Big money spoils people, and small ones simply disfigure.
The eternal desire to appear “better than there is”, aggravated by an acute shortage of funds, sometimes produces completely comical results and is fraught with the most terrible consequences for overly enthusiastic arrogant insolent people. The situation is completely out of control, when some small but proud country in a fit of unmotivated bravado and mock patriotism decides to declare itself "a great maritime power." And where there is a sea, there must be a fleet. This is where the madness begins!
I suggest readers make a fascinating excursion into the world of naval phantoms. In a world where, under the sweet dope of Latin American dreams and the spicy aroma of oriental tales, all reasonable canons of naval battles are erased — real power is replaced by empty bluster, combat effectiveness is shined by freshly painted sides, and the scope of application of ships is limited to organizing cruises for high-ranking officials.
Soap opera 100 years long
It's no secret that along with first-class fleets leading powers and strong naval formations of countries of a lower rank, the World Ocean is plowed by many "clowns" who, for the sake of solidity, pretended to be the combat units of their fleets.
Of course, any fighting to clowns is contraindicated - all these ships exist solely for fun and build self-esteem among the inhabitants of the "great maritime powers." It does not matter that the budget of the "great maritime powers" is already bursting at the seams, and their industry and level of technical development are often unable to provide even the simplest routine work on board these super-ships. The ships themselves are usually acquired abroad for the last pennies - large supported ships, excluded because of their age from the naval forces of the advanced naval powers, are in special demand.
The situation is complicated by the well-known Murphy's Law: the more useless the ship, the more monstrous its dimensions must be. Why buy a German diesel-electric submarine or the French frigate Lafayette, if you can buy a whole aircraft carrier! It doesn't matter that, instead of an aircraft carrier, they will sell an unfit pile of metal - no one is going to go into battle anyway. But how menacing and epic the aircraft carrier looks!
But rather long speeches! The public wants to know as much as possible facts and specifics.
Naval clowning has its rich traditions - its true “flourishing” came at the beginning of the twentieth century, when the era of the battleships was deafeningly replaced by the era of dreadnoughts. The brilliance of gun barrels and steel armor could not leave indifferent the inhabitants of sunny Brazil.
In 1908, the shipyard of Armstrong (Great Britain) laid the first of two dreadnoughts of the Minas Gerais type for the Brazilian Navy. Incredibly, the poor collectors of rubber and coffee plantation workers were ahead of the whole world!
At first, no one believed - foreign newspapers vied with one another that the Brazilians had made an ingenious deal and would soon resell the dreadnought to a third party (USA, Germany or Japan). Nothing like this! Brazil fully paid for the purchase of two large toys - the Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo joined the ranks of the Brazilian fleet with triumph.
Argentine dreadnoughts such as "Rivadavia"
Impressed by the success of their neighbor, two other South American freaks, Chile and Argentina, entered the arms race.
Argentina ordered two Rivadavia-type dreadnought in the USA. Chile issued a contract for the construction of dreadnoughts such as "Almirante Lattore" in British shipyards. This phenomenon became known as the “South American Dreadnought Race” - an event that is certainly interesting for historians, but very sad for the involuntary witnesses of all this madness.
The first and main question that arises after becoming acquainted with South American Dreadnoughts: WHY?
The answer in the style of "strengthening the country's defense" does not pass - it is impossible to imagine a situation in which Argentina and Brazil might need a battleship. In a possible war with each other, the fleets of both powers did not solve anything - Argentina and Brazil have a common land border with a length of 1000 km. All conflicts in South America from time immemorial were resolved only on land.
And even more so, a pair of dreadnoughts was completely useless for solving any global problems. What did the Brazilian "Minas Gerais" and "Sao Paulo" mean against the power of the British "Grand Fleet" or the German High Sea Fleet?
Fleet is an interconnected system of components. Dreadnoughts require cover with light forces, and all South American countries, despite efforts to purchase new ships, experienced a shortage of modern cruisers, destroyers, and even the simplest minesweepers. Finally, in the case of any real hostilities, the single battleships of the countries of South America could not go to sea at all, becoming victims of all sorts of sabotage and sabotage. The likelihood of such accidents is extremely high - especially given the attitude of the mulattoes to the navy and measures to ensure the safety of ships.
It was from these positions that Argentines and Brazilians should have developed their armed forces, and not to acquire “super-weapon” for crazy money, which turned out to be a useless toy.
