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.
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.
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.
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).
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
). 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.