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                                                          ORP Piorun

ORP Piorun

ORP Piorun was an N-class destroyer used by the Polish Navy during the Second World War. The name means "Thunderbolt".

She was built by John Brown & Company of Clydebank, Glasgow: she had been laid down in July 1939, launched on 7 May 1940 and completed on 4 November 1940. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Nerissa, but was transferred to the Polish Navy as a replacement for the destroyer ORP Grom which had been lost off the Norwegian coast on 4 May 1940.

She was based in Great Britain and was commanded by Commander Eugeniusz Pławski.

On 13th-15 March 1941, she took part in the defence of Clydebank against Luftwaffe air raids, as she happened to be undergoing repairs in John Brown's shipyard. Many people remembered that she put up a terrific barrage on the first night, which may have caused the shipyard to get off comparatively lightly. A memorial to the crew of the ship was later erected in Clydebank.

In May 1941 she was escorting convoy WS-8B, along with four Royal Navy destroyers, when they were ordered to leave the convoy to take part in the pursuit of the German battleship Bismarck. Piorun took part, along with the British destroyers, in the shadowing of and torpedo attacks on the Bismarck the night before she was sunk, and at one point they had an exchange of fire for half an hour. According to one report (detailed at the Auschwitz I exhibition, Oświęcim, Poland), Plawski transmitted the message "I am a Pole" before commencing fire on the Bismarck. Piorun was very low on fuel, so she was ordered home before the Bismarck was sunk.

She subsequently operated in the Mediterranean and took part in Operation Halberd, one of the Malta convoys and Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. In 1944 she was transferred to the Home Fleet.

She was returned to the Royal Navy in 1946, renamed HMS Noble and scrapped in 1955.


                                            ORP Orzeł

ORP Orzeł


ORP Orzeł was the lead ship of her class of submarines serving in the Polish Navy during World War II. Her name means Eagle in Polish. The ship is most notable for her escape from neutral Estonia in what is now referred to as the Orzeł incident.

World War II

At the start of hostilities Orzeł was on patrol in her designated sector of the Baltic Sea. Unable to return to the Polish naval bases at Gdynia or Hel, Orzeł had to make its way into a neutral port to offload its sick captain. The crew chose to go to Tallinn, Estonia on 14 September 1939. At the insistence of Germany, the Estonian authorities interned the crew, confiscated the maps and started to dismantle the armament. The crew decided to escape with their boat and make the perilous journey to England. Under the new command of its former executive officer, Lt.Cdr. Jan Grudzinski VM DSO, Orzeł escaped on September 18 with two Estonian guards taken captive. The Estonian and German press covering the Orzeł incident declared the two captured guards dead, yet the new captain carried them to Swedish shores and provided them with money and food for their safe return home, saying that if one is returning from the underworld he should travel first class only. Estonia's lack of will and/or incapability to disarm and intern the crew caused Soviet Union to accuse Estonia of "helping them escape" and claim that Estonia was not neutral. The Orzeł incident was used by the Soviet Union to justify the annexation of Estonia.


Without maps or most of her navigation equipment, Orzeł remained in the Baltic Sea and the crew decided to look for some German ships to sink. No ships were sunk, but Orzeł remained in the Baltic Sea long after all pockets of resistance on Polish territory were conquered by the Nazis. She evaded the numerous Kriegsmarine ships hunting for her, and made it to Rosyth in Scotland on 14 October, where she was subsequently based.

Norwegian Campaign

After refitting and rest, Orzeł went immediately on patrol. Near the small harbor town of Lillesand in southern Norway, she sank the 5,261 ton clandestine German troop transport Rio de Janeiro[1] on April 8, 1940, killing hundreds of German troops intended for the invasion of Norway[2]. Rio de Janeiro was on her way to Bergen in order to take part in the initial landings of Operation Weserübung - the invasion of Norway and opening move of the Norwegian Campaign.

Orzeł was lost with all hands on the next patrol somewhere in the North Sea, in late May - early June 1940.

General characteristics


2,460 t., surfaced
3,180 t., submerged


72.6 m (238 ft in)


12.8 m (41 ft 12 in)


14.5 m (47 ft in)


12 knots (22 km/h/14 mph), surfaced
17 knots (31 km/h/20 mph), submerged




6 × 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes for guided electric TEST-71 torpedoes, guided 53-65K oxygen-propelled torpedoes
naval mines

ORP Orzeł is a Polish Navy Project 877E (Kilo class in NATO code) submarine. It is the third boat to bear this name.

