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Gdynia 2004-11-28 09:11
86 years of the Polish Navy

"On the 28th of November 1918 I order to form the Polish Navy, I nominate Navy Colonel Bogumił NOWOTNY the Chief of Navy Section at the Military Affairs Ministry"
       Józef Piłsudski

Seventeen days after Poland had regained its independence Marshal Józef PIŁSUDSKI, with his decree from the 28th of November 1918, ordered to form the Polish Navy. Thus the creation of the Polish naval forces as an organizational structure began. The main event of this year's Polish Navy anniversary ceremonies was the naming of a new submarine the ORP "KONDOR".
On the 28th of November 1918, in the reborn Poland, the creation of the naval forces began. In the period between the Wars the Polish Navy have created its own organization, built new ships, formed staffs and services, as well as organized it own officers and petty officers corps and training centers. The development of the fleet was interrupted for a short period of time by the outbreak of the World War II.

The Polish ships have participated continuously in the combat operations from the first to the last day of the War and have contributed significantly to the final victory. The ships made for the only independent Polish territory and they allowed for the persistence of Poland and its armed force at sea. During the World War II the Polish ships have sailed total twelve hundred thousands nautical miles, escorted 787 convoys, conducted 1162 patrols and combat operations, destroyed 45 enemy units and 20 aircraft. 450 seamen lost their lives in action.

After the War the Polish Navy, although basing to a great degree on equipment and armament Soviet made or received from the allied contingent, developed the fleet using national shipbuilding industry.

After political changes of the turn of the 80-ties and of the defense strategy the Polish Navy intensified the cooperation with the allied fleets, mainly under the auspices of the Partnership for Peace program. Two ships in the Desert Storm operation – hospital ship ORP "Wodnik" and rescue ship ORP "Piast" were first units to participate in allied operations after the WWII. Later came US BALTOPS 1993 in the Baltic as an example of our contribution even before the PfP program came really into existence which in fact initiated our armed forces` being a party to a common cause. The exercised conducted later under the PfP auspices were gradually arranged as more and more complex and with greater diversity in episodes or serials. On the first day of the membership the Polish Navy accomplished all requirements imposed by the agreements undersigned by the Polish Government and the Alliance i.e. personnel training and the procedures applied by the NATO forces and preparation of a Polish contingent to operate within the Quick Response Forces.
Years of preparations resulted directly after accession in an effective PN participation in German-Polish missile ships exercises carried out in accordance with NATO procedures. And beginning on the 12th of March 1999 Polish ships and aircraft operated statistically 217 times in various international exercises, in which 47 times during the first year of membership. The Gdynia Naval Base hosted a submarine allied exercise "Cooperative Poseidon" in 1999 and in November the same year the Polish Navy was for the first time the organizer and coordinator of another submarine exercise codename "Baltic Porpoise". We have designated over forty ships in the Rapid and Immediate Forces and the Center of Naval Operations to the NATO command structure.

In order to maintain allied standards we have introduced two "Oliver Hazard Perry" missile frigates (ORP "Gen. K. Pulaski" and ORP " Gen. T. Kosciuszko") and three new subs – ORP "Sokol", "Sep" and "Bielik" (meaning birds of prey).Other new units are the logistic support ship ORP "Kontradmiral X. Czernicki", who took part in 2003 in the Iraqi mission. The Polish Navy Shipyard in Gdynia commenced construction of a multitask corvette. Three MCM units and two rescue/salvage ships as well as the "Kilo" class submarine ORP "Orzel" (yet another bird of prey, meaning "Eagle") have been modernized. Last but not least one has to mention modernization of transport ships with mine-laying capabilities plus missile ships "Orkan" class. The Polish naval air arm has introduced modernized "Bryza" class MPAs - also fitted to the standard of a transport (paratroopers) aircraft, and of an environment monitoring aircraft, They have also acquired new "Anakonda" SAR helicopters, second hand SH-2G Sea Sprite ASW helicopters organic to the missile frigates, modernized transport helicopters (Mi-17) and ASW helicopters (Mi-14 PŁ). New C3I systems have also been acquired. and implemented.

The most important task for the Polish Navy after the accession was to prepare and detach the ships to the standing NATO naval forces – Mine-counter-Measures Forces North (MCMFORNORTH) and Standing Naval Forces Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT), operating in the North Atlantic. Three MCM vessels already two years ago commenced service in the MCMFORNORTH, and one "Oliver Hazard Perry" missile frigate is being prepared to participate in the SNFL, rotated by another one in the future

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