed to be for a long time unfit for work. Gneisenau decided to sink, but sink so that it was impossible to remove. It was decided to destroy a big ship, which had not been put out on the pirate cruises, but to destroy it in order to inflict a heavy blow to those who come here as winners, prevent the entrance to the port, prevent the further work of the port. "

"Meanwhile, news from the front were getting worse for the Germans. Soviet troops and Polish reached Kolobrzeg, front was broken. On the other hand, divisions II Byelorussian Front were approaching to Konigsberg, surrounded Żuławy, closed ring surrounding the Gdańsk and Gdynia."

"On the morning the order came. Launched from the sea torpedo struck amidships own battleship. One torpedo enough. She defended himself, did not want to go down. She went to the second, third and fourth torpedo in the middle of the exposed between the heads outer harbor side of the ship. Burst founded within the load of TNT. at the side of the ship created a huge 40-meter gap, through which thrust himself into the water. Ship leaned over, sat down on the bottom, blocked his giant bulk the entrance to the port. "

"At the same time all (Waterfront subsequently broke founded explosives tore the caissons coastal deep scars, rolling over quayside cranes, aroused fires in warehouses. There have been the work of destruction. Port is not soon be able to pick up the wounds. The winner will not be able to use it . Port presented the picture of destruction. "

"What for so many years toil Polish worker rising from the sands coastal Gdynia, lay in ruins. The holes every 20 meters of quay, broken down and partially submerged cranes, those that are not taken to the German ports, burned warehouses and the pools sunk nearly 20 wrecks ships. Finally, the main entrance - this vital artery port - locked battleship Gneisenau completes the picture of destruction. "

"When the storm was over war over a patch of Polish coast, the silent in the distance shots, and the area of fighting he moved already beyond the Oder on the German territory, come those who are now bare hands took to the resurrection of dead ports."


"They walked everywhere, the freed now Polish territory. And those whose work is tied to this port before the war, who are here with their work erecting the port and developed the first maritime routes, and those, they found their houses and workshops burned, dragged here the hope of finding work and a place to settle. They came to stand over a pile of rubble and ashes, to start building from the beginning of construction much more difficult that it was necessary to remove first the rubble, organize and purified to be able to rise again. "


"And every time he appeared there to work, catching them ran to where the entrance to the port rose towering steel towers of the ship, which as an iron fist clutched port by the throat, which closed the way to the sea, receive the hope of reopening port. They watched with latent hatred for the visible sign of enemy towers shrouded in thick steel armor appellants high above the entrance breakwaters lanterns, iron inheritor of Nazism that even after his death aroused fear. "


"When winter Skul ice docks, not once every courageous passed across the ice, burst into the center, loot, what else could of been robbed by the Germans was leaving the wreck. But few were already inside to forbids. Those who destroyed him, made sure not to leave behind anything that could be useful to the winners. Only in one of the warehouses a witty Germany, leaving the ship, left a sign on an empty box, - "If you want to have the tools, come to Hamburg."


"They took everything that could have some value, but remained the same hull of the wreck, hull hiding 20,000 tons of high-grade steel, hundreds of tons of non-ferrous metals, thousands of kilometers of cabling and machinery, equipment, units, which could illuminate at least two large cities. "


"And so a huge wreck stuck now in front of everyone, threatened threat that never no ship will pass through the entrance kept clear, that you will always come to terms with losing, the presence of this spectrum of war, a silent sign occupation and fighting. "


Raise from the bottom of the wreck of the battleship "Gneisenau", which blocked the entrance to the port of Gdynia did not want to take neither the British nor the Dutch or the Danes or Swedes. They did it before the Poles ...



The distinctive silhouette of the wreck "Gneisenau" appears in almost all post-war photographs of Gdynia. Blocked the entrance to the port for almost six years (at that time the movement of ships held by temporary entry created by the dismantling of parts of the breakwater). He almost did not remain there forever anyway. The huge size of the battleship and size of the damage done to him by the Germans and the Russians They did its share to raise almost impossible to perform. There were so setting in concrete ideas it permanently in the port breakwater, and filling up the ground to taking the hill. And probably going to happen anyway, if not superhuman Polish divers work under the command of the legendary Witold Poinca.


