Riachuelo (1883)

Riachuelo (1883)

Marinha do Brasil

The first Brazilian modern Battleship: The ironclad Riachuelo was one of the main reasons which pushed the Congress, at the insistence of the USN admiralty, to built battleships, notably the USS Texas. At that time indeed, a naval rivalry between south American countries pushed Brazil, Argentina and Chile to order ships to British yards. The Riachuelo was no exception, a 5900 tonnes vessel from Samuda Bros. intended to take the lead of the pack in the 1880s. She was later joined by Aquidabã, under the patronage of Admiral Jose Rodrigues de Lima Duarte, minister of the Navy.
As a minister, he presented a report to the national legislature on the importance of modernising the Brazilian Navy.
As local shipyards were unable to deliver complex vessels such as ironclads, a delegation was to be sent in Great Britain to order two modern ironclads.

Prior to this, the Brazilian navy had ironclads and armoured ships in service: The most recent were the coastal monitors of the Javary class (1874) built in France, the locally built (Rio) Sete of Setembro (1874), the Cabral class and the Mariz e Barros class (all built in Rennie, 1866), the Silvado (France, 1866), Bahia (Laird, 1865), Rio de Jaineiro (1865), Lima Barros class (Laird-built 1865), Tamandaré (UK? 1865), Brasil (La Seyne, 1865), and Barrozo (UK? 1864). The Riachuelo was the first modern sea-going Brazilian battleship, in the same vein as the Sachsen or Dingyan class.


Riachuelo in full rigging, engraving in the 1880s as delivered.

Design of the Riachuelo

The Riachuelo was typical of these late 1880s ironclads, with a twin pairs of main guns in barbettes positioned in échelon and armoured all around. Due to budget constraints however, the main armament was limited to 9.2-inch (234 mm) guns under enclosed Coles-type turrets. There was a secondary battery six 5.5-inch (140 mm) and tertiary light artillery against Torpeod boats. This was all modified during her 1894 refit in France.

The Riachuelo and Aquidabã had an artillery arrangement quite popular in the 1870s and 1880s: Two main gun turrets off the centreline, en echelon. Through this, the forward turret was placed offset to port and the aft turret to starboard. The superstructure was taller than both turrets, with gangways above them, running the whole ship’s lenght. The Riachuelo’s silhouette was completed with two funnels and three fully rigged masts.

Aquidabã was slighty smaller (4920 tonnes, 85 m long) and had just one funnel. She was built in the same yard at Samuda Bros but launched two years later in 1885.
Riachuelo’s displacement standard, was 5,029 tons, and according to Conway’s* 5610 standard and 6100 tonnes fully loaded. She measured 93.33 m/92.96 m (306.2 ft or 305 ft pp), for 17.16 m/15,85 m (56.3 ft or 52 ft) wide with a draught of 5.60 m/5.99 m (18.4 ft or 19 ft 8 in).


Blueprint of the ship

Propulsion

She was a mixed vessels, as common at that time, with sailing and steam combined. In sailing mode, she had three masts arranged in a barque configuration. The steam engines were three-cylinder vertical compound machines, fed by height cylindrical coal-fired boilers, and the power was passed onto two shafts. Total output was 4,500 hp (3.36 kW). The top speed as designed was ​​16.5 knots (30.56 km/h). The onboard coal supply allowed for a 6,000 nmi (11,000 km) range at 10 kn (19 km/h).

Armament


Riachuelo’s main armament comprised four 9.2-inch (234 mm) guns in two Coles type turrets (cheesebox style). The BL 9.2-inch Mk I was designed in 1879 as a request by the Admiralty for a response to Krupp’s 24 cm (9.45 inch) gun. The Admiralty was interested and requested it to the Committee on Ordnance as considering the return to breech-loading artillery after experimenting with muzzle-loaders in the 1860s-1870s.

The new gun fired a 380-pound projectile and a total of 19 Mk I and Mk II guns/26 calibres were manufactured by Vickers, starting in 1881. However the Navy declined the model and the Mk-I/II never made it at sea but instead in coastal defence. The Mark III was the main naval model, 24 tons, 31.5 calibres. It was declined into the IV, V, VI and VII versions as well and produced in large quantities, making it in cruisers such as the Imperieuse, Orlando, Blake, Edgar class armoured cruisers, rearmed monitors and WW1 monitors. It looked relatively weak for a battleship though, but it is believed the overall budget, limitations in size of the ship, and rate of fire were critical.

The shell’s weight varied from 380 pounds (172.37 kg) to 290 pounds (131.54 kg), muzzle velocity 2,065 feet per second (629 m/s) and maximum range around 10,000 yards (9,100 m) at max elevation.
It should be noted that the Portuguese source is completely different about the armament: Four 225 mm main guns, four 140 mm guns, eleven 25 mm and five 11 machine guns.

Secondary armament: Six 5.5-inch (140 mm) guns. No precision of their origin. The only BL 5.5-inch Mk I naval gun in service with the RN dated back from 1913. It is more likely to be a BL 5-inch gun Mk I/II, as no British yard would accept to mount Krupp guns, and there was no French gun of this caliber either.
Tertiary armament: Fifteen 1-pounder (37 mm) guns, on the upper decks. Likely to be Hotchkiss QF models (2 pdr) customary at the time.
Torpedo armament: Five 14-inch (356 mm) torpedo tubes, broadside, stern and prow, above the waterline.

After the 1894 refit in France:
Main armament: Four 240 mm (9.45 in) guns in two turrets: Comment – No 9.45 in in service in UK, the French model dated back from 1902, so impossible, so these values are dubious again.
Secondary: 6 × 120 mm (4.7 in) guns, 6 × 47mm (1.85 in) guns, 5 × 356 mm (14 in) torpedo tubes.

Armour

The Riachuelo was constructed with a steel hull, and for the first time had a compound armour belt. The Argentines shortly after wanted to respond with the armoured corvette ARA Almirante Brown.
Figures were 178 to 280 mm (7-11 in) on the belt and sides, 254 mm (9.4 in) in the main turrets and the same on the superstructure and Conning tower.

Riachuelo fully rigged, circa 1889
Riachuelo fully rigged, circa 1889

Specifications as built (1885)

Dimensions 92.96 x 15.85 x 5.99m (305 x 52 x 19 ft 8 in)
Displacement 5,610 tonnes standard, 6,100 tonnes FL
Crew 367
Propulsion 2 shafts VCE, 10 Boilers, 7,500 bhp
Speed 16.7 knots (31 km/h; 19.2 mph)
Range Estimated 6000 nm at 10 knots
Armament 4 x 9.2-in/31 (234 mm), 4 x 5.5-in/30 (140 mm), 15 x 1-pdr/40 (37mm), 5 x 14-in TTs.
Armor Belt 178-280 mm, 254 mm main turrets, CT

The Riachuelo in service (1885-1910)

Name

The battleship was christened after the Battle of Riachuelo in 1865. It opposed the Brazilian and Paraguayan navies, 33 and 18 ships respectively and ended in a decisive Brazilian victory. And it was a riverine battle, on the river Paraguay. After ordering the dreadnought Rio de Janeiro a second ship to be name Riachuelo was ordered in 1914, and of course never built or delivered.

Early years: 1883-91

The Riachuelo took the head of the main battle squadron of the Brazilian Navy as soon as she was in service, and flagship. She was nevertheless the fourth ship to bear that name, after the Paraná River naval battle of June 11, 1865 under the command of Almirante Barroso. Riachuelo was built by the Samuda & Brothers shipyard for £ 365,000 less artillery and ammunition. Supervision was in charge of José da Costa Azevedo. Her keel was laid down on August 31, 1881, she was launched on June 7, 1883, and made ready for fitting out and Armament on July 15, 1884. Captain Eduardo Wandenkolk upon delivery.

On August 19, 1885, the Squadron was reformed by Notice no. 1541A, written by the then Minister of Navy, Admiral Joaquim Raymundo de Lamare. This new formation was called the Manoeuver Squadron under Squadron commander Arthur Silveira da Mota, Baron of Jaceguai. It was formed of sixteen ships, comprising the Riachuelo, Sete de Setembro, Solimões and Javary, the cruisers Guanabara, Admiral Barroso, Trajano and Primeiro de Marco, 1st Class Torpedoes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and 4th Class Alpha, Beta and Gamma. This Squadron was the most modern task force at the time in the Americas, equipped with ships with the best combination of speed, artillery and torpedoes.

On September 20 1885, Riachuelo left UK and between September 28 and October 22, halted in Lisbon, then departed for Rio de Janeiro, where she arrived on November 13. She joined the new Squadron on November 19, in accordance with the Notice. On August 28, 1884, she became its flagship.

The same year, Riachuelo started exercizes with the new squadron under Admiral Arthur Silveira da Mota. By 1889, November 17, she left Rio de Janeiro, under Captain Lieutenant Alexandrino Faria de Alencar, to escort the liner SS Alagoas, carrying the Imperial Family into exile in Europe after the Proclamation of the Republic. On January 14, 1890, she left Rio de Janeiro for Buenos Aires, carrying the Minister Quintino Bocaiúva, to sign Treaty limits with the Argentine Republic by arbitration of the President of the United States of America, putting an end to the current naval rivalry.

Impact in USN policy

These two battleships placed overnight the Brazilian Navy at the top of the fleets in the western hemisphere. This rang bells at the hite house. Hilary A. Herbert, chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee was alarmed and immediately recommended to drastically increase naval expenditures. It was time for the “new navy” to build its first battleships. He pushed his cause and rallied supports (including from the Navy) in Congress in 1883.

He declared during a session that “if all this old navy of ours were drawn up in battle array in mid-ocean and confronted by the Riachuelo it is doubtful whether a single vessel bearing the American flag would get into port”.
He stressed the used of at least a similar design of Riachuelo to be studied and built locally. This led to the order of the USS Maine in 1889 (later reclassed as an armoured cruiser) and USS Texas, the first American battleships, launched in 1892. Both were completed in 1895, but in between their conception was already obsolete.

The naval revolt of 1891

The political scene right after the Proclamation of the Republic (1889) was very troubled. This state of affairs worsened after the promulgation of the 1891 Brazilian Constitution. Thus, on the morning of November 3, 1891, the President of the Republic, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, closed both houses of the Legislature.

At the time, several officers of the Brazilian Navy conspired to overthrow the dictatorial government that was emerging, led by Admiral Custódio José de Mello, who added a large number of junior officers, scattered in the various naval units based in Rio de Janeiro. Although he was concerned about the delay in the outbreak of the strike, one of the main reasons for this delay was the fact that the two most powerful navy ships – the Riachuelo and Aquidabã – were docked, in repairs.

With the battleship Riachuelo committed to the movement, Custódio de Mello had already drawn up a contingency plan: the movement would start from Cruiser Primeiro de Março, which would be anchored between Ilha das Cobras and Rio de Janeiro’s Navy Arsenal, from where the officers, mostly low-ranking, to take command of the other naval units. Part of the garrison of the First of March would take over the Riachuelo, then proceed to Aquidabã, which had just left the dike; if it resisted, it would be sunk; if it joined the movement, as expected, it would then be towed, as it was still without propulsion, to Ponta da Armação in Niterói in order to protect the existing facilities, which eventually happened.

Marshal Deodoro appointed Captain-de-Mar-e-Guerra Eliezer Tavares to take command of Aquidabã on November 22, soon ordering preparations for combat, but it was still without propulsion and depended on a tug to move . The new commander declared his intention to resist the movement and to sink the Riachuelo if there was resistance from it, but the crew refused to engage in combat. With all his rebellious strength, captained by the battleship Riachuelo, he was preparing for the fighting to come, which was not necessary, because on November 23, 1891 Deodoro resigned, being replaced by Marshal Floriano Peixoto.

Later years: 1892-1910

When the Republic was proclaimed, Riachuelo was under command of Corvette Captain Alexandrino Faria de Alencar. The ship was to escort the steamer SS Alagoas to the Equator, carrying the Brazilian Imperial Family into exile in Europe.

Modernization in France
In 1893 Riachuelo was under Command of CMG João Justino Proença, and by August went to Europe to be modernized in drydock at the Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterranée shipyards, in Toulon. The first step was the replacement of the rigging, and heavy military masts fitted in the fore and last masts instead, with the central mast reduced and kept to manoeuvrer boats.
The engine and armament were also modified (see notes).

Meanwhile, a supplementary contact was signed on June 19, 1894 in Toulon, between the Brazilian Government and chief engineer Claude Goubet, for the construction of a submarine of his patent. As not concerned by the treaty limits, it was Brazil’s attempt to re-establish some preeminence over the Argentines. However the model was rather small, at 8 meter long with a crew composed of an officer and two sailors of Riachuelo, and carried by the latter, as a mothership, as it was done for midget torpedo boats. This project however never came to fruition, due to Goubet’s failure to deliver a working model.

The modernization took the best part of 1895 and 1896, and consisted in several structural reforms, alongside the new armament. The 240 mm guns for example were fast-firing and had a ling range and muzzle velocity. The secondary armament was lighter but fast firing too. She returned to active service as commissioned in 1896, so she missed the entire Second Armada Revolt. The same year she experimented with her new machines in order to evaluate the modernization, reaching 16 knots as delivered by the yard. This performance was praised by the General Staff.

