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Spanish Republican Navy (re-done)

Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 11 Mar 2010, 23:13
Here there is the list of the main events of the Naval war in Spain from 1936 to 1939.

In this list are NOT included the nationalist warships and Italian submarines sinking of republican or neutral merchants and civilian ships.

It focus mainly on the war effort and engagements of the Republican Navy

Sources (both data and photos) @ : Wikipedia


19 July 1936
Republican submarine C-1 capture in the Strait of Gibraltar the steamer Monte Toro. It’s the first victory of a republican submarine in the war. The captured Monte Toro then used as a prison-ship

26 July 1936
Republican submarine C-4 launched a torpedo and then fired 37 shells against a pair of enemy troop transports, causing at best some minor splinter damages, but this is left unconfirmed.

28 July 1936
Republican submarine C-4 damaged by coastal artillery.

5 August 1936
Republican destroyers Alcalà Galiano, Almirante Valdes and Lepanto attempted to attack an enemy convoy that was transporting troops. The two enemy transports Ciudad de Ceuta and Ciudad de Algeciras, together the tugs Arango and Benot carried 3000 soldiers and they were escorted by the gunship Eduardo Dato, the patrol ship Uad Kert and the old torpedo boat T-19. A Breguet enemy bomber aircraft damaged the Lepanto, suffering one dead and five wounded and was forced to return under cover of destroyer Churruca.
Also the destroyer Almirante Valdes was hit by an aerial bomb and damaged and could not reach the convoy. Alcalà Galiano found the convoy alone, could not reach with her fire the merchant Ciudad de Algecires (some sources however speak about splinter damages inflicted), and was and was damaged by the Eduardo Dato and bombers Dornier, suffering 18 dead and 28 wounded.

7 August 1936
As revenge for the failure of two days before, the Republican battleship Jaime I, escorted by the light cruiser Libertad, sunk into the harbor of Algeciras the nationalist gunship Eduardo Dato. It’s the main victory and only sinking caused by a battleship during the Spanish Civil War. During the attack was also heavily damaged with a single hit (from the battleship) the enemy patrol ship Uad Kert.
The enemy will later recover the gunship in 1937.
Photo of battleship Jaime I
Photo of Eduardo Dato in 1948

13 August 1936
Republican battleship Jaime I damaged by enemy air attack

16 August 1936
Nationalist patrol ship Tiburòn attacked by Republican aircraft and then surrendered.

22 August 1936
The Republican submarine C-6 damaged by enemy air attack

31 August 1936
The Nationalist battleship Espana suffered minor damage when an unexploded torpedo launched by the Republican submarine C-5 hit her.
The submarine had launched 4 torpedoes: according a different source all torpedoes missed.

1 September 1936
Republican submarine C-6 faced in a gunfire battle the nationalist patrol boats Tritonia and Virgen del Carmen, then joined the armed tug Galizia and Argos, later the patrol boats Juan Ignazio and Denis and finally an Italian seaplane Savoia-62 with the nationalist destroyer Velasco.
Despite the huge numerical superiority, C-6 could retire after hardly damaging the patrol boat Juan Ignazio that was not recovered and was returned to civilian use.

On the same day the small Nationalist training vessel Cala Millo sunk by a Republican air attack

10 September 1936
Nationalist patrol boat Txit-Ona heavily damaged by Republican aircraft, the ship was then disarmed.

19 September 1936
Republican submarine B-6 attacked in Basque waters with gunfire the nationalist armed tug Galizia : the enemy tug suffered from 2 to 5 direct hits with human losses and heavy damages, however the submarine was counter-attacked by the armed tug Cirizia and the destroyer Velasco. The submarine hardly damaged by Velasco's gunfire and crew decided to self-sunk the B-6 to prevent her capture. Most of crew was captured.

