Cruiser Almirante Oquendo

By Nick Mitiuckov  

Almirante Oquendo


Other views of the OQUENDO:

 Chart of hits ||| A captured gun of the Oquendo at Palmyra, New York ||| A captured gun of the Oquendo at St. Louis, Missouri

The fate of the OQUENDO according to Admiral Cervera's Report


GENERAL:

The ALMIRANTE OQUENDO was one of the prides of the Spanish fleet. The vessel became part of Admiral Cervera's Cape Verde Squadron, and with that squadron was trapped by the U.S. blockading squadron under Admiral Sampson and Commodore Schley. She was destroyed when the Spanish squadron sortied  from Santiago on July 3, 1898 and was involved in the naval Battle of Santiago. The OQUENDO was a sister ship to both VIZCAYA and INFANTA MARIA TERESA, both of which would share her fate at Santiago.
 

BACKGROUND:

The vessel was named for Almirante (Admiral) Don Antonio de Oquendo (1577-1640), who commanded the Spanish fleet during the battle of Pernabuko (1633), where the Spanish gained a great victory against the Dutch. Seven years later, the admiral was killed during the Dawn Battle with Tromp's Squadron.

In the spring of 1898, ALMIRANTE OQUENDO was at Havana, Cuba. After VIZCAYA's return to Havana after her fateful visit to New York, both vessels steamed to the cape Verde Islands  to join Admiral Cervera's squadron.

The OQUENDO was not able to be docked and her hull cleaned. As a result, the condition of the submerged portion of her hull was very poor. She could make only 12 to 14 knots. As part of Admiral Cervera's squadron, OQUENDO steamed for the Caribbean.

During the battle of July 3 (the naval Battle of Santiago), OQUENDO was rapidly set afire by the rapid artillery from the battleship IOWA. She received 43 hits from the IOWA's 57 mm (6 pounder) guns. As a result, most of the sailors on the upper decks were killed and wounded. OQUENDO also suffered from the heavier guns of the American fleet including three 203 mm (8 inch) hits, one 152 mm (6 inch) hit, one 127 mm (5 inch) hit, and nine102mm (4 inch) hits. After her boilers exploded, she had no remaining combat ability. Her mortally wounded commander, Captain Lazaga, ordered her scuttled. The cruiser sunk about 10:30 a.m. within about 700 meters (less than a half mile) of the Cuban shore, and about 12.6 kilometers from Santiago.

The OQUENDO lost about 80 men killed in the battle.


TECHNOTES:

Classification: Belted Cruiser
Laid down: January, 1889
Launched: April 10, 1891
Completed: 1893
Rig: Two military masts
Armament: Two 28 cm Hontoria breechloading guns (11 inch)
Ten 14 cm Hontoria Quick firing guns (5.5 inch)
Eight 57 mm Hotchkiss Quick firing guns (3 pounder)
Eight 37 mm revolving Hotchkiss 
revolving guns (1 pounder)
Two 22 mm Nordenfelt machine guns
Two 2.75 inch bronze guns (for landing parties?)
Eight 365 mm tordedo tubes
Contractor: Sociedad Astilleros del Nervión of Sestao,s upported by Brown of Sheffield (UK)
Length: 366 feet, 8 inches (111.8 meters)
Beam: 65 feet (19.81 meters)
Mean draft: 21 feet, 6 inches (6.55 meters)
Displacement: 6,890 tons
Complement: 497 Officers and Men, under the command of CaptainLagaza
Engine type: 13,700 hp. vertical triple expansion engines, twin screws.
Speed: 20 knots
Coal bunker capacity: 1,050 tons
Coal endurance @ 10 knots: 9,700 miles
Armor: 254-305 mm (10 -12 inch) steel side belt,
229 mm barbettes, 51-76 mm (2-3 inch) deck.

Bibliography:

(As a service to our readers, clicking on title in red will take you to that book on Amazon.com)

Aguilera, Buques de la Armada Espanola

Jane, Fred T., All the World's Fighting Ships, 1898 (New York: Arco Publishing Company, Inc.,1969)

Spanish Armored Cruisers (Warship International, 1970, #1, p 81-83).

Wilson, Downfall of Spain.


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