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Friday, September 27th 2013, 5:10pm

Brazilian Naval News, 1943

][SIZE=3]Adventures of the Brazilian Navy in 1943[/SIZE]

New Construction
Brazil laid down twelve new Niterói-class destroyers, with eight ships ordered from Arsenal de Marinha do Rio de Janeiro and four vessels laid down by Arsenal de Marinha do Macapa in northern Brazil. These ships are the largest organized naval construction project in the country's history. At 2,700 tons normal displacement, they are highly modern ships, armed with six 120mm guns and ten 533mm torpedoes. The gun barrels and cradles were manufactured in Brazil, while the turrets, hoists, and rammers were manufactured in Chile by ASMAR's Pacific Ordnance Works, on the basis of Atlantean 130mm technology. The engines for the first six ships were provided by Parsons of Britain, while the engines for the remaining vessels was purchased from Blohm und Voss of Germany.

Additionally, Brazil laid down the skeleton of a new riverine fleet for use on the Amazon delta and elsewhere, as part of a government initiative to settle and civilize the vast tracts of backwater Brazil. Key to this development project is the river construction vessel Caboclo, which is designed to assist in the construction of facilities along the river. (See Addendum A.) Also included in the construction plan was the riverine tanker Potengi, eight 70-ton gunboats, and the first pair of six small hospital ships. Eight coastal patrol craft of the Pampeiro-class, which can double as riverine patrol ships, were also laid down over the course of the year.

Refits and Retirements
The former British cruisers Bahia, Barroso, Amazonas, and Abreu were all retired at the beginning of 1943, and scrapping started. By the end of the year, Abreu alone remained intact, while the other three ships were completely broken up. These four ships were elderly and deemed too expensive to reconstruct in a modern manner. A similar fate awaits the older Matto Grosso-class destroyers, although four of the six vessels were assigned to the River Fleet for service as gunboats.

Happier circumstances prevailed with the Sagiterio-class light cruisers, which underwent a minor refit in order to install new 37mm guns and Sisdef dradis electronic detection and fire-control systems. The Sagiterios were preferred for this refit because, unlike the larger Almirante class, they possessed a higher margin for adding tophamper of this nature. The three un-refitted Almirantes will likely be rebuilt as budgeting permits.

Also being refitted this year was the ex-Philipine cruiser Biliran, which was acquired by purchase in 1942. A skeleton crew traveled to Manila and took possession of the ship, as MIBN Bahia, on April 9th. The ship was named in memorium of the previous Bahia, which was currently scrapping in Rio de Janeiro. Bahia sailed back to Brazil by way of Papeete and Punta Arenas, arriving in early June. The ship was immediately turned over to the Arsenal de Marinha do Rio de Janeiro to begin a comprehensive refit. The ship's original engines will be replaced by new Parsons turbines, and the armament will be altered to feature eight modern 120mm dual-purpose guns in twin mountings. SisDef-manufactured dradis systems, and squadron flagship facilities, shall additionally be provided. When the refit is completed in January of next year, the Bahia will take over as flagship of the 3rd Destroyer Squadron.

General News
With the delivery of the last of the refitted Greek "C"-class submarines, and the completion of the "B" class fleet submarines, the Brazilian Navy's submarine force has grown to a total of thirty-six vessels. While the "B" class is proving capable in service, the refitted "C" class boats are widely criticized for their cramped conditions, limited tactical capabilities, and their lack of snorts, which are available on the "B" class. Some discussion regarding the wisdom of the "C"-class purchase has made it as far as the Brazilian Parliament, which previously supported the purchase, after the Chief of Naval Operations declared that most of the boats would be retired by 1947, after only four years in Brazilian service. The commander of the submarine arm, who championed the purchase of the boats as a "good deal", retired in August as Parliamentary hearings wrapped up. The MiB's submarine arm is increasingly adopting a skeptical attitude towards smaller submarines as a result of issues with the "C" class.

[SIZE=3]Addendum A: The Labours of Potengi, Paraguassú and Caboclo[/SIZE]
The riverine oiler Potengi and the river construction vessel Caboclo were both completed in May of 1943, and immediately began builder's trials. (Caboclo was constructed in Macapa while Potengi was built up the river in Manaus.) Caboclo spent the remainder of May and June engaged in builder's trials in the Macapa region, and in the last week of June undertook a training cruise to Fortaleza on the horn of Brazil in order to assist in the re-location of several navigational buoys which had been disrupted by stormy weather the previous month. Potengi's maiden voyage took her up the Amazon as far as the Peru-Brazil-Colombia border, whereupon she returned to Manaus with nine passengers from the Brazilian Army.

In April, the Marinha Imperial acquired the river freighter Paraguassú, an eight hundred ton displacement vessel. Through the late part of April and early May, the yard at Manaus converted the ship into a mobile barracks and troopship to support naval operations.

The Caboclo made her way up the Amazon to join Potengi at Manaus in the beginning of August, when both ships were formally commissioned and brought into the Brazilian Navy on August 10th, 1943. The next day, Caboclo began loading construction supplies to establish a new River Forces base at Porto de Santo Antônio do Içá, high in the Amazon. Caboclo departed Manaus for Porto de Santo Antônio do Içá in mid-August, arriving ten days later. Paraguassú joined her two days later, anchoring to serve as a barracks ship for the construction crews. The Caboclo transferred thirty-one men and three hundred tons of construction materials ashore, and assisted them throughout the month of September with the construction of a hospital, two barracks, a small machine shop, two diesel storage tanks, and two storage sheds. The hospital ship Compaixão arrived in late September and assisted in setting up a six-bed hospital. Caboclo departed Porto de Santo Antônio do Içá on September 30th and returned to Manaus.

Through August and September, Potengi was engaged in ferrying diesel fuel to Manaus from existing Brazilian Navy stockpiles. By the end of September, Potengi transferred nine hundred tons of diesel fuel to the new Manaus stockpile. At the beginning of October, Potengi took on a new shipment of one hundred fifty tons of diesel fuel, and thirty tons of lubricating oils and fluids, to fill the first cyclindrical tank and the storage shed at Porto de Santo Antônio do Içá. Potengi then transferred the remainder of her cargo (another one hundred and fifty tons) to three civilian fuel storage facilities at Tefe and Coari. The ship returned to Manaus on October 1st, meeting the MIBN Caridade, engaged in the transfer of fuel and supplies to Manaus.

From October 9th to 18th, Caboclo loaded supplies bound for Porto de Santo Antônio do Içá. Departing Manaus on October 19th, Caboclo arrived at Porto de Santo Antônio do Içá on October 26th, in company with the gunboats BPC-3 and BPC-4 and twenty Brazilian Marines. The crew unloaded more supplies suitable for constructing a third oil tank and a wooden pier.

After assisting with the continuing construction of the base at Porto de Santo Antônio do Içá, the Caboclo returned to Manaus once again to load supplies. At the end of November, the ship departed for Porto Velho, on the Rio Madeira, to start setting up new facilities there. Along the way, Caboclo conducted surveys of the Rio Madeira in order to assess the need for new navigational charts. Caboclo arrived at Porto Velho and anchored alongside the Paraguassú, which had arrived to provide accomodations for construction personnel.


Friday, September 27th 2013, 9:40pm

Thanks for the summary; it rather puts things into perspective.