29 September 1936
Battle of Cape Espartel
Units loyal to the Republic, active in the Atlantic, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to join the units in the Mediterranean Sea.
Nationalist heavy cruiser Canaries and the light cruiser Almirante Cervera, attacked the republican destroyer Almirante Ferrandiz, that was sunk by Canaries with 6 hits, while the destroyer Gravina received only moderate damages because of 2 hits from the Almirante Cervera.
Of 160 crew-members of the Ferrandiz, 31 were captured while other 25 were rescued by the French merchant Katoubia.
The Nationalists scored an important victory, forcing the Republican ships out of the Strait and causing no further trouble for the Nationalist transports (even if actually the Republicans had made only a single failed attempt to intercept a convoy).
Cruiser Canaries
Destroyer Almirante Ferrandiz

9 October 1936
The Nationalist light cruiser Almirante Cervera sunk the Republican patrol ships Uad Lucus , Uad Muluya, and the smaller I-5 (a former customs ship)

12 October 1936
Republican submarine B-4 sunk by enemy air attack into the Malaga’s harbor.
The unit was raised some days later but never repaired.

30 October 1936
The Nationalist heavy cruiser Canaries sunk the Republican patrol ship Marinero Cante

15 November 1936
The Basque armed trawlers Mistral (later renamed Gipuzkoa) and Heuzkal Herria (later renamed Bizkaya) faced and forced to retreat the enemy destroyer Velasco that suffered some damages with one wounded, while also the Mistral suffered some damages with two wounded. It was the first and main engagement won by the small Basque Navy against the stronger enemy.
Mistral with Heuzkal Herria and also Vendaval (later renamed Nabarra) behind her)

22 November 1936
Republican light cruiser Miguel de Cervantes was damaged with a torpedo by the Italian submarine Torricelli

6 December 1936
Nationalist armed trawler Virgen del Carmen defected to the Republicans and joined the Basque Navy with the name Donostia.

12 December 1936
Republican submarine C-3 sunk by the German submarine U-34 with torpedo.
Only 3 sailors survived, at first the Republican Navy thought it was an accident, later it was believed that an Italian submarine was responsible of the attack. Only after the WWII it was discovered that was a German attack

23 December 1936
Republican warships usually were never involved in seizure of merchants (differently from the Nationalists who on the contrary carried many similar illegal actions and are not listed here). However, the Basques attempted a similar activity: the armed trawler Bizkaya seized the German merchant “Pluto”, however the Republican command ordered to release immediately the ship.

Night between 26 and 27 December 1936
Italian submarine Tazzoli was damaged with depth charges by the Republican destroyers Almirante Valdes and Lazaga, after an unsuccessfully torpedo attack. It was the first successful attack with depth charges by Republican destroyers.

28 December 1936
The Basque armed trawler Bizkaya seized a German merchant, the “Palos”. Once again it was imposed by political decision to release the ship (but part of the military cargo was confiscated).

31 December 1936
Republican submarine C-5 disappeared after leaving the harbor of Bilbao.
Probably an accident.

7-8 January 1937
The Basque armed trawlers Gipuzkoa and Nabarra together the destroyer Josè Luiz Diez, fought against the Nationalist destroyer Velasco that was escorting the merchant Genoveva (used as mine-carrier, with 100 mines). The Nabarra suffered 3 hits and a fire, but the enemy retreated to not risk losing the merchant.

14 January 1937
Nationalist heavy cruiser Canaries hit by a 100kg bomb launched by a soviet-made SB-2 bomber, causing moderate damages.

17 January 1937
The Basque armed trawler Goizeko Izarra sunk by a mine

7 February 1937
The Republican patrol ship Artabro sunk by enemy air raids in the harbor of Malaga.

8 February 1937
The Republican minesweeper Xauen sunk by enemy air raids in the harbor of Malaga.

19 February 1937
Republican submarine C-6 under the command of the soviet Ivan Alekseievich Burmistrov, suffered damages because of an enemy air attack

5 March 1937
Battle of Cape Machichaco
Nationalist heavy cruiser Canaries, near the Basque coast, encounters the armed Basque trawlers Gipuzkoa, Bizkaya, Nabarra and Donostia escorting the merchant Galdames (full of civilians).
There was a gunfire battle, the Gipuzkoa was damaged with 5 dead and 12 wounded, but with the help of a coastal battery the enemy retreated and the damaged ship (which extinguished a fire on board) was saved. Also the Gipuzkoa managed to cause minor damages to the Canaries, causing one dead and one wounded.
Saving the Gipuzkoa.

