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Missile Boat „Gdynia”

ORP Gdynia, hull number 423, was the third Polish ship with this name. She was one of the Soviet Project 205 missile boats (NATO reporting name “Osa I”). The Project 205 boats were initially classified as small missile cutters. For a long time, all information about them was classified. At first, a different system of hull numbers was used and the numbers often changed.

ORP Gdynia was one of over 400 small attack boats produced from 1950s to 1980s in Leningrad, Vladivostok and Rybinsk. The 205 missile cutter, planned as a carrier of P-15 guided anti-ship missiles used during the Arab-Israeli War in 1967 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, was designed in the Leningrad based Central Design Bureau (CDB-5). The cutters were produced on license also by China and North Korea. The introduction of modernised P-15U missiles with folding wings triggered the construction of the project 205U cutters (“Osa-II”) with smaller tube-shaped launchers. The last modification was the introduction of P-15M (P-20) missiles in the 1970s. Apart from the Polish Navy and the Soviet Navy, these small missile boats were also used in the fleet of Algeria, Angola, Benin, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, German Democratic Republic, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Romania, Somalia, Syria, Vietnam, Yemen and Yugoslavia.

When the decision about introducing missile armament was made, Poland purchased 13 Project 205 missile boats at the beginning of the 1960s. The ships entered service in the years 1964–1975. They were named after the Polish Baltic ports. Initially they belonged to the 3rd Torpedo Boat Brigade and from 1971 to the 3rd Flotilla of Ships.

Over the years, the ships lost their combat value. Their decommissioning began in 1984 and finished in 2006 with the last two vessels being removed from the fleet. In 2008, a decision was made to keep OPR Władysławowo in the Museum of Polish Arms, from where in 2010 it was towed to Kołobrzeg and placed on land as a showpiece of the marine open air museum.

ORP Gdynia was built in the Rybinsk Shipyard. She was the third boat of this type in Poland. On 7 September 1965, she entered service in the 3rd Torpedo Boat Division of the 3rd Torpedo Boat Brigade in Gdynia. From 1971 until decommissioning from the Navy, she belonged to the 2nd Missile Torpedo Boat Squadron of the 3rd Flotilla of Ships in Gdynia. In November 1989, she was reclassified into a patrol boat with hull number 301, retaining her former name, and in June 1991 she was transferred to the Maritime Regional Unit of Border Guard as one of three boats of this type. In the same year, she was refurbished, with her main weapons removed and replaced with a 25-mm 2M-3M twin naval gun. Registered subsequently as „SG-301”, the boat was in service until 1 March 1995, first in the Pomorski Vessel Squadron of the Maritime Regional Unit of Border Guard in Świnoujście and then in the Kaszubski Vessel Squadron in Gdańsk.

The commanders of ORP Gdynia included two future commanders of the Polish Navy, namely, Lieutenant Romuald Waga and Lieutenant JG Ryszard Łukasik, as well as Lieutenant Jan Dziżyński, Lieutenant Henryk Grunert, Lieutenant JG Maciej Drogosiewicz, Lieutenant JG Zenon Jakubowski, Lieutenant JG Szczepan Halarewicz and Lieutenant JG Jacek Choczyński.

The Project 205 missile cutter had a displacement of 172 tons (standard), length of 38.6 m, beam of 7.6 m and draught of 2.7 m. She was powered by three 2940 kW Diesel engines. Her cruising speed was 15 knots and maximum speed was 37 knots, with a range of 800 nautical miles at 25 knots. Her endurance was 5 days and the crew consisted of 30 persons. The armament consisted of four single launchers of guided anti-ship P-15 or P-15M (P-20) missiles (NATO designation SS-N-2A/C Styx or Modified Styx), Strela-2M anti-aircraft guided missile launcher (NATO designation SA-N-5 Grail) and two 30 mm twin naval guns.

Walter Pater
The Polish Navy Museum