After the complete defeat in 1898 in the war with the United States, Spain, once a great naval power, retreated far back and fell into a deep “hibernation”. Moral decline in society the worst way combined with political instability and severe financial problems. It is not surprising that to implement the first major of the marine program managed to start only after 10 years when the government has taken decisive action. Perhaps chief among these was the creation of the national shipbuilding company “Sociedad española de A. Nawal”, which was to revive the Spanish fleet. Good idea interfered with the traditional obstacle: lack of funds. And then the “noble dons” made good progress, offering to buy a quarter of all of the assets of British firms. “Investors” were going to as on selection — “Vickers”, “Armstrong” and “John brown”. Now the Spaniards were able to calculate not only English money but also to acquire new technologies and modern projects. They immediately thought that their country is washed by two seas, or rather, a sea and an ocean. Therefore, shipbuilding yards started in El Ferrol in the Atlantic in the North and Cartagena in the Mediterranean sea. And the British discovered so addicted now to their new friends, the secret folder with the drawings.
However, the implementation of ideas took much more time than expected. Difficulties enough, and financial, and industrial. And the cruisers in the Naval law, Admiral Ferrandis place was not right. Only the day before the start of world war managed to “break through” Supplement thereto, under which planned the building of the cruiser, the first after the defeat, committed fifteen years ago by the Americans. The success of the enterprise was stimulated by the fact that the ship was supposed to call in honor of the wife of Spanish king Alfonso the Thirteenth of Queen Victoria-Eugenie.
As the basis for the project chose the British “town”, which is not surprising, if we recall the strong shipbuilding ties. Yes, and the type, in principle, well suited Spain: strong and reliable ship, for its time, very strong and well protected, besides it is quite reasonable for the price. However, the “relationship” to Britain not only played a positive role. With the entry into the world war, which required a huge effort, the British were not up to their “vassals”. Delivery mechanisms and materials all the time was delayed, experts with the Spanish shipyards have been revoked. The naval Ministry has tried to find suppliers in the country. The result resembled the activities of our domestic automobile industry: everything was expensive and of poor quality. Not helped by the fact that more were on the stocks (!) the cruiser in March 1918, was included in the lists of the fleet. And then we had another financial crisis. The resulting “Renew Eugenio Victoria” was able to float only in the spring of 1920, and commissioned it almost three years later, in early 1923, when the prototypes of the British “town” have one after another followed to a breaker. As a result of his active service in the first line of the fleet was relatively short-lived, although in the beginning it looked quite military. “Queen” had to shoot the Moroccans, for some reason does not want to be ruled by Spain. The flag from the hands of the one whose name he bore, the cruiser was only in 1927, and the following year began to overhaul from where a direct course was followed in moot court.
The collapse of the monarchy did not help his future career “Regal woman”, proudly renamed the “Republic”. The ship was shuffled from one division to another; at one time hardly developing stroke cruiser was even a leader of the destroyers! In 1935, it was finally brought to the reserve.
The first-born Spanish cruising fleet was not the only latecomer. A year after its approval to the construction followed by another addition to the program, now on 4 units. In reality, it went only a couple. “Méndez núñez” and “Blas de Uragan”, prudently laid at the end of the war, was a curious variant of the British “C”. Fully preserving from the prototype, “Caledon”, the interior layout, mechanics and reservation, “the Spaniards” had a different placement of artillery. Six 152-mm guns were grouped at three in the bow and stern, providing enhanced fire during a pursuit or withdrawal. In the side volley could participate only 4 guns. However, the “Núñez” and “Uragan”, which entered into operation only in 1925, we can say the same thing about “Victoria Eugenia”, — they are obsolete already by the moment of launching. Enter them in the fleet was accompanied by a curious mess.
The fact that in 1924 it was planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Mendez Nunez, a kind of “Spanish Makarov” distinguished besides in a little known war against Chile and Peru in 1864 — 1866 years. It is clear that I would like to have for the anniversary of the relevant ship. But the shipyard with him could not keep, but “Blas de Uragan” was in a much higher degree of readiness. Therefore, a special decree signed by the king himself, changed the names of the cruisers, at the same time deciding to get rid of their previous history, thereby causing quite a headache for subsequent researchers.
However, as a result of all manipulations, the Spaniards made it their goal. They managed to build a fairly modern ship with a significant participation of their firms. Even six-inch guns were manufactured under British license in national arsenals. All this is very useful in the future, when, in 1919, was finally postponed the construction of the second pair of “nonleaf”. The project substantially revised, the benefit of the British designers was released and, moreover, were almost without work. The famous Philip watts willingly shared their experience in creating the latest cruisers “E” and by 1921 the joint efforts was developed by the project “R” — for Spain. The next year was followed by an order for two units: the “Principe Alfonso” and “Almirante” Server, and after four years they were joined by a third, “Miguel de Cervantes”.
