Portuguese Escorts, Bernardo Comidas
Around mid to late 1930s, situation was desperate for the Portuguese Navy. Once a renown naval superpower in the early days of European seas explorer in 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal have been unable to follow the rapid pace of naval development after the Industrial Revolutions. Although Portugal manage to acquire several numbers of armored cruisers and coastal battleships in late 19th century, by 1930s the fleet was hopelessly obsolete although the Portuguese Navy have managed to acquired small number of modern ships in the 1920s and 30s to replace older ships from before the turn of century. With escalating situation in Europe and Asia, Portuguese Navy were in dire need of an escort ships to protect ships going from Iberian Portugal into its vast colonies in Africa and Asia. By 1935, the Navy invited many shipbuilders across the Europe for a escort ships capable of reaching Timor and back. Three companies show up including the British Thornycrofts, Dutch Ingenieur-Kantoor voor Scheepsbouw, and Italian Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico. At first the British companies seems favourable owing to previous cooperation between Portugal and Britain, especially on building the Vouga-class Destroyers. But the Italian companies, in an unexpected turn of events, bidding a price substantially lower than all the competitors and with a promise for building the ships in Portugal, was declared a winner in late 1937.
The ships were pretty unique amongst other contemporaries. Displacing at 1050 t, her appearance much resembling a far faster torpedo boats, although in reality it only has a maximum speed of 25 knots. Its primary armament was geared towards protecting the convoy from surface raiders, which at that time was deemed as biggest threat to shipping than the submarine warfare that proved to be one in subsequent conflict. To deal with possible surface raider, the ships was armed with a pair of triple 533mm torpedo tubes derived from Italian design. Two single 100mm gun were reused from the decommissioned Douro-class Destroyers but with several modification to the breech and mounted in a newly-designed mount. To deal with submarine threat, the ships was armed with Italian-designed Icb 432/302 depth charge projector. To complement it were an additional space for carrying 9 naval mines placed in aft section. It was planned that the ships would've received the 20mm Oerlikon cannon but the said cannon were in short supply and as the result most of the time Bernardo Comidas
didn't carry any anti aircraft guns at all.
The lead ships were christened as Bernardo Comidas
, in honor of Portuguese sailors who died in Macau in a battle against the Chinese in 17th centuries. The first three batch was then built in a pretty lax pace and only been laid down in late 1938 and launched in August 1939 and were commissioned in mid 1940, well in a middle of another war in Europe.
served mainly escorting Portuguese civilian ships around the Iberian and sometimes, well into Africa, but never ventured beyond the Angolas. Her wartime event was uneventful to say and she survived the war and was subsequently modernized in 1952 with US made weaponry such as Bofors gun and modest radar settings. Bernardo Comidas
soldiered on until were put into reserve in 1961 and were scrapped in 1972.