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Jellicoe1916

Gerard Callenburgh Class Destroyers

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The Gerard Callenburgh Class Destroyers were a class of destroyer designed in the 1930s by the Dutch. They were built in response to the latest Japanese destroyers which completely outmatched the previous Admiralen class destroyers. The new design featured 5 120mm guns in 2 twin and 1 single mount, one twin fore and aft, with the single superimposed over the aft twin mount. It also featured 2 quadruple torpedo tubes, 4 12.7mm Vickers Mk III machine guns and 4 40mm AA guns, they even carried a floatplane. The class were to have a top speed of 37.5kts and a standard load of 1,604 tons, increased to 2,228 tons at full load. The class was to be composed of 4 ships, namely the Gerard Callenburgh, Isaac Sweers, Tjerk Hiddes  and Philips Van Almonde.

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The Gerard Callenburgh was laid down on the 12th October 1938 at the RDM Rotterdam shipyard, and launched a year later on 12th October 1939. As she was fitting out, the Germans invaded the Netherlands on the 10th May and the Royal Netherlands Navy decided to scuttle the destroyer on 15th May to prevent her from falling into Germany's hands. However the Germans managed to refloat the ship on the 14th July and towed her to the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg for repairs on the 11th October, the Germans renamed her the ZH1 ( Zerstörer Holland Eins or Destroyer Holland One). The Kriegsmarine did not make any modifications to the ship because they wanted to see how the ship compared to their own designs, they did however, replace her AA armament with German ones and as completed she had 5 120mm guns, 2 quadruple torpedo tubes, 2 twin 37mm guns and 4 single 20mm guns, after numerous delays she was finally commissioned into the Kriegsmarine on the 11th October

1942. 

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ZH1 spent most of her career carrying out exercises and operations with the 8. Zerstörerflottile (8th Destroyer Flotilla) based in Le Verdon-sur-mer, these included escorting numerous blockade runners and the Japanese Submarine I-29, which was on its way to Lorient. After word came of the Allied Landings on Normandy on 6th June 1944, the commander of the 8. Zerstörerflottile,  Kapitän zur See Theodor von Bechtolsheim ordered his three remaining destroyers (ZH1, Z32 and Z24) and the torpedo boat T24 to sail for Brest, France. On the night of the 8-9th June, they set out from Brest , but were intercepted by the 10th destroyer flotilla. During the Battle of Ushant, ZH1 was badly damaged by accurate fire from HMS Tartar and Ashanti, with all power knocked out, ZH1 drifted to a halt. Later, after opening fire on HMS Tartar, ZH1 had her bow blown off by a torpedo from Ashanti, despite this, her forward turret remained firing but due to her hopeless situation, her captain ordered her to be scuttled with depth charges.

 

The Isaac Sweers was laid down on November 26th 1938 at Koninklijke Maatschappij De Schelde in Flushing, and launched on March 16th 1940. After the German invasion of the Netherlands, the ship was evacuated to the United Kingdom where she was completed. As completed by the British she had 3 twin 102mm guns, 2 quadruple torpedo tubes, 2 twin 40mm bofors and 2 quadruple 12.7mm Vickers Mk III machine guns. Isaac Sweers was commissioned on the 29th May 1941.

 

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Isaac Sweers was part of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, which also composed HMS Maori, Legion and Sikh, during the Battle of Cape Bon on December 13th 1941. During this battle, 2 Italian cruisers ( the Alberico da Barbiano and Alberto di Guissano) carrying oil and supplies to forces in North Africa, were sunk. While escorting convoy MW 8B to Malta, she also towed and saved the entire crew of 240 men from the destroyer HMS Gurkha, which had been torpedoed by U-133 on 12th January 1942. Isaac Sweers was torpedoed and sunk on November 13th 1942 during Operation Torch by the U-431 and sank with the loss of 108 of her 194 man crew.

 

The remaining 2 destroyers, Tjerk Hiddes and Philips Van Almonde, were laid down on the 1st October 1938 and the 2nd March 1939 respectively. Tjerk Hiddes was the only one of these 2 that was launched, which occurred on the 12th October 1939. Hiddes was scuttled after the invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 and subsequently raised and scrapped by the Germans while Almonde was blown up on the slipway after the invasion and her remains were scrapped on the slipway.

 

This class provides the possibilities for 3 different in game ships, each with a different model and playstyle. ZH1 could be a German Premium Ship with her German armament layout and the standard German Hydro, Wargaming also showed ZH1's model in Haida's naval legends video, which may mean they may be planning on adding her at some point in the future. Sweers meanwhile, could be added as a Dutch ship with her British 102mm armament which will differentiate her playstyle significantly from the other 2 destroyers of the class, and Hiddes could be added with the original design that included the floatplane, this would make her unique as she would be the only destroyer in game with a floatplane.

 

Overall, This is a very interesting class that has some good history behind it and would be a great opportunity for wargaming to introduce a new nation and some new playstyles,

 

Thank you for reading and Good Luck In Battle Captains!

 

ZH1 in Haida's Naval Legends video

 

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