German Flakschiff: Undine

HNLMS Jacob van Heemskerck began life as a coastal defence battleship in the Royal Netherlands Navy. She entered service in 1908, and had an active career representing the Netherlands across the world. When the Second World War broke out she was serving as the floating battery ship Batterijschip IJmuiden off Ijmuiden. She was scuttled by her crew during the German invasion in 1940.

When built, her characteristics were:

  • Displacement: 4,920 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 321’ 6”’ (98m)
    • Beam: 49’ 10” (15.19m)
    • Draught: 18’ 8” (5.69m)
  • Speed: 16.5 knots
  • Propulsion: 2 shafts powered by reciprocating engines
  • Armour: Belt: 6” (150mm); Turrets and Barbettes: 8” (200mm)
  • Armament: 2 × 9.4” (240mm) guns (2 x 1); 6 x 5.9” (150mm) guns (6 x 1); 6 x 2.9” (75mm) guns (6 x 1); 4 x 1 pdr QF guns (4 x 1); 2 x 18” (450mm) Torpedo Tubes
  • Complement: 340

A silhouette of HNLMS Jacob van Heemskerck.

HNLMS Jacob van Heemskerck.

She was raised and taken in German service in 1941, renamed Undine, and converted into a floating anti-aircraft battery. When converted into a flakschiff, Undine carried:

  • 8 x 4.1” (10.5cm) SK C/32 gun (8 x 1)
  • 4 x 40mm Bofors guns (4 x 1)
  • 16 x 20mm guns (4 x 4)

A silhouette of KMS Undine.

After the war she was renamed Neptunus and was used as an accommodation ship. She was finally decommissioned and sold for scrapping in 1974.

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German Flakschiff: Ariadne

HNLMS Hertog Hendrik began life as a Koningin Regentes-class coastal defence battleship of the Royal Netherlands Navy. She entered service in 1904, and had an active career representing the Netherlands across the world. When the Second World War broke out she was serving as the floating battery ship Batterijschip Vliereede off Vlieland. At the time of the German invasion in 1940, she was awaiting scrapping.

When built, her characteristics were:

  • Displacement: 5,002 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 317’ (96.22m)
    • Beam: 49’ 10” (15.19m)
    • Draught: 19’ 11” (5.82m)
  • Speed: 16.5 knots
  • Propulsion: 2 shafts powered by two reciprocating engines
  • Armour: Belt: 6” (150mm); Turrets and Barbettes: 10” (250mm)
  • Armament: 2 × 9.4” (240mm) guns (2 x 1); 4 x 5.9” (150mm) guns (4 x 1); 8 x 2.9” (75mm) guns (8 x 1); 4 x 1 pdr QF guns (4 x 1); 3 x 18” (450mm) Torpedo Tubes
  • Complement: 340

A silhouette of HNLMS Hertog Hendrik.

HNLMS Hertog Hendrik.

She was captured by the German in 1940, renamed Ariadne, and converted into a floating anti-aircraft battery. When converted into a flakschiff, Ariadne carried:

  • 6 x 4.1” (10.5cm) SK C/32 gun (10 x 1)
  • 4 x 37mm guns (2 x 2)
  • 16 x 20mm guns (4 x 4)

A silhouette of KMS Ariadne.

KMS Ariadne.

KMS Ariadne.

After the war she was renamed Hertog Hendrik and was used as an accommodation ship. She was finally decommissioned and sold for scrapping in 1969.


German Flakschiff: Niobe

HNLMS Gelderland began life as a Holland-class cruiser of the Royal Netherlands Navy. She entered service in 1900, and had an active career representing the Netherlands across the world. By 1940 she was obsolete, and was being used as an artillery training ship.

When built, her characteristics were:

  • Displacement: 4,100 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 310’ 9” (94.76m)
    • Beam: 48’ 4” (14.76m)
    • Draught: 18’ (5.4m)
  • Speed: 19.5 knots
  • Propulsion: 2 shafts powered by two 3-cycle triple expansion engines
  • Armament: 2 × 5.9” (150mm ) guns (2 x 1); 6 x 4.7” (120mm) guns (6 x 1); 6 x 2.9” (75mm) guns (6 x 1); 12 x 37mm QF guns (12 x 1)
  • Complement: 397

A silhouette of HNLMS Gelderland.

HNLMS Gelderland.

HNLMS Gelderland.

She was captured by the German in 1940, renamed Niobe, and used as a training ship until her conversion in 1944.

When converted into a flakschiff, Niobe carried:

  • 10 x 4.1” (10.5cm) SK C/32 guns (10 x 1)
  • 4 x 40mm Bofors guns (4 x 1)
  • 16 x 20mm guns (4 x 4)

A silhouette of KMS Niobe.

