A Royal Netherlands Navy fantasy

6) I think you over estimate the size of 1900 era battleships or 1914 era battleships. They were among the largest ships of that time but not larger than Ocean liners

The SS Rotterdam was the largest ship in Dutch service


She wasn't built at home but rather by Harland and Wolff in Belfast. I don't think the Dutch have the actual capability to build a ship that's Super-Dreadnought sized, not without massively expanding their shipyards and docks at home first. And if they're for service in the DEI, then they NEED facilities built there too so you can maintain and repair them. Unless you plan on sending them home every time they need a refit.

Its no use coming up with the design if you can't actually build them or support them. And building and enlarging drydocks and slips to fit a super dreadnought sized ship is going to be a very very expensive investment.

Also who would design the ships? Would the dutch do it? If so, they've had no experience in designing a Super Dread type ship, or anything bigger as a Warship than a pre-dreadnought. So you need to look overseas IE Germany and UK or maybe the US for design assistance. Its a big leap going from building a pre-dreadnought, skipping a step and then going all the way to super-dreads with zero experience in designing or building them.
 
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Even looking here


The biggest floating dock the Dutch had could lift 8,000 tons. That was oddly enough one of the limitations placed on the - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HNLMS_De_Zeven_Provinciën_(1909)

When she was made, she had to fit in that dock.

You're going to now need a dock that can lift at at a guess 20,000 tons + which means a new dock. Not just in Dutch waters, but in the DEI too. And these are not cheap.

Its great coming up with the designs, but you need the logistics to support them, and the Dutch do NOT have the facilities to support super dreadnoughts. They don't have the docks, or the slips not in a pre-ww1 era. So these MUST be built, both at home and abroad to support the planned fleet. And they're expensive and time consuming. And if you buy a Dry dock from overseas in 1914 from the UK or Germany then its not going to be delivered, because WW1 says hi.

Such is the expense of building the drydocks etc that it would probably cut the Dreadnought building program in half. And probably strangle the number of cruisers and smaller ships.

I guess you could order the ships from abroad, but the German yards were at full stretch, the UK ones were not, its why they were able to build ships for themselves as well as for Brazil and Argentina, so you'll probably go with the Brits, and if its 1914 and war's looking increasingly likely and they've not been built yet, then well done, the RN's just been given two nice new Dreadnoughts, and they'll of course offer the Dutch the money equivalent cost for them and offer to return them once the crisis is over.
 
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I like the response but did you actually read the first post?
Around 1894 the Dutch government decide that real armoured cruisers should be build, later this was expanded to battleships which eventually around 1911- 1912 would end in the purchase of +23000 tons battleships.
In short it is a gradual growth of the size of naval vessels, which certainly need investments of slips to build them and eventually to build a floating dock to maintain them. And fore sure you need to expand the naval facilities of Den Helder and fore most Tandjong Priok had to be enlarged.
All this had to be done when the OTL 1913 battleship plan came to reality. But the industrial base (even this is small compared to her neighbors in 1900) or purchase power of the Netherlands is capable enough to accommodate this.
Now in this Naval fantasy I propose a time line which started in 1894 with a more gradual approach to very large battleships.

Considering the industrial base of Japan, Chili, Argentina and Brazil between 1894 and 1914 compared tot he Dutch industrial base, I do think the Netherlands is definitely capable of, purchasing, building and maintaining this type of vessels
 
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The South American dreadnoughts were pretty trinkets that were usually in bad condition because they were not well maintained (especially the Brazilian ones, Chile took good care of the EX Canada though). Because ships balloon so quickly in size in the 1900s, the Dutch would still be better suited not wasting their money on large warships, and instead going for a cruiser fleet to patrol the DEI, show the flag etc.

Because you can imagine it, "Great! We've now got a dry dock that can carry a ship of up to 15000 tons!"

