Welcome to these pages dedicated to the Spanish Submarine Force. Through these pages, you will be able to surf along the history of this section of the Spanish Navy, which started with the Royal Decree of His Majesty the King Alphonse XIII on 17 of February, 1915, where it was approved that, at the expense of the general budget, four submarines be purchased as well as the necessary items for crew`s instruction & rescue….and up to these days.

Flotilla de Submarinos
Flotilla de Submarinos

As in every history there is a prehistory, which was written by these pioneers who , with imagination, hope, knowledge, sacrificing their own fortune & in many occasions their lives, created different artifacts which step by step gave birth to the submarine as it is known nowadays

However, the Submarine Force is not only history but also present; with qualified crew, ships and facilities it is structured by an only command within a modern organization which lets them accomplish the diverse tasks assigned in accordance with the National Defense.

A navy without a future is valueless and our future has commenced with the carrying out of the new S-80 Submarines, a technological challenge of the Spanish engineering, with the conception of a craft provided with intelligent safety systems, weapons, sensors, satellite communication system as well as an Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP), which will enable to carry out new challenges and tasks to be assigned to the submarines in the future and at the same time the integration with surface forces, aircrafts, special operation forces or missions of intelligence & vigilance in areas of conflict.

As our motto goes: yesterday, today & tomorrow AD UTRUMQUE PARATUS (PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING).


It was after the XVI century when some of these conceptions arose, but neither science nor technology at that time could make them possible; in these days there were some outstanding scientists such as Van Dredbel, De Son, Boreli, Papin and others who, by means of wheeled boats or even moved with oars or poles, could not achieve any positive result.

Botadura Submarino Peral
Botadura Submarino Peral
David Bushnell
David Bushnell
David Bushnell

In the XVIII century the American David Bushnell created and built an egg-like submersible, driven by pedals & levers which moved a four-blade propeller on bows screw, side &aft rudders, made it only possible to go at a limited depth.

The government of the United States authorized the attack to the English warship 'Eagle', which was anchored at the port of New York. The submarine, crewed by petty officer Erza Lee, managed to approach in the middle of the night beside the British warship in order to place an explosive charge, but on beginning to use the 'brace' it turned out that the underwater body was protected with a copper sheet. It was a failed attempt & this submarine has gone down in history with the name of 'Turtle'.

Robert Fulton
Robert Fulton
Robert Fulton

Robert Fulton presented a project of a submarine vessel to the French government in 1797 , which was approved.

It was built under the name of 'Nautilus'. Due to the presence of the English fleet in the English Channel, Napoleon provided Fulton with the amount of 10,000 francs for new trials in December 1800. Shortly after, the French navy opposed to that invention. Fulton then left for London and in 1804 presented a modified 'Nautilus' to the English Admiralty, but it was again rejected.

Elliptical shape
  • Wood.
  • Hatchway.
  • Two iron tanks used as ballast. (They were bailed out with manual pumps)
  • Una hélice movida a brazo.(Una serie de engranajes reducían el esfuerzo).
  • A propeller moved by an arm. (A set of gearing reduced the effort).
  • Horizontal & vertical stern rudders.

In 1831 the Spaniard Cervo made a failed attempt in the port of Barcelona, who after submerging in a wooden sphere perished in the attempt.

Wilhelm Bauer
Wilhelm Bauer
Wilhelm Bauer

In the middle of the XIX century, new projects arose; in 1850 the German Wilhelm Bauer designed and built an 8-meter length & 35-ton bulk submarine, which was given the name of 'Brandtaucher',whose originality consisted of the replacement of the horizontal rudders to maneuver during the immersion by an aft to bow screwed shaft, where there was a weight put up; on gyrating, the weight moved by means of which it obtained a positive or negative inclination and with the weight centered the submarine kept itself horizontally.

In February 1851, Bauer carried out some trials in the inlet of Kiel, but owing to the weakness of the structure, it was crushed by the pressure at 18-meter depth. The inventor and the crew managed to save their lives.

He offered his service to Austria & England but he was rejected. Finally, in 1855 he went to the Russian Parliament and the building of a new submarine was approved. This one was named 'Diablo Marino' and was crewed by 18 men. In 1856 he performed several trials in a successful way, but shortly after, the inventor lost official support and the submarine fell into oblivion.

