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Błyskawica file photo [3219]


Ship ClassGrom-class Destroyer
BuilderJ. Samuel White, Cowes, Britain
Laid Down1 Sep 1935
Launched1 Oct 1936
Commissioned25 Nov 1937
Decommissioned1 May 1976
Displacement1,975 tons standard
Length374 feet
Beam37 feet
Draft11 feet
Speed39 knots
Armament8x102mm anti-aircraft, 4x40mm anti-aircraft, 4x20mm anti-aircraft, 6 torpedo launchers


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 Königsberg 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.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2007

Destroyer Błyskawica Interactive Map


Polish destroyers Grom and Burza during Operation Peking, viewed from destroyer Błyskawica, circa 29 Aug-1 Sep 193976mm anti-aircraft gun aboard ORP Blyskawica, Britain, 13 Sep 1940
See all 23 photographs of Destroyer Błyskawica

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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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Paul Mozdzanowski says:
5 Sep 2016 08:35:12 PM

My dad Joseph K Mozdzanowski server on two Polish destroyers during ww2. One was the Grom but I'm not sure of the other one. He was sunk twice, once in Norway. Since he passed we are trying to get a manifest indicating he served on those ships. All help is appreciated.
2. Gary Urbanski says:
18 Jan 2020 06:20:52 PM

My father Edmund Urbanski was on the Grom as well and on the suicide run to Murmansk during WW2. I have been looking for some additional information on him and the Grom.
3. David C. Jones says:
19 Sep 2020 03:04:19 PM

the Blyskawica, the Polish destroyer which saved our town, in the air raid. Another reason for my love for the Polish people! If you Google the name, you will be told the story of the battle. My father helped to build the ship, which is now on display at Gdynia in Poland, where I have seen it, on a visit. The Grom was also built at my father's shipyard. Thank God, and the Blyskawica, that I am still alive.
David Jones
4. Tom Cuthbert says:
21 Oct 2021 06:52:54 AM

My father DWT Cuthbert ditched in the Mediterraenean while serving in the RAF possibly 1943. He was a navigator on a Wellington Mk4 bomber.After 4 days in and out of a dingy with a broken jaw his crew were rescued by the Blyskawica. Dad served the rest of the war in S.Africa.

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Event(s) Participated:
» Operation Peking
» Invasion of Denmark and Norway
» Invasion of France and the Low Countries

Destroyer Błyskawica Photo Gallery
Polish destroyers Grom and Burza during Operation Peking, viewed from destroyer Błyskawica, circa 29 Aug-1 Sep 193976mm anti-aircraft gun aboard ORP Blyskawica, Britain, 13 Sep 1940
See all 23 photographs of Destroyer Błyskawica

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