Sunday, 23 April 2017

Dutch shipyard trying to obtain naval orders from Poland in April-May 1934

Between 8 April-20 May 1934 made Mr. A. Smit a journey to the Russia, Estonia, Latonia and Poland as ordered by three of the Dutch major shipyards including his own yard of the Kon. Mij. De Schelde). The intention was to obtain orders from the navies of these countries.

After his arrival at Warsaw, Poland spoke Smit first the Dutch consul Pereboom and the representative Karsten. Karsten introduced him at the Polish Chief Material commodore Czernicki.(1) Czernicki made him clear that the negotiations with France for submarines and with Sweden for torpedo boats were in such advanced stage that tenders of other shipyards were not asked for unless the negotiation failed when trade was refused. Smit believed that the Dutch shipyards had hardly any chance in Poland now or in the future.(2) The only possibility he could imagine was building an own shipyard at Gdynia with guaranteed orders from the Polish cabinet. And to be honest he had hardly faith in such a guarantee.

Archive Kon. Mij. De Schelde 1875-1970 (Municipalty Archive Vlissingen, Netherlands) T 214.382.

1. Rear admiral Xawery Stanislaw Czernicki (16 October 1882 Giedejki, Russian Empre, nowadays Vilnius, Lithuania-March/April Katyn 1940) Polish engineer and to be considered as one of the founder of the logistical services within the Polish navy. Graduated at the Russian Imperial Naval Engineering School at Kronstadt lead engineer of the Gangut-class battleships Sevastopol and Petropavlovsk, since 1919 in the Polish navy and appointed as Chief of Technical Services and since 1932 Chief of Services and Deputy Commander of the Chief of Polish navy in the Ministry of Military Affairs.
2. Czernicki lead a commission which supervised the building of the submarines ORP Wilk (launched on 12 April 1929 by A.C. Augustin-Normand), Rys (launched on 22 April 1929 by A.C. de la Loire, Nantes) and Zbik (launched on 14 June 1931 by CNF) in France.
3. Smit could not have been more wrong with this prediction. A few years later were two submarines built in the Netherlands including the famous Orzel! She was even built by De Kon. Mij. De Schelde, Vlissingen, Netherlands. Laid down 14 August 1936, launched on 15 January 1938 and commissioned on 2 February 1939. All contacts with her were lost after 2 June 1940. She is still on patrol with her wreck still undiscovered just like the Dutch submarine Hr. Ms. O13, built by the same shipyard and disappeared at the same time.