Tag Archive | Marinha do Brasil

Warship Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019: Some Dazzle from Rio

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019: Some Dazzle from Rio

Photo by the Diretoria do Patrimônio Histórico e Documentação da Marinha (DPHDM)

Here we see the “Classe M” contratorpedeiro NAeL Marcílio Dias of the Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil) in 1944. If at first, you thought this looked like a U.S. destroyer during the Battle of the Atlantic, you aren’t wrong.

In the mid-1930s the Brazilian Navy was a formidable force on paper for a Latin American fleet with two Jutland-era dreadnoughts battleships and two companion Armstrong-built light cruisers. What it lacked, however, were submarines and modern destroyers. To solve the first, Rio ordered a series of new submarines from Italy then went big on tin cans with a six-pack of H-class destroyers (planned Jurua class) from Vickers and a further three modified Mahan-class destroyers from the U.S.

The Mahan-class was the quintessential early 1930s American destroyer design, being very fast– 37 knots on steam turbines– and well-armed for the era with a full dozen 21-inch torpedo tubes and five 5-inch/38 DP guns, all in a ship that could float in just 10 feet of water. A full 18 ships were completed for the USN between 1934 and 1937, which went on to earn over 100 battlestars in WWII.

USS Mahan (DD-364) Running trials, 1936. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. NH 60643

USS MAHAN (DD-364) anchored, with her rails manned, circa the later 1930s. NH 101681

The three Brazilian Mahans would use American equipment and technology transfers but, importantly, would be built in Brazil at the Arsenal de Marinha, on the Isles of Snakes, in Rio de Janeiro, notably making them the largest warships built domestically until then.

Laid down in 1937, they would carry “M” pennant numbers (M-1, 2, 3) and the names of former Brazilian naval heroes — Marcílio Dias, Mariz e Barros, and Greenhalgh— which had previously been used on a class of 1890s English-built torpedo boats. For instance, Marcílio Dias was a 27-year-old sailor who lost his arm when his ship engaged three Paraguayan warships during the Battle of Riachuelo in 1865 during the War of the Triple Alliance while trying to save the ship’s flag.

However, the vessels took a lengthy time for Brazilians to crank out, as everything was being done for the first time. Whereas the U.S.-made ships typically went from keel laying to breaking out a commissioning pennant after about two years in yards that were accustomed to the work, the Marcílio Dias class only made it to the fleet after an extended six-year gestation period, completing in November 1943.

Brazilian destroyers Marcílio Dias, Mariz e Barros, and Greenhalgh at their commissioning ceremony, 29 Nov 1943. DPHDM

And it was just in time.

Brazil, along with the bulk of Latin America, was neutral for most of the Great War– only declaring war on the German Empire on 26 October 1917– and had high hopes to remain out of WWII. This was not to be.

Mounting Brazilian merchant ship losses to German U-Boats and Italian submarines in the Atlantic, coupled with British pressure, led President Getulio Vargas to declare war on both Germany and Italy on August 22, 1942. With the stroke of a pen, on 15 September 1942, VADM Jonas Ingram was appointed ComSoLant (which soon became the U.S. 4th Fleet), with the Brazilian Navy folded into his overall command. The force’s mandate was to hunt down Axis blockade runners, submarines and surface raiders prowling about the region.

The Brazilian Navy was ordered to take the gloves off and soon was sending men to the U.S. to train on new weapon systems while American ships increasingly operated from ports in the country.

U.S. Submarine Chaser Training School, Miami, Florida. Shown are officers and enlisted men of the Brazilian Naval Mission at the School. Lieutenant Aristides Pereira Campos, Jr., looks on as Jose Bezarra da Silva loads with a dummy shell. Jose Avelino da Silva receives orders through the earphone as Chief Petty Officer Corintho Jose de Goes directs the crew. At the controls are Joaquim Brasil da Fonesca (foreground) and Josephat Alves Marcondes, above gun, December 28, 1942. NARA 80-G-40162

Eight 170-foot PC-461-class sub chasers were supplied in 1942-43 via Lend Lease (eventually purchased by Brazil) for coastal patrol. Added to this were B-25s, PBY flying boats, Lockheed Hudsons and Venturas sent to join U.S. Navy patrol squadrons operating from Brazil. Notably, several U-boats and an Italian submarine, (U-164, U-128, U-590, U-513, U-662, U-598, U-199, U-591, U-161, and Archimede) wrecked by air-dropped depth charges and machine guns, rest off the coast of Brazil today.

