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reytuerto
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: May 18th, 2021, 11:10 pm
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Good afternoon!

In the late 1920s, Sota y Aznar, the most important Spanish shipping company of the interwar period, decided to modernize the current fleet with not less than 8 motor vessels of the same class. These were the Ayala Mendi class, all built at the basque shipyard of Euskalduna, the vessels were of nearly 4000 metric tons, and were equipped with a Burmeister & Wein diesel engine and were capable of 12.5 knots.
[ img ]

Ayala Mendi was placed in the route to Antwerp, Netherlands harbours ang the german harbours of Bremen and Hamburg. The beginning of the SCW surprised this ship in Bremen, so she was in the rebel side. But instead being operated by the francoist mercantile fleet, she was renamed Elise and from December 1936 she sailed as a ship of HIMSA (a german company in Morocco that was facade for the nazi military and non military aid to the nationalists/francoists) and from 1937 was under the flag of the german shipping company Sloman of Hamburg until very late in the Civil War.
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After the end of the SCW, Sota y Aznar was renamed just Aznar, because all the sharings of Mr. Sota were confiscated as he was a basque nationalist, and the PNV, the nationalist basque party sided with the defeated republicans (a very odd alliance, because the PNV was a liberal party, far away from the main line of the Frente Popular, which was a loose mix of socialist-anachist-marxist-stalinist parties). Following the change of name of the company, all the fleet of Aznar was renamed, and after some repairs Ayala Mendi was renamed Monte Ayala in 1939. During WWII huge neutrality flags were painted in the hull of almost every Spanish vessel, and with this appearance, Monte Ayala ran aground in Vigo during 1941.
[ img ]

Monte Ayala was saved and repaired. Due the lack of foreign shipping lines during WWII, 6 of the vessels of the class were adapted as transatlantic vessels, and after the end of the world war Monte Ayala was active as an emigrant vessel for several thousands of Spaniards that sailed to South America (mainly Argentina and Venezuela). After an active life, Monte Ayala was paid off in the late 1960s.

Credits: Once again, Colombamike helped me heavily (the funnel!) :D . Lots of thanks. Cheers.


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eswube
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: May 22nd, 2021, 9:43 am
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Another excellent series. Keep it up! (assuming that there are still ships left to draw for this thread ;) )


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Yqueleden
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: May 31st, 2021, 4:49 pm
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It's a little known and less documented period. This thread should be on the Armada Española website.

Greetings

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reytuerto
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: June 25th, 2021, 7:30 am
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A trio of the lesser known vessels of the war, which were used at the ill fated republican attempt to conquest Majorca in August 1936:

Barcaza de desembarco K12
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Steam landing craft of british origin, veteran of Gallipoli under british flag, and as a spanish vessel, also veteran of 1925 Alhucemas landings. Two of this vessels (K12 and K26) were employed at Punta de Amer the morning of August 16th 1936.

The strategic position of the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean sea in undeniable. Able to cut the communications between the Iberian peninsula and the French southern harbors and the Russian supplies from the black sea, and so close to the Spanish Levantine coast that a any of the 3 main islands were an ideal base for a blockading force, and for an air force able either to patrol large portions of the sea, or deadly bomber raids to the main republican cities of Barcelona and Valencia.

After the failure of the conservative coup d’etat, the real power in Catalonia was the anarchists parties (the façade was a Catalonian secessionist republican government), specially FAI. In August, the Catalonian Central Committee for the Anti-Fascists Militias planned the occupation of the Balearic Islands (of the archipelago, the only island in republican hands was Menorca, with the very important naval base and magnificent bay of Mahon), as a catalonian/anarchist only operation, completely independent from the Republican Government at Madrid.

A huge army was assembled, between 8000 and 10,000 men (anarchist , militia, assault guard, civil guard, led by an army officer) with 12 guns and the support of the 12 inch battleship Jaime I (qv), the 6 inch cruiser Libertad (qv), 2 4.7 inch destroyers, 3 B class submarines (qv), one gunboat, one fleet tug and another harbor tug. The transports Ciudad de Barcelona (qv) Ciudad de Cádiz, Ciudad de Mahón, Ciudad de Tarragona, Isla de Tenerife, Unbe Mendi (qv) and the twin modern motorvessels Mar Negro y Mar Cantábrico (qv) were used to sail the invasion tropos, first to Menorca and Ibeza and later to Majorca. The liner Marques de Comillas (qv) was used as a hospital ship.

