BAV San Cristobal (TB-1916)


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Part of Wrangel's fleet, the four ex Black Sea Fleet torpedo boat destroyers were originally classed as destroyers by Venezuela but they eventually realised that the ships were more torpedo boats than destroyers. Probably the smallest ships brought to Venezuela, they were used as harbour protection vessels acting out of Puerto Cabello and Maracaibo. Once Panama had been integrated into Venezuela these ships became guard ships at both the Caribbean and Pacific ends of the Panama Canal.

These four ships never got high on the upgrade list and soldiered on as they were through to 1935 when they were finally looked at to see if they should be discarded or made a bit more fit for purpose. It was decided that they were providing a useful service as guard ships and to scrap them would mean having to divert other vessels to do this job. The three single 17.7" torpedo tubes were to be removed and replaced with two twin sets removed from the Guanare class destroyers. The single 4.7" would be removed and replaced with two older 3" AA guns. One pair of modern 28mm cannons would replace the after set of torpedo tubes, while two 0.5" machine guns would be fitted by the after bridge and fore bridge. No fire control equipment was fitted for any of these weapons.

The four of these ships were part of the guard force for the Panama Canal, being joined by Area Defence Vessels and old cruisers no longer required for Fleet duties.


Displacement 635 tons std 850 tons full load
Length 243 ft
Breadth 28 ft
Draught 10 ft
Machinery 2 shaft, triple expansion, 6,500shp
Speed 23-24 knots
Range 2000 miles at 12 knots (500 nm at 22 knots)
Armament Original 1916.

2 x 4.7" (2x1)

2 x 47mm AA (2x1)


Upgrade 1937

2 x 3 AA (2x1)

2 x 28mm (1x2)

4 x 0.5" mg (4x1)

Torpedoes 3 x 17.7" (3x1) 4 x 17.7" (2x2)
Complement 90
Notes BAV San Cristobal (1916)

Old drawings were for a much larger destroyer type.


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