After the war, it was established that all the wrecks of German warships in the waters Polish (there were 140, with a total displacement of nearly 240 thous. Tons) have to be transferred to the Russians. The Soviets hoped that at least some of them manage to renovate, and become a part of their fleet. This included the "Gneisenau". It soon turned out that the elevation of the bottom of the gigantic wreck will not be an easy task. The Russians came up with the idea so to break the battleship explosives. To try to blow up the wreck happened in June 1945. The explosions did not give the desired effect. Only further increased and so much damage already "Gneisenau". Now it was even more difficult to remove than before.


Although the Russians have several times set a deadline to raise the wreck of the battleship another attempt is no longer made. In April 1947 years they informed the Polish authorities that the end of this resign and gave wreck Poland. The action began, therefore, the Poles in the first place removing the towers and the superstructure of the ship. Soon the entrance to the port of Gdynia stuck only the hull itself "Gneisenau". These "just" still weighed about 20 thousand. tone. At first glance raise such a burden seemed impossible, especially when asked about this rescue teams from other countries on the other hand, refused to considering such an operation is not only extremely difficult but also simply unviable. It is no wonder that soon began to appear, leaving the wreckage of the battleship ideas on the spot.


Starting work on the raising from the bottom began April 27, 1950 year. Completed earlier diagnosis of the wreck of the battleship revealed that it is in bad shape. In the right side of the ship was a hole 5 meters in diameter, but even more was destroyed left side ripped a large area. Devastated was also amidships. Bent and broken parts of the structure battleship hindered the entrance to the interior, but there is not expected to find a better situation. Another problem was the possibility of encountering the penetration wreck on unexploded ordnance. It was not too sure if Germany does not specifically mined ship. Action lift from the bottom of the wreck "Gneisenau" turned out to be the largest of its kind in the history of Polish rescue ship.


Work on mining of wreck "Gneisenau" lasted half a year. To realize how difficult and dangerous work they had to perform Polish divers need to know that "Gneisenau," as each warship of this class, in order to increase the subdivision, was divided vertically into watertight bulkheads, horizontal and on the decks. German battleship had as many as 37 different kinds of bulkheads and decks 6. Communication between decks provide the hatches between the bulkheads and watertight doors. In total it gave a maze made up of hundreds of rooms. To this partially destroyed and completely submerged in the dark and murky water. Navigating the ship in such conditions was extremely dangerous task. But we must remember that the then dives looked like today. Divers moved in heavy suits, oxygen, they pressed the hand pumps for many snakes. It was enough to inadvertently somewhere something zawadzić and diver life was threatened. When lifting "Gneisenau" dangerous situations happened several times. One of them ended in tragedy. During operation, the diver was killed Josef Kaniewski. Heavy hatch crushed the air hose cutting off his oxygen supply. Could not it have saved.


To put it extremely briefly lifting the wreck of the German battleship from the bottom of the port in Gdynia was based on the systematic sealing of the hull and pumped out water from it to this level, that tore it from the bottom. Holes flights were what they could, often using the concrete. Sometimes the work had to be re-started from the beginning when it turned out eg. The storm destroyed part of the pre-made security. Despite these adversities, from month to month, the wreck has become increasingly tight. Finally, 6 September 1951, at 4 am, 30 different kinds of pumps started pumping water from the final wreck. After 10 hours, the first from the bottom broke off the stern. Precisely then suspended flag Polish Navy. Then to work joined tugboats, which had to tow "Gneisenau" to the waterfront where he was to be cut for scrap. The operation was completed September 12, 1951 year. In this way, the main entrance to the port of Gdynia was finally unlocked.


Finally wreck okrtętu handed over to cut. During the scrapping industry recovered about 400 tons of non-ferrous metals, 20 thousand. tons of high quality steel, two suitable for the repair of the turbine, thousands of kilometers of cabling and many other marine equipment, which collectively distributed them to interested businesses and universities rebuilding Poland.


But perhaps the most important was the sense of pride not only to unlock the main entrance to the port of Gdynia, but also how joked divers with suspension white-and-red flag on the first Polish navy battleship. Raising the wreck "Gneisenau" from the bottom could not only tangible benefits to the economy, but also brought notoriety Poles. Our specialists have received proposals soon extraction of wrecks from Albania, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Israel and Norway.


