Navy of PLK Commonwealth
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Author:  Archelaos [ March 27th, 2017, 2:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Navy of PLK Commonwealth


Full name: Rzeczpospolita (The Commonwealth)
Other names: Rzeczpospolita Czworga Narodów (Commonwealth of Four Nations)
In English usually called PLK Commonwealth, from Polish-Lithuanian-Cossack-Couron Commonwealth, an expanded form of original (pre 1849) English name Polish-Lituanian Commonwealth
Location: Central Europe
Capital: Warszawa (Warsaw)
Official languages: Polish, Ruthenian, Lithuanian, Malagasy
Constitution: 3 May 1791, major changes 3 May 1849
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
King is the head of state and commander in chief but Prime Minister is actual head of the government
Parliament of Commonwealth consist of Sejm (Lower House) and Senat (Upper House)
As of 1900 country is divided into 5 States, each governed by electable Grand Duke and each having own parliament.
-Crown (often simply called Poland)
-Grand Duchy of Lithuania
-Grand Duchy of Ruthenia
-Grand Duchy of Courland & Livonia
-Merina Monarchy (Madagascar) - ruled by local dynasty holding hereditary title of Grand Duke
Overseas territory of Trinidad has special status, being formally part of Courland & Livonia state.
Formation: 1791
Currency: Złoty Polski
Time zone: UTC+2 (Mainland), UTC+3 (Madagascar), UTC-4 (Trinidad)

Population history:
1800: 12 500 000
1850: 17 800 000
1900 33 400 000
1929 42 300 000
1934 41 800 000
1943 44 200 000
1949 40 600 000

Demographics (1900):
Polish 55%
Ruthenian 22%
Lithuanian 7%
Malagasy 6%
Latvian, German, Jews, and other 10%

History, real:

966AD Christianization of Poland
1385AD Union with Grand Duchy of Lithuania (personal union)
1569AD Union of Lublin (real union between Poland and Lithuania)
1648-1667 String of wars both internal (Chmielnicki Rebelion, Prussia) and external (Swedish, Russian and their minor allies) ruined the country, resulting in deaths of 1/3rd of the population, destruction of 188 cities and towns and 81 castles and extensive pillage of almost all lands.
1717 Silent Sejm – PLC becomes de facto protectorate of Russian Empire
1772 Partition of Commonwealth – Russia, Austria and Prussia annex large swaths of Commonwealth’s territory. Reforms are started.
1791 May the 3rd Constitution

History, AU:

Aftermath of May Constitution

Russian War 1792
Infuriated by her puppet declaring Constitution and enacting reforms Russian Empress Katherine the Great sends 100k army freed by end of war with of Ottoman Empire to pacify the Commonwealth. Lithuanian army is betrayed by its commander and allied Prussians never arrived. As result, the army was beaten badly. On the other hand in the South army under prince Poniatowski and Tadeusz Kościuszko perform successful fighting retreat towards Warsaw. There, on the suburb of Praga, Kościuszko made last stand on fortifications of his own project. For three days Russian troops were attacking. Finally in the afternoon of the third day Guards regiment managed to push defenders from one of the key positions. Desperate, Kościuszko sent in unit of peasant volunteers, armed with pikes and scythes, as there were too few muskets to arm them. Surprisingly, kosynierzy fell on Russian elites like tornado of fury and managed to recapture the position. Undaunted, Russian commanders renewed assault the next day. But as they were closing on the fortifications, a second Polish army, under the command of prince Poniatowski and composed of Crown army cavalry, remains of Lithuanian army and recent recruits fell on the back of Russian army. While not strong in numbers, this force first attacked units of Polish Targowica Traitors, that scattered at the mere sight, and then on depleted units of Russian infantry resting after assaulting in the earlier days. Cutting like hot knife through butter, they attacked hastily reforming Russian main line, but at this moment Kościuszko ordered general attack of his tired defenders. Bloodied kosynierzy were again on the forefront, cutting enemy troops like crops. Pressed from both sides and already demoralized by the carnage in the earlier days, Russian troops finally broke and fled, but Polish forces chased them for miles, before retiring to the battlefield.
Victory was completed when week later at Ostrołęka (North of Warsaw) last remaining corps of Russian troops was defeated and pushed into Prussian territory. But the most important resolution happened much farther in the East – upon hearing of the crushing defeat of her veteran army, Katherine died due to massive stroke. Paul Ist, who took the throne after her decided to retreat all troops from Poland, happy to be finally free from mother’s rule and impressed by Polish courage. Resulting peace had Russian Tsar maintain formal suzerainty over Polish king, but leaving Poles free hand in reforms, internal and external affairs, with exception of going against Russia in any war.
At this time Polish Navy was re-established, though initially only 2 sloops were bought in UK and some coastal vessels were constructed. Ships were based in ports in Lipawa and Windawa.

Early Napoleonic wars:

Throughout the period PLK government allowed Russian troops to march to Austria, as it was rightly assumed that when they are fighting and loosing men to Napoleon, they can't attack the Commonwealth. The peace held until 1806, when, following French victories over Prussian at Jena-Auerstadt Commonwealth joined Napoleonic Wars on the French side. One of the Polish armies marched towards Gdańsk (Danzig) retaking lands lost in 1772, while main forces faced off against Russians in Lithuania, where they were soundly defeated, and pushed towards Warsaw. There they were joined by forward units of Grande Armee. During rest of the campaign Polish army fought together with Napoleon’s army. After peace treaty in Dynenburg ended this phase of the war, series of reforms started in the Commonwealth, modelled on French ideas. Napoleon's impact on Poland was huge, including the Napoleonic legal code, the abolition of serfdom, and the introduction of modern middle class bureaucracies.
In 1809 reformed army of the Commonwealth soundly defeated Austrian forces sent against it and recaptured all the lands lost to Austria in the Partition 37 years prior. Small detachments were also sent to support French in their war in Spain, earning considerable fame. For example charge of the of regiment of Polish lancers at Somosierra became legendary. No smaller a feat was a defense of small castle at Fuengirola where around 450 Polish troops not only successfully repulsed attack by 4500 British and Spanish troops, but also pushed them to sea and captured their commander, Major General Lord Blayney, 5 guns, 300 muskets and a gunboat.

Late Napoleonic wars:

When Napoleon’s army marched on Moscow in 1812, it was supported by a corps of Polish troops, but the main forces of the Commonwealth attacked north-east and north along the Baltic and before winter managed to secure Ryga, Parnawa and fortresses in Dynenburg, Dorpat and Biały Kamień. When Napoleon began his retreat, Commonwealth forces were rushed towards Berezyna to cover the retreat. While they managed to stop advance of depleted Russian armies, it was already too late. Seeing the terrible state of Grandee Armee, and shocked by losses sustained by Polish forces attached to it as well as general weariness towards Napoleon’s goals, Kościuszko (Prime Minister) began negotiations with British delegates about joining VIth Coalition. The obvious problem were the lands controlled by the Commonwealth, which Russia and Prussia considered already their own, while Polish delegates claimed ancestral right of the Polish king to those areas. But as the Commonwealth managed to gather 160 000 strong, well trained and disciplined army that Coalition desperately needed, agreement was finally reached, after Russian and Prussian armies were again beaten at Lutzen. First Polish units reached allied army just in time to take part in battle at Bautzen, where they were critical in holding Ney’s cavalry and preventing total defeat. Armies of the Commonwealth fought together with the coalition all the way up to Waterloo, where Polish corps arrived just in time to support wavering British army. At Vienna in 1815 new European Peace was reached. Commonwealth was forced to surrender Pomerania back to Prussia, but managed to keep southern parts of the lands initially taken in the Partition. In the east, border with Russia was set on the Berezyna River, while Livonia was divided, with southern part, including Ryga, Wenden and Dynenburg remained in the Commonwealth. Gdańsk, formally stayed part of the Commonwealth but only as an autonomous city, also granting Prussia free trade there. Commonwealth managed also to obtain the colony of Trinidad from British against the protests of Kościuszko, who considered it’s slave based economy unethical. As result, abolition of slavery was soon passed, that initially damaged colony’s economy, but in the long run helped the development of the island.
As the country now needed fleet to maintain contact with the colony, Navy was expanded. Ships were initially bought from British, Swedish and USA yards, but soon new, yards were established in coastal cities of the Commonwealth.
After Britain passed anti-slavery laws, Commonwealth vessels based in Trinidad joined the patrols. Not much later, trading mission was established on Madagascar, continuing on the footsteps of count Maurice Beniowski, a post that soon grown into fortified city.

