Moderator: Community Manager
[Post Reply] [*]  Page 1 of 4  [ 35 posts ]  Go to page 1 2 3 4 »
Author Message
Garlicdesign
Post subject: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 20th, 2020, 8:54 pm
Offline
User avatar
Posts: 1020
Joined: December 26th, 2012, 9:36 am
Location: Germany
Hi all!

After over three years of strategically placing references, here's the finished product (Part one of three, anyway):

The Empire of Mexico, extended version

A. Part I – The early days to the end of the Tegetthoff era

1. Dictator for Life
After the disastrous war of 1846, Mexico lost huge territories, most importantly California, to the USA. This time, Mexican C-in-C General Santa Ana, who previously again and again had been able to repair his reputation even after the most humiliating reverses, seemed finished. He was exiled, but his successors created such chaos in short time that he was called back to restore order and had himself triumphantly elected president for the eleventh time on April 20th, 1853. Having grown ever more vainglorious as well as paranoid over the years, Santa Ana went about to establish a totalitarian dictatorship, only alleviated by a measure of corruption which was appalling even by Mexican standards. A conspiracy to oust him sprang into life almost immediately; to make sure he would not wiggle free as he had done so many times before, Santa Ana was to be assassinated this time. This decision was hotly debated and rejected by some of the conspirators, particularly Benito Juarez and Juan Ceballos, both lawyers by training, who wanted to play things straight. The military fraction, led by Ignacio Comonfort, wanted to play things safe and overruled them. Unfortunately, Ceballos suffered a case of conscience and confronted Santa Ana, demanding him to retire and go into exile, or else Ceballos would no longer be able to control the things to come. Santa Ana, far from being grateful, had Ceballos arrested and tortured, and within hours knew everything of the conspiracy. Swiftly and decisively, he cracked down on the conspirators and had several hundred of them, including Juarez, arrested and brutally executed during four bloody weeks late in 1854. The resistance was taken aback; they knew Santa Ana was ruthless and cruel, but had not believed he could be that efficient. Comonfort escaped and went underground, but he and his remaining supporters were relentlessly hunted. After two years of insurgence, the General was captured and publicly hanged; about 5.000 of his followers were massacred. Not content with this success and driven by clinical paranoia, Santa Ana continued to crack down on the country’s liberal bourgeoisie, aided by the army and the Catholic Church. He kept searching for conspiracies and had several of his own high-ranking police officers imprisoned for not finding any. Consequently, their successors made them up and pursued innocents to placate the irascible dictator. So wantonly violent was his regime that most of his conservative followers within the nobility, the land-owning class, the church and the military had abandoned him by 1860. Not content with turning every potential domestic ally against him, Santa Ana also upset his foreign debtors by defaulting upon them in 1861; he owed over 80 million dollars to the French Second Empire alone. This was one step too far for His Most Serene Highness, and Napoleon III had a plan drawn up to take over affairs in Mexico himself.

2. All hail the Emperor
Prior to 1861, direct intervention by any European power in Mexico would automatically have meant war with the USA, but when the American Civil War broke out in 1861, the Americans were occupied with more important matters. A few months into the American Civil War, in February 1862, French troops disembarked at Veracruz, bringing with them a descendant of the dynasty that had, as their propaganda claimed, brought civilization and Christianity to the Americas: Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg-Lorraine, younger brother of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. Moderate Mexican Conservatives fed up with Santa Ana's pompous, brutal dictatorship had approached the Archduke as early as 1859 to take over the country in a benevolent (for them, anyway) conservative revolution, but at that time Austria was at war with France and Ferdinand Maximilian was unable to muster the necessary financial and military support. The Archduke served in this war as C-in-C of the Austrian Navy; he was already considered an accomplished naval expert despite his young age and was credited with much of the organizational effort that created the Austrian fleet with which Tegetthoff won his victory at Lissa against Italy in 1866. Although the French had been his enemies in 1859, Ferdinand Maximilian quickly reconciled with Napoleon III as soon as his ascent to the Throne of Mexico became a real possibility. As Austria had no assets to spare for a Mexican expedition, Ferdinand Maximilian and Napoleon III struck an alliance that would give the Archduke access to several thousand crack French troops well experienced in North African counterinsurgency warfare, which was considered not too different from Mexican conditions. In return, Napoleon told Maximilian that he owed Mexico’s foreign debt to Napoleon personally; paying it back was the only reason for his reign, and failure to do so swiftly and enthusiastically would result in Maximilian’s removal, as quickly as he was installed. When Maximilian reached Veracruz, formerly Santa Ana’s main stronghold, he expected a cold welcome, but the conservatives – which Santa Ana had alienated – and the liberals – which he had massacred – were so desperate they were willing to support any kind of change, as long as it was a change. Maximilian’s French army, ably led by the legendary General Achille Bazaine, pulverized Santa Ana's numerically superior, but poorly led forces in a series of engagements between Veracruz and Mexico City, hardly suffering any casualties except to disease. Santa Ana, now aged 66 and obviously at the end of his fight, was paralyzed with shock. He issued one holding order after another, but failed to support his garrisons with the substantial reserves still available, concentrating his best units around Mexico City. His officer corps quickly came to realize that their dictator for life was a spent force. Three weeks after Maximilian had disembarked, the first dozen high-ranking officers switched sides, and within three months, most of the Mexican Army was either dispersed or had joined the invaders. When Santa Ana realized his army had simply vaporized, he tried to escape, but was caught on the run by soldiers under the command of rebel General Meja, beaten to death and hanged upside down from the roof of a stable. The demise of the universally hated dictator provided the Archduke, who spoke only a caricature of Spanish and still was considered by common Mexicans as the foreign invader he really was, with an air of legitimacy. The Mexican liberals had been thoroughly decapitated by Santa Ana's purges, and although they opposed monarchy as a matter of principle, their resistance was disorganized and ineffective. The Archduke was declared Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico in September 1862. To their lasting horror, his conservative supporters soon had to realize that they had gotten a very different Head of State than they had bargained for.

3. Cutting the strings
Whoever among Mexico's conservative elite considered Maximilian a docile figurehead under whose rule the upper class could continue to effortlessly plunder the country, should better have asked his brother Franz Joseph, who had sacked him as viceroy of Lombardo-Venetia in 1859 for his embarrassingly liberal views and policies. With a much larger experimenting ground for his liberal ideas available to him than North-eastern Italy had been, Maximilian proceeded to reform the country on the fast track. Many of his reforms were taken straight from the programme of the 1854 conspirators: Abolition of slavery and peony, land reforms, religious freedom, freedom of speech, abolition of corporal punishment, independent judiciary and the sovereignty of congress over the state’s budget. Social reforms included restricting working hours, the abolition of child labor, restoration of communal property and cancellation of all debts for peasants over 10 pesos. The near absolute rule of major land owners over the tenants of their estates was broken, and the whole legal system revamped after contemporary French fashion; for the first time, there were reliable and reasonably impartial courts in Mexico. Schooling was made to be made available to much larger parts of the general population, and suffrage was extended to all taxpayers, even those who actually worked for their income. Whatever liberal resistance against the emperor was still afoot steadily lost public support, and when the conservatives became restless they were made aware in diplomatic terms that Bazaine's French bayonets cut both ways. Maximilian would have Mexico become a modern nation, whether it wanted to be one or not; as such a nation was more likely to pay its debts than a third-world dunghole, Napoleon III agreed to defer payment of Mexican debts for five years in order to give Maximilian time to firmly take hold of his empire. Mexico’s nobility and clergy felt thoroughly betrayed. Maximilian did just what Juarez would have done, had he defeated Santa Ana – so what use was that weird prince, anyway? A new conspiracy to get rid of the Emperor sprang up in 1864, but indigenous army units refused to move against the man who had recently doubled their wages and abolished whipping; after General Miramon had declared for Maximilian and spilled what he knew of the conspiracy, loyal troops under the native American General Meija killed the coup attempt in its cradle early in 1865. Many prominent reactionaries were arrested, to the delight of Mexico's liberal bourgeoisie which now started to believe this Emperor might be a godsend after all. By year’s end, more and more formerly staunch Juaristas were flocking to the banners of Emperador Maximiliano, glorious liberator of Mexico from the claws of Santa Ana.

