De Ruyter (I) history

August 1 1932 The order for De Ruyter is placed.
September 16 1933 De Ruyter is laid down at the Wilton Fijenoord dockyard in Schiedam
May 11 1935 De Ruyter is launched
October 3 1936 De Ruyter is completed and commissioned by Captain A.C. van der Sande Lacoste
January 12 1937 Departure for the NEI.
March 5 1937 De Ruyter arrives in Tandjong Priok, Java
October 25 1937 Lt. Cdr. J.B. Meijer relieves Captain A.C. van der Sande Lacoste as commanding officer
January 8 1938 Commander L.G.L. van der Kun relieves Lt. Cdr. J.B. Meijer as commanding officer
April 12 1939 Commander L.G.L. van der Kun is promoted to Captain
May 4 1939 Captain H.J. Bueninck relieves Captain L.G.L. van der Kun as commanding officer.
December 1939 De Ruyter, Java, Zuiderkruis and a division of submarines are on standby in the Javasea after a messages of a Japanese concentration of naval forces near Formosa.
May 10 1940 War with Germany ! Captain H.J. Bueninck is in command
January 27 1941 Captain H.J. Bueninck is relieved by Commander J.H. Solkesz
March 1941 De Ruyter escorts the passengership Oranje (20.017 gross tons) on her first leg to Singapore. She is rerouted to the Moluccas after completing this assignment. De Ruyter and various other units are positioned near Morotai on the 19th. She completes a boiler repair job by the end of this month, after which trials are conducted.
April 22 1941 De Ruyter arrives at Soerabaja
May 1941 After receiving the message two German merchants and the Italian colonial patrol ship Eritrea had left Japan, De Ruyter and other naval units are routed to the eastern archipelago.
August 8 1941 Commander E.E.B. Lacomblť takes over command from Commander J.H. Solkesz.
November 1941 De Ruyter with destroyers Banckert, Witte de With, Kortenaer and Piet Hein are rerouted to Koepang after messages indicate a possible coup against Timor.
December 6 1941 De Ruyter and destroyers are in position near the Paternoster Islands
December 8 1941 Japan declares war to the United States and the British Empire. The NEI declare war to Japan
December 15 1941 Rendez-vous in the central Java sea with various warships to steam to the Koemai Bay in Southwestern Borneo
December 16 1941 Meeting with all captains present
December 18 1941 De Ruyter enters Soerabaja for repairs (several boilers needed work) and leave.
December 19 1941 Meeting between Rear Admiral Glassford (CinC TF-5) and Rear-Admiral Doorman.
December 26 1941 De Ruyter goes to sea with cruiser Tromp and destroyers Banckert and Piet Hein.
January 1 1942 Rendez-vous with Singapore-convoy BM-9A under command of the captain of HMAS Hobart. The ships are escorted from Soenda Strait to the northern entrance of Bangka Strait.
January 4 1942 Rendez-vous with Singapore-convoy BM-9B north of Soenda Strait which is escorted to the northern entrance of Bangka Strait.
January 10 1942 Rendez-vous with Singapore-convoy DM-1 in Soenda Strait, which is escorted through Banka Strait during the daylight hours of January 12.
February 2 1942 De Ruyter is positioned near the Gili's in Madoera Strait with other units.
February 3/4 1942 A striking force consisting of the Dutch cruisers De Ruyter and Tromp, the American Houston and Marblehead and 7 destroyers ( USS Stewart, Edwards, Barker, Bulmer, Dutch Banckert, Piet Hein and Van Ghent ) leave the Gili's to intercept a convoy heading for Makassar.
February 4 1942 The Striking Force spots Japanese aircraft (flying boats from Toko Kokutai) from the east at about 5500 feet. The ships are about 20 miles south of Sapandjang, the most eastern island of the Kangean Islands when about 27 Betty bombers of the Kanoya Kokutai attack from a high altitude. The aircraft were on their way from Kendari airfield on Celebes to Soerabaja for an air attack, when they spotted the fleet below. As the bombers attacked, reinforcements in the form of 9 somewhat older "Nell" bombers from the Takao Kokutai arrived, also on their way for an air attack on Soerabaja. Doorman aboard De Ruyter ordered all ships to disperse, which was a succesful approach in the first few waves. The Japanese broke off their first attacks, losing one plane hit by a 5 inch shell, but later, the Marblehead was hit by two bombs, while several near-misses smashed a large hole in her foreship. Besides that, here rudder was damaged and she was ablaze on several places. Tromp tried to get alongside but was waved off by the Americans. The number of victims was under the circumstances remarkably low: "only" 15 men killed and 34 wounded. De Ruyter hit one bombers with her Bofors 40 mm'ers, and as the plane hurled down towards the sea, it made a "1944-style" kamikaze-attack on Marblehead. Fortunately, her gunners were paying attention and shot down the doomed aircraft. Meanwhile, a third group of bombers (1st Kokutai) had left Kendari for a bombing mission on Soerabaja and came across the Striking Force, which was still taking formation. De Ruyter sustained only minor damage, but the Houston was hit by a bomb, knocking out her rear 8-inch turret and killing 48 men. 20 others were wounded. Under the circumstances, Doorman decided to give up the sortie for Makassar, as no friendly fighters had shown up and more attacks could be expected. All ships set course for Tjilatjap, although Doorman originally planned to refuel in Batavia.
February 8 1942 Arrival in Tjilatjap
February 11 1942 The remainder of the Striking course sets sail for the Prigi Bay on southern Java for refueling from the tanker Tan 8, but the ships are rerouted to a position north of Tandjong Priok ( Batavia ). While underway in the following night, the USS Whipple collides with De Ruyter. The damage of both ships is assessed to be minor, although Whipple has to be detached to Tjilatjap for repairs.
February 13 1942 De Ruyter and Tromp (without destroyers) pass Soenda Strait and set sail for an enemy convoy which is heading for Gaspar Straits. The Java is sighted several hours later and is now part of the Striking Force, Doorman decides to wait for destroyers to assist him and plots a course for Oosthaven. On arrival, the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter and the light HMAS Hobart join him. The destroyers arrive the next day.
February 14 1942 The fleet leaves Oosthaven in the afternoon for the Gaspar Straits with the following strength: cruisers De Ruyter, Tromp, Java, Exeter and Hobart along with the Dutch destroyers Van Ghent, Kortenaer, Piet Hein and Banckert and the American Barker, Stewart, Bulmer, John D. Edwards, Pillsbury and Parrot. The ships head for an area notorious for its navigational hazards.
February 15 1942 At about 0430 hours in the morning, the destroyer Van Ghent hits the Bamidjo reef in Stolze Strait. Doorman had ordered a relatively dangerous formation with the four Dutch destroyers steaming alongside eachother. Banckert and the American destroyers narrowly escape the same fate. After leaving Stolze Strait at about 0800 hours, the fleet sets a western course about 45 minutes later. Unfortunately, they are spotted by a Japanese plane at 0920 hours (a catapultplane from the Japanese heavy cruiser Chokai ) and a few hours later, the first aircraft attack. It were seven "Kate"-torpedobombers from the carrier Ryujo, this time not armed with torpedoes but with bombs. None of the ships was hit. They were later reinforced by numerous landbased aircraft (Genzan, Mihoro and Kanoya Kokutais), but only Barker and Bulmer sustain some minor damage.
February 16 1942 The Striking force enters Tandjong Priok (Batavia) at 0830 except for the Java and destroyers. He leaves in the night for Tjilatjap
February 17 1942 Arrival in Tjilatjap
February 18 1942 Departure from Tjilatjap in the evening for an attack on the Bali invasion fleet. She is accompanied by the cruiser Java and the destroyers Kortenaer, Piet Hein, Ford and Pope, but the Kortenaer is beached on a sandbank before she even reaches open sea. A second force leaves Soerabaja later this day.

