Samarang-class sloop

Zr.Ms. schroefstoomschip Samarang (1876-1893).jpg

The Samarang class was a class of steam screw sloops of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The class originally comprised Samarang, Batavia and Makassar, but was later extended.

The Dutch colonial navy in the 1870s

The colonial navy and the Aceh War

In the 1870s the navy in the Dutch East Indies consisted of an auxiliary squadron of four ships from the Netherlands, and the colonial navy of 22 ships. The auxiliary squadron was primarily responsible for external defense. The ships of the colonial navy (Indische Militaire Marine) were meant for transport and flotilla services.[3] All the ships were steam ships, with half still using paddle propulsion, and half using screw propulsion. The ships of the colonial navy were scattered over a wide number of stations. The tasks of the colonial navy were: fighting piracy; executing and supporting military actions; showing the flag; hydrographic work; training crews.[3]

The Aceh War that started in 1873, created an extra demand for ships that left many of the stations in the east of the archipelago practically empty.[3] In the Second Aceh Expedition the navy played an essential role. It roughly had five tasks: blockading the coast of Aceh; supporting landing operations; transporting men and equipment of the expedition force; executing all kinds of communication services; executing punitive expeditions on the coast. The state of the naval forces that executed these tasks was not at all good. The steam ships had numerous deficiencies, especially leaky boilers.[4]

Reaction to the Aceh War

In late April 1873 there was a debate about the situation in Aceh in the Dutch house of representatives. The measures to redress the situation of the navy consisted of sending more ships, pressing the construction of four fourth-class screw ships,[5] (which left for the Indies later that year)[6]) and building new ships.[5] A budget law to change the Dutch East Indies budget reserved 1,400,000 guilders for four steamships 4th class; 720,000 for two iron paddle steamers and 200,000 for ten steam launches.[7] While Isaäc Dignus Fransen van de Putte was naval minister a.i. (18 December 1873 – 16 May 1874), four more steam ships first class were laid down and more paddle ships were started. These four fourth-class steamships arrived circa September 1874.[6]

In May 1875 the government ordered the first three ships of the Samarang class at private shipyards.[8] In August 1875 these received their names. Makassar was still named Suriname, and ordered for the navy, instead of for the department of the colonies.[9] The need for these kind of ships in the Dutch East Indies made that Suriname was transferred to the colonial navy before she was finished, and was renamed 'Makassar'.[10] A new Suriname was then ordered from the Koninklijke Fabriek.


With regard to size the class was somewhat larger than the preceding classes of screw steam ships built for the colonial navy. Overall the size resembled that of the Vesuvius class of sloops. The big innovation that came with the class was that it was made of iron with a cover of wood and zinc.[11] It was a further evolution of the previous classes that had been composite ships, which had a wrought iron frame with wooden planking.


The machines of the class had a nominal power of 100 hp[2] It were high pressure steam engines with expansion valves and surface condensers. All below the waterline.[11] The machinery, boilers and screws of Samarang, Batavia, Makassar and Bonaire were identical. Suriname and Padang had the same machinery and screw, but boilers that were 0.25 m (9.8 in) longer.[12]

On 21 May 1878 Suriname made her trials with Captain-lt J.C. Creeve, the inspector of the steam engine service Captain van Alphen, and the chief engineer of ship construction Beelo. With 60 pounds steam pressure and 113 turns a minute the ship made 9.4 knots (17.4 km/h; 10.8 mph).[13] The Samarang would make 10 knots on her trials, developing 460 ihp and 120 turns a minute.[14] Both speeds are significantly higher than would be reached in service, because ships were not fully loaded on trials.


Screw steam sloop HNLMS Makassar (1877–1893) Cf the topmast

Originally the class was designed for a schooner sail plan, but this was later changed[12] to a barquentine sail plan. The total surface of the sails of the Samarang on a close-hauled point of sail was 839.5 square meters.[15] In 1876 the Samarang sailed at beam reach (point of sail) in a fresh breeze (in Dutch: a stijve marszeils koelte, 5 bft[16]) and reached 8.25 knots.[17]

The topmast of all ships that followed the Samarang was 2.25 m (89 in) shorter, which greatly influenced the surface of their sails.[18] Indeed the designed sail-surface of the Bonaire at a close-hauled course was 745.5 m (29,350 in), and that of the Benkoelen 742.5 m (29,230 in)[18]. The Java and Benkoelen also has a steel mizzen-mast that was placed 0.9 m (35 in) more aft.[18]


At one time Bonaire was stated to have one 15 cm rifled gun and three 12 cm breech loaders. Samarang was to have one 18 cm gun and two 12 cm breech loaders.[15] At another time Samarang and Batavia were stated to have one 15 cm breech loader and three 12 cm breech loaders.[19]

Ships in the class

Of the six ships three were built by the Koninklijke Fabriek van Stoom- en andere Werktuigen and three, Samarang, Bonaire and Padang by Fijenoord. Makassar was also known as Macassar, or Macasser, especially in official sources. However, the name did refer to the city Makassar, which was already generally known by its current spelling Makassar at the time. Also note that more ships might have been built to the model of the Samarang class.

