Spanish Navy


History: Inventors - Submarine Flotilla - Organization - Armada Española - Ministerio de Defensa - Gobierno de España

Icon twitter Icon RSS
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 - document to 13:40:53

History: Inventors Organization


It was after the XVI century when some of these conceptions arose, but neither science nor technology at that time could make them possible; in these days there were some outstanding scientists such as Van Dredbel, De Son, Boreli, Papin and others who, by means of wheeled boats or even moved with oars or poles, could not achieve any positive result.


Botadura Submarino Peral

David Bushnell
David Bushnell

In the XVIII century the American David Bushnell created and built an egg-like submersible, driven by pedals & levers which moved a four-blade propeller on bows screw, side &aft rudders, made it only possible to go at a limited depth.

The government of the United States authorized the attack to the English warship `Eagle´, which was anchored at the port of New York. The submarine, crewed by petty officer Erza Lee, managed to approach in the middle of the night beside the British warship in order to place an explosive charge, but on beginning to use the 'brace' it turned out that the underwater body was protected with a copper sheet. It was a failed attempt & this submarine has gone down in history with the name of 'Turtle'.

Robert Fulton

Robert Fulton presented a project of a submarine vessel to the French government in 1797 , which was approved.

Robert Fulton

It was built under the name of `Nautilus´. Due to the presence of the English fleet in the English Channel, Napoleon provided Fulton with the amount of 10,000 francs for new trials in December 1800. Shortly after, the French navy opposed to that invention. Fulton then left for London and in 1804 presented a modified `Nautilus´ to the English Admiralty, but it was again rejected.

Elliptical shape

  • Wood.
  • Hatchway.
  • Two iron tanks used as ballast. (They were bailed out with manual pumps)
  • Una hélice movida a brazo.(Una serie de engranajes reducían el esfuerzo).
  • A propeller moved by an arm. (A set of gearing reduced the effort).
  • Horizontal & vertical stern rudders.


In 1831 the Spaniard Cervo made a failed attempt in the port of Barcelona, who after submerging in a wooden sphere perished in the attempt.

Wilhelm Bauer
Wilhelm Bauer

In the middle of the XIX century, new projects arose; in 1850 the German Wilhelm Bauer designed and built an 8-meter length & 35-ton bulk submarine, which was given the name of `Brandtaucher´,whose originality consisted of the replacement of the horizontal rudders to maneuver during the immersion by an aft to bow screwed shaft, where there was a weight put up; on gyrating, the weight moved by means of which it obtained a positive or negative inclination and with the weight centered the submarine kept itself horizontally.

In February 1851, Bauer carried out some trials in the inlet of Kiel, but owing to the weakness of the structure, it was crushed by the pressure at 18-meter depth. The inventor and the crew managed to save their lives.

He offered his service to Austria & England but he was rejected. Finally, in 1855 he went to the Russian Parliament and the building of a new submarine was approved. This one was named `Diablo Marino´ and was crewed by 18 men. In 1856 he performed several trials in a successful way, but shortly after, the inventor lost official support and the submarine fell into oblivion.

Cosme Garcia
Cosme Garcia

He was born on 27, September 1818 and was baptized in the Imperial church of Santa Maria de Palacio in Logroño; he was the son of Andres Garcia, born in Logroño, and of Andrea Saenz, born in Aguilar de Navarro.

When he traveled to Barcelona to show the maneuvering and maintenance of his `postal machine´, Cosme planned his first submersible vessel. At that time, Bauer`s latest experiments in Russia were in the newspapers, as well as the projects & trials of diving bells.

The inventor from La Rioja region planned in the most rational manner the construction of a small prototype which served as testing & experience ground, from which the real attempt will come out. In order to make his prototype, Cosme turned to the firm called `Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima´, based in Barcelona, founded recently, which was one of the pioneers in metal constructions in Spain. Surprisingly, the inventor decided on an iron hull, whereas most of the others were still hesitating that vessels made of that stuff could float.

Lacking official support, he became frustrated and his hopes were dashed. He died in 1874.

Narciso Monturiol
 Narciso Monturiol

He was born in Figueras in 1819; from a very early age, he was obsessed with the idea of making a new vessel which could imitate fish so as to save divers from the hard work of extracting coral from the sea bed.

In 1858, after several years of research, he presented his project by publishing a scientific report under the name of `El Ictineo´ or `boatfish´. With the help of numerous friends, it was laid on deck stock & launched on 28 of June, 1859 in Barcelona. In September of the same year it remained submerged for 2 hours and 20 minutes, carrying out over 50 immersions in coastal waters off Barcelona and 4 immersions in Alicante until 1862.

The trials performed in Alicante on 7 of May, 1861 were a success and were attended by the Secretaries of Navy and Promotion. In 1862 he published a report called `for the building of a war boatfish ´.The Secretary of the Navy did not hired him for the project owing to the lack of money, thus he created the company `The Submarine Navigation´ ,a limited partnership; money was raised and on 2 October,1864 `Ictineo II´ was launched. On 22 October,1867 it carried out its first steam immersion, but the lack of interest and the indifference of the people made the company cancel the projects, which caused the company`s bankruptcy and the embargo of Ictineo, which was sold as scrap metal at a loss.

