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Hello everybody,

I have a naval-history question for all of who may be able to answer it.

What warship was the first to sink in WW2? ORP Wicher on September the 3rd or was it one even earlier?

And I'm asking specifically about warships. Passenger liners like the Athenia aren't my concern, because they probably have no Belle.

Also I started a General history questions thread because I did not find one. Cheers!

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According to historical data, the first sunken warship at the beginning of the second war it was ORP "Mazur" - heroic school ship, which fought to the end. Ex German torpedo boat "V-105".

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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  • 1 month later...

I realize that this isn't related to anything navy related but it is a history question, so...

How widespread were wheelchairs at the time of WW2? With kind of some emphasis on were wheelchairs used in Japan in WW2, because I've been researching for that kind of information for my fanfic that I'll-probably-never-manage-to-write-but-I'll-try-anyways and so far I've had no success.

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Some historical food for thought:

According to Wikki, wheelchairs themselves have been around in one form or another since about 300BC...not surprising, since at its most basic level it's a chair with wheels on it.

Mass marketing of lightweight, collapsible, steel wheelchairs doesn't start until probably the early 1940s (the US patent was taken out only in 1937) so they wouldn't have been cheap.


The issue is the stigma associated with them and the accessibility that even a chair on wheels affords .  For instance, Houston obliquely mentioned in her interview that she was probably "the only ship in the Fleet with the elevators, ramps, and everything he'd need."

The "he"  she's referring to is FDR, who contracted polio in 1921.  He became president in 1933 so the paralysis in his legs was not a sudden thing.  There are very, very few pictures of him in wheelchairs however, since he could walk with braces, and the Public would not have seen him as a healthy person - no matter how sound his reasoning or skill at politics.  He wouldn't have been elected into the office in the first place, much less re-elected over and over, if he hadn't downplayed his condition.

He was also the patron saint of the US Navy during his earlier stint as Assistant Secretary to the Navy, so it's no surprise an acting warship or two could be arranged with accommodations necessary for the (disabled) President.


In the United States these days, wheelchair accessibility is an ever increasing matter of course (partly because new public buildings have to be) but only because of the disability rights movement of the 1960s.

In other words, not even in the States was it easy to move around by wheelchair during WW2.

In Japan?

Here's a modern view of getting around Japan:



My (let me stress personal) conjecture would be that historically, the more money one (one's family) had, the more options one had access to. Otherwise, wheeled chairs in Japan would likely be found in hospitals and convalescent homes.

As a variation, a person could see the town from rickshaw (or car), but getting into and out of it would take help and it would still need someone to pull (drive) it, so the occupant still wouldn't be considered very independent.

Hope that gets you thinking.


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Philip the 2nd of Spain and a bunch of other countries (and to some rightfully of England) used a wheelchair in public. He had gout when he grew old. According to wiki since 1595.
He also used glasses in public, when reading something. Both a first for a monarch in europe.

I think in fanfic you can take a "special case" stand, because it's probably a technology which is available, but uncommon and not used in the way, we use it today.

I also know of pictures from the ancient rome and some medieval places where people without legs were depicted in a little four wheeled box. They seemed to pull themselves forward with sticks or heavy metal tools. Although I admit the most famous depiction I know are two cartoon characters. One is in the spoiler below to the right.



Credit to Albert Uderzo, Asterix in Switzerland


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  • 7 months later...

@Panay's Ghost Well it seems like a selection which almost exclusively features sources who leave no doubt about an U-Boot attack (U-30).
But the link provided me with a transcript of a seemingly complete speech of Goebbels, which is something I haven't read often even in German.

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  • 1 month later...

Classic case of question answered, I didn't even realised I was asking:
How did neutrality stripes look like?



From the wiki. Picture subtitle: The German cruiser ("pocket battleship") Admiral Scheer in port at Gibraltar, circa 1936. Note the Spanish Civil War neutrality markings (red, white & black stripes) painted on her forward gun turret.


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