After the First world war, in addition to shipbuilding giant — Britain and the major European players in the face of France, Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union, in quiet corners of Europe still remained small countries trying hard to develop a national military shipbuilding for their own projects. However, sometimes I had to resort to the “elders”. In the end, was born a very unique ships. And not in the last instance they proved to be just cruisers.
A “great shipbuilding nation in the third category” is Holland, and not because of a whim. Kingdom with a population comparable to the number of inhabitants in greater London, in the early twentieth century had a significant area and population of the colonial Empire, which, of course, were the Indies- today’s Indonesia. A huge “archipelago of a thousand Islands” from a purely Maritime borders just cried on the fleet to protect it. Meanwhile, by the beginning of the First world war, the Royal Netherlands Navy consisted of a collection of more than pretty outdated ships, is not always suitable, even for routine service, not to mention the implementation of major combat missions. Most of it was the battleships of coastal defense gunboats and ships that are useful in peacetime for deterrence “unruly savages”, but unable to resist the modern high-speed units. The cruiser was represented exclusively by the slow-moving “old man”. It is clear that in such circumstances the necessary experience in the construction of the Dutch is almost completely absent. Therefore, immediately after in 1915, the Parliament adopted the program, which included a couple of big cruisers (“Java” and “Sumatra”) to protect the colonies, the Dutch had to apply “advice” to its powerful neighbor, Germany. Despite the war, the Germans found resources for design assistance, especially that from their own shipyards went smaller large ships, and the Dutch were paid full value.
The famous Krupp shipyard “Germany” offered an interesting project, representing a increase the standard Imperial cruiser type “Karlsruhe”, so much so that he could carry a 150-mm guns. The initial version kept the traditional “German” look with four pipes and onboard location of artillery, but, according to the requirements of the customer, its solidly reworked, so that in the end the ship is still in the drawing has completely changed the finish. Now he had a long forecastle, two chimneys and the characteristic “shelf with bridges” as the front of the superstructure. In the end, “the small Dutch” got a rather ferocious appearance: from a distance they somewhat resembled such linear giants like “geben” or “Moltke”. On the other hand, at large distance they could be confused with the British “Elizavetinsky”, though not as devastating as battle cruisers, but even more dangerous for any “classmate”. Of course, to this similarity, the designers specifically sought, but it is in any difficult moment of life could be far not superfluous.
External differences from the prototype lurked no less significant. The Dutch project differed from its German predecessors and higher speed (30 knots), and several enhanced reservation by the German tradition involving the belt and deck with reinforcing its bevels. More successfully placed the artillery: of the ten 150-mm guns on Board could shoot seven, and in the nose and stern — four theoretically and practically, rather, just three. All guns were covered by solid boards, the thickness of the front plate of which reached 100 mm. Generally protected the designers tried: in accordance with the Kaiser’s Navy for ships of the line scheme were booked and even the chimneys that the cruisers were observed very rarely. The German tradition was consistent with the three-shaft power plant, especially boilers and turbines had to supply the Germans prior to the collapse of the Empire of Wilhelm II. But as a supplier of artillery, the Dutch wisely chose not to fight Germany, and neutral Sweden, so lose the main “counselor” in the war had no impact on the process of armament of their ships. However, due to lack of experience and delays in deliveries, the construction of “Java” and “Sumatra” at domestic shipyards in Vlissingen and Amsterdam ranked nine and ten respectively. And the third cruiser, the “Celebes”, which was supposed to be the flagship of the East India fleet (which he was supposed to be longer than 3 m and 150 tons heavier), the construction of which has already agreed with the government shipyard in Rotterdam just not mastered. The order postponed several times until, in 1919, not repealed fully in connection with moral obsolescence of the project.