Although the wreck of the battleship Gneisenau was never entered in the register of Polish Navy, as a full valuable unit transferred to the ownership of Polish from Russians. It is common to speak of him as the first Polish battleship.


Many elements of the battleship used as:


- Generators with a Gneisenau to mid 70s provide electricity city of Czestochowa.


- Mermaid Marine battleship is on the sailing ship "Dar Pomorza".


- Anchor chains extracted from the "Gneisenau" was used in the construction of the monument Szczecinku Winners of the Pomeranian. The chain fee around the monument.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Why Polish Navy did not fight with a fleet of the Empire of Japan, together with other Allied fleets?



Before the war, in the thirties, Poland has established a fairly specific relations with Japan. Representatives of the imperial family unofficially visited the country on the Vistula, were signed bilateral trade agreements, but it most intensively cooperate both interviews. Both the Polish and Japanese information services as a priority recognize the acquisition of data on the Soviet Union. So why they would not work together when their interests converge, and both countries lay apart far enough away so as not to come into our parade? Cooperation between the Polish and Japan worked very well until 1939, when war broke out again, and Poland disappeared from the map of Europe. Japan was against the German attack on Poland in 1939. The Japanese press and radio can be found mention that every victory Polish defense in the war against Germany was publicized.


Two years later, on December 7, 1941, the Imperial Navy attacked the US Navy base at Pearl Harbor. Only after this event the Second World War has become literally "world" - a conflict broke out in the Pacific, Germany declared war on the United States, and they joined the fight on all fronts. Pearl Harbor was also a signal to the European allies. United Kingdom immediately decided to declare war on Japan, and with it made it a British dominions, as well as allied governments emigration: Polish, Belgium, the Netherlands and the French Committee of National Liberation. In addition, diplomatic relations with the country of the Rising Sun and his allies broke Venezuela, Colombia, Egypt, Mexico and Greece.


Well ... horror! In Tokyo, they had well shudder at the news that the military powers such as the Free French, the Belgian government in exile declared war on Japan. But with all this, and so was the strangest thing ... failure to adopt a declaration of war by the Polish government-in-exile. The then Prime Minister of Japan - Hideki Tojo - commented on this fact as follows: "Challenges Poles do not accept. Poles beating for their freedom, declared war on us under pressure from the UK".


Information about the state of the war with Japan was, however, in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Poland of 20 December 1941 .: "On the basis of art. 12, lit. f Act constitutional act on the initiative of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Poland is starting from 11 December 1941., at war with the Empire of Japan. " So here we have two events at once. Not only that, the only declared war on Poland in the century, it's still the war was not adopted, as in international relations is not likely to happen.


Indeed, many Poles are firmly against the government's decision. In this group we were even interned in Romania Minister Jozef Beck, who said: "- Poland declared war on Japan, which - as you can see in hindsight - there was not much justification, nor primarily a political sense. What can give Poland declare war on Japan?"


Back in December 1941 the Royal Navy requested that the Polish destroyer ORP "Burza" went on the South China Sea. Reply commander of the Polish Navy was that ship is very old and there is no certainty that it will affect the time


In a similar vein, he spoke of the situation ordinary Polish sailor floating on ORP "Dragon". That sea wolf is Wincent Cygan, author of "Dark Blue crew" On the pages of the book says:


"-Our government declaring war [...] said it also Japan. But this should be the end. Just enough then modeled on British politics, which failed to take anything so far against Russia flooding our country. Since Russia does not directly threaten the UK, the British did not regard her as an enemy. In what sense, then, Japan could threaten us? At a time when the masses of Poles refugees from "friendly" Russia, were shelter, care and free bread in a "hostile" Japan, on this side of our government spoke of its war".


As you can see, the Japanese showed great understanding, however. Cygan also writes that in 1943. Battle cruiser ORP "Dragon" and destroyer ORP "Piorun" had been ferrying to Ceylon, and from there, in the framework of the tenth squadron of cruisers, to lead actions against Japan, which really did not like the Polish seamen and officers. To their delight final assignment was changed.