The Fokker C 11W floatplane of De Ruyter was shot down over Tjepoe, Java on this date. The observer was killed, the pilot managed to bail out.
February 19 1942 Nightaction off Bali. Read more about the Battle of Badungstrait here
February 20 1942 Arrival in Soerabaja
February 25 1942 The Striking force (De Ruyter, Java, Houston and 7 destroyers) goes to sea in the evening to make a sweep off the Madoera coast. No ships are sighted, the ships arrive in Soerabaja on the 26th.
February 26 1942 Nightly sweep in the Java sea with the Striking Force. The ships are attacked by aircraft at 0900 in the morning of the 27th and HMS Jupiter is missed by light bombs. The ship didn't sustain any damage. Arrival in Soerabaja on the 27th.
February 27 1942 Doorman leaves port in the evening of the 27th to intercept several convoys heading for Java. Unfortunately, he's picked up by the Japanese covering force, consisting of 2 heavy cruisers (Nachi and Haguro ) and 14 destroyers. The CSF suffered from communication failures and it was outgunned in 8"-artillery. During the fight, Exeter was damaged and had to be escorted to Soerabaja, while the Kortenaer, Jupiter and Electra were all sunk. The cruiser Java was torpedoed and sunk with heavy loss of life only minutes before one or two torpedoes struck De Ruyter at 2330 . These hits on the starboard side did quite some damage: a fierce fire broke out on the AA-deck, where unfortunately 40 mm ammunition exploded, all electrity was gone because the dynamoroom was knocked out. The torpedoes also ruptured an oil tank; The oil caught fire almost immediately. Soon after the torpedoes hit, it was clear the ship was not going to survive the damage. The best thing to do now was to get as much men off the ship immediately, but only one of the lifeboats could be lowered and the men mostly had to find a spot on the bamboorafts. The ships sank at 0230 hours in the morning of the 28th. 345 crewmembers perished in this tragedy.


Approximate sinking position of Java and De Ruyter
December 1, 2002 A diver expedition on board the motor vessel Empress which initially set out to find HMS Exeter, find the wrecks of the light cruisers Java and De Ruyter. The wreck of De Ruyter lies upright at a depth of 69 metres, with a considerable list to starboard.

Sources
Ph. M. Bosscher "De Koninklijke Marine in de Tweede Wereldoorlog"
K.W.L. Bezemer "Zij vochten op de Zeven ZeeŽn"

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