ORP BLYSKAWICA  -   A LIVING LEGEND

At the start of World War Two, the Polish Vessel, ORP Blyskawica was considered
the most modern Naval Destroyer in the world.

She was built for the Polish Navy by J. Samuel White, Cowes  (1935-37)

ORP Blyskawica was the second of two Grom-Class Destroyers, which were the
most heavily armed and fastest vessels during World War II. The other was ORP
Grom.

Blyskawica is means " LIGHTNING " and Grom means " THUNDER ".

On August 30, 1939, in anticipation of an attack by Nazi Germany, the ORP
Blyskawica, ORP Grom, and ORP Burza sailed out of Gdynia port, with the objective
of joining their British Ally. This was part of the secret Peking Plan intended to
avoid any open conflict with the overwhelming German forces.

On September 7, 1939, the ORP Blyskawica spotted and attacked a German Nazi
U-Boat.  This is the very first combat between Allied and Axis vessels since the
outbreak of war.

ORP Blyskawica took part in the Norwegian Campaign (1940) and succeeded in
bombing German positions, as well as shooting down two aircraft of the
Luftwaffe.Tragically, ORP Grom, the sister ship, was bombed by the Nazis, and sunk.

ORP Blyskawica took part in Operation Dynamo, aka, Dunkirk Evacuation (May 27
to June 4, 1940)

She also took part in convoy and patrol duties in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic,
battling the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe.  ORP Blyskawica escorted the transport of
troops, in particular, the RMS Queen Mary.  ORP Blyskawica was the only Allied
vessel that could keep up with the British ocean liner.  Incidentally the RMS QM
maximum speed was documented at 30.14 knots (in Aug 1936 racing
competition). Whereas the maximum speed of ORP Blyskawica was 39 knots.

In 1941, her 120 mm Guns were replaced by 102 mm British anti-aircraft Guns.

On May  4, 1942, the ORP Blyskawica successfully defended the Isle of Wight town
of Cowe from 160 Nazi German bombers.  In 2002, the town commemorated the
courage of the crew of ORP Blyskawica with celebration that lasted several days.

On June 9, 1944, ORP Blyskawica took part in the Battle of Ushant against the
German Kriegsmarine. (off the coast of Brittany)

The ORP Blyskawica escorted 83 convoys, logging a distance of 146,000 nautical
miles (270,000 km or 167,770 miles) throughout the war.  She engaged in combat on
the high seas,  damaging three U-boats, shooting down at least 4 aircraft, and
sinking several German ships.

At the end of the war, ORP Blyskawica took part in Operation Deadlight, along with
HMS Onslow and scuttled over 100 German U-boats.

Since May 1 1976, the ORP Blyskawica has been a museum ship in the port of
Gdynia, Poland.

ORP Blyskawica was the only Polish vessel to have been awarded with the Gold
Cross of the Virtuti Militari Order, the highest Polish military decoration.

She has the honor of being the longest-serving ship in World War Two.
Facts about ORP Blyskawica
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Background photo:  ORP Blyskawica scuttles German U-Boat at end of WWII. Operation Deadlight.
Please click here to see original clearer photo.