BNS Maranhao (BC-1910)


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The Brazilians had bought the remaining available British battlecruiser (ex-Inflexible) and discovered why it had remained for sale. The battlecruisers had had a hard war and were fairly well worn out. It was decided at an early stage that the ship would be converted to a training ship. The major ships in the training fleet would then be the Maranhao and Amazonas. They would remain shadows of each other till the Amazonas is torpedoed.

The only major works done to the ship was to convert the boilers from coal to oil fired. Upgrade the AA armament to a uniform twelve 4" HA weapons, add some 2 pounder pom pom's, the locally licensed Hispano-Suiza 20mm and lastly some quad mounts of the 0.5" machine guns. This would give a fair amount of the weapons in service with the Brazilian Navy on board for training purposes.

Moving into the early 1930's and the Maranhao brings up its 20th birthday. The machinery is buggered. Some of the boilers are leaking and beyond repair. The engines are knocking worse than a Scotsman's knees in winter. The hull and superstructure are in reasonable order. It is the heart of the ship that needs a transplant. Generally the best ship of a class would go last for rebuilding. But, for the Brazilians, if they wanted to extend the life and usefulness of the Maranhao, then a new set of machinery needed to be found. In the ex Orion class ships, due for rebuilding, the machinery could be transferred to the Maranhao. Which is why the Brazilian Navy decided the Rio de Janeiro type with the best machinery would go for rebuilding first and donate its machinery to the Maranhao. There is a bit of a difference with the machinery taken out of the Maranhao being rated at 60,000shp where the Rio de Janeiro machinery is rated at 30,000shp. This would drop the speed from 28 knots down to 21-22 knots. This was not considered a problem as the ship would still be fast enough to work with the Amazonas.

So what to do about updating/upgrading the superstructure. To remove the boilers and engines will give the chance to make way for new superstructures to be fitted. The Maranhao was not considered for a full rebuilding that the other WW1 capital ships went through. The price would be too high for a ship not expected to last as no more than a training ship. Thought was given to converting the Maranhao to an aircraft carrier to partner the Amazonas. But the Brazilians decided that one training carrier was enough. Area defence vessel? The Maranhao would not have needed a 'heart transplant' for the ADV job. No, the Brazilian Navy decided that the Maranhao would continue its current role as the heavy training ship and escort to the Amazonas. The superstructure fitted was a 'basic' take on the Brazilian look. No aircraft handling facilities were fitted, too expensive, and with the Amazonas as training partner, not necessary. The space being used for the two big river launches. What would have been the hangar was chopped into extra offices, classrooms and accommodation.

One of the main jobs of the 'Training Fleet' was to keep the nests of Amazon Pirates to a minimum. The Amazonas and Maranhao would set up camp at Belem , which was the northern most naval base for Brazil. From there the minor ships would enter the Amazon with the aircraft from the Amazonas acting as scouts and spotters. The big launches from the Maranhao, with their 2 pounder guns, would go into those river delta areas the other low draught ships were not able to enter. (see BNS Javary)

Displacement 22,000 tons std 25,750 tons full load
Length 620 ft.
Breadth 84 ft
Draught 28 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 60,000shp (reduced to 30,000shp)
Speed 28 knots (21-22 knots)
Range 7,500 miles at 12 knots
Armour 8" side, 2" deck, 8"/6"/4" turrets
Armament As received 1922

8 x 12" (4x2)
12 x 4" LA (12x1)
6 x 3" AA (4x1)
8 x 6pd (8x1) or 4x3" LA
As modernised 1936-37

8 x 12" (4x2)
12 x 4" DP (12x1)
14 x 2pd AA (2x4, 6x1)
10 x 20mm (10x1)
16 x 0.5" mg (4x4)
Complement 750 780 (810 as Flagship)
Note Invincible (1908) Sunk at Jutland 1916

Inflexible (1908) To Brazil 1923 (BNS Maranhao)

Indefatigable (1910) Sunk at Jutland 1916

Indomitable (1911) To Chile

Australis (1911)

Zealandia (1912)

Original Invincible class Battlecruiser before my magic wand got to it.

My first drawing of the Maranhao as a training vessel. Too much done to it. I doubt whether there was enough breadth to mount everything I have put aboard ship.


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