Two K type landing barges were used in Punta de Amer, but the main landings were at Porto Cristo in August 16 and 17th 1936. The landings were so successful that the republicans were unable to exploit the success, and loose precious time in futile attacks and revolutionary reforms. This “window” of time, gave the opportunity for the mere 3000 defenders (2000 Falangist militia, black shirts Italian volunteers, a small cadre of Italian regular army officers, Spanish Army garrison and Guardia Civil) to organize a defensive line centered in the town of Manacor, able first to stop the advance of the republican forces, and later, to isolate the beach head. The Italian aid was very important, and air support given by 3 CR-32 fighters and 3 SM-81 bombers were pivotal for the rebel counterattack.

The republican lack of coordination was notorious, with duplicity of commands between the chief of the expedition, Captain Bayo, and the various anarchist committees. So the objectives were unclear, and the whole operation condemned to a catastrophic failure. After nearly 4000 casualties, the republican/Catalonian force was forced to retreat in September 5th, 2 days later, the forces at Ibiza also were pulled out. This left Majorca in rebel (later francoist) hands, and the naval base of Mahon effectively neutralized. The Italians used majorican bases integrated in the Comando Aviazione Legionaria delle Baleari, for the rest of the war, bombing the republican rearguard and controlling the sea lanes around the Balearic islands


Guardacostas Xauen
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Also of british origin and WWI veteran. Two of these armed trawlers of the Mersey class, armed with 2 x 3 inch guns. were bought in 1922 and both Xauen and Arcila were present during Alhucemas landings. After the defeat of Abdel Krim, during most of 1920s and 30s both vessels were protecting the spanish northen part of Morocco. At the beginning of the Civil War, Xauen was loyal to the republic and Arcila was with the rebels. The former was employed at Majorca in 1936 very close to the shore shelling rebel positions. Later she was guarding the harbour of Malaga until the fall of that city in February of the next year, scuttled by the republicans, she was refloated in May by the francoists, repaired and armed with 1 x 76 mm, 1 x 47 mm and a MG, was used as coast guard in the Gibraltar strait area until mid 1938, and then at the Canary Islands for the rest of the war. She was finally paid off in 1971.

Remolcador de Altura Ciclope
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Also a british WW1 surplus, this fleet tug was bought by the spanish Armada in 1921. She was involved in towing the floating crane Atlas from Marseille, in a futile attempt of rescue of the battleship España (qv) ran aground in Cape Tres Forcas in 1924. Ciclope was also at Alhucemas landings, towing Type K landing barges, and almost as important, towing from Cadiz to Cala Quemada a much needed boiler for converting salt water into drinking fresh water. As her homeport was Cartagena, she remained loyal to the republic and her skipper, Cdr. Buiza later was appointed as skipper of the 6 inch cruiser Libertad and later, as the chief of the republican fleet. Based all the war in the main republican base of Cartagena, she was bombed and sunk by francoist bombers in november 1938. After the war, she was refloated and repaired. After a fire exercise, Ciclope ran aground during a gale off Pontevedra.

Credits. Colombamike helped me since the inception of the landing barge drawing, and later with useful corrections. Thanks. Cheers.


Last edited by reytuerto on June 25th, 2021, 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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eswube
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: June 25th, 2021, 10:35 am
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Great drawings. You're doing a fantastic work in this thread!


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Hood
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: June 25th, 2021, 3:19 pm
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Excellent additions, lots of very interesting ships for sure, including these ex-British WW1 types.

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reytuerto
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: July 5th, 2021, 11:50 pm
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Thanks B and Hood! your feedback is very important! ;)

Good afternoon, gentlemen!

If there was a ship that could be considered a game changer in the naval operations of the Spanish Civil War, that ship must certainly be the heavy cruiser Canarias.

A 10000 ton, 8 inch Washington Treaty heavy cruiser, she was ordered in 1928. The design was made by Sir Phillip Watts and was built a SECN at Ferrol. She was launched in 1931, and made her first sea run in 1934. But at the beginning of the Civil War in July 1936 she was not yet commissioned, being with incomplete armament and without ranging systems, and almost as important, without a trained crew.

