Java-class cruisers

These cruisers were meant to become the backbone of the cruiser weapon in the Dutch Indies. The greatly resembled the German battlecruisers of the same era, which was not remarkable as the German Germaniawerft produced the design. The ships were fitted with 10 x 5.9 inch guns behind shields, sufficient to counter their designed opponents, the Japanese reconnaissance cruisers of 1912. The idea was that they would clear the seas of light forces, so the submarines could attack enemy invasion convoys and capital ships.

Due to various reasons, they were completed long after the projected date, and by that time, not a navy in the world had their guns mounted behind shields. Two cruisers were built, the Java and Sumatra, and a third was planned, the Celebes. The latter was slightly bigger as she was planned as the flagship of the Commander of the NEI squadron, but she was never completed. Only 30 tons of material had been prepared before the contract was cancelled. She would have been 155 tons larger and 3 metres longer. The Sumatra especially had to overcome great difficulties with her machinery. By WW II, most of the problems had been solved, but she wasn't really suited for frontline duty anymore.

Click to enlarge
Java seen from the stern after 1937/1938 rebuild

Construction details
Name Java Sumatra Celebes
Design Germaniawerft, Kiel
Dockyard Koninklijke Mij De Schelde (Vlissingen) Nederlandse Scheepsbouw Mij (Amsterdam) Wilton Feijenoord (Schiedam)
Dockyardnumber 165 148 -
Laid down May 31, 1916 July 15, 1916 -
Launched August 6, 1921 December 29, 1920 -
Commissioned May 1, 1925 May 26, 1926 -
Dockyard Nr 165 148 -
Status History History Contract for construction approved on June 14 1917. Expected launch date July 1 1921. Thirty tons of material already prepared was scrapped.

Java Sumatra
Displacement 6670 tons standard/ 8078 tons full load
Crew 526 (35 officers, 54 petty officers, 437 men)
Dimensions 155,30 (oa) 153 (pp) x 16,00 (max) x 6,22 max (metres)
Main Battery 10 x 150 mm No. 6 (10 x 1)
AA-battery* 8 x 40 mm Bofors No. 3 (4 x 2)
8 x .50 Browning MG
6 x 40 mm No. 1 (6 x 1)
8 x .50 Browning MG
Fire control system Hazemeyer
ASW 10-12 depthcharges
Radar -
Other 2 Fokker C-11W aircraft with crane
1 smokemachine
36 mines**
* They had 4 x 75 mm L/55 semi-automatic No.4 as completed, but they were removed during later refits.
** Rails removed during 1935 refit.

Armour details
Belt 75 mm
Deck 25 mm horizontal
50 mm (inclined, connecting deck with belt)
Conning tower 125 mm
Shields 100 mm

Propulsion details
Boilers 8 Schultz-Thornycroft
Machinery 3 Parsons turbines (Java)
3 Zoëlly turbines (Sumatra)*
Performance 73.000 shp (Java)
82.000 shp (Sumatra)
Shafts 3
Bunkerage 1126 tons (normal)
1176 tons (max)
Range 5000 miles @ 12 knots (design)
4340 miles @ 10/11 knots (actual)
Max Speed 31 knots
* After a fire on the dockyard which destroyed her machinery, Sumatra received Zoëlly turbines with toothrads. These were replaced by Parsons turbines in her 1933-1935 overhaul.

Related Links

Java-class cruisers photo special

Anyone interested in a detailed description of this class should purchase the book "Hr.Ms. Kruisers Java en Sumatra" by J. Anten

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