First French war 1883-4

Second French War 1903-04

Alliance with Germany and Russian War 1914-16

Austrian Wars 1921-22, 1925

German War (1930-33)

Base for this AU is a playtrough from Rule the Waves game link with my mod mod adding PLKC to the game.

some additional info needed until I fill the history section above and add images:

In 1900 Poland is a constitutional monarchy, and her Navy is a pride of nation, though facing major financial dificulties due to Army eating majority of defence budget. Poland is a pioneer in use of oil (obtained from the fields in Karpaty mountains), submarine construction (lead by Stefan Drzewiecki) and light forces, well suited to the Baltic. Majority of large warships are constructed abroad.

Flag is Red-White-Red with a shield in the center bearing badges of Poland (eagle), Lithuania (rider) and Cossack (archangel). While it looks very much like AH flag, it is accurate flag of Poland from XVIIth century (minus archangel, that was added during uprisings in XIXth century), besides I thought it represents better three parts of Commonwealth than other options - red or white-red.

Author:  Archelaos [ March 27th, 2017, 2:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Navy of PLK Commonwealth

ORP Praga and it's history is a part of a different timeline than rest of AU ships (earlier playthrough) !

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ORP Praga in a splinter camouflage from the winter of 1923-24, just before the Miracle of Gotland.

ORP Praga and her sister ship ORP Dubienka were built in John Brown Shipyard in UK. Laid down in 1907 and completed in 1909 and 1910, ORP Praga arrived just in time to take part in war with France. Many historian believe it was appearance of this mighty warship, and more precisely, a string of victories and sunk ships caused by her, that broke French will to fight. Of the most interest is the Battle of Dogger Bank (1910), where she sank a pair of French pre-dreadnoughts. During and after the war she was the flagship of Commonwealth's Navy, even when more modern OORP Kircholm and Grunwald were commissioned. Later, ships of this class took part in war with Russian Empire, helping to break strong Baltic Navy in battles of Hiiumaa and Gotland (1918) and block remains in Kronstadt and ports of Finland. Soon after the war ended, both Praga-class ships were sent to John Brown for a major refit, including instalation of newest directors, includnig director for secondary battery, increasing main gun elevation and more modern superstructure. After return both ships were placed in reserve.

Reactivated two years later, they took part in the War of Coalition against France (1923-26). As both larger BCs were sent to support allies in colonies, Praga and Dubienka were entrusted with defense of Baltic and their crews fulfilled this task with greatest dedication, clashing with French ships on multiple occasions. Definitely most notable of them was Second battle of Gotland (also known as Miracle of Gotland, 11-02-24). In this battle two Praga-class ships supported by a pair of Wilno-class light cruisers clashed with 3 French battlecruisers, 2 39k ton Rouen and Nancy, and 29k ton Marseille. Unable to retreat, as they were distant cover of extremely important convoy (and being 2 knots slower than French ships) Admiral Ramius’s ships crossed the T of enemy squadron. In an incredible show of gunnery, Praga and Dubienka riddled French with tens of 13in hits, taking 8 (Dubienka) and 4 (Praga) 14in hits in return. Rouen and Marseille sunk while Nancy managed to slip into falling darkness and return home. On Polish side Dubienka was severely damaged, with devastated superstructure and front turret. What’s more, on the approaches to Lipawa, she was torpedoed by French submarine, and spent 3 months in repair.