PBYs in flight over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They are flown by Brazilian pilots who received training from US Naval Aviators. Far below is Ipanema Beach, and in the center background is the famed Copacabana Beach. NARA 80-G-59581

Anyway, back to our destroyers.

As 1943 was not 1937, once the balloon went up, the Marcílio Dias-class underwent a radical change in armament, shipping to Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for installation of 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikons as well as sonar and updated ASW weapons. To compensate for space and weight, they only had four rather than five 5-inchers installed and just one quad torpedo tube launcher rather than three.

This left them with warpaint to boot.

Mariz e Barros (DPHDM)

Coming late into the conflict, the three Brazilian Ms got into the war in a very active sense when they shipped out of Recife to join Task Force 41.1, centered around the cruiser USS Omaha (CL-4), in February 1944 to escort the first contingent of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force to Europe, a task that brought them back and forth across the Atlantic from Rio to Gibraltar through January 1945, a convoy mission that was repeated no less than five times successfully.

The Brazilain M-class destroyers spent 1944 and 1945 rotating between 14-day patrols of the South Atlantic and running convoys between South America, Africa the Caribbean and Europe, notably never losing a ship under their care. Photo: Marinha do Brasil

The First Division of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, first South American troops to arrive in the European theatre of war, swing into Naples, Italy, after their crossing of the South Atlantic on USS General W.A. Mann (AP 112). Released July 16, 1944. NARA 80-G-46176

The 25,000-strong Brazilian Expeditionary Force fought like lions in Italy from late 1944 through 1945 and lost nearly 950 men to combat along the Gothic Line. They also bagged two German Generals including Generalleutnant Otto Fretter-Pico, shown here surrendering his 148. Infanterie-Division to Brazilian FEB General Euclides Zenóbio da Costa. Italy, 1945

Brazilian soldiers celebrate the Brazilian Independence Day in Italy during World War II, September 1944

After escorting a Brazilian task force of marines (Fuzileiros Navais) from Rio to Trinidad in early 1945, where they relieved U.S. Marines for service in the Pacific, the three Brazilian M-class destroyers joined the Allied Northeast Naval Force (South Atlantic) and rode shotgun over JR/RJ convoys between Rio de Janeiro to Recife and BF/FB runs from Bahia to Freetown as well as standing by for weather station/sea rescue for US planes from Africa to America via Ascension Island.

Although late in the war, U-boats were still active in the SouthLant region, with U-977, the final German unit at sea to surrender, only pulling into an Argentine port in August 1945. Sadly, they also searched for the survivors of the lost cruiser Bahia, which was destroyed at sea in July.

Following the end of the conflict and escorting the FEB home from Europe as part of Task Force 27.1.1, the three M boats formed the First Destroyer Flotilla with new pennant numbers (D24, D25, D26) and remained in service for generations. Notably, they rolled out the welcome mat to USS Missouri in August 1947 when that storied battlewagon brought President Harry Truman to Brazil for a state visit.

Over the next 15 years, they took part in a series of UNITAS, VERITAS and SPRINGBOARD exercises with the U.S. Navy and Latin American fleets, worked up with the Portuguese Navy off Africa, and waved the green banner of Brazil from the Cape of Good Hope to the Caribbean. In 1964, Barros even picked up a British Sea Cat missile launcher for use against aircraft, which lived on as a training ship slightly longer than her two sisters.

Contratorpedeiro Marcílio Dias (D25) late in her career. Via Marinha do Brasil

Contratorpedeiro Mariz e Barros (D26) late in her career. Via Marinha do Brasil

Speaking of which, Marcílio Dias and Greenhalgh were stricken in 1966, with Barros lingering until late 1972. The ships were replaced in service by former FRAM I Gearing-class destroyers (ex-Henry W. Tucker, ex-Brinkley Bass) in 1973 that were given the same names, with these latter tin cans remaining in service until the 1990s.

