Saturday, 17 March 2018

The motor torpedo boats and submarines in the Polish navy according to a CIA report dated 23 January 1953

An item reported that the Polish navy possessed 2 motor torpedo boats and 9 submarine chasers (divided over 3 divisions) all of Soviet origin and except for small details similar. Dimensions were 24 x 4,5 x 1 metres. The armament consisted of 1-3,7cm gun, 2 Colt machineguns, 18 depth charges, 6 short infantry rifles, 6 machine pistols and 3 TT or Nagan pistols while the torpedo boats also possessed 2 torpedoes (each side one). The Colt machineguns protected by armour with a thickness of 0,5-1cm had an effective range of 4,5 kilometres. The canons had a range of 7 kilometres but were far from accurate as became clear in simulated attacks on submarines in 1951. The hit score was just 7 %. In comparable simulated attacks with depth charges and the canons on sea were buoys used for marking the positions. Although the crew was to number 16-22 men, in reality was due to the training of the men or the manoeuvres to be executed the number enlarged to 28-32 men. Each crew numbered 2 signal specialists for the communication on board of their own ship and with the other ships. Mostly were the vessels commanded by non-commissioned officers especially young 1st and 2nd lieutenants and of the major part belonging to the merchant marine officers and forced to serve in the navy as naval reserve officers. The machinery consisted of 3 Soviet manufactured very high octane gasoline fuelled aircraft engines which should allow a speed of around 30 knots but in reality was just a disappointing 15 knots. After the general overhaul in winter 1951-1952 was believed that the higher speed was possible especially after rumours suggested a fitting out with new German aircraft engines. Those engines were in large numbers available at Kameniec, Pomorski east of Swinoujscie/Swinemünde but this was not realized. After the Second World War were the engines purchased by Poland but never sold.

The report was published on, document number CIA-RDP82-00457R016000290007-0