A STRATEGIC WEAPON ON A REGIONAL SCALEDuring the cold war, the power of States determined by the number of nuclear warheads in their arsenals, but only half a century before — the number of battleships-dreadnoughts. But the rating of Latin American countries in the late XIX — early XX century was measured by the presence of cruisers. However, this was not surprising. Primitive land communications and the practical absence of the railroads virtually the entire turnover of these countries was carried out on the water — after all, significant cities and towns of Latin America are on the coast or on the banks of large rivers.

Of course, in the case of war, ensuring that their communications and communications of the enemy became almost the main task of the opposing fleets. A cruiser is precisely the specialized ships, adapted for solving such tasks.
The misunderstanding of these truths sometimes led to tragi-comic and even farcical situations clearly, as it were, for example, in the early 1880-ies, when z is far and godforsaken Ecuador attempted coup. Unlike the previous cases, the new insurgents chose the custom tactics. Realizing that the battle in the open field is doomed to fail, they bet on the “point” attack from the sea. Rent in Panama steamer “Alajuela”, the rebels on Board arrived safely in the port of Manabi.
Ordinary bullying has long set the stalemate in the political arena of the country: after all, return to the city could only reply troops! Only after a while the government succeeded in arming the ship “Nuevo de Julio” to establish constitutional order in the remote jungle.
Therefore, even the most unimportant state in Latin America sought to get their cruiser. While rejecting the obvious fraud, as it were, for example, in Ecuador, where the cruiser was issued by the former tug “Cotopaxi”, the navies of the countries of this region was enriched with very interesting units, and forming an important page in the world createrestore.
Of course, that, having limited financial resources, most countries are unable to go further cruisers of the second rank according to the traditional at that time the world classification. But even these “pygmies” have left a very significant mark in the history of Latin America.
Oddly enough, but the leader in this kind of cruising the arms race was a very poor Peru. Lost during the war with Chile, both of his battleship, Peru was completely without cruising fleet. Meanwhile, it is the actions of the Peruvian “Mascara” and “Independencia” once again proved the thesis that the mastery of the sea in Latin America is winning the war.
To restore the cruising forces in the war-torn country has been declared a national subscription, a huge role in which played the widows of soldiers and sailors. So that in 1880 the Kiel shipyards have managed to build two new cruisers. With a displacement of 1700 tons of ships were pretty good for its time, a 16-node running and could carry up to six medium-calibre weapons (tank, Utah and four in the Barbet). For secrecy the contract was concluded therefore that the “Lima” and “Callao” on the paper was listed by Greek steamers “Socrates” and “Diogenes”. In 1881, through nominees in the UK was acquired weaponry and both ships went there. Here to reveal the truth, and the British authorities chose to detain both dubious of the vessel before the end of the war.
In the end, 31 Aug 1889 in Callao arrived only one cruiser — “Lima”, and the second had to be sold for debts, especially after the defeat in the war with the Peruvian leadership, a host of other priorities.
In the end, “Lima” for a long time was the only cruiser of Peru. By the way, on Board the “Lima” home was delivered the remains of Admiral Grau, which the cruiser made a visit to Chile, thus becoming the first Peruvian ship which came to this country after the war. The career cruiser has repeatedly experienced UPS and downs, until in 1926, it was not attached to the submarine division. However, the role of supply vessels to a fairly strong hull looked just wasteful. Eventually, during another escalation of the political situation, this time with Colombia, the ship was transferred to the Amazon, where it was used as a floating battery until 1950-ies!
No less interesting career fell to the lot of twin Lima. And not raising the Peruvian flag, the ship is permanently “stuck” in the “price lists” for sale ships. For ten years the press has repeatedly reported on the sale of the boat, then Portugal, then Japan, then something no less exotic to the buyer. But in the end, just before the Spanish-American war, the ship was acquired by the United States.
