U17 Parnaíba river monitor
The M Parnaíba (U-17) is an armored monitor operated by the Brazilian Navy, having participated in the Second World War as an escort ship. The Brazilians long ago realized the problem, in every sense arising from the presence of the Amazon River and its basin. So river gunboats and monitors have been a significant part of its fleet for a very long time. What is interesting about this particular ship Parnaíba (U17) is the fact that it has been in service for 82 years (as of 2021) and is probably the oldest warship in the world [apartfrom HMS Vicotry and USS Constitution]. Launched on June 11, 1936 and commissioned in March 1938, this 620 tons (normal) / 720 tons (maximum) river monitor was still in service as of 2021, the oldest warship in the world fulfilling a military function.
True, instead of military tasks and war and foreign service, tasks are assigned exclusively to the police, in the sense of fighting the drug mafia and all sorts of terrorist groups. And even then to say: decent for the end of the 1930s, armament from one 76-mm cannon, two 40-mm Bofors L / 70 rapid-fire riflemen, two 81-mm mortars and six 20-mm MZA today is only suitable to drive any small riffraff. No one will be able to approach the shore, and mortars can reach those who are not visible from the shore. The question, of course, is where to shoot.
And to solve this problem, somewhere in the 70s, the ship received a spacious helipad for the entire stern (and more or less modern electronics, of course). This, of course, radically increased the ship's ability to detect targets, strike at them and, of course, conduct search and rescue operations. A speed of 12 knots is not the speed with which one can drive the drug mafia.
Well, if they don’t surrender, no one is going to catch up with them, and no boat can escape from a line of 40-mm cannon on the ideal plane of the Amazon, and suddenly cannot approach the range of real fire from a manual gunner. The 6 × 20 mm will be disassembled for parts much earlier. Again, a decent landing party can be taken on board, the size of the ship allows both to place them and feed them all the way. So the old man Parnaíba will still serve, corrosion in fresh water is much less than in sea water.
Between April 19, 1943 and December 20, 1944, the Parnaíba was incorporated into the Force subordinated to the Eastern Naval Command, headquartered in the city of Salvador in Bahia. He participated in convoys escorting ships, as well as patrolling the port, he also carried out anti-submarine operations with the launch of deep-sea bombs. In 1944 he was subordinate to the Navy General Staff and on May 25, 1945, with a service record of 24 days at sea after 3,570 miles sailed, the ship was reincorporated to the Mato Grosso Flotilla, in the port of Ladário in Mato Grosso do Sul , where it remains to the present day.
The sides and deck are partially armored. Initially, the main engine was a three-stage expansion reciprocating steam engine manufactured by Thornycroft (total of 1,300 horsepower ). Initially equipped with one 4.7-inch gun, two 47mm guns, and six 20mm machine guns, the 4.7-inch gun was replaced with a Mk.22 50-caliber 3-inch slow-firing gun in 1960, and 40mm. Equipped with two additional machine guns.
In the 1990s, it was planned to be retired after being renewed to "Porto Esperanza", but this plan was withdrawn. For this reason , a large-scale renovation work was carried out. It was modernized in 1998 at the Fluvial Base of Ladário, receiving operational improvements at the time that gave it greater mobility and autonomy. The original reciprocating engine was replaced by diesel engines to increase range and endurance. (One of its original engine was placed on exhibition in Memorial Hall Lt. Maximian sixth Naval District). In its modernization, Parnaíba received a flight deck, being the only means of the 6th Naval District (Pantanal region) to have this resource. After its modernization, the 4th General Purpose Helicopter Squadron (HU-4) received IH-6B Bell Jet Ranger III helicopters to replace the UH-12 Helibrás Esquilo Monoturbina, as they are more adapted to small platform dimensions, in 2010 the UH-12 Esquilo was again used by the 4th Squadron.
Among other updates, it received a new propulsion, replacing the steam boilers with diesel engines. This considerably increased its range of action and autonomy. In combat systems, the 40mm Bofors L/60 cannon were replaced by the L/70.
Parnaíba is the second largest city in the state of Piauí and is part of one of the most beautiful coasts of the country. The city is known as the gateway of the Parnaíba River Delta, the largest open sea delta in the Americas and the third largest in the world. White sand dunes, Carnauba palm and coconut trees, clear seas with warm waters, majestic rivers, ponds, streams and rich fauna are some of the tourist attractions.
Parnaíba was a major port until its river silted up and its carnaúba-palm wax industry died with the invention of artificial waxes for cosmetics and car polish. Today it soldiers on as a market town and transit point for the new port at nearby Luís Correia. For travelers, it’s a stepping stone on the coastal route from Jericoacoara to the Lençóis Maranhenses, and the starting point for trips into the beautiful Delta do Parnaíba.
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