4. Crisis
Just when all was going well, Maximilian's brother Emperor Franz Josef was defeated by the Prussians with humiliating ease in the German war of 1866. As the victorious Prussians turned their attention west at the arch-enemy beyond the Rhine, the USA, after having finished the civil war, started to exert diplomatic pressure on the French to get the hell out of the Americas. The Johnson administration did not believe for a second in the tale of a sovereign Mexican Empire; to them, the whole endeavor was aimed at turning Mexico into a French colony. By mid-1867, under pressure from two sides, Napoleon III decided he would need his 40.000 crack troops, which still bolstered Maximilian's reign in Mexico, more urgently at home. The French retreat was completed late in 1867. As the French drew their troops out, the first groups of Confederate veterans, many of which would have returned to a life of misery in their devastated home states, started to cross the Rio Grande. These men had little chance of earning a decent living in the postwar South; they did however know how to fight. They had been told there was a civil war brewing, with all associated opportunities for plunder, loot and debauchery, and wanted to be on the winning side for once. The US government was happy to be rid of them; if they destabilized the Mexican Empire instead of destabilizing the South, it was a win-win situation. In Mexico, the Confederate veterans arrived in a climate of insurgence against the Empire. What remained of the conservative elite, recently decimated by Maximilian, and the radical liberals, previously decimated by Santa Ana, took up arms at the same time. With the Empire thus caught in a pincer grip, there could be little doubt for the ex-Confederates who the winning side would be. But at the same time, the middle ground between both extreme camps – which in Mexico was traditionally a rather small strip – had grown much wider since Maximilian’s arrival, and the rebel camps hated each other at least as much as they hated the Empire. Maximilian's indigenous army had been trained well by French advisors in counterinsurgency tactics, about which the French had gathered some experience in their North African campaigns. Some French officers had opted to stay behind, baited by generous promotions, and Maximilian had imported a number of artillery and logistics experts from Austria. But for all the progress that had been made with the officer corps, the rank and file still were of questionable efficiency, so the Emperor refused to unleash his fledgling army piecemeal and prematurely. The strict discipline enforced upon the Imperial army and the draconic measures threatened in case of marauding scared off the worst of the ex-Confederates straight to the conservative rebels, who lacked unified leadership, usually took anyone they could get, and promised rewards they could not deliver. Maximilian’s generals were happy to let them. Miramon and Meija wanted to fight the upcoming civil war with Mexicans; employing a large number of Gringo mercenaries would only undermine the Emperor’s fledgling popularity. While various rebel groups and bands of freelance ex-Confederates ravaged the country, Maximilian concentrated his forces in their strongholds. It seemed the same mistake Santa Ana had made, but Maximilian's forces were of better quality and cohesion, and his generals used the time gained to relentlessly drill them. By early 1868, the Empire struck, prioritizing the more visible conservative and reactionary rebels. They had to fight the leftists and the Imperials at the same time and could be virtually crippled during the spring of 1868. The Imperial victory rendered the leftists stronger as well, to whom the Confederate veterans quickly defected. This perceived position of strength would however be their undoing. Used to traditional warfare between organized armies, the ex-Confederates habitually overreacted to asymmetric threats, and caused more collateral damage and friendly fire casualties than actual harm to the enemy. Their frequently excessive brutality sapped public support from the cause of the rebels. Moreover, the ex-Confederates held the Imperial army in such contempt that they pushed their respective leaderships for a major offensive; surely Maximilian's ill-trained rabble would be a walkover for the men who had marched with General Lee. During the summer of 1868, various leftist groups consolidated their forces and moved to capture several large cities in northern Mexico, clandestinely supplied with weapons from beyond the Rio Grande, courtesy of General Sheridan. Maximilian could hardly believe his luck: The rebels, who would have been unassailable as long as they stayed dispersed, were together and in the open. Although General Miramon had never distinguished himself as much of a tactician before, he decisively defeated the rebels during the fall of 1868, and imperial propaganda was able to play the frequent inability (or unwillingness) of Confederate veterans to discriminate friends from enemies for all it was worth. By late 1868, US weapons supplies to the rebels had been uncovered, and a majority of Mexicans viewed the 1867 rebellion against the Empire as a foreign invasion staged by bloodthirsty, greedy Gringo adventurers. This was the end for the rebellion. Many rebel leaders including Porfirio Diaz were captured and executed in the spring of 1869. Small scale insurgence continued into 1870, but by that time, Emperor Maximilian’s rule was for all practical purposes stabilized and there to stay. In 1871, he gained financial freedom of action by renouncing his debts to France. Napoleon III had made it a personal issue to threaten Maximilian, but with Napoleon deposed and France a republic, Maximilian argued the creditor – the Second French Empire – had vanished in a legal sense, so the deal was off. The French were so busy with the war and the Commune that they hardly noticed; when the Third Republic was consolidated in 1872, there was no way to force the Mexicans to pay up short of war. This however was a no-go, with France’s army crippled and the USA, however they despised the Mexican monarchy, again able and willing to impose the Monroe doctrine to prevent a repetition of France’s 1863 adventure. The matter soured French-Mexican relations for a decade, but Germany and Austria happily stepped in as creditors (the latter for dynastic solidarity, the former to piss off the French), and Mexico’s credit ranking did not suffer. For Maximilian, it was a diplomatic triumph which massively boosted his popularity; there could be no doubt now that he was no one’s puppet. All that was missing to round the picture was a heir, which was no easy undertaking, because Maximilian was widely considered to be impotent due to the effects of veneral disease. When he surprised everyone by declaring the Empress pregnant in 1872, rumors abounded about the child's true fatherhood. These were however short-lived when the imperial pregnancy went awry and the Empress died giving birth to a girl so ugly that any doubts about Maximilian's fatherhood could be discounted. The Infanta received the name Isabel Carlota Sofia Maria Teresa de Habsburgo-Lorena. The Emperor celebrated his grief very publicly, which appealed to the Mexican flair for tragic romance, ironically further enhancing his popularity. Bereft of family (he would never remarry, although continue to have affairs with numerous mistresses), the Emperor decided to distract himself by doing what he had already proven very capable of: He created himself a navy.