Back to Brazil, she became the flagship of the Squadron again, and in 1900 carried President Campos Sales for an state visit to Argentina. Riachuelo sailed in this occasion with the cruisers Barroso and Tamoyo, called the ‘White Division’ as their hull has been repainted painted in this color for this commission.

Riachuelo in 1900

On January 2 1901, the Instruction Division replaced by the 1st Manoeuver Division under Rear Admiral Carlos Frederico de Noronha, composed of the Riachuelo and the Cruisers Barroso, Tupi and Tamoyo. In 1907 Riachuelo took part in the famous Hampton Roads International Naval review in the United States with her Task Group under Rear Admiral Duarte Huet of Bacellar Pinto Guedes.

She would also carry the Brazilian Naval Commission headed by Rear Admiral Huet de Bacellar, in Great Britain to monitor the construction of the new battleships of the 1906 Naval Plan, Minas Gerais and São Paulo. The commissioned also officially took delivery of the ships and crewed them. Due to the arrival of these new capital ships, the Riachuelo was deactivated in 1910. She ws to be sold and broken up in Europe and later was sent to Scotland, by May 14, 1914, Forth Shipbreaking Co. to be dismantled.

Read More/Src:
Gardiner, Robert, ed. (1979) Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1860-1905
Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin America
//www.infoescola.com/historia/revolta-da-armada/
//www.naval.com.br/ngb/R/R017/R017.htm
//pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruzador_Protegido_Tamandar%C3%A9
//www.naval.com.br/ngb/T/T002/T002.htm
//pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolta_da_Armada
//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_battleship_Riachuelo
//pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encouraçado_de_Esquadra_Riachuelo
//brasilianafotografica.bn.br/?p=10694

Almirante Tamandaré (1890)

Almirante Tamandaré (1890)

Brazil (1890)

The first modern Brazilian Cruiser – The Almirante Tamandare is certainly not world famous not change history but it was certainy a brave leap forward for the only Navy in South America which produced its own warships, at least when they were still manageable. The Tamandare, started in 1885 was certainly a game changer for the Marinha do Brazil, as the first protected cruiser, modern cruiser, thrice as heavy as the largest ship out of the Rio de Janeiro Dyd. The name was not anecdotical. It was the third “Tamandaré” in service, after the ironclad of the same name (1865), discarded in 1878. She was named after Admiral Joaquim Marques Lisbon, Marquis of Tamandaré, Patron of the Navy.


Tamandaré in 1910, after her second refit, photo by Marc Ferrez.

Development

In the 1880s, the Brazilian fleet comprised mixed sloops and Corvettes, Nictheroy (1862), Vital de Oliveria (1867), Trajano (1873), Guanabara (1877), Parnhayba (1878), Primoeiro de Marco (1881) and a single composite corvette, Almirante Barrozo (1882). They all came from Rio de Janeiro Dyd, giving the yard some experience in 1884 when it was decided to embark on a brand new cruiser design.

The Brazilian admiralty wanted this time a protected cruiser, like those just built by major fleets. However experience in steel construction went back to 1880 only, with the launch of Primeiro de Marco and Almirante Barrozo, both composite vessels, with a partial wooden hull. The new cruiser had to be entirely made of steel, with the characteristic armoured deck running above the engine rooms and ammunitions. She was designed on plans of CT João Cândido Brasil, built at a cost of 3.700.000 $, the largest ship ever designed in Brazil at that time.

launch tamandaré
Le Launch of Tamandaré – Src: Marinha.ml

About Rio de Janeiro DyD

marquis of tamandare 1873
The Marquis of Tamandare, 1873, Patron of the new Brazilian navy
The Arsenal de Marinha do Rio de Janeiro, near Ilha das Cobras, was the main provider of warships of the Brazilian Navy and certainly one of the most ancient in South America: It was funded on 29 december 1763 by the Vice-roy Antônio Álvares da Cunha, first count of Cunha, to provide warships to the Portuguese colony. In the 1820s, with Brazilian independence, it became Arsenal Imperial da Marinha, or Arsenal de Marinha da Corte. The yard soon embarked on steamships construction and propeller-driven vessels. Soon a new yard was built, Estaleiros da Ponta da Areia, at Niterói. The Yard is still the main arsenal and shipyard of the Brazilian Navy today. The Tamandaré was the third largest Brazilian-built warship, after the battleships Riachuelo and Aquidabã.

Design of the Tamandaré

The protected cruiser was relatively classic-looking, with several inspirations. The pronounced ram, raked stern, and relative tumblehome of the flanks took inspiration from Russian and French designs, as well as the broadside guns mounted in arc rails to provide them 45° angle of fire. At the same time as most authors agree, it drew more inspiration from the United States Navy protected cruisers USS Newark, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, as well as the German Irene class from the same generation. They all shared the basic concept inaugurated by HMS Leander.

In case it was planned, no photo ever saw the cruiser with any rigging on it. The cruiser displaced 3,938 long tonnes standard, and 4,537 tonnes fully loaded. Her hull measured 95,9 m overall (89,66 m between parallels), by 14,43 m in width, with a 7,06 m tall hull above water and 6,02-6,20 m draft below the waterline.

Propulsion
It was propelled by two British-built HTE (triple-expansion reciprocating steam engines) steam engines mated on two screw propellers. These machines were fed by seven cylindric Boilers (Coal-fired). This powerplant produced 7,000 bhp total, enough to reach 17 knots. In 1893 it was average to mediocre for a cruiser, even protected. The Tamandaré also carried 400 to 750 tons of coal in wartime. A crew of 400 sailors and officers was necessary to run the ship. This cruiser was given three masts and a bowsprit, all with armoured tops, for full rigging, described by Conways as a barque rigging. This was common at that time, less by distrust of steam engines and more to spare coal on transoceanic cruises as well as for concerns of sparing and maintaining properly the boilers, using salt water. A Brazilian source (http://brasilianafotografica.bn.br) said that this rigging was abandoned shortly after the cruiser was launched, while two combat masts were installed. The fighting tops also had a role for scanning the horizon and spotting water plumes from firing.

Armament
Since Brazil did not possesed any arsenal able to forge heavy marine cannons, the armament was ordered abroad, to the trusted Vickers Armstrong company. In total ten 6-in (152 mm/40) QF guns, a classic choice, two 4.7 in guns (120 mm/40) and ten 3-pdr or 47 mm/40 guns Hotchkiss autocannons deployed against torpedo boats. Although Conways don’t mentioned them, Portuguese sources also stated the cruiser was armed with 8 machine-guns and 5 torpedo tubes, without more specifications. By default it could be assumed one was located over the waterline in the prow and the other four in submerged tubes on the broadside, without much precision for their caliber, again assumed to be of 12 – 16 in (305 or 450 mm) caliber by the standards of the time. It is possible that the tubes were planned but not mounted on completion, and the machine guns too small to be noted in the official specs. These were troubled times indeed as the ship was seized during completion by insurgents, which was only effective in 1897.

