Spanish Navy


History: Organization in the war of Morocco - Submarine Flotilla - Organization - Armada Española - Ministerio de Defensa - Gobierno de España

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018 - document to 13:57:29

History: Organization in the war of Morocco Organization

In the summer of 1921, the Annual & Mount Arruit disasters occurred in Morocco, which triggered a rise of pressure on the Spanish enclaves of Peñones de Velez de la Gomera and of Alhucemas. In these places , life was hard even in relative peace time, being now harder times , by all means several ships and submarines were used to communicate with them; one of them was performed by Peral's submarine, the `A-3´ and the new submarine `B-1´, which during the months of April to June,1922, evacuated the civilian people living there as well as the constant supplies under enemy fire that brought about the first casualties in combat to the flotilla.

The main mission of these ships, which were protected by the battleship `España´, consisted in the evacuation of the civilians living in Peñon de Velez , which was a heavy burden under those special conditions. On 17 of April, 1922, the submarines, Peral, commanded by lieutenant Casimiro Carre Chicarro and the `B-1´, commanded by lieutenant Francisco Regalado Rodriguez, with the insignia of chief of division , lieutenant commander Mateo Garcia de los Reyes along with the other ship carried out in broad daylight a reconnaissance mission in Peñon de los Velez and the surroundings for 3 hours.

While reconnoitering the west bays, Peral submarine was forced to surface, under the enemy´s sight, to carry out a maneuver to turn round. Taking advantage of this movement and maneuvering with decision, it managed to dock in the cliff `Cala Del Cementerio´ in Peñon de los Velez, from where the civilians were able to embark during the night. At 22.30 hours both submarines, provided with a boom temporarily situated in the bow, went to `Peñon´. Peral submarine introduced the boom in `Cala del Cementerio´ and by keeping the bow normally & maneuvering the engines conveniently managed to hold 66 civilians on board. This embarkation was carried out by using a hoist & a tackle by means of which each of the persons hung one by one in a big basket.

The installations of the hoist ashore and the maneuvering was performed by the crew from the battleship `España´. The operation was brought to an end at 3 a.m. because the rising ocean current made it difficult for the submarine to keep the in the right position. In the night of 18 of the same month, to continue the maneuvering the `B-1´ docked at `Cala del Cementerio´ in the same way as `peral´ submarine had done the night before; owing to the ocean current it was forced to run the engines to keep in the right position during the 3 hours that took the evacuation, thus holding 37 people with similar risk and fortune as the other submarine had done. During the tasks of both submarines; the battleship `España´ stayed vigilant and once the task was completed, having evacuated 103 people from `Peñon´ the smaller vessels were returned to the battleship.

La instalación de la cabria en tierra y su maniobra fue realizada por la tripulación de un bote del acorazado "España". La operación se dio por terminada a las tres de la madrugada porque la corriente, que había aumentado, imposibilitaba al submarino mantenerse en la posición señalada.

The Law of 22 of February, 1922 starts the new series of submarines built in Cartagena. This type `C´ series is also based on the American `Holland´ type but due to experience these ones were larger & greatly improved. In comparison with other foreign submarines, these ones were really in a good ranking.

The reading of a funereal text narrating the wreck of an Italian submarine, the`F-14´, in shallow waters of Adriatic sea, which was recovered after the death of the whole crew made lieutenant commander Arturo Genova Torruella think for the first time of the design of an original procedure to save the crew from a wrecked submarine in similar circumstances to the fatal `F-14´.In this way, the so called ascensor submarino´ (submarine lift) was born, which is better known in our flotilla as `la boya Genova´ ( Genova-type Buoy ) in honor of its inventor. It consisted of ,as its name suggests , a metallic buoy which withstood up to 140 m. deep and it could, with a man on board, go up to the surface and once the sailor is evacuated, it can return to its place in the submarine to pick up the next sailor.

The first trials with this device installed in the `C-3´submarine were performed in July,1930.They began testing it at little depth, about 15 m. deep, in the dock of Cartagena; later they continued outside the port in Escombreras & Salitrona, where they reached 50 m. deep in a successful way.

This `Submarine Lift´ was first tested by its own inventor and later, it was Nicasio Pita, an N.C.O. engineer of the `C-3´ crew. The rescue could be carried out al any depth that the submarine was able to withstand in a maximum of 10 minute; in this kind of rescue operation the intervention of divers was unnecessary.

In October, 1931 Jose Giral Pereira was in charge of the Secretary of the Navy and 6 months later in the first anniversary of the declaration of the Republic, he appointed captain Perez F. Chao as chief of a committee to establish the needs of the navy with regard to ships. For this reason, the commissioners visited the three departments and made a report about the deficiencies & the proposal of the appropriate solutions to solve them.

This committee presented a draft for the navy planning which proposed among other things the construction of 5 submarines of 1,000 tons (two of which were mine sweepers). The outcome was that `Sociedad de Construcciones Navales´ was contracted to plan an oceanic submarine of 1,000 tons & 20 knots. It was the naval engineer Aureo Fernandez Avila, director of the firm in Cartagena who designed the project. This project was known as `Sigma II´, which consisted in an improved `Admiralty C´ type, although it turned out to be worse than the previous one. The keel was installed on 23 of September, 1933, being Luis Companys the Secretary of the Navy.

The deadline for its construction was 3 years, but the order to build an additional two similar units given by the new secretary Jose Rocha Garcia on 27 of March, 1934 slowed the process down, since they had to provide the parts & to set the keels of the two new units. This advent of the civil war caught the secretary of the navy by surprise and consequently the two ships were still unfinished at the shipyard.

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