Cordoba Class Destroyers
ARG-DDonesmall.jpg
(Note: drawing contains some parts taken from Shipbucket.com)

Ship Characteristics

Dimensions Length 466.5 ft
Beam 47.3 ft
Draft 13.6 ft
Displacement (Standard) 3,810 tons
Displacement (Full Load) 5,420 tons
Performance Speed (max) 41 knots
Speed (cruising) 18 knots
Endurance 4,350 nautical miles at 18 knots
Armament Guns 8 5.3 inch L45, 8 47mm L70

Background

In 1939, the Italian Navy ordered 12 very light cruisers of the Capitani Romani class, these being intended to overtake and destroy enemy (French) destroyers. As such, these ships were a very early example of the way wartime attempts to build small light cruisers would provide the basis for the post-war generation of large destroyers. When Italy dropped out of WW2 in 1940, four of these twelve ships were cancelled and the hulls were scheduled to be scrapped on the stocks. However, Argentina was in the market for warships of this type and bought all four ships. Work on them proceeded very slowly due to wartime conditions and they were still under construction when the war ended on June 6, 1947.

The experience of the Second World War showed clearly that these ships were already obsolete. In particular they were not radar-equipped and their anti-aircraft armament was very poor. Accordingly, the Argentine navy insisted that they be modernized. This work included removing the original pole masts and replacing them with lattice masts carrying radars purchased from the United States. The existing anti-aircraft armament (a mix of Italian 37mm and 20mm guns) was also removed and replaced with four twin mounts equipped with a new and very powerful 47mm gun. The torpedo tubes were also removed and replaced by an extended weather deck that provided extra accommodation. By the time this work had been completed, the ships had been under construction for almost 15 years.

The Cordoba class destroyers joined the Argentine fleet in the early 1950s, replacing a group of pre-WW1 destroyers. They proved to be very fast and well-armed ships and quickly became favorites in the Argentine fleet. In the early 1970s, they were brought in for modernization, being given new radars and four launchers for Otomat anti-ship missiles amidships.

Class Members

Name Ordered Laid Down Launched Commissioned Fate
Cordoba (ex Claudio Druso) 1939 1940 1943 1952 Sunk by Royal Navy air attack, Falklands, April 29, 1982
La Plata (ex Claudio Tiberio) 1939 1940 1944 1953 Sunk by Royal Navy air attack, Grytviken South Georgia, April 23, 1982
Catamarca (ex Paulo Emilio) 1939 1940 1944 1954
Jujay (ex Vipsanio Agrippa) 1939 1940 1945 1955
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