Cosme Garcia
Cosme García
Cosme García

He was born on 27, September 1818 and was baptized in the Imperial church of Santa Maria de Palacio in Logroño; he was the son of Andres Garcia, born in Logroño, and of Andrea Saenz, born in Aguilar de Navarro.

When he traveled to Barcelona to show the maneuvering and maintenance of his 'postal machine', Cosme planned his first submersible vessel. At that time, Bauer's latest experiments in Russia were in the newspapers, as well as the projects & trials of diving bells.

The inventor from La Rioja region planned in the most rational manner the construction of a small prototype which served as testing & experience ground, from which the real attempt will come out. In order to make his prototype, Cosme turned to the firm called 'Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima', based in Barcelona, founded recently, which was one of the pioneers in metal constructions in Spain. Surprisingly, the inventor decided on an iron hull, whereas most of the others were still hesitating that vessels made of that stuff could float.

Lacking official support, he became frustrated and his hopes were dashed. He died in 1874.

Narciso Monturiol
Narciso Monturiol
Narciso Monturiol

He was born in Figueras in 1819; from a very early age, he was obsessed with the idea of making a new vessel which could imitate fish so as to save divers from the hard work of extracting coral from the sea bed.

In 1858, after several years of research, he presented his project by publishing a scientific report under the name of 'El Ictineo' or 'boatfish'. With the help of numerous friends, it was laid on deck stock & launched on 28 of June, 1859 in Barcelona. In September of the same year it remained submerged for 2 hours and 20 minutes, carrying out over 50 immersions in coastal waters off Barcelona and 4 immersions in Alicante until 1862.

The trials performed in Alicante on 7 of May, 1861 were a success and were attended by the Secretaries of Navy and Promotion. In 1862 he published a report called 'for the building of a war boatfish '.The Secretary of the Navy did not hired him for the project owing to the lack of money, thus he created the company 'The Submarine Navigation' ,a limited partnership; money was raised and on 2 October,1864 'Ictineo II' was launched. On 22 October,1867 it carried out its first steam immersion, but the lack of interest and the indifference of the people made the company cancel the projects, which caused the company's bankruptcy and the embargo of Ictineo, which was sold as scrap metal at a loss.

Its successes were the following:

  • It performed immersions of up to 8 hours.
  • It dived to a depth of 18 meters in 31 minutes.
  • In the trials it reaches the depth of 30 meters.

In the summer of 1885, depressed & ill, he moved to his son-in-law's house in Sant Marti de Provencals, near Barcelona where he died on 6 September of the same year. Since 1972, his mortal remains lie in his hometown, Figueras.

Isaac Peral
Isaac Peral
Isaac Peral

The research on submarine navigation performed by Isaac Peral led him to present the construction of a submarine torpedo boat to the Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Manuel de la Pezuela y Lobo, on 9 September, 1885, coinciding with 'Carolinas conflict'. The project was received with interest and the early trials were financed with public funds. In spite of the difficulties caused by a sabotage during these trials, on 20 April, 1887 Queen Mª Cristina approved the construction of a ship dedicated to the submarine navigation.

In this way, the submarine begins to be constructed on 7 October, 1887 in La Carraca shipyard (Cádiz). The project underwent some alterations: the torpedoes, made by 'Whitehead' in Italy are substituted by the ones made by 'Schwarzkopf' in Germany. Nevertheless, the keel is placed on 1 January, 1888 and it is launched on 8 September of the same year. Several trials are carried out during the following months.

On 17 January, 1890 all the trials had been completed successfully, although the Secretary of the Navy was not completely satisfied. By the 13 March an assessment committee is created and demands further trials. One of these trials consisted of a mock attack carried out on 7 June, 1890 to the cruiser ' Cristobal Colon' of 1150 tons. During one of the immersions one of the valves broke down and the submarine started to sink; after emerging to surface, they find out that the valve had been sabotaged by a crew member. The valve is then repaired and the trial continues, after the sabotage is discovered. The submarine's watching tower was seen at less than 1,000 meters of distance by the cruiser, causing the failure of the trial..

This fact raised Isaac Peral's protests, on considering that all the 200 guests on board already knew about the event they were going to witness, thus taking away the surprise effect that there would have been in a real combat. Nevertheless, the Press celebrated the event, praising Peral and his invention.