NAeL Marcílio Dias (D25) (ex-USS Henry W. Tucker (DD-875)) during exercise Unitas XIX in 1978

Today, the spirit of these WWII Brazilian Mahans is carried in the Marinha do Brasil by the Type 22 frigate NAeL Greenhalgh (F46) (ex-HMS Broadsword (F88))

Further, they have been memorialized in maritime art which, in turn, was used by Brazil in 2004 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the FEB and the country’s efforts in WWII.

Specs:

Marcílio Dias class destroyers, 1945 Jane’s, although the armament listed is incorrect

Displacement:
1,524 t (1,500 long tons) standard
2,235 t (2,200 long tons) full load
Length:
357 ft oa
341 ft pp
Beam: 34 ft 10 in
Draught: 10 ft mean
Propulsion: 4 Babcock & Wilcox boilers
2-shaft General Electric Company geared turbines, 42800 HP
Speed: 36.5 knots
Range: 6,500 nmi @15 knots on 559 t fuel oil
Complement: 190 to 210 men, maximum of 250 in wartime
Sensors: QCR-1 sonar (1943), by 1950s SPS-4, SPS-6C, Mk 28 (1962) AN-SQS-11A
Armament: (1937 design)
5 × single Mark 12 5″/38 caliber guns in Mark 21 shielded open-backed pedestal mounts
4 × .50 caliber water-cooled machine guns (4×1)
3 × quad 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes with Bliss–Leavitt Mark 8 torpedoes
2 x stern depth charge racks
Armament: (1943)
4 × single Mark 12 5″/38 caliber guns in Mark 21 shielded open-backed pedestal mounts
4 × 40mm/60 twin Bofors guns (2×2)
8 × 20mm/70 Oerlikons (8×1)
2 × quad 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes for Bliss Leavitt MK 8 Mod. 3D fish
4 × depth charge throwers, K-guns
2 x stern depth charge racks
Armament: (1970)
2 × single Mark 12 5″/38 caliber guns in Mark 21 shielded open-backed pedestal mounts
4 × 40mm/60 twin Bofors guns (2×2)
4 × depth charge throwers, K-guns
2 x stern depth charge racks
Hedgehog Mark 15 ASW launcher
Sea Cat GWS-20 SAM system

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Scooters of South America

Formation of VA-22 A4C “Skyhawk” aircraft over Mt. Fuji, Japan, 27 April 1964. NHHC

A thing of beauty: A formation of U.S. Navy VA-22 A4C “Skyhawk” aircraft over Mt. Fuji, Japan, 27 April 1964. NHHC

Some 3,000 A4D/A-4 Skyhawks were produced between 1954 and 1979, and the type flew with under no less than nine flags. While an estimated 300 are in static displays around the globe and another 50 airworthy examples are in private hands, often flown on contract dissimilar training duties by groups like Draken Intl, Ed Heinemann’s vaunted “Scooters” are today only seen in active military service in Latin America.

Argentina

Argentina, a huge operator of the Skyhawk, purchased over 130 A-4s in the 1960s and 70s. Famously, about half of these were deployed against the British in the Falklands and no less than 22 lost in combat through clashes with Harriers, AAA of all flavors, and SAMs.

Argentine A4 Skyhawks attack San Carlos Harbor, Falklands, 1982

ARA Veinticinco de Mayo makes A-4 Skyhawk jets ready during the 1982 Falklands War note “Invincible” marked bomb. The Argentine carrier never made an attack on the British task force. 

Today, the Argentines currently have 33 “A4AR Fightinghawks” (upgraded ex-USMC A-4M/TA-4F) airframes in their Air Force, operating in two ground attack squadrons of the 5th Air Brigade, with just 12 aircraft believed in service. The Argentine Navy, which used to fly ex USN A4A-4Bs from their WWII-era British-built carrier, ARA Veinticinco de Mayo (V-2), now only operates a squadron of increasingly unsupportable Super Étendards from shore as their sole combat jet.

Brazil

In a different take, the Marinha do Brasil purchased 23 former Kuwaiti A-4KU/TA-4KU Skyhawks in 1997 after the former owner upgraded to F-18s. Just four years later, the Brazilians were successfully operating the type from their former ASW-only aircraft carrier, NAeL Minas Gerais (A-11), a sistership of Veinticinco de Mayo. The Skyhawks continued to be used on Brazil’s follow-on flattop, NAe São Paulo (A12) after that ship was purchased from France.