May 1, 1898 renamed “Topeka” ship dropped anchor in new York to become the almost two-month refurbishment under the American standards. But he still managed to pick up in the war, literally under the curtain, taking part in the sinking of the cruiser “Jorge Juan”. In the future, as the Peruvian and her twin, “Topeka” repeatedly changed his “profession”, having been consistently training, hydrographic, finally, a commercial vessel going to be scrapped only in 1930.
In 1891 he got his cruiser Mexico, by her order, the shipyard “Chantiers Forsh e” in Le Havre laid the cruiser “Porfirio Diaz”. But by the time of launching the new ship was a crossed neutral in the political sense “Zaragoza”. With a displacement of 1200 tons he was carrying quite a powerful armament of four 120-mm rapid-fire guns Kane. In February next year, the cruiser dropped anchor in Veracruz, actually having served under the Mexican flag. The first and most significant event in the life of the ship was the circumnavigation committed in 1895 — 1997 — for the first time not only in the Mexican Navy, but in General among the fleets of third world countries!
Of course, that the whole future career of the flagship of the Mexican Navy is closely woven into the history of all political and military shocks which the Republic during the early twentieth century Punitive operations against the rebellious Maya in 1898 to 1905, the battle of Tampico in April and may of 1914, the campaign in the Yucatan in 1915 — this is not a complete list of transactions, which was marked “Zaragoza”. Upon expiration of service, when in 1926, the cruiser was excluded from the lists of the fleet, he found peace near Veracruz, sunk during artillery exercises.
The next two countries — Colombia and Venezuela in creating their cruisers took the path of least resistance and cost, simply by purchasing “used” members of this class. But if the Venezuelan Mariscal Sucre to the time of the transaction have practically had no battle value, as in “previous life” under the name “Isla de Cuba” he served the navies of Spain and the United States almost two decades, Colombia has gained even quite modern Moroccan “al Bashir”, built in 1892 in the Italian project is the English engineers. With a displacement of 1200 tons, the ship speeds up to 18 knots, and had on Board a whole Arsenal of artillery weapons, which included 140-mm gun of Driggs at the LHC, four 57-mm guns and four skorostrel Schneider-Kane. However, on arrival in Colombia all five antique guns replaced by a pair of 120-mm skorostrel (bow and stern). Interestingly, in Morocco El Bashir” was a yacht of the Sultan, so that the legacy of the Arabs, the Colombians went to the luxurious and richly decorated apartments.
The decision of the Sultan to auction his cruiser-yacht coincided with the end of the civil war 1899 — 1902 in Colombia. The government wanted to revive its Maritime power, quickly found a common language with the Moroccans. Hired in Spain to ferry the team for 11 July 1902, safely brought the ship to the Colombian Cartagena.
Initially, in recognition of their former metropolis, the cruiser was named Blas de Leso, the hero of the defense of Cartagena. But the name “Almirante Leso” did not stick, and just two years later, the cruiser was renamed again in “Cartagena”. Along with a couple of gunboats and armed vehicles, it made up the core of the revived Colombian Navy. In 1907, the government issued a decree on the formation of the ships training detachment — measure, probably unique in world history!
However, this was not surprising. In that period served in the Navy mainly the Spaniards and the Chileans, so that by his decree the government simply decided to provide support for national staff and, to his credit, is quite possible. Unfortunately, the ground infrastructure proved to be more time-consuming, which determined the short life of the cruiser. Although in 1912 it was renovated in Havana, already in 1916 it because of the extreme disrepair had to be sold for scrap at public auction.
157. Of the second rank cruiser “Lima”, Peru, 1880
Built in Kiel by “Gould”. A displacement of 1700 tons, length 76.2 m, width 10.6 m, draft 4,5 m. Capacity twin-shaft machinery installation 1800 HP, speed 16,2 KTS. Armament: two 152-mm and three 57-mm guns. In 1920, armament was replaced by four 102-mm guns. The crew of 150 people.
Just built two: “Lima” and “Callao”, the latter was never in the Navy of Peru, and in 1898 acquired by the United States and renamed “Topeka”.
158. Of the second rank cruiser “Patagonia”, Argentina, 1885
Built in Trieste “Stabilimento, Tecnico Trestino”. The normal displacement of 1450 tons, length is 64.9 m, width-9,9 m, draft 3,9 m. Capacity twin-shaft machinery installation 2730 HP, speed 14 KTS. Booking: 32 mm deck, gun shields 102 mm, cutting 38 mm. Armament: one 254-mm, three 152-mm Armstrong guns and four cannon. The crew of 210 people.
Built one unit. In 1909, after using one 152-mm, one 120-mm and eight 75-mm. In 1918 he was dismissed from the Navy and converted into a transport.
159. Of the second rank cruiser “Uruguay”, Uruguay, 1910
Built in Stettin by the firm “Volcano”. A displacement of 1250 tons, length of 81.0 m, width 9,5 m, draft 3.1 m. Capacity twin-shaft machinery installation of 6000 HP, speed 23 KTS. Armament: two 120-mm Krupp guns, four 75-mm, six small-caliber guns, two torpedo tubes. The crew of 160 persons, Built one unit. Scrapped in 1951

A very dubious example of Colombia and Venezuela was followed by another South American state of Uruguay. In 1908 the fleet of this Republic has been enriched with cruiser”, Bente and Cuatro de Agosto”, however, by the time of the transaction, “the bride was already middle-aged” and had a rather non-trivial and interesting biography.
The history of the ship began on 12 February 1884 as the first-born Uruguayan createrestore when sir Armstrong laid the body of No. 482 with the purpose of resale. In December of the following year was the first buyer in the person of the Greeks and the new building was solemnly named “Salamis”. The time when January 28, 1886, the cruiser launched, the contract with the Greeks was already terminated, and their place in July of that year was occupied by the Turks. But soon they left the arena. Finally, under the name of “Angelo Emo” 28 APR 1887, suffering the cruiser joined the Italian Navy where it was renamed the “Dogali”.
Acquiring this dubious outfit has caused a heated debate in the Uruguayan Parliament. Congress expressly indicated that the 21-year-old ship is old and totally unusable. But the sailors presented a United front, proving that a solid six-inch main guns at a moderate price makes the vehicle an ideal training vessel. In the end, the opposition parliamentarians were broken, January 29, 1908, the ship lifted Uruguayan flag.
But a series of changing names did not end there! Already in 1910, the cruiser was renamed again, this time, the final in Montevideo. However, that little has changed in the lives of the crew, because in 1909, after the necessary repairs, he took on Board the first of the cadets. It is a routine service old cruiser suddenly reached its peak of popularity in 1918 when on Board in the US came to visit the Uruguay Prime Minister Benjamin Broome. At the end of the ceremonies the ship had visited Europe, making the Uruguayan Navy in the world. Only in 1932, the veteran ship departed for scrapping.
By the way, the hype around the sale of the Montevideo unexpectedly brought obvious dividends. Parliamentarians by a majority of voters voted for the acquisition of the most modern cruiser of the second rank, betrothed, not without aplomb “Uruguay”.
Critically examining the experience of their neighbors, the marine headquarters decided to order ship from one of the German shipyards, chosen as the prototype of the Brazilian cruisers of the “Tupi”.
Shipyard “Vulkan” good job! When in 1910, “Uruguay” became part of the fleet, it was, really, the last word in technology. However, in naval history, oddly enough, he came in as the last ship with a ramming shpiron. But, anyway, the ship was prepared for a pretty long biography. Successfully having survived two world wars, he went to be scrapped until 1951, replaced by two purchased in the USA destroyers. And history buffs probably easily remember the “part” of the cruiser in the famous battle at the mouth of La Plata in which he was mortally wounded by the German pocket battleship “Admiral Graf Spee”. It is the presence of “Uruguay” gave the chance to observe the rules of decency warring parties to respect the neutrality of the South American Republic.
Pretty intense construction of the cruisers of the second rank small States of Latin America could not pass unnoticed by the three “giants” of the Western hemisphere — Argentina, Brazil and Chile. However, they demonstrated very different approaches in its vision of this component necessary cruising forces.
