Chacabuco III - The last active duty Elswick cruiser in the world

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Chacabuco III


The Chacabuco was built by the Armstrong, Whitworth & Co. Ltd. shipyards, Newcastle upon Tyne, Elswick, England and designed by Philip Watts. It was launched into the water in 1897 under the name “4 du Julliet”; it was acquired by Chile in 1902, just before the end of the Argentine-Chilean naval arms race. The Imperial Japanese Navy cruiser Takasago was the sister ship of Chacabuco III. The name “Chacabuco” comes from the Battle of Chacabuco, which was an important battle that occurred during the Chilean War of Independence. It is number 3, since before this ship there were 2 more with the same name.

Chacabuco III carried out many tasks throughout his long career with the Chilean Navy, among which his participation in the massacre of the Santa María School in 1907 stands out, which was a revolt of workers from the Chilean saltpeter works that would end with the death of 2000 people approximately, one of the darkest events in the history of the country. His visit to Great Britain for the coronation of King George V in 1911 also stands out.

Its original armament consisted of two 203 mm guns, ten 120 mm guns, sixteen guns for 10-pound ammunition and six 1-pound ammunition, which made it a fairly powerful ship for its time, although over the years its armament would suffer a lot modifications, being in the year 1942 when it would receive the last one.

Chacabuco with its original configuration



The modernizations

Between 1939 and 1941, the Chilean Navy decided to modernize the old Chacabuco, which was serving 42 years of service and was outdated in terms of weapons, for this reason this improvement was carried out for him, this work was carried out completely in Chile in the Talcahuano Naval Arsenal (currently ASMAR) which was an achievement for the country since this type of work used to be left in the hands of foreign shipyards. In this work, all the old weapons were removed and six 152 mm cannons and ten Oerlikon 20 mm anti-aircraft machine guns were installed, which left the Chacabuco with modern and solid weapons for the time. The bridge was also widened and deflectors were placed on the chimneys. By the year 1942 these works were finished and the cruise was ready.

Modernized Chacabuco Cruiser, 1942




End of service

The Chacabuco III is considered the last Elswick cruise ship to stay afloat and in active service in the world, the Chacabuco went out of service in December 1950; she was struck on 15 December 1959, and was sold to the Compañía de Acero del Pacífico for scrapping.



  • Crew:
    • 400
  • Armament:
    • Primary: 6 x 1 - 152/50 Mark TT
      • Max elevation angle: +15°
      • Shooting range: 14.8 km
      • Fire rate: 6 shots/minute
Name Type Projectile mass Velocity Explosive mass Penetration
152mm AP 45.4 kg 884 m/s - 289 mm
152mm HE 45.4 kg 884 m/s -
  • Anti-aircraft armament: 10 x 1 - 20/70 Mark 4 autocannon
    • Max elevation angle: +90°
    • Fire rate: 450 shots/minute
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 109.7 m (pp), 127.5 m (oa)
    • Beam: 14.2 m
    • Draft: 5.18 m mean
    • Standard displacement: 4800 metric tons
  • Maneuverability :
    • Propulsion: 2 Vertical triple expanse H-T engines, 8 Cylindrical boilers, 16500 hp
    • Max. speed: 23 knots (42.5 km/h)
    • Endurance: 7200 nm (10 kts)
  • Armour (front / side / back):
    • Citadel: - / 114 / - mm
    • Conning tower: 76 / 76 / 76 mm





Special thanks to @COLDOWN who helped me a lot by sharing all the necessary information to make this publication as complete as possible.