To make matters worse, the matter did on this is not over! Polish war with Japan lasted formally until ... 1957!, when this agreement was signed on the restoration of normal relations between the communist Polish People's Republic and Japan. The first point of this document is that the state of war between Japan and the People's Republic ceases on the date of entry into force of the Agreement.


I must admit that it was a very long and very bloody war - Polish troops and Japan clashed on the death until ... zero times. Fortunately, the Polish government went to their senses and decided that it was better to war with Japan remained only on paper. Anyway, during this "conflict" interviews the two countries continue to cooperate with each other in obtaining data on the USSR and the Germans and Polish agents traveled the world with diplomatic passports Manchukuo (then controlled precisely by the "enemy" of the Japanese).

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Generally, the ratio of the Japanese Polish relations was better than the German. Used to exist an unwritten rule among Japanese officers before the war and during the war that every Polish prisoner of war escaping from Soviet Russia camps was to be released from Japanese captivity and to enable the country to reach a neutral or better treated in a POW camp. Many Polish soldiers returned as the Polish forces in the west of the UK. For example, our times has survived among university students from Japan and Poland parties toast to the Japanese Polish borders in the Urals mountains :D

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  • 1 month later...

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.

House Mariner; Avenue of the Marshal Piłsudski

Faculty of Navigation Gdynia Maritime University; Avenue of John Paul II

Before the building of the Ministry Navigation Services

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ORP Baltyk had quite the extensive service record, Shirogane! It was very interesting to read. As a historian, I was very saddened to read of the loss of documents, records, and all the other library materials lost in her scrapping.

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ORP Baltyk had quite the extensive service record, Shirogane! It was very interesting to read. As a historian, I was very saddened to read of the loss of documents, records, and all the other library materials lost in her scrapping.


Yes the loss of the library ORP "Bałtyk" was an irreparable loss. But after 1945 we took over a substantial collection of books, documents Kriegsmarine, which has not been seized by the Russians or by them burned of the German sea bases and currently stored in the archives of the Polish army and navy.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Polish military salute - Two-finger salute


It is one of the most recognizable and iconic, and performed only by the Polish armed forces. Salut who drove to confusion during World War II.

There are many hypotheses about the origins of Polish salute. It is generally accepted that the salute appeared likely before or during the Napoleonic wars or during the November Uprising. A prototype of the adjutant was one of the commanders of shrapnel hit among in hand - in which he had only two fingers - index and middle. this soldier after reaching their commander, saluted bleeding hand with two fingers gave important information to win the battle, and a moment later he died. To commemorate this event commander introduced the custom of saluting in such a way.

Genesis Polish way of saluting with two fingers, as he writes, among others, L. Ratajczyk in the book "Historical pedigree Polish ceremonial" is not fully explained and largely based on assumptions that are only partially reflected in the historical sources and how the author writes:

"Until the XVII-XIX century there was in this respect in the Polish Army high freedom. Initially they saluted by removing the cap or hat military, as well as the bow of the head. During the period of the Four in 1790 they introduced salute without a gun with his left hand by applying the hand with fingers extended to his forehead above his left eye. In the Legions and the Duchy of Warsaw adopted a way of saluting adopted in the French army, ie. The entire right hand open the other hand, the officers who are in hats, if not lined up, took off their hats".

Another hypothesis about the origins of saluting with two fingers slipped historian Janusz Przymanowski, which says:

"Origin saluting with two fingers in the Polish Army is associated with the Polish theater, with a patriotic drama Stanislaw Wyspiański Fri. "Warszawianka", and specifically with the figure of the Old Wiarusa. The same saluting Wiarusa Wyspianski repeatedly sketched on a drawing made in 1904. Presented the board putting it to the brim hats two fingers.
This way of saluting with two fingers at the peak, one of which meant honor, and another homeland - adopted by Przymanowskiego with theater scene, has been approved in writing the regulations Rifle Association published in 1911 in Krakow effort, "Life." This patriotic and democratic salute was to be introduced at the time as a sign of protest against salutowaniu whole hand in foreign military formations, when Poland did not used to exist on the maps".

In the army the Second Polish Republic from 1918 was put on permanent habit of saluting with two fingers of his right hand. This way of saluting during the Second World War preserved in partisan units and in the Polish Army molded by the London government in exile.

