Java-class cruiser

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HNLMS Java, c.1940-42
Java circa 1940-42
Class overview
Name: Java class
Operators:  Royal Netherlands Navy
Preceded by: Holland class
Succeeded by: De Ruyter
Built: 1916-1926
In commission: 1925-1944
Planned: 3
Completed: 2
Cancelled: 1
Lost: 2
General characteristics
Type: Light cruiser
  • 6670 tons standard
  • 8087 tons full load
Length: 155.3 m (509 ft 6 in)
Beam: 16 m (52 ft 6 in)
Draught: 6.22 m (20 ft 5 in)
  • 3 Parsons geared steam turbines
  • 8 Schultz-Thornycroft boilers
  • 3 shafts
  • 73,000 shp (54,000 kW)
Speed: 31 knots
Range: 4,340 nmi (8,040 km; 4,990 mi) at 11 or 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 526
  • 7.5 cm (3.0 in) belt
  • 2,5 to 5 cm (2.0 in) deck
  • 12.5 cm (4.9 in) conning tower
  • 10 cm (3.9 in) shields
Aircraft carried: 2 Fokker C.XI-W floatplanes

The Java class was a class of light cruisers of the Royal Netherlands Navy, named after the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Originally, three ships were planned: Java, Sumatra, and Celebes. Celebes was intended to be the flagship of the naval commander in the Dutch East Indies, and therefore she was slightly bigger than the other two ships. However, the contract was cancelled with 30 tons of material already prepared (A new ship, HNLMS De Ruyter was later built to fill that place).

The class was designed by the Germaniawerft in Kiel, but constructed in the Netherlands. They were designed to counter the Japanese reconnaissance cruisers of the Chikuma class of 1912, and by 1913 standards they were big, fast and heavily armed with 10 x 150 mm (5.9 inch) guns. However, these were not turret-mounted, and by the time the cruisers were finally launched after all the delays caused by the upheaval of World War I (Sumatra in 1920, Java in 1921), they had already become outdated.

Nevertheless, both Sumatra and Java were still active at the outbreak of World War II, mainly for colonial duties.


Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned
Java 31 May 1916 6 August 1921 1 May 1925 sunk 27 February 1942
Sumatra 15 July 1916 29 December 1920 26 May 1926 scuttled 9 June 1944
Celebes Cancelled 1919

Service history[edit]


Java in the Dutch East Indies

Designed in 1913, built in the Schelde naval shipyards and launched on 9 August 1921, Java was already outdated technologically by the time she was commissioned in 1925.

Java saw action, mostly as a convoy escort, during the Spanish Civil War and during the early stages of World War II. At the outbreak of war with Japan Java was in Indonesian waters where she formed part of the fleet of ABDA command under the command of rear-admiral Karel Doorman. She fought in the battle of Badung Strait in February 1942. During the Battle of the Java Sea on 27 February 1942, she was sunk at 23:32 together with De Ruyter by a Long Lance torpedo from the Japanese cruiser Nachi and sank with the loss of over 500 crew, leaving 19 survivors.


Sumatra also performed convoy duties during World War II and transported part of the Dutch Royal Family to safety in Canada, but due to problems with her propulsion she was unfit for combat duty.

In the end Sumatra was scuttled off the coast of Normandy on 9 June 1944 at Ouistreham as part of a "gooseberry" pier to protect an artificial Mulberry Harbour built by the Allies as part of Operation Overlord. Sumatra's 150 mm guns were used to replace the guns of the Flores-class gunboat, which were worn out by extensive use.


  • Teitler, G. (1984). De strijd om de slagkruisers. Dieren: De Bataafsche Leeuw. ISBN 9067070289.
  • Anten, J. (2001). Hr. Ms. Kruisers 'Java' en 'Sumatra'. Zierikzee: Asia Maior. ISBN 9074861180.
  • Kimenai, Peter (February 6, 2010). "Lichte kruisers van de Java-klasse" (in Dutch). p. 1-8. Archived from the original on June 6, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to Java-class cruiser at Wikimedia Commons