The Bizkaya had the opportunity to recover the merchant Yorkbrook (that has been previously seized by Canaries), but Canaries began shooting again.
Bizkaya recover the merchant

The enemy cruiser hit the Galdames , killing a woman and 3 children and forcing the ship to surrender.
After few shells against Donostia, the cruiser finally focused on Nabarra , sinking her with 29 dead, including the commander, despite a brave resistance.
Last battle of Nabarra

20 sailors of Nabarra were captured, they were going to be executed but thanks the personal request of Canaries' commander, they were spared.
While the recovering of Yorkbrook allowed to evacuate many civilians when the Italian and Nationalist army attacked the Basque militias and captured Bilbao, the capture of Galdemas was a sad event. One man shot by nationalists still on board when he attempted to leave the ship, later other refugees would be killed including Manuel Carrasco Formiguera (a member of the Basque Government).

15 April 1937
Republican submarine B-5 disappeared on sea.
Probably an accident

25 April 1937
An inconclusive meeting between the German light cruiser Leipzig and the Republican destroyer Sanchez Barcaiztegui.

30 April 1937
Nationalist battleship Espana was struck by a Nationalist mine laid by the minelayer Jupiter near Bilbao and started sinking with only 5 dead.
A group of Republican bombers Gourdou GL.633 attacked the sinking ship and the pilot Miguel Zambudio scored at least a single direct hit with a 100kg bomb. The loss of the battleship had mainly a moral and propagandistic value (her combat value wasn't high).
Photo of battleship Espana

7 May 1937
Nationalist motor torpedo boat Javier Quiroga sunk near Gibralter because of an accidental collision with the sister unit Candido Perez (both were former Italian MAS units).

12 May 1937
Again the Republican submarine C-6 under the command of the soviet Ivan Alekseievich Burmistrov, suffered damages because of an enemy air attack

21 May 1937
Republican battleship Jaime I, was damaged by three bombs during an Italian air attack. On ship was present the soviet advisor A.P.Labuid.

25 May 1937
Italian auxiliary cruiser (armed merchant) Barletta was damaged by Republican Air Force, with 7 dead and many wounded.

28 May 1937
German battleship (sometimes classified as heavy cruiser or pocket battleship), Deutschland badly damaged by a Republican ex-soviet Tupolev SB-2 bomber, there were 31 dead and 74 wounded. Crew of the aircraft were the soviets Captain Anton Progrorin and Lt. Vassily Schmidt.
As retaliation, the German battleship Admiral Scheer made a violent bombing of civilian targets causing 19 killed and 55 wounded in Almeira.
Photo of battleship Deutschland.

10 June 1937
In Basque waters there was a short inconclusive battle between Republican destroyers Ciscar and Josè Luis Diez against the light Nationalist cruiser Almirante Cervera. No damages on both sides.

17 June 1937
Republican battleship Jaime I exploded with the death of up 300 sailors (other lowest estimates say about of 80-170 killed and 150-200 wounded). Causes of sinking are unclear: it has been suggested a sabotage, but it's probable that it was actually an accidental inner detonation. The ship was old and her combat value was low (especially after the loss of the sister-ship Espana, in Nationalist hands).
Moreover it was the light cruiser Libertad that had took the effective role of flag-ship of the Republican Navy.
Soviet advisor on the ship was V.L. Bogdenko (that had replaced A.P. Labuid) and survived.
The wreck of the ship was recovered but could not be repaired.
Photo of battleship Jaime I

18 June 1937
Nationalist motor torpedo boat Falange sunk for unclear reason (possibly accident). It was a former German unit.

On the same day, the Republican submarine C-6 under the command of Ivan Alekseievich Burmistrov launched two torpedoes against the light cruiser Almirante Cervera, without results.

