Tag Archive | Koninklijke Marine

Warship Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017 Farewell, Admiral

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017, Farewell, Admiral

Note the WWII-style Carley rafts on the turrets

Here we see the De Zeven Provinciën-class light cruiser Hr.Ms. De Ruyter (C801) of the Dutch Koninklijke Marine as she appeared in 1953 while in her prime. Decommissioned last week an amazing 78 years after her first steel was cut, she was the last of the big-gun armed cruisers afloat on active duty.

The classes of ship between destroyers and battleships, fast gun-armed cruisers have long been a staple of naval modern warfare since all-steel navies took to the sea. However, their large batteries of powerful guns were antiquated by the second half of the 20th century.

Fast armored cruisers, a product of the late 19th century, were designed to serve as the eyes of the main battle fleet. Large enough to act independently, they sailed the world and showed their country’s flag in far-off ports in peace. During war, they were detailed to raid commerce and serve as fleet units. Over a 60-year period, more than 200 cruisers were placed in service and sailed in almost every fleet in the world. Fast enough to outrun battleships but not outfight them, they soon were obsolete after World War II and their days were numbered.

But the hero of our tale has a pass, as she was planned before the WWII started.

HNLMS De Ruyter was laid down 5 September 1939 at Wilton-Fijenoord, Schiedam, just 96-hours after Hitler invaded Poland. Part of the planned Eendracht-class of light cruisers which were to defend the far-flung Dutch East Indies from the Japanese, her original name was to be De Zeven Provinciën while her sister, laid down at the same time in a different yard, would be Eendracht.

The ships were to mount 10 5.9-inch Bofors but these guns were still in Sweden when the Germans rolled in in 1940 which led to their being confiscated by the Swedes and promptly recycled into their new Tre Kronor-class cruisers, stretched to accommodate the Swedish standard 6-inch shell.

Though the Germans tried to complete the two cruisers for use in their own Kriegsmarine, Dutch resistance hindered that effort and by the end of the war, they were still nowhere near complete.

After languishing in the builder’s yard for 14 years, De Zeven Provinciën was finished as De Ruyter and joined the Dutch Navy on 18 November 1953.

The name is an ode to the famous 17th-century Dutch Admiral Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter, for which no less than five prior Dutch warships had been named since 1799. The most recent of which was used by Rear-Admiral Karel Doorman in his ride to Valhalla during the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942.

Dutch propaganda poster, depicting Admiral Karel Doorman and his 1942 flagship light cruiser De Ruyter

Though considered light cruisers because of their armament of eight redesigned 15.2 cm/53 (6″) Model 1942 guns, these craft went well over 12,000-tons when full. The turrets, conning tower, and main engineering spaces were armored with up to five inches of steel plate, among the last non-carriers completed in the world to carry such protection. Designed originally for Parsons geared steam turbines and a half-dozen Yarrow boilers, they were instead completed with De Schelde-Parsons turbines and four Werkspoor-Yarrow boilers giving them a 32-knot speed and 7,000nm range.

Already cramped due to extensive AC-cycle electronics suites they were never planned to have (the 1939 design was DC), and built with the resulting need for a 900-man crew rather than the planned 700 souls in 1939, they never received their large AAA battery, seaplane catapults, and torpedo tubes, relying instead on a secondary armament of eight radar-controlled 57mm/60cal Bofors in four twin mounts.

De Ruyter‘s sistership Eendracht was instead completed as De Zeven Provinciën and they commissioned within weeks of each other just after the Korean War came to a shaky ceasefire.

The two ships served extensively with NATO forces and provided some insurance to Dutch interests during the tense standoff with Indonesia during the decade-long West New Guinea dispute — which could have seen the Indonesian Navy’s only cruiser, the Soviet-built KRI Irian, formerly Ordzhonikidze, face off with the Dutch in what would have been the world’s last cruiser-on-cruiser naval action.

However, the age of navies running big gun warships was in the twilight.

The Soviets maintained as many as 13 of the huge 16,000-ton Sverdlov class cruisers, armed with a dozen 6-inch guns as late as 1994 when the last one (the famously wrecked Murmansk) was finally removed from their navy list.

