BAV Carabobo (CLA-1942)


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With the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939, Venezuela pondered what it would need for war construction if they were dragged in as well. Oil production for Venezuela was paramount and protection of the tankers delivering the oil to America and Europe required escorts, both large and small. For a cruiser sized vessel armed with either 5.1" or 3.9" DP guns, a ship of about 500 feet would be all that was required and be small enough for the Venezuelan dockyards to be able to produce in reasonable numbers. It was decided that the 5.1" guns would be best as that would leave the 3.9" production for the destroyers and other escorts.

The Venezuelans had the old cruisers of the Amazonas class under rebuilding with four twin 5.1" turrets which was all that could be done with the layout of those ships. The first of the Royal Navy Dido class were being completed with 10x5.25" but the RN had advised that having the three turrets forward was not an optimal design - the later Dido class were reduced to 8 gun ships. A ship with five turrets was possible, but to balance them out required a layout of A/B/Q/X/Y, a similar layout to the Valencia class I have just finished drawing. What a strange coincidence!

Four ships to this design were laid down in 1940 with the first completed in 1942, two in 1943, and the last in 1944. Additional 40mm and 20 mm were added through 1943, then in 1944 the 20mm started to be replaced with 40mm. The ships, when joining the Fleet, were tied to the aircraft carriers. As the 40mm mountings are added, radar predictors are also added and these replaced most of the searchlights which with radar were becoming obsolete.

Displacement 6,500 tons std 8,400 tons full load
Length 507 ft
Breadth 54 ft
Draught 22 ft
Machinery 4 shaft steam turbines, 75,000shp
Speed 33 knots
Range 9000 miles at 15 knots (2,200 nm at 30 knots)
Armour 3" side, 2" deck, 1.5" turrets
Armament 10 x 5.1" (5x2)

8 x 40mm (4x2)

14 x 20mm (14x1)

Aircraft nil
Torpedoes 8 x 21" (4x2)
Complement 790
Notes BAV Carabobo

I like the idea of this ship being an AA cruiser, but I think I went a bit over the top with this one.

Late model with Radar and other improvements.


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