Tag Archives: HSwMS Sverige

Three Crowns Underway

This striking circa summer 1944 image shows the Swedish coastal battleship (pansarskeppet) HSwMS Sverige with a bone in her teeth despite her rather old-fashioned Edwardian-era bow form. Note her twin forward 11.1″/45 Bofors guns above white “neutral stripes” over an overall camouflage scheme, the latter very useful when hugging the coastline and hiding out along the country’s craggy coastline. The Tre kronor (Swedish “Three crowns”) is a national emblem of Sweden dating back to the 13th century.

Photo by Ernfrid Bogstedt via the Sjöhistoriska museet. Fo196138

The lead-ship of her class, Sverige was laid down in 1912, completed during the Great War where she helped enforce the country’s brand of heavily-armed neutrality, was modernized in the 1930s and continued to serve both through WWII as seen above and the early days of the Cold War. 

May 1934, the heavy cruiser USS New Orleans at Stockholm (center) with the twin pansarskeppet Gustav V and Sverige in the foreground. Fo39197

The Sverige trio, some 7,700 tons at their heaviest, were just under 400 feet long but were protected akin to a heavy cruiser with up to 8-inches of armor and carried a quartet of Bofors M/1912 11.1-inch/45 caliber guns, the latter capable of landing a 672-pound armor-piercing “arrow nose shell” an impressive 31,000 yards away (the latter a closely-held secret until as late as the 1960s, with most foreign intelligence pointing to a more sedate 20,000-yard range).

Janes’s 1946 entry on the class

She was only decommissioned in 1953, after over 40 years of service, and was scrapped in 1958.

As for her contemporaries, she outlived almost all of them. For the record, the last of the pansarskepp-era mini-battleships, Sverige‘s sister HSvMS Gustav V, was used as a training hulk and pier side until 1970 when she was finally scrapped.