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An unusual class of cruisers developed from the Italian Trento class, the Almirante Brown and its sister ship 25 de Mayo were the first modern cruisers of the Argentine Navy, being similar to the Trento this meant that this ships focused on the same concept of "more on Armament and speed rather than armor’.
History and Service:
With the beginning of the 1920s, Argentina found itself having a surface fleet that was beginning to show its age, a lot of the larger vessels operated by the Navy were 1880/90/1900s ships that although had some capability, their armament and design made them obsolete when compared to the new ships that were being built in Europe, this ships were faster, better armed and more efficient. To solve this the Argentine government started looking for solutions with most major shipbuilders in Europe, from all of the offers presented, the Italian one managed to convince Argentine authorities, specially after the Trento Class of cruisers were seen as a successful and simple design, filling almost all needs the Argentine Navy was requiring. The deal contemplated 2 Cruisers with the possibility of a third all with a similar design to the Trentos.
25 De mayo being laid down in Italy
The new cruisers weren’t identical to the Trento class, as they were smaller, had less armor, smaller cannons and were slower, this put this new class in something between a heavy and a light cruiser. The armament consisted on x6 190mm guns in 3 turrets, two in the bow and and one in stern, secondary armament was formed by x12 100mm cannons (multi purpose, anti ship and anti air) in twin turrets covering the middle of the ship, x6 40mm AA guns and lastly x6 533mm torpedo tubes. Later on the ships life the armament would vary after the 100mm cannons were replaced by 40mm Brofors twin systems.
In regards to mobility, the power plant was conformed by 6 Yarrow boilers and 2 Parson Turbines with a power of 85.000hp, that gave this class a speed of 32knots, but in sea trials the ship gave up to 116.000 Hp, all power was delivered by 2 props and an assisted rudder. When it came to armor it was 70mm in the belt with 51mm in the turrets (much like the Trento the design considered armor a secondary thing)
Both ships were baptized ARA Almirante Brown and 25 de Mayo, and were given to the Argentine navy in September of 1931, both ships were based in Puerto Belgrano and they formed the first Cruiser division, with Almirante Brown being designated C-1 and the insignia of the division. Both ships were tasked with different roles, Almirante Brown was mostly used as a training ship and sent to visit other countries, while ARA 25 de Mayo had its first and only operation on a war zone during the Spanish Civil war.
Spanish refugees onboard ARA 25 de Mayo
With the Spanish civil war on full swing, the Argentine government sent ARA 25 de Mayo commanded by Cap.Nav Miguel A Ferreira with the mission of providing protection and evacuating Civilians (+important personnel) that were allowed to emigrate to Argentina given the horrifying situation that was being suffered in Spain. In August of 1936 the cruiser arrived to Alicante, staying on guard until it was replaced by ARA Tucuman, commanded by Cap.Fr
Mario Casari who arrived in November 1936 and until Jun 1937. During this time 25 de Mayo evacuated more than 250 people, while ARA Tucuman around 1250 in 12 trips (Some sources state that they evacuated more than 2000 people between both ships). Sailors from both ships often violated the law to save Spanish citizens escaping escaping the war, this involved disguising them as crew or hiding them inside boxes that were going to end up in the ships. The actions done by Both ships and its crew is remembered as a show of humanity aid by the young south American nation and appreciated to this day.
From that point to 1945 both ships would operate regularly in training and exercises, with a major accident suffered by Almirante Brown in 1941 and with their modernization in 1943 that involved the removal of the Frontal catapult and the placement of another in the middle of the ship, a new crane to lift aircraft and a Navigation radar. In late 1945 both ships were deployed in submarine detection in the South Atlantic after 2 cases of submarines surrendering in Argentine waters.
By the early 50s both Cruisers were re-assigned to the second Cruiser division as 2 new cruisers sold by the US arrived to replace the now veteran 25 and Brown, those were ARA 9 de Julio and ARA General Belgrano. In 1959 both ships are held in reserve, a year later they are stripped of all armament and equipment, and held util 1961 where they were sold for scrap.
The last picture of 25 de Mayo while awaiting to be scrapped
6800 tn (Standard)
9000 tn (Full)
Length: 170 m
Beam: 17.8 m
Draft: 4.7 m
2 sets Parsons geared turbines, 6 Yarrow boilers
Power 85000 HP
Speed: 32 knots
Autonomy: 8.000 nautical miles at 14 knots
Crew: 780 people
The armament of the ship consisted on:
x6 190mm Odero-Terni cannons (Main guns) (Argentina 7.5"/52 (19 cm) O.T. - NavWeaps)
x12 102mm (or 100mm) Odero-Terni fast firing cannons (Secondary AA or AS) (Austria-Hungary 10 cm/50 (3.9") Skoda K10 and K11 - NavWeaps)
x6 Vickers/Terni 40mm guns
x6 533mm torpedo launchers
A later modification changed the 100mm for twin 40mm batteries in the same position
Aircraft: 2 aircraft, Supermarine Warlus, O2U or Grumman JF2 Duck (armed)
VEINTICINCO DE MAYO heavy cruisers (1931)
Naval Guns of Argentina - NavWeaps
Veinticinco de Mayo class cruisers (1930)
Clase Almirante Brown - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre