- de Saint Hubert, C.
- Naval history
- None noted.
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 1975 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
In 1902, various factors (among which the financial weight of the arms race) brought about a settlement of pending questions. One of the agreements signed in May 1902 between Argentina and Chile dealt with naval arms limitations, an interesting early example of an international agreement in this field. As a result, 2 armoured cruisers, then building for Argentina in Italy, were sold to Japan (on the eve of the Russo- Japanese War) while 2 battleships, building for Chile in Britain, were bought by the Royal Navy.
However, Brazil’s traditional position as the strongest naval power in Latin America had been threatened by the rapid naval expansion of Argentina and Chile and an ambitious program of naval construction was adopted by Brazil in 1904.
This in turn led to a new arms race between Brazil, Argentina and Chile which lasted for one decade and introduced these three powers into the dreadnought age, each country getting 2 of these capital ships as well as numerous smaller warships. Financial considerations finally put an end to this three-cornered naval rivalry a few months before WWI broke out.
Between the two World Wars, Argentina established a small but efficient naval air service, acquired its first submarines and (in spite of the financial difficulties arising from the world economic depression of the 1930s) implemented a ten years Naval Programme which became law in 1926 and raised the Argentina Navy to the rank of Latin America’s most powerful fleet. The 2 dreadnoughts were modernised and 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 12 destroyers, 3 submarines, etc. were acquired.
A new naval base (for submarines) was established at Mar del Plata and Argentine shipyards built their first modern warships: a series of nine dispatch and patrol vessels.
In the years following the end of WW2 Argentina, together with most of the world’s navies, acquired a number of ex-RN and ex- USN ships: one Colossus class light fleet carrier, 2 Brooklyn class light cruisers, 3 Fletcher class destroyers, 2 Balao class submarines, escort vessels, MTBs, landing ships and craft, etc.
In 1961, the Argentine Parliament voted a naval programme for the acquisition of new buildings. Unfortunately, this programme had to be cancelled six months later for financial reasons.
In the course of the last five years, a number of ships have been added (some to replace worn-out WW2 vintage units): one ex-Dutch light fleet carrier, 5 ex-American destroyers, 2 ex-American submarines, some minesweepers, etc. On the other hand, a number of units have been ordered which will incorporate the most modern technical developments; among these are 2 guidedmissile destroyers and 2 attack submarines.
One hundred and twenty-five years after the introduction of steam and a century after the ‘New Navy’ was started by Sarmiento’s vision, the Argentine Navy has reached a state of development which places it on a par with that of the world’s most vigorous and forward-looking secondary naval powers.
An extensive and detailed list of ships of the Argentine Navy can be viewed in the printed volume of the Naval Historical Review held in the Society’s office.