BAV San Carlos (DD-1927+)


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The San Carlos type destroyers were the first ships built in Venezuela at the new naval shipbuilding facilities made possible by the artisans imported to Venezuela via Wrangel's fleet. The design was an amalgamation of the latest French and British destroyer designs. The US in 1924-5 were drawing plans but were still bringing in four pipers in to service. The early ships were fitted with low angle 5'1" guns sourced from those removed from the ex-Russian ships. The later vessels were fitted with a new mark of 5.1" locally made gun on an AA mounting. In 1937 a new class using the same hull and machinery was started in parallel with this class with the single 5.1" being replaced with twin 3.9".


Single 5.1" mounting on coast defence mounting. Many of these weapons were mounted around the main Venezuelan Naval base. These are the same guns as mounted on the San Carlos class destroyers.

These ships were built to be fast and sacrificed one gun mounting (compared to French and British ships of the time) to attain more speed. The first off the production line, the BAV San Carlos, showed just how basic these ships were. A simple 'follow me' gun director, the same for the torpedoes. An old 45mm AA gun, 4 Browning machine guns and the recycled low angle 5.1". The heart of the ship was its machinery plant, producing 55,000 shaft horsepower which allowed the ships to make 37 knots.

The later ships from 1936 had a very different armament. The old low angle 5.1" are replaced with 5.1" dual purpose turrets. The 45mm is replaced with a twin 28mm, the Browning's are retained. The torpedoes are quadruple mounts. The simple director is replaced with a much better set of optics to match the turrets. The war will change this with a twin 40mm replacing the 28mm and 20mm replacing the Browning machine guns. Speed has dropped to 35 knots with the extra weight of armament and will go down again with the addition of electronics.

Above is the 3.9" version in its early war guise (mid-1942) with electronics appearing, depth charges, asdic, 40mm and 20mm. The early low angle 5.1" armed vessels were brought up to the 3.9" standard. This was an easier and quicker (cheaper) refit than fitting the DP turrets. Those guns were in short supply as they were required by a lot of larger ships being constructed whose priority was higher. Any of the low angle ships that had not been upgraded to the 3.9" standard by the start of the war would fight the war with its original main armament.

LA 5.1" - 12 units 1927-1935
DP 5.1" - 12 units 1936-1940
HA 3.9" - 18 units 1937-1943

Displacement 1,700 tons std, 2,350 tons full load
Length 372 ft
Breadth 35 ft
Draught 11 ft
Machinery 2 shaft steam turbines, 55,000shp
Speed 37 knots
Range 4500 miles at 12 knots
Armour nil
Armament As completed

3 x 5.1" (3x1)
1 x 45mm (1x1)
4 x 0.5" mg (4x1)
From 1936

3 x 5.1" DP (3x1)
2 x 28mm (1x2)
4 x 0.5" mg (4x1)
From 1937 (1942 refits)

6 x 3.9" (3x2)
6 x 40mm (3x2)
6 x 20mm (1x2, 4x1)
Torpedoes 6 x 21" (2x3) 8 x 21" (2x4) 8 x 21" (2x4)
Complement 185-190
Notes BAV San Carlos (1927)

BAV San Diego (1936)

BAV San Fernando (1939)

Old drawing of the San Carlos destroyers.


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