ARA Mendoza (BC-1910 (T/S-1927))


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The Mendoza is the ex-Von der Tann class battlecruiser purchased through the Allied War Commission along with the other ex-Germanic States ships being sold off to meet the repaprations payments levied by the Allies. The Argentinians did one thing wonderfully well during this period. The ARA did not have enough trained personnel to man the vessels they were purchasing. So they advertised in Germany for sailors and officers who would like to sign on with the ARA and help man the ships. With the influenza epidemic and levels of unemployment for the ex-Navy personnel and harbour workers were more than happy to emigrate themselves and their families to a new clean land.

The Von Der Tann arrived in Argentinian waters in 1920 and along with the other ex-Germanic States ships began as training ships while the rest of the fleet was purchased and assembled. Unemployment was unknown in Argentina during this time. The ecconomic downturn of the 'Depression' era did not touch Argentina as it did the US and Europe.

The Mendoza only lasted as a battlecruiser for 5 years in service with the ARA, before it was earmarked for rebuilding to a specialised training ship. The ARA Command had decided the ship was just too old fashioned to make a more usefull addition without spending major amounts of money and rearranging the ships internals to give the ship a better main armament layout. The major work was to remove the wing turrets and replace them with a 'Cadet' deck of accommodation and teaching facilities. The 5.9" casemate guns were removed and plated in. this provided space for the differing AA weapons and magazines. The submerged torpedo tubes were also removed. The Mendoza was also used as a trials ship for various weapons and miscellaneous items including the first usage of catapults and aircraft handling facilities.

In 1937 the ARA removed the aircraft handling facilities and enhanced the AA equipment in the space provided. The ship although still rated as a Training Ship was now an AA escort ready for the Malvinas campaign. The cadets could be replaced with a company or two of Marines which could be landed with the ships boats and the newly fitted landing craft. The Mendoza is supposed to get into Port Stanley first and land its Marines to secure all radio and wireless transmitters.

Mendoza in dockyard hands.

Displacement 18,500 tons std, 34,800 full load
Length 562.5 ft
Breadth 87 ft
Draught 28.5 ft
Machinery 4 shaft Steam Turbines 44,000shp
Speed 25 knots
Range 4400 miles at 18 knots
Armour 10.5" side, 2.6" deck, 9" turrets
Armament As Built.

8x 11" (4x2)

10 x 5.9" (10x1)

12 x 3.5" (12x1)

4 x 3.4" AA (4x1)


1925-37 Refits

4x 11" (2x2)

4 x 88mm L56 (2x2)

4 x 88mm AA (4x1)

8 x 37mm (4x2)

20 x 20mm (2x4 2x2 8x1)

1938 Rebuild

4x 11" (2x2)

12 x 88mm L56 (6x2)

4 x 88mm AA (4x1)

8 x 37mm (4x2)

20 x 20mm (3x4 5x1)

Aircraft nil 2 nil
Torpedoes 4 x 17.7" nil nil
Complement 950 (from 1930 800/250 trainees or Marines)

Von der Tann as arrived in Argentinian waters 1920.

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