*A WILD HMS DREADNOUGHT APPEARS*

"Aaaaaaaaaand now our battleships are obsolete and we now need a dry dock that can take at least 20,000 tons...FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU...."

You could build a kind of 'large light cruiser' and somewhat pre-empt the Hawkins class by making a larger about 10k ton cruiser as a flagship, but light cruisers and destroyers would serve the Dutch a damn sight better than a limited number of Dreadnoughts.

If you could get a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Java-class_cruiser type of cruiser built sooner and in large numbers, say 8 ships at most, you'd have a very potent cruiser that would be as good as if not better than any other nations cruiser at the time.
 
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1656329655359.jpeg

Credit: WiburGraphics

Above drawing of how the four Battleships might looked. (picture OTL 1914 Vickers design)
Since the earlier Naval vessels had a lot of British influences and the Navy considered the heavily British influenced design better suited for the Dutch East Indies the design with he Vickers assistance was chosen above the other designs.
The four ships would be build at RDM Rotterdam, Wilton Rotterdam, Feijenoord Rotterdam. The cruisers and destroyers were build at Burgerhout Rotterdam, P.Smit Rotterdam, ADM Amsterdam. Boilers and Engines were made by Werkspoor Amsterdam and Utrecht and Stork Hengelo. DEMKA, and Smulders from Utrecht were involved as well like many other small suppliers. Artilery Inrichtingen, AI, would manufacture the primary, secondary and tertiary guns from half fabricates.
 
I’m curious if a slightly larger Dutch navy would have impacted RN interdiction of neutral trade? Would the UK have been more hesitant? I doubt it but it is an interesting thought exercise .
 
The other navies attract my attention on occasion as I think they play interesting corollary roles in the paths of the biggest navies with some diplomatic and economic butterflies too. For your scenario I think it would be the infrastructure built to support a distant deployed "fleet" in DEI that plays more role than the ships. A dry dock, quays/piers and harbor, facilities, barracks, shops, warehouses, an air field, etc. Once established that sort of draws in ships to use it. So unless we are drafting into a conflict before the Great War, I think it is far less about ships than funding, building and using a base. Even a pair of armored cruisers would command a pretty sizable base to be built. And next would be how much of the lesser craft are built and so there is less of a jump to build/upgrade the rest of the DEI fleet.

In real terms the DEI is best defended by mines, torpedo boats to protect those, submarines, likely minelaying, and some light cruisers to ward off any predatory destroyers. The Dutch cannot hope to actually offset any Great Power (I.e. Japan) with anything less than capital ships, and by the Great War era that means the Kongo-class at minimum. I think pre- or dreadnoughts are less useful, since we need to patrol and ambush, this is a cruiser war and that pushes to a battle cruiser.

Assuming Japan cannot commit more than them, the Dutch need at least a pair, likely three, comparable ships. So post war, in some alternate that also drives the Dutch forward, we have the choice to build or buy. Both Britain and Germany could build or sell, they have a few first generation battle cruisers potentially less useful to keep and still useful enough to buy. So would the two Lion-class be worth considering? Anything that Germany has, like the Moltke or Von der Tann? Of course we still need light cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and so much more, but hopefully more of that is already existing and only less quickly going obsolete.

Given the likely thin budgets, I sort of think the Dutch go for a "Fleet Unit", one or two battle cruisers, 3 or 4 light cruisers, 4 to 8 destroyers (doubling as the local gunboats), 6 submarines, and the other craft. Might still be too expensive but if that carried them from 1920 to 1930, they could slowly replace the oldest, maybe step down to a newer heavy cruiser that is more affordable but keeps them in the "big" navy business, maybe moving to more airpower to offset the enemy capital ships as we get into the late 1930s. Without any idea as to how many guilders I have to spend it feels at least doable.

I think this makes the Dutch are far more visible part of British (and Australian) planning, a less easy push over to Japanese eyes, and maybe an attractive ally to fellow "neutral" USA.
 
