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HNLMS Buffel

HNLMS Buffel (2008)
HNLMS Buffel (2008)
Name: Buffel
Namesake: Water buffalo
Builder: Robert Napier & Sons, Glasgow, Scotland
Laid down: 10 June 1867
Launched: 10 March 1868
Completed: 22 July 1868
Reclassified: As an accommodation ship, 11 June 1896
Struck: 1896
Captured: May 1940
Nazi Germany
Acquired: May 1940
Captured: 8 May 1945
Name: Buffel
Acquired: 8 May 1945
Decommissioned: 1973
Struck: 1974
Homeport: Den Helder
  • HW-12, 1946
  • A-884, 1954
Status: Museum ship, 1974
General characteristics (as completed)
Class & type: [[
Displacement: 2,402 long tons (2,441 t)
Length: 195 ft 10 in (59.7 m) (p/p)
Beam: 40 ft (12.2 m)
Draught: 16 ft 9 in (5.1 m)
Installed power:
Propulsion: 2 shafts, 2 steam engines
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Complement: 159
  • Belt: 3–6 in (76–152 mm)
  • Gun turrets: 8–11 in (203–279 mm)
  • Deck: .75–1 in (19–25 mm)

HNLMS Buffel is a 19th-century ironclad ram ship. She was one of the main attractions of the Maritime Museum Rotterdam, also known as the Prince Hendrik Museum, named after its founder, Prince Henry (Hendrik) "the Navigator", who had a naval career and established the basis of the museum back in 1874. In October 2013 the ship moved to Hellevoetsluis and is again open for public.


  • Build and design 1
  • Service record 2
  • See also 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External links 5

Build and design

Built in 1868 by Robert Napier & Sons in Glasgow, Scotland, HNLMS Buffel was the first ship of the Royal Netherlands Navy without sails but with a steam engine and two propellers, that gave her a maximum speed of almost 13 knots (24 km/h). Her radius of action at 6 knots was about 2,150 nautical miles (4,000 km). Her main task as an armor-clad ram ship was to play a role in the Dutch coastal defense together with two sister ships and two so-called monitor ships.

Her armament was first of all the ram on her bow, mainly against wooden ships, and originally two 300 pound (136 kg), 23 cm Armstrong guns, with a total weight of 25 metric tons, in one turret. These were later replaced by a single 28 cm gun, and the armament was enhanced by a couple of smaller guns; 2 of 7.5 cm, 4 of 3.7 cm, and two Hotchkiss revolving cannons.

The crew consisted of 150 men, officers, petty-officers, and sailors.

Service record

Her record is not very impressive; the only ocean voyage was on her maiden trip in 1868 from Glasgow to Den Helder. That was not a great success; she rolled very much and also made a lot of water. From that day on she always stayed in the North Sea (in accordance with her role) and her only foreign port of call was Antwerp, Belgium in 1871.

She participated in many national exercises with the Royal Netherlands Army and in 1894 she retired from active duty. This was followed by a short, two-year period as a training ship for young sailors and from 1896 she acted as a lodging or accommodation ship. She was berthed in several naval establishments in the Netherlands, the last 25 years mainly in Amsterdam. She had the (NATO) pennant number A 884 on her bow, A for Auxiliary and 8 as the first cipher for all Royal Netherlands naval ships.

In 1973 the Buffel was decommissioned and in 1974 sold to the city of Rotterdam to become a museum ship.

The ship has been moved to Hellevoetsluis in 2013 due to cost cuts. In October 2013 the Buffel arrived in Hellevoetsluis. She is in the Jan Blanken dry dock until her final berthing place at the Koningskade, which is under construction, is available. By then a Naval quarter will be developed. Poisitioned here will be: the Buffel, the Bernisse an old minesweeper, and the Noord Hinder a former Lightship on the North Sea. Together with the brickwork Dry Dock (Jan Blanken) will form an interesting area to visit

See also


External links

  • Photo-collection on Dutch ironclads
  • HNSA Web Page: HNLMS Buffel

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