ARA Buenos Aires (BB-1935)


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1930 and Argentina was in a much better position financially than most. Argentina was still very much cash and carry, so it did not rely on the paper money used in Europe and the US. Argentina was still not quite ready to build their own capital ships, it would be another 4 years before they laid down their first. The United States was more than ready to build a pair of small battleships for some much needed foreign exchange. Back to the Fore River Navy Yard, and a design for an 8x 14" battleship. This size was specifically chosen so as not to give the other South American nations a reason to start a new 'dreadnought' race.

At 30,000 tons standard displacement, they were not huge ships, but were better, ton for ton, than anything else in South America. The single 5" were the only ones in the fleet and were replaced by the twin 88mm turrets that were being produced locally from 1936 onwards. This gave the two ships an exceptional heavy AA barage armament. The high velocity weapon also fired as far as the US 5", so was also very good at keeping destroyers at bay and outside torpedo range (except for those pesky Japanese). By 1939 both ships had been rebuilt with German guns and gunnery controllers.


Displacement 32,500 tons std, 37,800 full load
Length 687 ft
Breadth 94.5 ft
Draught 29.5 ft
Machinery 4 shaft Steam Turbines 90,000shp
Speed 27 knots
Range 7000 miles at 15 knots
Armour 12" side, 5" deck, 12" turrets
Armament 8 x 14" (4x2)

24 x 88mm (12x2)

10 x 37mm (5x2)

16 x 20mm (2x4 8x1)

Aircraft 3
Torpedoes nil
Complement 1450
Notes Buenos Aires

La Rioja

The US 28mm quad mountings were replaced with German 20mm and 37mm weapons. The US twin 14 was a better guns than the German 12" and proved excellent in service.


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