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reytuerto
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: October 9th, 2020, 5:25 pm
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Oh! Thanks a lot for your kind words, Novice. Coming from you, is an honor.

A small motor vessel with an interesting history behind: MV Ciudad de Mahon.
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Trasmediterranea shipping company ordered in 1929 to Echevarrieta & Larrinaga shipyard at Cadiz a pair of motor vessels for the routes between the Spanish Mediterranean harbours and the Canary Islands, the MV General Jordana and General Berenguer. With the fall of the Monarchy, both vessels changed their names: General Jordana was renamed as Ciudad de Malaga and General Berenguer as Ciudad de Mahon. Unfortunatelly, in January 1936, Ciudad de Malaga was rammed by a british steamer off Las Palmas and sunk, but with any loss of life.

The military coup d´etat surprised Ciudad de Mahon in Canary Islands, so since the beginning she was in the rebel side. At this early stage, she was making trips between the 7 islands of the Canary Islands only, but not further, because without naval supremacy in the southern waters the rebel forces were very cautious in the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar area. Very soon, Ciudad de Mahón was involved in the most far episode from Metropolitan Spain of the Civil War.

At the beginning of the Rebellion, the Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea remained loyal to the Republic, the republican cruiser Mendez Nuñez (qv) arrived Santa Isabel in late July 1936, and after landing the commanding officer and most of the officers of the cruiser, sailed to Spain in mid-August 1936. In September 19th, the Colonial Guard and Guardia Civil declared their adhesion to Burgos (the rebel capital) in the Island of Fernando Poo and the capital of the colony, Santa Isabel. But in the mainland, most of the Colonial guard remained loyal so the communications between the island and the continent were broken. In September 22th a small party of rebel troops and volunteers from Kogo tried to conquest the town of Bata (the most important in the mainland), but were repelled by republican troops with two KIA black soldiers.

The republican government tried to reestablish the communications with the colony , the very modern motor vessel Fernando Poo sailed from Barcelona (1) and in September 30th anchored at Bata.
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Fernando Poo and her sister Domine were the most modern ships of Trasmediterranea, and were built at Euskalduna having in mind the route from the spanish southern harbours and Equatorial Guinea.

At Bata, MV Fernando Poo it was used as prison ship, mainly for religious (catholic missionaries and nuns) and conservative elements of the town. In the meantime, the MV Ciudad de Mahon as the only suitable vessel for far operations was quickly transformed in an auxiliary cruiser within the limited resources of the Canary arsenals, with a 4 inch gun from the gunboat Canovas del Castillo (qv) and a 3 inch gun from the armed trawler Arcila.
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A landing force was formed with two companies of canary volunteers and a battery of 4 70 mm Schneider mountain gun (2) Ciudad de Mahon sailed from Las Palmas to the Guinea the night of October 04th with the fake name of Ciudad de Macao and under Portuguese flag, with the task of capturing the vessels there and taking the colony for the Burgos government.

Ciudad de Mahón arrived Bata in October 14th and demanded the surrender of Fernando Poo, which answered with rifle fire. The auxiliary cruiser shelled the liner and two impacts landed near the flotation line, causing a fire and beginning the flooding of the vessel. A boarding party from Ciudad de Mahon tried to control the fires but that was impossible and the following day the magnificent vessel listed to port and sank in shallow waters. After shelling Fernando Poo, in October 14th, a the troops carried by the auxiliary cruiser took control of Bata, and in the following week sized the rest of the colony. The SCW in Equatorial Africa had ended.

Shortly after this episode, Ciudad de Mahon was disarmed and continued traveling to the Canary Islands until being paid off in 1974.

