- Head, Michael
- History - WW2
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 1993 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Next evening ay about 8.30 p.m. they surfaced and were on their way. Several times they had to dive to avoid search planes. On the 10th three escort vessels sighted the ORZEL on the surface. Grudzinski dived and for an hour was subjected to a barrage of depth charges.
On October 13 the British picked up some faint signals from ORZEL requesting assistance, a pilot and permission to enter port. The destroyer VALOROUS found the submarine after a three-hour search at 11.00 a.m. on the 14th and the exhausted crew were brought to safety.
General Sikorski, commander-in-chief of the Polish Forces in exile, came down and decorated every member of the crew. For Britain in the dark days of 1939 it was a little victory which meant a lot in terms of morale.
Poland might have been defeated, but in Great Britain the destroyers BURZA, GROM and BTYSKAWICA and the submarines ORZEL and WILK carried on. The Free Polish Navy would grow to include light cruisers, many more destroyers and minor vessels before the war finally ended in the massacre of the Warsaw uprising.
Oddly the final collapse of the communist power would begin from the shipyards of Gdansk, not far from where the strugglers of the Westerplatte forty-five years earlier fought off another tyrant.
Ships lost during the Polish-German War – 1939
Captured Naval Units included (Apart from Riverine forces):