Monday, 24 July 2017

The Bulgarian navy and the harbour of Varna, Bulgaria according to a Dutch naval report in 1926

The Dutch coastal defence ship Hr. Ms. Tromp (1) commanded by captain N.J. van Laer left on 6 October 1926 Nieuwediep, Netherlands for a voyage towards the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. One of the visited harbours was Varna, Bulgaria. In the morning of 5th November just north of the Bay of Busghar was she passed by four Bulgarian torpedo boats (2), the first one showing a kind of command flag although none of the boats showed any vane. They saluted the Tromp behaving like torpedo boats while they were in fact not regarded the peace regulations.(3) The Dutch commanding officer supplied some details about the town of Varna. Since the war decreased the merchant shipping considerable and the Bulgarian cabinet seemed to support the harbour of Boergas. Water could be bunkered along the quay buts as the Tromp was lying outside the actual harbour and no water prow available was she forced to distillate herself the water to provided the need of fresh water. Good quality of bunker coal was not available. The government mines delivered a kind of brown coals of 5.000-6.0000 calories. The consumption was extremely high and warned for the great risk of brewing and advice not to buy. On the 11th was Varna left.

The Dutch commanding officer supplies some details about the Bulgarian navy and some harbour. In Varna were some old torpedo boats lying, part of a no longer war fleet but of what was called a gendarmerie military headed by a former navy colonel. All men were dressed in ordinary navy uniforms. Large repairs were not possible at Varna. It was possible to dock although there were plans to purchase a 5.000 tons dock. The small quantity of vegetables bought at Varna were cheap and of good quality.

1. Coast defence ship Marten Harpertsz Tromp, often referred to as just Tromp. She was laid down at the navy yard at Amsterdam, Netherlands 2 May 1903, launched 15 June 1904, trial 17 November 1905 and commissioned 5 April 1906. The armament consisted of 2-24cm guns, 4-15cm guns, 8-7.5cm guns, 4-3.7cm guns, one submerged torpedo tube and two submerged torpedo guns. After some voyages for instance again towards the Dutch East Indies was she decommissioned 2 May 1927, stricken 1932 and leaving 6 December 1933 Den Helder towards Pernis to be broken up. Part of her armour was used to strengthen in 1933 the fortress Kijk Uit at Den Helder, Netherlands.
2. Probably the torpedo boats Drski, Khrabry, Smely and Strogi, all launched in 1907.
3. The Kingdom of Bulgaria chose in the First World War the side of the Central Powers by declaring the war on Serbia on 14 October 1915. The Armistice of Thessalonica dated 30 September 1918 ended the war and formally by the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine (1919). One of the obligations under this treaty was to decrease her army. The fact that Bulgaria entered the war was of the disastrous Balkan Wars 1912-1913 in which the Great Powers did not support Bulgaria and left her at all sides surrounded by hostile countries like Greece.

Jaarboek van de Koninklijke Nederlandsche Zeemacht 1926-1927.