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T3, R1, Prng 105: Preussen Class (Germany) vs Koning der Nederlanden (Netherlands)

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  • T3, R1, Prng 105: Preussen Class (Germany) vs Koning der Nederlanden (Netherlands)

    In your opinion, which of these two warship types was most significant, influential and/or effective?
    Feel free to apply those criteria as you please, along with any others you think appropriate.
    Note: Suggestions for some additional criteria are at the foot of this post.

    According to the criteria as you see and apply them, please vote for your preferred candidate in the attached poll.
    If your chosen criteria are significantly different from those suggested, telling us what they are and why you used them would be helpful.

    124: Preussen Class

    In 1868 the first nationally German-built warship, Hansa, was laid down. She was followed immediately by the Preussen class of three armoured frigates, built in the early 1870s, which were to be the first uniform class of warships for the fleet. The lead ship, Preussen, was launched in 1873, with Friedrich der Grosse following in 1874 and Grosser Kurfürst in 1875. Fleet service commenced with Preussen’s commissioning in 1876.

    These ships were powered by one 3-cylinder single expansion engine, driving a single four-bladed screw that was 6.60m (21ft 8in) in diameter. The engines were supplied with steam by six boilers trunked into a single large retractable funnel amidships. The ships' top speed was 14 knots. They were also equipped with a full ship rig (sails). Three generators provided 30 kilowatts of electrical power. The ships were capable of storing 564t (555 long tons) of coal; enabling them to steam for 1,690 nautical miles (3,130 km; 1,940 mi) at a cruising speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).

    Their armor was made of wrought iron, backed with teak. The armored belt was arrayed in two strakes. The upper strake was 203 mm (8.0 in) thick; the lower strake ranged in thickness from 102 to 229 mm (4.0 to 9.0 in). Both were backed with 234 to 260 mm (9.2 to 10.2 in) of teak. Their forward conning towers were protected with 30mm (1.2in) thick sides and 50mm (2in) thick slopes. The gun turrets had 25mm (0.98in) thick roofs and curved sides varying in thickness between 203 to 254mm (8 to 10in) backed with 260mm (10in) thick teak. The thicker armor was on the fronts of the turrets, where they would be more likely to suffer hits.

    Primary armament was four 260mm (10.2in) L/22 guns mounted in a pair of steam-powerd twin-gun turrets placed amidships. The turrets were mounted on what would have been the battery deck. These guns were supplied with 400 rounds of ammunition. They could depress to −3° and elevate to 11°, enabling a maximum range of 5,000m (5,500 yd). Since the fore and stern-castles blocked fire directly ahead or astern, two 170mm (6.7in) L/25 chase guns, were provided, one at either end of the vessel. The German navy regarded the ships as good sea boats, very sensitive to commands from the helm, and with a gentle motion. They had a tight turning radius, but were crank and slow while under sail.

    Grosser Kurfürst was lost in 1878 during maneuvers shortly after her commissioning, when a pair of small sailing boats crossed the bows of Grosser Kurfürst and König Wilhelm, which caused both ships to undertake emergency maneuvers. In the confusion, König Wilhelm collided with Grosser Kurfürst, causing the latter to sink.
    Both Preussen and Friedrich der Grosse served in the fleet until the 1890s, when they were relegated to secondary duties, including serving as harbor ships, and later as coal hulks. The ships were eventually scrapped following the end of World War I, in 1919 and 1920, respectively.

    General characteristics
    Displacement – 6,821t (6,713 long tons); 7,718t (7,596 long tons) fully loaded
    Length – 94.5m (310ft) waterline; 96.59m (316ft 11in) overall
    Beam – 16.3m (53ft 6in)
    Draft – 7.12m (23ft 4in) forward; 7.18m (23ft 7in) aft
    Power – 1 x single-expansion steam engine + sails
    Armament – 4 x 260mm (10in) L/22 + 2 x 170mm (6.7in) L/25 guns
    Complement – 46 officers, 454 enlisted men

    Preussen Class basic layout


    Preussen after 1890 refit


    138: Koning Der Nederlanden

    Koning der Nederlanden was an iron-hulled ironclad ramtorenschip (turret ram ship) built by the Rijkswerf at Amsterdam for the Royal Netherlands Navy in the early 1870s. She was the largest warship to serve in the Dutch Navy during the 19th century. She was laid down on 31 December 1871, launched on 20 October 1874 and commissioned on 16 February 1877.