Battleship "Minas Gerais" Volley
Accumulating money for a dreadnought is only half the problem. The subsequent operation of such a powerful and complex ship will require enormous costs. Crank from South America, of course, did not pull such expenses. The result is a report from Armstrong’s technical representative:
Ships are in poor condition, rust covered towers and steam boilers. Estimated cost of repairing 700 000 £
And this is only after a couple of years in the Brazilian Navy! Then it was only worse - the Brazilian dreadnoughts were subjected to rapid moral and physical aging; the capabilities of the ships were limited by outdated fire control systems, and the poor state of the machines and mechanisms did not allow moving 18 nodes faster.
It is easy to imagine what would have happened to South American dreadnoughts in the event of real hostilities - the brave mulatto would have neither the strength, nor the means, nor the experience of repairing combat damage, and all the “spare parts” would have to be delivered from another hemisphere. In the worst case, tow a damaged ship for repair in the US or the UK. This is a colossal problem, especially considering the possible embargoes on the part of European countries.
But all this is utter nonsense against the background of the following problem:
Effective control of a huge ship requires a well-trained crew and competent officers. Regular exercises, firing and maneuvers, working out interactions with diverse forces aviation and fleet. None of this was in South America.
If the issue with the officers was more or less resolved - many naval sailors underwent "training" in the US Navy or attended naval academies in European countries, then the situation with the rank and file was simply disastrous:
Uneducated black sailors in the position of half-slabs, cruel corporal punishment, the absence of any real combat training — the Brazilian fleet of the early twentieth century was a mess of hell. Under such conditions, the appearance of dreadnoughts in the fleet sounds like an absurd anecdote - the training level of the Brazilian Navy’s personnel was hardly enough to control a simple destroyer, not that the most complex capital ship.
Sailors on the deck of the dreadnought Minas Gerais, 1913 year
Barely the Minas Gerais was handed over to the Brazilian Navy, a riot of black sailors broke out on board the dreadnought - fortunately, the conflict was resolved peacefully, but the fleet leadership had to remove the bolts of the ship's guns - away from sin. This fact eloquently testifies to the real state and combat capabilities of the Brazilian battleships.
The situation was not the best for the Argentine Navy — already during its first voyage to the shores of South America, the brand-new Dreadnought Rivadavia flew twice onto stones and collided with a barge. His twin, Moreno, is famous for disgracing at the international naval parade in Spithead (1937 year) - Argentines were unable to anchor properly, and Moreno, like a clown, stood the whole parade in a crooked position.
The South American arms race ended as suddenly as it began - all the competitors ran out of money.
Since the beginning of the arms race in 1910, financial conditions, and then not brilliant, have become even worse; when it was time to pay, it became clear to the residents of the three countries that they needed money more than battleships.
- Henry Fletcher, then US ambassador to Chile
Dreadnoughts never took part in battles, and the uselessness of buying soon became apparent even to the top leaders of South American countries. The situation with the purchase of battleships finally came to a standstill and caused a lot of angry responses from the public:
The first two dreadnought cost the Brazilian treasury 6 110 000 pounds, 605 000 more pounds were spent on ammunition, and 832 000 pounds were invested in the modernization of the docks. In other words, the epic battleship cost a quarter of the annual budget of Brazil, not counting the cost of their subsequent operation.
One of the Brazilian newspapers calculated that 3000 miles of railroad tracks or 30 000 farmsteads could be built with these funds.
Of course, plans for the construction of the third Brazilian battleship died in the bud - laid in the UK dreadnought "Rio de Janeiro", even on the slipway was sold ... Ottoman Empire! (how can a Turkish sultan live without his own dreadnought?)
In the eastern part of Europe, a similar comedy was played out - a not very well-to-do Greece and the Ottoman Empire, breathing its last, decided to repeat the feat of Brazil. Alas, and this time nothing good came of the dreadnoughts' attempt - “Sultan Osman I” (formerly “Rio de Janeiro”) was never handed over to Turkey due to the start of the First World War. Greece did not wait for its dreadnought either - built at the shipyard in Szczecin, Salamis was confiscated by Germany with the start of the war, and stood unfinished for twenty years. After a long legal battle, the ship's wreck was dismantled for metal in 1932.
Similar attempts to build a dreadnought were made in Spain - as a result, a series of Espanha battleships came to light. It is worth noting that Spain built its own battleships in its own shipyards - of course, using ready-made components, materials and mechanisms supplied from the UK.
