WWII-era gun recovered from Baltic Sea

The Oerlikon AA Gun was used by Axis forces, as well as by the Allies. Here, the crew of an Oerlikon 20 mm gun on an American USS "Iowa" battleship in 1943. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A WWII era Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun with a naval mount and an anchor windlass were recovered from the bottom of the Baltic Sea under the scientific research programme “Wreckages of Kołobrzeg”.

The recovery of the equipment was the result of the several months of archaeological works carried out by the Museum of Polish Arms in Kołobrzeg, northern Poland.

“The gun was mounted on the landing ship F-193 which sank in March 1945 during battles near Kołobrzeg. There have been no examples of this gun with a naval mount in any Polish museum, it’s an absolute sensation,” the director of the museum in Kołobrzeg Adam Ostasz said.

Mr Ostasz added that the gun, produced in Germany, was already in action during WWI, and variants are still in use. During WWII, the Oerlikon gun was used by Axis forces, as well as by the Allies.

Apart from the gun, the team recovered an anchor windlass, mounted on a big ferry which sank to the west of the port of Kołobrzeg.

The naval equipment recovered from the Baltic Sea is rusty and requires intensive maintenance. The finds will be available for visitors next year in Kołobrzeg, where the only naval open-air museum in Poland is located.

The Museum of Polish Arms in Kołobrzeg has been conducting research on the Baltic Sea bed under the "Wreckage of Kołobrzeg" programme since 2016.

In 2017, the museum's team excavated from the sea a Schneider cannon used by the Polish Army in 1939, the naval mount of the Oerlikon AA-gun, a Hall type anchor and elements of a German naval vessel from the Battle of Kołobrzeg in 1945.