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Tromp Class Light Cruiser

Tromp - in the Solent 1938
Tromp - in the Solent 1938
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ShipBuilderLaid DownLaunchedCompletedFate
TrompNSM (Amsterdam)17 Jan 3624 May 3718 Aug 38Stricken 10 Dec 1968
Jacob van Heemskerck NSM (Amsterdam)31 Oct 3816 Sep 3910 May 40 Stricken 27 Feb 1970

Displacement: 3,450 tons/3,505 tonnes (standard); 4,860 tons/4,937 tonnes (full load).
Length: 433ft/131.97m (oa); 426ft 6in/130m (pp).
Beam: 40ft 9in/12.43m; Draught: 14ft 2in/4.64m (mean).
Machinery: 2-shaft Parsons geared turbines; 4 Yarrow boilers.
Performance: 56,000shp=321/2kts; Bunkerage: 860 tons oil fuel.
Range: 6,000nm at 12kts.
Protection: 16mm main belt; 20mm to 30mm torpedo bulkhead; 15mm to 25mm deck.
Guns: six 5.9in (3x2); four 40mm (2x2); four .5in MGs. Torpedoes: six 21in (3x2).
Aircraft: one.
Complement: 309.

These ships were authorised in 1931, reportedly as 2,500-ton flotilla leaders, although it is possible that this was merely a political subterfuge for the purpose gaining the necessary approval. Certainly they were later reworked as light cruisers for use in the East Indies, and there had always been plans to increase the cruiser strength in those waters.

Tromp - Sydney 1942
Tromp - Sydney 1942
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The final design had a displacement of 3,450 tons (standard) and carried a relatively heavy armament for the size. The hull was of longitudinal construction, subdivided into seventeen watertight compartments, and had a double bottom extending 57 per cent of its length. This double bottom was carried up to above the waterline. The hull was of raised forecastle design, which was carried aft for 50 per cent of the ship's length. The protective scheme included a 16mm waterline belt, inboard of which was a longitudinal torpedo bulkhead 20mm-30mm thick. The main deck was 15mm-25mm and extended inboards from the torpedo bulkheads, with a lower deck over the forward (25mm) and after (16mm) magazines and steering gear. The gun shields and ammunition hoists were 15-25mm. Total weight of armour was 450 tons, or 13 per cent of the standard displacement.

The main machinery, supplied by Workspoor, comprised four Yarrow-type boilers in two boiler rooms, abaft of which were the turbine rooms, the forward set powering the starboard shaft. The designed speed of 331/2kts was exceeded by a knot on trials with a displacement of about 4,000 tons.

Unlike that of their larger sister, De Ruyter, the 5.9in main armament was concentrated forward, all guns being in twin Mk II mountings with 60° elevation, two forward and one aft; 2,000rpg were carried for the 5.9in guns. No intermediate armament was shipped, and the light AA was once again the 40mm Bofors in two twin Mk IV mountings, both at the after end of the forecastle deck. The design appears to have included four twin mountings, but only two were fitted as completed. Four .5in MGs in two twin mountings completed the gunnery. These ships also received a torpedo outfit, with two triple banks of 21in tubes on the upper deck abaft of midships. Finally, a single Fokker C.VIX floatplane was carried, but no catapult was fitted, the aeroplane being lowered on to the water by a boom for take-off.

Tromp had her armament altered in the course of repairs at Sydney between March and June 1942, following action damage on 19/20 February. Two 3in AA and six 20mm singles were added, two of the latter sited on B and X guns. The after DCT was removed and the two twin 40mm repositioned on the centreline, one in lieu of the DCT. Radar was fitted to the after rangefinder, and the aircraft landed.

Tromp 1942
Tromp 1942
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Heemskerck, completed in Britain, received a completely different outfit. Her main armament was ten 4in Mk XVI in five twin mountings XIX, disposed in A, B and X positions and two sided over the former torpedo tube positions. The tubes were never fitted. A single quadruple 2pdr was fitted at the after end of the forecastle deck, superfiring on X gun. Six 20mm Hispano-Suiza guns and two depth-charge throwers (from G13 and G15) completed the armament. In 1944/45 she was refitted at Cammell Laird and the 2pdr was replaced by two twin Hazemeyer 40mm and two more twin 40mm were shipped amidships. Plans to fit six or eight twin 20mm could not be completed because of space problems, and only four twin 20mm were added in lieu of the HispanoSuiza cannon. No aircraft was carried by this ship.

Jacob van Heemskerck 1944
Jacob van Heemskerck 1944
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When Germany invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940, Tromp began convoy cover duties in the Indian Ocean and SW Pacific. On 1 February 1942 she joined the combined Allied Striking Force (ABDA). Two days later she sortied with the Allied force to intercept Japanese transports, off Balikpapan, but after attack by aircraft the force returned to base. Further sorties on 8 and 14 February were equally fruitless. In a sortie on 18 February to attack Japanese landing forces or Bali, Tromp was badly damaged by Arashio while Michishio was badly hit by the Allies. The Dutch cruiser returned to Soerabaya for temporary repairs, and sailed for Australia on 23 February and was repaired at Sydney. Thereafter, until the end of 1943, she was used on escort duties in Australian waters and in the Indian Ocean. In January 1944 she joined the British Eastern Fleet at Trincomalee and took part in the various carrier raids on Japanese-held territories and installations in Malaya and the East Indies. In an attack on Sabang on 25 July she was hit four times by shore batteries while bombarding the harbour. In 1945 Tromp formed part of the ocean covering force for the invasion of Rangoon, and on 10 May was sailed as part of TF60 to intercept the cruiser Haguro, but destroyers sank this ship before TF60 could make contact. Towards the end of May 1945 Tromp was transferred to the US 7th Fleet, leaving Trincomalee on 24 May and arriving at Moromi on 14 June to join TF74.2. In June/July 1945 she covered the invasion of Balikpapan, and on 16 September arrived at Jakarta for the Japanese surrender.

Tromp with Sumatra astern
Tromp with Sumatra astern
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Jacob van Heemskerck was incomplete and running basin trials at the time of the German invasion, and commissioned on 10 May in this state, sailing for Britain on the night of 14/15 May. Her only armament at this time was six 20mm Hispano-Suiza guns. Early in June 1940 she accompanied Sumatra to Canada, with the Netherlands Royal family, and on her return was taken in hand at Portsmouth for conversion into an AA cruiser. This refit was completed on 17 February 1941, after which Heemskerck served in the Irish Sea and Atlantic until January 1942, when she sailed for the East Indies. Arriving too late to take part in their defence, she joined the British Eastern Fleet instead. In September she took part in the invasion of Madagascar, before being employed escorting ocean convoys. In the course of this task she intercepted the German blockade runner Ramses in the Indian Ocean on 27 November. At the end of 1943 the ship sailed for Britain, and from January to June 1944 operated in the Mediterranean. She returned to Britain to refit, but served again in the Mediterranean from December 1944. After the surrender of Germany the ship was the first warship to enter Amsterdam, in June 1945.

Jacob van Heemskerck, Indian Ocean 1944 - with Illustrious and possibly Renown.
Jacob van Heemskerck, Indian Ocean 1944 - with Illustrious and possibly Renown.
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