Looks like a USN flight deck from the 1970s, yes? Nope, Brazilian Navy carrier Sao Paulo in 2005. The similarity shouldn’t be surprising as the Marinha do Brasil’s A4 drivers were trained in Pensacola and the U.S Navy had a big helping hand in establishing Brazil’s carrier jet operation. This proved supremely ironic when the country later assisted the Chinese with their own flattop start-up in 2013. 

Sao Paulo proved to be something of a lemon for Brazil and the high-mileage French ship spent very little time at sea before she was finally decommissioned in 2018. Today, the country has switched to operating the former RN assault ship HMS Ocean, as NAe Atlantico, which cannot run the good old Skyhawk.

Nonetheless, the Aviação Naval Brasileira still runs their A4s, flown from shore by the “Falcos” of VF-1, with less than a dozen airframes considered active.

And they remain beautiful aircraft.

via Marinha do Brasil

via Marinha do Brasil

via Marinha do Brasil

via Marinha do Brasil

 

The Admiralty must love their Brazilian allies right about now

The Royal Navy and Marinha do Brasil have extensive ties going back to the 19th Century.

It should be remembered that the battle of Jutland had a Brazilain battleship sailing for the British. HMS Agincourt, with her impressive battery of 14x 12-inch guns, had originally been ordered in 1911 as Rio de Janeiro from the British company Armstrong Whitworth. Of note, the Latin American country’s two previous battleships, Minas Geraes, and São Paulo, were also built at Armstrong.

However, Brazil recently apparently promised Argentina not one but two new (by Argie standards) submarines. According to Janes:

The Brazilian Navy has agreed to transfer two Tupi class submarines – Type 209/1400 – to Argentina, following a meeting between Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and his Argentine counterpart, Mauricio Macro.

The deal includes a potential future transfer of an additional two boats.

Brazilian submarine, Tupi-class Type 209 S Tikuna (S34)

The Argentine Navy has fielded 11 submarines over the years, but only two of these, a Type 209 (ARA Salta S31) and a Type 1700 (ARA Santa Cruz S41) are still active, and those only marginally. There has been lots of crowing in sub circles that ARA San Juan (S42), tragically lost in an accident at sea last year, suffered from poor maintenance and probably shouldn’t have been at sea.

The Argentine-Brazil sub deal could end up with four boats transferred in all, with an overhaul in Brazil prior to transfer. A quartet certified pre-owned German 209s could provide the Brits a good bit of heartburn in a Falklands Redux situation.

No comment from the First Sea Lord or MoD…who must be super happy they sold the RN’s gently used helicopter carrier HMS Ocean–now NAeL Atlântico (AND 140) to Brazil late last year for the military equivalent of couch change.

Hello, Atlantico

The social media feed for the Marinha do Brasil, Brazil’s navy, has been off the hook this week as the country turned out to legit welcome into Rio de Janeiro the current fleet flagship, the brand new (to Brazil) amphibious assault ship NAeL Atlântico (AND 140). Formerly the British amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean (L-12).

The 21,500-ton LPH was built at Vickers, commissioning in 1998. In December 2017, the Brazilian Navy confirmed the purchase of the ship for £84.6 million– a comparative bargain when compared to new construction.

She left Royal Navy service on 27 March 2018, with the Brazilians arriving the month before to do a warm transfer. She commissioned in Portsmouth under the green Brazilian banner in June and has been working up in European waters with British advisors for the past several weeks.

As noted by Naval Recognition: “The helicopter carrier package for Brazil includes an Artisan 3D search radar, KH1007 surface surveillance radar system, four 30 mm DS30M Mk 2 remote weapon systems and four Mk 5B landing craft. However, the three original 20 mm Mk 15 Block 1B Phalanx close-in weapon systems, the torpedo defense systems and 7.62 mm M134 machine guns were removed from the ship.”

Atlantico was greeted offshore of Brazil by two Super Cougars, two recently modified Sikorsky SH-16 Seahawk multirole helicopter (a local designation for S-70B), and two Bell 206 Jet Rangers (who normally serve as plane guards with divers aboard and fill liaison roles), which were arrayed on her flight deck as she entered Rio (as no one likes to see a brand new carrier with an empty deck.)

She is designated a PHM in Brazilain service, standing for Porta-Helicópteros Multipropósito or multi-purpose helicopter carrier.

She arrived in Rio on 25 August and is expected to be fully operational by 2020.

