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HNLMS K XVI in the Dutch East Indies, circa 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II.
Career (Netherlands)
Ordered: 30 May 1929
Awarded: 31 May 1930
Builder: Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij
Laid down: 8 April 1933
Commissioned: 31 January 1934
Fate: Sunk on 25 December 1941
General characteristics
Class & type: K XIV class submarine
Displacement: 865 tons surfaced
1045 tons submerged
Length: 73.64 m (241 ft 7 in)
Beam: 6.51 m (21 ft 4 in)
Draught: 3.93 m (12 ft 11 in)
Propulsion: 2 × 1,600 bhp (1,193 kW) diesel engines
2 × 430 bhp (321 kW) electric motors
Speed: 17 kn (31 km/h; 20 mph) surfaced
9 kn (17 km/h; 10 mph) submerged
Range: 10,000 nmi (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph) on the surface
26 nmi (48 km; 30 mi) at 8.5 kn (15.7 km/h; 9.8 mph) submerged
Complement: 38
Armament: 4 × 21 inch bow torpedo tubes
2 × 21 inch stern torpedo tubes
2 x 21 inch (1x2) external-traversing forward of conning tower

HNLMS K XVI was one of five K XIV class submarines built for the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN). Entering service in 1934, the submarine was deployed to the Netherlands East Indies. On 24 December 1941, K XVI torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Sagiri; the first Allied submarine to sink a Japanese warship. A day later, the Dutch submarine was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-66 off Borneo, with all aboard killed. The wreck of K XVI was rediscovered in October 2011 by a group of recreational divers.


She was ordered from Rotterdam-based shipbuilder Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij on 30 May 1929, and was laid down on 31 May 1930.[1] The submarine was launched on 8 April 1933, and commissioned into the RNN on 31 January 1934.[1]

Operational history[]

In January 1935, the boat was deployed to the Netherlands East Indies.[1] She remained in this area after the start of World War II.[1]

On 24 December 1941, approximately 35 nautical miles (65 km) off Kuching, the submarine torpedoed and sank the Japanese destroyer Sagiri.[2][3][4] The destroyer's aft magazine caught fire and exploded, sinking the ship at 01°34′N 110°21′E / 1.567°N 110.35°E / 1.567; 110.35 with 121 of the 241 personnel aboard killed.[3][4] Later that evening, the submarine attempted to attack Japanese destroyer Murakumo, but was fended off by depth charges.[1]

K XVI was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-66 a day later, and sank with all 36 aboard.[1][2] The boat was one of seven Dutch submarines lost during World War II.[2]

On 25 October 2011, the Dutch Ministry of Defence announced that the wreck of K XVI had been found by Australian and Singaporean recreational divers off the northern coast of Borneo.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "The submarine K XVI". Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Agence France-Presse, Missing Dutch WWII sub found off Borneo
  3. 3.0 3.1 D'Albas, Death of a Navy,[page needed]
  4. 4.0 4.1 Brown, Warship Losses of World War II,[page needed]


  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • D'Albas, Andrieu (1965). Death of a Navy: Japanese Naval Action in World War II. Devin-Adair Pub. ISBN 0-8159-5302-X. 
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