BNS Fortaleza (DD-1916)


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The 30 M class destroyers bought from the Royal Navy they got at virtually scrap value. This allowed the purchase of the Alagoas class leaders to be bought at the same cost structure giving the Brazilians a very good escort cover for the Capital ships that they also purchased. The ships proved very durable and allowed the Brazilians the time needed to source new destroyers that would have to be purchased at full value.

The ships were kept in the standard destroyer condition throughout their active service lives and were due for various upgrades during the late 1930's that never materialised as the start of the war stopped them from happening. The upgrades that did take place was the addition of some new anti-aircraft guns of 20mm size (Hispano-Suiza mounts) that were placed in whatever positions could be found for mounting them in. The 4" guns were also turned into anti-aircraft weapons by placing them on new AA mountings. One 4" and one set of torpedoes was removed to allow for the extra weaponry and anti-submarine warfare equipment fitted to the ships. Those that went through that refit process were re-designated Destroyer Escorts.

These were still short ranged ships and only used on the closest escort runs. To extend their range would require the removal of the forward boiler room and funnel and the conversion of the created space to extra oil bunkerage. There was no space for this work to be done in Brazilian dockyards. Half of the ships were transferred to work out of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Those that went on the South African convoys were taken in hand two by two at Simonstown and the conversion was done there.

It took nearly 18 months for the 22 of the class to be turned into long range escorts. Two had been sunk to enemy action before they could be converted and the other six were still in an unconverted state and remained that way as local escorts out of Rio. The long range escorts found themselves going all over the world, fighting in the North Atlantic against the U-boats and in the Pacific against Japanese Kamikazes. They won more battle stars for Brazil with U-boats sunk, aircraft shot down, and even surface actions against enemy ships. Five more were lost in action, for seven in total. The worst loss being to the RAF where Beaufighters mis-identified two of the ships as German and sunk both ships in a rocket attack. The aircraft had not recognised the flag. Though they must have wondered why the ships had not fired back.

Displacement 1050 tons std, 1250 tons full load
Length 276 ft
Breadth 26.75 ft
Draught 10.5 ft
Machinery 2 shaft steam turbines, 25,000shp (17,000shp LRE)
Speed 34 knots (24 knots LRE)
Range 3500 miles at 15 knots (5000 for LRE)
Armament As received

3 x 4" (3x1)
1 x 2pd (1x1)
As Escorts

2 x 4" (2x1)
2 x 2pd (1x2)
6 x 20mm H-S (6x1)
As Long Range Escorts

2 x 4" (2x1)
2 x 2pd (1x2)
6 x 20mm H-S (6x1)
Torpedoes 4 x 21" (2x2) 2 x 21" (1x2) 2 x 21" (1x2)
Complement 100-115
Notes BNS Fotaleza

+29 more


The 30 M class received were a mixture of Admiralty and other builders types.


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