HNLMS Java (CL-1928)


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These two cruisers had been under design since 1912/13 and had been designed to beat the Japanese scout cruisers of the Chikuma class of that era. Due to WW1 the ships had never gotten past the drawing board. Netherlands as a neutral nation during that war did not think it was much of an idea to be building ships of war while neutral. The ships were again put forward for building in 1919 and funds started to be allocated for the new ships. A new view was taken of the design which would have been obsolete before being built. A complete revamp of the armament and layout was undertaken while the rest of the ship and propulsion system were deemed adequate.

As one Naval Critic put it "Grannys body has been given new dentures". While an apt analogy, the role the ship was to undertake for the Dutch Navy had not changed, the Japanese cruisers that the Dutch had been worried about pre-war had not been advanced too far with the latest Japanese cruiser type being inferior to the new design of the Java class.

The new main armament of 5.9" guns in one triple and two twin turrets was inspired by the design that the British had shown the Dutch Naval designers of the new 'E' class cruisers. Like the Dutch ships the E's had originally been designed to carry singles as a weight saving device to enable the high speed asked of the design. The secondary armament of six 3.9" was supplied from the pool of guns removed from the Radetzky class ships. In 1932 those guns were placed into a new AA mounting and shield combination. Space was made for the light AA guns that all ships were fitted with from the 1930's on. A pair of triple torpedo tubes were mounted around the mainmast.


Displacement 6,500 tons std 8,400 tons full load
Length 509.5 ft
Breadth 56 ft
Draught 21 ft
Machinery 3 shaft steam turbines, 70,000shp
Speed 31 knots
Range 5000 miles at 12 knots (1,200 nm at 30 knots)
Armour 2.6" side, 1" deck, 2.6"/1.5" turrets
Armament 7 x 5.9"" (1x3 2x2)

6 x 3.9" (6x1)

14 x 40mm (7x2)

9 x 20mm (9x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes 6 x 21" (2x3)
Complement 540
Notes HNLMS Java

HNLMS Sumatra


Twin 5.9" turret on shore battery mounting. These guns were used throughout the Netherlands and Dutch East Indies to protect bases. The triple turret is being lowered into place on its barbette prior to the fitting of the 5.9" guns.


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