The 6-in guns were placed in four sponsons on the main deck, to give them maximum traverse, and the remainder six, and the two 120 mm were in broadside ports. Lighter Hotchkiss guns were placed in upper positions on superstructures on the main deck and armoured tops. Without blueprints it’s difficult to assess this.

Armour
It was made of steel, without much precision on the method used or the fact it had hardened face or not. The casemates were protected by 3 inches (76 mm), the protective deck was 1.6 in thick (40,64 mm) (slopes ?), and the conning tower had walls of 2 inches (50,80 mm).

Tamandaré

Specifications of Tamandaré (WW1)

Dimensions 89.66 x 14.43 x 6.02m (295 x 47 x 20 ft)
Displacement 3938 tonnes, 4,735 t FL
Crew 400
Propulsion 2 shafts HTE, 7 Boilers, 7,500 bhp
Speed 17 knots (24 km/h; xx mph)
Range Estimated 4000 nm at 10 knots
Armament 10 x 6-in/25 (152 mm), 2 x 4.7-in/40 (120 mm), 10 x 3-pdr/40 (47mm), see notes.
Armor Protective Decks: 1.6 in, casemates 3 in, CT 2 in

The Tamandaré in service (1893-1925)

Name
The cruiser was named after Admiral Joaquim Marques Lisbon, Marquis of Tamandaré, and Patron of the Navy. The other Brazilian shipsn to bear this name were a Central Battery Battleship from 1865 and a former brooklyn class cruiser, C-12 from 1936. Its first commander, Frederico Guilherme Lorena became one of the leaders of an insurrection, the great 1891-1894 Brazilian fleet revolt.
The ship was ot yet completed it was used in the revolt indeed, hit by Forts of Rio in Guanabara Bay and the damage had to be repaired after the insurrection. Admiral Tamandaré therefore was not incorporated into the Brazilian Squadron until 1897, in a very different configuration from that designed by its then-Captain Lieutenant Brazil a decade ago.
However it seems Admiral Tamandaré asked Navy Minister Eduardo Wandenkolk (1838 – 1902), according to the newspaper O Paiz for the cruiser to be named Admiral Cochrane.

Tamandaré was launched on March 20, 1890 with the presence of Deodoro da Fonseca (1827 – 1892), ministers and other authorities. 1891 – Captain Frederico Guilherme Lorena commanded the ship while she was still in completion, not yet commissioned. Frigate Captain João Francisco Velho Junior later provisionally commanded the Cruiser in 1892 and The Minister of the Navy urged completion in order for the ship to be ready to participate and represent Brazil at the opening of the Chicago exposition. In 1893 there was controversy about replacement on the original masts of the Tamandaré and that year, the main artillery of casemate batteries were mounted, the steam engines were tested. As soon as she “was ready”, the rebels took her for immediate use.

Tamandare 1890
Another photo as built (unknown source, from navypedia) showing the flush deck and two colors, black hull and white superstructures of the ship, decorated prow.

At that time, she was not yed commissioned and this has spanned for eight years, the keel being laid down in 1885, the hull launched five years later, but official completion dragging on for three more years. Indeed the “Revolta da Armada”, the great insurrection of the fleet caused these delays. Some words about it:

In November 1891, the newly elected President of Brazil, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, in the midst of an institutional crisis doubled by a serious economic crisis, failed to negotiate with the opposition, and ordered the Congress to be closed. Some ships of the fleet in Guanabara Bay under Admiral Custódio de Melo, openly rioted, threatening to bombard Rio de Janeiro. To avoid this and at large a civil war, Marshal Deodoro resigned as President of the Republic. With this, only nine months after his investiture, Vice President Floriano Peixoto took office by 1892 but as the new constitution ensured, a new election would have to take place. This however, was not going to happen and the opposition soon accused Floriano to be illegally at the head of the nation.

The Rebel fleet sailing to Rio
The Rebel fleet sailing to Rio, among which was the Tamandaré

By March 1892, thirteen generals sent a Manifest Letter to the new President of the Republic, Floriano Peixoto, calling for new presidential elections, but the movement was repressed and the leaders arrested. In September 6, 1893 Rear Admiral Custódio José de Melo declared that a grave act that demanded reaction. The group of senior naval officers openly rebelled, demanding elections, such as Admiral Saldanha da Gama, Eduardo Wandenkolk and Custódio de Melo, former Navy minister, and candidate for Floriano’s succession. This was also a reflexion of the Navy’s lesser political prestige compared to the Army’s, but army officers and Royalists also joined the rebellion.

As the rebellion received little support from Rio de Janeiro, on September 13 the fleet opened fire with the army’s forts, including Almirante Tamandaré. This degenerated in a vicious battle at Ponta da Armação, Niterói, against about 3,000 men of the battalions of the Republic and National Guard. Rio’s governor José Tomás da Porciúncula tried to move the capital to the city of Niterói, called Petrópolis in 1894. However the rebellion stood no chance of victory in Guanabara Bay, and headed south, marine troops landing at Desterro (present-day Florianópolis). In January 1894, a USN observer officer climbed on board the Tamandaré, finding her “abundantly supplied with food and ammo”, for a prolongated siege.


The ironclad Aquidaban and other ships of the rebel fleet shelling the Army’s forts of Rio de Janeiro

However in the end, the President, supported by the Army and Paulista Republican Party, put an end to the rebellion in March 1894. He hastily acquired, through an intermediary, the American businessman and banker Charles Ranlett Flint, USN warships to create the so-called “paper fleet”. This Republican fleet, also called the governor’s “Flint Squadron” traveled from New York Harbor to Guanabara Bay manned by US mercenaries to intimidate the rebels, and so in March 1894 the rebellion was over, Floriano Peixoto’s earning the nickname of “Iron Marshal”. We will speak again of the “Flint’s fleet”, which comprised the Nictheroy, Andrada and Piratinin, all armed with the brand new USN “secret weapon”, dynamite guns, and a ragtag added later of seven small monitors, gunboats and auxiliaries. The latter two had to be modified in Recife before being accepted by the government.

After these events, the crews were and moreover officers went into scrutiny to ensure loyalty. At an unknown date, probably before WW1, the cruiser was taken in hands for a modernization, as shown by photos; The original three masts were replaced by two, but it seems the powerplant remained unchanged as the funnels stayed identical. As for the armament, it’s difficult to see any changes also, as shown by photos.