5. The Emperor's Admiral
Mexico had possessed no naval forces worth mentioning when Maximilian arrived; whatever steam warships had been available, Santa Ana had sold to the Spanish to finance the 1854 civil war, leaving only a handful of decrepit sailing ships. Maximilian had already purchased four British-built wooden steam schooners in 1866 and an Austrian-built wooden steam sloop in 1868; in 1872, he added a small ironclad and two more steam sloops from Austrian manufacture, and three more British built masted steam gunboats. This was however only the beginning. Maximilian’s ambition was to turn Mexico into a self-sustained naval power with a professional officer corps of the highest quality and the ability to build every kind of warship domestically. To that end, Maximilian managed to secure the assistance of one of the premier mariners of the century. After his victory at Lissa, Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff never had it easy with the Austrian bureaucracy. He had almost resigned in that year after the imperial administration had accused him of fraud because of the size of his victory dinner (little wonder there; his victory had not prevented the Austrians from losing the war). His resignation was refused, but the KuK administration's ongoing effort to undermine his work - he was viewed as the proverbial crab trying to climb out of the bucket which needed to be drawn down to the general level of complacency, inefficiency and corruption - strained his health and his nerves. Fortunately for him, the latter gave way before the former, and he resigned his position for a second time in September 1870 after a row with the government over its decision to limit the battlefleet to eight ironclads, while Tegetthoff wanted twenty. As he was in poor health at that time, one might fear that any continuation of the stress he was suffering might have killed him sooner rather than later. Tegetthoff decided to accept a long-standing invitation of his former C-in-C, Maximilian of Mexico, who had recognized Tegetthoff's talents very early during his tenure as head of the Austrian navy and rapidly promoted him. The admiral traveled to Mexico, where he arrived in December 1870 to a lavish welcome. During the following year, he recovered his health, mostly living on an imperial resort in the warm and dry climate of Baja California; in fall, he traveled the country, whose economy was beginning to flourish again, with the civil war for all practical purposes over. Tegetthoff, who already was fluent in Italian, easily picked up Spanish, and with his spirits and energy restored, he did not think twice when Maximilian offered him a job. On April 1st, 1872, Wilhelm von Tegetthoff was appointed Mexico's first-ever Minister of the Navy, receiving a promotion to full admiral (the next ranking Mexican naval officer at that time was a Captain) at age 45. The first thing Tegetthoff did was upgrading the extant bases at Veracruz and Acapulco, adding three more at Tampico in 1873, at Topolobampo in 1878 and at Chetumal in 1882. He founded a Naval Academy at Veracruz in 1873 and Naval Yards at Tampico in 1875 and at Veracruz in 1880. The yards were initially for maintenance only, but soon became more proficient and capable of turning out warships. Additionally, the Emperor applied various measures to attract foreign investment to initiate domestic iron ore mining and establish a Mexican steel industry; the latter venture never really took off, though. Foreign instructors – initially Austrian, later British and German - were employed to turn Mexico's fledgling officer and deck officer corps into a professional fighting force. This sort of groundwork had priority over the acquisition of new ships in the first years; between 1872 and 1878, only a handful of spar torpedo boats were purchased. That year however, Tegetthoff considered all foundations laid for a contemporary fleet, and started to buy. Gunboats were built in Mexico from the start; only a few prototypes were imported. Large or high-performance ships still needed to be built abroad, but there always was a focus on acquiring their plans and developing the capability to build domestic copies. In 1879, no less than four ironclads were purchased. One was newly built at Trieste to requirements formulated by Tegetthoff himself, the other three were bought from the British government which had acquired three former Turkish and Brazilian ships during the Russian War Scare of 1878, only to realize they had no real requirement for them. In the following decade, additional cruisers and torpedo gunboats were added to the fleet, and in 1885, the first Mexican-designed cruiser (at the same time the last iron warship built for the Imperial Navy) was laid down at Tampico. During this buildup, the performance of Mexican crews improved from farcial to adequate, and the first generation of home-grown professional officers was steadily improving their proficiency. This development was not without foreign political repercussions. The Americans had ignored Tegetthoff’s work for a long time; a 12-year period of neglect during the Grant and Hayes administrations reduced the Old Navy to near uselessness. The USA was busy with internal issues during that time, and it took them till 1885 to realize they had been outpaced by their despised southern neighbors. The USN still outnumbered the Mexican fleet, but virtually all American ships were obsolete, and the extant ironclads were all of the coastal or riverine type. In contrast, the Mexican ironclads Mexico and Imperatriz Carlota were the most powerful oceangoing warships in the Americas, with no equivalent in the USN; only the big Thiarian central citadel ironclads Conlan and Caithreim were remotely their equal. This realization was the alarm signal that prompted the Arthur administration to fundamentally renew the USN.

6. Spanish troubles
The year 1885 saw the first test for the fledgling Mexican fleet. When the Spanish king Alfonso XII suddenly died that year, progressive elements launched a poorly planned and ultimately botched coup d'etat against the regency of his widow Queen Maria Christina, who had yet to give birth to Alfonso's son, the future Alfonso XIII. Given her advanced state of pregnancy, the Queen - daughter of Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria and thus a cousin of Maximilian's - preferred to leave the country till things were sorted out, and boarded a ship for a spontaneous visit to her relative in Mexico. She made the mistake of using a Spanish-flagged ship, which was captured by rebel forces within sight of the Mexican base on Bermeja Island, and brought to Cuba. When Maximilian got wind of this outrage, he demanded his cousin’s release, and when the rebels did not react, he sent his fleet under Tegetthoff's personal command to Cuba. Tegetthoff, flying his flag on the Imperatriz Carlota (he got seasick on the more powerful, but rather too lively Mexico), engaged an inferior Spanish force consisting of a broadside ironclad, a floating battery and some gunboats in battle of Casimba. During this one-sided affair, the Mexican ironclad Aguila (Capt. Perez Valence) sank the Spanish ironclad Mendez Nunez, which became the last ever capital ship to be sunk on purpose by ramming. The small floating battery Duque de Tetuan was shot up and sunk by the Mexican flagship, and the Spanish gunboats fled as fast as they could steam. Tegetthoff then proceeded to blockade Santiago de Cuba, but soon after the battle of Casimba, the coup in Spain collapsed and the Queen Regent was released to return to Spain in triumph. This humiliation at the hands of a third-rate naval power - and a former colony to boot - triggered a vigorous Spanish reaction; a far-reaching programme to rebuild the run-down Spanish fleet was launched the year after, which resulted in the acquisition of six battleships and eight large cruisers, plus substantial light forces, over the next ten years. The Spaniards also began to fortify Guantanmo Bay for use as a naval base in a future conflict. Tegetthoff was styled Duque de Tampico upon his return; when he asked for a - by the standards of the time - outrageous sum of money for another large fleet building programme, it was granted without a second thought. Under the 1886 programme, Mexico’s first steel ironclad and two large protected cruisers were ordered in Austria, and three small cruisers from domestic yards; one of them was the first large warship built at the second naval yard at Tampico in 1890. The first four Austrian-built seagoing torpedo boats were acquired in 1888, and a big battleship – at 10.000 tons the largest in the Americas – was laid down at Trieste that same year. By that time, Tegetthoff, as much the creator of Mexico’s Navy as the Emperor himself, had already retired, aged 60; events however would force him to return two years later.

7. Clash with the Titan
The French diplomat and entrepreneur Ferdinand de Lesseps, who had overseen construction of the Suez channel in the 1870s, had to witness it fall into the hands of Great Britain, the old enemy of his native France, practically immediately upon completion. Undeterred, he proceeded to head an even more ambitious project in 1881 and started construction of a channel through the Isthmus of Panama. Technical difficulties and cost overruns resulted in the bankruptcy of his company in mid-1889, and he asked the French government to step in. When the Harrison administration in Washington got wind, they cited a violation of the Monroe doctrine and threatened with war if the French acquired such a crucial strategic position in Central America. Although the French navy at that time had 25 ironclads in commission and could have walked straight through the USN at half-power, France’s government, still careful after its defeat against Prussia in 1871, backed off. Emperor Maximilian figured the Monroe doctrine did not to apply to Mexico, being an American country after all, and in 1890 proposed to Lesseps and the Colombian government to step in, in exchange for control rights over the completed channel. President Harrison was outraged by this impertinence of some inbred Balkan Autocrat (original tone) and threatened Maximilian with the direst consequences if he proceeded on his course; Monroe doctrine or not, the USA would not tolerate anybody except themselves to acquire a channel across the Isthmus. In response to Harrison's intentionally insulting statement, Maximilian asked Tegetthoff to come out of retirement and lead his fleet on a foray across the Caribbean towards Key West to show his resolve and determination. President Harrison - warned in vain by his advisors that the USN's inventory was outdated and still had no oceangoing battleships at all – ordered his fleet, consisting of little more than four protected cruisers, an unprotected cruiser and three gunboats – to sea from Key West to face off the Mexicans. Simultaneously, he issued a part mobilization of the US Army and moved several crack units to Texas. Maximilian's military advisors now developed cold feet. Although the USA at that time was at the historical nadir of its military power, its sheer size – the USA had five times the population and ten times the economy of Mexico – justly convinced them that they could not win a full-scale war. Better to show force than to use it, Maximilian's advisors argued, and some solution favorable to Mexico might be obtained at the negotiating table. At that stage of deliberations, both fleets met about 50 miles southwest of Key West (Cayo Hueso) in the early morning of May 29th, 1890, in what was to become the eponymous battle. Tegetthoff, completely outnumbering the Americans with a fleet of four ironclads, two protected and two unprotected cruisers, plus four gunboats, decided that refusing to salute the US flag would be a fine way to show resolve and determination. This calculated insolence provoked a warning shot by USS Charleston, which quickly developed into a shootout, leaving three US protected cruisers damaged, the brand new USS Charleston quite severely, and the old USS Trenton afire and in a sinking condition, against minimal damage to the Mexican ships. The Americans then retreated to their base, leaving the Mexican fleet in control of the sea. When the news broke, the American public was flabberghasted and, after the initial shock had worn off, roared for revenge for what the press called an act of piracy on Tegetthoff's part. International voices were more benign; even the British, who had no sympathies for the Habsburg Empire and its Mexican seedling, were of the opinion that the US commander, Admiral Gherardi, who died of his wounds soon after return, had handled the incident poorly by not waiting for the US main force of four large monitors available at Key West. Although President Harrison knew that an US invasion in Mexico would cause more trouble than it was worth, he played his cards well and - by pretending he could not resist the internal pressure of the war party - scared the Mexicans into a negotiated settlement that gave the US everything they wanted. In the treaty of Tijuana, Maximilian had to forsake all ambitions in Panama, sack Tegetthoff and pay reparations for US losses in the ‘Battle’ of Cayo Hueso; despite such expense, the Mexicans could afford to order further modern warships under the 1890 emergency program. Tegetthoff and his second-in-command Rear Admiral Cordona were celebrated in Mexico City. After all, the first shot had been fired by the Americans, and they were considered the defenders of Mexico's honor. Cordona was made Minister of the Navy, and Tegetthoff, as a reactivated pensioner, could afford to graciously retire from his post, robbing the Americans of the satisfaction of having forced Maximilian to get rid of him. After the wave of hero worship, which he thoroughly enjoyed, had ebbed down, Tegetthoff embarked upon a journey to Austria in October 1890, where he got another round of it. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany dropped everything to meet him and is reported to have embarrassed himself by acting like a teenager in the presence of a pop star. But the most famous Admiral of the 19th century outside Great Britain would not get the time to enjoy his retirement. Acclimatized to Mexican weather, he promptly caught pneumonia in the following central European winter and died in April 1891, aged 64.


