|Ship Class||Grom-class Destroyer|
|Builder||J. Samuel White, Cowes, Britain|
|Laid Down||1 Sep 1935|
|Launched||1 Oct 1936|
|Commissioned||25 Nov 1937|
|Decommissioned||1 May 1976|
|Displacement||1,975 tons standard|
|Armament||8x102mm anti-aircraft, 4x40mm anti-aircraft, 4x20mm anti-aircraft, 6 torpedo launchers|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseBłyskawica was a British-built destroyer of the Polish Navy. On 29 Aug 1939, she was among the three destroyers that participated in Operation Peking, aimed at preventing the total loss of the Polish Navy in the likely case of a war with Germany. After an uneventful run-in with German light cruiser KÃ¶nigsberg and a destroyer, the destroyers made rendezvous with British destroyers Wanderer and Wallace, then at 1737 on 1 Sep they docked in Edinburgh. She remained in service under the Polish banner (though under command of the British Royal Navy) for the remainder of the war. On 7 Sep 1939, she made contact with a German submarine, resulting in possibly the first combat between Allied and Axis warships. In May 1940, Błyskawica and her sister ship Grom bombarded German positions and downed two German aircraft off the coast of Norway; Grom was sunk during that campaign. During the German invasion of France, she helped evacuate French and British troops from Dunkirk during Operation Dynamo. In 1941, her 120mm guns were replaced with British 102mm anti-aircraft guns.
ww2dbaseOn the nights of 4 and 5 May 1942, 160 German bombers raided the shipyards at the Isle of Wight town of Cowes; Błyskawica was coincidentally there for repairs and helped to defend the shipyard with her anti-aircraft weapons. Although the shipyards and the town suffered serious damage from the raids, Błyskawica's quick plunge into action possibly saved the town from worse fate.
ww2dbaseFor the remainder of the war, Błyskawica performed convoy and patrol duties in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. She and other British warships engaged in battle with German destroyers on 8 Jun 1944 off Ushant, France, in the English Channel.
ww2dbaseBłyskawica returned to Poland after the war. On 1 May 1976 she became a museum ship in the Baltic port city of Gdynia. She is now the oldest preserved destroyer in world.
Last Major Revision: Apr 2007
Destroyer Błyskawica Interactive Map
Błyskawica Operational Timeline
|25 Nov 1937||Błyskawica was commissioned into service.|
|4 May 1942||Polish destroyer BÅ‚yskawica was undergoing an urgent refit at the J Samuel White shipyard at Cowes on the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom (the same shipyard where she was built) when the area was bombed by the German Luftwaffe, dropping 200 tons of bombs. BÅ‚yskawica left her moorings, anchored outside the harbor, and opened up such a fierce and lengthy anti-aircraft barrage that her guns had to be doused with water and more ammunition had to be ferried across from Portsmouth. Generally considered a successful raid from the German point of view, BÅ‚yskawica is credited with keeping it from being much worse.|
|1 May 1976||Błyskawica was decommissioned from service.|
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Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943