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Ships of Europe

Ships of Europe

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Wows_flag_Europe.png
The Pan-Europe faction does not cover a specific nation, but includes ships from various nations within the European region. Ships from three navies are currently represented in World of Warships: Poland, Austria-Hungary, and the Netherlands. In-game, each ship flies the individual jack of their respective navy (as shown below) in lieu of the Pan-European flag.
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ORP Błyskawica, Tier VII destroyer
Political enthusiasm for a fully fledged Polish Navy (Marynarka Wojenna) had always been tepid; a relatively short coastline and access to the Atlantic restricted by its Scandinavian neighbors led the Polish leadership to relegate what little naval assets Poland had to river and coastal defense. The first attempt at a proper navy, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Navy, achieved great success against Sweden in the Polish-Swedish War (1600-1629), but was completely destroyed by Denmark in 1637. No serious attempts at rebuilding the navy were made throughout the rest of the Commonwealth's existence, and its dissolution at the Partitions of Poland in the late 18th century meant that any hopes of doing so had all but vanished. It was Józef Piłsudski, then-Commander in Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, who founded what is now known as the modern Polish Navy on 28 November 1918, nearly three centuries after its destruction. Once again, her primary purpose was to protect the Polish coastline against various threats, with an emphasis on fast submarines, powerful destroyers, and judicious use of mines. However, the Great Depression limited the Polish Navy's major combat vessels to a mere four destroyers, five submarines, and the minelayer ORP Gryf at the onset of World War II.


Initially deciding on a strategy of harassment and indirect engagement, Polish naval command realized that the small, mostly landlocked Baltic Sea was well within range of the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe, and that any ship would be quickly found and sent to the bottom if they were to remain there. Thus on 29 August 1939, the Peking Plan was executed with assistance from the Royal Navy, evacuating the destroyers stationed in the Baltic — ORP Burza, ORP Błyskawica and ORP Grom — to the naval base at Leith, Scotland, just 3 days before the invasion of Poland and the outbreak of war. Initially seen as "abandoning" their country, the operation was a wise decision by the Polish naval command, preserving the destroyers to allow them to take part in the defense of Norway, Operation Dynamo, the Battle of the Atlantic, and dozens of escort and convoy missions. Moreover, supplemented by ships from the Royal Navy, the Polish Navy in exile as a whole also participated in major engagements such as the sinking of Bismarck, Operation Jubilee, and Operation Overlord. On the other hand, ORP Gryf and ORP Wicher, who had remained behind in the Baltic Sea, were sunk within the first three days of the war.

Poland's years as a Warsaw Pact country did not diminish her need for a naval presence in the Baltic Sea, and that remained the focus of her navy for a half century following the close of World War II. Joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on 29 March 1999 forced a change in that mindset; the Polish Navy of the 21st century has re-focused on greater levels of international cooperation and sea-going patrols in cooperation with her new NATO partners, developing a specialization in sub-surface combat.


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SMSViribus Unitis, Tier V battleship
Austro-Hungarian Navy

Austria first gained access to the ocean in 1382, yet it would take over one hundred years for armed warships to be flying the Austrian colors starting in very small numbers in 1528. This small group mainly served as coastal defense, and was only under a very local command. It was only in 1797 that Austria truly started to maintain a navy, when Venice became a part of Austria and the Venecian fleet would become the Austrian fleet. This however only lasted for a mere 50 years before the Guerre d'indipendenza italiane, the Italian war for independence, broke out, in which the majority of the crews of Italian origin would turn against the Austrian rule. Having lost almost their entire Naval power, it became clear that Austrian interests on the ocean could only be secured by a proper Austrian Navy. Emperor Franz Joseph drew the consequences and began laying the foundation of a full Austrian Navy. With the inclusion of Hungary in 1867 the navy became the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Despite the everlasting budget issues, the Austro-Hungarian Navy would become one of the larger navies and would follow the latest naval trends, or even set one themselves like with the construction of the first torpedo.

During the first world war the Austro-Hungarian Navy was blocked the access to the Mediterranean Sea by Italian, French and British forces, and would be delegated to a Fleet-In-Being. However the smaller forces would continuously be active in the Mediterranean, in particular submarines which would over the course of the war sink 196,000 GRT with a further 41,000 GRT being possibly sunk. On top of that numerous warships would be crippled and sunk by smaller forces. The only vessel that would see action outside the Mediterranean would be the cruiser Kaiserin Elisabeth, which would otherwise become known as the first target of a ship-launched aircraft.

The end of the Great War in 1918 marked the end of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and as such the end of the Austro-Hungarian Navy. The remaining vessels would become parts of other navies, or in the case of Viribus Unitis get sunk by Italian divers before they could be redistributed. Austria became a nation in central Europe with no access to the ocean, rendering the need for a large navy impractical.


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HNLMS Friesland, Tier IX destroyer
Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) (Koninklijke Marine)

Destroyers

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VII Błyskawica  Doubloons
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IX Friesland  Doubloons

Battleships

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