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Hnlms de ruyter (1853)

The meaning of «hnlms de ruyter (1853)»

HNLMS De Ruyter , was a unique ship built for the Royal Netherlands Navy. She first served as a heavy sailing frigate. Next she was rebuilt as a steam frigate, but she was never finished as such. She was finally rebuilt and served as a Casemate ironclad comparable to the CSS Virginia.

On 1 June 1842 J.C. Rijk became head (Dutch: Directeur-generaal) of the Dutch navy. On 18 June 1843 he became Secretary for the Navy. At the time the navy had been severely neglected because of the secession of Belgium and the war and tensions that followed. Under Rijk the navy would have to economize, to become smaller, and to modernize. Rijk wrote about his policy early in a letter that was approved by the king on 25 January 1843, and known as 'Plan Rijk' (Dutch: Stelsel Rijk).[1]

The Plan Rijk called for 2 ships of the line 84 guns and 4 ships of the line of 74 all of them existing or under construction. Rijk noted that he did not want to build more ships of the line, but also did not want to razee the existing ones for the moment. The number of heavy frigates should be raised to 4. One of these was already in service, two were already in the water, and the fourth should be found by razeeing either the existing small ship of the line Kortenaar, or the small ship of the line De Ruyter, still under construction in Vlissingen.[2] Rijk also observed that the caliber of the guns on a ship seemed to become more important than the number of guns on a ship. This is in line with his proposition to razee a ship instead of building another heavy frigate according to the existing models.

By the time that De Ruyter was finally launched screw propulsion had made sail-only frigates obsolete. In the late 1850s a reconstruction along the lines of the HNLMS Wassenaar (1856) fit the new Dutch naval system (Plan 1855) calling for a fleet of steam frigates of 400 hp, steam corvettes of 250 hp, and steam sloops of 100 hp.

The initial design of De Ruyter was that of a small ship of the line. A so-called ship of the line of the second class of 74 guns. She was laid down in 1831. Other small ships of the line laid down at about the same time were the Wassenaar (1833), and the Tromp (1830). These might all have been of the same class. While still under construction the De Ruyter and the Wassenaar were razeed, or redesigned as heavy frigates, known in the Dutch navy as 'frigates 1st class'. This might have been done according to the same plan, implying that for some time there was a 'De Ruyter class' of razees comprising the De Ruyter and the Wassenaar. The fact that in 1851 the De Ruyter was finished 30% and the Wassenaar was 35% ready,[3] gives credence to this theory.

De Ruyter was not similar to the frigates first class laid down at about the same time which had been designed as such from the start. These were the Prins van Oranje (ex-Waal) and Doggersbank. These had about the same beam as De Ruyter and Wassenaar, but they were balanced designs. The Doggersbank was designed for 30 medium 30-pounders and 30 30-pounder carronades,[4] that is two batteries in a neat lay-out. De Ruyter had the main battery of a ship of the line.

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