BNS Amazonas (BB-1909 (CV-1924))


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The Brazilians were informed by their informants in the Argentinian Navy that the Argentinian Navy had purchased an ex-German liner with the purpose of converting it to an aircraft carrier along the lines of what the British had done with the Argus. The Argentinian ship was around 750 feet and was thought it would be able to range 50-60 aircraft. This was a blow to Brazilian prestige who immediately entered into a search that ended with the purchase from the Soviets of what had been the Izmail (See Brasilia).

While the search was on for something to match the Argentinian convert, the Brazilian Navy approached the Royal Navy for something to convert 'now' to train pilots and use as the Navies training carrier for the future. The old battleship Bellerophon was earmarked for disposal and would fit the bill for what the Brazilians wanted. The ship was sent to the Royal Dockyard at Devonport that had recently completed HMS Hermes. A copy of that ship onto the Bellerophon would make up the ship that would become the BNS Amazonas. The turrets and barbettes were warehoused as the Brazilians indicated they could use them for a battlecruiser in the near future.

When the Brasilia arrived in service in 1932 the Amazonas had already had had half a dozen classes of trainees go through and be waiting to join the Brasilia as front line units. All of the armour had been stripped out of the hull. and all the armament removed. The coal fired boilers were converted to oil firing and the coal bunkers converted to oil storage. Six 4" AA guns were fitted in sponsons off the side of the hull, while space for six 2 pounder AA guns was found. That was how the ship spent the next 15 years. Half of the hangar was split off as accommodation for trainee seaman not just pilots. This reduced the ships own aircraft complement to twelve aircraft which by 1938-39 was six Swordfish and six Sea Gladiators. It's war complement would double those numbers, one squadron of each.

Its war service retained the training duties, and coupled that with convoy escort duties from Rio to Sierra Leone. It was on one of the return journeys from Sierra Leone to Rio that the Amazonas was torpedoed and sunk in 1941. The service it was providing was good enough that the Royal Navy transferred one of its 'R-Class' aircraft carriers to replace it.

Displacement 18,500 tons std 22,400 tons full load
Length 536 ft
Breadth 82 ft hull (94 ft over sponsons)
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 26,000shp
Speed 22 knots
Range 5500 miles at 12 knots
Armour 2" deck.
Armament 6 x 4" (3x2)
10 x 20mm (10x1)
Aircraft 18-24 depending on size and type
Complement 740
Notes BNS Amazonas - torpedoed by U-boat 1941




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