HMS Gotland was a seaplane cruiser of the Swedish
Navy built by Götaverken.
The design of the ship started out in December 1926 as a seaplane
carrier with room for twelve aircraft. When presented with the
design Sweden's Naval Construction Board decided that they wanted
the ship to have cruiser and minelaying functions as well as
operating as a seaplane carrier. The resulting 5000 ton design
presented in January 1927 proved impossible to build within the
available budget of Sk16.5 million. The design was then reduced in
size requiring one of the forward turrets be removed. Its guns were
then placed in casements either side of the superstructure. The
construction contract for the ship was issued on 7 June 1930.
S 9, Hawker Osprey, Ready for start on HMS Gotland
Its aircraft complement consisted of six Hawker Osprey seaplanes. It
had capacity for eight and attempts were made to purchase two more,
unsuccessfully since they weren't manufactured anymore. The planes
were found to suffer from wave damage during rough weather often
forcing the ship to return to port.
During World War II Gotland sighted the German battleship Bismarck
when it broke out of the Baltic Sea. That was reported to Swedish
Navy headquarters but the message was intercepted by the British
embassy which triggered the allied chase of the great battleship.
HMS Gotland was converted in 1944 to an anti-aircraft cruiser due to
a lack of modern seaplanes. This involved the removal of the
seaplanes and the addition of four 40 mm Bofors guns and two 20mm
L/70 guns.The Ospreys continued in service at harbour bases with the
last being decommissioned on 2 December 1947.
After World War II she served as a training ship. Starting 1953 and
finishing in 1954 she was modified to allow her to serve as fighter
direction ship in the event of war as well as a trainer in
peacetime. She was decommissioned in 1956, stricken in 1960, sold in
1962 and finally scrapped in 1963.