The Russians beat the U.S. by more than a decade as the last all-gun armed cruiser on the Navy List was USS Newport News (CA–148), struck 31 July 1978. The last big gun cruiser in U.S. service was USS Albany (CA-123) which had been reworked to a hybrid missile boat (CG-10) to be decommissioned in 1980 and struck five years later. An 8-inch armed destroyer, USS Hull, removed her experimental Mk.71 mount in 1979. Since then, it’s been a world of 5-inchers for U.S. cruisers and destroyers.

As for the Royal Navy, losing their heavies in the 1950s and their few remaining WWII-era light cruisers soon after, they decommissioned their two Tiger-class cruisers in the 1970s, disposing of them in the 1980s.

The navies of South America were the last to operate big gun-armed cruisers. Which brings us to the story of De Zeven Provinciën and De Ruyter‘s second life.

With the ABC powers (Argentina, Brazil, and Chile) all packing large former U.S. cruisers in their fleets, Peru went shopping in the early 1970s for some parity and bought the two Dutch cruisers for a song between 1972-75. De Ruyter was bought first and became fleet flagship BAP Almirante Grau (CLM-81) after the national naval hero, replacing the old Crown Colony-class light cruiser HMS Newfoundland which carried the same name. DZP was picked up later and became BAP Aguirre.

Cruiser Almirante Admiral Grau, flagship of the war navy of Peru, during its incorporation in 1973.

For a decade, this gave the Peruvians a good bit a prestige, and as the ABC navies shed their older vessels (all WWII-era), the much newer Dutch ships continued to give good service.

Chile decommissioned the 12,242-ton O’Higgins (formerly the USS Brooklyn CL-40) finally in 1992.

Crucero O’Higgins de la Armada Chilena, formerly USS Brooklyn CL-40

Sistership to the O’Higgins was the ARA General Belgrano (ex-USS Phoenix CL-46) a flagship of the Argentine navy for thirty years until she was deep-sixed by a British submarine in the 1982 Falkland Islands War. Brazil also had a pair of ex-Brooklyn class cruisers, which they operated until the 1970s.

To keep her sister alive, DZP/Aguirre was paid off in 2000, her parts used to keep De Ruyter/Grau in operation.

Ever since the battleship USS Missouri was struck on 12 January 1995, the eight Bofors 152/53 naval guns mounted on Almirante Grau were the most powerful afloat on any warship operated by any navy in the world. A record she went out with after holding for 22 years– a proud legacy of another generation and the end of an era.

Given an extensive refit in 1985 and other upgrades since then, she carried new Dutch electronics, updated armament including Otomat anti-ship missiles and 40L70 Dardo rapid fire guns, and in effect was the cruiser equivalent of the Reagan-era Iowa-class battleships.

Salinas, Peru (July 3, 2004) – The Peruvian cruiser Almirante Grau (CLM-81) fires one of its 15.2 cm caliber cannons as naval surface fire support during a Latin American amphibious assault exercise supporting UNITAS 45-04. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Journalist Dave Fliesen

A detailed look at her modernized scheme via Naval Analyses:

The Dutch still revere the name De Ruyter with a Tromp-class guided missile frigate commissioned as the 7th ship with the handle in 1975 and a new De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate, the 8th De Ruyter, placed in service in 2004.

Showing her age, and still requiring at least a crew of 600 even after modernization, the Peruvian cruiser with former Dutch and one-time German ownership papers was placed in a reserve status in 2010, maintained from sinking but not much else. However she still served a purpose as a pierside training and flag ship.

In 2012, Royal Netherlands Army Brigadier Jost van Duurling and the Peru’s Minister of Defense, Dr. Luis Alberto Otárola Peñaranda, signed a military cooperation agreement between the two countries on De Ruyter/Grau‘s deck.

She is also remembered in Dutch maritime art.

