Loss of the battleship Espana

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Spearfish
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Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Spearfish » 02 Feb 2022 09:39

On April 30 1937 the Nationalist battleship Espana ran into a Nationalist minefield and was sunk.
At the time of this incident was she, as many claim, under air attack and if so was this distraction partly responsible for her misfortune?

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Totenkomf
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Totenkomf » 02 Feb 2022 10:03

Espana/Alfonso XIII was sunken by minefield in April 1937.

Regards, Totenkomf.

"Later that morning, at around 07:00, the Nationalist vessels spotted the British steamer SS Knistley. Velasco fired warning shots to force the freighter to alter course, but when España turned to support Velasco, she inadvertently entered one of the minefields that Nationalist minelayers had set in an attempt to block the port. She struck one of the mines at 07:15, which detonated against her port side engine room and boiler room, tearing a large hole in the hull and causing significant flooding.[18] España took on a list to port but remained afloat for some time, which allowed Velasco to come alongside and evacuate most of her crew, apart from three men who had been killed by the mine explosion. A fourth man died of his wounds aboard Velasco. During the evacuation, Republican aircraft launched three strikes on the vessels, but anti-aircraft gunners aboard both ships successfully drove them off. By around 08:30, España's crew had been taken off. Her list was increasing, and by the time Velasco departed, her decks were awash. Shortly thereafter, she capsized to port and sank.[23]"

Source:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... qcwiai6CUl
Last edited by Totenkomf on 02 Feb 2022 13:47, edited 2 times in total.
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Spearfish
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Spearfish » 02 Feb 2022 13:11

Dear Totenkomf many thanks for your reply but that related to the original Espana lost in 1923. My query relates to the second battleship of that name lost in 1937

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Totenkomf
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Totenkomf » 02 Feb 2022 13:44

Spearfish wrote:
02 Feb 2022 13:11
Dear Totenkomf many thanks for your reply but that related to the original Espana lost in 1923. My query relates to the second battleship of that name lost in 1937
Yes, sorry all changed Espana/ Alfonso XIII was hit and later sunk by minefield in April 1937. The ship was also under an air attack.

I guess there was misfortune in that the ship sunk when it was already at port.
Last edited by Totenkomf on 03 Feb 2022 06:35, edited 2 times in total.
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LineDoggie
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by LineDoggie » 02 Feb 2022 22:08

Totenkomf wrote:
02 Feb 2022 13:44
Spearfish wrote:
02 Feb 2022 13:11
Dear Totenkomf many thanks for your reply but that related to the original Espana lost in 1923. My query relates to the second battleship of that name lost in 1937
Yes, sorry all changed Espana/ Alfonso XIII was hit and later sunk by landmine in April 1937. I am not too sure about the air attack..

I guess there was misfortune in that the ship sunk when it was already at port.
Landmine?
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here".
Col. George Taylor, 16th Infantry Regiment, Omaha Beach

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Waleed Y. Majeed
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Waleed Y. Majeed » 02 Feb 2022 23:05

Not sure of air attack? Read the quote in your own post!
As an answer to the initial question (if source is credible) No, the air attacks came after the ship had hit the mine. If any distraction it would be to the following evacuation before she finally sank. From same source “one of the largest self-inflicted casualties in naval history.”

Waleed

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Totenkomf
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Totenkomf » 03 Feb 2022 06:27

LineDoggie wrote:
02 Feb 2022 22:08
Totenkomf wrote:
02 Feb 2022 13:44
Spearfish wrote:
02 Feb 2022 13:11
Dear Totenkomf many thanks for your reply but that related to the original Espana lost in 1923. My query relates to the second battleship of that name lost in 1937
Yes, sorry all changed Espana/ Alfonso XIII was hit and later sunk by landmine in April 1937. I am not too sure about the air attack..

I guess there was misfortune in that the ship sunk when it was already at port.
Landmine?
Corrected, minefield..
"Befehl ist Befehl"

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Totenkomf
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Totenkomf » 03 Feb 2022 06:38

Waleed Y. Majeed wrote:
02 Feb 2022 23:05
Not sure of air attack? Read the quote in your own post!
As an answer to the initial question (if source is credible) No, the air attacks came after the ship had hit the mine. If any distraction it would be to the following evacuation before she finally sank. From same source “one of the largest self-inflicted casualties in naval history.”

Waleed

Yes, corrected there was an air attack against Espana but the ships crew drew them off.
"Befehl ist Befehl"

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Ironmachine
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Ironmachine » 03 Feb 2022 08:58

There was a Republican pilot, Antonio García Borrajo, who claimed that he was attacking the España (together with another aircraft) and that the ship was maneuvering to evade the bombs when she hit the mine. His account has a number of evident mistakes, but it was made many years after the events, so it is perfectly possible that he was missremembering some details and still the story could be true. In fact, it is known that he and another pilot flew a pair of Gourdou-Leseurre to Santander on that date, departing from Sondika between 6:48 and 6:55 hours. Depending on the time the España hit the mine (that accorging to the official report of the captain of the Velasco happened at 7:30) and the speed with which the planes travelled, they could have been attacking the España when she hit the mine and thus yes,this distraction could be partly responsible for her misfortune.
However, this is far from being a proven fact.

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Totenkomf
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Totenkomf » 03 Feb 2022 09:05

Ironmachine wrote:
03 Feb 2022 08:58
There was a Republican pilot, Antonio García Borrajo, who claimed that he was attacking the España (together with another aircraft) and that the ship was maneuvering to evade the bombs when she hit the mine. His account has a number of evident mistakes, but it was made many years after the events, so it is perfectly possible that he was missremembering some details and still the story could be true. In fact, it is known that he and another pilot flew a pair of Gourdou-Leseurre to Santander on that date, departing from Sondika between 6:48 and 6:55 hours. Depending on the time the España hit the mine (that accorging to the official report of the captain of the Velasco happened at 7:30) and the speed with which the planes travelled, they could have been attacking the España when she hit the mine and thus yes,this distraction could be partly responsible for her misfortune.
However, this is far from being a proven fact.
Well this was far more clearer answer than mine, thanks for the info.
"Befehl ist Befehl"

Spearfish
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Re: Loss of the battleship Espana

Post by Spearfish » 03 Feb 2022 09:30

Gentlemen
Many thanks for your responses. I must say I suspect that Ironmachine is correct for there has always been considerable scepticism that the 100 kg bombs used by the GL 32 could do much damage to a battleship. I do know the British Admiralty was worried and when the covid pestilence eases I will visit the British National Archives and see if I can find any further information. I might also try newspapers from Tyne and Wear because a British merchantman might have witnessed the incident

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