Sloops meant for guarding the vast territory of the NEI, they were relatively ships with for their size a respectable armament of 5.9 inch guns. Both were in the NEI when World War II broke out in 1939, but Flores was quickly withdrawn to the homewaters in Europe. She survived the occupation of the Netherlands by the German forces and escaped to the UK, serving mostly as a convoy escort and patrol ship on the east coast. Soemba remained in the NEI until March 1942, when she was sent to Ceylon just before the fall of the NEI. Both ships were reunited in the Mediterranean and became a highly succesful duo. They were nicknamed "The terrible twins", as they were very succesful in bombarding shoretargets on Sicily and Italy. They were part of the landings at Siciliy, Salerno, Anzio, Gargliano, Gaeta and finally, at the beaches of Normandy in June 1944. They were attacked by airplanes and coastal batteries dozens of times, almost without serious damage. They served as auxiliaries post-war and were eventually sold and scrapped.
|Soemba at sea (note the floatplane on the stern)|
|Dockyard||Mij Feijenoord, Schiedam||Mij Feijenoord, Schiedam|
|Laid down||January 13 1925||December 24 1924|
|Launched||August 15 1925||August 24 1925|
|Commissioned||March 25 1926||April 12 1926|
|Displacement||1457 t / 1793 t|
|Dimensions||75,6 x 11,5 x 3,6 m|
|Main armament||3 x 5.9 inch No. 7
1 x 75 mm
4 x. 50 Browning MG
|Added during WW II||Flores*||1 single 40 mm pom-pom
4 x 20 mm Hotchkiss
8 x .303 ** MG
|Soemba:||6 x 20 mm Oerlikon.|
|* Photos also show a twin Bofors mount with type 282 radar in place of the 75 mm gun on Flores.
** These were old quad turrets taken from obsolete Bolton Paul Defiant fighters.
|Deck||25 - 50 mm|
|Ammo hoists||25 mm|
|Gunshields||14 - 80 mm|
|Machinery||2 Triple-expansion engines|
|Bunkerage||285 tons oil|
The Terrible Twins (internal site link)
The Soemba Docket (internal site link)
Youtube - film fragment with the reconstruction of Flores' support of the Normandy landings.