BAV Merida (AC-1917 (CB-1937))


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The Merida (ex-Rostov) was the first of the Russian cruisers to graduate to triple turrets as used in the battleships. The Rostov was always to be a large armoured cruiser or light battlecruiser when compared to the Borodino class which were designed a couple of years later. There were to be two in the class but the other ship had not been laid down on the outbreak of WW1 and it was cancelled in favour of other light vessels. The Rostov was to be an advance on the Pallada (see Nueva Esparta). The Rostov was brand new when it was added to Wrangel's Fleet. The triple 10" turrets gave the ship a very modern look in their fore and aft positions. The ship also had the 5.1" as the secondary armament which was an improved weapon over the older 6" & 4.7".

The ship made a very good impression on the US officers that were stationed on the ship when the US and Venezuela went through their three year cycle of Naval maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea and even out into the Atlantic. Wargames between the two fleets honed the skills of both navies. As the years went by the ship started looking older when placed against the more modern cruisers. The secondary casemates certainly dated the ship to the Great War period. 1929 and the ship was to be taken in and renovated. The Wall Street crash meant the Navy had no money for the rebuilding and this had to be postponed for 4-5 years.

The Merida finally went in for renovation in 1935 and benefited by getting into the era of the dual purpose weapons.  Emerging in 1937 in a state that pleased the eye. The single 5.1" casemates were plated over with the guns themselves being fitted into the local made single turrets and resited on the main deck. 0.5" AA machine guns were the weapons of choice as a light AA armament, and these were replaced with 20mm cannons during the early 1940's as they became available. While the ship had had nothing done to the machinery or armour, the updating done to the secondary, tertiary armaments, and fire control equipment improved the ships capabilities and made it a match for the more modern heavy cruisers. Why? The ship had been designed over 50% larger than the equivalent modern heavy cruiser. The full 7" armoured belt and 3.4" deck armour were far superior to those fitted to the heavy cruisers. The 10" guns were also superior to the maximum sized 8" weapons allowed to the heavy cruisers.

Despite the ships age, it was the ship of choice to hoist the flag of the cruiser Admiral.


Displacement 16,500 tons std 19,800 tons full load
Length 558 ft
Breadth 80 ft
Draught 28.5 ft
Machinery 3 shaft steam turbines, 80,000shp
Speed 29 knots
Range 5000 miles at 15 knots (2,200 nm at 25 knots)
Armour 7" side, 3.4" deck, 7/5.1" turrets
Armament Original 1917

9 x 10" (3x3)

12 x 5.1" (16x1)

8 x 12pd (8x1)

Upgrade 1935-37

9 x 10" (3x3)

8 x 5.1" (8x1)

12 x 0.5" mg (12x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes nil
Complement 860 (900 as Flagship)
Notes BAV Merida (ex Rostov-1917)

The next drawings are what I based the new drawings from. The 1937 upgrade used far too modern parts from approximately 1943. Not a good fit.


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