However, this time, the capital ships did not bring happiness. The Spanish “pelvis” was ashamed to be compared with the British or Japanese super dreadnoughts - Espanha type battleships were in fact low-speed coastal defense battleships with rather weak weapons and armor (even by the standards of the First World War).
Their fate was the most tragic: taking advantage of the fact that the Spanish Navy was in the grip of a revolutionary mess, the battleship Jaime I committed suicide - an accidental fire and detonation of the ammunition did not leave the ship a chance for salvation. No small misfortune befell the headline Espane - in 1923, the battleship sat tight on the stones and fell apart under the blows of the waves.
Historyis known to spiral
The senseless “dreadnought races” of the beginning of the twentieth century are the only possible explanation for the existence of many modern fleets. “The attack of clowns” continues today: instead of dreadnoughts sunk into oblivion, no less epic ships — aircraft carriers — became popular.
The Kingdom of Thailand is setting a proud example to the whole world - Thai sailors are happy owners of an aircraft carrier "Chakri Narubet". It does not matter that the ship spends the bulk of its time at the berth of the naval base Chuck Samet, and rare outings are dedicated to high-profile cruises - the world's largest cabin-suite for the royal family of Thailand is located on board the world's smallest aircraft carrier.
HTMS Chakri Naruebet
It is quite obvious that the Thai Navy's “cabut ship” is not a warship, and the presence on its decks of a pair or three of units of aviation equipment can be viewed as an incidental curiosity.
Hurries to repeat their past exploits of the Brazilian Navy - the Brazilian fleet is the proud owner of a rusty pile of metal called "Sao Paulo". There is nothing surprising here - this is just the former French aircraft carrier Foch (tab - 1957 year, launch - 1960 year). In 2001, the ship was solemnly sold to Brazil and has since been the flagship of the Brazilian fleet.
NAe São Paulo (A12)
Deck Aviation Brazilian!
Everyone stand! Hands behind head!
Everyone stand! Hands behind head!
No less amusing is the São Paulo air group - a couple of dozens of A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft (an American subsonic aircraft originally from 1950's). Brazilian carrier-based aircraft uses a modification of the A-4KU Skyhawk - planes with a developed resource that were once in service with the Kuwaiti Air Force.
Despite the venerable age of aircraft, accidents on the Brazilian aircraft carrier are extremely rare - probably, this is somehow due to the fact that the "San Paulo" goes to sea once a year for photo shoots.
Until recently, the whole world laughed at the Argentine aircraft carrier ARA Veinticinco de Mayo ("25 May") - the former Dutch aircraft carrier "Karel Doorman", he is also the British "Venereble", launched in the distant 1943 year.
ARA Veinticinco de Mayo
The real fighting value of this floating circus was shown by the Falklands War - barely confronted with the fleet of Her Majesty, the aircraft carrier 25 May left the combat zone and hid in the base.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), Argentina recently stopped its jokes - 25 May was finally dismantled by the beginning of the XXI century and now only corvettes and patrol boats remain in the Argentine Navy.
They are in a hurry to sign up as gay Indians as pranksters - the epic with the aircraft carrier has been going on for 10 for years. Vikramaditya.
Due to the need to replace the old aircraft carrier Viraat (formerly British HMS Hermes), the Indian Navy faced a difficult choice: the 45 is a classic Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, decommissioned from the US Navy, or a light aircraft carrier with a nose springboard based on a used one aircraft carrier "Admiral Gorshkov".
The Indians chose the best of two evils - they acquired the Soviet / Russian TAVKR with its subsequent major overhaul and modernization. "Vikramadityu" difficult to call an obsolete aircraft carrier, but this does not prevent the "Vikramaditye" to be a useless ship.
It is useless to look for any intelligible reasons and reasonable explanations for the purchase of an Indian aircraft carrier - THERE ARE NOT EXISTING THEM. And you should not conduct rhetoric in style: India has acquired a modernized aircraft carrier - it means that Russia definitely needs the same ship.
There is no hidden implication in the story of Vikramaditya. The key to understanding the phenomenon of "Vikramadity", the Thai aircraft carrier "Chakri Narubet" or the Brazilian aircraft carrier "Sao Paulo" is a meaningless "dreadnought race" among not-developed countries at the beginning of the twentieth century.