BAV Bolivar (BB-1942)


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Finally the Venezuelan gun foundries felt confident enough to receive an order from the Navy for twenty-six 14" guns, to arm two new battleships with 12 guns each with two spares. The ships would be of 40,000 tons displacement and approximately 800 feet long. The armament would be mounted in four triple turrets which would also be home grown but based on the turret already in commission. Secondary armament would be eight of the new 5.1" twin dual-purpose turrets, and the light AA would be 40mm and 20mm. Space for aircraft handling facilities were to be provided (and then removed two years later!).

These two ships were the culmination of twenty years of major improvements to the infrastructure at Porto Cabello. Finally, large caliber guns, heavy plate armour, indigenous machinery, and all the thousand and one other parts required to produce modern warships could be manufactured locally. The things that still required importation were the myriad of new electronics that started appearing during the 1940's. During the war the US was quite happy to refit the electronics whenever one of the Venezuelan ships docked in a major US refit port.

Radar predictors for the 40mm would start appearing in 1943 and more 40mm would be added in place of the 20mm weapons. The 14" guns were of 52 caliber and fired a 1650lb shell. This was as good as any of the other 14" guns in service. Firing 36,000 yards was all that was required. Most battles are fought at much closer distances due to the weather conditions prevailing. It is not often you get a clear day where you can see forever and actually fire your guns out to their maximum distance. At maximum distance even the most accurate guns have a shell spread that makes hitting lucky.

Displacement 40,650 tons std, 46,800 tons full load
Length 795 ft
Breadth 106 ft
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 150,000shp
Speed 30 knots
Range 9000 miles at 15 knots (2,250 nm at 27 knots)
Armour 12" side, 6" deck, 11/8/6" turrets
Armament 12 x 14" (4x3)

16 x 5.1" (8x2)

44 x 40mm (11x4)

26 x 20mm (26x1)

Aircraft 4
Torpedoes nil
Complement 2100
Notes BAV Bolivar
BAV Barquisimeto


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