Type: Ironclad Ram Ship
At: Societe des Forges et Chantiers, Toulon, France
Length: 205 feet
Beam: 39 feet
Draft: 16 feet
Displacement: 2,175 tons
Armament: 2 rifled muzzle loading 9 inch guns, ram bow, two spar torpedoes, eleven breech loaders and two bronze 12 cm mortars
Dutch Naval Museum
1781 AA Den Helder
Latitude: 52.9624246885, Longitude: 4.77201329351
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The purpose of HNLMS Schorpioen was to defend coastal waters and harbors. Because The Netherlands did not participate in any conflicts between 1868 and 1940, Schorpioen was never confronted with hostile actions. However, she almost sank a vessel and was actually sunk herself. In August 1868, a barkentine accidentally hit Schorpioen‘s bow and barely managed to ground herself before foundering. In 1886, Schorpioen was hit in the stern quarter by a paddle steam tug and sank in two hours. (Evidently, one did not need a ram bow to successfully ram another vessel.) She was raised and repaired.
Her career as an active warship ended in 1906. She was converted into an accommodation ship. As such, Schorpioen served as a floating barracks for naval trainees, and later, submarine forces and torpedo gunner personnel. At the beginning of WW II, she fell into German hands and was used for demobilization purposes and later as an accommodation ship for the Kriegsmarine Ausrustungsstelle.
After the war she was towed from Hamburg to Den Helder, where she was again used as a floating barracks for technical training students and later for the Dutch Naval Women’s Department, and finally as a boarding school. A seven-year restoration to transform Schorpioen into a museum ship in Middleburg was completed by a private foundation 1990. In 1998, the Royal Netherlands Navy purchased her back and moved her to the Dutch Naval Museum. She is the largest of three vessels on display at the Museum. The other two are the minesweeper HNLMS Abraham Crijnssen and the submarine HNLMS Tonijn.
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