Abother photo by Marc Ferrez, showing the Tamandaré before mopdernization, but without her rigging, so after the 1894 revolt. The upper section of the masts had been removed leaving only the fighting tops (from pinterest). The photo is on sale at EBay.

The cruiser Tamandaré in 1894, after the revolt, was occupied by government toops, which appointed Theotônio Coelho Cerqueira Carvalho as Captain. In 1897 the cruiser was reformed, and modernized with two modern combat masts. Ventilation was also changed, with new metallic fans. The main battery was also removed. Many shortcomings remained and the ship spent the remainder of her active life at anchor in the port of Rio de Janeiro, seeing two or three successive commissions.

By 1901-1902 Tamandaré Served as the Marine Guards headquarters and in 1906 up to 1914 as the headquarters of several Professional Schools. Due to her large size, the cruiser was used as floating barracks for cadets and, later, became the headquarters for the naval academy, a first experience for future officers of the Brazilian Navy gathering several specialization courses for officers and sailors alike. In 1906, the Admiral the Cruiser became the HQ of the Artillery School, as well as the school for other specialties such as the Helmsmen, sounders, signalers and telegraphists.

In 1913, July 21 and, until August 14, she was docked at Guanabara Dike of Cobras Island, to replacing 145 brass sheets from her hull bottom. By the Notice No. 2612, 16 August 1913, she was made a provisional barrack for the Grumetes School, formerly on the cruiser Andrada. A total of 115 new housing cabins from the Rio de Janeiro were installed. At that time the Tamandaré was officially the main Barzilian School Cruiser. In 1914 she still served as Headquarters for the naval School off the Island of the Hoes in Guanabara Bay. However she was then placed out of commissioned and needed repairs. By 1915, December 27, she was eventually discharged from service by Notice No. 4525, discarded, and stricken. The hull however was not apparently broken up until 1925 according to Conway’s.

Read More/Src:
Gardiner, Robert, ed. (1979) Conway’s all the world fighting ships 1860-1905
Close Encounters of Empire: Writing the Cultural History of U.S.-Latin America
//www.infoescola.com/historia/revolta-da-armada/
//pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruzador_Protegido_Tamandar%C3%A9
//www.naval.com.br/ngb/T/T002/T002.htm
//www.navypedia.org/ships/brazil/br_cr_tamandare.htm
//pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolta_da_Armada
//brasilianafotografica.bn.br/?p=10694

Minas Geraes class battleships

Minas Geraes class battleships

Minas Geraes, São Paulo (1911)

The first South American dreadnought – The Minas Geraes class caused an immense sensation when it was revealed to the press worldwide. It was a bold move from the ageing Brazilian Navy, weakened by years of neglect whereas Argentina and Chile competing among themselves, modernized their fleet. In 1904 Both notable support for the industry and old nobility (like Baron of Rio Branco), popular support and the economical wealth to do so, pushed the Brazilian Congress to order at first three tailored light battleships to answer the Garibaldi class ships of Argentina, and swap to the new Dreadnought type as it was known.

Before they were ordered, the Brazilian Navy’s strength laid on obsolete 1880s ironclads, the Riachuelo and Aquidabã and the cruisers Almirante Tamandaré, Benjamin Constant, República, Almirante Barroso and the 1898 Deodoro and Floriano.

Minas Gerais official 1910

As the result, Brazil was the third country to order a ship powerful enough to beat everything that floated at that time. On paper they were quite superior to both the Dreadnought and South Carolina, the very peak of power and prestige a Nation can own at the time. This caused a stir worldwide, not only in South America, triggering a new naval arms race quite unique in history. The race ended in 1914, among requisitions in British yards, detrimental to Brazil and Chile. All these battleships would be somewhat modernized and served through WW2 and in the early cold war as well, the pride of their nations.

But as the British Navy League Annual put it at the time, news of their construction “astonished the naval world”. They sparked a maelstrom of controversy, gave birth to the wildest conspirational theories and fake news in the mainstream press. In short it had an impact we have difficulties today to grasp. Dreadnoughts at the time were the costiest man-made moving objects in history. That a “second rate” country could order ships that were way ahead of anything that float at that time fuelled indeed a lot of interrogations.

About the dreadnought race

The three south american powerhouses, Argentina, Brazil and Chile were for long in open rivalry, an inheritance from wars of the XIXth century. The Cisplatine War between Brazil and Argentina in 1827, for example was a post-Bolivarian attempt to define frontiers around valuable resources, and saw many naval battles like at Punta Colares, Juncal and Monte Santiago.

In 1851, the Platine war, in 1864 the Uruguayan and Paraguayan Wars, and the Acre War in 1898 followed. Relations were warmer with Chile but a fifteen-year naval arms race took place between the latter and Argentina to gain control of the Southern Cone. It started in the 1870s, grew steadily on the late 1880s and ended in 1903 by a British-led naval agreement, leaving the Brazilian Navy “in the dust”.

ARA San Martin
ARA San Martin (1896)

Indeed Brazil did not started any new construction since 1889 and the fall of the Monarchy, and they were further delayed by the civil war, whereas in 1898-1902 the Argentines ensured a clear-cut “victory” in this race by purchasing no less than four brand new Garibaldi-class armoured cruisers, at the time among the very best of the type ever built, at an enormous expense. Not to be undone, the new government, fuelled by recent revenues from coffee and rubber trade had the financial means and popular support to raise a considerable budget, with a population respectively three and five time their rivals.

Therefore at first a vote was obtained in 1904 to order in UK three small pre-dreadnought battleships, with a tailored design which was still ongoing in late 1905. Apparently meanwhile the commission sent in UK was informed that a revolutionary ship was just been ordered and later confirmed at HM Dockyard, Portsmouth, as a gigantic hull was in construction since 2 October.

They immediately telegraphed back to Brazil that ordering three of the new ships instead was a bolder course of action. Later the budget study of the purchase and UK shipyard capacities led the commission to later cancel the third (which was to be the superlative Rio de Janeiro).

USS Delaware
This race was also between shipyards around the world. The Argentine bid created a fierce competition, leading the government to favor local shipyards by sending also the USS Delaware to Brazil and Chile in early 1911 as a “free to test” sample. Eventually, if US shipyards were chosen by Argentina, British ones were chosen by Chile due to long privileged relations with the RN, which proved not to be the best as the war broke out. As a result in a sense Chile “lost” the race, having her battleship back only in 1920. But she was the best of all.

