BATONS QUEEN ISABEL

the Outcome was a foregone conclusion. Although the cruiser before the battle carefully laid sandbags, worthy of protection from fire heavy and rapid-fire artillery to make they are unable. And the white color of the sides of peacetime against a dark shore only contributed to the transformation of the “Castilla” is a good target. If early in the fight the fires from numerous hits of shells of medium caliber has been able to take control, the first exploding in the infirmary 203-mm projectile, which put an end to the suffering of the wounded were there, caused a fire with such force, to extinguish which it was no longer possible. Just a few minutes another American projectile of the same caliber exploded in the engine room and caused one of the strongest fire. But under the forecastle came the third the same projectile, the commander of the cruiser Morgado realized that if he doesn’t start the immediate evacuation of personnel, the entire crew just burn to death.

 
But rescue work was not so easy to organize. All the boats that were in the vicinity of the boards, inevitably found themselves under a hail of embers from nosivshihsya and exploding structures. Finally, about nine in the morning, the ship shook explosion as the fire reached kruit camera. After his rescue work was immediately stopped, because to save there was no one else. Case “Castile” sat at the bottom, quietly burns out in a few hours. It was may 1, 1898.
 
It all started very, very optimistic.
 
After the United States and great Britain to the construction of large ocean-going frigates began Spain, in the end, creating the third largest Treaty fleet in the world, losing this arms race, only Britain and France, slightly ahead of even the United States!
 
Unlike its great neighbor across the ocean, Spain almost immediately felt the optimal solution for their tasks.
 
During the time of Queen Isabel II, the Spanish Navy conducted a so-called “policy expeditions”, when at the slightest hint of political complications in the right part of the world immediately sent a small squadron. The conditions of autonomy and a great cruising range from limiting the minimum size of the future vehicle. However, the Spaniards did not try to save on much-needed ocean-going frigates.
 
Although the material of the case have been the traditional wood, iron structures have been widely implemented in shipbuilding. As a result, if the largest and most famous ship of the line era of the Napoleonic wars “Santisima Trinidad” through the incredible efforts of the shipbuilders and the envy of the world has managed to hold on to 2800 tons, it is now even 4500 tons displacement “Villa de Madrid” does not become a limit.
 
The second innovation, which made a bid in the “Armada Hispaniola” is “spiral” mover, in the terminology of the time (the notion of “prop” appeared in Spanish later). Not to say that the Spanish admirals were not trying to develop paddle steamers, but they are quite aware that this is too vulnerable it was the wheel. So a minor combat damage in remote areas of the ocean could be fatal for such a large and expensive ship.
 
Adding complete sailing arms and a powerful artillery, eventually formed the image of the ocean screw frigate, which became the hallmark of Spain time overseas expeditions Isabel II. But what is especially remarkable, the whole fleet was exclusively built at the national shipyards — a very good result for the country, which traditionally are considered “margins of Europe” (even his contemporaries pointed to the fact that Spain is “late” the train of the industrial revolution).
 
And the beginning of all of this the Armada marked the “Princesa de Asturias”, ordered 23 Jun 1852 carmaxcom Arsenal of classic sailing frigate. However, already on 8 September, the ship builders were instructed to build a ship screw. The inevitable problems with logging and purely constructive complexity with the construction of the ship is so large pushed back the deadline for the completion in 1859, In the end, 3000-ton ship set ordered in the UK machines with a capacity of 360 HP, which allowed to reach speeds of 11 knots — very good for the time.
 
Almost immediately, the new ship went to North Africa, where he participated in the bombing of locks are Laroche and Artily received in response to a total of two dozen hits that killed eight crew members. And later, under the management of then unknown mendez nunez, the “Princesa de Asturias” participated in expeditions to Cuba, Mexico and Santo Domingo, fully justifying the hopes which it imposed the Spanish Navy staff.
 
However, even without waiting for all dividends from a new ship, the Spaniards hastened to lay the first series of screw frigates, in the consecration and continuing some of the most famous Queens of Spanish history: Blanca of Navarre, Barangay Petronila of Aragon and Castile.
 
Reduced to 2600 tons displacement contributed to the fact that the price per vehicle has decreased almost two times and the entire series was put into operation even earlier, the “Princesa de Asturias”. The same system machine John Penn gave a rate of 12 — 13 knots.
 
The following two frigates — the “Lealtad” and “conception” was laid on the vacant after the construction of the “Princesses” stocks. Increased to 3200 tons displacement and almost twice more powerful machines of the same John Penn was not given the speed boost. And, for example, “Lealtad” because of the numerous defects barely was able to develop 9.5 per node. However the entering into operation in 1861 — both frigates also have proven themselves from the best side.
 
