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По сложившейся в Нидерландах традиции подводные лодки, предназначенные для службы в метрополии и в колониях, строились по разным проектам (хотя зачастую они были весьма близкими) и имели различную систему нумерации. Субмарины, служившие в Северном море и Атлантике, обозначались литерой "О" (от голланд. "Onderzeeboot" — "подводная лодка") и нумеровались арабскими цифрами; предназначенные для службы в Ост-Индии — литерой "К" ("Koloniaal") и римскими цифрами. Лишь в конце 1930-х гг. различия в обозначении решено было устранить, и, начиная с серии 0-19, все подводные лодки имели сплошную нумерацию.
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The Netherlands remained neutral during World War I and as a result there was no great expansion to her naval fleet. Post-war financial constraints delayed any new construction until the mid-1920s. To replace her aging and obsolete destroyer fleet, the Dutch looked to the British firm Yarrow, one of the foremost destroyer yards at that time, for a new design. Yarrow submitted plans for a class of ships to be built in Dutch yards that were broadly based on the British Ambuscade class. The first series of the Admiralen class (also referred to as the Van Ghent class) was comprised of Van Ghent, Evertsen, Kortenaer and Piet Hein. All four ships were commissioned in 1928.
As built the ships in the Van Ghent class was fitted with four Bofors single 4.7” /50cal QF guns with two forward and two aft. A pair of single 75mm anti-aircraft guns was fitted on bandstands between the funnels. Four .5in machine guns rounded off the anti-aircraft armament. Six 21-inch torpedo tubes in triple mountings were also fitted. These ships could also perform mine laying tasks and could accommodate 24 mines if needed. As these ships were designed to operate in the Dutch East Indies, these destroyers were fitted with accommodations for a reconnaissance seaplane. A flying deck was built over the aft torpedo tubes and the aircraft was handled by a derrick on the main mast. Subsequently the after funnel was reduced in height and at the outbreak of the Pacific War the seaplane was landed.
All four ships were stationed in the Dutch East Indies when war was declared on Japan on December 8, 1941 and were eventually incorporated into the American-British-Dutch-Australian (ABDA) Command fleet. Van Ghent ran aground in Tjilatjap harbor and became a wreck on February 15, 1942. Piet Hein was sunk in the Battle of Badung Straits on February 19, 1942. Kortenaer was lost in the Battle of the Java Sea on February 27, 1942. Evertsen was beached by her crew on March 1, 1942 after suffering severe damage from Japanese destroyers in the Sunda Straits the day before.
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