Eritrea was one of two sisterships that was projected to be built to service a demand to provide gunboats to show the flag in the newly acquired colonies in eastern Africa. The unusual design could also act as an escort vessel in times of war. Only Eritrea was built and Etiopia was never laid down. The ship was powered by a combination of direct drive diesel engines and electric motors powered by deisel generators and these could be used separately or together!
Eritrea was based in the African colonies in WW2 and surenderred to the Allies at Columbo in 1943. After WW2 she was allocated to France, was re-named Francis Garnier and served until 1966.