    Her two steam engines produced a total of 4,630 indicated horsepower (3,450 kW) which gave the ship a maximum speed of 11.95 knots (22.13 km/h; 13.75 mph) during her sea trials that began on 26 July 1877. She carried 620 long tons (630t) of coal and had three funnels. Her sails were barque-rigged with three masts and had a total area of 847 sq m (9,120 sq ft). Armour consisted of a full-length waterline belt of wrought iron that was 200mm (7.9in) thick amidships, reducing to 150mm (5.9in) at the bow and stern. The two turrets and their bases were protected by 230mm (9.1in) plates, although the total thickness around the gun ports was 305mm (12in). The deck was unarmored.

    The ship mounted two Armstrong 11in (279mm) rifled muzzle-loading guns in each turret. Each gun weighed 25.4 long tons (25.8 t). Four 120mm (4.7in) Krupp breech-loading guns were mounted on the upper deck and six 37mm (1.5in) Hotchkiss 5-barrel revolving guns were also fitted in the ship's superstructure. They fired a shell weighing about 1.1 lb (0.50 kg) at a muzzle velocity of about 2,000 ft/s (610 m/s) to a range about 3,500 yards (3,200 m). They had a rate of fire of about 30 rounds per minute. She was also initially armed with spar torpedoes, but they were removed shortly after completion.

    As was common for the time, Koning der Nederlanden was fitted with a ram. It protruded 1.22m (4ft) from the bow. The ship's gun turrets were only 3.3m (10ft 10in) above the waterline, but the freeboard could be increased by use of hinged bulwarks. The turrets were rotated by hydraulic machinery.

    In the autumn of 1876, the ship was transferred through the newly built North Sea Canal to the naval yard Willemsoord in Den Helder. In September 1877 she underwent her sea trials on the North and Baltic Sea. Subsequently on 3 March 1878, she left the Netherlands for the Dutch East Indies where she arrived in Aceh on 6 May that year. From there she steamed to Batavia where she arrived in June and was repaired at Surabaya from August until November. By the end of the year she was stationed at Batavia and served in the Auxiliary squadron. Koning der Nederlanden continued to serve in this region, ending up as a barracks ship in Surabaya in the late 1890s. She was still in existence during WW2 and was scuttled on 2 March 1942, during the Battle of Java, to prevent her capture by the Japanese. By this time, her usefulness must have been very limited indeed but that’s still a remarkable 68-years!

    General characteristics
    Displacement – 5,400 metric tons (5,300 long tons)
    Length – 268ft 4in (81.8m) between perpendiculars
    Beam – 49ft 10in (15.2m)
    Draft – 19ft 3in (5.9m)
    Power – 7 boilers, 2 compound steam engines, 2 shafts + sails
    Armament (primary) – 4 x Armstrong 11in (279mm) RML guns; two per turret
    Complement – 256 officers and men,_Den_Helder

    Koning der Nederlanden - basic layout


    Koning der Nederlanden under way


    Preussen class or Koning der Nederlanden?

    Suggested additional criteria you might wish to consider, along with any others you deem appropriate.
    (Note: Some of these could be considered already covered by Significant, Influential and Effective)

    Which warship type ...
    • was the best?
    • was the greatest?
    • was the most widely used?
    • had the greatest longevity in service?
    • was the most versatile?
    • represented the best value for the cost/effort invested ("bang for the buck" in today's language)?
    • was the easiest to operate?
    Any other criteria you have applied (please tell us what they were).

    Preussen Class armoured frigate, turret
    Koning der Nederlanden ironclad ram, turret
    Last edited by panther3485; 04 Sep 19, 08:40.
    "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
    Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.

  • #2
    Prussian class by the thinnest of margins. Single screw means poor manueverability and vulnerability in the event of damage, and the design is more like a Monitor class than anything more useful, but the Dutch design comes off as worse overall, especially given that the main batteries are muzzle loading.
    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?


    • #3
      I opted for the Dutch candidate,on the basis that she performed long and honourable service in the Dutch East Indies, so,purely on a value-for-money basis she gets my vote.
      (I wonder what the Japanese would have made of her)
      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
      Samuel Johnson.


      • #4
        Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
        I opted for the Dutch candidate,on the basis that she performed long and honourable service in the Dutch East Indies, so,purely on a value-for-money basis she gets my vote.
        (I wonder what the Japanese would have made of her)
        Rails for the death railway ,no doubt...

        The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..


        • #5
          IMO, the main armament layout on the Dutch ship is better, which - in combination with the extra size (11" vs 10") - could be considered to compensate for being muzzle loading? An extra inch doesn't sound like much but it makes a considerable difference to the weight of shot.
          However, the German ship is faster, which - in some situations at least - could easily be the deciding factor.

          One of the toughest decisions of this Round, IMO.
          I went with the Dutch but only by a hair's breadth.
          "Chatfield, there seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"
          Vice Admiral Beatty to Flag Captain Chatfield; Battle of Jutland, 31 May - 1 June, 1916.


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