Basic stats, game design recreated in springsharp

19 008 t light; 20 083 t standard; 21 318 t normal; 22 307 t full load

Dimensions: Length (overall / waterline) x beam x draught (normal/deep)
(613,52 ft / 610,24 ft) x 85,30 ft x (27,89 / 28,87 ft)
(187,00 m / 186,00 m) x 26,00 m x (8,50 / 8,80 m)

6 - 13,00"/330 mm 45,0 cal guns, 140 per gun
16 - 5,00"/127 mm 42,0 cal guns, 200 per gun
4 – 12-pdr/76,2 mm 45,0 cal HA guns, 400 per gun
8 – 2-pdr/39,0 mm 40,0 cal AA guns, 400 per gun

Weight of broadside 7 723 lbs / 3 503 kg

Main Torpedoes
2 - 18,0" / 457 mm, in submerged side tubes, 2 reloads each

Belt: 10,0"/254 mm - 3,50"/89 mm, Deck: 2,50"/64mm with 64mm slopes, Turrets: 10,5"/267 mm – 3"/76 mm, Barbettes: 10,5"/267 mm, CT: 12,00"/305 mm, Casemates: 3,50"/89 mm - 2,00"/51 mm, torpedo bulkhead 0,79"/20mm, TPS width 3m.

Oil fired boilers, steam turbines,
Direct drive, 4 shafts, 61 027 shp / 45 526 Kw = 26,00 kts
Range 5 000nm at 12,00 kts

Complement: 881 - 1 146

Good seaboat, rides out heavy weather easily, Ship tends to be wet forward

Author:  RegiaMarina1939 [ March 27th, 2017, 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Navy of PLK Commonwealth

Regarding your ship, that's quite a bright color scheme. Also, about crediting, you don't have to put the "with parts from" in there. Just put traditional crediting as per the usual template:

(Hood, Jabba, Wakazashi, Archelaos)

Always list original artists names before your own if you use their work.

Author:  Archelaos [ July 26th, 2018, 10:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Navy of PLK Commonwealth

Main timeline ships start here

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ORP Kamieniec was laid down in August 1912 in Vickers shipyard in Barrow. A first modern multi-purpose light cruiser of the PLKC Navy, she was later used as a prototype for two ships of very similar class built in home ports - Vickers-Ventspils (ORP Zbaraz) and Royal Naval Yard in Ryga (ORP Bar). All ships were named after the historical fortresses of South-Eastern Commonwealth border.

Finished in March 1914, she arrived just in time to allow crew a bit of workup time before war with Russian Empire erupted in May 1914. As most modern cruiser in PLKC Navy and first designed for minelaying operations (though 5 Wilno-Class cruiser were refitted to carry mines in 1912) she became workhorse of hit and run warfare that characterised first part of the conflict. Minefields placed by Polish cruisers in Gulf of Finland were responsible for sinking of 15000t battleship Imperator Aleksandr II, 5200t 2nd class cruiser Izmrud and 500t destroyer Metki, along with an AMC and multiple merchant ships. She took part in the largest naval battle of the war, at Cape Kopu (1-3 September 1915) where she was scouting for 1st Scout Division (BC's Kircholm and Chocim) and so was the first to spot Russian Fleet. She also took part in a major sweep on 20 February 1916 that resulted in inconclusive clash.

With the war end in July 1916, a period of peace service followed. During training cruises Kamieniec visited many European ports as well as Maracaibo in Venezuela, Trinidad, Rhodes and Madagascar. The ship was refitted XI.16-II.17 - equipped with rudimentary director and deck mounted torpedo tubes at the cost of loosing pair of 100mm guns, while underwater torpedo tubes were plated over.
During 1st Austrian War (VII.21-VI.22), Kamieniec was part of Home Fleet. She spent time patrolling Polish waters and laying defensive minefields. On 19th August 1921 she fought in a battle of Ventspils (Windawa) against Austrian squadron composed of CLs Bellona and Taurus. Initially fighting against lone Bellona, she sank her without major damage, but when Taurus arrived with destroyers she was damaged and forced to retire under the cover of coastal batteries, by very accurate austrian fire. While Taurus was hit only twice, those two hits incurred major flooding and engine damage, forcing Austrian commander to seek refuge in Konigsberg, where she was interned.