Note the fleet behind her on parade

The Marinha do Brasil has been continually in the flattop business since they bought the WWII vintage 19,980-ton light carrier HMS Vengeance (R71) from the British in 1956 (a ship nominally smaller than Atlântico). Following a four-year reconstruction in Holland, that ship joined the Brazilian fleet as NAeL Minas Gerais and was the first aircraft carrier purchased by a Latin American nation.

Brazilian Navy aircraft carrier Minas Gerais in 1966

Gerais gave 40 years of hard service to the Brazilians flying A-4 Skyhawks and S-2 Trackers until she was replaced by the French Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier Foch, which was commissioned as NAeL São Paulo in 2000. However, the 32,000-ton French flattop, now some 54-years young, has been a maintenance nightmare and the Brazilians announced last year that they were moving to condemn her.

Brazil one step closer to staying in the (kinda) flattop club

As noted last week by Janes:

The Brazilian Navy is seeking to commission the UK Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean landing platform helicopter (LPH) by June 2018, the navy told Jane’s on 6 December.

The navy is authorized to negotiate with the United Kingdom towards a GBP84.6 million (USD113 million) procurement. Prior to receiving the ship, maintenance and training activities would be done in the United Kingdom.

The 22,000-tonne Ocean, in Brazilian service, could host the Navy’s Super Cougar, Super Puma, Super Lynx, and Sea Hawk naval helicopters.

As I talked about in April, such a move would keep the Marinha do Brasil with a flattop of some sort– even though it is a helicopter carrier-  long after the looming retirement of the 32,000-ton NAe Sao Paulo (A12) (ex-Foch) which in turn replaced the elderly NAe Minas Gerais (ex-HMS Vengeance), thus keeping the force as one of just a handful of navies that have been operating large bluewater aircraft handling platforms since for over 60 years.

Further, Ocean will be the only LPH in Latin America and the only ship native to the continent capable of operating more than 2-3 aircraft at a time.

Meanwhile, the UK is howling that the current government is not only getting rid of the cream of the RN’s amphibious capability as the rest of the fleet is similarly neglected, but also that the Army could be forced to “get by” with a 50,000-man force, down from the current 80,000 (which is down from 168,000 in 1991). It would be the smallest British Army since the general drawdown of the late 1780s following the end of the Revolutionary War and before the Napoleonic Wars kicked off.  Even Cromwell’s New Model Army by 1650 was larger than that and he only had a population of about 5 million (compared to 55 today!)

A Brazilian Ocean?

The Marinha do Brasil has been continually in the flattop business since they bought the WWII vintage 19,980-ton light carrier HMS Vengeance (R71) from the British in 1956. Following a four-year reconstruction in Holland, that ship joined the Brazilian fleet as NAeL Minas Gerais and was the first aircraft carrier purchased by a Latin American nation. Gerais gave 40 years of hard service to the Brazilians flying A-4 Skyhawks and S-2 Trackers until she was replaced by the French Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier Foch, which was commissioned as NAeL São Paulo in 2000. However, the 32,000-ton French flattop, now some 54-years young, has been a maintenance nightmare and the Brazilians announced two months ago they were moving to condemn her.

Enter the British helicopter carrier HMS Ocean (L12), current Royal Navy fleet flagship. Commissioned 30 September 1998, since the paying off of the Invincible-class harrier carriers a few years ago, Ocean has been the largest warship and most important surface asset in the Royal Navy.

Ocean is a multi-mission ship and has been used as such by the Brits for the past 19 years.

Capable of carrying an 830-man Royal Marine Commando battalion and 20~ assorted helicopters as well as assorted cargo and fleet staff, she has been very busy in recent years including operations in Sierra Leone, the Persian Gulf, plastering Libya while equipped with Army-owned AH-64 Apaches in 2011 and a myriad of non-combatant evacuations and humanitarian relief missions. Now, nearing 20 years on her hull and in need of a life extension to remain in service, she is expected to be decommissioned and placed in reserve next year when the new fleet carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth comes online.

However, it seems like the Brazilians want to pick her up for a song, offering a reported $100 million (£80.3 million pounds, 312 million of Brazilian Reais) for her.

Commander of the Brazilian Navy, Admiral Eduardo Leal Ferreira, claimed that the price of Ocean seemed “convenient”.

