Good morning, guys.
After some weeks of an undesired and forced stop, I am presenting you some lesser known vessels of the Spanish Civil War:
In spite of an hydrographic service stablished in the XVIII century, the Spanish Armada, at the beginning of the SCW only had two ad hoc vessels in service and another one in construction. Both ships in service, Artabro (qv) and Tofiño remained loyal to the Republic, and the one in slips, Malaspina as being built in Cadiz, was seized by the rebels in July 1936.
As almost all the maps and maritime charts were in rebel hands, both Tofiño and Artabro were used by the republicans as survey vessels.
Tofiño was used always in the Mediterranean sea, until she was bombed in December 1938-January 1939 at Barcelona. She was found by francoist forces sunk and later she was raised and recomissioned as survey vessel well after the end of the SCW. She was paid of in the mid 1970s.
Malaspina had a different story as she was finished not as a survey vessel but as armed ship ("buque planero armado") with a 3 inch gun and an old Nordenfeldt 57 mm QF gun. She remained all the war at the Gibraltar Strait zone, and able to capture the latvian steamer Everards.
After the end of the war, she was refited as survey ship and was paid off in the mid 1970s too.
The other vessel was the troop transport Tarifa. This little steamerwas built as New Londoner at Harlepool in 1912, and after several names and owners, she was named SS Janu was used by the belgian company SOCDECO (but under panamaian flag) for the ilegal trade (smugling) of arms to the Spanish Republic, after an initial successful voyage to Santander, she was captured during her second trip by the armed trawler Huelva in the Gibraltar Strait.
Huelva was a trawler of german origin of the Blucher class, during WWI she was armed and used in the North Sea. In the 1920s she was bought by a spanish owner from Cadiz and renamed Virgen de la Cinta and was used as fishing vessel until July 1936. In that date she was armed with a 3 inch gun and a machine gun and renamed Huelva. Based at Cadiz, she remained at the strait area during all the war.
The captured Janu was renamed Castillo Arevalo under the Gerencia de Buques Incautados, and was used as a coastal transport between the rebel mediterranean coast harbours. In the inmediate postwar, she was used as base for the divers that were raising the sunk ships in the spanish coast, both in the Bay of Biscay and Mediterranean Sea. After that, Castillo Arevalo was seized by the Navy as transport and renamed Tarifa. During WWII she was converted to a troop transport for a battalion size unit, and was completely repaired in 1948.
Despite this, she always was a slow vessel with machinery problems, so her life at the Armada was relatively short being paid off in the early 1960s.
Credits: Colombamike helped me since the inception! Lots of thanks to him!
ESPINOSA, S. El servicio hidrografico en la guerra civil. Revista de Historia Naval, 149 (2020). p 9-30.
INFIESTA, JL. Una nueva lista de buques menores que combatieron como patrulleros o rastreadores durante nuestra guerra civil. Revista de Historia Naval, 78(2002). p 47-72.
QUERO, M. Buque de transporte de la Armada Tarifa. Aljaranda 57(2005). p 41-43.
Tees Built Ships. email@example.com
Hartlepool History Then and Now. http://hhtandn.org
PS1: This drawings had a very intresting history! I don´t have more spanish vessels (of relevant history during the war, in fact, my next drawings are going to be of foreigner vessels, which were very important in the war
), but Colombamike kindly send me the blueprints of Tarifa and Tofiño. Fortunately with the help of some spanish pals, I was able to find information of both vessels, but I did not found many pictures of the vessels during the war. Huelva history is even more difficult, at first intention, I suppose that she was a british built ship, but in a very complete article in a magazine of the Spanish Navy, I read that she was of german construction, and finding the data of the vessel was a very interesting adventure.
. I found the specs of the latvian Everads and some pictures, but I was unable to find the flag of the Grauds Shipping company, and as the pictures were black and white, I don´t know if the funnel color is the wright one (but I think that the bands are white!).
PS2: In the past 15 months I had more health issues than in the previous 25 years! From being bited by a spider, to a tropical fever, and the last weeks a flu and inmediatly a gastro-enteritis
! No Covid, and any problem with any main body system! But fortunatelly for me, bad weed never dies!
(but I am getting old!).