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
Garlicdesign
Post subject: Re: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 20th, 2020, 9:04 pm
Offline
User avatar
Posts: 1020
Joined: December 26th, 2012, 9:36 am
Location: Germany
Mexican Warships 1861 – 1891

A. Battleships

1. Independencia
Half-sister to the Ottoman Icaliye, this small, corvette-sized ironclad was under construction at STT for the Persian Empire, to act as that nation’s flagship under the name Artemiz, named for a female naval commander serving high King Xerxes in the Persian wars (yes, the antagonist in 300 – Part 2 was based upon a real person). Predictably, financing went awry, and early in 1871, the incomplete hull was offered to the highest bidder, initially with little success. Late in 1872 – completion had been suspended pending purchase – Emperor Maximilian personally signed a contract of purchase for what would become the first flagship of the Imperial Mexican navy. She arrived in Mexico in May 1873 after using her schooner rig to cross the Atlantic without employing her machinery.

Displacement:
2.230 ts mean, 2.650 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 66,00m, Beam 13,0m, Draught 5,05m mean, 5,50m full load
Machinery:
2-shaft Horizontal Compound, 2 rectangular boilers, 4.050 ihp
Performance:
Speed 12 kts maximum, range 1.500 nm at 8 knots
Armour:
All wrought iron. Belt 152mm on 178mm wood over complete length, battery 114mm; barbette 127mm
Armament:
2x1 229mm/14 Armstrong RML, 3x1 178mm/16 Armstrong RML
Crew
150

Independencia was mostly used for training throughout her career. She was relieved as fleet flagship in 1879 by the big turret ship Mexico, but was present during the battle of Casimba during the First Spanish war in 1885; she engaged a Spanish gunboat and damaged it, forcing it to retreat.
[ img ]

After the battle, Independencia was modernized. She shed her sailing rig, received searchlights and new guns: all her muzzle loaders were replaced by modern 150/35 Krupp BL pieces. She also received two 87/22 Skoda BL from storage, two 47/44 Skoda QF and two 47/33 Hotchkiss revolvers, the latter mounted in her fighting tops.
[ img ]

When she re-entered service in 1888, she was re-classified from armored corvette to armored gunboat and stationed at Tolopobampo in the pacific. She returned to the Caribbean in 1893 to serve as a training vessel. In 1897, she was hulked, and in 1910, the hulk was broken up.

2. Mexico
Originally ordered by Brazil under the name Independencia in 1872, this ship was one of four hulls purchased by the British government in 1878 while still under construction when war with Russia was urgently expected. Construction had been suspended for some time because the Brazilians lagged in payments, and completion took till 1881. Upon purchase, she was renamed Neptune for RN service, but the Admiralty was not happy with her. Despite her ponderous size, Neptune was overweight and barely stable, and she was hardly maneuverable under sail. When the Mexican government expressed interest in buying her in 1880 (she was running machinery trials by then), the British were glad to be rid of her. By far the largest vessel ever acquired by Mexico, she was named for the country and destined to serve as the Imperial flagship. She roused quite an uproar when she arrived in 1881, being the largest and most powerful warship in all the Americas, eclipsing the Thiarian Conlan and Caithreim and outclassing anything in the USN’s inventory.

Displacement:
9.130 ts mean, 9.960 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 97,40m (110,30m with bowsprit), Beam 19,20m, Draught 7,45m mean, 8,10m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Horizontal Single Expansion, 4 rectangular boilers, 8.000 ihp
Performance:
Speed 14 kts maximum, range 1.500 nm at 10 knots
Armour:
All wrought iron. Belt 305mm on 457mm wood; Ship ends 229mm on 317mm wood, citadel 254mm; turrets 330mm maximum; deck 76mm maximum, CT 203mm
Armament:
2x2 305mm/12 Whitworth RML, 2x1 229mm/14 Whitworth RML, 6x1 100mm/21 Whitworth BL, 2x1 350mm torpedo launchers (forward, above water)
Crew
540

Despite her doubtless strengths – her armament was state of the art, and her armor protection was excellent – her poor level of stability made her virtually useless for day-to-day service. Whenever she was underway, she would roll so badly that everyone expected her to capsize anytime soon; even seasoned sailors serving on her were incapacitated en masse by sea sickness. Although initially feared, she soon became a laughing stock, especially for the US press, to whom she exemplified the farcial state of the Imperial Mexican navy.
[ img ]

After less than three years of service, she was taken in hand in an attempt to cut top weight, She lost one of her masts and the whole sailing rig. Her obsolete 100mm guns were replaced with six 57mm and eight 47mm QF guns. A slight improvement was achieved; the level of stability now was only annoying rather than positively dangerous. She missed the First Spanish war due to the refit.
[ img ]

Mexico belonged to the fleet engaging the USN in the Key-West-incident, but nearly sank in a subsequent storm. She was decommissioned upon return and again thoroughly rebuilt. She was entirely gutted, losing her whole machinery and both 305mm turrets. New twin-shaft VTE-machinery with cylindrical boilers generating 9.600 ihp for 15 knots were installed, and a completely new main armament of four 240/40 Krupp BL guns in thinly armored gun houses was fitted. The iron citadel armor was replaced by 150mm nickel steel, and the 229mm bow chasers were landed. Six 150/35 Krupp BL guns were mounted as new secondary armament; the tertiary battery was retained. When she re-emerged in 1894, she was little changed externally, but her stability deficit had really been tackled, and she was rated a much more satisfactory sea boat than ever before.
[ img ]

Mexico again joined the active fleet and formed the second division, together with Rio Brazos. She was present at the battles of Mayaguana and Santiago in the Second Spanish war and engaged the Spanish line of battle; her gunnery proved effective, and she was credited with sinking the Spanish coast defense ironclad Guipuzcoa during the battle of Santiago. But the 61 broadsides fired during both engagements overstrained her old hull, which was not designed to withstand the recoil forces of modern long-barreled guns. Upon inspection immediately after the war, she was ruled structurally deficient and subsequently hulked. She remained available as an accommodation hulk and stationary guard ship at Veracruz. By 1912 she had become so leaky she sank at her moorings. She was salvaged and broken up in 1913 through 1915.