Many designers have worked on improving the original version. So, the boiler Department are now placed before the turbine, which allowed to abandon the “megatronia”, limiting the two graceful sloping chimneys. Improved seaworthiness and speed “Spaniards” have left behind their British “cousins brothers”. On tests of “Alfonso” exceeded 34.5 host a “Cervantes” developed for another site more. However, we should not forget that the British by that time had abandoned the practice of forced testing, while their customers were still under the spell of such inflated values.
Different and the location of artillery. Odnorodnymi remained only the extreme bow and stern of the installation; above them rose the twin, one double is located behind the pipes. (Here they made good use of the experience of producing guns for the “nonleaf”: factory “San Carlos” coped with the next order quickly and without any problems.) Looked pretty well and the fire control system, made by “Vickers”. The result was a curious cruiser: the same transition type, which was missed major world powers, heavily involved in at this time “reduction of armaments in Washington”. It should be noted that he is perhaps not only in no way inferior to the first types of the “new wave”, for example, the French “La Motte Piquet” and “Primage”, but partly surpassed them. Anyway, had quite a normal booking, albeit in the tradition of the First world war, but protected from fire with high-explosive projectiles, with the same armament, speed, and seaworthiness.
But for all its advantages small Spanish light cruiser remained obsolete for the 1930-ies, which could not understand their owners. So soon after the entry of the ships into operation were put forward a variety of plans for their refurbishment and modernization. However, the actual implementation of these projects was only Franco. So, the long-suffering “Victoria Eugenia” — “Republic”, originally used as a prison ship in Cadiz, due to the lack of vehicles, nationalists, turned out to be unexpectedly valuable. Had it towed in El Ferrol (in the context of the war and the presence in the sea of the Republican Navy!), renamed “Nabarro” and thoroughly updated, moving entirely on heating oil. “Lady” ran quite cheerfully and took part in many operations. At the conclusion of the civil war it again became a training ship. Sturdily constructed, the body a few times made me think about further upgrades, but wisdom prevailed, and in 1947 “Navarra” was a joke, and in 1955 went to be scrapped.
A much more major upgrades have been “méndez núñez”. But before that, the cruiser had to go through many adventures. To the civil war, he has long been an orphan, having lost his “brother”. “Blaz de Uragan” during the maneuvers of 1932, a warm and clear summer day, ran in the vicinity of Cape Finisterre on not marked on the map the underwater rock. The Spaniards fought for the ship within 6 hours, but in the end left it.
“Méndez núñez” he continued his service. Just before the start of the rebellion the conspirators managed to send a cruiser in the Spanish Guinea, hoping that his weapon will serve as “national cause” in the possession of whose political orientation could depend on a single ship. However, the mariners failed to meet expectations Franco: after long hesitation, took almost a month, “méndez núñez” joined the Republican forces. Returning to Spain, the ship has lost half of the officers. For compensation, he received a “strengthening” of the Soviet Union: the role of military adviser fell to gunner with “Marat” I. Bykov. The cruiser has actively fought on the Republican side of the war greatly exhausted the resource of the mechanical installation. Therefore, immediately after its delivery by France (where he went after the fall of the Republic) “méndez núñez” went for repair. At this time the headquarters of the winners were decided by its fate: the cruiser exactly is planned to fully refurbish, although he did not define what it should be: min-zag, the training-artillery ship or cruiser defense.
Won the last option, is in line with the then preferences. The outbreak of world war considerably hindered the work, despite the fact that Spain wasn’t involved in it. The modernization began in the summer of 1943, and completed it only three years later.
