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  Hr. Ms. De Ruyter
Koninklijke Marine
(Royal Netherlands Navy)
Unique Light Cruiser

7,548 Tons
560.5' x 51.5' x 16.7'
7 x 5.9" Bofors
10 x 40mm AA
8 x .50 cal AA

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Kevin Denlay 2002
Ship History
This warship was originally designed with a 5,000 tons displacement and lighter armament due to financial constraints from the Great Depression and pacifist sentiments in the Netherlands and was initially classified as a flottieljeleider (flotilla leader) instead of a cruiser. Later, the design was revised to add an extra gun turret and additional armor and classified as a unique light cruiser but both the armament and armor were deemed to be below the level of other Allied light cruisers of the era.

Built by Wilton Fijenoord dockyard in Schiedam, Netherlands. Laid down September 16, 1933 as a unique light cruiser. Launched March 11, 1935. Commissioned October 3, 1936 in the Koninklijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy) as Hr. Ms. De Ruyter, the seventh ship in the Royal Netherlands Navy named after Admiral Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter. Assigned to Captain A. C. van der Sande Lacoste. Also spelled HNMS De Ruyter or HNLMS De Ruyter.

Hr. Ms. De Ruyter was assigned to operate in the Far East in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) with Hr. Ms. Java and Hr. Ms. Sumatra.

Wartime History
On February 2, 1942 De Ruyter became the flagship of Rear Admiral Karel Doorman with Captain Eugène Edouard Bernard Lacomblé for the American-British-Dutch-Australian Floatilla (ABDAFLOAT) formed in Gili Islands in the Bali Sea off Lombok Island.

On February 4, 1942 during the Battle of Makassar Strait (Battle of the Flores Sea) attacked by Japanese bombers and managed to evade four bombing runs but sustained minor damage from several near misses from bombs released by G3M2 Nells from the 1st Kokutai that caused minor damage to the fire control system for her 40mm AA guns.

Sinking History
On February 27, 1942 around midnight during the Battle of the Java Sea, both Hr Ms De Ruyter and Hr Ms Java were sunk minutes apart by 24" torpedoes fired by Japanese cruisers Nachi and Haguro. Aboard, Admiral Doorman along with his crew of 345 were lost in the sinking.

Shipwreck
On December 1, 2002 the shipwreck of De Ruyter was discovered by divers from MV Empress including Kevin Denlay using side scan sonar and divers to positively identify vessel. The shipwreck is upright, although tilted over to starboard off Bawean Island in the Java Sea. That same day, the team also discovered Hr Ms Java. The team's principal objective was to locate HMS Exeter but they were thrilled to find the two Dutch light cruisers instead.

Between 2002 to 2016, the shipwreck was also dived by Indonesian salvage divers that illegally removed scrap metal and completely scrapped the shipwreck by November 2016.

Between 2002 to 2016, the shipwreck was also dived by Indonesian salvage divers that illegally removed scrap metal and completely scrapped the shipwreck by November 2016. During November 2016, the Netherlands Defence Ministry said in a statement: “The wrecks of HNLMS De Ruyter and HNLMS Java have seemingly gone completely missing. A large piece is also missing of HNLMS Kortenaer.”

References
The Guardian "Mystery as wrecks of three Dutch WWII ships vanish from Java seabed" November 16, 2016
"The [Netherlands Defence] ministry said in a statement: “The wrecks of HNLMS De Ruyter and HNLMS Java have seemingly gone completely missing. A large piece is also missing of HNLMS Kortenaer.”
History of War: "Java Sea Shipwrecks of World War 2: One of the men who found them reflects on their loss" by James Hoare November 23, 2016
Thanks to Kevin Denlay for this information and photographs

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020

 

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