- I voted no to the first question
Today I’d like to introduce you to the HNLMS Van Kinsbergen, a unique (one of it’s class) artillery instruction ship. This ship could fill the role of a sloop gunboat in the game and I think it would make for a wondeful addition for a Dutch/Benelux tech tree.
General description & service life
After the Gelderland (training) cruiser became more and more obsolete there was a need for a more modern artillery instruction ship. This started design work which was authorized in 1936, she was laid down in 1937 and her career started with the commissioning on August 1939. She first served as the artillery instruction ship, but with the war breaking out the duty of training became obsolete and started doing patrolling duties and other small tasks including boarding ships. Yes you heard that right (arrr!), when the Germands declared war on the Netherlands in May 1940 she laid in the port of Curacao where 7 German merchant ships were also in the harbor. Together with some marines she got the task of trying to capture these ships before the crew of these ships were able to either flee or set their ships on fire. The first two ships Vancouver and Este were easily captured, but the other 5 posed a bit more of an issue. Three of the remaining 5 ships were set alight by the crew, but ultimately these ships were extinguishable without too much damage. This operation saved around 25 tons of cargo which became available to the allies. In July of 1941 the ship returned to Europe for some maintenance work, since the famous events of Pearl Harbour she mostly served as an escort of convoys in the Caribbean.
In March 1942 one of her 75mm training cannons was removed to be used as coastal artillery on Aruba. In the months of August and October of 1942 she got her first refit in Norfolk, Virginia which gave her a British Type 271 ASW radar and type 128 Asdic to search for submarines. To eliminate the submarines she was given 2 Mousetrap depth charge mortars (4 rails each) and 2 depth charge racks. In November she made it back to Curacao after which she did various patrols in the area and did multiple submarine hunts.
In September 1944 she gained her second refit, this time in Tompkinsville naval yard, New York. Her British radar was replaced with a American SF type radar, her Asdic was repaired and she had two 40mm cannons (1 mount, assuming that the pages are consistent with their use of cannons vs mounts) replaced with 4 20mm Oerlikon mounts (although called machine guns in Dutch terms). She resumed patrolling duties after wich in 1944 the Germans posed no serious threat anymore in the Caribean area and she went to Shadwell Basin and later travelled back to Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Here she got another maintenance job done to her and for her duties during the war she got the nickname “Flying Dutchman” and received the Legion Of Merit cross.
An interesting bit of trivia about this ship is that it was this ship that showed her modern Bofors (in Hazemeyer mounting) to the American navy sometime during the war. They were very impressed by the Bofors guns and after this started adopting the 40mm Bofors guns on their own ships. Another Dutch vessel, the Willem van der Zaan, did the same for the British, after having studied the Dutch mounting they started producing them theirselves and adopting them on ships such as the Battle class, this mount formed the bassis of the STAAG mount which was an improvement made on the Dutch mounting. So because of the Dutch, two of the biggest powers in WW2 started using Bofors guns, you are welcome Sweden.
After the war in 1951 she was refurbished into a frigate with a major overhaul of her weaponry. In 1955 she was turned into a barracks ship and she was decommissioned in 1959, her weaponry was removed and served as a practice ship for the Technical school of the navy and in 1974 she was sold for scrap to a Belgian company. Thus ending her 35 years of loyal service.
Displacement: 1760 tons, later 2388 tons
Installed power: 2 Stork geared turbines (1700 hp) and 2 Yarrow boilers
Propulsion: 2 shafts
Speed: 25,5 knots
Crew: 183 but later increased to 220
Conning tower: 20mm
4 x 120 mm No. 6 Bofors cannons (locally produced Bofors 4.7inch Mk 6 in a custom mounting)
4 x 40mm Bofors (2 double mounts)
4 x .50 mg’s (2 double mounts)
2 x 75 mm training gun (75/52 SA Nr. 2)
4 x 120 mm No. 6
2 x 40 mm Bofors
4 x 20 mm Oerlikons
1 x 75 mm training gun (75/52 SA Nr. 2)
2 x Mousetrap launchers (4 rails each)
2 x Depth charge racks
2 x 105 mm HA/LA
2 x 40 mm (1 double mount in Hazemeyer mounting, stabilized)
1 x 40 mm (40/60 Mk III)
2 x 20 mm (20/70 Mk IIIA)
Sadly I have been unable to find a good picture of the ship in 1951 after it’s conversion into a frigate, if you find one please send it as a response so I might be able to add it here.
History of the artillery-training ship Van Kinsbergen (service history)
4.7 inch (main weaponry)