Fot. Joymaster, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Torpedownia in Gdynia – a mysterious ruin standing in the waters of the Bay of Gdańsk

The torpedo house at Babi Doły in Gdynia is one of two such facilities built in occupied Poland during the Second World War. It was an assembly hall with test firing facilities, erected on the seabed a few hundred metres from the shore. It was connected to the mainland by a pier, on which a narrow-gauge railway transported components that were eventually assembled in the hall.

There were two German torpedo research centres in occupied Poland. They were built when the Nazi base in Eckernforde dealing with, among other things, the production and testing of torpedoes came within range of British bombers. Gdynia and the waters of the Bay of Danzig seemed ideal not only because of its location out of range of enemy aviation. The calm waters of the bay were conducive to torpedo trials and accurate measurements. Both centres were located in Gdynia (then – Gotenhafen): Torpedowaffenplatz Hexengrund in Babie Dole (now Babie Doły), which belonged to the Luftwaffe, and Torpedo Versuchsanstalt Oxhöft on Oksywie, belonging to the Kriegsmarine. The centres were connected by a narrow-gauge railway running along the beach from the harbour at Oksywie to the centre at Babie Doły.

Photo Czonek, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


In addition to the assembly hall and technical and engineering rooms, the torpedo house at Babie Doły also had an observation tower. As a Luftwaffe research centre, it conducted torpedo firing tests directly from aircraft. The drop took place over an enclosed body of water, along which two observation and measurement points were located. These housed equipment called Kinotheodolite in German, which recorded the process of torpedo discharge from the aircraft.

Photo I, Jack11 Poland, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The torpedo house was ceremonially opened on 4 July 1942 and was probably in operation until April 1945, when the Germans evacuated the base. Unrefurbished and unused after the war, it fell into disrepair and the harbour basin became silted up. After the war, the last section of the pier at the torpedo house was destroyed to make access to the building difficult. The equipment from the torpedo house itself was mostly taken over by the Red Army and was exported to the USSR. The pier and harbour buildings were regularly used by military divers as a training area until the 1980s, also by amateur yachtsmen and in summer by beach holiday makers. Eventually, the remains of the pier were blown up in the mid-1990s. As a result of the harsh winters of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the front wall collapsed, severely straining the building’s structure.


Read also: Architecture in Poland | History | Gdynia | Interesting facts | whiteMAD on Instagram

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