Allied Warships

ORP Burza (H 73)

Destroyer of the Wicher class

NavyThe Polish Navy
PennantH 73 
Built byChantiers Navals Francais (Caen, France) 
Laid down1 Nov 1927 
Launched16 Apr 1929 
Commissioned10 Jul 1932 
End service 

Burza means storm in English.

Escaped to Leith, Scotland in August / September 1939.
Decommisioned to reserve in 1944.
Return to Poland in 1951.
Became a museum in 1960.
Scrapped in 1977 (or possibly as late as 1985).


Commands listed for ORP Burza (H 73)

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1Kmdr ppor. Stanislaw Michal Nahorski, ORP31 Dec 193716 Feb 1940
2Kmdr ppor. Wojciech Francki, ORP16 Feb 19407 Oct 1940
3Kpt. mar. Antoni Doroszkowski, ORP7 Oct 194030 Nov 1940
4Kpt. mar. Jan Tchorznicki, ORP30 Nov 194022 Jan 1941
5Kpt. mar. Zbigniew Wojewodzki, ORP22 Jan 194114 Mar 1942

6Kpt. mar. Franciszek Pitulko, ORP6 Aug 194226 Jun 1944

7Kmdr ppor. W. Trzebinski, ORP21 Aug 194415 Nov 1944
8Kpt. mar. K. Sawicz-Korsak, ORP15 Nov 1944Jun 1945

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Notable events involving Burza include:

1 Sep 1939
The Polish destroyers Burza (Komandor Podporucznik Stanislaw Michal Nahorski, ORP), Grom (Komandor Podporucznik Aleksander Hulewicz, ORP) and Blyskawica (Komandor Podporucznik Wlodzimierz Andrzey Kodrebski-Poraj, ORP) were met in the North Sea by British aircraft and the British destroyers HMS Wallace (Lt.Cdr. William Maurice Lloyd Astwood, RN) and HMS Wanderer (Cdr Reginald Francis Morice, RN). They were escorted to Leith.

22 Mar 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza (under her new commander Komandor Podporucznik Wojciech Francki) and Blyskawica escorted three French submarines and their tender Jules Verne on their route from Brest to Harwich.

4 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica reached their new home base Rosyth. In the afternoon they left the harbour with the British light cruisers HMS Arethusa, HMS Galatea and three British destroyers. These ships were ordered to conduct a patrol at North Sea and were later ordered to intercept German invasion groups heading for Norway. (1)

7 Apr 1940
The light cruisers HMS Arethusa (Capt. Q.D. Graham, RN), HMS Galatea (Capt. B.B. Schofield, RN, flying the flag of Vice-Admiral G.F.B. Edward-Collins, CB, KCVO, RN), the British destroyers HMS Afridi (Capt. P.L. Vian, RN), HMS Cossack (Cdr. R.St.V. Sherbrooke, RN), HMS Gurkha (Cdr. A.W. Buzzard, RN), HMS Mohawk (Cdr. J.W.M. Eaton, RN), HMS Sikh (Cdr. J.A. Giffard, RN), HMS Zulu (Cdr. J.S. Crawford), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Lt.Cdr. J.L. Machin, RN), the Polish destroyers Burza (Lt.Cdr. W. Francki), ORP Blyscawica (Lt.Cdr. S.M. Nahorski, ORP) and ORP Grom (Lt.Cdr. S. Hryniewiecki) departed Rosyth in the evening for operations of Norway. They were to proceed to a position west of Stavanger and then were to sweep northwards.

9 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica were ordered to join the British destroyer HMS Tartar and provide escort for convoy HN-24 (31 merchants escaping from Norway to England, some of them were loaded with Norwegian gold). The convoy reached Britain without any loses. (1)

12 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica entered Rosyth for refuelling. Then they were sent to Scapa Flow. (1)

19 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza, Grom and Blyskawica left Scapa Flow and head to Narvik. During a storm Burza was damaged by high waves and forced to return. (1)

26 Apr 1940
The Polish destroyer Burza and the British destroyer HMS Grafton were part of an escort of small convoy (two cargo ships and one tanker). Those vessels were sailing to Skjel Fjord, Norway where an Allied supply base was located. (1)

30 Apr 1940
In dense fog the British tanker Boardale (8400 GRT) hit the rocks in the Asan Fjord near Narvik and was abandoned by the crew. The Polish destroyer Burza rescued the survivors. (1)

1 May 1940
The Polish destroyer Burza reached Harstad and took part in the AA defence of this harbour. (1)

5 May 1940
The Polish destroyer Burza provided AA cover for Allied merchants off Skaaland, Norway. 11 German air raids were conducted. Few ships were slightly damaged. (1)

7 May 1940
The Polish destroyer Burza conducted a reconnaissance patrol in Bjerkvik area. At this time commander of Allied 1st Light Rifle Division, General Marie Emile Bethouart was onboard with his staff. Bjerkvik was the port where Allied troops were planned to be unloaded. (1)

8 May 1940
Six strong German air attacks took place on Harstad. Burza was involved in the AA defence. Two bombs exploded near the destroyer but caused no damage. Later that day Burza found and rescued the crew of British airplane which had been shot down. (1)

10 May 1940
The Polish destroyers Burza and Blyskawica left Norwegian waters in order to return to Scapa Flow. (1)

13 May 1940
The destroyers HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Juno (Cdr. W.E. Wilson, RN), HMS Grafton (Cdr. C.E.C. Robinson, RN) and ORP Burza (Lt.Cdr. W. Francki) departed Scapa Flow for Harwich. En-route HMS Juno was detached to Rosyth after which she departed again to run over the DG range at Inchkeith before she continued her passage to Harwich.

All destroyers arrived at Harwich on the 14th. (2)

24 May 1940
The Polish destroyer Burza was ordered to join the British destroyers HMS Vimiera and HMS Wessex and shell German positions in Calais area. At 16.20 the Allied vessels opened fire on enemy armoured column at Sangatte Hill, west of Calais. 10 minutes later they were attacked by 27 German airplanes which hit and sank HMS Wessex. HMS Vimiera managed to escape. Then the entire enemy air group concentrated on the Polish destroyer. The AA guns (2 40 mm) jammed due to shrapnel hits, three bombs exploded in the water. They caused boiler damage and loss of speed. The commander (Komandor Podporucznik Wojciech Francki) ordered to emergency launch the torpedoed and drop all depth charges, trying to avoid additional explosions. Shortly after this, two bombs hit the Burza and badly damaged her. However the airplanes had dropped all of their bombs and broke off the attack. The crew managed to stop the leakage and return to Dover. One German airplane was shot down during the action.

6 Aug 1940
"Burza" (Kapitan Marynarki Doroszkowski) left Portsmouth. She was ordered to steam to Scapa Flow. During the cruise, she received radio report about U-boat operating nearby. British airplane marked the area with smoke buoys. "Burza" started searching for enemy. After two hours, she detected an U-boat and attacked with depth charges. Crew observed oil stains on the surface. Admiralty claimed this U-boat as "probably badly damaged".

30 Aug 1940
The Polish destroyers Blyskawica and Burza joined the escort of a convoy heading to the USA. Later Burza suffered a malfunction and was forced to return to base. (1)

10 Oct 1940

Operation Medium.

Bombardment of Cherbourg.

10 October 1940.

The battleship HMS Revenge (Capt. E.R. Archer, RN) departed Plymouth for a night bombardment of Cherbourg during the night of 10/11 October. She was being escorted by the destroyers HMS Jackal (Cdr. C.L. Firth, MVO, RN), HMS Jaguar (Lt.Cdr. J.F.W. Hine, RN), HMS Javelin (Cdr. A.F. Pugsley, RN), HMS Jupiter (Cdr. D.B. Wyburd, RN), HMS Kashmir (Cdr. H.A. King, RN), HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and HMS Kipling (Cdr. A. St. Clair-Ford, RN).

A cover force was also sailed from Plymouth on the same day. This force was to provide cover to the east of the bombardment force and was made up of the light cruisers HMS Newcastle (Capt. E.A. Aylmer, DSC, RN), HMS Emerald (Capt. F.C. Flynn, RN), the British destroyers HMS Broke (Cdr. B.G. Scurfield, RN), HMS Wanderer (Cdr. J.H. Ruck-Keene, DSC, RN and the Polish destroyers Garland (Cdr. K. Namiesniowski, ORP) and Burza (Cdr. A. Doroszkowski, ORP).

The light cruiser HMS Cardiff (Capt. P.K. Enright, RN) escorted by the destroyers HMS Witch (Lt.Cdr. J.R. Barnes, RN) and HMS Volunteer (Lt.Cdr. N. Lanyon, RN) departed Portsmouth to provide cover for the operation to the west of the bombardment force.

A flotilla of MA/SB boats was sailed from Plymouth to provide anti E-boat protection. These were HMS MA/SB 40, HMS MA/SB 42, HMS MA/SB 43, HMS MA/SB 44, HMS MA/SB 45, HMS MA/SB 46 and HMS MA/SB 51.

During the bombardment HMS Revenge fired 120 rounds of 15” in eighteen minutes from range between 14000 and 16000 yards. Her escorting destroyers fired 801 rounds of 4.7” during the first four minutes of the bombardment and then formed a screen on the battleship.

Large fires were seen to erupt in the target area. Shore defences opened up as for being under air attack. The ships were fired on only after the bombardment had ceased. No ships were hit though despite the enemy fire being accurate.

The western cover group returned to Plymouth at 0800/11.

The bombardment force and the eastern cover group arrived at Portsmouth around the same time.

13 Oct 1940
HMS Kelvin (Cdr. J.H. Allison, DSO, RN) and Burza (Lt.Cdr. A. Doroszkowski) departed Plymouth on this day. Both returned the next day. They might have been on patrol in the western Channel during the night of 13/14 October 1940. [No further details currently available.] (3)

26 Oct 1940
Burza (Lt.Cdr. Pitulko) was ordered to rescue survivors from the British troop ship Empress of Britain which had been heavily damaged by bombs. The Polish destroyer picked up 254 men. (1)

16 Nov 1940
Due to dense fog, the Polish destroyer Burza collided with British ASW trawler HMS Arsenal and suffered bow damage. HMS Arsenal was sunk. (1)

30 Jul 1941
After long repairs and a refit, Burza (Kapitan Marynarki Wojewodzki) became part of the escort of a convoy from Greenock to Iceland.

30 Aug 1941
The convoy reached Hvalfjord, Iceland. (1)

8 Sep 1941
Burza collided with patrol vessel Rosemary off Milford Haven. (1)

11 Sep 1941
Burza returned to Greenock and was sent to Glasgow for repairs that lasted one week. (1)

2 Feb 1942
Burza started a refit at Glasgow. (1)

3 Dec 1942
Burza (Kapitan Marynarki Pitulko) was part of Escort Group B-6 commanded by Cdr. Ralph Heathcote, R.N. in the British destroyer HMS Fame. The Escort Group escorted convoy HX-217 to Great Britain.

7 Dec 1942
At night the convoy was attacked by U-boats. Burza encountered the enemy twice. The first U-boat was attacked by salvo of 10 depth charges and forced to retreat. The second was spotted on the surface by lookouts. Kapitan Marynarki Pitulko ordered to attack the submarine with torpedoes(!), however enemy vessel managed to dive before the attack occurred. Instead of torpedoes, depth charges were dropped. After this attack the contact was lost.

9 Dec 1942
Around 2200hours the sonar operator on Burza detected a submerged U-boat. After short pursuit the contact was lost. Few minutes later another submarine was detected, this time on the surface at 900-1000 meters. The Polish destroyer tried to ram the enemy, but the German vessel managed to dive. 10 depth charges were dropped. (1)

14 Dec 1942
The convoy reached the Clyde. It's escorts entered Greenock harbour. (1)

20 Dec 1942
Escort Group B-6 (with Burza) left the Clyde with a convoy bound for Canada. (1)

31 Dec 1942
The convoy reached St. John's, Canada. (1)

11 Jan 1943
Escort Group B-6, including the Polish destroyer Burza, leaves Canada escorting convoy SC-116 to Great Britain. (1)

27 Jan 1943
Convoy SC-116 arrived in Greenock. (1)

21 Feb 1943
Burza was ordered to join the Escort Group A-3 (commanded by Cdr. Paul Heineman) which was escorting convoy ON-166. (1)

22 Feb 1943
During the defence of convoy ON-166 German U-boat U-606 was sunk in the North Atlantic east of Newfoundland, in position 47°44'N, 33°43'W, by depth charges from the US Coast Guard cutter USS Campbell and the Polish destroyer Burza.

During the night Burza detected a submerged submarine and attacked her twice with 20 depth charges. The U-boat was damaged and forced to surface. Then she was shelled with Anti-Aircraft guns and had to dive again. Contact was lost. Shortly after that, the U-boat surfaced again, and was spotted by the US Coast Guard Cutter Campbell (WPG 32), which shelled and rammed the submarine. The heavily damaged U-boat managed to stay on the surface, but was unable to move and fight. The American cutter was also seriously damaged due to ramming. Her commanding officer (Cdr. James Hirshfield) asked for help. Burza answered her call and rushed to the scene. The Polish destroyer provided cover for USCG Spencer until 04.00 AM the next day when she stopped and picked up 7 survivors from U-606. The Polish destroyer again provided cover for the USCG cutter until the evening. Then, due to fuel shortage, she headed for St. John's, Canada.

22 Feb 1943
Around 1300 hours Burza torpedoed and sank the heavily damaged Norwegian whale factory ship N.T. Nielsen-Alonso. (1)

27 Feb 1943
Burza arrived at St. John's, Canada with only 2.5 tons of fuel left in tanks. (1)

18 Sep 1943
HMS Tantivy (Cdr. M.G. Rimington, DSO, RN) conducted attack and A/S exercises off Larne with ORP Burza (Cdr. F. Pitulko, ORP). (4)

24 Sep 1943
HMS H 33 (Lt. D.G. Kent, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Dart (Cdr. J.T. Jones, RD, RNR), HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. L.E. Woodhouse, RN) and ORP Burza (Cdr. F. Pitulko, ORP). (5)

3 Dec 1943
HMS Stratagem (T/Lt. R.L. Willoughby, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Towy (Cdr. M.J Evans, OBE, RN), ORP Burza (Cdr. F. Pitulko, ORP), FFS Lobelia and HMS Orchis (T/Lt. B.W. Harris, RNVR). (6)

4 Dec 1943
HMS Stratagem (T/Lt. R.L. Willoughby, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with FFS Roselys, FFS Lobelia, HMS Towy (Cdr. M.J Evans, OBE, RN) and ORP Burza (Cdr. F. Pitulko, ORP). (6)

5 Dec 1943
HMS H 32 (Lt. K.S. Renshaw, DSC, RNR) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with HMS Towy (Cdr. M.J Evans, OBE, RN), FFS Roselys, ORP Burza (Cdr. F. Pitulko, ORP), HMS Narcissus (T/Lt. G.T.S. Clampitt, RNR) and HMS Orchis (T/Lt. B.W. Harris, RNVR). (7)

5 Dec 1943
HrMs O 10 (Lt.Cdr. A. van Altena, RNN(R)) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with HMS Towy (Cdr. M.J Evans, OBE, RN), ORP Burza (Cdr. F. Pitulko, ORP) and FFS Lobelia. (8)

23 Feb 1944
HrMs O 9 (Lt. J.B.M.J. Maas, RNN) participated in A/S exercises off Lough Foyle together with ORP Burza (Lt.Cdr. F. Pitulko) and FFS La Découverte. (9)

23 Feb 1944
HMS H 44 (Lt. P.N. Joyce, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Lough Foyle with FFS Renoncule, FFS Aconit, FFS Roselys, HMS Fowey (A/Lt.Cdr. G.E. Newey, RNR) and ORP Burza (Lt.Cdr. F. Pitulko). (10)

Media links

Destroyers of World War Two

Whitley, M. J.


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 199/376
  3. ADM 187/10 + ADM 199/372
  4. ADM 173/18199
  5. ADM 173/17786
  6. ADM 173/18129
  7. ADM 173/17777
  8. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  9. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)
  10. ADM 173/18513

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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