In the 2nd Austrian war (VII.25-XI.25) she served in the same duties as earlier, without major action. In March 1926 she, along with other two ships of her class was mothballed in preparation for upcoming refit. Finally reconstructed VII.26-II.27 - Guns removed and replaced with new model, with better range and penetration, while superstructure was replaced with more modern looking one, allowing placement of the guns in superfiring positions on bow and stern. Twin torpedo launchers were replaced with triples, new director was fitted and 2 single 40mm AA guns were added.
Refitted again just two years later (IV-VI.29) with newest director.

In the early thirties (1930-33) all three ships of the class took part in a war with Germany, serving mostly in colonial stations - Rhodes, Madagascar, Caribbean and taking part in the invasion of German East Africa. As of 1934 they are still operating overseas.

ORP Kamieniec, PLK Commonwealth light cruiser laid down 1912

4 137 t light; 4 333 t standard; 5 000 t normal; 5 534 t full load

Dimensions: Length (overall / waterline) x beam x draught (normal/deep)
(449,48 ft / 442,91 ft) x 45,93 ft x (16,40 / 17,75 ft)
(137,00 m / 135,00 m) x 14,00 m x (5,00 / 5,41 m)

6 - 6,00" / 152 mm 45,0 cal guns - 108,92lbs / 49,41kg shells, 160 per gun
Breech loading guns in deck and hoist mounts, 1912 Model
4 x Single mounts on centreline, evenly spread
2 raised mounts
2 x Single mounts on sides, forward deck aft
6 - 4,00" / 100 mm 45,0 cal guns - 32,27lbs / 14,64kg shells, 300 per gun
Quick firing guns in deck mounts, 1912 Model
6 x Single mounts on sides, evenly spread
Weight of broadside 847 lbs / 384 kg
2 - 18,0" / 457 mm, 16,73 ft / 5,10 m torpedoes - 0,815 t each, 1,630 t total
In 2 sets of submerged side tubes
4 - 18,0" / 457 mm, 16,73 ft / 5,10 m torpedoes - 0,815 t each, 3,260 t total
In 2 sets of below water reloads
50 - mines

- Belts: Width (max) Length (avg) Height (avg)
Main: 2,50" / 64 mm 287,89 ft / 87,75 m 11,42 ft / 3,48 m
Ends: 1,00" / 25 mm 154,99 ft / 47,24 m 8,53 ft / 2,60 m
Upper: 1,00" / 25 mm 287,89 ft / 87,75 m 8,20 ft / 2,50 m
Main Belt covers 100% of normal length
- Gun armour: Face (max) Other gunhouse (avg) Barbette/hoist (max)
Main: 2,00" / 51 mm 1,00" / 25 mm 2,00" / 51 mm
- Protected deck - single deck: 1,50" / 38 mm For and Aft decks
- Conning towers: Forward 4,00" / 102 mm, Aft 0,00" / 0 mm

Oil fired boilers, steam turbines,
Direct drive, 2 shafts, 31 688 shp / 23 639 Kw = 27,00 kts
Range 5 200nm at 15,00 kts
Bunker at max displacement = 1 201 tons

296 - 386

Overall survivability and seakeeping ability:
Survivability (Non-critical penetrating hits needed to sink ship):
6 245 lbs / 2 833 Kg = 57,8 x 6,0 " / 152 mm shells or 1,1 torpedoes
Stability (Unstable if below 1.00): 1,16
Metacentric height 2,1 ft / 0,6 m
Roll period: 13,4 seconds
Steadiness - As gun platform (Average = 50 %): 63 %
- Recoil effect (Restricted arc if above 1.00): 0,51
Seaboat quality (Average = 1.00): 1,23

Hull space for machinery, storage, compartmentation is adequate
Room for accommodation and workspaces is excellent
Good seaboat, rides out heavy weather easily

Author:  Archelaos [ July 29th, 2018, 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Navy of PLK Commonwealth

Ship as it appeared in early stages of Russian War.

Experimental 1915 camouflage Baltic Pattern 15.1 commonly known as "art deco"

[ img ]

New camo pattern introduced in late 1915 (Baltic Pattern 15.2)

[ img ]

ORP Kamieniec as it appeared during Battle of Ventspils (19th August 1921) where she sank Austro-Hungarian cruiser SMS Bellona and crippled SMS Taurus, while receiving multiple 6in hits that sent her to repairs for over a month.

