Hunt continues for missing World War Two Polish submarine

The hunt for a Polish submarine that went missing during World War Two is to be resumed.

The Orzel was on patrol in the North Sea along with a Royal Navy patrol in 1940, but the submarine along with her 54 crew members disappeared and has never been recovered.

The submarine went missing just months after it had taken part in a daring escape mission as it fled from Estonia through Nazi and Soviet controlled waters to make it to the British coast. Once the Orzel arrived she was then sent back out with the Royal Navy to continue the naval battle against Nazi Germany in the Baltics.

The mystery of the Orzel has captured the imagination of people around the world and now a film and television series is set to tell the story of the Orzel and the search for the vessel.

This spring, the Chieftain fishing boat will depart from England with a team of Polish divers and underwater search equipment.

Many attempts to find the Orzel have been made of the years, however none have been successful.

The North Sea is notorious for housing the remains of thousands of ships and vessels sunk in both World War One and World War Two.

The search team is basing its operation on reports that the Orzel came under friendly fire and it accidently collided with an Allied mine.

The wrecks found under the North Sea are popular locations for fishermen since they provide excellent housing and breeding grounds for cod and ling fish. So the Chieftain’s crew are well-versed in seeking out the remains of old wrecks.

The crew are going to be using underwater vehicles and cameras to help identify the submarine should they find it.

The Orzel was originally stationed at Tallinn in Estonia, which was invaded and occupied by the Nazis. Under pressure from the Germans, the Estonian authorities were forced to begin dismantling the weaponry from its military vessels, but the captain of the Orzel managed to get the vessel out to sea before German troops could stop him and his crew, The Independent reports.

Even under heavy fire and searches by the German troops, the Orzel made it to the coast of Sweden. From there the crew had to plot their route by navigating lighthouses on the coastline, and then on into the North Sea and on to reach the Scottish coast after 44 days at sea.

The Orzel was the first Polish warship to successfully torpedo a German warship, the Rio de Janeiro, as the Nazis invaded Norway in 1940.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE