HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (1909), The last Dutch “Pantserschip”

Would you like to see this ship ingame?
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In what techtree would you like to see this ship be added in?
  • In a future Dutch/BeNeLux techtree.
  • In the British techtree.
  • In the German techtree.
  • Other (Please explain in the comments).
  • I said “No” in the first question.
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​Today I bring you the last “Pantserschip” the Netherlands build!

De Zeven Provinciën (1909)!

What is a “Pantserschip” you ask?
It’s a Dutch term that litterally translates to “Armour Ship”.
Online sources refer to these ships as Coastal Defence Ships, but I highly disagree with that since Dutch Pantserschip’s are fully ocean going and would go from the Netherlands to the East Indies (Nowadays Indonesia) all the time. So saying they are a Coastal ship is just wrong.

So what are they then? Their speed, weaponry and armour make them more closely related to Armoured Cruisers, so the best term would be to use that, or even better a Small Armoured Cruiser.


Source: Foto's

History

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The Hr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën was launched and christened on the 15th of March 1909, by Prince Hendrik. It was the largest armoured cruiser the Royal Dutch Navy build so far. She was commissioned into the Royal Netherlands Navy on 6th of October 1910. On 21st of November that year she left the port of Den Helder to head out to the Dutch East Indies. The route she took led by South Africa and she arrived at Surabaya on 25th of January 1911.


Hr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën being launched into the water.
Source: Foto's

From 1911 to 1918, the ship stayed in the Dutch East Indies, mainly to exercise colonial authority and to check Dutch neutrality.

On the 23rd of January 1912 ‘De Zeven Provinciën’ hit a cliff while making a trip around Sumatra. The crew had to make the ship lighter in order to get it lose, and so the crew unloaded coal and ammunition. This proved to be succesfull and the ship pulled loose. After this she docked at Singapore. She returned to Surabaya on the 25th of April.


Hr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën being stuck on a cliff.
Source: Foto's

In the final stages of World War I the ship was used mostly as an escort vessel. The Netherlands was neutral during this war. On the 4th of April De Zeven Provinciën was escorting four passenger ships together with another Dutch Pantserscip, the HNLMS Koningin Regentes. The ships were intercepted by two other warships, and the passnger ships were confiscated by British and American naval forces.

After eight years in the Dutch East Indies the ship left on 20th of November 1918, going from Tanjung Priok through the Panama Canal and by New York to Den Helder. She arrived on the 1st of April 1919 and then left for Amsterdam to have some major maintenance that would last two years. On the 9th of November 1921 the ship left for the second time to go to the Dutch East Indies. This would also turn out to be the last time since she would never go back to the homland after this. After arriving in the Dutch East Indies she served as artillery instruction ship.


Hr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën (right) allong with the Hr. Ms Hertog Hendrik and Hr.Ms. Koningin Regentes.
Source: Foto's

The mutiny of 1933

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In 1933 ‘De Zeven Provinciën’ gained worldwide fame for the mutiny from February 4th to 14th of that year. In the early 1930s, a number of budget cuts were made to the Royal Netherlands Navy, which led to lower wages. Furthermore, the native crew members on the Dutch warships felt inadequate because they had a much lower status on board than the European crew and therefore received a substantially lower fee while they had the same responsibilities. Moreover, at that time, a hostile climate prevailed within the Royal Navy because of the enormous hierarchical gap between officers and men. After the announcement of a cut in the wages, part of the crew of the ‘De Zeven Provinciën’ overpowered the ship anchored on the roadstead of Oleh-leh, Sumatra, by capturing the officers. The commander and many of the officers were ashore at the time.

The armored ship left for Surabaya, Java to negotiate salaries. A Fokker T.4 bomber of the ‘Marine Luchtvaart Dienst’ (MLD) was ordered on February 10 to throw a bomb in front of the ship as a warning to the mutinous crew. However, the dropped bomb fell on the fore-ship killing 23 crew members. In the days that followed, the ship was overpowered by marines and taken to Surabaya, Java. The surviving mutineers received heavy prison terms and the heavily damaged Hr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën was taken out of service.

She would end up getting repaired and be put back into service under the name HNLMS Soerabaja.


