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Mendez Nunez Class Light Cruiser

Blas de Lezo as built
Blas de Lezo as built
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Ship Builder Laid Down Launched Completed Fate
Mendez Nunez El Ferrol 28 Sep 17 3 Mar 23 May 25 Stricken 1963

Displacement: 4,780 tons/4,856 tonnes (standard); 6,043 tons/6,139 tonnes (full load).
Length: 462ft/140.8m (oa); 440ft/134.1m (pp). Beam: 46(1/14.0m;
Draught: 14ft 4in/4.36m (mean).
Machinery: 4-shaft Parsons geared turbines; 12 Yarrow boilers.
Performance: 45,000shp=29kts; Bunkerage: 787 (max) tons coal+492 tons oil fuel.
Range: 5,000nm at 13kts.
Protection: main belt 3in (machinery), 1.75in to 2.5in (ends); 1in deck; 6in CT.
Guns: six 6in (6x1); four 47mm; AA; four MGs.
Torpedoes: twelve 21 in (4x3).
Aircraft: nil.
Complement: 320.

Design

This design was broadly comparable to that of the British C or D class cruisers constructed during the First World War. As designed, the ship displaced some 4,700 tons on a hull with similar dimensions to those of the British cruisers. The protective scheme included a waterline belt 3in thick in the way of the machinery spaces, reduced to 1.25in at the ends. Horizontal protection was limited to a lin deck. There was a conning tower with 6in armour.

The main machinery, a four-shaft single-reduction-geared turbine layout, was mixed fired, there being and equal number of oil- and coal-fired Yarrow boilers. The latter were in three boiler rooms, served by three funnels. The designed shp was 43,000 for a maximum speed of 29kts. On trials, Mendez Nunez achieved 29.25kts with 43,776shp. The main armament comprised six 6in Vickers-Carraca 50cal weapons in single shielded mountings, disposed one forward, one each to port and starboard at the break of the forecastle, two abeam on the after shelter deck and one on the centreline on the quarterdeck. This was a BL gun with an elevation of 15', firing a 100lb projectile. The light AA comprised four single 47mm, which were probably 3pdr Hotchkiss guns, two in echelon around the centre funnel and two sided above the after tubes. The torpedo outfit comprised four triple banks of 21in tubes sited on the main deck, two on each beam. There was no provision to operate aircraft. Two ships were authorised under the 1915 Naval Law and named Bias de Lezo and Mendez Nunez. The former, however, was wrecked near Cape Finisterre on 11 July 1932.

Modifications

In 1944 Mendez Nunez was taken in hand at El Ferrol for conversion into an AA cruiser. All the armament was landed, the super-structure was removed and the boiler uptakes were trunked into two funnels. Suprisingly, the opportunity to convert the machinery to full oil-firing was not taken. The new armament comprised eight 4.7in Vickers Armstrongs/45 cal QF guns in single shielded mountings capable of 80° elevation. Six of these were shipped on the centreline, three forward and three aft in a three-tiered superfiring disposition similar to that on the British Dido or US Atlanta classes, with the remaining pair on the beam, abreast the after director. Four twin 37mm and two quadruple 20mm, probably of German origin, completed the AA outfit. Only two banks of tubes were retained. The bridge structure was completely rebuilt, and HA directors were fitted fore and aft.

Service

Mendez Nunez served initially off the coast of Morocco towards the end of the Riff war. In 1927 she was deployed to China to protect Spanish interests during the unrest in Shanghai.

At the start of the Spanish Civil War the cruiser was in Equatorial Guinea, and returned home to declare for the Republican cause. She had an active career during this conflict, taking part in the first action off Cape Palos on 25 April 1937, the action off Cape Chechel on 7 August 1937, and the second action off Cape Palos, when Baleares was sunk. With the end of the Civil War in sight, the Republican squadron sailed from Cartagena on 5 March 1939 and was interned at Bizerte until hostilities ceased in April, when France handed the ships back to the Spanish Government. After her conversion into an AA cruiser, she served until stricken in 1963.

Mendez Nunez rebuilt as an AA cruiser
Mendez Nunez rebuilt as an AA cruiser
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