|Title:||Warship No. 05: Protected cruiser Gelderland|
"Warship No. 05: Protected Cruiser Gelderland" is the fifth book in the Warship series of which "Warship No. 01 Cruiser HNLMS Tromp" was the first one. The book has been composed by Jantinus Mulder, founder of editor Lanasta. Lanasta is specialized in maritime subjects and also Jantinus Mulder himself writes books within this discipline. He has been educated to be a graphic designer and has been active in the graphic industry for almost 30 years. Furthermore Jantinus Mulder is a dedicated model ship builder, who builds all kinds of ship-models on order.
"Warship No. 05: Protected Cruiser Gelderland" describes not only the Dutch ship Hr.Ms. Gelderland but also the "Holland-class" to which the vessel belonged as well as the origins of the concept of the ‘protected cruiser’ or ‘armour deck cruiser’ as those ships were also called. During the 70’s of the nineteenth century the increased fire power of the armour penetrating grenades were the cause of the fact that it became more and more difficult to protect war ships effectively. Even if it would be feasible to apply armoured plating to fend off grenades, then the next generation of guns would be able to penetrate this. An alternative was to leave the armour-belt of a ship out and to protect the vital parts of the war vessel, such as the engine room and the ammunition stores, by a continuous armoured deck which was situated just below the water line. This would mean that the ship designer could save a lot of weight, of which speed, maneuverability and range benefitted significantly.
Especially cruisers took advantage of this concept as exactly those war ships, that were applied as reconnaissance units and to chase destroyers and destroyer-hunters, were in dear need of these characteristics. From the end of the nineteenth century the Dutch navy therefore ordered six armoured deck cruisers of the Holland-class to be constructed. These became the successors of the "Atjeh-class" unarmoured cruisers. The ships of the Holland-class were internationally considered to be modest but ingeniously designed craft. The two triple-expansion engines were able to propel the ships with a max speed of almost 20 knots, but at economy cruise speed the ships had a range of up to 8,000 nautical miles. This was an excellent capability which took care of the application of the ships to lengthy patrols in the expanses of the Dutch East-Indian archipelago.
The Dutch armour deck cruisers of the Holland-class were delivered in two series of three with small differences in design. The first series consisted of Hr.Ms. Holland, Hr.Ms. Zeeland and Hr.Ms. Friesland. The second series was formed by Hr.Ms. Utrecht, Hr.Ms. Noord Brabant and Hr.Ms. Gelderland. Shortly before the First World War the ships of the Holland-class had become outdated as the foreign navies had already launched improved designs. The six ships therefore were retired from 1913 onwards. However the Noord Brabant was maintained to be an accommodation-ship in Flushing and Hr.Ms. Gelderland was used as an artillery instruction platform. In 1939 Gelderland was replaced by the modern training ship Hr.Ms. Van Kinsbergen and the old armour deck cruiser was disarmed and conserved at the "Rijkswerf" (government’s shipyard) in Den Helder (the naval port in the north of Holland). In 1941 the German occupying forces declared the ship to be spoils of war and had it converted into Flakschiff Niobe. The anti-aircraft ship was sunk on the 16th of July, 1944 near the Finnish Kotka by the Soviet Air Force.
The concept of the Warship series is simple: take a single war ship as a subject which enables the author to describe the individual ship comprehensively. Details of the design, the type of ship and its complete operational history therefore can be covered in the single edition, which would not be possible in a collection of miscellaneous essays about all kinds of ships. Apart from that, in this type of publication there is sufficient room for expansive design drawings, armament descriptions and graphic pictures and photographs, possibly issued never before. The limited size of the book (the books in the series consist standardized of 48 pages) and the soft cover take care that the editions are very much affordable. It is understandable that the limited subject will only appeal to the really interested. In order to increase the targeted public Jantinus Mulder has chosen to edit the series in English, but even so the number of readers remains limited. The targeted reader obtains indeed a concise publication which cannot be offered by the aforementioned collection of miscellaneous essays.