Working day and night, Canarias was able to made her first sortie in late September 1936, with incomplete armament (the secondary battery was the secondary 4 inch guns of the old battleship España), makeshift ranging apparatus (made with the telemeters of Ferrol coast batteries and a privately bought gyroscopic platform), and a hastily trained crew (most of the gunners were army gunners of the shore defenses), knowing that the Republican Fleet (called by the own republicans, the Red Fleet) had gone to the Bay of Biscay lefting over only a pair of destroyers at Gibraltar Strait, Canarias flying the flag of Admiral Moreno, and light 6 inch cruiser Cervera (qv) left Ferrol for southern waters.
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In September 29th at dawn, at Cabo Espartel at the Atlantic side of the Gibraltar strait, Canarias found the republican destroyer Almirante Ferrandiz and begun to shell it, attaining a hit in the third salvo at a respectable distance of 19,000 meters. Closing distances, Canarias hit 5 more time the unlucky destroyer blew up and sank. Cervera shelled the destroyer Gravina, but the republican vessel was able to reach Casablanca for safety.
[ img ]

Being masters of the Gibraltar Strait, the rebel/nationalist/francoist fleet protected the shipping of all the remaining rebel troops at Spanish Morocco, the well seasoned Army of Africa, which in a mater of weeks was able to be ad portas of the Spanish capitol city, Madrid. In October 16th Canarias arrived Cadiz and in that arsenal, 4 120 mm dual purpose guns were mounted. Later in October she went up to the Catalonian coast, the 30th Canarias shelled Rosas and sunk the patrol vessel Marinero Cante (an old French built vessel of ungainly appearance, armed with a 57 mm Hotchkiss gun).
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In November 8th she shelled Almeria, burning CAMPSA oil facilities there, two days after she shelled Barcelona in a night attack, the following day she shelled and sunk the steamer SS Manuel, the 12th captured the Spanish little steamer SS Ciudadela, almost a week later, the 17th, Palamos was shelled.
[ img ]

By the end of November, the soviet vessel Kharkov was captured and two weeks later, another soviet ship, the modern MV Komsomol was intercepted, shelled and sunk (other version said intercepted, scuttled by the own soviet crew and sunk). Finally in early January 1937 Canarias shelled Port Bou and captured CAMPSA´s modern oil tanker Campuzano (qv).

In late January with her sister Baleares, Canarias shelled Malaga giving support to the land offensive that surrounded and conquest the most western Mediterranean harbor of the Spanish republic. After a pause as escorts of MV Domine (qv) with the Moroccan Muslim pilgrims to Mecca, Baleares remained in the southern waters and Canarias went to the Bay of Biscay, but with a brief detour at Cadiz for being armed with the remainder 4 120 mm guns of the secondarhy battery.

In March 5th 1937, near Bilbao, Canarias shelled and sunk after a brave combat the basque armed trawler Guipuzcoa (qv), almost disabled Navarra (qv), shelled and hit Donostia (qv) and captured the republican steamer SS Galdames (qv). And much more important, the 8th, Canarias captured in Cantabrian Sea, the modern MV Mar Cantabrico (qv) with a full load of airplanes, artillery, machine guns and 14 million cartridges of rifle ammo.
[ img ]

With almost the complete fall of the republican north coast, Canarias and Cervera returned to the Mediterranean Sea, as a much needed reinforcement to the sole cruiser Baleares. During the first week of September 1937, most part of the republican fleet (cruisers Libertad (qv) and Mendez Nuñez (qv) plus 6 destroyers) sailed from Cartagena to protect a convoy of 3 steamers: Satrustegui, Aldecoa and Mar Blanco from Oran to Valencia.
[ img ]
[ img ]
Baleares sailed from Palma to intercept the convoy, and near Cape Cherchel she was able to fire to the republican cruisers, being hit 3 times by the 6 inch Libertad, but due superior speed, Baleares was able to force to the steamers made a complete turn to the french Algeria, and off Oran, Aldecoa run aground.
[ img ]
Despite being a republican tactical victory, the francoist cruiser attained her goal of avoiding the much needed (for the Belchite republican offensive) "materiel" reinforcements of the convoy.

