MIH40066 ORP BURZA wz.44

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Wicher-class destroyer served in the Polish Navy during World War II. Two ships of this class were built for the Second Polish Republic by Chantiers Naval Francais during the late 1920s. They were modified versions of the Bourrasque-class destroyers built for the French Navy.

Regardless of the many drawbacks to the Wicher class, since the purchase was based on political, rather than military needs, the Polish authorities decided to continue on and have the destroyers built. Construction of each ship took four years, almost two years more than initially planned. The steam turbines were built in Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire in St.Nazaire, while the armament was mounted at the French marine arsenal in Cherbourg. The first ship was launched on July 10, 1928, but it was not until July 8, 1930, when she was finally commissioned by the Polish Navy in the Cherbourg harbour. She was named ORP Wicher ("gale"), in accordance with the French tradition of naming destroyers after meteorological phenomena. A week later she arrived at Gdynia and became the first modern ship of the Polish naval forces. The second ship of the class, ORO Burza ("storm"), was not finished until 1932, almost four years after the initial deadline.

ORP Wicher was sunk in the opening days of the Invasion of Poland in 1939. ORP Burza survived the war, became a museum ship and was eventually scrapped in 1977.

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