Christening and Launch ceremony of HMS Rio de Janeiro
Christening and Launch ceremony of HMS Rio de Janeiro, 10 September 1908

This made already world’s headlines as the order became public and caused a sensation. It was so outrageous that Brazil, not a traditional blue water navy in European terms, could be the third country to possess such ships, before France, Italy, Russia or Germany ! The press went wild as allegation of a proxy purchase for Japan or even for Germany (the ships would have been also reverted and perhaps reverse-engineered) and it calmed down when the construction of the Nassau was known in 1907 and Kawachi (1909) in Japan.

The decision also caused a stir – rightfully so, in South America and was even a source of concern for the US Navy, which first dreadnoughts, the 1907 South Carolina class, were 16,000 long tons and 18.5 knots, armed by eight 12-in versus Brazil’s new battlewagons which were 19,000 tons, 21 knots and armed with twelve 12-in guns ! The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manuel Augusto Montes de Oca, remarked a bit hyperbolically that these new battleships could wipe out both the Argentine and Chilean fleets with ease.

They also attracted much interest from the British admiralty itself as the ships and battery was larger than the follow-ups of the Dreadnought, Bellorophon and St Vincent classes. The design was approached on the HMS Colossus but with the same ten guns battery, and somewhat overcome with the Orion which swapped on a larger caliber. The Rio would stick and even beat all records on this exercise in more guns versus larger calibers.


The Rio de Janeiro was the former Sultan Osman I – as depicted her in Brassey’s naval annual 1914′ artist impression. Requisitioned she ended as HMS Agincourt, a very impressive 14x 12-in guns armed capital ship, all in the axis.

Whatever the case, it triggered a reaction of Argentina at first, which not to be outdone, ordered to the USA a pair of their own dreadnoughts in 1910, seeking bids since two years. This was fuelled by further tensions over the River Plate area and by inflammatory newspaper editorials. The massive naval building plan ended after a drawn-out bidding process among fifteen shipyards from every country with a knowhow with large battleships, a fierce competition the Americans won in a background of sudden sympathy tainted of Pan-Americanism and Hemispheric Cooperation. It was accompanied by a massive order of destroyers.

Rivadavia in Construction
Argentine battleship of the Rivadavia class shown under construction at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts, Dec. 1912.

In displacement and gunnery the Rivadavia and Moreno were superior to the Minas Geraes and spawn a response in March 1910 by unlocking the third and fourth orders, Rio and Riachuelo. The first dragged on as the design was altered in May and completely redrawn, and therefore was requisitioned in 1914 while the second only was only planned when the war broke out. She was in service throughout WW1 as HMS Agincourt but proved not to be a good design overall.

Almirante Latorre
Almirante Latorre in the interwar. The British government at first resisted a transfer back to Chile as it would destabilize the region and relaunch a possible arms race. Later the Almirante Cochrane was also asked for, but the Royal Navy which was reconstructing her argued that the cost of rebuilding her was just too much for Chile, and the prospect was dropped. In effect this toned down the consequences of Latorre being commissioned in Chile. Armed with ten 14-in guns and capable of 22.75 knots she was indeed superior to the Brazilian and Argentinian capital ships.

The third player in this race was of course Chile, which financial wealth was not on the same level, yet her congress consented to order two battleships of the Almirante Latorre class in late 1911 after an earthcake and economical recession. Construction was delayed but in 1914 while the first ship was nearly completed, requisitioned by the Royal Navy as the war broke out, to be used as HMS Canada, retro-ceded after the war. The second one, Almirante Cochrane, was taken in hands to be converted as an aircraft carrier (HMS Eagle).

Minas Gerais  Brasseys annual
Minas Gerais – Brasseys annual

Development of the Minas Geraes

A controversial design and adoption

Two factions emerged as what type of ship was to be ordered: Either a small number of large warships, or a larger fleet of smaller ones. The latter prevailed with an order for three small battleships initially, to be completed by three armored cruisers, six destroyers, twelve torpedo boats, three submarines, and two river monitors.

As it happen later for budgetary reasons, the armored cruisers were scrapped, and minister Admiral Júlio César de Noronha signed with Armstrong Whitworth for the three pre-dreadnoughts on 23 July 1906. They were based on the coastal BS Norge and 2nd class Swiftsure, a mixture the yard called Design 439. Basics were 11,800 long tons, 19 knots, 9-in for the belt and 1.5 in for the decks, twelve 10-in guns in six twin turrets in a hexagonal configuration. They were some sorts of Cuniberti-style monocaliber armoured cruisers

blueprints
Shipyard Blueprints, HD

Informed possibly through the naval attaché in Brazil, the American ambassador cabled his Department of State, arguing the destabilization and full naval arms race it will cause. Theodore Roosevelt tried then to coerce the Brazilian government but his attempts failed, the main advocate of firmness being the Baron of Rio Branco. President Afonso Pena ratified the acquisitions which was confirmed at the National Congress of Brazil in November 1906.

The revised design

Meanwhile the yard received demands to modify the Design 439 well before the ships were laid down. The displacement rose to 14,334 long tons (14,564 t), the hull being longer and wider. The first was laid down by Armstrong, Elswick (Newcastle upon Tyne) and the other expected to be subcontracted to Vickers/Barrow. As we saw above, the new dreadnought concept showcased by the yard in December 1906 completely changed the game.

Conway's blueprint
Conway’s side and top view as of 1911

This triggered a return of the first faction, ie in favor of a few, very powerful capital ships, led by Rear Admiral Alexandrino Faria de Alencar, with a complement in budget for two dreadnoughts and provisions for a third dreadnought. The plan was completed by two scout cruisers (Bahia class), ten destroyers and three submarines. As a result, The hulls of the three “Nassau-style” battleships were broken up from 7 January 1907.

The “sport” started when the redesign was made. The new ships inscoporated the latest dreadnought technology under the pen of J.R. Perrett (Elswick Ordnance Company. It was approved by the Brazilian government on 20 February 1907, and was made public, causing Argentina and Chile to scrap their 1902 treaty over their previous naval arms race.

launch 1908
Minas Gerais launch in 1908

When the design was completed and the new keels were laid down, the dreadnought design was still in its infancy, with concerns of the ship’s brand new superfiring turret arrangement -over the blast which could hurt the crew or even damage the lower turret. They were dissipated after the firing tests but the concerns were still raised by the press by June 1910.

Final Design of the Minas Geraes

São Paulo in ww1
São Paulo in WW1 – wikimedia commons via Flickr

In a few lines, the Minas Geraes (Or ‘Gerais’) were not only the largest and mightest battleships in the world on paper at that time, they innovated in some ways, by using for the very first time on a battleships superfiring turrets. This was a brand new arrangement that sparked a lot of interest and fears. The rest of the artillery was placed in echelon, like on the Colossus and Neptune. The latter also had superfiring rear turrets, but only after the confirmation of the Minas Geraes fire trials. The ship indeed gave the opportunity to the Royal Navy to test these ideas without taxpayer money.