The damage that was done by the Fokker T.4,
Source: Foto's

The mutiny and it’s violent conclusion had a huge impact in the Netherlands. Historian ‘Louis de Jong’ said that it was one of the most significant events for the Dutch in the 1930s. The event resulted in (at least for the short term) a shift to the right within the political parties. The government went ahead to root out social-democratic influences among the various naval unions.

Design

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The design of the ship was derived from the British HMS Dreadnought but being armed with only two 28cm guns, it was actually a larger version of the Dutch armored ships of the ‘Jacob van Heemskerck (1906)’, which was 5,000 tons.

The ship was a small cruiser-sized warship that sacrificed speed and range for armor and armament. She was armed with two 283 mm, four 150 mm, ten 75 mm and a 75 mm mortar (The mortar was removed in 1919). These 283mm guns are the biggest and most powerfull guns that have been put onto a Dutch ship so far. They have a fire rate of about 2 shots per minute, and it has a max fire range of 16.100 meters! The AP shell weighs 302 kg and has a muzzle velocity of 845 meters-per-second.

The ship was 101.5 metres long, had a beam of 17.1 metres and a draft of 6.15 metres, and displaced 6,530 tons. She had a crew of 448 and was able to reach 16 knots.

The armour of this ship was 100 to 150mm around the belt, 50mm on the deck and 200 to 250mm on the conning tower and turrets.


A nice close up rear main turret and a 75mm turret.
Source: Foto's

Ingame

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We currently don’t have any armoured cruisers, or similar older style vessels ingame. But I do strongly believe that ships like these can work really well ingame.

When we look at the future of Naval in War Thunder, not all nations have a large number of battleships/battlecruisers that can be added. And going from a cruiser to a battleship is a huge step. That’s why I think ships like these can work nicely to fill that gap. They might not have the most amount weapons, or the best AA weapons, but their armour alone will allow them to take a lot of punches!

BR wise I this ship would work best at around 5.0. Maybe if Naval get’s more un-compressed these BR’s can change.

As always I would like to see this ship being added in a future Dutch or BeNeLux techtree. I strongly believe that this can be added ingame as a fun nation to play!

But if this never comes to the game then the German or British techtree makes the most sense. The ship used German guns, and the Dutch Navy also looked at German ship designs very often. The British and Dutch were very close allies during the second world war and fought together on many occasions, so they make sense too.

Specifications

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You can find the full sized blueprint here: | Nationaal Archief

Standard displacement: 5.973 tons
Fully loaded displacement: 6.510 tons
Length: 101,50 m
Beam: 17,10 m
Draft: 6,15 m
Installed powerplant: 8 x Yarrow boilers, two smoke stacks (3 x Yarrow boilers, one smoke stack since 1936)
Propulsion: 2 x shafts
Maximum speed: 16.27 knots
Crew: 448 men

Armor:
Belt: 100 - 150mm
Deck: 50mm
Barbettes: 200 - 250mm
Turrets: 250mm
Conning Tower: 200mm


You can find the full sized blueprint here: | Nationaal Archief

Armament:
2 x 1 283 mm Krupp No.3
4 x 1 150 mm Krupp No.5
10 x 1 75 mm Semi-Automatic No.1
1 x 1 75 mm Mortar (Removed in 1919)

Some sources mention 37mm Hotchkiss guns being used on the ship, but I’ve never been able to see these on blueprints or historical photos, so these were most likely never fitted to the ship.


Hr. Ms. De Zeven Provinciën laying near Surabaya, Java.
Source: Foto's

And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading about this amazing machine.

See you on the battlefield!

Extra photos

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Source: Foto's


Source: Foto's


Source: Foto's

Sources

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History and information:
Nederlandse kanonneerboten - TracesOfWar.nl (It’s in Dutch)
HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (1909) - Wikipedia

Extra information:
Soerabaia - class coastal defence ship
https://www.navypedia.org/ships/netherlands/nl_bb_de_zeven_provincien.htm

Blueprints:
4.MST Inventaris van de bouwtekeningen van schepen van de Nederlandse Marine, 1683-1996 | Nationaal Archief

Photos:
Foto's
https://www.maritiemdigitaal.nl/

283mm Krupp No.3: Netherlands 28.3 cm/42.5 (11.1") - NavWeaps

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