However, during World War II, a way of saluting pose problems of Polish soldiers during the contact with the Allies, as the Allied officers, who did not know this type of saluting, mistakenly believed that Polish soldiers do not respect their degrees, or are drunk that often ended with this arrest until pending investigation. As a result, an order was issued to Allied officers salute the full hand.

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Unforgivable mistake. About how the Allies sank Polish submarine.



Depth charges, merciless series of machine guns and boundless stupidity. Five sailors were killed, sixteen wounded. Thus ended the fratricidal attack allied units at the Polish submarine. The incident, which history has forgotten.


In early November 1941. Polish Navy took over at the US Navy base in New London submarine type "S". This unit, even though the renovation was completely exploited a long service in the US fleet. In the opinion of Polish sailors only plus "new" signings was a ... fridge. It was a novelty because it was not on the other submarines of the Polskiej Marynarki Wojennej. The commander of "Jastrząb" - is the name of the ship - was Capt. Boleslaw Romanowski, the future Polish "as" submarine warfare.



Routine task


ORP "Jastrząb"(P-551) (ex-USS S-25 (SS-130)) in April 1942. Received the first combat task: he had to participate in the shield convoy PQ-15 coming from Reykjavik to Murmansk. The convoy consisted of 25 and 14 naval vessels direct cover. As a team far covers work two British heavy cruisers, and was even ready to support in the form of heavy ships of the British Home Fleet and interacting with her American squadron.


"Jastrząb" was a group of 4 Allied submarines, whose main task was to alert the allied units of output in the sea of German heavy ships based in the Norwegian fjords, including superbattleship "Tirpitz". Sector Polish podwodniaków patrol was located about 200 miles south-west of Tromsø.



This on the Beaufort scale


Polish unit went out to sea on 25 April. The transition to a designated position held in very difficult conditions, with stormy weather and snow. In the sector of patrolling the weather conditions were still very heavy. "Jastrząb" began to harass, one after the other, numerous failure mechanisms ship.


It has been damaged, among others, Left bow rudder, which she had problems with maintaining the proper depth. In this situation, the commander called on council officers. The crucial point was the question whether the current situation continue to patrol? The state of the ship qualify him to interrupt the action and return to base, but the officers were in favor of staying in the sector. Ultimately, the "Jastrząb" Decision commander, remained in position.


Crews did not leave, but bad luck. On the fifth day cruise waves broke part of the deck and to avoid further damage to the Polish unit had to go deeper. On the other hand through it was not possible to carry out observation and Capt. Romanowski decided that "Hawk" every half hour will go out to periscope depth, so that you can check surface of the sea.


In such conditions, on May 2 about 14.00 Polish hydroakustycy wychwycili sound of bolts of a submarine coming to the surface. After leaving at periscope depth Cpt. Romanowski seen in the eyepiece of the periscope German U-boat located just 400 meters from the ORP "Jastrząb"! Tactical situation was convenient to fire torpedoes, especially the Poles were not detected by the enemy unit. Before, however, prepared to shoot apparatus torpedo, "Jastrząb" - due to the malfunction of that bow thruster - suddenly, abruptly plunged into greater depth. Once again reached periscope depth after the U-boat, unfortunately, there was no sign.



No one wants to end up like "Titanic"


Meanwhile, the disastrous weather conditions also gave the characters the convoy ships. On his route began to appear more and more floating ice. The collision with the iceberg in conditions of limited visibility became very real, and to prevent corrected route of the convoy, pushing it further south. Twist of fate, it passes now by sectors surveillance Allied units. To make matters worse, leaders escorts were not informed about the possibility of meeting with their submarines. Therefore, each detected unit was treated as an enemy U-boat.


May 2 about 19.40 hours hydroakustycy "Jastrząb" has once again picked up the sound of of marine propellers. After leaving at periscope depth Cpt. Romanowski in glasses periscope he saw two ships, which he recognized as an old destroyer and a minesweeper British. "Jastrząb" suddenly came back to a greater depth, and when again faced the periscope depth hydroakustycy heard a distinctive sonar "ping", or the sound of sound waves bouncing off the hull. This meant that the Poles they've been picked by ships on the surface, and for a moment could fall depth charges!