The surviving sister of Fernando Poo, MV Domine had also an interesting life: She was seized by the rebel forces at the beginning of the war and in October 1936 she was armed as an auxiliary cruiser and sent to the Bay of Biscay together with the cruiser Ciudad de Valencia (qv).
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But her life in Northen waters as an auxiliry cruiser was short. In January 1937 she was replaced by Ciudad de Palma (qv) and was disarmed. As a transport she was tasked for a very important political journey: being the ship for the muslim pilgrims (mostly moor chiftains of Northen Morocco, and Morocco was of paramount importance for the francoist army as it was the boot camp for one of the most hardened units of the Spanish Army, the Moroccan Regulares: more than 60,000 moor soldiers served in the Nationalist forces, almost always as shock troops) to Mecca. As MV Magreb El Aksa she was escorted by the most powerful francoist cruisers, Canarias and Baleares (this fact confirms the importance given by Burgos to that journey) until being replaced near Sicily by italian vessels which escorted her in the Eastern Mediterranean until arriving Suez. Magreb El Aksa remained 3 weeks anchored at the Italian port of Masawa in the Red Sea. While returning, she was escorted again by Italian and Spanish warships, and after reaching Seville, Domine finally went to Melilla ending the trip there.

Domine remained as transport during the civil war (sometimes flying German flag as Archenfels, other time flying Italian flag as Stelvio). After the end of the SCW she continued with the travels to the colony of Guinea. During WWII she had big spanish neutrality flags painted in the hull. Finally she was paid off in 1975.

Credits: Of course, Colombamike is behind this drawing since the inception (but now, he is in the credits :mrgreen: ). Lots of thanks to him. Cheers

(1) A couple of sources said that several dozens of leftist militia men from Barcelona (anarchists?) were shipped in MV Fernando Poo to Guinea in that trip.

(2) In several sources a Tabor of Ifni riflemen is named together with the 2 companies and the artillery battery. But a tabor is a batallion size unit of at least 800 men, and all the contingent which sailed in Ciudad de Mahon was of 488 men, officers included. The veteran Ifni riflemen were much more needed in the peninsula (at this stage, Gral. Franco and the Army of África was trying to contact with the rebel troops of Gral. Mola in the castillian plateau) than in this far and very secondary front.


Last edited by reytuerto on October 12th, 2020, 1:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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eswube
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: October 10th, 2020, 10:17 am
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Splendid additions. Keep up the great work!


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Novice
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: October 12th, 2020, 3:49 pm
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Beautifully done.
Thank you for these.

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reytuerto
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: October 26th, 2020, 3:13 pm
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Good morning, guys. Thanks for your input Novice and B!

A trio of interesting vessels, with even more interesting careers: the "Trasamediterranea´s Bicycles". A class of 4 fast passenger, cargo and mail ships was built at Genoa for the italian Navigazione Generale Italiana in the late XIX century, but 15 years latter, 1 was sold to Romania, and 3 were sold to Spain, to the Compañia Valenciana de Correos de Africa (Marco Polo, renamed as V. Puchol; Cristoforo Colombo, renamed as A. Lazaro and Galileo Galilei renamed as J.J. Sister).
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After 7 years, this navigation company merged with others to form Compañia Trasmediterranea. Under the flag of this company, the trio was converted to motorvessels, changing the steam reciprocating triple expansion engine and boilers for two 10 cylinders diesel engine of german origin (MAN), also better 3 bladed screws were fitted. Beginning with JJ Sister in 1924 at Fyenoord Yard of Rotterdam, continued with Puchol in 1925 and Lazaro in 1926, both were retrofitted at Factoria Nuevo Vulcano of Barcelona.

The first military action of these vessels was the Alhucemas landings in northen Morocco, in 1925. The 3 sister ships (but Lazaro was almost 1.5 meters longer) were placed in the route between the mediterranean harbours and the north african spanish cities.
[ img ]

The beginning of the Spanish Civil War surprised the vessels in both sides as they served the route Malaga-Melilla, Puchol and Lazaro were in Africa were sized by the rebels, and Sister was at Malaga, so she was with the republicans. The first ones remained in Africa until the rebel navy assured the sea control of the waters around the strait, and were transformed in Cadiz as minelayers being armed with one 120 mm gun, two 102 mm guns forward, minor guns and machine guns and a stern device capable of laying 60 mines.