12 July 1937
Republican destroyers Lepanto, Churruca, Almirante Miranda, Almirante Valdes, Gravina (with soviet advisor V.L.Bogdenko) and Sanchez Baircaztegui escorting the tanker Campillo, had a short battle against the heavy cruiser Baleares. No damages on both sides.
After the engagement, ex-soviet Republican motor torpedo boats led by the soviet commander Y.N. Uzhvenko made an unsuccessful torpedo attack, launching 3 torpedoes against Baleares.

30 July 1937
Republican motor torpedo boats n°31 and n°41 damaged by enemy aircrafts He-59, even if they claimed to shot down one.
A Spanish sailor died on n°31, three soviets were wounded together a Spaniard. On n°41 there were two Spaniards wounded but the unit was lost due heavy damages.
The Republican Navy had received only 4 former soviet motor torpedo boats of G-5 class (other units never reached Spain, despite plans, also plans to build units directly in Spain were never accomplished).

10 August 1937
Short battle near Gijon between the Nationalist minelayer Jupiter and the Republican destroyer Ciscar. The Jupiter suffered a hit with some damages and escaped. The enemy cruiser Almirante Cervera could not reach in time the place of the clash.

12 August 1937
Republican destroyers Churruca and Alcalà Galiano, attacked by the Italian submarine Jalea, one torpedo damaged the Churruca, but the ship towed to safety by the second destroyer. Churruca suffered 4 dead and 8 wounded, on ship was present the soviet advisor S.D.Solouchin.

20 August 1937
Republican destroyer Lazaga missed by torpedo launched by the Italian submarine Finzi, the submarine was counter-attacked and lightly damaged with depth charges.

27 August 1938
The Republican destroyer Josè Luiz Diez, with a (fake) number to resemble a British destroyer, tried to reach the Mediterranean Sea: she was attacked by the Nationalist heavy cruiser Canaries , causing some damages and trapping the destroyer in Gibraltar waters. During the battle there were also the cruiser Navarra, Almirante Cervera, the minelayer Jupiter and the destroyers Huesca, Ceueta and Melilla. Destroyer suffered 2 killed, 6 missing and 10 wounded but also the 24 fishermen captured previously died when their room was flooded by leak.

28 August 1937
Republican submarine C-4 in Basque waters damaged by enemy air attack, she was partially repaired by the crew directly on the place. She was under command of soviet captain Kuzmin.

7 September 1937
Battle of Cape Cherchell
Republican light cruisers Libertad and Mendez Nunez, were escorting a convoy together the destroyers Lepanto, Almirante Valdes, Almirante Antequera, Gravina, Jorge Jouan, Almirante Miranda and Escano. Suddenly the nationalist heavy cruiser Baleares attacked.
During the battle, Libertad scored first one or two hits on the enemy, and then other two direct hits and the Baleares was forced to retreat with 3 dead and 26 wounded.
Some sources claim that Libertad suffered a minor hit without real damage, but this is unconfirmed (at the worst it was a splinter).
Soviet advisor on Libertad was V.A. Alafuzov.
After the engagement, an Italian air attack, scored only one bomb hit on the destroyer Escano that suffered little damage.
For the first time the best warships of the Republican Navy, confronted and defeated a modern enemy naval unit.
The engagement however even if it was tactically a victory, had a strategic failure because the merchant ships were left alone: one grounded by accident in Algerian waters and the other one was forced to take shelter in Algerian harbor , being interned by French.
Both merchants could not reach Republican waters.
Heavy cruiser Baleares
Light cruiser Libertad

13 September 1937
According some sources, the loss of the old nationalist torpedo boat T-2 (officially due grounding) could have been related to a torpedo attack made by Republican submarine C-6 under command of soviet Ivan Alekseievich Burmistrov. There is no confirmation however about an involvement of the submarine

17 September 1937
Republican destroyers Almirante Antequera, Escano, Gravina and Sanchez Barcaiztegui had a short battle against the heavy cruiser Canaries, while escorting the merchants Jaime II and JJ Sister. Almirante Antequera launched 2 torpedoes without effect. The soviet advisor I.Eliseev insisted to prolong the fight and even if a single enemy shell caused minor damages on Sanchez Barcaiztegui : this destroyer launched 4 torpedoes missing the Canaries, but forcing her to retreat. The destroyers however retreated leaving the merchants Jaime-II and JJ Sister unprotected and both were seized by enemy.

