Alfonso XIII (1913)

Underway in 1932, after having been renamed España. The white smoke along the side and superstructure is probably from firing a gun salute. Photo in the collections of the US Navy History & Heritage Command.

Ship Class
Laid Down

Laid down 23 February, 1910, the Spanish battleship Alfonso XIII was one of three España-class dreadnoughts with eight 12" guns. The two midships turrets were offset, one to either side, the idea being they could still fire fore and aft, and then fire across the deck for a broadside. After commissioning on 16 August, 1915, Alfonso and her sisters formed the 1st Squadron of the Spanish Fleet. She participated in the 1920 Rif War, providing naval gunfire support for Spanish forces fighting the Berbers. Renamed España in 1931 after Spain became a Republic (her sister, the original España had been wrecked in 1923), the ship was laid up by 1934. Plans to rebuild her along the lines of the German Deutschland-class were never carried out, nor were plans to modernize her in 1936. She was captured by Franco's forces in the Spanish Civil War, and formed a blockade squadron to fend off foreign shipping until she struck a Nationalist-laid mine on 30 April, 1937, which sent her to the bottom with five of her crew.

Bonus Photos

Line drawing of the España class from Brassey's Naval Annual of 1911. Note the layout of the main battery. Copyright expired.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Due to Spanish neutrality, the three España-class were the only European dreadnoughts to not see service in World War I.