Thursday, 1 June 2017

British Vickers dreadnought design No. 592 for the Royal Netherlands Navy around 1912

Dutch De Zeven Provinciën

British HMS Dreadnought

Spanish Espana-class

British Vickers design No. 694 from 1913

In the first quarter of the 20th Century was the Royal Netherlands interested in acquiring heavier artillery ships especially for the defence of the Dutch East Indies. The largest built before the First World War was the Hr.Ms. De Zeven Provinciën at the navy yard at Amsterdam between 1908-1910.(1) The British Royal Navy built between 1905-1906 the famous battleship HMS Dreadnought of 21.060 tons deep load displacement an a main armament of 5x2-30,5cm/12” guns. This revolutionary design made the already existing battleships obsolete. The results were long discussions dealing with the questions if The Netherlands needed such large ships, what numbers and off course the needed budget. The first intention was an enlarged version of De Zeven Provinciën although also the design of the Spanish 16.190 tons full load España-class with a main armament or 8-30,5cm/12” 50 cal guns is considered to be an option. Between 1912-1914 were 11 shipyards abroad asked for tenders; it was yet impossible to built such ships in the Netherlands.(2) At one time is even spoken of 9 of such ships. The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 prevented the start of the building of the first Dutch dreadnought in end December. Among the 11 shipyards was also the British firm Vickers Ltd., Barrow-in Furness, England included. A table supplies details of several designs including the No. 607 of which a more detailed design is preserved. It’s not clear if the other designs were for the Dutch market and/or other navies.

Displacement 14.000 tons and as dimensions 450.0 x 78.0 x 24.6 feet. Speed 21 knots. Armour consisted of a 9” thick waterline belt with the citadel, battery, barbettes and conning tower protected by respectively 6”, 6”, 9”and 9”. The armament consisted of 6-14” guns, 8-6” guns, 8-3” guns, 4-3,7cm guns and 2-21”torpedo tubes. Building costs 1.258.805 pound sterling.

Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie (NIMH), The Hague, Netherlands, losse aanwinsten inventory number 1337.

1. Her armament consisted of 2x1-28,3cm/11.1” guns, 4x1-15cm/5.9” guns, 10x1-7,5cm/3.0”guns and 4x1-1pd guns. The displacement was 6.530 tons and as dimensions 101,5 x 17,1 x 6,15 metres or 333.0 x 56.1 x 20.2 feet. Her speed was 16 knots. Armour consisted of a 15cm/5.9” thick belt, a 5.1cm/2” thick deck with the gun turrets, barbettes and conning tower protected by respectively 25cm/9.8”, 19,7cm/7.75” and 20cm/8”.
2. See for instance “Een Zeeuwse dreadnought 1912-1914?”, Den Spiegel, January 2014, p.14-19.