The final report of the Technical Committee highlighted these events and certain faults of the building of the ship, thus impeding Peral from repairing these deficiencies. The committee alleged that Peral lacked technical knowledge since he did not have the degree of naval engineer.

A Royal Decree was published on 10 of October, 1890, which compiled the conclusions of the Technical Committee although it also led to the construction of a new submarine supervised by Peral in collaboration with other departments & authorities. Peral informed the secretary about the plans for the construction of the new vessel, a submarine of 120 tons and 30 meters long, whose building should be only supervised & directed by himself and his own expert team in the shipyard of his choice but on the 31 of October the reply was negative and ordered Peral to deliver the submarine in the 'Carraca shipyard'. By the 11 of November, 1890 the Decree was enacted, by means of which the projects for the submarine navigation were brought to an end.

The hull of Peral's submarine remained in the Carraca arsenal , with no machinery inside, until 1914 when the commanding officer Mateo Garcia de los Reyes, chief of the submarine arm , decided to transfer it to the submarine base in Cartagena. In 1965, the City hall of Cartagena decides to exhibit the submarine so that it can be seen by the people in Cartagena as well as the visitors.

Maxime Laubeuf
Submarino de Maxime Laubeuf
Submarino de Maxime Laubeuf

The Laubeuf type consists in the idea of assembling a submarine inside the hull of an ordinary torpedo boat; it consists of two hulls, one internal which is resistant and of circular section and the other, external, similar to the one of a torpedo boat, in which the space between both hulls is used for the ballasting tanks, being perfectly linked to each other. With that system they obtained high buoyancy, ranging from 30 to 42 %, which are the essentials in surface navigation and the mechanical resistance & stability suitable for the submerged navigation.

In 1899, the French launched "the Narval", designed by Maxime Laubeuf too. This submarine had a double hull and used a boiler and a steam engine to navigate in the surface and storage batteries & electric engines for the submerged navigation. It was 3.75 meters in breadth, 34 meters in length; It displaced 202 tons in immersion & 117 tons in surface, at a speed of 8 knots in immersion & 12 knots in surface.

Its weaponry consisted of 4 exterior torpedoes of 450 mm. as the picture shows

Sanjurjo Badia
Sanjurjo Badia
Sanjurjo Badia

He was born in La Sada (La Coruña) in 1837, of humble background; his father had a foundry where he learns the trade; he is intelligent and skilful with an innate talent for mechanics, being well known for his gifts.

He emigrated to Cuba and in association with a countryman created boiler factory, with such success that after 5 years he returned to his native Galicia, where he created his own boiler & steam engine factory.

Born inventor, he started planning a submarine vessel mainly because of 2 factors which triggered his invention: the meeting with Julio Verne whose steam engine Sanjurjo had to repair and the possibility that the USA invaded Spain as a consequence of the American-Spanish war. In 1898 he carried out official trials in the inlet of Vigo with a remarkable success, even detonating a mine of his own invention.

The submarines appeared for the first time on paper in the Act of 7 of January, 1908(D.O. nº 5 of 08/01/1908), which was called Maura:

'3 destroyers of about 350 tons at a price of 6,000 pesetas each ton with full weaponry or 3 submersibles or submarines of 250 to 300 tons at a price of 7000 pesetas each ton with full weaponry and special guarantee of construction of this type of ships 6,300,000 pesetas'

Ministro Miranda
Ministro Miranda

None of those submarines were built in Spain or abroad; only the 3 destroyers were built.

In 1912 the President of the government Jose Canalejas y Mendez gathered a selection process for the navy and established a navy draft made up by:

  • 3 new destroyers of 21,000 tons.
  • 3 destroyers of 1,000 tons.
  • 6 submarines of 400 tons in surface.
  • 9 torpedo boats of 250 tons.
  • 4 gunboats of 1,500 tons.

Unfortunately, Canalejas was assassinated on 12 of December, 1912 and his project was not proposed.

ROMANONES Romanones succeeded Canalejas and took over the naval program of his late predecessor but the short political life of his government prevented him from performing his naval planning.

In 1913 the Secretary of the Navy AMALIO GIMENO planned the construction of 8 submarines of 400 tons, but another change of government caused the naval program to fail.

