ARA Porto Nueva (BB-1923)


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The Porto Nueva Class was Argentinas next purchase from the United States. The two ships were intended to replace the old armoured cruisers and coast defence ships that had been acquired around the turn of the century. The two ships were in fact miniature battleships, based around the very good triple 14"/50 caliber turrets that had been fitted to the last two of the American classes of battleship. These ships also featured the first "three-gun" turrets, meaning that each gun in each turret could be "individually sleeved" to elevate separately (compared to the earlier US BB's where all three guns in the turret were linked together). Being a later build of the mk.7 model 14", the turrets and guns were sleeved to enable the guns to elevate to 30 degrees for a longer 32,000 yard range compared to the 15 degrees and 24,000 yards of the originals.

As with the battlecruisers and other ships (Deutschlands) that were built with battleship guns but cruiser armour, they were not built to face full battleships. When these ships did face full battleships in and around Las Malvinas Islands, they came off worst. Being 10 years younger than the Rivadavias and the ex-Germanic States ships, these two were the last taken in hand for refurbishment in late 1938, returning to the fleet just in time for WW2 to begin. The Argentinian Naval Architects had been given the task of designing a set of upgrades for all of the old capital ships. The mains aims were to improve the gunnery control for both Main and Secondary armaments, improve the AA weaponry, and lastly to improve the command features. To give the ships command structure the best information available as soon as possible. Having access to German weapons and gunnery control designs allowed the Argentinians to achieve all of their objectives.

Followers of this site will notice that I am using common bridge parts and superstructure on these rebuilds. That is by choice. The Germans started by building ships with similar bridges and silhouettes so as to confuse identification of their capital ships and large cruisers. I take this a step further by making the same structures as it is quicker to reproduce a plan than to redraw the plan each time. If you know you need 7 copies of something then building seven in a row is much easier, quicker and best of all - cheaper. Just ask the Americans who took that 'production line' building to an art form in WW2.

As rebuilt 1938-39

Displacement 15,900 tons std, 19,400 full load
Length 500.5 ft
Breadth 84 ft
Draught 26 ft
Machinery 4 shaft Steam Turbines 30,000shp
Speed 23 knots
Range 7500 miles at 15 knots
Armour 7" side, 3" deck, 12"-8" turrets
Armament 6 x 14" (2x3)

8 x 6 (8x1)

8 x 88mm (4x2)

8 x 37mm (4x2)

12 x 20mm (2x4, 4x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1050
Notes Porto Nueva: 1923 -

Avellaneda: 1924 -

Above: Aft triple turret of Porto Nueva. Below: Workings of US triple 14"

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