199. Light cruiser “Navarra” (Spain) (as of 1939)
It was built by the company “Sociedad española de A. Na-Val” in El Ferrol as “Renia Victoria Eugenia”. Standard displacement — 5680 tons full -6500 tons, maximum length — 140,82 m, width—15,22 m, draught 4.8 m. capacity of the two-shaft steam turbine 25 000 HP, speed 25 knots. Booking: 50 — 32 mm, 37 mm. deck Armament: six 152/50-mm guns, four 88/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, four 20-mm machine gun. Built in 1923, renovated in 1937-1938 with the installation of new boilers and artillery. The number of 20-mm guns to 1949 increased to twenty-three. Scrapped in 1955
200. Light cruiser “Almirante Server” (Spain, 1925)
It was built by the company “Sociedad española de A. Nawal” in El Ferrol. Standard displacement — 7475 t, full— 9240, MT, maximum length — 176,63 m, a width of 16.46 m, draft — 5,03 m Power chetyrehbalnoy turbine plant 80 000 HP, the design speed of 33 knots. Reservations: the Board of the 76 — 38 mm, deck 51 mm -25, combat tower 152 mm Armament: eight 152/50-mm guns, four 102/45 mm anti-aircraft guns, two 47-mm semi-automatic, three-pipe, four 533-mm torpedo tubes. In 1925-1928 built 3 units: “príncipe Alfonso”, “Internet Servers” and “Miguel de Cervantes”. “Principe Alfonso” was renamed in 1931 in “Libertad”, and in 1939 — in “Galicia”. In 1940— 1946 upgraded. “Cervantes” and “Server” are excluded from the lists of the fleet in the mid-1960s, and “Galicia” in 1970
201. Light cruiser “méndez núñez” (Spain, as of 1947)
It was built by the company “Sociedad española de A. Nawal” in El Ferrol. Standard displacement— 4680 t, full— 6045 tons, maximum length— 176,63 m, a width of 16.46 m, draft— 5,03 m Power chetyrehbalnoy steam turbine 45 000 HP, speed 29 knots. Reservations: the Board of the 76 — 38 mm, 25 mm deck, combat tower 152 mm Armament: eight 120/45-mm universal guns, ten 37 mm and eight 20-mm guns, two three-pipe 533-mm torpedo tubes. In 1924— 1925 built 2 units: “Mendez nuñez” and “Blas de Uragan”. The latter died as a result of a navigation accident in July 1932, “Nunez” modernized in 1944— 1947, and excluded from the lists in 1963
The cruiser received a new add-in, and most importantly — new weapons. It consisted now of eight universal 120-millimetrovogo with stabilized fire control system, developed by the leader of those years in this direction, the Dutch firm “Hazemeyer”. However, these posts could only be set in 1949, 12 years after the adoption of the decision on the conversion! At the same time the cruiser was able to lead in combat-ready condition. The event, which took so much time and effort and cost a lot of money, was almost unused. Spain was not valuable battleships or aircraft carriers require protection from air attacks, not to mention the fact that the aircraft in that time has made a huge leap forward. The “Mendez Nunez” only managed to shoot at the rebels in Morocco, and even then only once. In 1963 my dear “toy” has been removed from the lists and after a year sent for scrapping.
But light cruisers, whether upgraded or not, has long ceased to be the “backbone” of the Spanish fleet. Still, the monarchy had planned to acquire a trendy and heavy cruisers, trying to join thereby to the powers aspiring to the role of the world Maritime. In 1926, the king signed a decree on the allocation of funds for three “Washingtonians”. Almost needless to say, the development had again to turn to the British. They already had their “Ken”, the ships is not the best and clearly inferior to the all new and more powerful units, built rivals. Disadvantages looked quite transparent, and customers insisted on the recycling project. All the same watts soon presented new drawings. The cruiser became a little already, received a more powerful turbine and could develop greater speed. They differed silhouette: a traditional three pipes are combined into one massive structure, which made the Spanish cruiser easily recognizable with the large distances and made them quite formidable and modern look. In principle, they do constitute a good example of the shipbuilding improvements achieved, that is, “a little blood”, both in price and time.
Worse things were with the protection of: large alterations in the British draft does not fit. Had to limit the symbolic belt of thickness 38 — 51mm, in fact, reinforced lining. Besides, it’s “gain” was covered by a narrow strip of the hull at the waterline and only in its middle part, between the artillery cellars of the main fire. Significant protection was only the cellar, representing the same armoured “boxes”, and “Kent”. Fully migrated from the prototype and even underwater protection in the form of nodelock-Buli, and 8-inch artillery with their “cardboard” towers.
It towers became the final reason that these cruisers were in the traditional Spanish category of “unfinished.” Technically a very complex structure demanded money and qualified personnel — just what the Iberian Republic has experienced a chronic shortage. But the trouble began with a series of what the national shipyards had only two large slipways in El Ferrol, which in 1928, and was laid by only two units. The third cruiser, ironically, designed to carry the name “fair role”, dismissed even before birth. More fortunate “Islands.” “Canarias” and “Baleares” tormented in the shipyards for 8 years, but received an extra “bonus”, such as a pretty decent anti-aircraft artillery in the face of a 120-millimetrovogo “Vickers” with the already mentioned stable fire control system from the Dutch company “Hazemeyer”. However, all the planned work on the cruisers to finish failed: the civil war began. One of her victims was a torpedo armament on the cruiser it was planned to install 12 fixed torpedo tubes, but none of them on ships and not received. The same fate befell the light anti-aircraft artillery and catapult with seaplanes. In the course of hostilities, the Franco was dooorway inherited “Washingtonians” artillery systems of different origin, mostly obtained from the “brothers to the Nazis” — from Italy and Germany, actively helped the nationalists. “Half-dressed” cruiser (“Baleares” to the test only had two nose turret and no fire control) extra finishing work to be immediately sent to fight with his younger brothers, most of which went to Republicans. “Canarias” hastily established four 102-of graph paper and a few 57-mm from the battleship “españa”. Devoid of the fire control system, that is, almost unarmed ship was in service until February 1937, when they finally got their 120-mm antiaircraft guns and four 40-mm and 37-mm gun (the latter received from the Germans). After the civil war the number of 37-mm guns brought to the twelve, and 40 of graph paper was removed. “Baleares” received as auxiliary artillery motley mixture of the 120-millimetrovogo, Italian 100-mm “Minisini” and 40-mm guns.
