Monday, 24 April 2017

The Argentinean naval program according to a letter dated 16 June 1908 received by the Dutch shipyard Kon. Mij. De Schelde

The newest Dutch torpedo boat Hr. Ms. Zeeslang built by Kon. Mij. De Schelde

On 16th June 1908 wrote Van Leeuwen (1) to the shipyard that the Argentine project for the defence of the Rio de la Plata probably would consist of 10 very fast 600 tons seagoing torpedo boats with a combat area as large as possible and 20 smaller torpedo boats for inland service.(2) The cabinet was to ask the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate for a budget of 3 million pond sterling. The department of navy received a tender for 6 torpedo boats built using the designs of a well known British firm and which now almost were completed by an Italian shipyard. With a displacement of 380 tons was the speed 29 knots. The tender however would not be accepted as Van Leeuwen believed while their combat area was very limited and the fact that the boats were built without supervision of the Argentinean authorities. Despite all efforts the Kon. Mij. De Schelde never succeeded in obtaining orders in South-America for building torpedo boats and/or submarines. 

1. W. van Leeuwen&Co., Buenos Aires, Argentina, representatives of the Dutch shipyard Kon. Mij. De Schelde, Vlissingen, Netherlands. 
2. There is an undated scratch in pencil writing available which mentioned that the building costs of a large model torpedo boat were ƒ 65.000 included 5-0,45cm torpedoes, 3 torpedo guns and 2-5cm quick firing Krupp guns. Building costs of a small model torpedo boat were ƒ 48.000 included torpedoes and 2-3,7cm quick firing guns. The last torpedo boat built by the Kon. Mij. De Schelde was the Hr.Ms. Zeeslang on account of the Dutch Department of Colonies to serve in the Dutch East Indies. Displacement 89,32 tons and as dimensions 39,632 x 4,124 x 2,514 (hold) x 1,155-2,06 (draught) metres or 130.0 x 13.6,25 x 8.3 x 3.9,5-6.9 1/8  feet. Laid down on 15 November 1906, in the thrushes on 31 January 1907, launched on 27 April 1907 and handed over to the Royal Netherlands Navy on 6 July 1907. Speed 24,048 miles. Armament consisted of 2-3,7cm guns, 1 torpedo tube and 1 torpedo gun. Crew numbered 20 men.

Archive Kon. Mij. De Schelde 1875-1960 (Municipality Archive Vlissingen) T. 214.258.