An abandoned piece of German construction still stands today off the coast of Poland, near the town of Gdynia. The structure, which sits on the shallow sea bed, was used by the Germans for testing torpedoes during WWII. Although it is now slowly collapsing, the complex remains a popular destination among beachgoers and urban explorers.
The testing center was erected 300-400 meters off the coast near the Polish city of Gdynia by the Germans in 1942 when the location was under German control. In 1939 Adolf Hitler visited the city of Gdynia and declared its name unacceptable because of its Slavic origins. As a result, it was renamed Gotenhafen.
In 1940, the Germans began the construction of a torpedo testing facility in Puck Bay. Two main platforms would eventually be built, with Torpedownia being the most well-known.
It was known as Torpedowaffenplatz Hexengrund to the Nazis at the time, but it was later named Torpedownia by the Polish. About 3 miles away sits the second platform that was part of the same torpedo testing facility, called Formoza. The two platforms operated separately but were connected via a train line on the coast.
The research facilities were in operation until 1945 and were used by the German Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe. Formoza was primarily used by the Kriegsmarine, while Torpedownia was used by the Luftwaffe, beginning operations in 1942.
Torpedoes were aimed towards the Hel Peninsula that darted out into the Baltic Sea. After they were fired, they would be collected by vessels in Puck Bay and returned to the platforms to be examined.
The facilities were crucial to the German development of torpedoes, as they had previously relied heavily on imported designs.
Torpedownia featured engineering and assembly rooms, an observation tower, and torpedo launch shafts. During the war, a pier extended from the coast to the platform to enable access.
With the Red Army rapidly approaching, German forces evacuated the area in March and April of 1945, which subsequently fell under Soviet control.
After the war, Soviet forces dismantled the equipment within the research facilities and transported it back to the USSR, where it was likely never used again. Shortly after, Soviets blasted away the section of the pier connected to Torpedownia, to deny access to unwanted visitors. The rest of the pier was demolished in the 1990s, the foundations of which can still be seen today.
Formoza continued to be used for the next several decades by the Soviet military for research and training divers.
In more recent years, the Polish military used the location as a base for training their elite special forces divers, who are called the Formoza, after the facility. It is still in use with the military.
Today, the abandoned and dilapidated Torpedownia remains an intriguing site just a few hundred meters from the nearby beach. While it is unguarded and easily accessible, the structure is in a poor state, and is at risk of collapsing.