End of The World War (1.IX.1947) saw PLK Commonwealth severely weakened. While a simple survival of the Soviet invasion can be seen as a massive victory, just as well as the fact that threat of US nuclear bombs finally put an end to bloodshed and revived old concept of status quo peace, the war ravaged eastern half of the country, while communist sponsored rebels took control in Polish East Africa. On Madagascar rebels were contained, but civil war was to continue for many years to come.
Navy, formerly pride of the state, was in tatters. Many ships were lost, but most importantly, post war reconstruction of the country forced massive cuts to naval budget. Almost all capital ships were scrapped or mothballed. Number of smaller ships was also greatly reduced and all new constructions were put on hold or cancelled. It took almost two years for the first new ones to begin.
Finally, in 1949 a new class of destroyers was authorized. Ships were designed to be effective in “small war” that dominated during World War in Baltic. But they also needed to be fast enough to operate with fleet task forces at home and overseas, be able to engage land targets and hunt submarines. Drawing onto war experience, decision was made to equip those ships with strong AA battery, to help them survive in zones saturated with aircraft, like Baltic. As result of all those requirements, Kozak class ships were to be bigger than any other DD leader in PLKC Navy and by many seen as a small scout cruiser rather than typical DD.
As result, twin 12cm turrets recently developed by Cegielski Engineering were picked as main armament. Extremely advanced at the date of design, they were automatically loaded, resulting in fire ratio around 40 shells per minute.
Those guns were supplemented by 3in AA guns MK33 obtained from USA and 6 newest Bofors 40mm L70 AA guns. Two triple 533mm torpedo launchers were mounted on the sides amidships. They were capable of launching various torpedoes, from well tested and reliable wz.38 and wz.43 to newest homing TNN-52A (surface targets) and TNP-51C (ASW). Usually the middle tube housed ASW torpedo.
Initially six were planned but as the fast paced progress in aviation (widespread use of jet engines) and missile technology quickly reduced importance of AA artillery, only first batch of three were finished. All of them received names of inhabitants of regions of the Commonweatlh beginning with letter K: Kozak Kaszub and Kujawiak. Second batch, planned to be laid down in 1951 were initially delayed pending reassessment and later cancelled in favor of new design.
Despite that, the class was considered a success, one of the reasons being that massive, long range bombers were not what PLKC Navy feared most. Instead, a swarm of light planes attacking at low altitude was seen as a main threat, especially as Soviets shown that they are ready to sacrifice multiple pilots and planes to achieve a goal, bombing in large groups from various directions.
ORP Kozak was laid down in Royal Naval Yard in Riga in August 1949, launched in September 1950 and completed in May 1952, ORP Krakowiak was laid down in Gdańsk Naval Yard in December 1949, launched in November 1950 and completed in June 1952 finally ORP Kurlandczyk was laid down in Vickers-Ventspils in January 1950, launched in March 1951 and completed in December 1952.
Full springsharp report:
ORP Kozak, PLK Commonwealth destroyer laid down 1949
2 939 t light; 3 081 t standard; 3 619 t normal; 4 050 t full load
Dimensions: Length (overall / waterline) x beam x draught (normal/deep)
(443,49 ft / 432,50 ft) x 41,01 ft x (13,98 / 15,21 ft)
(135,17 m / 131,83 m) x 12,50 m x (4,26 / 4,64 m)
6 - 4,72" / 120 mm 50,0 cal guns - 55,82lbs / 25,32kg shells, 150 per gun
Dual purpose guns in deck and hoist mounts, 1950 Model
3 x Twin mounts on centreline ends, majority aft
1 raised mount aft - superfiring
6 - 3,00" / 76,2 mm 50,0 cal guns - 14,29lbs / 6,48kg shells, 450 per gun
Auto rapid fire guns in deck and hoist mounts, 1950 Model
2 x Twin mounts on centreline, forward evenly spread
2 raised mounts
1 x Twin mount on sides, aft deck centre
1 raised mount
6 - 1,57" / 40,0 mm 70,0 cal guns - 2,19lbs / 0,99kg shells, 1 500 per gun
Anti-air guns in deck mounts, 1948 Model
2 x Single mounts on sides, evenly spread
2 raised mounts
2 x Twin mounts on centreline, aft evenly spread
2 raised mounts
Weight of broadside 434 lbs / 197 kg
6 - 21,0" / 533 mm, 21,50 ft / 6,55 m torpedoes - 1,512 t each, 9,070 t total
In 2 sets of deck mounted side rotating tubes
Oil fired boilers, steam turbines,
Geared drive, 2 shafts, 69 233 shp / 51 648 Kw = 35,00 kts
Range 4 500nm at 20,00 kts
Bunker at max displacement = 969 tons
233 - 303
£2,934 million / $11,736 million
Distribution of weights at normal displacement:
Armament: 129 tons, 3,6%
- Guns: 120 tons, 3,3%
- Torpedoes: 9 tons, 0,3%
Machinery: 1 614 tons, 44,6%
Hull, fittings & equipment: 980 tons, 27,1%
Fuel, ammunition & stores: 680 tons, 18,8%
Miscellaneous weights: 216 tons, 6,0%
- Hull above water: 50 tons
- On freeboard deck: 74 tons
- Above deck: 92 tons
Overall survivability and seakeeping ability:
Survivability (Non-critical penetrating hits needed to sink ship):
1 196 lbs / 542 Kg = 22,7 x 4,7 " / 120 mm shells or 0,5 torpedoes
Stability (Unstable if below 1.00): 1,01
Metacentric height 1,3 ft / 0,4 m
Roll period: 14,9 seconds
Steadiness - As gun platform (Average = 50 %): 49 %
- Recoil effect (Restricted arc if above 1.00): 0,41
Seaboat quality (Average = 1.00): 0,55
Hull form characteristics:
Hull has rise forward of midbreak,
a straight bulbous bow and small transom stern