The decision in 1894, to build armoured cruisers had some impact on the industrial capacity of the Netherlands. Were two of the protected cruisers of the Holland class still build at the State owned 'Rijks werf* at Amsterdam the others were constructed at private ship yards. It were this ships yard who had the entrepreneurial attitude to expand their ship building capacities . Several shipyards, especially in and around Rotterdam, expanded their slips and floating docks in order to meet the demand to construct ever larger navy ships. A gradual process following the increase of Navy ships, first armoured cruisers , then battle ships and essentially super battleships.
Essentially the Royal Netherlands Navy paid the enlarged ship building capacity which allowed the shipyards to tender for the construction of large commercial vessels. Not only ship building capacity was affected by the navy but as well other machine shops, foundries, boilermakers and turbine manufacturers. The state owned weapon and munution manufacturer, and her many sub-contractors and suppliers, also experienced a gradual increase in fabrication capacity and manufacturing capability.
Between May and August three ships were laid down and the forth in February 1912. Over the course of two years Vickers supplied the remaining forgings for the main guns after delivering the first eight complete. Over the same period steel, armour and half fabricates for the secondary and tertiary armament was delivered.
 
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Would it not be better to focus on submarines and airplanes?
Remember the date (1896), airplanes are not yet invented, and the submarines are just past the technical demostration stage and have yet to prove themselfs in battle. In the 1930´s its a different ball game.
 
Assuming Japan cannot commit more than them, the Dutch need at least a pair, likely three, comparable ships. So post war, in some alternate that also drives the Dutch forward, we have the choice to build or buy. Both Britain and Germany could build or sell, they have a few first generation battle cruisers potentially less useful to keep and still useful enough to buy. So would the two Lion-class be worth considering? Anything that Germany has, like the Moltke or Von der Tann? Of course we still need light cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and so much more, but hopefully more of that is already existing and only less quickly going obsolete.
I have a real hard time seeing the RN wanting to sell LIONS as they were still a core part of the fleet in 1919 and the Dutch should not want to buy the Lions as they had been run hard during the war with a lot of damage and repairs to LION and a decent amount of damage to TIGER and QUEEN MARY. Those ships are knackered. Same with the German ships even if they were not scuttled at Scapa, they had a lot of mileage on their hulls and frames.

Realistically, if the Dutch want a big gun fleet in 1919 it will either be ships that they built themselves during the war or they are going to go with new construction as the outside options aren't available or attractive. I would be shocked in this scenario if there is a not a technical assistance contract with either the British or the Germans (I would think that the Germans would basically do this for free to maintain their skill set during a lean decade) but new construction is likely.
 
The answer to the question of where are the Dutch going to design, build and service their new super-dreadnaughts could be, they aren't, of course.

A genuine possible answer is simply to buy them off a British yard, to a design by Vickers, and get most of the routine service work also done in the UK. There were lots of examples of this happening IRL. The South American dreadnaughts, the majority of Japanese capital ships pre WW1, the Turkish dreadnaughts, the Norwegian coastal defence ships etc.

OTL the Rotterdam Drydock co. did buy the old Southern Railways Floating Dock, also sometimes Admiralty Floating Dock No. 11, post WW2. (Its quite large enough to handle anything short of Yamato)The option of building and/or buying a suitable floating drydock/s for home and East Indies service it not beyond the realms of possibilities.
 
