A pair of motor fruit vessels, with different histories during the Spanish Civil War, Ebro and Sil.
A pair of rather small fruit ships built by Euskalduna in 1928 for the Pinillos Line, for the profitable fruit line between the Canary Islands and peninsular Spain and other countries, specially Britain.
The beginning of the Civil War surprised Ebro in Sete, France; but the skipper and some of the crew maneged to went to Genoa. Once there, the fascist italian government took over the vessel and she was given to Navegazione Garibaldi under the name Aniene. As Aniene (she also used the name Amoris) she was one of the most active (if not the most) vessels between the ligurian harbours and Spain, specially the balearic harbour of Palma de Mallorca, with no single incident during more than two years.
But in the last year of the war, some 100 miles south of the Balearic Islands, Aniene and her escort, the corvette Orsa were attacked by a trio of Tupolev Katiuskas bombers (SB-2). No direct hit was attained, but some close misses damaged the hull and making a fire on the deck. Both vessels managed to reach Palma and Aniene was repaired there.
In May 1939 she was returned to Pinillos Line. After the end of the civil war, Ebro returned to the fruit trade, but after the end of WWII, during the hard post war years with the political and economical isolation of the francoist regime, she made several trips with migrants mainly to South America.
The twin, Sil, had a totally different history: She was in republican waters and was seized by the government. She was used as a floating jail, first in Alicante and then in Cartagena, in that harbour, in August 14th 1936 more than 300 army and navy rebel officers were murdered (no trail), 40 of them being foundered still alive.
In late 1936 Sil went to Mexico and returned with an important load of rifles and ammo. During 1937 she operated from the Northen harbour of Santander, making several trips to UK and Scandinavia. With the fall of the republican harbours at the Bay of Biscay late in 1937, she begun to operate from british harbours until she was interned in October 1938. In 1939 she was returned to Pinillos Line. Finally, Sil and Ebro were paid off and scuttled in Valencia in 1965. Cheers.
Credits: The fine drawing of the Torpediniere Orsa is work of Tiger Hunter. Thanks to him!
NB: Unfortunatelly, in this series I was unable to have Colombamike´s important aid, so a drop in detail is expected