Block coefficient (normal/deep): 0,511 / 0,525
Length to Beam Ratio: 10,55 : 1
'Natural speed' for length: 22,25 kts
Power going to wave formation at top speed: 67 %
Trim (Max stability = 0, Max steadiness = 100): 89
Bow angle (Positive = bow angles forward): 25,00 degrees
Stern overhang: 1,50 ft / 0,46 m
Freeboard (% = length of deck as a percentage of waterline length):
Fore end, Aft end
- Forecastle: 12,00%, 20,34 ft / 6,20 m, 18,04 ft / 5,50 m
- Forward deck: 24,00%, 18,04 ft / 5,50 m, 16,40 ft / 5,00 m
- Aft deck: 49,00%, 10,66 ft / 3,25 m, 10,66 ft / 3,25 m
- Quarter deck: 15,00%, 10,66 ft / 3,25 m, 10,66 ft / 3,25 m
- Average freeboard: 13,23 ft / 4,03 m
Ship tends to be wet forward
Ship space, strength and comments:
Space - Hull below water (magazines/engines, low = better): 158,1%
- Above water (accommodation/working, high = better): 123,3%
Waterplane Area: 12 225 Square feet or 1 136 Square metres
Displacement factor (Displacement / loading): 91%
Structure weight / hull surface area: 54 lbs/sq ft or 266 Kg/sq metre
Hull strength (Relative):
- Cross-sectional: 0,72
- Longitudinal: 0,91
- Overall: 0,73
Hull space for machinery, storage, compartmentation is cramped
Room for accommodation and workspaces is excellent
Caution: Lacks seaworthiness - very limited seakeeping ability
Batory-class battleships were built in British yards, 1895-99 (ORP Stefan Batory), 1896-99 (ORP Józef Poniatowski) and 1897-1901 (ORP Zygmunt August). Commissioned in January 1901, Zygmunt August visited USA as a part of her shakedown cruise.
During French War (June 1903-VIII 1904) Batory-class ships were the mostly employed in the defence of the coast of Commonwealth, together with other battleships, while cruisers were fighting a raider’s war against French cruisers and shipping.
In October of 1903 Polish Navy prepared a daring operation – sortie by entire fleet to strike French supply convoy from USA. While Stefan Batory and Józef Poniatowski were part of decoy force that operated in the North Sea, Zygmunt August was a flagship of rear admiral Brazauskas commanding 2nd Battle Squadron, part of a Strike Force. This force clashed with elements of French fleet protecting the convoy on 5th October 1903. In battle that ensued, the ship performed admirably, taking part in sinking of a battleship Magenta and detonating magazine of small armoured cruiser Dupetit-Thouars. She took only two hits in return, but unfortunately one of them, a 254mm shell from French cruiser Dupleix demolished bridge and killed majority of the staff including admiral Brazauskas.
Zygmunt August was refitted December 1903-March 1904, this made her unavailable the operations that led to Battle of Irbe Strait (25.01.1904). Her sisters, on the other hand, took a major part in fighting. While in tactical sense the battle was a draw, with two Polish and one French torpedo boat destroyers sunk and bunch of ships damaged, strategically damage and ammo depletion put an end to French plan of invasion on the coast of Courland. The only way this plan could succeed was to decisively defeat Commonwealth’s Navy and Battle of Irbe Strait shown that so far from bases French Navy is unable successfully project power against a demanding opponent.
Stefan Batory and Józef Poniatowski were refitted September 1904-January 1905 with upgraded fire control equipment.
With the arrival of British all big gun battleship Victorious and her sisters, closely followed by German battlecruisers of Von der Tann-class older ships became obsolete. To gather funds for ongoing construction of big gun battleships Tadeusz Kościuszko and Jakob Kettler many older ships, including Batory-class battleships, were mothballed in September 1910.
During Russian War Batory-class ships were pretty much obsolete but were still activated, and served mostly second line duties like training and gunnery support of land forces. In the initial part of the war Józef Poniatowski and Zygmunt August, operating from Tallinn seriously hampered Russian operations in Estonia. Stefan Batory, on the other hand, took part in a battle of Hiiumaa (28.06.1914) in the 2nd Battle Squadron. Despite being equipped only with obsolete fire control, she managed to deliver 8 main battery hits (out of 385 shells fired). Her secondary guns sank 500t DD Lichoi and damaged many other ships. She received 3 305mm hits and 3 180mm hits in return resulting in severe superstructure damage, and sending her to yard for the following two months.
In July 1915 Stefan Batory and Zygmunt August escorted by CL Aretuza and a pair of destroyers (Bitny and Dzielny) steamed to Trinidad where they reinforced protection of the island. Józef Poniatowski, while planned to take part in the operation, had to return due to condenser trouble. In 1916, as the war was drawing to a close, Caribbean Station ships began operations against Russian bases in Venezuela and finally covered the landings that forced Russian garrison to surrender.All ships of the class were retired in August 1916, in the aftermath of Russian war. Józef Poniatowski was almost immediately scrapped, Zygmunt August became gunnery target while Stefan Batory was disarmed and became hulk for Naval Aviation School in Parnawa, under the name ORP Aeronauta. During the German War school was bombed multiple times. She was lightly damaged by bombs of German Zeppelins on 15.07.1930 and 04.04.1931. Four months later, on 29.08.1931 Parnawa was attacked by long range bombers. Aeronauta was hit by 3 bombs that started fires while near misses opened her hull. She sank in shallow water and burned to the waterline. Remains were scrapped after the war.