BNS Monte Cristo (CT-1940)


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Early 1939 and the Brazilian Navy looked at what it could produce locally in the way of warships. It did not take 20/20 vision to see the war on the horizon. Brazil had been producing its own coastal craft but had not ventured into larger warship construction. Whatever they built would have to be diesel or triple-expansion powered. Brazil did not have the technology to build full turbine powered ships. It was felt that the ships would have to be able to undertake a multi-role function. As mine-sweepers, as escorts, as local minelayers, as general dogsbodies. It was decided a diesel powered vessel of around 250 feet would be able to do both local coastal duties and also to escort exports across the Atlantic to destinations both north and south. Diesel power was chosen for long range.

The ships proved popular in service with both types being requested for service in European waters because of their heavy anti-aircraft armament. Southern Africa, Australis, Zealandia Canada, and the Royal Navy all took copies of the plans for these ships and copied them into service. A dozen of the sweepers were in service in front of the invasion forces on D-Day. While the escort version was in action all over the world. The Brazilian Navy classed these ships as 'Corvettes' to cover all the different uses of the ships. They proved so useful that they were a part of many Navies, lasting in service to the 1980's.

Displacement 1,050 tons standard, 1,250 tons full load
Length 252 ft.
Breadth 34 ft
Draught 10 ft
Machinery 2 shaft, diesel engines, 7,500bhp
Speed 23 knots
Range 7,000 miles at 12 knots
Armament As built to 1940

2 x 4" (2x1)
8 x 2pd (4x2)
4 x 20mm H-S (4x1)
Refits to 1942

2 x 4" (2x1)
8 x 40mm (4x2)
Complement 110 125

HMAS Barwon, Australis built Monte Cristo class in Escort version for the Pacific with extra AA armament.


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