The third series of screw-frigates was originally named in honor of patron saints: “Nuestra senora del Carmen”, “Nuestra senora del Patrocinio” and “Nuestra senora del Triunfo”, continuing the tradition of the names of sailing ships of the last century. However, the recovery of forgotten practices are not met with understanding, with the result that the first two frigates soon became respectively “Carmen” and “Resolution”.
 
But the top of its development of the Spanish wooden frigates reached in the most powerful and largest of a series of four units named in honor of the most significant victories of the Spanish arms: “Villa de Madrid”, “Girona”, “Almanza” and “Navas de Tolosa”. The largest of The series “Villa de Madrid” — laid in Carmaxcom Arsenal October 10, 1860, He had a hull length of over 82 metres and a displacement of nearly 4,500 tons (a perfectly respectable size even for the cruiser at the turn of the century)!
 
The frigates became operational with that time traditional smoothbore artillery, including the 200-mm and 160-mm guns. Although in 1862 a special Royal decree “was renamed” notation Spanish guns with the weight of the engine on a caliber, just a few decades after that both systems went on almost equal terms. So, the same 200-mm guns of the Spanish frigate in the number of documents could be called and old 68-pounder.
 
But if tactical ideas and design the implementation of the thirteen frigates built in Spain fully correspond to their assigned tasks, weapons clearly were yesterday. As always, to pay for the mistakes the Ministry had the blood of the common sailors during the Pacific war. Quickly gained command of the sea in the waters of Peru and Chile, the Spanish frigates from even coming to their aid armored frigates could not practically do anything with proinnovation the shore batteries, despite the heroism of its sailors.
 
The outcome of the “investigation” the Ministry has become a universal re-rifled muzzle-loading guns, mostly of British manufacture. Further, the Ministry has sought to track more or less significant artillery news. For 1880 years the frigates have already got the newest breech-loading guns (mostly Armstrong and Krupp), and survived till the middle of the 1890s — even rapid-firing artillery!
 
Following the lesson fighting with the batteries of Valparaiso and Callao began discussions on the feasibility of the reservation, the former is not rhetorical. Indeed, on the one hand, the armor belt of the same “Numancia” clearly contributed to the reduction of losses in personnel, but if necessary this belt a classic cruiser? He has a very problematic value when hunting for pirates and privateers, and spent a lot very considerably limits the power of the weapons and reduces the speed. In this sense, the efficiency of the wooden frigates of their armored counterparts could only envy: for example, the same “Form” for all time of the blockade in the Pacific were able to catch up and detain the 14 merchant ships.
 
Another important aspect against armored ships was in their cost. If the commanders of the same “Forms” and “Villa de Madrid” without any regard had been involved in a fight with all the combined Chilean-Peruvian fleet at, ABTA and forced him to retire, such a success at Wita with the participation of the “Numancia”, became impossible, including from-for fear of losing valuable a battleship.
 
However, following the lead of the great naval powers, the Spaniards also decided to “improvised warships”. However, a crucial role was played by political circumstances, when just about ready to begin the Pacific war, the British government began to interfere with the commissioning dostraivaniya in the UK armadillos.
 
 
of 79. Screw frigate (cruiser 1st rank), Aragon, Spain, 1879
 
Former armored Corvette, built the state-owned Admiralty in Cartagena. The displacement of 3342 tons, length 72 m, width of 13.43 m, draft 7.2 m. the power of the machines 2600 HP, speed 12 KTS. Armament: six 160-mm breech-loading guns Ontoria system (four — with a barrel length of 25 calibers, two barrel 17 calibers), two 90-mm, four 75 mm, two of micralite, two 356-mm torpedo tubes. Initially, for a short time carried four muzzle-loading rifled 160-mm guns. From 1890 submitted for training purposes in 1898 disarmed and excluded from the lists of the fleet. In 1901 sold for scrap. Just built three roughly equal units: “Aragon”, “Castilla” and “Navarra”.
 
of 80. 1st rank Cruiser “Alfonso XII”, Spain, 1887
 
Built on a government Arsenal at Ferrol. Displacement was 3900 tons, length 84,8 m, width: 13,10 m, draught 6,7 m, Capacity of machines 4400 HP, speed 12 KTS. Armament: six 160-mm breech-loading guns system Ontoria (barrel length of 35 calibers), a dozen small-caliber rapid-fire guns and Miralles, five 356 mm torpedo tubes. In 1897 was used as a non-self-propelled ship. Excluded from the lists of the fleet in 1900, and in 1907 sold for scrap. Just built three single cruiser “Alfonso XII”, “Reina Cristina” and the “Reina Mercedes”.
 
