German Azalea-class sloop, Barbara (1942). German upgrades meets British design!

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Hello everyone, today I’d like to suggest a Belgian ship that was captured by the Germans!

This is the Azalea-class sloop, Barbara (1942)


Barbara after the second world war, most likely with most of her weapons already removed
Source: De Platte V.I.W., Zeewezensprokkels


History & Development

Spoiler

This ship started her career as the HMS Zinnia, who was launched in 1915. I’ve made a suggestion for this vessel already so you can check that out if you want!

https://forum.warthunder.com/t/azalea-class-sloop-hms-zinnia-1915/84894

After the first world war HMS Zinnia was stripped of all her guns and sold to the Belgian Navy where she would be used as a fishing protection vessel and training ship for the naval school.

When Germany invaded Belgium during the start of the second world war, the Zinnia was laying in the port of the naval school. During one of the attacks made on this port, an aerial mine hit the Zinnia damaging her in the progress. The ship was unmanned at the time so no one got hurt.
When Germany had taken over Belgium, the Zinnia was captured and given over to the Kriegsmarine who decided to turn her into an anti-aircraft ship (Flakschiff).

Zinnia was brought to the Belgian Cockerill naval yard (Or a naval yard in the Netherlands, sources vary a bit) where she would be repaired, and for the first time in 20 years, would be armed again.
The ship would recieve a new bow, bridge and various other changes, completely transforming her and bringing it up to date with the 1940’s. Also the crew was increased to 142 men (Instead of the previous 90).

Weaponry wise the ship got three 105 mm SK C/32 guns, four twin 37 mm SK C/30 guns and around 10 - 12 20 mm autocannons (Most likely three quad Vierling C/38 mounts)
The location of the various weapons are sadly very hard to make out due to the lack of good photos. But for the main guns there is one turret at the front, and two at the back.

The ship was ready in 1942, and renamed Barbara. There is not much to speak of for her WW2 career. We do know that in the first year of her service she was used as a training vessel for the navy. And later in the war she was a part of the 14th minesweeping flotilla (14e Räumboot).

When the second world war ended, the ship was located in Emden. She would be captured and returned to Belgium. It was unclear if the ship was still completely armed when she returned to Belgium.

The ship would return to Belgian service under the original name Zinnia for a short time, before quickly being renamed to Breydel for the rest of her career which ended in 1951.

I have made a suggestion for the post WW2 Zinnia/Breydel, so make sure to check those out!


Below are two photos of the ship in Belgian service. One before the second world war, and one after. Note all the changes the Germans had made to the ship, truely transforming the vessel into something completely new.


Zinnia in service with the Belgian Navy before the second world war.
Source: De Platte V.I.W., Zeewezensprokkels


Zinnia in service with the Belgian Navy just after the second world war.
Source: www.belgian-navy.be


Specifications

Spoiler

Length: ~80 meters
Beam: 10 meters
Draft: 3.35 meters
Displacement: unknown
Crew: 142

Machinery:
Propulsion: 1 × triple expansion engine, 2 × cylindrical boilers
Top speed: ~17.5 knots (32.4 km/h)

Weaponry:
3 x 1 105 mm SK C/32 guns
4 x 2 37 mm SK C/30 guns
10 - 12 x 20 mm autocannons (Most likely 3 x 4 20 mm Vierling C/38)


Ingame

Spoiler

Ingame we’ve seen a steady flow of new German gunboats armed with 88 - 105 mm guns being added to the coastal techtree, and I think this one would be a perfect ship to add to the techtree too. It’s large size and huge weaponry loadout makes it a perfect fit for the Rank V Coastal Fleet in my opinion.

The ship can use it’s large size to slug it out with other larger gunboats, and the main weapons can make quick work of most of the ships it would have to face. And all the 37 and 20 mm guns would make short work of any aircraft that dares to get close.

Plus the British and Belgian roots the ship has is also cool for those who know about it.


I hope you enjoyed reading about this more obscure Flakschiff.

Please make sure to leave a comment down below!


Source: De Platte V.I.W., Zeewezensprokkels


Sources

Spoiler

Main source:

Secondairy source:

Extra:

Weaponry:

1 Like

Now this is a ‘co-operation’ that would actually be great to see in game! +1!