The boat was built by the Sudomekh Shipyard in Leningrad (currently New Admirality Shipyard in St. Petersburg). It was commissioned on April 29, 1986 in Riga. On June 13 of the same year it was transferred to Gdynia where on June 21 it was christened. It was assigned to the 3rd Flotilla based in Gdynia, where it currently serves under kmdr ppor. Andrzej Ogrodnik.


HMS “Garland

HMS “Garland

HMS Garland (H37), also known by its Polish designation ORP Garland, was a G-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. It was the 14th ship to bear that name since 1242. During most of the World War II she served in the Polish Navy.

Garland was laid down August 22, 1934 by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Limited, at Govan in Scotland and launched on 24 October 1935. After the final tests the ship was delivered to the Royal Navy on March 3, 1936 and entered the service under the name of HMS Garland. Initially a part of the Atlantic Fleet, later she was moved to Malta, where she served in the Mediterranean Fleet. Used mostly in the role of a convoy escort, she was rearmed in 1940 to better serve that purpose. The anti-submarine and anti-air armament was added at the cost of fewer main artillery guns. Shortly before the refurbishment, on May 3, 1940 in Malta she was transferred to the Polish Navy as a replacement for the Polish ships lost in British service.

Initially it was planned to rename the ship to a new, Polish name. However, the Polish Navy decided to keep the British name as a sign of courtesy, as Garland was the oldest known name of a British warship. After a short period of training of a new Polish crew, the ship was attached to the British 14th Destroyer Flotilla and took part in various convoys in the Mediterranean. On June 28, 1940, Garland took part in a naval battle at the shores of Calabria, where it assisted in sinking of Italian destroyer Espero. During one of the convoy escort missions between Gibraltar and Alexandria, the ship was attacked by Italian bombers and damaged by a bomb. The camshaft was broken by a close miss and the ship's engines stopped, but the anti-air artillery repelled the attack and Garland was safely delivered back to Gibraltar.

In September 1940 Garland was moved to Great Britain and joined up with the other Polish destroyers (Burza and Błyskawica) and took part in numerous patrol duties on the English Channel and the North Sea. In July 1941 it took part in the Allied landing on Spitsbergen. After that, in September, she joined ORP Piorun in Operation Halberd, escorting a large convoy to Malta. In the winter she was again moved to the British Isles, from where she escorted numerous Atlantic and Arctic convoys. She especially distinguished herself during the convoy PQ-16 to Murmansk between May 25–27, 1942, fighting all day against enemy aircraft, with the loss of 25 killed and 43 wounded. Upon her return to the UK, she was moved to Greenock shipyard, where she was repaired and refurbished. After that she returned to her previous role of a convoy escort and in late 1943 took part in a British landing on Azores, where allied naval bases were established. In 1944 she was modified as destroyer escort: her armament was reduced to two 120 mm guns, and a Hedgehog was added.

From there the ship operated at the western shores of Africa and in the spring she returned to the Mediterranean, where she took part in the Operation Dragoon, that is the Allied landing in Southern France. After that, she was used in anti-submarine operations in the Mediterranean. On September 19 1944 she took decisive part in sinking U-407. In October 1944 she supported the Allied landing in Greece and the following month she was withdrawn to Great Britain. Until the end of World War II she defended the Western Approaches against the German U-Boots. After the war the ship took part in sinking of German U-Boots captured by the Polish 1st Armoured Division in the port of Wilhelmshaven. On September 24, 1946, she was decommissioned and returned to the Royal Navy.

During her service in the Polish Navy she traversed 217,000 nautical miles (402,000 km/250,000 mi). She sank one German U-Boot and damaged additional 2 (one of them presumably sunk), downed 3 enemy planes and took part in sinking of two large Italian ships. It also damaged 3 additional surface vessels.

On November 14, 1946 she was decommissioned by the Royal Navy and sold to the Royal Netherlands Navy. After a refurbishment she was commissioned in 1949 and renamed to HNLMS Marnix. She served as an artillery school ship and later was reclassified as a frigate. Decommissioned in 1964, she was scrapped in Antwerp four years later. It is to be noted that Garland was one of only two ships of the G class destroyers to survive the war. The other, HMS Griffin, served in the Royal Canadian Navy.




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