The Brazilians have met Ocean before and worked closely with her in recent years, so they know what they are getting. From a 2010 RN presser:

HMS Ocean, an amphibious helicopter carrier and the Royal Navy’s largest warship, departed Rio de Janeiro earlier this week after a very successful visit which included amphibious exercises with the Brazilian Navy and Marines, and support for UK Trade & Investment and Diplomatic missions culminating in the Minister for International Security and Strategy, Gerald Howarth, signing an important Defence Cooperation Agreement. This visit also served to reinforce the United Kingdom’s long-standing relationship with Brazil.

Over 100 Brazilian Marines from the 3rd Infantry Battalion, 1st Amphibious Division, joined forces with HMS Ocean’s embarked Royal Marines of 539 Assault Squadron to undertake joint amphibious training exercises sharing knowledge and experience gained from recent operations. The centrepiece was an amphibious landing demonstration using landing craft, hovercraft and helicopters supported by offshore raiding craft providing covering fire.

Royal Marines officer, Captain ‘Olly’ Gray of 539 ASRM had this to say about the joint exercise:

“This was an invaluable opportunity for the Royal Marines to demonstrate our core amphibious skills, and broaden our experience of working alongside Brazilian Marines.”

Perhaps, the Ocean will get a chance to work with Royal Marines again in the future if they ever make it to Brazil…

Warship Wednesday Nov. 30, 2016: The Almirante and her Yankee (and Chilean) sisters

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016: The Almirante and her Yankee (and Chilean) sisters

Colorized from Detroit Publishing Co. no. 022451 in LOC https://www.loc.gov/item/det1994012334/PP/

Colorized from Detroit Publishing Co. no. 022451 in LOC

Here we see the fine Armstrong-built protected cruiser (cruzador) Almirante Barroso of the Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil) during the 1907 International Naval Review in the Hudson River, a gleaming white ship already obsolete though just a decade old.

As part of a general Latin American naval build-up, Brazil ordered four cruisers in 1894 from Armstrong, Whitworth & Co in Elswick from a design by naval architect Philip Watts. These ships, with a 3,800-ton displacement on a 354-foot hull, were smaller than a frigate by today’s standards but in the late 19th century, with a battery of a half-dozen 6-inch (152mm) guns and Harvey armor that ranged between 0.75 inches on their hull to 4.5-inches on their towers, were deemed protected cruisers.

For batting away smaller vessels, they had four 4.7-inch (120mm) Armstrongs, 14 assorted 57 mm and 37mm quick-firing pieces, and three early Nordenfelt 7mm machine guns. To prove their worth in a battle line, they had three torpedo tubes and a brace of Whitehead 18-inch fish with guncotton warheads. They would be the first ships in the Brazilian fleet to have radiotelegraphs and were thoroughly modern for their time.

However, their four Vosper Thornycroft boilers and turbines, augmented by an auxiliary sailing rig, could only just make 20 knots with everything lit on a clean hull.

The lead ship of the proud new class would bear the name of Admiral Francisco Manuel Barroso da Silva, the famed Baron of the Amazon, who led the Brazilian Navy to victory in the Battle of Riachuelo during the Triple Alliance War in 1865, besting a fleet of Paraguayans on the River Plate, and would be the fourth such ship to do so.

barao_do_amazonas
Nonetheless, financial pressures soon limited the Brazilian shipbuilding program and, with each of the Barroso-class cruisers running ₤ 265,000 a pop, the fourth ship of the class was sold while still on the builder’s ways to Chile, who commissioned her as Ministro Zenteno.

The U.S., up-arming for a coming war with Spain, purchased two other incomplete Barrosos in 1898 — Amazonas and Almirante Abreu— that were commissioned as the USS New Orleans and USS Albany, respectively.

One of six 6-inch main guns of the US Navy protected cruiser New Orleans originally ordered in England for Brazil as Amazonas. Note the Marine with his Lee Navy rifle at the ready. 

The Brazilians also sold the Americans the old dynamite cruiser Nictheroy, though without her guns.

In the end, only Almirante Barroso (Elswick Yard Number 630) was the only one completed for Brazil, commissioned 29 April 1897.

