ARA Tierra Del Fuego (CA-1928 )


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The two Tierra del Fuego class cruisers gave the Argentinians their first try at building a major warship in the new shipbuilding yards at Bahia Blanca. Argentina had spent millions of Pesos upgrading and building new infrastructure so that Argentina could take its place among the major powers. At least that was Argentinas thoughts. Having the ability to build ships up to 650 feet by 1925, then up to 800 feet in 1930, and finally by 1937 the latest 900 foot dockyard would be available. This would also be invaluable to Argentinas allies. Argentina was not a signatory to the Washington (Geneva) Treaty, so could build what they liked.

The Argentinian policy of importing ex-Germanic States Naval Personnel as well as ships paid off handsomely with a full range of staff being available that included marine designers, architects and technical drawing staff. This gave the Argentinian Navy the ability to design and build their own ships.

The Tierra del Fuego resurrected the 210mm / 8.2" gun from the German gunnery tables. This gun became the Sk210-27 L50 and was far superior to the older mark that had last been fitted to the armoured cruiser Blucher 20 years before. Firing a 130kg shell the gun outperformed a lot of other countries 8" guns. With a range of 31,500 yards at 45 degrees, it could fire further than a lot of the older and larger calibre guns fitted to battlecruisers and battleships.

The ships design was very much an extension of the German 'look' of ship. Technical assistance from Germany itself was still sought for the more intricate bits and pieces like the gun directors optics. But as the Argentine designers and builders got better at their skills, less assistance was needed.

1937 and like a lot of the earlier built ships, major modifications were necessary to upgrade the AA weaponry, gunnery controllers and other assorted bits that had been invented but not yet fitted to these two ships.

Compared to the armour on most of the 8" treaty cruisers, these two ships were much better armoured. The Argentinians had put the extra 2,500 tons to good use.

Displacement 12,500 std, 15,200 tons full load
Length 612 ft
Breadth 65 ft
Draught 24 ft
Machinery 3 shaft steam turbines 80,000shp
Speed 32 knots
Armour 5.1" side, 3.4" deck, 4.1" turrets
Armament As built 1928

8 x 8.2" (4x2)

8 x 3.4" (8x1)

12 x 37mm (4x2, 4x1)

6 x 20mm (6x1)

refits to 1938

8 x 8.2" (4x2)

8 x 88mm (4x2)

16 x 37mm (8x2)

14 x 20mm (2x4, 6x1)

Aircraft 1
Torpedoes 12 x 21" (4x3)
Notes Tierra Del Fuego (1929)

La Pampa (1929)

Below: original TDF drawing. Above: twin 37mm and single 88mm (3.4") AA guns.


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