The ship has changes from 1917 refit - director on a platform on forward mast (rebuilt to support it's weight), added 2 twin 457mm torpedo tubes in deck mounts (underwater tubes permanently closed), a pair of 10cm guns removed.

Camo is Baltic Splinter Pattern 20.2

[ img ]

Version after 2nd and 3rd Refit (1927 and 1929).

Camouflage from the early stages of war against Germany, operating from bases on Madagascar.

Ship as it appeared after 1927 reconstruction and 1929 refit: enlarged superstructure, mast with fighting top, two main battery directors, 15cm guns moved to superfiring positions on bow and stern, new, triple torpedo tubes and 10cm guns replaced with new HA variant. Pair of British 2pdr AA guns were also added bridge wings. All those changes forced reduction in the number of mines carried as well as fitting of new gun shields with reduced armour (from 50mm to 25mm).

Camo is Overseas Pattern 29.1

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Ship as it appeared during late stages of war against Germany, protecting trade and hunting raiders on the Indian Ocean.

Camo is Overseas Pattern 32.1

[ img ]

Author:  JSB [ July 29th, 2018, 10:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Navy of PLK Commonwealth

Nice CL,
I would ask why not remove the mines for the last one, if she is a convoy escort or any raider?

Would she be better with a third funnel?

Just a quick SS sim suggest your engines are 73m long? Ie most of your belt is engines? This is sensible for such a fast light cruiser with 6x6" single guns your mags will be small in comparison.

How much of the 73m is going to be BR v ER? and do your funnels come back sufficiently far to cover all the boilers (and BRs) you might need? I might swap in a third funnel after Q gun and force the forward funnel as far to the bridge as possible?

Author:  Colosseum [ July 29th, 2018, 10:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Navy of PLK Commonwealth

Cool stuff!

Author:  Shigure [ July 30th, 2018, 4:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Navy of PLK Commonwealth

Looks very nice!

Author:  Archelaos [ July 30th, 2018, 8:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Navy of PLK Commonwealth

JSB wrote: *
Nice CL,
1. I would ask why not remove the mines for the last one, if she is a convoy escort or any raider?

2. Would she be better with a third funnel?

Just a quick SS sim suggest your engines are 73m long? Ie most of your belt is engines? This is sensible for such a fast light cruiser with 6x6" single guns your mags will be small in comparison.

How much of the 73m is going to be BR v ER? and do your funnels come back sufficiently far to cover all the boilers (and BRs) you might need? I might swap in a third funnel after Q gun and force the forward funnel as far to the bridge as possible?
Thanks for comments!

1. You are probably right, I kept the mines as the ship is capable of carrying them, but in declared role she would not carry them very often.

My battle history cuts off at 1929 as unfortunately I stopped taking notes around that date and as I played this particular game few months ago, I do not remember what happened in German War. I only have a list of ships sunk with date, cause and general area and a list of ships in service in I 1934, where I have a save (war ended 12.1933).

For example I remember that one of my CLs destroyed a German convoy south of Madagascar during my invasion of German East Africa, but have no idea which one...

2. I compared her with HMS Caroline, same era, similar size, oil firing CL and my "funnel base" is just a meter shorter (19 to 20m / 62,5 to 65ft). German cruisers had stacks spaced much further, but they were coal firers. In fact, what you suggest (funnel behind Q gun) would create almost identical funnel spacing as on SMS Wiesbaden.
Caroline indeed has 3 funnels, but they are much smaller, while I chose bigger (mostly for artistic reasons).

PLKC has direct access to oil from fields north of Carpathia mountains like Drohobyh, Borysław or Stanisławów, so I use oil firing for my ships.

My next CL, Lipawa class will be a three stacker :D, though I have to draw her first - next posted will be a battleship and a pair of DDs.

Author:  Archelaos [ August 3rd, 2018, 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Navy of PLK Commonwealth

ORP Stefan Batory
[ img ]

Batory-class battleships were built in British yards, 1895-99 (ORP Stefan Batory), 1896-99 (ORP Józef Poniatowski) and 1897-1901 (ORP Zygmunt August). Commissioned in January 1901, Zygmunt August visited USA as a part of her shakedown cruise.