1959. J. Goedhart. De kruiser Hr. Ms. de Ruyter op zee via Scheepvaartmuseum

Hr.Ms. De Ruyter C801 – by Maarten Platje – 1984

Now, the end has come. She was decommissioned last week, though she is reportedly in poor condition and hasn’t been to sea in nearly a decade.

Word on the street is that she will be kept as a floating museum, perhaps at the Naval Museum in Callao, but concerns about asbestos, chemicals dating back to the 1930s, and lead paint may derail that.

Still, she has gone the distance.

Specs:

Hr.Ms. De Ruyter C801 via blueprints.com

Displacement: 12,165 tons fl (1995)
Length: 614.6 ft.
Beam: 56.6 ft.
Draught: 22.0 ft.
Propulsion:
4 Werkspoor-Yarrow three-drum boilers
2 De Schelde Parsons geared steam turbines
2 shafts
85,000 shp
Speed: 32 kn
Range: 7,000 nmi at 12 kn
Complement: 973 (1953) 650 (2003)
Electronics (1953)
LW-01
2x M45
Electronics (2003)
AN/SPS-6
Signaal SEWACO Foresee PE CMS
Signaal DA-08 surface search
Signaal STIR-240 fire control
Signaal WM-25 fire control
Signaal LIROD-8 optronic
Decca 1226 navigation
Armament: (1953)
4 × 2 Bofors 152/53 guns
8 × 57 mm AA guns
Armament (1995)
4 × 2 Bofors 152/53 guns
8 Otomat Mk 2 SSM
2 × 2 OTO Melara 40L70 DARDO guns
Armor:
50–76 mm (2.0–3.0 in) belt
50–125 mm (2.0–4.9 in) turrets
50–125 mm (2.0–4.9 in) conning tower

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find. http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

Warship Wednesday, August 23, 2017: Wilhelmina’s Tromp card

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, August 23, 2017: Wilhelmina’s Tromp card

Here we see the Tromp-class light cruiser Hr. Ms. Tromp (D-28) of the Koninklijke Marine as she appeared in late 1941/early 1942 in the Dutch East Indies complete with her distinctive splinter camo. The leader of a class of four fast but small cruisers intended as “flotilla leaders” for a group of destroyers, she was a survivor and the largest Dutch warship to survive the hell of that lowland country’s combat in the Pacific.

At just 3,400-tons and 432-feet in length, the Tromp-class ships were about the size of big destroyers of their day (or frigates today), but they made up for it with an armament of a half-dozen 5.9-inch Mk 11 Bofors/Wilton-Fijenoord guns which were firmly in the neighborhood that light cruisers lived.

A suite of six torpedo tubes ensured they could perforate larger targets while geared steam turbines capable of pushing the ship at up to 35-knots gave it the option of a clean getaway from battleships. A Fokker C 11W floatplane gave long eyes while some 450-tons of armor plate (13 percent of her displacement) coupled with a dusting of AAA guns offered piece of mind against attack from low/slow aircraft and small vessels.

Laid down in 1936 at N.V. Nederlandsche Scheepsbouw Maatschappij, Amsterdam, the hero of our tale was named after noted Dutch Admiral Maarten Tromp, a 17th-century naval hero whose name was carried by several of Holland’s warships going back to 1809.

Billed by the Dutch as “flotilla leaders” they were meant to replace the elderly coast defense ships Hertog Hendrik and Jacob van Heemskerck and only reclassified as light cruisers in 1938 after funding was secured.

HNLMS Tromp lead ship of the Tromp-class light cruisers at high speed on trials, where she generated over 35 knots over the course. Via Postales Navales, colorized by Diego Mar

HNLMS Tromp during her first day of trials on the North Sea, 28 March 1938. Collection J. Klootwijk via NetherlandNavy.NL

Tromp would be the only one of her class completed to her intended design, commissioning 18 August 1938. Her sister Jacob van Heemskerck was still on the ways when the Germans invaded in 1940 and was later completed to a much different design while two other planned vessels were never funded.

