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Friday, 17 May 2013

Dutch ram monitor Reinier Claeszen 1890-1915


Her main purpose was to defend the tidal inlets and especially the so-called Zuiderfrontier. The order to her building at the Kon. Fabriek van stoom- en andere werktuigen te Amsterdam was given in July 1889. However this factory was liquidated and the order given to the navy yard Amsterdam while the shipyard Kon. Mij. De Schelde at Flushing would manufacture the engines and boilers. She was laid down on 24 September 1890. launched on 21 November 1891, trial on 7 October 1893 and commissioned at Hellevoetsluis on 1 March 1894. Stationed in February 1904 at Flushing when the Netherlands wanted to preserve her neutrality during the war between Russia and Japan. In 1907 was she temporarily stationed at Rotterdam during the strikes in the harbour. Decommissioned on 21 August 1907 for major repairs at the navy yard at Hellevoetsluis and on 2 April 1908 brought to Flushing to receive three new Yarrow boilers. These water tube boilers no.’s 102-104 were ordered on 27 December 1907, she arrived at Flushing on 3 April 1908 and departed on 3 November. On 1 April 1913 again decommissioned but the repairs were stopped on 28 November. The morning edition of the newspaper Algemeen Handelsblad dated 10 December 1914 reported her sale at the navy yard at Hellevoetsluis a day earlier for ƒ 39.715 to the N.V. Frank Rijsdijks Scheepsslooperij at Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht.

With a displacement of 2.479 ton were her dimensions 70,00 x 1352 x 4,55 metres. The engines and 3 Scottish boilers supplied 2.315 ihp allowing while driving 2 screws a speed of 12,5 miles. Coal bunker capacity 110 ton. The armament consisted original of 2-21cm guns, 1-17cm gun, 4-5cm guns, 3-37cm guns and 2 torpedo guns. In 1908 were both torpedo guns removed and in 1913 was the 17cm gun (placed aft) replaced by 1-15cm gun. The armour consisted of a 100-120mm thick belt, a 50-75mm thick deck while the gun turret and conning tower were protected by 280 mm thick armour. Her crew numbered 159 men. Costs when for the first time commissioned ƒ 1.960.038,00.

The newspaper Middelburgsche Courant dated 18 June 1891 called her a ram  and that via a private tender De Schelde received the order for manufacturing her engines and boilers. The edition dated 23 July reported that officer engineer 1st class A. Jongkees detached at the navy yard at Amsterdam was responsible with the supervision during this manufacture. The newspaper Vlissingse Courant dated 25 May 1892 reported sadly enough that in June again around sixty men (mainly shipbuilders iron ships and scholars) would be dismissed at the navy yard at Amsterdam. Their dismissal was probably caused by the progress in the building of the Koningin Wilhelmina and the Reinier Claeszen. The Middelburgsche Courant dated Wednesday 11 October 1893 reported that the official trial was executed on the Haringvliet the Saturday before. Present were the inspector of the Rijks Stoomvaartdienst (government steamships service), rear admiral Doorman, chief engineer Calten and other authorities and further more a representative of De Schelde. Her engines were designed by the Koninklijke Fabriek van stoom- en andere werktuigen at  Amsterdam and already partly manufactured when the factory was liquidated. De Schelde completed and placed the engines. The trial was successful and with a horsepower of more as 2.400 ihp was a maximum speed of more as 13 knots achieved. The edition dated the 20th reported that the minister of navy made a small voyage on board while inspecting the defence line of the Harinvliet before returning to Hellevoetsluis. The edition dated 7 September 1894 reported that the budget for completing her needed to be increased with ƒ 48.000. By reducing costs was the original needed extra budget of even ƒ 114.805 reduced to the requested ƒ 48.000. The newspaper Vlissingse Courant dated 15 October paid attention again to the costs. When in the parliament was asked what the real building costs of her were was said ƒ 2.298,49572 but after reducing some posts ƒ 1.804.671.12½. The original estimated costs ƒ 1.660.000 were exceeded with just ƒ 204.671,12½. Many Parliament members had their doubts about the estimations of the department of navy. The edition dated 17 July 1899 referred to another newspaper De Maasbode which was complaining about the quality of the shipbuilding at the navy yard at Amsterdam. So was the Evertsen built by the De Schelde a better ship than if the Kortenaer. The Reinier Claeszen was a ‘dangerous’ warship especially for her crew. She swung even more as the traditional monitors.