Polish Navy Museum
OF NAVAL ARMS
At Nadmorski Bulwar in Gdynia, close to the beach, there has been open a very attractive out-door exhibition of naval arms and armaments. It includes arms and ordnance having been used since XVIIth century. The arms collection of The II World period, as well as that of the post-war time, are particularly extensive, specially aircrafts and helicopters belonging to the Navy air force.
The exposition was created in 1953, next to already non existing Polish Navy Museum. The present shape it has been kept in since 26.06.1975, when it was opened very festively and accessible to the public.
We start seeing the exhibition from left, stopping first at the anchors collection from XVII-XXth century, among them so called admiralty and patent anchors, made of wood and forged iron. Behind there are propeller screws: 3-fin, brass-made, come of the destroyer "Burza" "Błyskawica", the iron one - dated on the times of the II World War and the smallest one - from the Polish Navy training sailing vessel "Iskra" /I/.
Further - three XVIIIth century cannons on wooden gun-carriages and stone bombs used in XVIIth century mortars have been placed. On th right one can see - seated on a wall - XVII-XIXth century fuse cannons' tubes. It's worth to notice first two ones - richly decorated Serb cannons, cast in 1834.
A number of very valuable exhibits remembering defensive battles of 1939 year have been collected. Two French field guns "Schneider" - cal.105mm had been supporting with fire Polish divisions fighting at Kępa Oksywska to the very date 19.09.1939. Next to then one can see twin guns cal. 120mm model 34/36, make of the Swedish manufacturer "Bofors" gathered from the minelayer "Gryf", that was sunk on 3.09.1939 in the Hel harbour by the German air forces. Next to the twin guns one can see - carved in sandstone - the national emblem coming from the Westerplatte barracks then locating the Ordnance Trasit Depot, 2 shells cal. 280mm of German battleships "Schleswig-Holstein" and "Schlesien" that had been firing at Westerplatte, Gdynia and Hel. Above - a powerful gun cal. 152,4mm, make of "Bofors" had been placed, once belonging to the renowned 31st - the "Promontory" - coastline artillery located in Hel and named after Heliodor Laskowski. It was then the only modern, middle-size battery on the Polish part of the Baltic Cost. Had made its name in the battles with German Battleships and destroyers.
Passing along the fence - an - other guns can be seen on the right. These are: a cal. Mm deck gun of "Schneider" make, from the submarine "Żbik" which had been launched in 1930 in France, a cal. 100mm soviet gun, make B-24, from the submarine "Sęp" (the gun was reassembled after coming back from internment in Sweden), and cal. 37mm gun from the German submarine that had been sunk in 1945 in Gdynia harbour. Deeper in the courtyard - the biggest, double-twin naval gun has been placed. The gun comes from the destroyer ORP "Wicher" /II/, included in the navy since 1958. From the ship comes also the second gun - cal. 85mm, 44 make /BS-3/. Nearby a similar single gun has been situated brought here from a big submarines' motor gun boat.
The same brand is mounted in 1955 cal. 100mm gun from the "Burza" destroyer and cal. 130mm wz./31/37 gun (in protective camouflage) from the after-war coastal artillery. The stands have been furnished with ammunition parks and feeders that had been previously on "Burza" and "Błyskawica" ships.
Interesting group of objects make underwater weapons. The collection presents specimens of a ground mine type "G" wz.H, a contact-moored mine wz. SM-5, wz.08/39 and a cross-section of a magnetic moored mine type "G" wz.0 manufactured in Germany during the Second World War. Next to them depth charge throwers have been placed: an English one - "Thornycroft" from ORP "Burza" and a Russian one - wz. BMB-2. Beneath - rocket launcher of abyssal missiles WRBG-2500 from the destroyer ORP "Warszawa" /I/, and the launchers of the free rockets WM-18 surface to water class, coming from a middle-sized landing craft.
Interesting exhibits are torpedo arms. There have been presented a cross-section of a German aircraft torpedo cal. 450mm, a steam-gas torpedo cal. 533,4mm, earlier a constituent of the "Błyskawica" armaments, and an after-war torpedo of the same cal. - wz. 53/58. In the close proximity an England manufactured torpedo tube, from the war-time "Błyskawica" armaments, also five-tubes torpedo set cal. 533,4mm and a gun-fire control stand of the armaments of the "Wicher" destroyer /II/ have been placed.
The central place has been taken by the homing missiles laucher of the ground-to-water class, first generation "Sopka" /SSC-2B/ type. In the sixties it became a component of the Navy armaments. Deeper in the back Soviet anti-ship rocket "P-15"/SS-N-2A/, two masts from torpedo cutters and a minesweep set from a Polish after-war minesweeper have been arranged.
Anti-aircraft naval amraments constitue a separate collection. From The II World War times date among others: French heavy machine guns "Hotchkiss" cal. 13.2mm - from the mine layer "Gryf", American machine guns "Browning Colt" cal. 12.7mm and Soviet DSZK wz. 38/46, German quadruple gun cal. 20mm and English gun "Oerlicon" cal. 20mm - from ORP "Błyskawica", also Swedish gun "Bofors" wz.36 cal.40 from ORP "Sęp".
After-the-war time arms have been represented by naval guns cal. 25 and 37mm of several models and the newest one cal. 30mm, type AK-230 and AK-630.
The land artillery has been shown through three field guns, that were used by Polish army during battles for Pomorze liberation in the spring 1945. First of then it is an armour-piercing gun cal. 45mm wz.37, and next to it - guns cal. 76.2mm: a regimental gun wz. 43 and a division gun wz.42 "ZIS-3".
The Navy aircraft and helicopters are also included in the outdoor exhibition. These are: fighter aircraft "Jak-9P" and "Mig-21bis", reconnaissance aircraft "Ił-28R" and "TS-11R "Iskra", fighter-strike aircraft "Lim-6bis" and a connection link helicopter "SM-1" and a drone antisubmarine helicopter "Mi-4M".
Polish Navy Museum exhibition of naval arms and armaments is open daily from 10 a.m to 5 p.m (during fall/winter - to 4 p.m.), Mondays and after-holiday days - closed. Moreover at the wharfside in the basin No.1 in Gdynia, at the extension of the Kociuszko Skwer, the destroyer ORP "Błyskawica" has been moored. It is a priceless national relic of the past, the only ship built before the II World War that has survived. In 1987, on the 50 anniversary of it's service under the white and red flag, it was honoured with the highest fighting decoration - The Gold Cross of the Virtuti Militari Order. Since 1976 it has become a museum ship - a division of Polish Navy Museum.
The ship can be visited since the beginning of May till the end of October and is open daily from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., except Mondays and after-holiday days.
POLISH NAVY MUSEUM
81-912 GDYNIA 12