The Brazilian dreadnoughts displacement was established at 18,976 long tons (19,281 tonnes (t)) normal, 20,900 long tons (21,200 t) at full load, about the same as the St Vincent, with the benefit of one more turret. The hull was longer at 543 ft (165.5 m) overall versus 536 ft (163.4 m) but slightly narrower at 83 ft (25.3 m) versus 84 ft 2 in (25.7 m) on the St. Vincent.

Propulsion

The minas Gerais and São Paulo were propelled by two shaft mated on Vickers vertical triple expansion engines, fed by 18 Babcock & Wilcox boilers, rated for a total of 23,500 shp (17,500 kW). This was not as advanced than the turbines rated for 24,500 shp (18,300 kW) on the St Vincent four shafts, which provided a top speed of 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph), the same on Minas Gerais. It proved that a dreadnought could stick to traditional VTE engines and still do quite well. However in practice overtime it often fell short of this, because substandard maintenance and neglect. Range was 10,000 nmi (12,000 mi; 19,000 km) at 10 knots (12 mph; 19 km/h) larger than the St Vincent’s 6,900 nmi.

Launch of Minas Gerais 1908

Protection

The main armor belt was made with Krupp cemented armor, nine inches (230 mm) thick. It was rduced to six and three inches (150 and 76 mm) on both ends. Barbettes had nine-inch armor, while the main turret were protected by a 12-in (300 mm) front plate and 8-in (200 mm) side plates, and 2-3-in (51 to 76 mm) on top. The conning tower was only protected by 12-in (305 mm). Multiple deck armor levels ranged from 1, 1/2 to 2 in (38 to 51 mm). These figures were all better than the St Vincent class, which had substandard armor thickness.

Armament

Certainly the strongest point, these battleships wre the best armed of their time. The design main innovation, superfiring turrets, was the only way to preserve realistic hull lenght. There were still many interrogations though, related to the superfiring concept itself (as shown by the USS Kearsage before, which radically “empiled” turrets). In short it was by then only studied by another Nations, the USA, for their initial dreadnought, the South Carolina; But the minas Gerais “washed the plaster” on this anyway. The configuration seemingly weakened the hull integrity where the large barbettes has been pierced through, but allowed a chase and retreat fire of eight guns.

The guns themselves were the standard 12-inch/45 caliber produced by Eslwick, 1906 pattern. Dozens were made for many Dreadnought classes, and exported. The Bore was 45 feet (13.716 m) (45 cal), they fired a shell of 850 pounds (385.6 kg), for a caliber of 12-inch (304.8 mm). Muzzle velocity was between 2,700 feet per second (823 m/s) and 2,800 feet per second (853 m/s) depending on the round (HE or AP), with a maximum firing range of 18,850 yards (17,240 m).

305 mm Turret

The secondary armament was a bit unusual, a battery of twenty-two 4.7 (120 mm)/50 cal. guns. It was still better than the weaker 4-inch (102 mm) guns of the St Vincent introduced with the previous Bellorophon as the Dreadnought was seen as too radical. This caliber was kept until the Iron Duke class, which introduced the famous 6-in (125 mm) caliber. These 4.7 in guns were placed in barbettes along the main deck, and in superfiring positions in the casemate, foward and aft.
The tertiary battery comprised eighteen 3-pounder (47 mm) guns and eight 1 pdr (37 mm) guns to deal with torpedo boats; They were placed by pairs on the roof of main turrets B, X, and the echelon turrets, along the funnels, and bridges. There were no torpedo tubes.

The crew was around 900 men. The total cost of the two ships was considerable already for a great power, more so for Brazil, at an estimated $8,863,842. £6,110,100, without ammunition (£605,520) and upgrades to docks (£832,000). And this already staggering amount was nothing compared to maintenance costs, about 60% of the initial cost for just the first five years of service. This certainly explain the lack of maintenance both ships suffered and which condemned in particular São Paulo to a service punctuated by long inactivity. Despite it all, the two battleships stayed in service until 1953, so for 43 years.

Specifications of Minas Gerais (WW1)

Dimensions 165.5 x 25.30 x 7.6m (543 x 83 x 28 ft)
Displacement 18,976 t, 20,900 t FL
Crew 900
Propulsion 2 shafts VTE, 18 B&W Boilers, 23,500 hp
Speed 21 knots (24 km/h; 39 mph)
Range 10,000 nmi (12,000 mi; 19,000 km) at 10 knots (12 mph; 19 km/h)
Armament 12x305mm/25 (6×2), 6x120mm/50, 18x47mm, 8x37mm.
Armor Belt: 102-229 mm, Decks: 40 mm, Turrets 76-305 mm, CT 300 mm

The Minas Geraes in service

Minas Gerais in WW2 colorized by Hirootoko Jr.

Before even to reach Brazil, both battleships, after making such sensation in the press and to prove the order was genuine, showed the flag in many countries: The first, leaving the Tyne on 5 February 1910, stopped at Plymouth and sailed to the USA on 8 February, escorting the North Carolina with the body of the former Brazilian ambassador Joaquim Nabuco to Rio. São Paulo left Greenock on 16 September 1910, stopped in Cherbourg (France) to carry back President Hermes da Fonseca. Departing on 27th, she stopped at Lisbon where Fonseca was a guest of Portugal’s King Manuel II just before the October 1910 revolution at home.


Minas Geraes after launch. She only displaced about 9100 tons at that stage.

Revolt of the Lash (1910)

São Paulo left Lisbon on 7 October for Rio de Janeiro, docking on 25 October. However soon after arrival, a major rebellion “of the Lash”, Revolta da Chibata started on four Brazilian ships, caused when Afro-Brazilian sailor Marcelino Rodrigues Menezes was flogged 250 times for insubordination. The rebellion started really on 22 November and the Minas Geraes, São Paulo, Deodoro, and Bahia were seized by the crews with only five officers killed.




Crew and scenes on board Minas Geraes during and after the Revolt. Last one: João Cândido Felisberto and crew visited by journalists the last day of the revolt;

Their demand was soon known, the abolition of “slavery as practiced by the Brazilian Navy”. They denounced the low pay, long hours, inadequate training and harsh punishments with the lash and Bôlo. Their demands were granted by the National Congress, causing a stir among officers. Supported by the president of Brazil they denied any amnesty for the mutineers.
However their plot to assault the ships failed after the bill was passed. During all this time the mutineers seems to have perfectly maintained the ship well supplied, in order and discipline, ready for any action.

Introduction booklet by Charles de Lacy
Introduction booklet by Charles de Lacy distributed for the launch.