A carefully planed campaign was done beginning early in 1937, mining the Catalonian coast, Puchol with the screening of the ligth cruiser Cervera off Cape de Begur; and Lazaro with the protection of the 8 inch Canarias off Cape Negro and Cape de Creus:
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With the final toll of one British cargo vessel damaged, a French one sunk, a Greek oil tanker sunk with all hands, and a spanish tanker damaged, and a very important restriction in the navigation in Catalonian waters.

After this mining campaign, both vessels were engaged in the capture of the fine passenger ship Marques de Comillas, in late February 1937. With the introduction of dedicated minelayers (Jupiter and Vulcano) in the francoist navy, the pair Puchol and Lazaro were transformed in ordinary auxiliary cruisers, with the funnel shortened and the mine laying gear landed.

JJ. Sister was used by the republicans first as a prision ship, then as a transport between the peninsula and the Balearic Islands. In September 1937 she was part of a convoy with the steamer Rey Jaime and the escort of 3 modern destroyers, 35 miles off Menorca, they sighted the cruiser Canarias and the destroyers abandoned the transports that were captured and with the escort of two gunboats, went to Cadiz and in that harbour, Sister was swiftly converted in and armed auxiliary cruiser with a pair of 102 mm fore and aft:
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The trio remained in the Mediterranean Sea most of the rest of the war. Among the most important prizes of the "Bicycles" were the Estonian transport Pomaron and the soviet Postishev (later renamed Castillo de Olite and with a tragical fate almost at the end of the war) both of them with important cargo of war material.

After the war, the bicycles were once again allocated to the route Malaga-Melilla, here seen in the neutrality livery during WWII:
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and remained there until the early 60s, and were paid off, almost after 70 years of services in peace and war.

Credits: Colombamike help me since the inception of these drawings, and encourage me to show the complete career of the trio, Lots of thanks to him!!! Cheers.


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Yqueleden
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: October 29th, 2020, 7:05 pm
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Ohhh! Stunning drawings.

Greetings

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eswube
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: October 29th, 2020, 8:21 pm
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Splendid additions.


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Hood
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: November 1st, 2020, 11:17 am
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More very good additions.

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reytuerto
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: November 14th, 2020, 12:15 am
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Good evening, guys.

Oh, thank for your inputs! Thanks Luis, B and Hood!

The control of the oil supply was vital during the SCW. And the oil tankers were of paramount importance in this part of the naval warfare. One peculiarity was that in Spain, all the oil and derivatives trade was monopolized by CAMPSA (Compañia Arrendataria del Monopolio de Petroleos SA) since 1928. In that year, the company bough some second hand oil tankers, but in 1930 an ambitious expansion plan begun: 2 10,800 tons, 5 8,500 tons, a single 4,700 and 2 auxiliary 1100 tons brand new vessels were built, all in Spanish shipyards.

At the beginning of the SCW, CAMPSA had a fleet of nearley 111,000 tons, most of them of new vessels. Of the 11 main oil tankers, 9 were in republican hands and only 2 under rebel control. So, for the rebel side the disruption of the oil supply of the republican government and the secure transportation of the own fuel was one of the most, if not the most, important part of naval operations.

The largest oil tankers of the CAMPSA fleet were Campoamor and Campeador, which were 10800 tons ships made by Euskalduna shipyard of Bilbao in the Basque Country with license of Sir Joseph Isherwood & Co. Of 138 meters long and equipped with a pair of MAN 4 stroke diesel engines capable of 14 knots, were modern, confortable and well equipped vessels.
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At the beginning of the war, Campoamor was at Bilbao, then she remained 4 months blocked at Santander. In December 1936 she went to Philadelphia and was returning with a much needed load of aviation fuel, under British flag using the false name of Pollux. Off Santander she was intercepted by the auxiliary cruiser Ciudad de Valencia (qv), but avoided the capture going to the French harbour of Le Verdon (Bordeaux). In that port she was borded by a francoist small commando and with the aid of the skipper and some crew members were able to capture the ship and proceed to Pasajes, a basque harbour close to the french border, the first week of January 1937. There, she ran aground due the deep load, and the fuel carried was used to keep the nationalist aircraft in the air in the most critical phase of the north en campaign, the conquest of Bilbao. The republican government tried to sunk the tanker in a submarine operation without any success. The last days of July 1937 she was refloated and was a very useful part of the vital link between the American harbours in the Gulf of Mexico (Texaco was the main oil source of the nationalist side) and Spain during the remaining of the war.

