Friday, September 21, 2007

Daring Submarine Escapade brings Quote of the Week # 3

The fugitive submarine transported the captured Estonian guards to Sweden. There, the sub's acting CO provided the two with food and money for their safe return to Estonia, stating, if one is returning from the underworld, one should travel first class only.
- Lt.Cdr. Jan Grudziński VM DSO

UPDATE: Look for the movie, now in production - Submarine Orzel: The Underground Truth (2007) Documentary about the crew of the Polish submarine 'Orzel' who fought against long odds, without a captain, maps or navigational equipment, around the German seas. They became a symbol of freedom and a rebel against the Nazi's during the early days of WWII. Written by Wouter van Opdorp.

The lighthouse keeper in Gotland, Swedish island in the Baltic, last week rescued two castaways in a dinghy who had a tale to tell. ... After three days of lurking in the Baltic, mostly submerged, with the Soviet Navy angrily searching for them, the Orzel's men set their prisoners adrift in the night upon calm water, in sight of land. Monday, Oct. 02, 1939 Submarine v. Blockade

The incident occurred at the beginning of World War II. Prior to the start of hostilities, Polish submarine Orp Orzel had been on patrol in the Baltic Sea. Unable to return to Polish naval bases at Gdynia or Hel, Orzeł had to make its way into a neutral port to offload her ailing captain.

The Orzel proceeded to Tallinn, Estonia on September 14, 1939. At Germany's insistence, Estonian authorities interned the crew, confiscated their charts and began dismantling Orzel's armament. The crew elected to recapture the ORP Orzeł, escape from Tallinn and make their way to England.

Commanded by its former XO, Lt. Cdr. Jan Grudzinski VM DSO, Orzeł escaped on September 18, with two Estonian guards taken captive. Estonian and German press coverage of the Orzeł incident declared the guards slain, yet Grudzinski took measures to secure the guards safe passage to Estonia.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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