10 October 1937
Republican blockade-runner Cabo Santo Tomè was attacked by the Nationalist gunships Eduardo Dato and Canovas del Castello. The Republican ship was armed only with 45mm and after some resistance she was badly damaged and grounded, the crew finally scuttled the ship. During the engagement the Republicans suffered 1 dead and 7 wounded.

15 October 1937
Republican submarine C-6 under the command of soviet captain Burmistrov, launched two torpedoes against nationalist minelayer Jupiter, but missed the enemy. Some sources claims that the submarine was damaged in following depth charges attack, but this is left unconfirmed.

20 October 1937
Republican submarine C-6 under the command of soviet captain Burmistrov, badly damaged in harbor by enemy attack and finally self-sunk.

21 October 1937
Republican destroyer Ciscar sunk by an enemy air attack into the Gjion's harbor.

17 February 1938
Nationalist light cruiser Almirante Cervera badly damaged by two bombs of Republican bomber Tupolev SB-2, there were 17 dead and 25 wounded.
Almirante Cervara

Night of 5-6 March 1938
Battle of Cape Palos
The major naval engagement of the War: it was the most notable naval battle and one of the major Republican Victories.
The Republican Navy, together the Soviet advisors, has long decided to hit one or both the best ships of the Nationalist navy, the heavy cruisers Canaries and Baleares or the Almirante Cervera.
Previous attempts with submarines failed (due the bad state of submarines and lack of training).
It was decided to make an attempt using the few available former soviet motor torpedo boats: a battle group formed by the light cruisers Menendez Nunez and Libertad together the 5 destroyers Sanchez Barcaiztegui, Lepanto, Almirante Antequera, Gravina and Lazaga under the command of Vice-Admiral Luis Gonzalez Ubieta had to escort the motor torpedo boats to the enemy harbour.
Because of bad weather, the soviet motor torpedo boats could not start the operation.
But while the escort ships were coming back, they unexpectedly faced their enemies: the two heavy cruisers Canaries and Baleares together the light Almirante Cervera under the command of Admiral Manuel de Vierna, escorting a little convoy.
Soviet advisors suggested to use the destroyers for torpedo attacks, two early torpedoes fired by the destroyer Sanchez Barcaiztegui missed the enemy.
The two groups crossed their path during this first clash, then the enemy made a complete turn and missed eye contact.
The two groups crossed again and spotted each other for the second time.
Each of the Republican destroyers fired 4 torpedoes, except the Almirante Antequera that fired 5, while Gravina and Lazaga did not fire.
Of 13 torpedoes launched, 2 of the Lepanto and probably also 1 of the Almirante Antequera hit the enemy cruiser Baleares.The enemy ship was in critical conditions and Vice Admiral Ubieta opened fire with the guns of the cruiser Libertad.
It has been reported that Baleares could have suffered up two hits from Libertad's fire.
Observing their ship burning and sinking the other two enemy cruisers retreated.
Photo of Lepanto
Photo of Baleares sinking.
After the sinking of the enemy cruiser, the neutral British destroyers moved to help the sailors: Republican bombers mistook the destroyer Boreas for a Nationalist unit, and she was damaged suffering 1 dead and 4 wounded.
The Baleares sunk, 786 (or 788 according different sources) sailors included the Admiral Manuel de Vierna died. 469 (or 435) saved.
This victory was a great success for the Republican Navy: its value was of extreme importance to rise the moral but could not change the outcome of the whole conflict.
Cruiser Libertad became a legend. Ubieta (that will die in exile after the defeat of the Republic, in 1950) was awarded with the Laureate Plate of Madrid (highest Republican decoration)
The two cruisers and the destroyers Lepanto, Almirante Antequera and Sanchez Barcaiztegui received a new pennant flag as award, the Distintivo de Madrid, a flag decorated with the Coat of Arms of Madrid City.
Also Soviet advisors collected valuable information about the naval torpedo as a primary weapon.
The engagement (as often happened for other war experiences of the Spanish Civil War), proved to be highly instructive: the time of gunfire battles for battleships and cruisers was ending, giving place to torpedoes and aircraft attacks.