TROMP Starboard side, from off the starboard bow circa 1938. Catalog #: NH 80909

TROMP view taken circa 1939. Catalog #: NH 80910

Following several naval reviews and waving the flag in Europe on the edge of meltdown, she sailed for the important colony of the Dutch East Indies to help beef up the KM’s strength in a region where Japan was eager to obtain Java and Sumatra’s natural resources by force if needed.

TROMP Anchored at Port Moresby, New Guinea, 4 March 1941. #: NH 80908

Netherlands east indies. 1941-03-13. Aerial starboard bow view of Dutch flotilla cruiser Tromp, at anchor in calm water with one of her boats and native craft alongside. she is painted in her pre-war scheme of light grey. note the searchlight position on the foremast. She carries a Fokker c.14w floatplane amidships which is handled by the derricks on the two Sampson posts. Her prominent rangefinder is trained to port and a turret is trained over the starboard bow. on the deckhouse, aft are twin bofors 40 mm aa guns on triaxially stabilized hazemeyer mountings which were very advanced for the period. (AWM Naval historical collection).

When Holland fell in May 1940, the Dutch government in exile under Queen Wilhelmina maintained control of the East Indies from London and Tromp spent the first two years of WWII with her eyes peeled for German raiders and U-boats in the Pacific and put on her war paint.

Then the Japanese went hot in December 1941, striking at the Dutch, British and Americans simultaneously. Soon Tromp, arguably the one of the most capable ships at Dutch Rear Adm. Karel Doorman’s disposal, was engaged in the thick of it.

Netherlands east indies. C.1941-02. Starboard side view of the Dutch flotilla cruiser Tromp prior to the Badung Strait action in which she was seriously damaged. She wears a splinter type camouflage scheme, apparently of two shades of grey, common to Dutch ships involved in the defense of the Netherlands East indies. Note the searchlight position on the foremast. Her floatplane has been landed as has her port Sampson post. Note the prominent rangefinder above the bridge. On the deckhouse, aft are twin bofors 40 mm aa guns on triaxially stabilized hazemeyer mountings which were very advanced for the period. (AWM naval historical collection).

During the three-day running action that was the Battle of Badung Strait, Tromp and the destroyers USS John D. Edwards, Parrott, Pillsbury, and Stewart clashed with the Japanese destroyers Asashio and Oshio in a sharp night action in the pre-dawn hours of 18 February 1942.

Dutch cruiser HNLMS Tromp The Battle of Badung Strait Painting by Keinichi Nakamura, 1943.

Tromp landed hits on both enemy ships, but was also plastered by 5-inch shells from the Japanese tin cans and forced to retire.

The flotilla leader “Tromp” of the Royal Netherlands Navy, in dry dock at Cockatoo Island, for repairs after being damaged in action in the Java Sea. By Dennis Adams via AWM

Emergency repairs in Australia saved Tromp from the crushing Battle of the Java Sea at the end of February that saw the Dutch lose the cruisers Java and De Ruyter sunk and Doorman killed, effectively ending the defense of the East Indies.

After surviving the crucible, Tromp became known to her crew as “the lucky ship” which, when you realize what the Dutch went through in the Pacific, was apt.

The Dutch Navy lost 57 ships during WWII, and amazingly half of those were in the East Indies in the scant four-month period between 15 December 1941- 15 March 1942. These included the two aforementioned cruisers, eight submarines, six destroyers and 15 smaller escorts (minelayers, gunboats, minesweepers). Even the old coast defense ship, De Zeven Provinciën was sunk at her moorings in Surabaya harbor. In contrast, the country only lost 16 ships in May 1940 when metropolitan Holland fell to the Germans.

Based out of Newcastle and later Fremantle, Australia, Tromp was augmented by several Bofors 40mm and Oerlikon 20mm mounts, given a series of surface and air warning radars, and served as a convoy escort and patrol vessel in and around Australian waters, picking up U.S. Measure 22 camo in her work with the 7th Fleet.