The Chilean government took the line of least resistance. In shipbuilding law, 22 Aug 1887 was supposed to be built in France, La Seine a couple of armored cruisers — “Presidente Pinto” and “Presidente Errazuriz”.
Designed by renowned engineer Laganum the project was neither exceptional nor revolutionary. But it combines two essential components — high quality at a moderate price. But no matter how rushed the builders, the President of Balmaseda, new cruiser completed a full cycle of factory tests, when Chile began a civil war. Observing the principles of neutrality, the British could send the cruiser to his homeland only after the establishment of peace there. However, this did not prevent the crew of the “Presidente Pinto” rebel, supporting the rebels. Only in 1892 year, the two cruisers were able to anchor in Valparaiso. Further service ships leaked pretty routine. And may 26, 1905 “Presidente Pinto” died as a result of a navigational error. His twin, having at different times upgrading and replacement of boilers, in the end lasted until 1930, playing in the last period of his life the role of a training ship.
But only of the second rank cruiser “Patagonia,” neighboring Argentina became very extravagant. Take Builder — the cruiser was built at the Austrian plant, “Stabilimento, Tecnico Trestino”. The main calling card was a dual purpose that can be classified in modern terms as “vessel type river — sea”. The result is a kind of nautical project, river monitor.
“Patagonia”, as the “boatman” had a flat-bottomed hull, with a small battering RAM. But for service in the sea to protect the hull from corrosion, the bottom is sheathed with wood and copper. On the one hand, the cruiser had a full sailing rig of a brig with a substantially horizontal bowsprit, and on the other hand, elaborate methods of flooding. The vitality he provided: first, the division into numerous watertight compartments, which in this polutoratysyachnogo the boat, there were over seven dozen, and secondly — the presence of the armored deck all over the case. Since rivers are, as a rule, the highest value has a linear broadside, “Patagonia” had a nose, neither more nor less than 254-mm gun.
The armament was supplemented in the side and stern sectors three 150-mm guns, the protection of the personnel provided ballistic shields.
November 19, 1886 on the ship raised the Argentine flag, and he soon set off on their first transatlantic journey, which lasted 101 days. And in 1890, the cruiser was literally at the epicenter of the revolution, becoming a sort of Argentine “Aurora”. On 27 and 28 July his guns even fire at government House. But in 1893 year, the “Patagonia” remained loyal to the government, in fact foreshadowing the suppression of the revolution.
In subsequent years, the cruiser underwent several upgrade and various repairs that significantly changed its appearance. He consistently performed the duties of a training artillery ship, survey vessel, the cadet school, while in 1918, the Navy decided to get rid of the old ship. But even the strong hull of the old cruiser and very reliable mechanisms determined its application in the transport fleet! In subsequent years, transport Patagonia carried out regular flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia boys. In March 1936, the tugs had been delivered non-self-propelled hull to Concepcion, where it is as the residence was chosen by the local yacht club. Only in March 1973, a little before reaching his century, Patagonia went for scrap.
But probably the most methodically to its cruising forces went naval leadership at that time, the youngest Republic in Latin America — Cuba. Comprehended combat experience during the Spanish-American war, its government in 1910, taking quite large for a small country’s shipbuilding program. Because the best way in fighting the Cuban coast proved themselves the cruisers of Montgomery and gunboat type “Machias”, their performance characteristics and formed the basis of the requirements specification issued by the plant Kramp for the construction of the cruiser “Cuba” and gunboat “Patria”.
Launched on August 10, 1910, the cruiser “Cuba” with a displacement of just over two thousand tons and speed of 18 knots carrying weapons from two chetyrehluchevoy. Throughout his career he has modernizarea in American shipyards: two times major during the world wars, bringing the strongest ship of the Union of Cuba to American standards, and once between them — at the end of the 1930-ies. Then on the “Cuba” replaced the already rather worn-out boilers. The result of a fairly active life of the cruiser was announced in 1961, when it was converted into blockship by scrapping a decade later.

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