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Saturday, June 10th 2006, 9:44am

Fleet Overview

Will be here, not here yet


Sunday, December 3rd 2006, 1:21pm

The First Five Year Naval Construction Programme 1931-1936 Progress Report

The First Five Year Naval Construction Programme called for the building of 48 torpedo boats and escorts and 48 small craft, 12 destroyers, two light cruisers and a heavy cruiser. Progress has been mixed but overall the Navy views modernisation as the primary aim of this first programme.

Torpedo Boats: A capability report now identifies a need for only 36 ships in this class. Twelve Corrientes Class ships have been built in 1931 but design problems have stopped production of this type. A more capable class has been designed, the Indomita Class. These ships are larger and more complex to build being more like mini-destroyers. Four will be built as will four of a new escort type for oceanic operations.

Escorts: The Guardia Class has entered service. Six will be built and operated in the minesweeper role for the time being. The multi-role Chaco design may well enter service in double-figure numbers by 1941. A powerful AA escort variant will shortly be built. At least 24 small Project 611 boats will be built for coastal work. More will be built for customs operations.

Destroyers: Five new ships have already been built, three Mendoza and two Italian leaders. The Mendoza Class will number seven by 1936. One armed with the new 115mm DP turret will be a flotilla leader for the new class of 115mm armed ships to be built in 1933. Five of these will be built. This will give a total of 12 ships and this part of the programme will be completed by 1936.

Light Cruisers: After much debate two types have been purchased. The new Light Scout Cruiser will replace all current light cruisers in service and was an unplanned part of the programme aimed at increasing the efficiency of the Navy. Two powerful 15x5.9” gunned cruisers have are under construction in Germany. A foreign purchase of four more cruisers will soon enable a third cruiser squadron to be formed. A light cruiser/ minelayer/ training ship has also been built. This part of the programme will be complete by 1936.

Heavy Cruisers: Many designs have been rejected and the planned 10” gunned ships have been discarded. A new 170mm gunned ship will begin construction by 1936. Two ships will be built to give a squadron of four heavy cruisers.

Light Craft: All planned targets have been scrapped owing to design problems but soon MAS types will be produced to fill capability gaps.

Submarines: Two have been completed in Germany and at least four more will be built by 1936.

Overall: By 1941 two battleships, three/four battlecruisers, two aircraft carrying vessels, 36 destroyers,12 cruisers, twenty-four torpedo boats, around 30 escorts and six/twelve submarines.

In 1933 two battleships, three battlecruisers, 22 destroyers, six/ten cruisers, fifteen torpedo boats, five escorts and two submarines.