Campeador was at southern waters. In October due the proximity of the francoist cruisers Canarias and Cervera, she was interned with the republican destroyer Gravina at Casablanca in French Morocco. But when the republican fleet came from the Bay of Biscay, both vessels managed to enter to the Mediterranean Sea and anchored in safety at Malaga. She made several voyages from Barcelona to the Soviet Union Black Sea harbours, mainly Batum.

In August 1937 while returning from the Romanian port of Constanza, she was screened by a pair of Italian destroyers. The rebel cruiser Canarias and the auxiliary cruiser Mallorca tried to sail to capture Campeador but the former was too far, and the later was too slow. In August 12th at the Straits of Sicily, the Italian destroyer Saetta, in an almost piratical action, launched a pair of torpedoes and then shelled the tanker until she was sunk 13 miles off Kenitra, Tunis, with 12 KIA, out of a crew of 42.
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Credits: Of course, I had the big aid of Colombamike, in very useful comments and complete photographs and line drawings. I used the well made Enrr Dardo drawing, in fact this is only a broad "aggiornamento" to the current style guidelines, and some improvements in the secondary AA guns and main battery ;) . Thanks to both of them. Cheers.


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reytuerto
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: November 15th, 2020, 5:10 am
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Good evening, guys.

Five 8,400 oil tankers were made for CAMPSA in shipyards of Cadiz and Valencia. Modern and well made vessels, but it was found that the bigger Campoamor and Campeador were more economical and more efficient to operate.

Of 127 meters long, and equipped with two 4 stroke B&W diesel engines the vessels were capable of 13 knots.
[ img ]

At the beginning of the SCW all were in the republican side, but Campas was sunk the first days of the war in the mouth of the river Guadalquivir in an attempt to block the harbour of Seville. But as she was sunk without structural damage, she was refloated and together with the older tanker Badalona, were the only oil tankers available for the rebels during the first months of the war. In that stage, she was very important in the transportation of aviation fuel from Italy and petrol from Tenerife in Canary Islands (the main Spanish oil refinery was there) to the mainland Spain. Finally, Campas was the oiler that fueled the surrendered republican fleet at Bizerta in April 1939.

In January 1937, while returning from french Port Saint Louis du Rhone loaded with 8000 tons of gasoil, Campuzano was captured by the cruisers Canarias and Cervera in the Gulf of Lyon. Under rebel flag, she used to be in the vital route between the American harbours of the Gulf of Mexico to the Canary Islands.

Campomanes made several trips to the Soviet Union, until being bombed the the francoist aviation at Valencia and sunk in August 1938. She was refloated a year later, but during WWII she was torpedoed in December 1944 by an unknown submarine in the Bay of Biscay (probably USS Barb, Lt. Cmdr. Watermann; which was in station waiting for the german ships Spichern and Max Albretch which were interned at Ferrol). With two torpedo impacts at the engine room, Camponames was nearly disabled. Fortunately, during the nignt she was aided by several trawlers and a tug, and could be towed to Ferrol and repaired there.

Campero was also in the republican side, she was shelled by the submarine General Mola (qv) but survived and went to Barcelona to be repaired. While repairing there, she suffered badly from the blast of the explosion of a barge used as gunpowder depot. She also survived this time and managed to flee to Marseille until the end of the war.

Finally, Campeche. She hit a mine off Barcelona during 1937, but managed to return to Barcelona. While repairing, she was hit by aviation francoist bombs. After that, she fled to Marseille and remained there until the war was over.

Credits: Colombamike helped me in this drawing since the inception! Thanks a lot! Cheers.

Edited! Very interesting new (at least for me) information about the submarine attack of Campomanes! ;)


Last edited by reytuerto on November 17th, 2020, 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Charguizard
Post subject: Re: Spanish Civil War vesselsPosted: November 15th, 2020, 2:50 pm
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Superb additions, you're doing an excellent job at documenting these rare vessels

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