The wreck of Niobe in Kotka
|Laid down:||1 November 1897|
|Launched:||28 September 1898|
|Commissioned:||16 July 1900|
|Fate:||Seized by Germany, 1940|
|Fate:||Sunk by enemy action on July 16, 1944|
|Class & type:||Holland-class cruiser|
|Propulsion:||Two 3-cycle triple expansion engines
12 Yarrow boilers
|Speed:||as Gelderland: 19.5 kt (1914)
as Niobe: 16 kt (1944)
2× FlaK-Kommandogeräte (optical range finders)
1× Würzburg radar
8× 10.5 cm FlaK L/45 C/32
4× 40 mm Bofors L/60
4× 20 mm (4×4) Vierlinge C/38
HNLMS Gelderland (Dutch: Hr.Ms. Gelderland) was a Holland-class cruiser of the Royal Netherlands Navy. During its career in the Dutch Navy it was most notable for being the ship Queen Wilhelmina sent to South Africa to rescue Paul Kruger during the Second Boer War. The ship was taken over by the Germans during World War II and renamed Niobe. She was sunk in Kotka harbour in Finland on 16 July 1944.
The ship began its history as the Dutch Holland-class protected cruiser (pantserdekschip) HNLMS Gelderland. After World War I she served as an artillery training ship in the Dutch navy. The ship was seized by the Germans during their invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, and the Gelderland joined the German Kriegsmarine under the new name of Niobe. She was in use between 1940 and 1944 first as a cruiser, then as a training ship, and finally as an anti-aircraft cruiser ("Flakschiff").
During the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive of 1944 the Soviets tried to finish the Continuation War with the Finns. The Germans came to the aid of the Finns, and, among the materiel brought with them, was the anti-aircraft cruiser Niobe, which was ordered to strengthen the air defences of Kotka, then one of the most bombed cities in Finland. At the same time, the Soviet Union had put much emphasis on finding and sinking the Finnish coastal defence ship Väinämöinen. Soviet aerial reconnaissance identified a large ship in Kotka harbour and the decision was taken to attack, with 132 bombers and fighters (sent by, amongst others, the 51st Mine-Torpedo Aviation Regiment of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet), on 16 July 1944. The ship was, however, the Niobe, and the aircraft were met with fierce resistance. An A-20 Havoc bomber was shot down, but the ship was hit and sank. The guns were still firing as she settled in the shallow water, after which, much of her superstructure remained visible above sea level. 70 men were lost.
The Niobe was raised and scrapped in 1953.
- "bellabs: Архив 51-го минно-торпедного авиаполка КБФ". Bellabs.ru. Retrieved 2013-05-04.