3. Aguila-Class
Originally ordered by the Ottoman Empire and built at the Samuda yard in Poplar/London, these ships were hastily purchased by the British government in 1878, when war with the Russians seemed imminent. After the war scare had subsided, they were considered surplus to requirements and put up for sale, and Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, then Mexico’s Minister of the Navy, was eager to acquire them. These ships were specifically designed as armored rams and thus were practically ideal for Tegetthoff’s favorite tactics. The contract was struck in 1880, and Belleisle (ex Peyk-i Sherif) was renamed Aguila (Eagle) for Mexican service, while Orion (ex Burj-i Zafer) was renamed Quetzalcoatl (pre-Christian Mexican deity).

Displacement:
4.870 ts mean, 5.400 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 74,50m, Beam 15,90m, Draught 5,35m mean, 6,40m full load
Machinery:
2-shaft Horizontal Compound, 4 rectangular boilers, 4.050 ihp
Performance:
Speed 13 kts maximum, range 1.800 nm at 10 knots
Armour:
All wrought iron. Belt 305mm on 406mm wood; Ship ends 152mm on 254mm wood, battery 267mm around gun ports, 203mm sides; deck 76mm maximum, CT 229mm
Armament:
4x1 305mm/14 Armstrong RML, 4x1 100mm/21 Whitworth BL, 2x1 350mm torpedo launchers (forward, above water)
Crew
250

Quetzalcoatl was not yet completed when the deal was struck. Aguila crossed the Atlantic in July 1880; during her short service with the RN, her funnel was raised to reduce smoke interference. Quetzalcoatl followed in August 1882; as she was never commissioned with the RN, she retained the short funnel.
[ img ]

Despite excellent weather during the transit, both proved very lively and wet. By early 1883, both were fully worked up and formed the second division of the Imperial battle fleet, stationed at Veracruz. Both took part at the battle of Casimba during the Empire’s brief war against Spain in 1885; Aguila sank the Spanish ironclad Mendez Nunez, thus earning her place in naval history by being the last capital ship to sink another by purposeful ramming. After the Key-West-Incident of 1890, where Quetzalcoatl was present, but contributed little (her sister was under engine overhaul), both ships were taken in hand for rearming. Their 305mm muzzle loaders were replaced by 240/30 BL, the 100mm guns were landed and replaced by two 150mm/35 BL and six 47mm QF guns. The sailing rig was removed and they were reboilered with cylindrical boilers. Quetzalcoatl’s funnel was brought to the same height as Aguila’s.
[ img ]

The reconstruction did little to improve the poor seakeeping, and Quetzalcoatl was reduced to guard duty at Acapulco in 1895. Aguila was put in reserve in 1897 after the big turret ship Mexico emerged from her latest reconstruction, but reactivated for the Spanish war of 1898. She however missed the battles of Mayaguana and Santiago, guarding the Mexican base on Bermeja island instead. She was hulked in 1899 and scrapped in 1902. Quetzalcoatl however, disarmed in 1901, lingered as an accommodation hulk for the Mexican pacific fleet at Tolopobampo till she became leaky in 1913. She was scrapped in 1914.

4. Imperatriz Carlota
The first seagoing ironclad built for the Mexican Imperial Navy, as opposed to ships originally built for other powers and later purchased by Mexico. She was carefully designed to specifications set by Tegetthoff himself and was widely considered one of the best central citadel ironclads ever built. Unlike many other – particularly French – central battery ships, the three heavy guns on each side of her casemate had mutually overlapping arcs of fire, while still providing two guns capable of firing dead ahead. She also had an unusually large protected area and was well strengthened for ramming. Her single-shaft machinery however was a drawback, resulting in insufficient maneuverability, especially for ramming tactics; her barque-style sailing rig was of little practical use. Imperatriz Carlota – named for the late wife of Emperor Maximilian – was laid down at Trieste in April 1876 and completed in October 1881. The long gestation period handsomely paid off in the high quality of her finish, and upon her arrival in Mexico after a midwinter Atlantic crossing early in 1882, she became the Imperial Navy’s flagship, relieving the bigger and more powerful, but rather unstable turret ship Mexico.

Displacement:
7.430 ts mean, 8.200 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 92,50m, Beam 21,80m, Draught 6,20m mean, 7,55m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Horizontal Compound, 9 cylindrical boilers, 6.750 ihp
Performance:
Speed 14 kts maximum, range 3.000 nm at 10 knots
Armour:
All wrought iron. Belt 368mm on 254mm wood; Ship ends 330mm on 254mm wood, battery 370mm; deck 64mm maximum, CT 178mm
Armament:
6x1 280mm/20 Krupp BL, 6x1 87mm/22 Skoda BL, 2x1 350mm torpedo tubes (1 forward, 1 aft, above water)
Crew
525

She led the Mexican fleet during the First Spanish war in 1885 and the Key-West-incident of 1890, where her gunnery wreaked heavy damage to the yard-new cruiser USS Charleston. She formed the first division with Independencia in 1885 and with Rio Brazos in 1890.
[ img ]

In 1892, she was taken in hand for a very ambitious modernization. To improve speed and maneuverability, her entire machinery was gutted and a new twin-shaft VTE-plant with eight Belleville tube boilers was installed. Engine power was increased to 8.150 ihp and speed rose to 15,5 knots. She lost her sailing rig in favor of two military masts, and her bridge was substantially enlarged. Armament was also revamped; the 280mm guns were replaced with 240mm/35 Krupp BL with better ROF and range, and her light armament now consisted of five 150/35 Krupp BL, nine 47/44 Skoda QF and six 47/33 Hotchkiss revolvers. The torpedo tubes were retained, and complement increased to 575. She re-entered service in 1896.
[ img ]

Despite her obvious age, Imperatriz Carlota re-joined the active fleet, but was not re-integrated into the battle fleet. Instead, she was used for cadet training and made several far-reaching goodwill tours. She was in the Mediterranean when the Second Spanish war commenced and captured three Spanish Merchants, but when she returned to Pola for coaling, she was detained there for the remainder of the war. She also was in the Far East during the Boxer rebellion and added a hundred crewmembers and two landing guns to the international ‘rescue’ force. When she eventually returned home, she was placed in reserve in 1902, never to be re-commissioned. She was hulked in 1908 at Acapulco and remained there as a stationary guard ship. She survived the US-Mexican war of 1916, and due to her age and state was not demanded as a prize by the USA. She was disarmed and sold for scrap in 1920, but remained in use as a floating oil depot, in a similar way as HMS Warrior in the UK. Unlike Warrior however, she was not preserved, because her hull had become hopelessly rotten in 1940. She was scrapped in 1941, aged 60.

5. Rio Brazos
In 1884, the Austrian government ordered two battleships to the same specifications, one from their naval yard at Pola (becoming the Kronprinz Erzherzog Rudolf) and another at STT, becoming the Kronprinzessin Erzherzogin Stephanie. Under special permission of Emperor Maximilian, Tegetthoff was consulted during the design process. The result were ships optimized for ramming, with their 305mm main guns arranged in a way to provide more ahead firepower than was available on the broadside. Tegetthoff considered STT’s solution, which had the same protection, one less main gun, but stronger secondaries, also being smaller and faster, as superior and convinced the Emperor to order an identical clone in 1886. The ship was laid down in 1887 and transferred to Mexico in 1890, after having been built in 33 months, slightly more than half the time of the Austrian original. She was named for an indecisive naval engagement during the Texan war of Independence, which was re-defined to a victory by Mexican propaganda.

Displacement:
5.080 ts mean, 5.700 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 89,80m, Beam 17,10m, Draught 6,10m mean, 6,60m full load
Machinery:
2-shaft Vertical Compound, 10 cylindrical boilers, 8.000 ihp
Performance:
Speed 17 kts maximum, range 2.400 nm at 10 knots
Armour:
Compound. Belt 230mm; Ship ends unprotected, barbettes 280mm; deck 25mm, CT 50mm
Armament:
2x1 305mm/35 Krupp BL, 6x1 150mm/35 Krupp BL, 7x1 47mm/44 Skoda QF, 6x1 47mm/33 Hotchkiss revolver, 4x 350mm Torpedo tube (1 forward, 1 aft, 1 on either beam, all above water)
Crew
430

Rio Brazos was at that time the fastest Mexican capital ship and would remain so till the arrival of Poder. She was pressed into the main fleet during the Channel crisis which sparked the Key-West-Incident of 1890 right out of her initial training cycle, taking the second place in the Mexican line; fortunately for her, she was not called upon to do any actual fighting.
[ img ]

During the Second Spanish war, Rio Brazos exchanged fire with the bigger and superior Spanish battleship Pelayo; she attempted to close for ramming, but had to cancel that effort after taking significant damage forward. She also hit Pelayo five times with her 305mm guns. When she maneuvered to re-join the Mexican line, the Spanish destroyer Pluton torpedoed her, and she stopped dead in the water. The flooding could not be controlled, and she sank shortly after the engagement was ended; her crew was rescued. The report of her skipper, future Admiral Elpidio Benedicto Pacifico Entenza, would later prove helpful in designing improved anti-flooding arrangements in subsequent Mexican battleships.


