- 7.25" x 9.75"
- 48 Pages
- Illustrated throughout
FROM THE POLISH-SOVIET WAR TO WORLD WAR II Budzbon.
Newly independent Poland's naval force was created in 1920, initially with six ex-German torpedo boats. However, after German-Soviet exercises off the Polish coast in 1924, funding for warships was hastily allocated. Two destroyers and three submarines were built in France but, disappointed with their quality, Poland ordered new ships, mostly from British and Dutch shipyards. By summer 1939, the Polish Navy comprised four destroyers, five submarines, one minelayer, six minesweepers and a handful of lesser ships. Although the Grom-class destroyers were two of the fastest and best-armed destroyers of the war, the tiny Polish fleet would stand little chance against the Kriegsmarine, and on 30 August three destroyers were dispatched to Britain, followed by two submarines that escaped internment. The remaining Polish surface fleet was sunk by 3 September. In exile, the Polish Navy operated not only their own ships, but also Royal Navy warships, including a cruiser, destroyers, submarines and motor torpedo boats which fought alongside the Allies in the Battle of the Atlantic, the Arctic Convoys, and at the Normandy landings. This detailed account not only describes the Polish Navy's contribution to the Allied war effort but also the episode of the Polish destroyer Piorun which took on the Bismarck in a lone gun duel leading to the sinking of the great German battleship. Packed with illustrations, this is a study of the Polish warships such as the Grom-class destroyers that were developed and built in the interwar years. This initial small force of cruisers and destroyers was eventually augmented by other British warships, including aircraft carriers, a monitor, as well as a handful of submarines and torpedo boats. Opposing them was the far more powerful Russian Baltic Fleet, now controlled by the Bolsheviks. The campaign that followed involved naval clashes between the two sides, the most spectacular of which was an attack on the Soviet naval base of Kronstadt in June 1919 by a force of small British torpedo boats. They torpedoed and sunk the Russian cruiser Oleg, an action which effectively bottled the Baltic fleet up in port for the remainder of the campaign. Finally, in early 1920, the British squadron was withdrawn, following Soviet recognition of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.This New Vanguard title explores the naval side of this little-known but strategically crucial campaign fought by the war-weary navies of Britain and Russia and by warships of the emerging Baltic states. Describing the political background to the conflict, and the key points of the naval campaign as well as the warships involved, this is a concise and fascinating account of an overlooked naval campaign that helped reshape the map of Europe.