Gerard Callenburgh-class destroyer

The Gerard Callenburgh class were a group of four destroyers ordered for the Royal Netherlands Navy just before World War II. Two ships were completed - Gerard Callenburgh by the Germans after being captured and Isaac Sweers in Britain after being evacuated as the Netherlands fell to the Nazis. 


Gerard Callenburgh-class destroyer
Class Ship
Type Destroyer
Manufacturer Blohm & Voss
Production Period 1937 - 1940
Origin Netherlands
Country Name Origin Year
Netherlands 1937
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
France 1944 View
Tunisia 1941 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Blohm & Voss 1937 1940 2 View

These ships were larger than the preceding Admiralen-class destroyers. As those ships were outclassed by contemporary Japanese destroyers, the armament was increased to 5 guns with twin mounts in 'A' and 'Y' positions and a single gun in 'X' position. The torpedo outfit was also increased to two quadruple tubes. Isaac Sweers was completed in a British yard, with British armament and fire control equipment. She was fitted out with six 4 inch guns arranged in double turrets, four 40mm Bofors and eight 0.5 in machine guns, as well as the customary eight torpedo tubes.

Only two ships were ever completed. Tjerk Hiddes was launched prior to the invasion, but was scuttled at Rotterdam to prevent her from falling into German hands. The Germans raised her, but found it impossible to repair her, so the wreckage was scrapped. Philips Van Almonde was demolished on the slipway after several attempts to launch her to be sailed to England had failed.

Gerard Callenburgh was also scuttled, but the Germans were able to salvage her. She was subsequently completed by Blohm & Voss, retaining most of the Dutch armament and equipment, and was commissioned as ZH1 on 11 October 1942. She spent most of her career on trials in the Baltic but was transferred to Western France via the English Channel in November 1943. She was one of the German ships sent to intercept the Operation Neptune invasion armada, but they were themselves engaged by a squadron consisting of HMS Tartar, HMS Ashanti, HMS Eskimo, HMS Javelin, HMCS Haida, HMCS Huron and ORP Blyskawica). ZH1 was torpedoed and badly damaged by Ashanti on 9 June 1944, and was scuttled with the loss of 33 men.

Isaac Sweers was, unlike her sister Philips Van Almonde, successfully launched and then towed to England by the tug Zwarte Zee. She was completed in England by J Thornycroft using British armament and fire control equipment. She went on to serve in the Mediterranean Sea with Force H. In December 1941, together with HMS Sikh, HMS Maori and HMS Legion she sank the Italian cruisers Alberico da Barbiano and Alberto di Giussano in the Battle of Cape Bon. She then briefly served in the Indian Ocean with the Eastern Fleet. She was sunk by German submarine U-431 commanded by Wilhelm Dommes on 13 November 1942 in the Western Mediterranean, with the loss of 108 men.

Class overview
Name: Gerard Callenburgh class
Operators: Royal Netherlands Navy
Kriegsmarine
Preceded by: Admiralen class
Succeeded by: Holland class
Built: 1937–1940
In commission: 1941–1944
Planned: 4
Completed: 2
Lost: 2

General characteristics As designed
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 1604 tons standard

2228 tons full load
Length: 107 m (351 ft 1 in)
Beam: 10.6 m (34 ft 9 in)
Draft: 2.8 m (9 ft 2 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft, Parsons geared turbines

3 Yarrow type boilers

45,000 hp
Speed: 37.5 kn (69.5 km/h)
Range: 3,200 nmi (5,900 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Complement: 158
Armament: 5 × 120 mm (4.7 in) guns (2 × 2 & 1 × 1)

4 × 40 mm (1.6 in) AA guns

4 × .5 in (13 mm) machine guns

8 × 533 mm (21.0 in) torpedo tubes (2 × 4)

End notes