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
Garlicdesign
Post subject: Re: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 20th, 2020, 9:09 pm
Offline
User avatar
Posts: 1020
Joined: December 26th, 2012, 9:36 am
Location: Germany
B. Cruisers

1. Patria
Mexico’s first first steam sloop (ship-rigged) was ordered by imperial decree in 1866 from the Cantieri Navali Triestine; various design modifications and financial troubles resulting from the civil war delayed construction till 1869. The wooden hull had diagonal framing and was very heavy and robust, but her engines were weak and she was no good sailing ship, either. Armament on the other hand was state of the art; she carried two heavy 210mm breech-loaders amidships, which could be moved to either beam on rails, and four smaller guns, also breechloaders.
[ img ]

Unlike the smaller Bermeja-class sloops, Patria rarely left Mexican waters. She also missed the battle of Casimba in 1885 because of maintenance to her hull. She was rearmed in 1889 and placed in reserve immediately afterwards.
[ img ]

Her hull had not lasted well and was rotten in some parts, and by 1893, she was no longer considered seagoing. She ended her career as prison hulk and was broken up around 1900.

Displacement:
1.970 ts mean, 2.640 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 68,30m, Beam 11,70m, Draught 5,35m mean, 5,80m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Horizontal Single Expansion, 4 rectangular boilers, 1.600 ihp
Performance:
Speed 11,5 kts maximum, range under steam power 2.350nm at 8 knots
Armament:
Original: 2x1 210mm/20 Krupp BL, 4x1 66mm/22 Wahrendorf BL. As rearmed: 4x1 150mm/30 Krupp BL, 4x1 66mm/30 Skoda QF
Crew
265

2. Cozumel-Class
Essentially half-sisters to the Austrian Aurora-class, Bermeja and Cozumel (named for Islands) were part of the 1872 program and delivered in 1878-1879. They were acquired for global operations, to show the Empire’s flag. Barque-rigged, they sailed better than Patria, but were smaller and had weaker armament; they were however Mexico’s first ships with compound engines. Bermeja was present at the battle of Casimba, without contributing much to the Imperial victory.
[ img ]

Both were rearmed at the same time as Patria; neither returned to active service, and after 1890, they were mostly used for training. Bermeja made a round-the-world voyage in 1894; Cozumel attempted the same in 1898, but the voyage was cancelled because of the Cuban war and not re-scheduled.
[ img ]

Unlike Patria, their hulls lasted well. Cozumel was not broken up before 1906, and Bermeja endured as accommodation hulk till 1916; she burned out during the siege of Tampico.

Displacement:
1.340 ts mean, 1.450 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 69,10m, Beam 10,45m, Draught 4,40m mean, 5,10m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Horizontal Compound, 4 rectangular boilers, 1.600 ihp
Performance:
Speed 11,5 kts maximum, range under steam power 3.800nm at 8 knots
Armament:
Original: 4x1 150mm/20 Wahrendorf BL, 4x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolvers. Rearmed: 4x1 120mm/35 Krupp BL, 4x1 66mm/30 Skoda QF
Crew
210

3. La Corona
This weird-looking ship was the Mexican Navy’s first steel hulled cruiser, the first with a protective deck, and the first to be designed as a steamer with auxiliary sails instead the other way around. She was built at STT between 1882 and 1886 and was obviously Tegetthoff’s brainchild: she sported a massive ram and a big 240mm gun mounted in a fixed carriage forward; her twin screws gave her good maneuverability for ramming. Unfortunately, she was rather slow and so overweight she was only useful in a dead calm.
[ img ]

Corona came too late for the battle of Casimba, but was present at the battle of Cayo Hueso, where she fired a dozen shots without hitting anything; during the storm after the battle, she nearly sank. Due to her uselessness as an offensive weapon, she was refitted to a patrol gunboat in 1893/4. Her main gun was removed and her bow was built up to give her much-needed seaworthiness; armament was completely changed to four 120mm and eight 66mm.
[ img ]

In that guise, she was much more satisfactory, and rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1895 to become flagship of Mexico’s small Pacific squadron. She remained there till she was decommissioned in 1902; afterwards, she was used as accommodation hulk at Tolopobampo till her hull became leaky in 1910. She was sold for scrapping to an US company in 1912.

Displacement:
1.450 ts mean, 1.760 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 64,90m, Beam 10,00m, Draught 3,65m mean, 3,90m full load
Machinery:
2-shaft Horizontal Compound, 5 cylindrical boilers, 2.400 ihp
Performance:
Speed 14kts maximum, range 3.500nm at 10 knots
Armour:
barbette 50mm; Gun Shields 50mm; deck 30mm maximum, CT 30mm
Armament:
Original: 1x1 240mm/30 Krupp BL; 3x1 150mm/30 Krupp BL; Rearmed: 4x1 120mm/40 Skoda QF, 8x1 66mm/45 Skoda QF
Crew
190

4. Rio Grande-Class
Two small patrol cruisers built by Armstrong. They were ordered later than Patria (1883), but delivered earlier (1885); they were somewhat smaller and a little faster, but carried only light armament, although they were the first Mexican cruisers with torpedo tubes (350mm Whitehead fish) and triple expansion machinery. They were however much better sea boats and delivered good service. Rio Grande was available for the battle of Casimba against the Spanish in 1885, and both were part of Tegetthoff’s fleet at Cayo Hueso.
[ img ]

In 1895/6, both were rearmed with 100mm guns, and their 350mm torpedo tubes were replaced with 450mm ones. Rio Bravo engaged the Spanish at Mayaguana, where she was badly damaged by gunfire from the Spanish cruiser Alfonso XIII.
[ img ]

In 1901, both were down-rated to patrol gunboats, and Rio Grande was the first Mexican ship to be permanently stationed on the China Station in 1904, based at Qingdao and using German facilities. She paid off there in 1908 and was scrapped in China. Her sister was hulked in 1905 at Tampico and scrapped in 1912.

Displacement:
1.050 ts mean, 1.280 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 64,50m, Beam 8,50m, Draught 3,50m mean, 3,85m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Vertical Triple Expansion, 2 cylindrical boilers, 2.500 ihp
Performance:
Speed 15,5kts maximum, range 4.000nm at 10 knots
Armour:
deck 60mm maximum, CT 50mm
Armament:
Original: 6x1 87mm/28 Armstrong BL, 8x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolvers, 2 – 350mm Torpedo Tubes (one on each beam, above water); Rearmed: 4x1 100mm/35 Skoda BL, 8x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolvers, 2 – 450mm Torpedo Tubes (as above)
Crew
165

5. Chapultepec
Although technically much more primitive than the Rio Grande and Corona-classes, this unprotected cruiser bears the distinction of being Mexico’s first domestically built cruiser. With her iron hull, barque rig and horizontal compound engine, she was obsolete before she was laid down in 1885. She was a good sea boat and carried a well-balanced armament, however, and was slightly faster as the more modern ships mentioned above. When she was delivered in 1889, she was immediately thrown into a confrontation with the mighty USN, where she acquitted herself well.
[ img ]

Chapultepec remained with the main fleet’s scouting force till 1896 and took part in the Cuban war, where she screened the transports ferrying Prince Carlos Augusto’s volunteers to Cuba. After the war, she had her barque rig removed and was fitted with a new bridge and more powerful 120mm guns.
[ img ]

The cruiser went to China for two years in 1908, rounding the Cape of Good Hope on the way there and sailing around the world on the way back. She was to pay off upon return, but the yard personnel found her iron hull still sound, and she was modernized again to serve as a seagoing TS. She received modern 65mm guns instead of her Hotchkiss revolvers and a w/t rig.
[ img ]

In this guise, she was based at Tampico and attached to the naval academy. She retreated to Veracruz in 1916 when US ground forces besieged Tampico and emerged from Mexico’s collapse undamaged, if somewhat deteriorated. She was hulked in 1920 and remained a stationary TS; as such, she paid off in 1936, aged 47, and was broken up.

