Auxiliary Cruiser METEORO

By Nick Mitiuckov

GENERAL:

During the Spanish American War, Spain had only three oceanliners that were used as auxiliary cruisers. They were the RAPIDO, PATRIOTA and METEORO. None of these vessels saw action, however.
 

BACKGROUND:

The Spanish Government remembered the successes of the Confederate commerce raider ALABAMA during the American Civil War, and, subsequently planned to arm some steamers and liners into auxiliary cruisers for action against American lines of supply and communication

Early in the Cuban Insurrection, to contain the United States, Spain planned convert about ten vessels into auxiliary cruisers. However, the main need at the time was for transports to carry Spanish troops to Cuba. Most of the intended auxiliary cruisers were altered to serve as transports instead.

Therefore, when the War began, Spain had about ten armored steamers. The vessels became part of Gruppo E of the Reserve Squadron. Though intended for action against American lines of communication, most of these vessels were used as blockade runners.

Built at Stettin as a liner for the North-German Lloyd Lines, HAVEL could carry 274 first class passengers, 148 second class passengers and 384 third class passengers.

She was a single screw steamer, which was an outdated and unrealiable design. In 1898 HAVEL was sold to Spain and converted to the auxiliary cruiser METEORO. The vessel was commissioned on June 8. She saw no action during the war.

In 1899 METEORO was sold as the liner ALFONSO XII. She was scrapped in 1926.


TECHNOTES:


Classification: Auxiliary Cruiser
Commissioned: June 8,1898
Armament: Four 120mm/40mm Quickfire Skoda guns
 57mm/43mm Quickfire guns (number not known)
Machine guns (number unknown)
Contractor: Stettin
Length: 147.8 meters
Beam: 15.8 meters
Draft: 6.7 meters
Displacement 8,900 tons (6963brt)
Compliment:  250 Men 
Engine Type:  Single screw, 12,500 hp.
Speed: 18.5 knots
Armor: ?.
Cost: ?.

Bibliography:

Kludas A. Deutsche Ozean-Passagierschiffe 1850 bis 1895. - Berlin, 1983. p 144.

"Spanish auxiliary cruisers of 1898" Warship International. - 1970.  # 1. - P.88.

Wilson H.W., Downfall of Spain.

VKAM-97.
 


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