Sydney, NSW. C.1943. Starboard side view of the Dutch flotilla cruiser Tromp. The splinter type camouflage scheme worn earlier in the war has been replaced by the American measure 22 scheme, the colors probably consisting of navy blue below haze grey. Note the searchlight position on the foremast above which an American SC radar has replaced that carried earlier. Type 271 surface search radar is mounted before the mast. Amidships, above her torpedo tubes, twin AA machine guns and a small rangefinder have been mounted in the space once occupied by her floatplane. The Sampson posts once fitted at the break of the forecastle have been replaced by 4-inch aa guns. Note the prominent rangefinder above the bridge. On the deckhouse, aft are twin Bofors 40 mm aa guns on triaxially stabilized hazemeyer mountings which were very advanced for the period. Single 20 mm Oerlikon aa guns are sited on the crowns of b and y turrets and abaft the bridge. (naval historical collection).

She was transferred to the control of the British Eastern Fleet in January 1944. Around this time, she swapped out her aging Dutch V53 torpedoes for British Mark 9s along with new mounts.

Tromp conducting anti-aircraft defense exercises with the assistance of an RAAF Consolidated Catalina flying boat off the West Australian coast via AWM.

When the Allies began pushing back into the East Indies, Tromp was there, plastering Surabaya and supporting the amphibious landing at Balikpapan in Borneo. In September 1945, as part of the end game in the Pacific, she landed Dutch Marines in Batavia to disarm the Japanese garrison and reoccupy the former colonial capital.

Tromp participated in magic carpet duty after the end of hostilities and returned to Holland for the first time since 1939, arriving at Amsterdam in May 1946, carrying 150 Dutch POWs liberated from Japanese camps.

HNLMS Tromp docked in 1946

Tromp was one of just two cruisers left in the Dutch Navy at the end of the war (the other being her sister), but she had seen hard service and carried an amalgam of Swedish, American, and British weapons and electronics, many of which were no longer supported.

Exercise using shell casings on board the Dutch light cruiser TROMP.

Following a two-year overhaul that saw much of her armament removed, she served as an accommodation and training ship with a NATO pennant number.

VARIOUS SHIPS AT ANCHOR IN MOUNT’S BAY, ENGLAND. 1 JULY 1949. (A 31535) The Dutch cruiser TROMP at anchor in Mount’s Bay. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205016274

The highlight of her post-war service was a few midshipmen cruises and attending the Spithead fleet review in 1953.

Tromp was decommissioned 1 December 1955 and, after more than a decade in reserve status, was sold to be scrapped in Spain in 1969. Her half-sister, Jacob van Heemskerk, shared a similar fate and was scrapped in 1970.

Since then, her name has been reissued to the class-leader of a group of guided missile frigates (HNLMS Tromp F801) and in a De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate commissioned in 2003.

For more on Tromp‘s history, please visit NetherlandsNavy.NL, which has it covered in depth.

Specs:

Hr Tromp (Cruiser) – Netherlands (1938) via blueprints.com

Displacement: 3,350 long tons (3,404 t) standard
Length: 432 ft. 11 in
Beam: 40 ft. 9 in
Draught: 14 ft. 2 in
Propulsion:
2 Parsons/N.V. Werkspoor geared steam turbines
4 Yarrow boilers
2 shafts
56,000 shp (41,759 kW)
860 tons of fuel oil
Speed: 32.5 knots designed, 35 on trials
Complement:
290 as commissioned, 380 in WWII
Armor: 15mm belt, up to 30mm on bulkheads
Armament:
(1938)
6 × 150 mm Bofors Mk 11 (5.9 in) guns (3×2)
4 × 40 mm Bofors (2×2)
4 × .50 cal in two twin mounts
6 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes (2×3), 12xV53 torpedoes
(1944)
6 × 150 mm Bofors (5.9 in) guns (3×2)
4 × 75 mm U.S. AAA
8 × 40 mm Bofors (4×2)
8 × 20 mm singles
6 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes (2×3), 12xMk9 torpedoes
Aircraft carried: 1 × Fokker C.XIW floatplane

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find. http://www.warship.org/membership.htm

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

With more than 50 years of scholarship, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

PRINT still has its place. If you LOVE warships you should belong.

I’m a member, so should you be!

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