of 81. Armored Corvette “mendez nunez”, Spain, 1870
 
Ex-wooden screw frigate “Resolucion”, converted to the Cartagena Arsenal in the armored Corvette. The displacement of 3380 tons, length 70 m, width 14 m, draft 6,75 m. the engine Power of 400 HP, speed 8 KTS. (the project, not really more than 6.5). All the weapons firm “Armstrong”: four rifled muzzle-loading 229-mm guns, two rifled muzzle-loading 203-mm guns. Booking: 120-mm Central zone, covering the battery and machine. Put in reserve in 1880, sold for scrap in 1896,

 
It became clear that to rely in this situation it is possible only on own forces. That’s why just returned from the Pacific, the frigate “Resolucion” instead of the repair was in February 1867 to the Cartagena Arsenal to such an “upgrade”. On the ship he built an armored Central redoubt from the set of French 120-mm slabs, which placed four 229-mm and two 203-mm rifled gun. As a result of modernization, the displacement has increased to 3,400 tons, but because of reduced armaments, the ship re-commissioned on 7 March 1870, it was demoted to the rank of Corvette. And in August of the same year in memory of the recent triumphant of the Pacific war, he received the name “mendez nunez”.
 
Excessive weight reservation has led to an apparent overload the main engines, causing the speed, maneuverability, and stability dropped to dangerous levels so that, not having served a decade old-new ship went into the reserve. The Caroline crisis 1885, it would seem, breathed style life into the hapless Corvette, short again raised the naval flag, but only as a floating battery. With the end of the tension 7 APR 1886 “mendez nunez” was excluded from the lists of the fleet, however, is to be scrapped, he went only in March 1896, almost ten years after serving as a floating prison in Cartagena.
 
But, oddly enough, the experience of alteration and subsequent operation of the “mendez nunez” forced the Spaniards to go on such a unique step, perhaps, is no longer encountered in international practice! Built on state arsenals armored corvettes of the “Castilla” was commissioned as screw frigates!
 
The history of the last wooden cruisers of Spain began with the decree of the provisional government of January 30, 1869, when on each of. the three main state-owned arsenals were ordered to begin construction of the armored Corvette. The decision had two main goals: first, for a reasonable price to buy three new battleship (after all, a Corvette is not a frigate), and secondly, the work load in the time of troubles working the three main state-owned Admiralty of Spain.
 
Unfortunately, neither the composite nor the more iron the design did not work: the Spaniards simply had neither the experience nor the facilities for such experiments. The result is the hull of the new corvettes were still made of wood, but “with the introduction of the metallic structures”. The reservation covered the entire waterline and created in the Central part of the redoubt with the main artillery, consisting of four 250-pounder rifled Armstrong guns.
 
The keels of all three cruisers laid simultaneously on 2 may 1869 as part of the celebrations to mark the anniversary of the popular uprising against Napoleon. And then build ships Willy-nilly into the center of all the political turmoil that led in 1873 to the full completion of the work. And built in Cartagena “Arago,” even heavily damaged during the naval bombardment. Only in defeating the carlist war and cantonists suppressing the uprising, the government in the autumn of 1876 he returned to the question about the future of the project completely obsolete. It was then decided to build ships in the form of ordinary screw-frigate.
 
First of all the triples in 1879, was lowered into the water, “Aragon” (which, incidentally, is the first major ship built in the restored Spanish monarchy), and when he received the original armament of eight 229-mm guns Armstrong (seven of whom were removed from the armoured frigate “Arapiles”). However, it was only a half-measure, since the gun of this system is already rather outdated. So with the commencement of the new breech-loading guns Ontoria sample of 1879 the first four 160-mm went to Aragon. As an intermediate option at the time of commissioning of the ship in 1881 it put four old 203-mm muzzle-loading guns, as manufacturing replaced for another two 160-mm guns Ontoria.
 
In General, the history of the artillery of the first three .the Spanish cruisers of the first rank (as they were classified since 1881) deserves special discussion. Determined to find the most promising foreign developments, for weapons of the same type of “Aragon” “Castilla” and “Navarra”, the Spaniards acquired six 150-mm guns Krupp and Armstrong. But it soon became clear that the six guns of the main caliber for the 3300-ton ships with a full sail mast is clearly hard. So soon those same firms bought a pair of 120-mm guns. Unneeded four 150-mm guns were moved to the frigate “Girona”. Finally, during the Spanish-American war, all the guns (except the dead along with the “Castilla”) was transferred to the auxiliary cruiser “Rapido” and “Patriot” and after they had disarmed went to the shore batteries.
 