On 28 June 1914 a murder in Sarajevo changed history. The Netherlands as a neutral country mobilized 200.000 men on 31st July 1914.
Since 1894 the Department of the Navy showed that it was better to have a capable politician with an interest of affection with the Navy, on the post as secretary of Naval affairs than a good naval officer who went in politics. The Department of war quickly learned this and in 1902 a new military's law was accepted by parliament which introduced conscription and determined the length of the conscription of 12 months. ( In OTL this law was blocked by parliament also due to the fact that the secretary of war asked for 12 months conscription while he privately thought eight months was sufficient, in short he did not understood the political game)
The increase of the naval budget from the 1900 onward gave leverage to increase the budget of the War department.
So when the army was mobilized on the last day of July 1914 it was not a large army but very up to date, with capable trained civilian soldiers. An army well equipped with modern machine guns, light, medium and heavy guns and howitzers. (OTL the army was equiped with modern light and medium artilery but the purchase of heavy artilery was in process)
The onslaught passed the Netherlands, for a large part since it did not fit in the war plans of the Great Powers, but perhaps as well due to its capable Naval and Land defenses.
Since the Netherlands possessed a fleet inbeing protecting her Far East colonial crown jewel, there was a lengthy and emotional debate within the Cabinet if neutrality was the best option, or that the Netherlands should pick a side. The pro-war faction however was leaning to side with the German Empire. They reminded the diplomatic confrontation with the British Empire when a Dutch small flotilla lead by the armoured cruiser Evertsen and protected cruiser Gelderland transferred President Paul Kruger from South Africa to Marseille. However it sank slowly in to the war faction that the Dutch Indonesian fleet in being was impressive, at least for the far East but it would be no match for the combined British Empire and her ally the Japanese Empire, even the India squadron an Japanese Imperial navies consist of similar pre- dreadnoughts as the Dutch. The whole fleet doctrine was based on deterrent and support of at least one Great Power, but in Asia two Great Powers were in war with the German Empire whilst the USA was neutral. The German far East squadron was not really impressive compared with the Dutch far East fleet, let alone the British. The war faction and pro German faction in the Dutch cabinet were quickly quiet. The Netherlands remained neutral, and proclaimed armed neutrality to protect her large merchant fleet.
 
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I have a real hard time seeing the RN wanting to sell LIONS as they were still a core part of the fleet in 1919 and the Dutch should not want to buy the Lions as they had been run hard during the war with a lot of damage and repairs to LION and a decent amount of damage to TIGER and QUEEN MARY. Those ships are knackered. Same with the German ships even if they were not scuttled at Scapa, they had a lot of mileage on their hulls and frames.

Realistically, if the Dutch want a big gun fleet in 1919 it will either be ships that they built themselves during the war or they are going to go with new construction as the outside options aren't available or attractive. I would be shocked in this scenario if there is a not a technical assistance contract with either the British or the Germans (I would think that the Germans would basically do this for free to maintain their skill set during a lean decade) but new construction is likely.
Inflexible and Indomitable appear already half through their useful life notwithstanding they are not on par with a Kongo but might be an option. I figured the Lion et al. might be on the block after 1920, more likely 1925 after any G3-class are commissioned and worked up and proving the older BCs are so much metal. They are likely past expiration and need expensive refit/modernization or will be short life, marginally useful and expensive to keep afloat. It looks worse for anything German as at least the British would let the Dutch use the docks at Hong Kong or Singapore for a price and have a parts train in the region. So I agree, new would be better but I also assume the Germans or British would likely sell these at just above scrap value to earn some friendship points too. And then by this time the heavy cruiser may be a more attractive option for new builds, if the lingering armored cruisers have given us a 15,000 tons 8 to 9-inch armed cruiser fast design versus up gunned up sized light hulls so much the better. And I still think the British are a better bet for the Dutch as the RN is the only real "ally" in the region despite, or maybe in light of, the AJA.

In my own TL thinking I have Germany win more in the domestic Netherlands economy and if at all sell submarines and other lesser stuff, letting the British yards have the big ship sales. I have a German-Dutch partnership slower going and bearing fruit longer term, so when Germany needs to nose back into the Pacific the Dutch are willing because everyone else is not willing or ready. But I think Germany even in OTL (more so in many ATL) is going to be a close runner up with the British to partner for the Dutch.