As completed with her typically English scheme of the 1890s

As completed with her typically English scheme of the 1890s

Her naval career was one of peacetime showmanship and diplomatic visits, taking President Campos Sales to Buenos Aires on a state visit in 1900, serving as the flagship of the Naval Division, making a trip to the Pacific in 1907 and the U.S.– shown in the first image of this post above– as well as other state visits.

Subsequent trips took her as far as the Middle East and Africa.

almbarroso2x10 almirante_barroso2-1897

With Brazil escaping involvement in the Great War that engulfed the rest of the war from 1914-17, Barroso enforced her country’s neutrality and kept an eye on interned ships during that conflict until switching to a more active campaign looking for the rarely encountered Germans in the South Atlantic after Brazil entered the war on the Allied side in late 1917.

Barroso with her post-1905 scheme from a post card of her at porto de Santos.

Barroso with her post-1905 scheme from a postcard of her at porto de Santos.

By the 1920s, obsolete in a world of 30+ knot cruisers with much more advanced armament and guns, Barroso was used as a survey and navigation training vessel.

By 1931, she was disarmed and turned into a floating barracks, ultimately being written off sometime later, date unknown.

Her 4.7-inch Armstrong mounts and 57mm Nordenfelts were installed in Fort Coimbra at Moto Grosso on the left bank of the Paraguay River, where they remained in service into the 1950s.

One of Barroso's 120s in 1947

One of Barroso’s 4.7s in 1947

When the fort was turned over for preservation, they were repurposed and put on display.

00163_002017
Her sisters, ironically, all suffered a similar fate though Barosso outlived them.

Chile’s Ministro Zenteno sailed the world far and wide only to be laid up in the 1920s and scrapped in 1930.

USS New Orleans was bought from Brazil while under construction in England. Catalog #: NH 45114

USS New Orleans was bought from Brazil while under construction in England. Catalog #: NH 45114

New Orleans exchanged gunfire with Spanish shore batteries off Santiago in 1898 but missed the big naval battle there while off coaling. She went on to perform yeoman service as flagship of the Cruiser Squadron, U.S. Asiatic Fleet for several years and patrolled the coast of Mexico during the troubles there in 1914. Escorting convoys across the Atlantic in World War I, she ended up at Vladivostok in support of the Allied Interventionists in the Russian Civil War. She was sold for scrapping on 11 February 1930.

USS ALBANY (CL-23) Caption: Running trials, 1900, prior to installation of armament. Catalog #: NH 57778

USS ALBANY (CL-23) Caption: Running trials, 1900, before installation of armament. Catalog #: NH 57778

Albany missed the SpanAm War, being commissioned in the River Tyne, England, on 29 May 1900. Sailing for the Far East from there where she would serve, alternating cruises back to Europe, until 1913 she only went to the U.S. for the first time for her mid-life refit. Recommissioned in 1914, as was her sister New Orleans, Albany served off Mexico, gave convoy duty in WWI and ended up in Russia. With the post-war drawdown, she was placed out of commission on 10 October 1922 at Mare Island and sold for scrap in 1930.

A single 4.7-inch Elswick Armstrong gun from each of these English-made Brazilian cruisers in U.S. service is installed at the Kane County, Illinois Soldier and Sailor Monument at the former courthouse in Geneva, Illinois.

albany-new-orleans-gun-4-7-inch

Specs:

b019-f06Displacement: 3,769 long tons (3,829 t)
Length:     354 ft. 5 in (108.03 m)
Beam:     43 ft. 9 in (13.34 m)
Draft:     18 ft. (5.5 m)
Propulsion: mixed steam and sail; four Vosper Thornycroft boilers and turbines, coupled to two propellers, generating 15,000 hp., 2850 tons of coal
Electricity: 3 generators of 32 Kw, engines by Humphrys Tennant & Co, Deptford
Speed:     20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
Complement: 366 officers and enlisted
Armament:
6 × 6-inch 152/50 Armstrong QF
4 × 4.7-inch 120/50 Armstrong QF
10 × 57/40 Hotchkiss (2 in) 6-pdr Hotchkiss guns
4 ×  37/20 1 pdr guns
3     machine guns
3 × 18-inch (457 mm) torpedo tubes (1 x bow & 2 x broadside)
Armor:
Gun shields: 4 in (100 mm)
Main deck: 3.5 in (89 mm)
Conning Tower: 4 in (100 mm)

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The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

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