During French War (June 1903-VIII 1904) Batory-class ships were the mostly employed in the defence of the coast of Commonwealth, together with other battleships, while cruisers were fighting a raider’s war against French cruisers and shipping.

In October of 1903 Polish Navy prepared a daring operation – sortie by entire fleet to strike French supply convoy from USA. While Stefan Batory and Józef Poniatowski were part of decoy force that operated in the North Sea, Zygmunt August was a flagship of rear admiral Brazauskas commanding 2nd Battle Squadron, part of a Strike Force. This force clashed with elements of French fleet protecting the convoy on 5th October 1903. In battle that ensued, the ship performed admirably, taking part in sinking of a battleship Magenta and detonating magazine of small armoured cruiser Dupetit-Thouars. She took only two hits in return, but unfortunately one of them, a 254mm shell from French cruiser Dupleix demolished bridge and killed majority of the staff including admiral Brazauskas.

Zygmunt August was refitted December 1903-March 1904, this made her unavailable the operations that led to Battle of Irbe Strait (25.01.1904). Her sisters, on the other hand, took a major part in fighting. While in tactical sense the battle was a draw, with two Polish and one French torpedo boat destroyers sunk and bunch of ships damaged, strategically damage and ammo depletion put an end to French plan of invasion on the coast of Courland. The only way this plan could succeed was to decisively defeat Commonwealth’s Navy and Battle of Irbe Strait shown that so far from bases French Navy is unable successfully project power against a demanding opponent.

Stefan Batory and Józef Poniatowski were refitted September 1904-January 1905 with upgraded fire control equipment.

With the arrival of British all big gun battleship Victorious and her sisters, closely followed by German battlecruisers of Von der Tann-class older ships became obsolete. To gather funds for ongoing construction of big gun battleships Tadeusz Kościuszko and Jakob Kettler many older ships, including Batory-class battleships, were mothballed in September 1910.

During Russian War Batory-class ships were pretty much obsolete but were still activated, and served mostly second line duties like training and gunnery support of land forces. In the initial part of the war Józef Poniatowski and Zygmunt August, operating from Tallinn seriously hampered Russian operations in Estonia. Stefan Batory, on the other hand, took part in a battle of Hiiumaa (28.06.1914) in the 2nd Battle Squadron. Despite being equipped only with obsolete fire control, she managed to deliver 8 main battery hits (out of 385 shells fired). Her secondary guns sank 500t DD Lichoi and damaged many other ships. She received 3 305mm hits and 3 180mm hits in return resulting in severe superstructure damage, and sending her to yard for the following two months.

In July 1915 Stefan Batory and Zygmunt August escorted by CL Aretuza and a pair of destroyers (Bitny and Dzielny) steamed to Trinidad where they reinforced protection of the island. Józef Poniatowski, while planned to take part in the operation, had to return due to condenser trouble. In 1916, as the war was drawing to a close, Caribbean Station ships began operations against Russian bases in Venezuela and finally covered the landings that forced Russian garrison to surrender.

All ships of the class were retired in August 1916, in the aftermath of Russian war. Józef Poniatowski was almost immediately scrapped, Zygmunt August became gunnery target while Stefan Batory was disarmed and became hulk for Naval Aviation School in Parnawa, under the name ORP Aeronauta. During the German War school was bombed multiple times. She was lightly damaged by bombs of German Zeppelins on 15.07.1930 and 04.04.1931. Four months later, on 29.08.1931 Parnawa was attacked by long range bombers. Aeronauta was hit by 3 bombs that started fires while near misses opened her hull. She sank in shallow water and burned to the waterline. Remains were scrapped after the war.

