Exhibitions of the Navy Museum

THE NAVAL MUSEUM ARMOURY

Our exhibition presents original elements of naval weaponry used in 20th century in the Polish Navy. Most of the artefacts on display come from the ships of the Polish Navy.

Among the Naval Museum’s collection you can find some very unique objects, for example the Bofors 40mm double anti-aircraft gun from the ORP Sęp submarine (an identical gun was on Sęp’s twin sister ship ORP Orzeł). Then there is the most famous anti-aircraft (AA) gun of the WW2 – the 20mm Oerlikon on its marine mount. The one shown here was a part of the weaponry of the destroyer ORP Błyskawica. Next there is the incomplete 13.2mm Hotchkiss machine gun, salvaged from the ORP Gryf’s wreck. The ORP Gryf was bombed and sank in Hel in September 1939. Dramatically poignant is a torn part of the ship’s flag which includes a small part of the Polish Eagle, rescued from the sinking ship. Also saved were the brass letters of the ship’s name as well as an original lifebuoy.

The underwater weaponry is represented by a number of torpedoes. We would like to draw your attention to the C35/84 type torpedo produced in Germany from 1884. These torpedoes were in use at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. But one of the most precious artefacts is the French SM-5 naval moored-contact mine, which was used by the Polish Navy during the invasion of Poland by Germany in September 1939. On the 1 of October 1939 the German minesweeper “M 85” was sunk by one of them laid by the Wilk-class submarine ORP Żbik.

Among the weapons used to fight the enemy submarines, the QF MK IV Thornycroft Naval Gun is a perfect example. This British gun was the basic gun of the Royal Navy used to deploy naval depth charges from ships. It was one of these guns that was mounted on the ORP Błyskawica and ORP Grom. Besides the specimen in our museum there is another one on board of ORP Błyskawica.

A very special exhibit is Bomben-Torpedo BT 1000 RS a unique item in the world. It was one of Hitler’s Wunderwaffe – Wonder-weapons. The construction of this offensive aircraft weapon was an attempt to combine the advantages of aerial bombs and torpedoes. It is the only known version with a rocket engine.

From the Polish Navy’s ships in service after the WW2 we have: anti aircraft armaments, depth charge launchers, type 08/39 contact mine and the YaM-5 (anti-tank mine 5 kilograms) a Soviet anti- tank blast mine. Displayed also are rockets and guided missiles – weapons of the Naval Air Force from that period.

The largest object in our exhibition is the anti–ship missile P-21/NATO reporting name TARANTUL- 1 a modified version of P-15 on board of missile vessels till the 1990s. In the mid-1990s the P-21/P- 22 missiles no longer met the requirements of the modern naval warfare. They were withdrawn from service and some were donated to our museum.

Lastly, as an additional attraction, we have a multimedia war theatre/shooting range, based on real Allied action in the Mediterranean Sea in the autumn of 1942. Here you can take on the role of a seaman defending a ship from naval mines and enemy air force. You destroy targets using a perfect replica of the Lewis machine gun M1914 on board the ORP Błyskawica.

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