15 June 1938
Republican gunship Laya sunk in the harbor of Valencia because of enemy air attack

9 October 1938
Republican submarine C-1 sunk in Barcelona by enemy air attack.
The commander of the submarine was the soviet advisor I.V. Graiez (he survived).

18 October1938
Nationalist minesweepers Calderon de la Barca and Cervantes-6 sunk by mines.

5 November 1938
Republican (former soviet) motor torpedo boat n°31 was lost by air attack in Cartagena.

30 December 1938
Republican destroyer Josè Luiz Diez was damaged near Gibraltar by the nationalist gunship Calvo Sotelo and the minelayers Vulcano and Jupiter: she received two shells by the Jupiter with 7 dead (other sources say 4 killed) and 12 wounded, Vulcano suffered 5 wounded. The destroyer run aground into British area and part of the crew rejoined republican forces after some time in British prison. The efforts of the crew in battle were highly praised by the Republican Navy.

Photo of the Josè Luiz Diaz. It's interesting to know that her commander will join the Free France Navy during the WW2

Photo of Vulcano


8 January 1939
Republican motor torpedo boat n°11 (one of the two survived republican ex-soviet motor torpedo boat) attempted to attack alone the heavy cruiser Canaries and the light cruiser Almirante Cervera: the two torpedoes missed even at first believed that they hit a target.

24 January 1939
Nationalist minesweeper Nueve Pepe Leston sunk by mine.

5 March 1939
When the war was almost over, republican destroyers Sanchez Barcaiztegui, Alcalà Galiano and Lazaga were damaged by enemy air attacks.

7 March 1939
During the last days of the Republic, the Nationalists believed that a pro-Nationalist insurrection of military forces had gained the control on the city of Cartagena, so they sent some transports full of soldiers to help their allies.
However the insurrection had failed and members of the 206° Mixed Brigade gained the control of a coastal battery of 381mm
Shells were fired against the transport Castillo de Olite, that suffered 3 direct hits.
The damage was massive and the transport sunk, 1476 enemy soldiers or sailors killed, while 342 were wounded and 294 were captured.
It was a last revenge against Nationalist Navy, which suffered so great losses when they've already won the war.
It's also considered to be the greatest loss of life from the sinking of a single ship in Spanish history.

By the time of this last event, most of the Fleet had left Cartagena to exile.
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 05 Dec 2010, 02:06
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 16 Feb 2011, 18:08
-- integrated --
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 22 Feb 2014, 11:51
Added photos and multiple corrections
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 27 Nov 2015, 15:38
Added some corrections and new data. Re-added photos.
Soviet cogitations: 3
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Nov 2017, 01:00
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 18 Apr 2018, 16:44
"3 September 1936
The old Republican torpedo boat T-6 run aground because of an accident and was lost."

Navypedia shows T-06 as broken Up in 1932. T-2 is listed as wrecked 13/9/37.

Year later, but could be the ship.

1 Oct 36 Patrols Uad Lucas & Uad Muluya, Navypedia 9 Oct. 36
Soviet cogitations: 252
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Feb 2010, 11:57
Resident Admiral
Post 23 Apr 2018, 10:55
Greetings! There is not much material about this class. Navypedia is a very good source, however other Spanish sources state that T-3 (I previously found T-6) was written off on that date, but seems could be just hull broken up. Will remove the entry given there was no actual battle (or likely even accident) event over it.

Thanks for the fix of Uad Lucas & Uad Muluya also! Yes, 9 october is correct date, plus also I-5 was actually lost on that same attack.
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