The Ship That Disguised Itself as an Island and Other Lesser-Known WWII Facts

The Abraham Crijnssen. Alernavios

39. Weak and Slow

The Abraham Crijnssen was a Royal Netherlands Navy minesweeper that was built in 1936. She ended up stationed in the Dutch East Indies, today’s Indonesia, which is where WWII in the Pacific found her when Japan commenced hostilities in 1941. By warship standards, the Crijnssen was a minnow. Displacing a mere 525 tons, crewed by only 45 men, and armed with a single 76mm gun plus a pair of 20mm cannons, she was wholly incapable of duking it out with the powerful Imperial Japanese Navy ships that descended upon the Dutch East Indies.

Her weak punch was complemented by low speed: her engines could propel her at a maximum speed of 15 knots. In short, the Abraham Crijnssen could neither fight nor flee if the Japanese caught sight of her. When you can neither fight nor flee, your best bet is to hide. So the Crijnssen put all her eggs in the basket of avoiding detection at all costs.