M-class destroyer, ORP Orkan (G-90, 1942) - Polish victim of the wren

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ORP Orkan (ex HMS Myrmidon) was built by the Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Govan, Scotland. Laid down on 7.12.1939, launched on 2.03.1942. Commissioned for service in Polish Navy after launch, polish flag was raised 18.11.1942 (Polish Navy cooperated closely with Royal Navy during the WWII). Belong to L/M class destroyer - last class of British destroyers designed before started WWII. Most time on her short service spent on convoy escorts. When escorted convoy SC143, Orkan was torpedoed 8 October 1943 and sunk.

Technical data :
Displacement standard: 1 920 long tons (1 950 t)
Displacement full: 2 725 long tons (2 769 t)
Length: 110.4 m (o/a)
Breadth: 11.3 m
Draught: 4.3 m
Machinery and power: 2 sets Parsons geared steam turbines, 2 Admiralty 3-drum boilers, 2 shafts, 48,000 shp
Max speed: 36 knots
Range: 5,500 nmi at 15 knots
Fuel: 537 tons of oil
Crew: 190 - 226 man

Armament (October 1943): 3 × twin 4.7 in (120 mm) Mk XI dual-purpose guns, 1 × single QF 4 in (102 mm) Mk V anti-aircraft gun, 1 × quadruple QF 2-pdr (40 mm) Mk VIII AA guns, 6 × single Oerlikon 20 mm (0.8 in) AA guns, 1 × quadruple 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes, 42 × depth charges, 2 × racks, 2 × throwers.
Electronics : HF/DF radiodirectorfinder, radars: type 286, type 291, Asdic

ORP Orkan (ex HMS Myrmidon) was one of 16 builded destroyer L/M class, one of 8-ship M-series, but her service made this unit unique:

  1. Ship was transferred straight from british dockyard to Polish Navy,
  2. In WW II was most advanced and modern destroyer, used by Polish Navy,
  3. After the 1943 Gibraltar Liberator crash (in this tragedy died commander-in-chief of the Polish Army and Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile - General Władysław Sikorski) Orkan carried coffin with General’s body from Gibraltar to Plymouth in England,
  4. Torpedoed in Notrh Atlancic in 8 October 1943 and sunk with 178 polish and about 20 british seamens - almost 3/4 crew died in icy water. Only 44 peoples was saved,
  5. One of first victim of german acoustic torepedo - T5 Zaunkönig (wren).

Beside this, L/M class destroyers are absent in GB naval tech tree and this ship with unique and tragic history is original representative of own class in GB Navy.

Photos & plan:



Sources of informations:

  1. Friedman, Norman (2006). British Destroyers & Frigates: The Second World War and After. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press.
  2. Niszczyciele Polskiej Marynarki Wojennej, Witold Koszela, Almapress (publishing house) 2013, Warszawa (Warsaw)
  3. Mirosław Miarka: ORP „Orkan”: niszczyciel klasy L, M. T. Zeszyt 9. Łódź: GPM, 1983, seria: Małe Monografie (little monograph)
  4. Tadeusz Kondracki: Niszczyciel ORP „Orkan” 1942–1943. Wyd. I. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo „Lampart”, 1994, seria: Barwa i Broń, nr: 9 (little monograph)
  5. Tadeusz Kasperski. Największa strata PMW – zatopienie ORP Orkan. „Morze, statki i okręty”. 10 (138), s. 50–58, 2013. Warszawa: Magnum X sp. z o.o. (article in polish maritime magazine)