KMS Niobe.

KMS Niobe.

KMS Niobe. The single funnel has not yet been heightened and given a cowl.

A stern view of KMS Niobe.

She was sunk in Kotka harbour, Finland, by aircraft of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet on 16th July 1944. Her hull was subsequently raised and scrapped in 1953.


Vive l’Empereur! The final batch of French Artillery figures are added to the collection

The final batch of French Artillery figures (half a dozen French Horse Artillery) have been renovated, varnished, and based, and have taken their place in my collection.

I now want to move on to the French Officers on foot that still remain to be renovated, varnished, and based, after which all that will remain of the French figures to be worked on are the Officers on horse and the Cavalry.


German Flakschiff: Nymphe and Thetis

Nymphe and Thetis began life as the Tordenskjold-class coastal defence battleships HNoMS Tordenskjold and HNoMS Harald Haarfagre respectively. They both entered service in the early years of the twentieth century, and were withdrawn from service in the mid 1930s.

When built, their characteristics were:

  • Displacement: 3,858 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 304’ 0” (92.66m)
    • Beam: 48’ 6” (14.78m)
    • Draught: 17’ 8” (5.38m)
  • Speed: 16.9 knots
  • Propulsion: 2 shafts powered by reciprocating steam engines
  • Armour: Belt: 7” (178mm); Turrets: 8” (203mm)
  • Armament: 2 × 8.2” (21cm) (2 x 1) guns; 6 × 4.7” (120mm) (6 x 1) guns; 6 x 3” (76mm) (6 x 1) guns; 6 x 1 pdr QF guns (6 x 1); 2 × 18” (45cm) Torpedo Tubes
  • Complement: 245

A silhouette of a Tordenskjold-class. coastal defence ship.

HNoMS Tordenskjold.

They was captured by the German in 1940, renamed Nymphe and Thetis respectively, and used as a training and storage hulks until their conversion.

When converted into a flakschiff, Nymphe and Thetis carried:

  • 7 x 4.1” (10.5cm) SK C/32 gun (6 x 1)
  • 2 x 40mm Bofors guns (2 x 1)
  • 9 x 20mm guns (2 x 4; 1 x 1)

A silhouette of KMS Nymphe and KMS Thetis.

After the war the Nymphe was renamed Tordenskjold and was used for a short time as a floating barracks before she was sold and scrapped in 1948.

KMS Nymphe.

After the war the Thetis was renamed Harald Haarfagre and was used for a time as a floating barracks and for transporting German POWs. She was sold and scrapped in 1948.


German Flakschiff: Arcona and Medusa

SMS Arcona and SMS Medusa were two of the ten light cruisers that formed the Gazelle-class. They were built in the early years of the twentieth century, and by the time of the First World War they were no longer regarded as front-line units.

When built, their characteristics were:

  • Displacement: 3,130 tons
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 344’ 6” (105m)
    • Beam: 40’ 8” (12.40m)
    • Draft: 16’ 4” (4.99m)
  • Speed: 21.5 knots
  • Propulsion: 2 shafts powered by triple-expansion steam engines
  • Armour: Deck: 20 to 25mm (0.79 to 0.98 inches)
  • Armament: 10 × 4.1” (10.5cm) SK L/40 guns (10 x 1); 2 × 18” (45cm) Torpedo Tubes
  • Complement: 14 officers and 256 enlisted men

A silhouette of a Gazelle-class cruiser.

SMS Arcona in 1910.

When converted into a flakschiff, Arcona and Medusa carried:

  • 1 x 4.1” (10.5cm) SK C/32 gun (1 x 1)
  • 4 x 4.1” (10.5cm) SK C/33 guns (4 x 1),
  • 2 x 37mm SK C/30 guns (2 x 1)
  • 4 x 20mm guns (1 x 4)

A silhouette of KMS Arcona and KMS Medusa. The funnel was later shortened and additional superstructure added.

Arcona was assigned to Naval Anti-Aircraft Group 233. She survived the war and was broken up between 1948 and 1949.

KMS Arcona.

Medusa was assigned to Naval Anti-Aircraft Group 222. She survived the war and was broken up between 1948 and 1950.

KMS Medusa.

KMS Medusa in action.

KMS Medusa. This appears to be a photograph of the ship during her conversion into a flakschiff.


Spanish Civil War: Day-by-Day: 21st June 1937

Andres Nin (leader of the POUM) was murdered by Soviet agents.

Andres Nin, the leader of the POUM.