All three cruisers are quite actively used throughout his twenty-year career. So, “of Aragon”, which became the flagship of the naval forces in the Philippines took an active part in the hostilities in Mindanao in 1887. In 1890, he handed over his breyd-pennant arrived at his a replacement “Castilla”, which was previously along with the “Nabarro” also noted in hostilities against Morocco. By the beginning of the Hispanic war, all three cruisers were finally obsolete not only morally, but also physically, therefore they were transferred to a less “dusty” job training ships. But if the “Aragon” and “Navarra” happily went to the wood in 1899, the “Castilla” had become the world’s last wooden cruiser squadron who died in battle.
 
But what was the fate of other wooden cruisers of Spain? “Princesa de Asturias”, renamed “Asturias” in 1870 — 1871 years, was a radical alteration in the training ship blockship, which remained until 1909. “Nuestra senora del Triunfo” was burned in 1864, just three years after the entry into operation, “Cody” died off the coast of Cuba in 1863, and “Berenguela” in 1877, he became a pontoon in the Philippines. The rest was expelled from the Navy in the mid-1890s.
 
Formally, our story is about a wooden frigates — the cruisers of the first rank of the Spanish fleet should be complete, but the Spaniards would not have been Spaniards, if unable to once again surprise the world. In 1880, in response to Japanese claims to the Philippines, they decided to build another series of screw frigates. Since time was running out, and progress was not in place, new three, essentially the same “Castilla”, decided to build out of iron. Cruiser very pretentious got the names of the ruling monarch “Alfonso XII”, and both of his wives, who died shortly after the wedding of Queen Mercedes, who later became Queen-Regent Christina.
 
Spaniards his defense in such a conservative project, it was seen that the cruiser was built for the needs of the Far East, so the armoured deck looked like an unforgivable indulgence and complete a sailing mast, on the contrary, a necessary condition. The situation was aggravated by by the slowness of traditional construction and low crop production, due to which the project is 17 knots (not became an outstanding event for the 1880-ies), the new cruiser were barely able to develop 12.
 
In the end, if the world asserted that the cruisers of the “Castilla” — obsolete ships, and the Spaniards were justified, that they fully meet the task, to the point of putting Navy ships of the type “Alfonso” the thought of their moral obsolescence finally come to the minds of the Spanish admirals. Even got a special Royal decree ordering the alteration of cruisers in the troop transports. But, alas, due to the shortage of large artillery ships, they still had to use the ships of the first line.
 
Despite the stillbirth, the cruiser received a relatively modern 160-mm guns Ontoria, the production of which has just established a factory “Trubia”, which by the late 1890s even suggested to replace the rate of fire.
 
The only decade in which they carried the Spanish flag on the ships of the “Alfonso” went quite active military service, as the newest cruisers perform all public functions.
 
“Reina Cristina”, transferred to the Philippines, was active against Philippine pirates, and the resurgent insurgents and separatists. And the operation in January 1895 almost became her last. In the night from 4 for may 5 the cruiser ran aground at ILO-ILO (Panay island), and only the heroism of the crew helped to bring the damaged ship to the Arsenal of Cavite. Later, at the outbreak of the Spanish-American war “Reina Cristina” was the flagship of the squadron of Admiral Montejo.
 
In battle on may 1, which became the last for the “Castilla”, the “Reina Christina”, led by their heroic commander Luis Cadarso, even made a completely suicidal step of trying to RAM the enemy’s “Olympia”. But it ended very badly: with up to seven dozen hits, the cruiser jumped ashore from the raging fires there has been an explosion of ammunition.
 
“Alfonso XII” and “Reina Mercedes”, noted in 1893 — 1894 years in combat operations in Melilla, ended up in Cuba. In the beginning of the struggle with Cuban insurgents, they acted as active to 1898 came in a very dilapidated state, sacrificing their artillery on the needs of coastal defense.
 
But if “Alfonso” had survived the war in Havana, and in 1899 was towed to the metropolis, where it eventually went for scrap in 1907, the “Reina Mercedes” had become a true survivor.
 
Much destroyed in the us bombing, he ended up to be scuttled before the surrender of Santiago. But cost-conscious Yankees raised a relatively robust housing and after a thorough renovation has given his naval Academy at Annapolis. In the role of “Queen Mercedes” and had survived the Great depression, and both world wars. Under the curtain of his career in 1957, as a goodwill gesture, the Americans offered to donate the historic relic of Spain. But, alas, by this time his case was so deplorable that a transoceanic voyage would be possible with a fairly significant capital cost. And the budget of the Spanish Ministry of defence, actively started the rearmament of the army and Navy after almost twenty years of isolation, such spending was not under force.
 
N. MITYUKOV

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