Displacement:
2.160 ts mean, 2.520 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 75,00m, Beam 11,50m, Draught 4,25m mean, 5,10m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Horizontal Compound, 6 cylindrical boilers, 3.600 ihp
Performance:
Speed 16kts maximum, range 4.200nm at knots
Armament:
Original: 6x1 120mm/35 Krupp BL, 6x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolvers, 2 – 350mm Torpedo Tubes (one on each beam, above water); Rearmed: 6x1 120mm/45 Skoda QF, otherwise as above
Crew
240


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
Garlicdesign
Post subject: Re: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 20th, 2020, 9:16 pm
Offline
User avatar
Posts: 1020
Joined: December 26th, 2012, 9:36 am
Location: Germany
C. Gunboats

1. Constante-Class
A series of four identical wooden war schooners named Constante, Dichoso, Diligente and Magnanimo. They were built by STT between 1866 and 1870 and were the very first warships acquired by the Empire after Santa Ana had allowed the Mexican Navy to deteriorate to uselessness.
[ img ]

Constante and Magnanimo reached Mexico in time to see action in the civil war that forged the Empire; in one of the few engagements, Magnanimo sank a rebel sail gunboat. After the war, as newer, bigger ships were acquired, these gunboats mostly were used for surveying and exploration. Diligente burned out in 1882 by accident.
[ img ]

In 1885, Magnanimo and Dichoso were, despite their age, slated for upgunning for service against Spain, but that war ended quickly and they went in reserve and did not get their new guns before 1890. Constante was broken up in 1888, the other two in 1894/5.

Displacement:
360 ts mean, 420 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 36,70 m without bowsprit, Beam 6,40 m, Draught 2,30 m mean, 2,60 m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Horizontal Single Expansion, 2 rectangular boilers, 200 ihp
Performance:
Speed 7 kts maximum, range under steam power 1.400nm at 5 knots
Armament:
Original: 4x1 24pdr Rifled Muzzle Loaders, 2x1 25mm/35 Hotchkiss revolvers; Magnanimo and Dichoso rearmed: 6x1 47mm/35 Skoda QF
Crew
45

2. Monte Alban-Class
Monte Alban, Palenque and Uxmal were ordered from Earle of Hull under the 1872 fleet expansion program. They were Mexico’s first composite-hulled warships and resembled contemporary British masted gunboats.
[ img ]

Uxmal was wrecked in 1879 in a storm. The other two enjoyed a long, mostly uneventful service. Like the earlier Constante-class gunboats, they were hastily upgunned with lighter, more modern weapons for the 1885 conflict against Spain.
[ img ]

Palenque actually saw action in that war and took part in the battle of Casimba without taking damage. They were hulked in 1898 and 1901; Monte Alban was broken up in 1907, but Palenque was still afloat as a coal hulk in Veracruz in 1916. She was broken up in 1922.

Displacement:
480 ts mean, 540 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 38,15 m, Beam 7,16 m, Draught 2,50 m mean, 3,20 m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Horizontal Single Expansion, 2 cylindrical boilers, 500 ihp
Performance:
Speed 10 kts maximum, range 2.400 nm at 6 knots
Armament:
Original: 1x1 64pdr Rifled Muzzle Loader, 4x1 32pdr Rifled Muzzle loaders, 2x1 25mm/35 Hotchkiss revolvers; rearmed: 4x1 66mm/35 Skoda BL, 4x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolvers
Crew
60

3. Yaqui-Class
The large 1878 fleet expansion program also contained gunboats. Five units were provided, named for First Nations native to Mexico; the Type therefore was occasionally referred to as ‘Tribal-Class’. The prototype Yaqui was built at CNT and transferred to Mexico in 1880; she had a composite hull and was rigged as a barquentine. Armament for the first time consisted entirely of breech loaders, two heavy ones arranged amidships, to be moved on rails to prepared front pivot mounts along the sides.
[ img ]

The second hull, Criollo, was built in Tampico between 1878 and 1882, the first large warship built domestically. The other two also were originally to be built in Mexico, but CNT offered an iron hulled version, and the order for Mazahua was transferred to CNT; she was laid down in 1880 and delivered 1882. The fourth unit was built at Tampico, but to the revised plans of Mazahua; Chatino was laid down in 1882 and delivered in 1886, as the first domestically built iron ship of the Imperial Navy.
[ img ]

The fifth unit Huasteco, laid down in 1884 and delivered in 1887, had a ram bow.
[ img ]

These ships were robust and had a long service life, except Huasteco, who was lost in a hurricane in 1891. The first three took part in the 1885 war against Spain, and the last two were deployed to Colombia at the time of the Cayo-Hueso-incident. From 1892 through 1897, all four were rearmed with a larger number of lighter guns, because they were no longer needed as backup fleet units and could concentrate on patrol duties.
[ img ]

They remained in active service till replaced with Campeche-class gunboats in the 1900s; Mazahua was the last one to retire in 1910. She was disarmed and sold to a private shipping company as a freighter; she was scrapped in 1927.
[ img ]

Chatino was used as a stationary gunnery training ship since 1908 and was still afloat in 1918; she was scrapped during the 1920s. The first two rounded the Cape in 1902 and ended their careers as guard ships at Acapulco and Tolopobampo. By 1920, both had been discarded.

Displacement:
575 ts mean, 680 ts full load (Huasteco 590/700 ts)
Dimensions:
Length 47,20 m (Huasteco 45,10 m), Beam 7,65 m, Draught 2,90 m mean, 3,40 m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Horizontal Compound, 2 rectangular boilers, 600 ihp (Huasteco 720 ihp)
Performance:
Speed 10 kts maximum, range 2.500 nm at 6 knots
Armament:
Original: 2x1 150mm/20 Wahrendorf BL, 2x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolvers. Rearmed: 6x1 100mm/35 Skoda BL, 2x1 47mm/35 Skoda QF, 4x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolvers
Crew
85

4. Yucatan-Class
A more conventional type of gunboat, these vessels were approved under the 1878 program to provide a larger, longer-ranged vessel of simple composite construction which could be maintained and repaired at the Mexican pacific coast, where no naval yard was available. Yucatan and Baja California were built at Tampico and delivered in 1882 and 1883, respectively, and carried the same armament as the smaller Yaqui-class. They were however more habitable and barque-rigged to operate as sail ships if necessary. They rounded the Cape in 1885 and remained on the Pacific coast ever since.
[ img ]

In 1899, they were rearmed with new 66mm guns; they repeatedly traveled down the South American coast to show the Empire’s flag in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile.
[ img ]

They lasted less well than the Yaqui-class, and in 1906, both were considered no longer seaworthy. Baja California became a prison hulk and was broken up in 1913; Yucatan was scrapped straight away in 1908.

