Fig 1. Zeven Provincien class close up
The ships of this class were meant to replace the old Java-class cruisers in the defence of the Dutch Indies. Orginally they had a main battery of 8 x 5.9 inch guns, but such an armament wasn't powerful enough in comparison with the modern cruisers built by the other navies. They were redisigned instead, being equipped with 10 guns and a modern AA-battery of 40 mm Bofors guns. The Germans found these ships at the dockyards after May 1940, but the construction was only in an early stage. Although the Germans planned to complete them as the trainingcruisers KH 1 and KH 2, the dockyards' capacity was put to other use, so the construction only advanced very slowly. In 1944, the Germans decided to block several ports with blockships, and the Zeven Provinciën was launched ( with the German atlantic bow ) to block the Nieuwe Waterweg. Fortunately, she was never used this way, both ships could be completed both war. The design however was modified several times, now implementing the lessons learned in the war. This meant that the ships didn't look like the original design at all, that displacement and dimensions were increased and appeared to be better ships. Originally, they were in fact a enlargement of the smaller cruiser De Ruyter, which was sunk in the Battle of the Javasea. Commissioned by the Dutch since 1953, the ships were bought by the Peruvian navy in the seventies, and are now approaching the end of their careers.
Preliminary design of 1947
Fig 2. Sketch drawing of original design
Post-1972 look of the cruisers
Fig 3. Sketch drawing of modernized design
4 Werkspoor-Yarrow three-drum boilers
2 De Schelde Parsons geared steam turbines
7,000 nm at 12 knots
8 x 152 mm main guns
8 x 57 mm AA guns
8 x 40 mm AA guns
50-76 mm belt
50-125 mm turrets
50-125 mm conning tower
Ships in class
There are two ships in the class: HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (renamed De Ruyter in 1947) and Kijkduin (renamed Eendracht c. 1940, De Ruyter in 1944 and De Zeven Provinciën in 1947). Both ships have enjoyed long service lives, first in the Koninklijke Marine (until early 1970s) and then in the Marina de Guerra del Perú.
'Modern' day service
In Dutch service both ships participated in several NATO exercises, and were frequently used as flagships for different naval task forces. Between 1962 and 1964, the De Zeven Provinciën underwent a refit by RDM which included the removal of the two aft turrets and the installation of a RIM-2 Terrier SAM system. Lack of funds precluded the same modifications from being carried out in the De Ruyter, which was decommissioned in 1973. Her sister ship followed suit in 1976; the cruisers were replaced in Dutch service by the two Tromp-class frigates.
Fig 4: HrMs Zeven Provincien (modernized) at sea
Fig 5. Almirante Grau at sea
Veterans story of serving aboard the HrMS Zeven Provincien (translated)
Spring 1969 I got transfered to the HrMs Zeven Provincien after 2.5 years of service on the HrMs Limburg. I got sent there with mixed feelings as larger ships and bases did not really agree with it. Luckily I got a nice job straight away, 'paay-gevechtscentrale'. (Dutch) cruisers seperate the battleops (?) from the command and control and therefore we mostly did anti-aircraft and aircraft escorting. Radar equipment such as the VI (Vertical Indicator) were completely new to me as were the equipment with which we could aim the Terrier missiles. This job gave me the oppurtinity to get acquinted with both said systems. Central in our battleops we had a huge podium with a air'plot' and some smaller ones at the sides of the battleops room. The monitors for our artillery were placed in a different corner. The Zeven Provinces was classified as a light cruiser as was her sister ship the HrMs De Ruyter, the HrMs Zeven Provines got her aft section completely rebuilt however to make room for the Terrier weapon system.
The Terrier is an american anti-air missile which was used by the American Navy from the 50s till shortly after 1970 when they were replaced by the Standard Missile. The Terrier was a two step missile for medium range. The Royal Netherlands Navy received a Terrier system towards the end of the 50s for the Zeven Provincien. The movie "Kies Zee" of the RNN shows how shortly after installing the missile system they performed some practice firing. These excercises were all performed in american waters. I myself never experienced an actual missile firing, they probably were a bit thrifty about it.... - We did practice extensively with readying and aiming, normally a learjet was rented by the navy for these excercises.
We made several trips with the ship to e.g. Casablanca - Lissabon - Gibraltar - Portmouth (Plymuiden) - Invergorden - Cadiz and Bordeaux. The fleet commandant announced shortly after leaving Bordeaux that he was displeased by the large amoung of crew members put on penalty parade.... -;)
PS: I am open to suggestions for a better translation of the original text (see sources). All smileys and weird punctuation were copied/translated as directly as possible.
Jane's Fighting Ships of WW2
Edited by Tarskin, 04 September 2012 - 09:19 AM.