Allied Warships

ORP Wicher

Destroyer of the Wicher class

NavyThe Polish Navy
TypeDestroyer
ClassWicher 
Pennant 
Built byChantiers Navals Francais (Caen, France) 
Ordered 
Laid down19 Feb 1927 
Launched8 Jul 1928 
Commissioned13 Jul 1930 
Lost3 Sep 1939 
History

Wicher means strong wind in English.

Sunk by 4/Trägergrubbe 186 Ju-87 Stukas at Hel (the minelayer Gryf and some other smaller vessels are also sunk.

 

Commands listed for ORP Wicher

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CommanderFromTo
1Kmdr ppor. Stanislaw Hryniewiecki, ORPMay 1937Jan 1938
2Kmdr ppor. Stefan Walden De, ORPJan 19383 Sep 1939

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Notable events involving Wicher include:


1 Sep 1939

Wicher (Komandor Podporucznik Stefan de Walden) was escorting the minelayer Gryf off Hela. The Polish vessels were attacked by a group of Ju-87 (Stuka) dive bombers from Lehrgerschwader 1. During the attacks, Gryf suffered some damage from near misses. Some of the attacking German aircraft were also damaged, but none was shot down.

In the afternoon Wicher was ordered to cover the mine laying Operation Rurka conducted by Gryf. The operation was cancelled, but nobody informed the commanding officer of Wicher about this fact. At 22.00hours the Polish destroyer spotted two German destroyers(most likely the Richard Beitzen and Georg Thiele) at distance of about 4500 meters. There was excellent opportunity for gun or torpedo attack but the Wicher didn't open fire, because she was ordered to attack only when the enemy spots the Gryf (which stayed in harbour!). A few minutes later another German ship appeared this one wasn't attacked too. It was most likely another German destroyer. Wicher's crew claimed her as cruiser, but this was impossible, because German cruisers were positioned in a different area.

2 Sep 1939
Wicher shot down an enemy aircraft which was trying to attack a fishing vessel. (1)

3 Sep 1939
Wicher took part in naval combat off Hela. Two German destroyers, the Leberecht Maa? and Wolfgang Zenker under command of Rear Admiral G?nther L?tjens approached to Polish naval base at Hela and opened fire at 0700hours. Wicher and the minelayer Gryf answered few minutes later. A Polish coastal battery (4 guns of 152mm) was also involved in combat. After short time Germans hit the Gryf twice, but suffered heavy damage on Leberecht Maa?. Wolfgang Zenker (also damaged) laid a smokescreen and both destroyers retreated. Later that day Hela was attacked by German Ju-87 (Stuka) dive bombers. They conducted four attacks. Wicher was hit by four bombs (two 250 kg and two 50 kg) and sank. Gryf was also sunk. (1)

Media links


Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.

Sources

  1. Personal communication

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