Polish Naval Memories of WWII









Antoni Piątek, Sub-Lieutenant

MGBs and MTBs of Coastal Forces

The war record of MGB 45, Polish S3, Wyzel, gives an example of the sort of war service carried out the small MGBs.Channel OperationsDuring the Second World War, the Polish Navy operated MGBs (motor gunboats) and MTBs (Motor torpedo boats) and patrol vessels. These small craft sailed out of small ports in the southwest to southeast of England by the end of the war in Europe. Much of Sub-Lieutenant Anton Piątek’s active war service was in MTBs as engineering officer and second in command.During a career spanning July 1940 – May 1943 MGB S3 sailed 11,285 miles in 251 days at sea. This figure is low because of the fire which severely damaged her and which caused the death of her commander in October 194o. Also the heavy stress and strain on the flimy wooden hull caused by the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines produced much wear and tear. S3 took part in 30 trials and 40 exercises and carried out 97 operational patrols (usually at night) in the English Channel. She encountered the enemy five times. Examples of her actions were:16th– 17th January 1942 – With Dutch manned MGB 43 surprised and attacked two large barges off Boulogne with depth charges and gun fire – claimed one kill.

14th-15th June – Sailed out of Dover with the flotilla to attack convoy – two enemy motor vessels destroyed but one British MGB lost and one severely damaged; harassed convoy inflicting more damage.

6th-7th August – Led by S2, commanded by Ppor Wciślicki (‘Whisky’) S3 and ten RN MTBs raided the enemy coast between Calais and Gravelines. A convoy escorted by two patrol vessels, six minesweepers, nine E or S boats and four AA ships was attacked. The Polish MGBs supported the MTB attacks with their artillery fire. Two German vessels were torpedoed and the Polish gunboats sank an E boat and damaged another. S2 was hit by Wciślicki managed to return to base.

8th-9th August – In company with MGB 41 and two MTBs S3 encountered two 1,500-ton vessels off Calais, escorted by “R” boats and armed trawlers – they attacked by no kills were claimed.

Source: Poles Apart: Polish Naval Memories of WWII by Martin Hazell


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