España-class Battleship, España - Imperialist Arrogance

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España-class Battleship, España (I)

Bluewater vessel, Spanish battleship, smallest dreadnoughts ever made. Most similar ship to it is probably HMS Invincible, but more armoured and slower.

After Spain’s disasterous defeat in the Spanish-American War, the Spanish Navy was looking to rebuild the fleet with modern battleships. The first few plans in the early 1900s fell through, until the 1907 Fleet Plan, which called for 3 battleships. Preliminary planning of the new battleship class had already begun when the Plan was signed, but the new HMS Dreadnought drastically changed the specifications. The Spanish Navy wanted to build the ships domestically, which meant the size would have to be constrained as there was insufficient money to both enlarge shipyards and build the battleships. In 1909 a bid by the Spanish SECN was chosen, which was revised to have more armour coverage and better seakeeping. The resulting design was the smallest dreadnought battleships ever built, being only 130m long and displacing only 16k tons (compared to HMS Dreadnought’s 160m and 18k tons), and were armed with only 4 twin 305mm guns.

All 3 ships were laid down at the SECN shipyard in El Ferrol with British-supplied parts, and the first ship, España, was completed in 1913. During WW1, the ship patrolled the Spanish coast to protect Spain’s neutrality. After the war, in 1921 the ship ran aground on a reef in the Chacao Channel off Chile during the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the Straits of Magellan. The ship was successfully rescued and went to Panama for 2 months for repairs. Afterwards, it participated in the Rif War, bombarding Rifian troops and supporting landing operations. In August 1923, while returning to port in dense fog, it ran aground off Cape Tres Forcas. Salvage companies that were contracted inspected the damage, but refused to salvage the ship. Military inspections revealed that almost the entire ship had been flooded, though they concluded it was still possible to salvage the ship. Armour plates, guns, ammunition, and coal were removed from the ship, and the hull sealed and partially drained. Unfortunately while waiting for the last of the salvage equipment to be delivered, massive storms hit the ship and in November 1924 it broke in two, destroying any chance of salvaging the ship. The recovered guns were later installed in coastal batteries, and in 1931 after the overthrow of the Spanish monarchy its sister ship Alfonso XIII was renamed España.

Specifications: (1914)

4x2 305mm/50 Vickers Mark H (86 rounds per gun)
20x1 102mm/50 Vickers Mark E (200 rpg)
2x1 47mm Vickers 3-pdr QF (400 rpg)
2x1 7.7mm Maxim-Vickers (10 000 rpg)

Armour: (Krupp cemented steel)

250mm turrets
75mm turret roofs
350mm turret backs
250mm turret barbettes, tapers to 70mm at the 3rd deck
75mm casemates
230mm main belt
150mm upper belt
125mm lower belt
50-100mm forward belt
75-100mm aft belt
250mm fore and aft bulkhead
38mm torpedo bulkhead
40mm deck
25mm armoured deck, 30mm deck slopes
50mm aft deck
40mm fore deck
38mm underwater bulkheads
250mm fore conning tower
50mm fore conning tower roof
150mm fore conning tower tube
150mm aft conning tower
35mm aft conning tower roof
75mm aft conning tower tube

15 700 tons standard
16 450 tons full

Length: 139.9m

Beam: 24m

Draft: 8.1m

Propulsion: 4 Parsons geared steam turbines with 12 Yarrow boilers, 23 337 hp, driving 4 shafts

Speed: 20.3 knots (37.6 km/h)

Range: 6322nmi (at 10.75 knots)

Crew: 850

1 Vickers fire director
2 2.74m Barr and Stroud FQ rangefinders



España run aground off Chile



Fernández, R., Mitiuckov, N., & Crawford, K. (2007). The Spanish Dreadnoughts of the “España” class. Warship International , 44 (1), 63–114.
Lewandowski J. (2007) Okręty liniowe typu „España” plany. Tarnowskie Góry.
Spanish battleship España - Wikipedia
Espana | Ships Nostalgia
Spanish Battleship España - Destination's Journey