BAV Amazonas (SC/CLA - 1926/27)


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The Amazonas like most of the modern Venezuelan Navy ships were built utilising parts stripped from the ex Russian ships of Wrangel's Fleet. In the case of the Amazonas the guns came from the semi-dreadnoughts of the Evstafi/Pervozanni classes which had had a secondary armament of four 8" on each ship. Pooling the guns gave a total of twelve turrets which could provide a useful useful scout cruiser armament of six 8" guns four four ships. These ships were very handy as they carried the fleets scouting aircraft till the first of Venezuela's aircraft carriers joined the fleet. These were the fastest cruisers in the fleet and once their scouting role became obsolete they were used as Flagships for the destroyer squadrons.

These four ships completed in 1926-27 and only a few years later their main fleet scouting role had been taken over by the aircraft of an aircraft carrier. The six low angle 4" were replaced with 4" AA guns when they became available. The four 3" AA were then removed and replaced with four more Browning machine guns. In this guise the four ships served for ten years. 1937-38 and the ships are taken in hand for rebuilding. The new twin 5.1" Dual Purpose turret was available and it was decided four of those turrets could replace the current main armament. The US 28mm and the old Browning machine guns were the light AA

The US Navy carried out similar conversions on their Omaha class cruisers, but where the US conversions crammed five twin turrets on, the Venezuelan ships only had four twins. The reason? The Venezuelan turret was bigger and roomier and allowed for a better rate of fire. The first refit in early 1942 replaced the 28mm with 40mm and the Browning machine guns with 20mm cannons. The triple 21" torpedoes were removed to allow for the extra top weight from the addition of electronics on masts and fire control equipment. The space provided allowed a bit of extra, much needed, accommodation.

It is funny that the change from the 8" 50 caliber guns to the 5.1" Dual Purpose guns actually increased the range of the ships guns. The old 8" fired 22,500 yards (at 3 rounds per minute), the new 5.1" fired 24,500 yards (at 13 rounds per minute).

Displacement 6,950 tons standard, 8,500 tons full load
Length 554 ft
Breadth 55 ft
Draught 18 ft
Machinery 4 shaft, steam turbines, 90,000 shp
Speed 35 knots
Range 8000 miles at 14 knots
Armour 2" side, 1.5" deck, 7"/4"/3" turrets old
Armament As completed

6 x 8" (3x2) 50cal
6 x 4" LA (6x1)
4 x 3" AA (4x1)
6 x .5" mg (6x1)
AA Conversions to 1941

8 x 5.1" (4x2)
16 x 28mm (4x4)
8 x 0.5" mg (8x1)
Torpedoes 6 x 21" (2x3) nil
Aircraft 2 max, 1 normal complement. nil
Complement 470 (490 WW2)



Curtis Seagull as refitted to Amazonas in 1936.

Original drawing of the Amazonas class cruisers.

One of the pre-Dreadnoughts that provided the 8" guns for the Amazonas class.


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