Our sailors had two options. They could run a greater depth and there to wait out the attack, or emerge into and give their identification marks. Because they were allied units, Cpt. Romanowski has decided to launch a yellow candle smoke, which was the agreed signal. At this point, the destroyer headed for the attack and threw a series of depth charges. Polish ship then accelerated and began to descend at a greater depth. In the meantime, they fired another candle smoke. The answer to this was the second series of bombs. The destroyer began to recede, and proceeded to attack minesweeper. Fortunately, the bombs and the Poles managed to maneuver and there will be no direct hit.



Fratricidal fire


Despite all the damage close explosions were large. On the "Jastrząb" the lights went out, stood two engines, with cracked batteries evolved choking, poisonous chlorine worse hull began to leak. Romanowski ordered therefore emerge ship. "Jastrząb" came to the surface between minesweepers and a destroyer, both Allied escorts opened to him, rapid fire with antiaircraft guns and machine guns.

The first bridge on the Polish ship jumped English signaller Thomas Beard, Aldis to provide identification marks. It ended tragically for him. He died on the spot killed a series of machine gun. A little more luck had Cpt. Boleslaw Romanowski, who came on as a second bridge. In his case, I ended up shot in the leg.


At some point, seeing that it intends rammed the destroyer Polish unit commander ordered to open all the hatches and get out on deck the whole crew. Serving on a "Jastrząb" British radio operator Martin Dowd began broadcasting distinguishing the Polish ship in the direction of minesweeper. This immediately stopped shooting.


Meanwhile, the destroyer set at a distance of about 50 meters from the Polish unit and again opened fire. On the platform "Jastrząb" was in this time many sailors, started a real massacre of Polish crew. Capt. Romanowski raised above his head stained with the blood of the Polish flag. The destroyer broke the fire. From the bridge came the question:


- Are you German !?

Polish captain replied:

- We are Polish submarine „Jastrząb” can’t you see „P-551”- bloody fool !!?


"Hunter" Polish ship turned out to be the Norwegian destroyer "St. Albans' and the British minesweeper HMS 'Seagull'. They immediately joined the rescue, evacuating the crew ORP "Jastrząb" on their decks. Polish ship was so badly damaged close explosions depth charges and artillery fire that practically there was no help for him, slowly sinking. It was finally sunk artillery fire minesweeper.


Losses among the crew "Jastrząb" were serious: on-site killed three Poles and two Britons, the wound ended up with the addition of four officers, including the commander, and 12 sailors.



Unfortunate coincidence


British Admiralty set up a special committee to explain the causes of this incident. The verdict, which released was truly Solomonic. It was agreed that the Polish ship sank as a result of a mishap, which consisted of poor technical condition of the ship and the appalling weather conditions that prevent determining the actual position of "Jastrząb". She came to this change of course by the convoy, which was not notified Polish commander.


The result was an attack on the Polish unit as justified. The Commission highly appreciated the attitude of captain. Romanowski and crew, as well as she pointed out that misunderstanding by the Allied officers distinguishing marks in the form of yellow flares, which could have prevented the tragedy.


In exchange for the lost "Jastrząb" Polish Navy received another submarine. This time it was a modern unit, twin famous already, "Sokół." The new ship was named ORP "Dzik", its first commander was Captain Boleslaw Romanowski, a core crew were sailors from the sunken ORP "Jastrząb". However, life slain pointless podwodniakom is not restored.

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Um, friendly fire accidents happened to everyone, in both wars.


For example, on 10 March 1917 the Italian submarine Alberto Guglielmotti met the sloop HMS Cyclamen, which mistook it for an U-Boot and opened fire and ended up ramming it.

Then it sent this message:

"Have rammed and sunk enemy submarine. Survivors appear to speak Italian."


That might seem something to laugh about, but between 14 and 17 Italian sailors had perished.


It may seem harsh, but such things are bound to happen.

We Italians may also have a record, as twice during WWII a submarine sank a friendly ship (another submarine and a destroyer, respectively).

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Also during the Chaos of the Third Battle of Savo, Atlanta was lit up by searchlights, and fired upon by both the Japanese and American columns, taking heavy hits from the rear, as well as the front.

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