At bottom even a single BC will be a serious expense and against Japan far too little. Anything pre-war is obsolete and anything built post-war early is the same if timed towards Japan going on its crazy train per OTL. Better they have the light forces and a developed base infrastructure, even if only for light cruisers and less, that makes it much easier to attract a deployment from Britain or even the USA and ride those coattails.
 
The Netherlands declared an armed neutrality for her merchant fleet. This mean the Royal Netherlands Navy would escort the Dutch merchant ships through the North Sea.
Early the first three light cruisers, intend to replace the first sub class of the Holland class protected cruisers were commissioned and sailed to the DEI. There for three of the Holland class protected cruisers were in the Netherlands. One of them was striped of her armament but the other two were just laid up. The three Evertsen class armored cruisers were in process of decommissioning and the crew was working on the new battleships of, two would be commissioned in September and October 1914.
Decided was to keep the armored cruisers in service, however with a smaller crew which was diluted with conscripts. From October 1914 the five ships together assisted with six of the twelve Z class torpedo boats and reinforced 1915 with the other three Holland class protected cruisers, would escort Dutch merchant ships through the North Sea and the Channel. Merchant ships sailing to the Netherlands could assemble at the Azores, Lisbon, the Canaries or Cadiz. When Portugal become a belligerent this assemble locations become not useful any more. The reason why the old ships were used instead of the brand new was the fear of losing this ships to mines and the navy would like to safe her modern assets in case the Netherlands had to chose a side. After all the protection of Dutch naval vessels was more symbolic. Never the less the escorting worked well, in such a case it gave more grief to the Dutch Secretary of Foreign affairs due to the complains and pressure of Great Britain.
During the course of the conflict this armed neutrality at sea become harder to enforce. First the advent of submarines against merchant ships , the old protected and armored cruisers were far from ideal for this threat, the torpedo boat however were. After the enter of the USA on 6 April 1917 the armed neutrality as sea become near to impossible mostly since the USA confiscated all ships of neutral countries and other Dutch shipping owners decided to keep their ships in port.

The in 1911 initiated modernization program was well advanced. As mentioned three new cruisers had set sail to the DEI and two of the four battleships would be commissioned in the last quarter of 1914. The two battleships were commissioned in due time but the other two were commissioned mid 1916 and the fourth after the war in 1919. The other three light cruisers were commissioned in 1916 and 1919. All planned destroyers were commissioned before the war or before the end of 1915.
The light cruisers were sent to the DEI together with a large portion of the destroyers. The Battleships however were kept as a fleet in being in the Netherlands, while the old pre-dreadnought battleships would guard the DEI. The new battleships in the Netherlands were as a kind of deterrent, although the complement of these large ships was far from full strength throughout the war.
 
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During the Great War it seemed that the expensive battleships did not played a major role, despite two major engagements and several smaller ones on the North Sea the British were able to maintain the blockade. A blockade which was essential enforced by light units and only Battleships at the back ground. Submarines how ever showed great potential, not only to navy units but as well to merchant ships or transports. The Dutch navy did study the naval actions very close and after the war they were greatly informed by the Germans of their plans and thought of how to develop submarines tactics further.
During the Great War a shift in thinking of how the Dutch Royal Navy should be composed emerged and several plans were drafted.
This resulted in a fleet plan in 1920, which was cast in a Fleet Law in 1922.
The protected cruisers were replaced by light cruisers, and the torpedo boats were replaced by destroyers a process already started before the war.
Most of the armoured cruisers were taken out of commission as two of the old battleships. Two of the four remaining old battleships and three armoured cruisers were essentially reduced to coastal defense ships for the North Sea, while the Zeven Provincien class old battleships were a reserve in the East, or also a kind of coastal defense ships.
All ships build in the 19th century would be broken up or transformed in to accommodation vessels.
The offensive weapon of the fleet shifted to submarine, while the light cruisers and destroyers would act as scouts in cooperation with aero planes. The Battleships would act as the big stick, and mainly aimed at the much larger number of Japanese cruisers. The battleships would also play a role in the diplomatic game, to show that the Netherlands will contribute with serious assets in any alliance in case the DEI would be attacked.
The focus would be in stopping an invasion fleet, the submarines should attack the transport ships carrying the invading army.