Its successes were the following:

  • It performed immersions of up to 8 hours.
  • It dived to a depth of 18 meters in 31 minutes.
  • In the trials it reaches the depth of 30 meters.

In the summer of 1885, depressed & ill, he moved to his son-in-law`s house in Sant Marti de Provencals, near Barcelona where he died on 6 September of the same year. Since 1972, his mortal remains lie in his hometown, Figueras.

Isaac Peral
Isaac Peral

The research on submarine navigation performed by Isaac Peral led him to present the construction of a submarine torpedo boat to the Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Manuel de la Pezuela y Lobo, on 9 September, 1885, coinciding with `Carolinas conflict´. The project was received with interest and the early trials were financed with public funds. In spite of the difficulties caused by a sabotage during these trials, on 20 April, 1887 Queen Mª Cristina approved the construction of a ship dedicated to the submarine navigation.

In this way, the submarine begins to be constructed on 7 October, 1887 in La Carraca shipyard (Cádiz). The project underwent some alterations: the torpedoes, made by `Whitehead` in Italy are substituted by the ones made by `Schwarzkopf´ in Germany. Nevertheless, the keel is placed on 1 January, 1888 and it is launched on 8 September of the same year. Several trials are carried out during the following months.

On 17 January, 1890 all the trials had been completed successfully, although the Secretary of the Navy was not completely satisfied. By the 13 March an assessment committee is created and demands further trials. One of these trials consisted of a mock attack carried out on 7 June, 1890 to the cruiser ` Cristobal Colon´ of 1150 tons. During one of the immersions one of the valves broke down and the submarine started to sink; after emerging to surface, they find out that the valve had been sabotaged by a crew member. The valve is then repaired and the trial continues, after the sabotage is discovered. The submarine`s watching tower was seen at less than 1,000 meters of distance by the cruiser, causing the failure of the trial..

This fact raised Isaac Peral`s protests, on considering that all the 200 guests on board already knew about the event they were going to witness, thus taking away the surprise effect that there would have been in a real combat. Nevertheless, the Press celebrated the event, praising Peral and his invention.

The final report of the Technical Committee highlighted these events and certain faults of the building of the ship, thus impeding Peral from repairing these deficiencies. The committee alleged that Peral lacked technical knowledge since he did not have the degree of naval engineer.

A Royal Decree was published on 10 of October, 1890, which compiled the conclusions of the Technical Committee although it also led to the construction of a new submarine supervised by Peral in collaboration with other departments & authorities. Peral informed the secretary about the plans for the construction of the new vessel, a submarine of 120 tons and 30 meters long, whose building should be only supervised & directed by himself and his own expert team in the shipyard of his choice but on the 31 of October the reply was negative and ordered Peral to deliver the submarine in the `Carraca shipyard´. By the 11 of November, 1890 the Decree was enacted, by means of which the projects for the submarine navigation were brought to an end.

The hull of Peral`s submarine remained in the Carraca arsenal , with no machinery inside, until 1914 when the commanding officer Mateo Garcia de los Reyes, chief of the submarine arm , decided to transfer it to the submarine base in Cartagena. In 1965, the City hall of Cartagena decides to exhibit the submarine so that it can be seen by the people in Cartagena as well as the visitors.

Maxime Laubeuf
Submarino de Maxime Laubeuf

The Laubeuf type consists in the idea of assembling a submarine inside the hull of an ordinary torpedo boat; it consists of two hulls, one internal which is resistant and of circular section and the other, external, similar to the one of a torpedo boat, in which the space between both hulls is used for the ballasting tanks, being perfectly linked to each other. With that system they obtained high buoyancy, ranging from 30 to 42 %, which are the essentials in surface navigation and the mechanical resistance & stability suitable for the submerged navigation.

In 1899, the French launched "the Narval", designed by Maxime Laubeuf too. This submarine had a double hull and used a boiler and a steam engine to navigate in the surface and storage batteries & electric engines for the submerged navigation. It was 3.75 meters in breadth, 34 meters in length; It displaced 202 tons in immersion & 117 tons in surface, at a speed of 8 knots in immersion & 12 knots in surface.

Its weaponry consisted of 4 exterior torpedoes of 450 mm. as the picture shows

Sanjurjo Badia
Sanjurjo Badia

He was born in La Sada (La Coruña) in 1837, of humble background; his father had a foundry where he learns the trade; he is intelligent and skilful with an innate talent for mechanics, being well known for his gifts.

He emigrated to Cuba and in association with a countryman created boiler factory, with such success that after 5 years he returned to his native Galicia, where he created his own boiler & steam engine factory.

Born inventor, he started planning a submarine vessel mainly because of 2 factors which triggered his invention: the meeting with Julio Verne whose steam engine Sanjurjo had to repair and the possibility that the USA invaded Spain as a consequence of the American-Spanish war. In 1898 he carried out official trials in the inlet of Vigo with a remarkable success, even detonating a mine of his own invention.

^ subir Imprimir Documento