Displacement:
1.040 ts mean, 1.180 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 57,90 m, Beam 8,75 m, Draught 3,80 m mean, 4,55 m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Single Expansion, 4 rectangular boilers, 1.200 ihp
Performance:
Speed 10 kts maximum, range 4.500 nm at 6 knots
Armament:
Original: 2x1 150mm/20 Wahrendorf BL, 4x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolvers. Rearmed: 8x1 66mm/45 Skoda QF, 4x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolvers
Crew
130

5. Gutierrez de Estrada-Class
Also provided under the 1878 program were these two iron-hulled vessels, which were rated as dispatch ships; they were based upon Austria’s contemporary attempt at torpedo gunboats (Zara-class) and were the first Mexican ships with torpedo armament and (together with the Aguila-class coast defence rams) the first with twin screws. Gutierrez de Estrada and Amerigo Rogas were sleek, high-boarded ships optimized for high speed in any sea condition; gun armament was rather modest. Their sailing rig was minimal and useless in practice; under steam however, they were Mexico’s fastest warships when delivered. They were built from 1881 through 1885 at Trieste; their transfer to Mexico was delayed because of the war against Spain in 1885.
[ img ]

They were employed as scouts during the Cayo-Hueso-incident; both attacked the Americans with torpedoes, but failed to achieve any hits. In 1896 and 1897, both were rearmed with new 66mm QF weapons; they were employed as torpedo boat leaders during the Cuban War of 1898. Gutierrez de Estrada was sunk by the Spanish destroyers Pluton and Proserpina during the battle of Santiago. Amerigo Rogas was re-rated as a survey ship after the war and comprehensively rearmed.
[ img ]

She was stricken in 1909 and sold for scrap soon after.

Displacement:
840 ts mean, ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 62,65 m, Beam 8,2 m, Draught 3,20 m mean, 3,80 m full load
Machinery:
Twin shaft Horizontal Compound, 4 cylindrical boilers, 2.800 ihp
Performance:
Speed 16 kts maximum, range 2.300 nm at 10 knots
Armament:
Original: 2x1 100mm/35 Skoda BL, 6x1 47mm/35 Skoda BL, 4 – 350mm torpedo tubes (fore, aft and both beams, all above water); Rearmed: 9x1 66mm/45 Skoda QF, torpedoes as above
Crew
120


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
Garlicdesign
Post subject: Re: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 20th, 2020, 9:18 pm
Offline
User avatar
Posts: 1020
Joined: December 26th, 2012, 9:36 am
Location: Germany
D. Torpedo Craft

1. Spar torpedo boats
As an apostle of ramming tactics, to Admiral Tegetthoff the spar torpedo boat was the next best thing. He actively pursued acquisition of a large number of such craft, starting in 1875, and insisted on naming them; they all were named for insects. Being slow and of wooden construction, they were little more than suicide craft. Their size ranged from 15 to 30 tons. A total of 24 were purchased between 1875 and 1880 and delivered between 1876 and 1882. The first dozen were converted steam launches capable of 8 knots at best (Rezadora, Miriapodo, Mosca, Lucano, Mariquita, Langosta, Mosquito, Tabano, Arana, Segador, Chicharra and Hormiga); the other half were purpose-built craft from British (Bostrico, Grillo, Bichito and Piojo) and Austrian (Termita, Avispon, Cucaracha, Abeja, Moscarda and Libellula) yards, with speeds of 15 to 18 knots. Only two rather eccentrically looking boats were domestically built at Tampico to Austrian plans (Pulga and Antojo).
[ img ]

These craft were far too small to operate with the fleet; they were used for harbor defense. Nevertheless, five sank or burned out between 1878 and 1890. Eight of the converted launches were transported to Acapulco overland in 1886. The four largest ones – all British designed – were fitted with 350mm Whitehead torpedoes in drop cradles in 1890; the other purpose built boats were down-rated to patrol boats with a single 37mm Hotchkiss revolver gun in 1892 through 1895. The converted launches were broken up in the same time period; the purpose-built boats followed between 1901 and 1907.

2. Third Class torpedo boats
In 1878, the Imperial Mexican Navy acquired their first Whitehead torpedoes for tests and experiments. In 1880, they switched their torpedo boat acquisition to boats armed with self-propelled 350mm torpedoes. These boats ranged from 20 to 30 tons in size and were capable of 16 to 18 knots. The first four units (Tarantula, Campamocha, Oruga, Quilopodo) were of the same type as the last four spar torpedo boats and carried their torpedo in lattice drop collars; they were followed by eight smaller units (Barata, Sarantonton, Chapulin, Cigarron, Escarabajo, Zancudo, Moscardon, Casampulga) with a single torpedo tube on top of their decks, and eight larger units (Escorpion, Comejen, Mariposa, Avispa, Gallito, Palomilla, Gabarro, Escolitido) with the torpedo tube built into the bow structure and a 37mm revolver gun aft. The last group was delivered in 1887; at that point, the Imperial Navy started to acquire seagoing torpedo boats.
[ img ]

Like the spar torpedo boats, these early craft were useful only for coastal defense. One of the first and the last type each, and two of the second type sank for various reasons between 1886 and 1895. The boats of the second group were occasionally embarked as torpedo-armed pickets on capital ships. For that reason, they spent relatively little time afloat and had a longer life than the larger ones, four of them lasting till the war of 1916, although they saw no action, and the other four were broken up in 1914. The larger boats were struck in 1910 through 1912 and scrapped.


3. No. 1-class
Mexico’s first seagoing second-class torpedo boats were ordered 1888 in Austria, to a design identical to Austria’s own Nr.27, itself derived from a Thornycroft original. With this class, the Imperial Navy followed international practice of not naming torpedo boats, assigning them numbers only. Nos. 1 through 4 were delivered in 1891, aboard a freight ship, because they still were unable to cross the Atlantic under their own power.
[ img ]

As soon as they had reached Mexico, another four units of the class (Nos. 9 through 12) were ordered at the Veracruz Naval Yard, which would quickly evolve into a special yard for fast torpedo craft. They needed unreasonably long to complete, but were all available in 1895; they were identical to the Austrian-built batch, but sported numerous quality control issues and were never used for anything but training. Their construction however allowed the personnel at Veracruz to collect valuable experience, and the follow-on class would turn out much better already. The first group was used operationally till 1903, but was not present at the Cuban War due to their lack of true oceangoing capability. They joined the second group at the Torpedo School at Tampico in 1904. From 1910, they were phased out; Nos. 2 and 4 were still extant in 1916. During the siege of Tampico, they were scuttled.

Displacement:
45 ts mean, 55 ts full load
Dimensions:
Length 34,30 m, Beam 3,80 m, Draught 1,70 m mean, 2,00 m full load
Machinery:
1-shaft Vertical Triple Expansion, 1 cylindrical boiler, 600 ihp
Performance:
Speed 19 kts maximum, range 600 nm at 10 knots
Armament:
1x1 37mm Hotchkiss revolver, 2 – 350mm torpedo tubes (bow, fixed, side by side)
Crew
16


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
Garlicdesign
Post subject: Re: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 20th, 2020, 9:20 pm
Offline
User avatar
Posts: 1020
Joined: December 26th, 2012, 9:36 am
Location: Germany
And a view of the complete fleet...

...in 1880:
[ img ]

...and in 1890:
[ img ]

To be continued.

Greetings
GD


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
waritem
Post subject: Re: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 21st, 2020, 8:26 am
Offline
User avatar
Posts: 325
Joined: August 4th, 2011, 6:37 am
Location: France
:o :shock:
Can't wait the next episode......................

By the way: have you finished with real designs and never-built designs of austrian ships?......... :cry:

_________________
"You can rape history, if you give her a child"
Alexandre Dumas

JE SUIS CHARLIE


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
Hood
Post subject: Re: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 21st, 2020, 10:26 am
Offline
Posts: 6595
Joined: July 31st, 2010, 10:07 am
This is an impressive AU fleet with a good plausible backstory and wonderfully drawn ships. A real pleasure to read and look at.

_________________
Hood's Worklist
English Electric Canberra FD
Interwar RN Capital Ships
Super-Darings
Never-Were British Aircraft


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
Shigure
Post subject: Re: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 21st, 2020, 12:38 pm
Offline
User avatar
Posts: 796
Joined: May 25th, 2016, 2:05 pm
Great stuff!

_________________
[ img ]


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
signal
Post subject: Re: Mexican Empire 1861 - 1916Posted: December 21st, 2020, 6:00 pm
Offline
Posts: 283
Joined: August 6th, 2010, 5:44 pm
Wow! Wonderful. Great narrative of Mexican "history", too.


Top
[Profile] [Quote]
Display: Sort by: Direction:
[Post Reply]  Page 1 of 4  [ 35 posts ]  Return to “Alternate Universe Designs” | Go to page 1 2 3 4 »

Jump to: 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests


The team | Delete all board cookies | All times are UTC


Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Limited
[ GZIP: Off ]