Nothing can be done, the strongest ships of the Spanish fleet was so very much in demand on both sides of the front. After all, the rebellion of the nationalist split of the Spanish fleet from top to bottom. At the very beginning of “Cervantes” and “Libertad” (renamed in 1931 after the victory of the Republic over the monarchy in the “Principe Alfonso”), the government sent to establish a blockade of the Spanish Morocco, where he stationed the main force of the rebels. Already at sea, they came under the control of the Republicans. “Cervantes”, however, sailed long. In October 1936 he was struck by two torpedoes of the Italian submarine “Torricelli”, formally “purchased” by Franco. Damage was surprisingly modest: the ship was able to not only save, but also to repair. However, having need of all the Republicans had to hurry and spent on the commissioning of a much needed vehicle a year and a half.
However, from the beginning, most officers steadfastly adhered to the anti-Republican views and were able to persuade the crews of the “Canarias” and “Baleares”. Heavy cruisers of Franco joined captured in the dock “Almirante”Server.
Fighting at sea was carried out with varying degrees of success and with these naval battles, in which participated actively cruisers of both sides. At first the Republican forces, consisting of cruisers and destroyers, blocked the Strait of Gibraltar, not allowing Franco to move their troops from Morocco by sea. However, in September 1936, the main forces of the fleet went North to the Bay of Biscay, to patrol leaving only two destroyers. Then revived Navy nationalists.
“Canarias” and the “Server” literally swept their weaker opponents of the Strait. Heavy cruiser managed to sink the destroyer “Almirante ferrandis a” and damaged “Gravina” managed to escape. Since then, several thousand soldiers were able to cross a water barrier just in time to take part in the offensive on Madrid.
In this line of activity cruisers of both parties for a long time exhausted. Although individual trips continued throughout the war, the parties almost managed not to meet each other. A rare exception was the battle of Cape Cherchell, where the “Baleares” were exchanging fire with the Republican squadron and received two hits with “Libertad”, chose to withdraw from the battle. The most successful was “Canarias”, sink to the bottom of the small patrol ship, an auxiliary Kolodko (ironically, also wore the name “Navarre”) and a dozen trading and fishing boats and seized as many more. On his battle account was transportation and the Soviet “Komsomol”, EN route with a cargo for the Spanish Republic, captured and sunk in December 1936.
The most serious combat loss of the Spanish fleet was his brother”, Baleares”. March night in 1938 the Republican and francoist troops literally crashed into each other near Cape Palaia. Chaotic artillery fire in the dark did not bring any results, but the Republicans had an undoubted superiority in the torpedo volley, and was able to use. Torpedo attack on the flagship of the destroyers ended the biggest success of the Republican Navy during the war. “Baleares” got two or three hits that caused the detonation of ammunition. The cruiser quickly sank along with almost eight hundred sailors, including the Admiral and his staff. I must say that the winners experienced this event almost as much: in a small fleet of sailors from different Ships knew each other, and the loss of so many recent companions, as well as the precious Spanish heavy cruiser was perceived as a tragedy on both sides of the front.
But “Alfonso” and “Canarias” fate has prepared a long life. After the Second world war, when the vast majority of much more new and powerful cruisers in other countries were sent to be scrapped, the Spanish had experienced a rebirth. All three more or less modern light cruisers have been modernized in 1940 — 1946. “Alfonso” and “Galicia” (the former “Libertad” — the name is clearly not any frankists) was rebuilt by the placement of a seaplane from a catapult instead of an average 152-mm artillery systems. At the same time odnorodnye 152-the graph paper were replaced by paired so that their total number remains the same — eight guns. Replaced and anti-aircraft artillery, now presented eight 90-mm guns and two dozen 20-mm guns. Both lost their powerful torpedo batteries, but as a result of works weight: up to 8250, and 9900 tons standard tons full displacement.
“Server” is also upgraded — installed a new anti-aircraft artillery (four 105-mm guns, eight 37-mm and four 20-mm machine gun). The standard and full load displacement also increased, although not as much: up to 8000 t 9660 t, respectively.
Substantial reforms have been “Canarias”. In 1952 — 1953 the ship significantly upgraded by altering its add-ons. He got a new massive bow superstructure and two tubes instead of their weird original design. In the end, “Canarias” was the last representative of its class among the ships of all European countries! Many Poplawski the cruiser was excluded from the lists at the end of 1975. And next year is a relic of the “Washington” of the era went for scrapping.
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