Stefan Batory, PLK Commonwealth Battleship laid down 1895

10 296 t light; 10 974 t standard; 12 100 t normal; 13 001 t full load

Dimensions: Length (overall / waterline) x beam x draught (normal/deep)
(398,95 ft / 387,14 ft) x 66,93 ft x (26,90 / 28,56 ft)
(121,60 m / 118,00 m) x 20,40 m x (8,20 / 8,70 m)

4 - 11,02" / 280 mm 40,0 cal guns - 641,94lbs / 291,18kg shells, 125 per gun
Breech loading guns in turret on barbette mounts, 1895 Model
2 x 2-gun mounts on centreline ends, evenly spread
1 raised mount - superfiring
18 - 5,91" / 150 mm 45,0 cal guns - 103,86lbs / 47,11kg shells, 200 per gun
Quick firing guns in casemate mounts, 1895 Model
18 x Single mounts on sides, evenly spread
4 hull mounts in casemates- Limited use in heavy seas
8 - 3,94" / 100,0 mm 45,0 cal guns - 30,77lbs / 13,96kg shells, 300 per gun
Quick firing guns in casemate mounts, 1895 Model
8 x Single mounts on sides, evenly spread
4 hull mounts in casemates- Limited use in heavy seas
6 - 2,24" / 57,0 mm 45,0 cal guns - 5,70lbs / 2,58kg shells, 300 per gun
Quick firing guns in deck mounts, 1895 Model
6 x Single mounts on sides, evenly spread
6 raised mounts
Weight of broadside 4 718 lbs / 2 140 kg
2 - 18,0" / 457 mm, 16,73 ft / 5,10 m torpedoes - 0,511 t each, 1,023 t total
In 2 sets of submerged side tubes
4 - 18,0" / 457 mm, 16,73 ft / 5,10 m torpedoes - 0,511 t each, 2,045 t total
In 2 sets of below water reloads

- Belts: Width (max) Length (avg) Height (avg)
Main: 9,84" / 250 mm 218,74 ft / 66,67 m 13,12 ft / 4,00 m
Ends: 3,54" / 90 mm 168,24 ft / 51,28 m 9,72 ft / 2,96 m
Upper: 3,54" / 90 mm 251,55 ft / 76,67 m 8,00 ft / 2,44 m
Main Belt covers 87% of normal length

- Gun armour: Face (max) Other gunhouse (avg) Barbette/hoist (max)
Main: 9,84" / 250 mm 5,00" / 127 mm 9,84" / 250 mm
2nd: 3,15" / 80 mm 2,00" / 51 mm 2,00" / 51 mm

- Protected deck - single deck: 1,57" / 40 mm For and Aft decks
Forecastle: 0,98" / 25 mm Quarter deck: 0,98" / 25 mm

- Conning towers: Forward 9,84" / 250 mm, Aft 0,00" / 0 mm

Coal fired boilers, complex reciprocating steam engines,
Direct drive, 2 shafts, 12 593 ihp / 9 395 Kw = 18,00 kts
Range 6 800nm at 10,00 kts
Bunker at max displacement = 2 027 tons (100% coal)

576 - 749

Overall survivability and seakeeping ability:
Survivability (Non-critical penetrating hits needed to sink ship):
14 615 lbs / 6 629 Kg = 21,8 x 11,0 " / 280 mm shells or 2,0 torpedoes
Stability (Unstable if below 1.00): 1,16
Metacentric height 3,6 ft / 1,1 m
Roll period: 14,7 seconds
Steadiness - As gun platform (Average = 50 %): 94 %
- Recoil effect (Restricted arc if above 1.00): 0,99
Seaboat quality (Average = 1.00): 1,84

Ship tends to be wet forward
Hull space for machinery, storage, compartmentation is adequate
Room for accommodation and workspaces is excellent
Ship has slow, easy roll, a good, steady gun platform
Excellent seaboat, comfortable, can fire her guns in the heaviest weather

ORP Zygmunt August her wartime paint from the Battle of Brest (05.10.1903). Coloured stripe on the after funnel is an experimental distinguishing mark for flagship of 2nd Battle Squadron. As it was not very successful, idea was soon abandoned.

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ORP Aeronauta, hulk of Naval Aviation School in Parnawa. Painted in disruptive camo at the onset of German War (1930-33) and soon armed with strong AA guns to serve as additional port defence. Bombed and sunk on 29.08.1931

Refit XI.1916-IV. 1917:
-2x2 280mm, 18x1 150mm, 8x1 100mm and 2x18 underwater torpedo tubes, engines removed
+2x1 100mm HA, 3x3 30mm AA, 1x1 57mm AA

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