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Before 1920's, the Spanish navy built their first true training ship. Prior to this Spain used old ships, generally in poor condition as training vessels. By the Spanish American War period, the following vessels were being used for training.
ZARAGOZA ( 5620 t.) - An old armored frigate. The vessel's keel was laid in 1867, launched in 1868 and commissioned in July, 1868. The vessel had a wooden hull and was built by Arsenales de la Armada, Cartagena, Spain at a cost of 7,000,000 pesetas. Her armament consisted of four 280 mm guns, three 220 mm guns, and fourteen 200 mm guns. She was 82 meters in length, 16 meters in beam, and had a draft of 7.25 meters. Her crew consisted of 536 men. Her engines, which generated 800 hp., could drive her at 10 knots. Her coal bunker capacity was 600 tons. The vessel's armor was 120 mm thick. The vessel had a major overhaul in 1889, but by the time of the war, (even after the overhaul), she had very poor combat abilities. After 1892, she was used as training torpedo ship at Cartagena. The vessel was scuttled in 1899.
VILLA DE BILBAO (1843, 1300 t.) - ex. sailing corvette. In the 1890's she housed the sea cadet's school for boys (aged between 15 and 17) at El Ferrol. The commanding officer had the rank of lieutenant.
NAUTILUS (1500 t.) - ex. sailing corvette CARRICK CASTLE, built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1866. Purchased for 60,000 pesetas and donated to the Spanish navy by Lt. Fernando Villaamil, the vessel was commissioned to as a training vessel. In the 1890's she housed the gardemarin's school at Cadiz. The instructors were a Cap. de Fragata (who commanded the school), 2 tenientes and 5 alferez de navio. Armament: 4 canyons of 57mm (for military salutes). She continued being used as a training vessel until 1925. She was sold for 3,000 pesetas in 1932 and broken up.
LEALTAD (3300 t.) - ex. wooden screw frigate.
Her keel was laid and she was launched in 1860, though she was not commissioned
until 1861. She was built by Arsenales de la Armada, Ferrol and Cartagena,
Spain at a cost of 4,000,000 pesetas. She was 70 meters
long, 14 meters in beam and had a draft of 6.16 meters. Her crew consisted
oin 480 men. The vessel's armament consisted of twenty 200 mm guns,
fourteen 160 mm guns, and one 220 mm gun. Her engines generated 500
hp, driving her at 11 knots. After 1886 she was used as a non-moving naval
training ship at Cadiz. The vessel was scuttled on 1900.
CARMEN (1861, 3100 t.) - ex. wooden screw frigate NUESTRA SENORA DEL CARMEN. After 1886, she was used as a non-moving naval training ship at Cadiz. The vessel was scuttled in 1900.
ASTURIAS (1857, 1600 t.) - ex. screw frigate PRINCESA DE ASTURIAS. After 1871, she was part of the Naval Academy at the El Ferrol. After 1886 she housed a naval school. The instructors were: one Cap. de Navio (in command of the school), one Cap. de Frag., 15 tenientes, and 137 men. In the 1897-98 year, the school had 59 pupils. The vessel was dropped from the navy rolls in 1906. After 1908 she was used as a blockship.
ALMANSA (3980 t.) - ex. wooden screw frigate.
The vessel's keel was laid in 1864, though she was launched and commissioned
on 1865. She was built by Arsenales de la Armada, Cartagena and Ferrol,
Spain at a cost of 3,750,000 pesetas. She was 85 meters long, 15 meters
in beam and a draft of 6.40 meters. Her armament consisted of 30
x 200 mm guns, 14 x 160 mm guns, 2 x 150 mm guns, 2 x 120 mm guns,
and 2 x 80 mm guns. Her crew consisted of 600 men. The vessels' engines
generated 600 hp. After 1886, the vessel was used as a non-moving training
ship at El Ferrol's naval school. The vessel was scuttled in 1900.
GERONA (1864, 1900 t.) - ex. wooden screw frigate. In 1885, the vessel had a major overhaul, adapting her to be used as a non-moving artillery training ship. The vessel was scuttled in 1900.
BLANCA (1859, 3450 t.) - ex. wooden screw frigate. After 1886, the vessel was used as a non-moving training ship. After 1900, she was used as a blockship.
Mitiuckov, Nick, Naval Historian, Izhevsk, Russia (personal correspondence)
Diaz Diaz, Francisco Jose, (images and info. from Calabuig on LEALDAD, AMANSA, and ZARAGOSA)
Diaz, Luis (information concerning NAUTILUS).
Lledó Calabuig, José Buques de Vapor de la Armada Española 1834-1885 (Steam ships of Spanish Navy from 1834 to 1885) (Madrid, 1998, published by Agualarga Editores S.L.)