Minas Gerais and São Paulo in WW1

Camouflaged São Paulo in 1918
Camouflaged São Paulo in 1918

Prior to the war in 1913, Minas Geraes transported Brazilian Minister of Foreign Affairs Lauro Müller to the United States and later joined São Paulo for large scale exercises. Reports of the need for modern fire control system was not followed by any action. Brazil entered the great war in 1917, even offering both battleships for the Grand Fleet, but after inspection it was denied. The ships did not had any modernization and lacked maintenance.

Sao Paulo 1910

They could not equate the standards of the Royal Navy. The situation was grave enough that when São Paulo was sent for a modernization to the USA, only four boilers on 18 total worked correctly, propelling the ship at an appealing pace; On her first leg even the latter failed, and the ship had to be towed by USS Nebraska and Raleigh to the yard in New York. It was done in 1918-19 and followed by Minas Geraes in 1920-21, mainly the replacement of steam engines, fitting of new clocks and other details. The grand modernization had to wait for longer;

Interwar service

Their 1920s service was marked by honorary tasks such as conveying King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth of Belgium to Brazil for the São Paulo or take back home the bodies of exiled Emperor Pedro II and his wife. Both ships also qualled the Tenente revolts (Revolução Tenentista), shelling to surrender a rebel fort. In 1924 there was another mutiny of three lieutenants on São Paulo. They failed and later escaped by capturing a torpedo boat, sailing to Montevideo where they were interned. The ship was later returned hom, escorted by the battleships. While Minas Geraes was modernized, São Paulo led a naval force lifting the naval blockade of Santos during the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932.


View of the boats from the upper turret

American modernization of Minas Geraes (1921)

She received Sperry fire-control systems, Bausch and Lomb range-finders for the two superfiring turrets. These turrets were secured by the adoption of a vertical armor bulkhead. The secondary battery was cut from 22 to 12 guns. The five superfiring ones in casemates were removed. Also, modern AA guns consiosting of two 3″/50 (Bethlehem Steel) ordnance pieces were added on the aft superstructure. New 1.5 in guns were also added near the turrets while the vintage 3-pdr were all removed.

Interwar reconstruction of Minas Geraes

Minas Gerais ww2
Author’s profile of the Minas Geraes when ww2 broke out.

She was conducted at Rio de Janeiro Naval Yard, operations starting on June 1931 and completed in 1938. São Paulo’s own poor condition (she was capable only of 10 knots) cancel any attempt of a modernization. First step was to adopt all-oil firing for boilers. These were six brand new Thornycroft models. The first boiler room and its twelve side coal bunkers were converted to fuel oil storage tanks while the upper coal bunkers were deleted. This rearranged the funnels into a single truncated unit.

Minas Geraes after refit

Dynamos were replaced by turbogenerators. The fire-control systems were alsp brand new Zeiss range-finders. The guns and their cradles were changed, with a maximum elevation going from 13° originally to 18°. Also the secondary armament received two extra 4.7 in (120 mm) guns plus six 20 mm (0.79 in) AA Madsen guns. They replaced the vintage 2-pounders.

Minas Geraes reconstructed

Stern and top views of the Minas Geraes, after reconstruction.

Minas Geraes in WW2

As German attacks on Brazilian trade eventually pushed Brazil to declared war on 21 August 1942, the old fleet was composed of Minas Geraes, São Paulo, Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul. Despite her modernization, Minas Geraes was in poor state and instead of patrolling the Atlantic, she was anchored as a floating battery in Salvador until 1945.

She remained inactive and was eventually decommissioned on 16 May 1952. She was used as stationary headquarters for the Brazilian Navy C-in-C until 17 December. She wa stricken on 31 December, sold to an Italian shipbreaker, SA Cantiere Navale de Santa Maria. Towed there up to 22 April, she was later broken up for scrap.

São Paulo’s late service

São Paulo 1942
São Paulo in 1942

The early part of the São Paulo’s career mirrored the Minas Geraes. During WW1, precisely in 1918, her machinery cased to function propery, here boilers were inoperative for the most and she barely can move, while departing to New York for a modernization. American battleship Nebraska provided immediate assistance, enough to allow her to join Bahia for temporary repairs. Afterwards, escorted by Nebraska and helped by Raleigh later, she made it to New York and emerged in 1920. The range of modifications were the same as Minas Gerais. Afterwards she sailed Cuba for firing trials which took place in Gulf of Guacanayabo. She later anchored at Guantanamo and left for Brazil.

Deck scene Minas Geraes

She carried back to Belgium the Royal Family in August 1920, taking back the bodies of the last Brazilian Emperor and his wife. In 1922 she helped surpressing the Tenente revolts. However her crew mutined on 4 November 1924. She tried to rally other ships to their cause and departed frop Rio de Janeiro. She was damaged by the nearby forts of Santa Cruz and Copacabana, damaging her funnel and fire control system, but she replied. São Paulo eventually was interned in Montevideo, Uruguay and bring back home escorted by Minas Geraes.


São_Paulo on trials, 1910

In 1930 her poor general state prevented any attempt of modernization and she was anchored as a coast-defense ship. Despite of this she blockaded rebels during the Constitutionalist Revolution, at Santos. She went to the drydock in 1934-35 and participated in naval training exercises. She also carried the Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas up the River Plate to Buenos Aires for a meetng with Argentina and Uruguay. After war was declared on 21 August 1942, the battleship sailed to Recife and was stationed here for the remainder of the war to act as a defense ship.

model greenwhich
Shipyard model of the Minas Geraes – Greenwhich museum collections

She returned to Rio de Janeiro in 1945, was stricken 2 August 1947 but went on to serve as a static training vessel until 1951. She was later sold to Iron and Steel Corporation and BU in Great Britain. Howver she sank en route, north of the azores, after her tugs severed their wires to avoid sinking or collided with her. The enquiry concluded a probable position in 1954 when she capsized with her crew, her wreck has never been found.
Her bell has been preserved in Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo.

sao paulo In the interwar

Read More/Src
Campbel, Gardiner, Gray, Randal, ed. Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships: 1906–1921.
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press
Adrian J. (1984). Armed Forces of Latin America. Jane’s Publishing Inc.
Livermore, Seward W. (1944). «Battleship Diplomacy in South America: 1905–1925».
The Journal of Modern History. 16 (1): 31–44.
Mead, Edwin D. (1908). «Reaction in South America». Advocate of Peace (10)
Scheina, Robert L. (1987). Latin America: A Naval History 1810–1987. Annapolis Naval Institute Press
Topliss, M.J. (1988). «The Brazilian Dreadnoughts, 1904–1914». Warship International.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentine%E2%80%93Chilean_naval_arms_race
South_American_dreadnought_race
Minas_Geraes-class_battleship