In 1914, Admiral AUGUSTO MIRANDA Y GODOY projected a program of new constructions as a continuation of 1908 program and he presented it to the cabinet of ministers in April of the same year. It was approved, the king Alfonso XIII signed the Royal Decree on 29 of April, 1914, authorizing the parliament for the project which was signed by Miranda on 7 May of the same year, consisting of:

'3 submersibles, which shall be finished by 1918, costing 3 million thus, 9 million pesetas are allocated for their construction or purchase until the end of 1917…'

The international politics worsened and this first program by Miranda stopped. On the 4 of August, 1914 England declared the war to Germany. The Austro-hungarian submarines were very active during the campaign. Having this political scene & with the possibility of similar actions, Miranda decided to postpone the construction of battleships, then basing his new project on light surface ships & submarines in a reasonable number.

On 17 of February, 1915, Alphonse XIII signed the law which has gone down in the history of the Spanish Navy as `Miranda Law ´. its first article said:

'With the purpose of providing the nation in a short time with the elements for the maritime defense, which are absolutely indispensable for the maintenance of the autonomy & integrity of its territory, the government will contract the following works, accordingly with the estimates included in the Law of 7 of January, 1908, unless the ones abolished in the present law'

Among the different ships to be constructed we point out:

'…28 submersibles of the type & characteristics set by the Secretary of the Navy, taking into account the missions to be developed by each of the units and including the necessary stuff for salvage , repairs & supplies….the amount of 110,000,000 pesetas'

It is also emphasized in another section of the text that:

'The ships, with the exception of strikers & coastguard vessels, will be hired as they are being built in the following immediate groups or series: 2 groups of 2, the cruisers; 2 groups of 3, the torpedo-hunters and 4 series of 6 & 1 of 4 , the submersibles. Each of the series will be built, taking advantage of the progress made by the naval industry'

With the intention of speeding up the start of the naval program, Admiral Miranda introduced an additional article to the Law of 7 of February, 1915, stating:

'The secretary of the Navy has been given authorization to purchase directly and at the expense of the credits granted by this law the amount of up to 4 submersibles & the necessary stuff for the instruction & training of the crew as well as a rescue ship. It is also authorized for the organization of the submarine service provided with officers and the reorganization of the engineer corps, the boatswains, the constables and the rest of the subordinates, adjusting the staff & the services to the needs of the same stuff to the credits allocated for the staff in the current budget'.

The ships were to be purchased abroad compulsorily and the choice was not wide due to the war happening at that moment. A contract was signed with the Electric Boat Company from America for the purchase of the first unit.

In the summer of 1921, the Annual & Mount Arruit disasters occurred in Morocco, which triggered a rise of pressure on the Spanish enclaves of Peñones de Velez de la Gomera and of Alhucemas. In these places , life was hard even in relative peace time, being now harder times , by all means several ships and submarines were used to communicate with them; one of them was performed by Peral's submarine, the `A-3´ and the new submarine `B-1´, which during the months of April to June,1922, evacuated the civilian people living there as well as the constant supplies under enemy fire that brought about the first casualties in combat to the flotilla.

The main mission of these ships, which were protected by the battleship `España´, consisted in the evacuation of the civilians living in Peñon de Velez , which was a heavy burden under those special conditions. On 17 of April, 1922, the submarines, Peral, commanded by lieutenant Casimiro Carre Chicarro and the `B-1´, commanded by lieutenant Francisco Regalado Rodriguez, with the insignia of chief of division , lieutenant commander Mateo Garcia de los Reyes along with the other ship carried out in broad daylight a reconnaissance mission in Peñon de los Velez and the surroundings for 3 hours.

While reconnoitering the west bays, Peral submarine was forced to surface, under the enemy´s sight, to carry out a maneuver to turn round. Taking advantage of this movement and maneuvering with decision, it managed to dock in the cliff `Cala Del Cementerio´ in Peñon de los Velez, from where the civilians were able to embark during the night. At 22.30 hours both submarines, provided with a boom temporarily situated in the bow, went to `Peñon´. Peral submarine introduced the boom in `Cala del Cementerio´ and by keeping the bow normally & maneuvering the engines conveniently managed to hold 66 civilians on board. This embarkation was carried out by using a hoist & a tackle by means of which each of the persons hung one by one in a big basket.

