The Polish Navy 1918–45

The Polish Navy 1918–45

From the Polish-Soviet War to World War II

New Vanguard 307
  • Author: Przemyslaw Budzbon
  • Illustrator: Paul Wright
  • Short code: NVG 307
  • Publication Date: 23 Jun 2022
  • Number of Pages: 48
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About this Product

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.

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.

Biographical Note

Przemyslaw Budzbon is a naval architect who worked on warship construction for the Soviet Navy in the 1980s. He has written widely on the history of the Polish and Soviet navies of World War II and his book Soviet Navy at War 1941-45 was published in 1989 followed by Warship in 2019. He works on the seven-volume history of the Polish shipyards in the post-1990 era and his major reference book on the World War II Soviet Navy is scheduled for 2021.


Poland regains independence, 1918
1919 campaign
1920 campaign
The navy from World War I remnants, 1921
The first naval programme, 1925
Between the Soviet Union and Germany
The German-Soviet assault
Revival: the Polish naval detachment 1939
The year of dashed hopes, 1940
The Battle of the Atlantic 1940-44
The Arctic convoys
The North Atlantic
The Mediterranean 1941-44
Invasion of the continent 1944

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