That Suriname (not the ship that was renamed to Makassar) and probably also Bonaire and Padang were also part of this class can be derived from Tideman's work. He states the machinery of all these ships to be equal (cf above), and in Livret D almost all other aspects are noted to be the same[12], except for the armament which might have differed sightly (cf above).

Also note that there was a kind of naming convention. The ships paid by the department of the colonies, and employed there as part of the 'Indische Militaire Marine' have names referring to the archipelago. Suriname and Bonaire, as well as later St. Eustatius refer to Dutch possessions in the West Indies. It explains the name change of the Suriname to Makassar.

Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Fate Principal
Samarang 6 July 1876 [11] 16 October 1876[20] Indische Militaire Marine[21]
Batavia 7 October 1876 [22] 16 February 1877 [23] Indische Militaire Marine[22]
Makassar (ex-Suriname) 17 Feb 1877 [24] 16 July 1877 [25] 1893 Indische Militaire Marine[24]
Bonaire 12 May 1877 [26] 1 May 1880 [27] Dutch Navy[12]
Suriname 27 October 1877 [28] 15 May 1878 (delivered) [29] Dutch Navy[29]
Padang 24 August 1878[30] 16 November 1878[31] 3 August 1896 sold[32] Indische Militaire Marine[30]


  1. ^ Tideman 1880, p. Livret D p. 11.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Tideman 1880, p. 2e afd p. 14.
  3. ^ a b c Stapelkamp 2010, p. 12.
  4. ^ Stapelkamp 2010, p. 25.
  5. ^ a b "Nederland". Arnhemsche courant. 29 April 1873.
  6. ^ a b "Vervolg der Nieuwstijdingen". De locomotief. 16 March 1875.
  7. ^ "Binnenlandsche Berigten". Delftsche courant. 9 May 1873.
  8. ^ "Verkiezingen". De standaard. 12 May 1875.
  9. ^ "Binnenland". De standaard. 13 August 1875.
  10. ^ "Binnenland". De Tijd. 7 October 1876.
  11. ^ a b c "Nederland". Bataviaasch handelsblad. 21 August 1876.
  12. ^ a b c d Tideman 1880, p. Livret D p. 1.
  13. ^ "Helder, 20 Mei". De standaard. 23 May 1878.
  14. ^ Tideman 1880, p. Livret D p. 10.
  15. ^ a b Tideman 1880, p. Livret D p. 3.
  16. ^ Walbrink and Koek 2009, p. 8.
  17. ^ Tideman 1880, p. Livret D p. 15.
  18. ^ a b c Tideman 1880, p. Livret D p. 9.
  19. ^ Tideman 1880, p. 2e afd. D p. 14.
  20. ^ "Ministerie van Marine". Nederlandsche staatscourant. 7 October 1876.
  21. ^ "Nederland". Java-bode. 9 August 1876.
  22. ^ a b "Binenland". De Standaard. 9 October 1876.
  23. ^ "Amsterdam, 16 Februari". De Standaard. 17 February 1877.
  24. ^ a b "Amsterdam, 17 Februari". De Standaard. 19 February 1877.
  25. ^ "Amsterdam, 17 July". De Tijd. 18 July 1877.
  26. ^ "Te water gelaten schepen". De Standaard. 15 May 1877.
  27. ^ "Vervolg der Nieuwstijdingen". Algemeen Handelsblad. 2 May 1880.
  28. ^ "Amsterdam, Zaterdag 27 October". Algemeen Handelsblad. 28 October 1877.
  29. ^ a b "Amsterdam, 16 Mei". De standaard. 17 May 1878.
  30. ^ a b "Rotterdam, 24 Augustus". De standaard. 27 August 1878.
  31. ^ "Binnenland". De Tijd. 30 October 1878.
  32. ^ "Op Maandag, den 3en Augustus a.s." Java-Bode. 18 July 1896.


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