Saint George of Lydda class

The Saint George of Lydda class of ships, is a series of light fregats owned and operated by the Knights of Rhodes for their global and ongoing anti piracy mission.

The five ships in this class are:

  • DN1, Mary. Named after Mary, mother of Jesus, it is the Flagship of the Knights of Rhodes.
  • DN2, Saint George of Lydda. Named after the patron saint of crusaders, name giver of the class.
  • DN3, Saint Erasmus of Formia. Named after the patron saint of sailors.
  • DN4, Saint Nicolaas of Myra. Named after the patron saint of sailors.
  • DN5, Saint John the Baptist. Named after the patron saint of the Knights Hospitaller.
  • Preamble

    The Knights of Rhodes never really had their own fleet before. They bought or hired ships as they needed them on a mission to mission basis. Most of the time however, they operated on ships of other navies or as armed guards on merchant ships.

    But Sir Jean de Chevalrier de l'eau, Grand Master of the order, decided on an alternative route. He contracted a shipyard in the Netherlands, because they are well known for building good quality navy ships, and could change the ships to the knights' specific desires. And Dutch ship building in its self has an excellent reputation.


    The office of the Knights of Rhodes is located in Vatican City. The Roman Catholic church had a navy, as the papal states, as early as the 10th Century AD. But the Pontifical navy seized to exist in 1870, and since then no ship had flown a Vatican city Ensign.

    But there were no laws against it, and the Vatican had ratified all the relevant maritime laws (As opposed to some other European countries). So the Grandmaster did some diplomacy with the relevant cardinal and got permission to acquire some small ships. Not that it cost the papacy any money the Knights of Rhodes had their own treasury. Actually, the church in the cardinal's hometown got some new stained windows, sponsored by an anonymous donor.


    Vatican city is not a port city. Rome technically doesn't even have a harbour. Actually, the Italian government was a bit too reluctant to work on the paperwork. So the Knights opted to assign Valletta, Malta as the home port for their ships. That was fitting, given their history.

    Lay out

    The ships were of a standard design from the Dutch ship builder. With some minor adaptions. They omitted all the options for firing rockets and missiles from special installations. The mission of the Knights of Rhodes would never require the use of such big weapons against other large ships. The space freed by not installing the vertical launch tubes was used to put in a chapel.


    A set of four diesel engines powers the two screws. With a gearbox linking the four engines to the two drivelines. For high-speed sailing, the two drive lines are split, two engines will drive one screw, independent of the other drive line. But alternatifly one engine can power both screws, for economic cruising, or any other set up in between. The screws are of the CPP type. But both pitch and rotational speed can be changed to regualt the power output and thereby the speed of the ships.


    On the foredeck, the Saint George class has a single Oto Melara 76mm/62 Strales naval cannon. With a classified number of rounds in the magazine below. Capable of firing all kinds of ammunition (including small missles) at an astonishing rate. The gun is housed in an armoured cupola to protect its inner mechanics.

    On the aft of the superstructure, two remote controlled heavy machine guns are mounted for small close distance fire, and light anti-aircraft/anti-drone.

    Additional crafts


    On the aft deck two RIBs of nine meters long are placed in quick launch davits. One on the port and one on the starboard side.


    A large drone is carried with sensors, used to fly over the ship or the area of interested as a range extender of the ship's own sensors. The drone is capable of Vertical Take Off and Landing, but has fixed wings for endurance cruising. Among others it is equiped with surface and air radar, and, regular and night camera optics. Which are send realtime to the ship via a wireless data link.

    Owning Organization
    Class of 5 ships
    11 m / 36 feet
    73 m / 239 feet
    900 mt / 886 Long tons
    28 knots
    Complement / Crew
    Max. 60 / normal 25
    2500 nm at 15 knots
    3m / 10 feet


    Colour scheme

    The hull of the ships are painted a dark grey. The superstructure and the decks are painted in a light grey. Both paints are designed to be low in the radar and infrared reflective spectrum

    Racing stripe

    On the bow, the ships have a single, fire red, wide racing stripe, a diagonal line like many other coastguard ships have. With the coat-of-arms of the Knights placed in the top part.

    Coat of Arms of the Knight of Rhodes by Jacob-W


    Each ship of the class has a painting of their name giver on the front of the superstructure. In full colour.


    The ships rarely operate alone. They either work alongside other navy ships in anti-piracy missions. Or they team up with a sister ship or two in a Flotilla. The only moments when they sail alone, is when they perform escort services for a ship or convoy trough low risk areas. But they prefer to sail together.

    Currently the ships are split in two flotillas:
    1st Crusader Flotilla
    2nd Crusader Flotilla

    Articles under Saint George of Lydda class

    Cover image: by Johannes Plenio


    Please Login in order to comment!
    8 Dec, 2022 23:02

    'Actually, the church in the cardinal's hometown got some new stained windows, sponsored by an aninimous donor.'   Hmmm, so mysterious, an anonymous donor and not a bribe at all. Hmmmmm.   I really enjoyed this article. There were a lot of little snippets that hinted at a much wider world and history. :) I like that their home port is in Malta, for example.

    Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
    9 Dec, 2022 07:11

    Thank you Emy. yes the world is getting bigger, so it's also getting easier to reference things. Also, seeing you quote me like that really had me question the spelling of aninimous XD. To see the answer a sentence later.

    21 Jan, 2023 09:00

    As I was reading this, you had me constantly wondering what elements of this were true historical facts and what was alternate history fiction building towards your creation. Wonderful concept expanded out into a new idea.

    22 Jan, 2023 18:03

    Thank you for this amazing compliment!