For the Dutch East Indies:

6 Battleships:
4 in commission
2 pre-dreadnought to be replaced

36 submarines:
8 in commission 333 tot 569 ton
8 under construction 582 tot 688 ton
10 to construct 800 ton
4 to construct minelaying submarines 800 ton

1 submarine mothership under construction

6 light cruisers :
3 in commission 7.050 ton
3 under construction 7.400 ton

24 destroyers:
16 in service 500 ton (Z class and Predator class)
8 to construct 1.000 ton

4 flotilla leader / gunboat:
2 in commission 3400 ton ( re-classification of scout cruisers)
2 to construct 3.500 ton

72 scout planes
36 fighter planes


For the home waters and West Indies:

22 submarines:
6 in commission 134 tot 527 ton
3 under construction 582 ton
8 to construct 550 ton
1 mine laying submarine 368 ton (confiscated German submarine)
4 to construct minelaying submarines 550 ton

2 submarine motherships in service.

2 battleships (pre-dreadnoughts) in service

6 gun boats :
3 in commission 540 ton (for rivers)
3 armoured cruisers in commission to be replaced

45 scout planes
15 fighter planes
 
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This resulted in a fleet plan in 1920, which was cast in a Fleet Law in 1922.
The protected cruisers were replaced by light cruisers, and the torpedo boats were replaced by destroyers a process already started before the war.
Most of the armoured cruisers were taken out of commission as two of the old battleships. Two of the four remaining old battleships and three armoured cruisers were essentially reduced to coastal defense ships for the North Sea, while the Zeven Provincien class old battleships were a reserve in the East, or also a kind of coastal defense ships.

For the home waters and West Indies:

2 battleships (pre-dreadnoughts) in service

6 gun boats :
3 in commission 540 ton (for rivers)
3 armoured cruisers in commission to be replaced

45 scout planes
15 fighter planes
I think your East Indies concept makes sense --- it is expensive but makes sense. I am stuck on the European/West Indies fleet concept though. 2 old pre-dreadnoughts are completely insufficient to be a risk fleet against any threat more capable than Sweden. By 1917, pre-dreads were seen as negative contribution to fleet strength due to their lack of speed, lack of hitting power and lack of armor while sucking up a lot of skilled manpower. Any plausible threat can discount the threat of Dutch pre-dreads in any operations against the Dutch home country. If there is value here, the guns are likely useful for coastal defense purposes.

I think the armoured cruisers are in the same boat --- a lot of ship without enough speed or guns to be a credible threat against peers while still eating up a lot of crew. The Dutch need presence ships and colonial gunboats, so replacing the armoured cruisers 1:1 with light cruisers makes a lot of sense especially if the heavier artillery is stripped from the hulls for coastal defense purposes. In European and Caribbean waters, the Dutch need presence, so I could see a lot of space for their version of avisos or Treasury Class cutters where they are sufficienct to patrol and to make an enemy naval power make an overt act instead of an "incidental" act against Dutch interests.
 
I think your East Indies concept makes sense --- it is expensive but makes sense. I am stuck on the European/West Indies fleet concept though. 2 old pre-dreadnoughts are completely insufficient to be a risk fleet against any threat more capable than Sweden. By 1917, pre-dreads were seen as negative contribution to fleet strength due to their lack of speed, lack of hitting power and lack of armor while sucking up a lot of skilled manpower. Any plausible threat can discount the threat of Dutch pre-dreads in any operations against the Dutch home country. If there is value here, the guns are likely useful for coastal defense purposes.

