An ex-Chilean (mighty) battleship
This powerful battleship, one of the most imposing of the moment, was not commanded by the admiralty but by Chile, who wanted not to lose face during the “naval race” started by the Brazilians with their two Minas Gerais and the Argentineans with their Rivadavia. Great admirers of the Royal Navy, with which the Chilean navy had very close ties, the Chileans thus ordered in 1911 two battleships more powerful in principle than the buildings mentioned above.
The Armstrong shipyard was of course solicited by its export vocation, and began talks via its commercial body with the Chilean Admiralty, whose specifications simply required a higher speed, and 10 pieces of 14 inches (356 mm) , which gave them a margin of safety in range and power of typing.
They received the name of Almirante Cochrane and Almirante Latorre, replacing the old battleships in service with that name. This weapon was at the time modeled on that of the King George V and Orion, with 5 double turrets in line, but with a caliber however larger, and unusual in the RN: The other classes of British battleships passed successively of the caliber 12 inches (305 mm) to 13 inches (343 mm), then directly to 381 mm (15 inches).
The Erin, former Turkish battleship, for its part also defrayed this standard by its 10 pieces of 345 mm.
These two battleships were quite advanced in 1914: The Latorre was launched November 27, 1913, and was well advanced in August 1914. The Cochrane on her side was late, especially because of Queen Elisabeth, priority, and was not yet in condition to be launched on the same date: It was not laid down until February 1913.
The British Government was aware of its links with Chile, a major exporter of sulfur and nitrates, particularly to Great Britain ad vital to its war industries. This had a considerable use especially for shells, the bread and butter of the battlefield in ww1. Unlike Turkish ships, it was unthinkable to carry out a requisition of authority in this case, so an agreement was reached that Great Britain would complete the battleship at her own expense, and use it for the duration of the conflict. For her to return it to her definitive owner after the armistice, which was formalized on 9 September.
A year later, the battleship, temporarily renamed HMS Canada, was accepted into service. she had a set of high-pressure Brown-Curtis tubines and low-pressure Parsons, was high (his chimneys were shortened), but not unstable. In 1916 his four 152-mm rear pieces, too much affected by central turret fire, were removed, and in 1918 an aircraft platform was added to two turrets.
(To come – This article is a starter)
Career of the HMS Canada
The situation of his sister-ship, the Cochrane, was more problematic. It was no longer a question of completion on behalf of Chile in good time, and because of other priorities, she was simply “put to sleep”, the government implying a post-war end. She was in fact launched in June 1918 after a new agreement was reached with Chile, the government “redeeming” the building to convert it into an aircraft carrier.
This decision came with the experience of the war in the autumn of 1917, particularly in light of the difficulties encountered with the Furious. The Admiralty wanted a large and fast flush-deck hull building, and the Latorre met those expectations. The new design was formalized in December, but completion of the ship only came in April 1920, under the new name of HMS Eagle. This building, which was one of the mainstays of British naval warfare between the two wars, was one of the most disappointing in operations during the Second World War (see Eagle, Navis2GM).
Canada, on the other hand, was posted to 4 Wing Grand Fleet and fought in Jutland without losses. He was then assigned until 1919 to the 1st squadron, then passed in dry dock. It was finally transferred in April 1920 to Chile, resuming its original name. Almirante Latorre remained active until 1959.
|Dimensions||201,5 x 31,5 x 8,7 m|
|Displacement||28 000 t, 32 300 T FL|
|Propulsion||4 shaft Parsons turbines, 21 Yarrow boilers, 37 000 hp.|
|Speed||22.7 knots (44 km/h)|
|Range||6,680 nautical miles (12,370 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)|
|Armament||10 x 356 (5×2), 16 x 152, 2 x 76 AA, 4 x 47, 4 x 457mm (Sub, sides) TTs.|
|Armor||Belt 230, citadel 115, Barbettes 230, turrets 250, CT 280, deck 100 mm.|
Author’s profile of the Canada in 1914.