HNLMS Soerabaja (1939), Old but still going!

Would you like to see this ship ingame?
  • Yes.
  • No.
0 voters
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 want to suggest a refitted De Zeven Provinciën (1909)!, now renamed to Soerabaja!

This is the “Pantserschip” HNLMS Soerabaja (1939)

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



This ship started it’s life as the HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (1909). In 1933 a mutiny happend on the ship, and an Fokker T.4 floatplane bomber was send to throw a bomb near the ship to warn the mutineers. But the bomb actually hit the ship on accident, killing 23 men and damaging the ship.

After the mutiny, the damaged armoured ship was repaired in Surabaya and converted into a training ship. The navy thought that the ship was no longer worthy of the name ‘De Zeven Provinciën’ and when the ship, which was classified as a gunboat during the renovation, was put back into service in 1936, it was renamed Hr. Ms. Soerabaja. During the mobilization in the Dutch East Indies, May 1940, the Soerabaja was used as a coastal defense ship near Surabaya, Java.

In mid-December 1941, the Dutch East Indian and Australian governments decided to occupy the Portuguese Timor to prevent the Japanese from taking over this neutral part of Timor to establish a bridgehead there. On December the 15th, Hr. Ms. Soerabaja anchored at Koepang, the capital of the Dutch part of Timor. At night, 200 soldiers of the ‘Koninklijk Nederlands Indische Leger’ (KNIL) (Royal Dutch East Indies Army) and 200 troops of the Australian Imperial Force embarked on the Dutch warship. The next morning the old ship headed for Dili, the capital of the Portuguese part of Timor, preceded by HNLMS Canopus of the militarized Government Marine. On board this ship were a Dutch and an Australian negotiating officer.

The ships arrived on Dili on 17th of December, but the Soerabaja waited outside territorial waters. The Canopus debarked the negotiating officers at Dili where they requested the Portuguese governor to admit Allied troops. The governor asked for an hour of reflection, but when this hour had passed and no positive answer was not forthcoming, HNLMS Soerabaja moved up to 100 meters off the coast of Dili and the disembarkation of the troops started. More than an hour later, at about 12:45 PM, the 400 Allied soldiers were ashore and the Soerabaja took a position in front of the city to intervene, if necessary, with the two 28cm guns. However, the 800 men of the Portuguese governor did not resist, so that the occupation of Portuguese Timor was very peaceful. The Soerabaja then returned to Java.

The crew of the Hr. Ms. Soerabaja
Source: Foto's



On February 18th, 1942, HNLMS Soerabaja was sunk in front of the port entrance of Surabaya by a Japanese G4M bomber. A Japanese bomb fell exactly in the chimney and detonated at the bottom of the ship, after which it sank almost straight down.

In the fall of 1944, the Japanese had taken over much territory of the allies, and the ship was lifted by order of the Japanese and was used for some time as a floating anti-aircraft battery in the ‘Westervaarwater’, the western shipping channel to Surabaya. The name of this ship during this period is not recorded.

However, the heavily damaged ship, which had also sunk off the harbor for more than two and a half years, was difficult to keep afloat. That is why the occupiers decided in 1945 to sink the ship in the ‘Westervaarwater’, five miles from the Djamocangrif. The wreck is still there.

HNLMS Soerabaja being sunk in the ‘Westervaarwater’.
Source: Foto's

A 28cm No. 3 turret still remains in the Loka Jala Crana Navy Museum in Surabaya. The exact history of how it got there is not extremely clear, but it seems to have been re-painted in recent years to resemble the more traditional Navy Gray.

The 28cm Krupp No. 3 turret in a special paint scheme.
Source: NAVY Museum (Loka Jala Crana) - Surabaya - Indonesia | Flickr

The 28cm Krupp No. 3 turret in the traditional Navy Gray color.



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. After the mutiny of 1933 the ship’s armaments were changed quite a lot. She was armed with two 283 mm, two 150 mm, two 75 mm guns and six 40 mm pom pom autocannons. One source also mentions twelve 6.5 mm machine guns being added too. This could be accurate since small machine guns had been added to other Dutch Pantserschepen, but so far I have not been able to spot a single on for Soerabaja on historical photos.

The 283mm guns are the biggest and most powerfull guns that have been put onto a Dutch ship.[/u] 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.

Another thing that was changed when the ship was refitted, was that five Yarrow boilers were removed, leaving only three and having only one smoke stack.

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 originally able to reach 16 knots, but with the removal of half of the Yarrow boilers this is most likely less.

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.

Soerabaja most likely during 1941. You can clearly see three of the 40mm Vickers pom poms on the top right.
Source: Foto's



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! And 40mm autocannons being present on a Dutch Pantsership is quite rare, I’ve only found one other Pantsership that had these. That being HNLMS Hertog Hendrik.

But if a Dutch/BeNeLux techtree is not going to be added then the German or British techtree makes the most sense. The ship used German main 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.



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: 3 x Yarrow boilers, one smoke stacks
Propulsion: 2 x shafts
Maximum speed: ~12 knots
Crew: 448 men

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

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

2 x 1 283 mm Krupp No.3 guns
2 x 1 150 mm Krupp No.5 guns (These seem to have been removed around 1941)
2 x 1 75 mm Semi-Automatic No.1 guns
6 x 1 40 mm Vickers No.1 autocannons
Possibly 12 x 1 6.5 mm machine guns

Some sources mention 12.7mm machine guns also 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.

Source: Foto's

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

See you on the battlefield!

Extra photo


Source: Foto's



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

Extra information:
Soerabaia - class coastal defence ship
DE ZEVEN PROVINCIËN coast defence ship (1910)

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


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

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