I think the armoured cruisers are in the same boat --- a lot of ship without enough speed or guns to be a credible threat against peers while still eating up a lot of crew. The Dutch need presence ships and colonial gunboats, so replacing the armoured cruisers 1:1 with light cruisers makes a lot of sense especially if the heavier artillery is stripped from the hulls for coastal defense purposes. In European and Caribbean waters, the Dutch need presence, so I could see a lot of space for their version of avisos or Treasury Class cutters where they are sufficienct to patrol and to make an enemy naval power make an overt act instead of an "incidental" act against Dutch interests.
You are absolute correct, regarding the pre-dreadnought battle ships and armoured cruisers, there slow and consume quite some personnel.
I put these old ships on the list as mere coastal defense ships or floating batteries. This fit the reason of the Dutch navy in the home waters, which is more a brown water fleet and coastal fleet, aimed at defending the coastal waters, rivers and estuaries rather than a high seas fleet. The same reason for the West Indies, the Dutch navy had to defend the near surrounding sea of the islands rather than engage an enemy in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.
In OTL the coastal defense ship Zeven Provincien (1910 OTL) was retained as well in the OTL fleet plan of 1922 just as it was as a coastal defense ship.
I might change the list or make an update.
 
The Netherlands was part of the Washington Naval Conference but no constrains were imposed on her.

During the early twenties the fleet plans of the navy found mounting resistance fueled by the strong and large pacifist movement after the Great War.
Culmination in a petition to stop the ongoing building program in 1923. After a lengthy debate a motion to alter the fleet law of 1922 to a more modest program failed with the smallest margin in 1923. Despite the resistance the last three light cruisers, the Java class were finished as the last of the four battleships.
Never the less, despite the new build of the smaller units and submarines, during this decade, the large Battleships entered a time of hibernation, only maintenance was performed and minor modification were made, in the form of addtional light AA stations.
In 1927 the army received a modest financial boost in order to perform some modernisations of her artillery, by purchasing modern large Bofors howitzers and modernize the existing artilery stock.
For the Fleet however there was less political and financial room.
On the contrary replacing of the old Battleships of the Zeven Provincien class was out of the question, they only received a modernisation of her engines , fire control and AA bateries. were added.
The three armoured cruisers of the Koninging Regentes class would be decommissioned. The the two old battle ships ’’Jacob van Heemskerk’’ and “Gerard Callenburgh” remained in service for the coastal defense of the home land. after a modest refit of her engines and addition of a modest AA battery.
The armored cruisers would be replaced by much smaller light cruisers, however due to the political turmoil this caused the light cruisers were reclassified as flotilla leaders. after much debate the first ship was finally laid down in 1932 and the second in 1933 the third was never approved. . It were slightly enlarged Java class cruisers, 6400 tons, however with drastically reduced main armament. The political turmoil and budget cuts made the ships have only six 150 mm guns in three turrets.
Novelty however was the AA armament of five dual mounts of the revolutionary 40 mm Bofors AA guns grouped around an excellent range finder at the back of the ship. At the position of the B turret in front of the bridge provisions were made for a similar platform to mount three of these twin mount 40 mm AA guns with a range finder in the center. The ships were the first users of the Bofors 40 mm AA guns.

The two scout cruisers were also taken out of commission and replaced by four gunboats , the Flores class. HNMS Flores, HNMS Soemba, HNMS Bali, and HNMS Lombok with a main armament of three single 150 mm guns, of the same type as on the light cruisers of the Java class.

Although he replacement of the pre-dreadnought battle ships was political not viable it did not mean there were no plans and designs made for replacing these ships. After the treaty of Versailles many German engineers, involved in arms or naval design, sought employment in the former neutral countries, the Netherlands was one of them. This was particular the case for submarines and to a lesser extend as well for large surface units. Dutch naval architects were there for aware of the rough preliminary design of the Germans to replace the aging Deutschland class battleships with modern units, which they were allowed according to the Versailles treaty. Although the German plans as well as the Dutch plans were shelved, never the less the designs formed the basis for which would evolve in a new large capital ship.
 
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