ESCORT                                                       ISSUE 116

DZIK - March’s Submarine

by Nigel Denchfield



March is a market town situated in the Cambridgeshire fens, so finding a plaque on the wall of its excellent museum from the Polish navy commemorating a link to ORP Dzik was a revelation. March is rather better known as a railway town, and had an enormous hump marshalling yard on its north side which was the second largest in Europe.  It  became the largest after a visit to Hamburg by Bomber Command.

The U class Submarine P52 was built in late 1942, transferred to the Polish navy in January 1943 and named Dzik [Boar].  Crewed by a mostly Polish crew, she served in the Mediterranean alongside her sister U class, Sokol where they were known as the terrible twins.

Whilst P52 was being built, March set out to raise money and adopt it.  In March 1942, a full on March warship week was held to begin the fund raising.  It was a big demand for a small market town of around 10,000 people.

The programme survives in the museum archive.  The snippets give a good idea of the programme of activities and the targets set for the town and surrounding villages.

To mark this achievement, the museum is staging a special exhibition this year, part of which is a model illustrating Dzik. Mirage Hobby makes a number of U-class submarines in 1/400, including one containing decals and different fittings for Sokol and Dzik at different times.  None were in stock over here, so suitable one was sourced in Poland, and it arrived within a few days of placing the order.

The kit is fairly basic, with a sheet of brass fittings around the conning tower.  No crew are provided, so 4 were made from plastic rod scraped and bent to look reasonable at range of 2 feet.  The date represented is September 1943, heading back her Beirut base, and her Jolly Roger is accurate for that period.  As I left the hull complete, the sea base had to be raised, and a submarine shaped hole cut into it. Of course, I was not accurate enough, and ended up with a bit of a gap around the hull. I hid this by ripping small pieces of kitchen roll up and securing in place with PVA.   This seemed to work well, and gave a nice foamy look around the hull.

The sea itself was painted with artists acrylic, my usual medium, and I left it wavy so did not need to finish it with the artists gel I tend to use.  This was then blended in with paint to complete the job.