In September 23th 1937, Canarias captured the republican steamers SS JJ Sister (qv) and SS Rey Jaime II,
[ img ]
after the fleeing of the republican escort of 3 destroyers (Antequera, Gravina and Sanchez Barcaiztegui). This was probably the Republican Fleet nadir, and was the event that catapulted the removal of Captain Buiza as head of the Red Fleet.

In February 22th 1938, 18 Tupolev SB bombers made an attack to the nationalist cruiser division, but only Cervera was hit, with and important number of casualties.

In March 5th 1938, while escorting the steamers SS Aiskori Mendi and SS Unbe Mendi (qv) with an important load of war material from Italy, the cruiser division (Baleares, flying the flag of Almirante Vierna, Canarias and Cervera) were crossed (unintentionally) by the Republican Fleet (Libertad, Mendez Nuñez and 5 destroyers) at 02:00 hours, unfortunatelly some illuminants were fired from the francoist vessels and within seconds the main tactic advantage, the bigger and longer ranged artillery, of the rebel ships disappeared, with the advantage of the republican destroyers of being at close range. The destroyers swiftly fired a spread of torpedoes, no less than 12 went towards the nationalist ships, and at least 2 hit Baleares, the explosion quickly killed the skipper, the admiral and most of his staff, and left the ship with little power. The remainder cruisers of the squadron made a deffensive turn, and the republican fleet went to Cartagena. At 05:00, Baleares was sunk with heavy loss of life.

Despite the loss of the most modern vessel of the fleet, the rebel forces remained with the initiative, and 2 months later Canarias was able to capture the soviet motor vessel Stepanov. In August 1938, Canarias together with other ships forced the republican destroyer Jose Diaz to be interned in Gibraltar. The last months of the war, the rebel fleet was undisputed and attained almost a complete control of the sea. Finally, in April 1st 1939, Canarias entered to the main republican naval base, Cartagena, as a victor.

Credits: I want to thank Colombamike for his help since the inception of the cruisers, the steamers, and even in the ugly Marinero Cante (known as the "chambrestick" class by the spaniards :D ) lots of thanks! I also tried to mimic Alvama´s details in the destroyer Ferrandiz, so my drawing is in line with the style. Thanks to him too. Cheers.

References
1. Michael Alpert. La guerra civil española en el mar.
2. Antony Beevor. La Guerra Civil Española.
3. Hugh Thomas. Historia de la Guerra Civil Española.
4. Pio Moa. El derrumbe de la II República y la Guerra Civil.
5. Cesar Vidal. La guerra que ganó Franco.
6. Stanley Payne. 40 preguntas fundamentales sobre la guerra civil.
7. Stanley Payne. Por que la Republica perdió la guerra.
8. Peter Gretton. El factor olvidado. La marina britanica y la guerra civil española.
9. José Cervera. La guerra naval española 1936-1939.
10. Gutierrez, Jose Manuel. Importancia de las operaciones navales en el final de la guerra civil, lucha por el control del estrecho y del Mediterraneo Occidental. Cuadernos de Pensamiento Naval. 16 (1), pag. 5-40. 2014.

PS: Edited. Thanks to Henrik por the nice color photograph of Canarias and his very useful comments. Thanks to Colombamike and his swifty aid with the reference blueprint of Ciudadela and comments to improve the subsecuent drawing. Cheers.


Last edited by reytuerto on July 20th, 2021, 3:56 am, edited 4 times in total.

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eswube
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: July 6th, 2021, 9:39 pm
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Fantastic work! :)
Btw. would You consider doing Canarias in the later period(s) of her service life?


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heuhen
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: July 6th, 2021, 11:01 pm
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i do not fully agree with the shape or shading of the forward superstructure of Canaris:

[ img ]
[ img ]


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reytuerto
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: July 7th, 2021, 12:34 pm
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Thanks, Eswube! Yes, the 2 funneled version will be done, and also the air defense version of the cruiser Mendez Nuñez.

Hi, Heuhen! Thanks for the input. A darker shade for the shadows? More shadow for the overhanging in the bridge? Cheers.


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