ORP Kujawiak (L72)

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ORPKujawiak1.jpg
Career (UK) Royal Navy Ensign
Name: HMS Oakley
Builder: Vickers-Armstrongs
Laid down: 22 November 1939
Launched: 30 October 1940
Career (Poland)
Name: ORP Kujawiak
Commissioned: June, 1941
Fate: sunk by mine on 16 June 1942, near Malta
General characteristics
Class & type: Hunt Type II
Displacement: 1050 tons standard, 1490 tons full load
Length: 85 m
Beam: 9.5 m
Draught: 2.4 m
Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h)
Range: 2,500 nautical miles (4,600 km) at 20 knots (40 km/h)
3,700 nautical miles (6,900 km) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 160
Armament: 6 102 mm guns ( 3 twin turrets)
4 40 mm Anti Aircraft cannons
2 to 4 20 mm Anti Aircraft cannons
6 Depth charge throwers
Notes: powered by 2 shaft steam turbines 19,000 hp (14,200 kW)

The ORP Kujawiak was a British Hunt-class destroyer escort, formerly named the HMS Oakley.

Kujawiak was built by Vickers-Armstrongs at the company's High Walker yard on the River Tyne. Her keel was laid down on 22 November 1939 and she was launched on 30 October 1940. Originally commissioned into the Royal Navy, she was renamed and commissioned into the Polish Navy in June 1941.

Kujawiak was sunk on 16 June 1942 after running into a mine near Malta while participating in Operation Harpoon. 13 Polish sailors died and 20 were wounded.

Details of war service[edit]

Details of war service for ORP Kujawiak:[1]

1941[edit]

  • 18 Jun Kujawiak came under attack by German aircraft whilst on passage from Tyne to Scapa Flow to work-up for operational service with ships of Home Fleet. Fire from aircraft hit 4in ready-use ammunition which exploded causing one fatal casualty.
  • 25 Jul Joined 15th Destroyer Flotilla based at Plymouth for local convoy escort and Flotilla duties.
  • 23 Oct Deployed with Polish destroyer ORP Krakowiak for escort of inward Convoy SL89 during final stage of passage in Irish Sea from Freetown into Liverpool.
  • 22 Dec Sailed from Scapa Flow as part of Force J to carry out landings on Lofoten Islands as part of Operation Claymore.
  • 27 Dec Sustained slight damage from near miss during air attacks.

1942[edit]

  • June Nominated for loan service with Home Fleet for escort of planned Malta Relief convoy (Operation Harpoon)
  • 6 Jun Joined military Convoy WS19S in NW Approaches as part of Ocean Escort for passage to Gibraltar.
  • 12 Jun Joined Force X at Gibraltar for escort of convoy for passage to Malta through Sicilian Narrows.
  • 14 Jun Under heavy and sustained air attacks during which HMS Liverpool damaged.
  • 15 Jun Under sustained air attacks and in action with Italian warships attempting to intercept and attack the convoy.
  • 16 Jun Sustained major structural damage forward after detonating a mine whilst entering Grand Harbor, Malta. Ship sank before successful tow could be achieved.

Commanding officers[edit]

  • Komandor podporucznik Ludwik Lichodziejewski

Search for wreck[edit]

In December 2011, marine documentary-maker Emi Farrugia announced plans to search for the wreck of the Kujawiak. An approximate position given by the British Ministry of Defence gave no proper indication of the wreck's location and Farrugia stated that the search would focus on at least 8 km2 circling the three approximate positions that are now in hand.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Details of War Service" naval-history.net
  2. ^ Times of Malta "Search is on for Polish wartime frigate sunk near Malta" 16 Dec 2011

Coordinates: 35°53′N 14°35′E / 35.883°N 14.583°E / 35.883; 14.583