The installations of the hoist ashore and the maneuvering was performed by the crew from the battleship `España´. The operation was brought to an end at 3 a.m. because the rising ocean current made it difficult for the submarine to keep the in the right position. In the night of 18 of the same month, to continue the maneuvering the `B-1´ docked at `Cala del Cementerio´ in the same way as `peral´ submarine had done the night before; owing to the ocean current it was forced to run the engines to keep in the right position during the 3 hours that took the evacuation, thus holding 37 people with similar risk and fortune as the other submarine had done. During the tasks of both submarines; the battleship `España´ stayed vigilant and once the task was completed, having evacuated 103 people from `Peñon´ the smaller vessels were returned to the battleship.

La instalación de la cabria en tierra y su maniobra fue realizada por la tripulación de un bote del acorazado "España". La operación se dio por terminada a las tres de la madrugada porque la corriente, que había aumentado, imposibilitaba al submarino mantenerse en la posición señalada.

The Law of 22 of February, 1922 starts the new series of submarines built in Cartagena. This type `C´ series is also based on the American `Holland´ type but due to experience these ones were larger & greatly improved. In comparison with other foreign submarines, these ones were really in a good ranking.

The reading of a funereal text narrating the wreck of an Italian submarine, the`F-14´, in shallow waters of Adriatic sea, which was recovered after the death of the whole crew made lieutenant commander Arturo Genova Torruella think for the first time of the design of an original procedure to save the crew from a wrecked submarine in similar circumstances to the fatal `F-14´.In this way, the so called ascensor submarino´ (submarine lift) was born, which is better known in our flotilla as `la boya Genova´ ( Genova-type Buoy ) in honor of its inventor. It consisted of ,as its name suggests , a metallic buoy which withstood up to 140 m. deep and it could, with a man on board, go up to the surface and once the sailor is evacuated, it can return to its place in the submarine to pick up the next sailor.

The first trials with this device installed in the `C-3´submarine were performed in July,1930.They began testing it at little depth, about 15 m. deep, in the dock of Cartagena; later they continued outside the port in Escombreras & Salitrona, where they reached 50 m. deep in a successful way.

This `Submarine Lift´ was first tested by its own inventor and later, it was Nicasio Pita, an N.C.O. engineer of the `C-3´ crew. The rescue could be carried out al any depth that the submarine was able to withstand in a maximum of 10 minute; in this kind of rescue operation the intervention of divers was unnecessary.

In October, 1931 Jose Giral Pereira was in charge of the Secretary of the Navy and 6 months later in the first anniversary of the declaration of the Republic, he appointed captain Perez F. Chao as chief of a committee to establish the needs of the navy with regard to ships. For this reason, the commissioners visited the three departments and made a report about the deficiencies & the proposal of the appropriate solutions to solve them.

This committee presented a draft for the navy planning which proposed among other things the construction of 5 submarines of 1,000 tons (two of which were mine sweepers). The outcome was that `Sociedad de Construcciones Navales´ was contracted to plan an oceanic submarine of 1,000 tons & 20 knots. It was the naval engineer Aureo Fernandez Avila, director of the firm in Cartagena who designed the project. This project was known as `Sigma II´, which consisted in an improved `Admiralty C´ type, although it turned out to be worse than the previous one. The keel was installed on 23 of September, 1933, being Luis Companys the Secretary of the Navy.

The deadline for its construction was 3 years, but the order to build an additional two similar units given by the new secretary Jose Rocha Garcia on 27 of March, 1934 slowed the process down, since they had to provide the parts & to set the keels of the two new units. This advent of the civil war caught the secretary of the navy by surprise and consequently the two ships were still unfinished at the shipyard.

Types of submarines that have served in the Spanish Navy:

Rescue boat 'Kanguro'

Buque de Salvamento Kanguro
Buque de Salvamento Kanguro
  • Bulk of the ship: 2750 metric tons.
  • Length: 84 meters.
  • Breadth: 20 meters.
  • Speed: :_

("Holland Type") Isaac Peral

Isaac Peral (Tipo Holland)
Isaac Peral (Tipo Holland)
  • Bulk of the ship: 500 Tm superf. 742Tm inmersión.
  • Length: 60,1 m.
  • Breadth: 5,80 m.
  • Depth: 50 m.
  • Speed: 15 knots on the surface & 10 knots dived.

(Fiat-Laurenti) "A" type

Submarino Clase 'A' Tipo (Fiat-Laurenti)
Submarino Clase 'A' Tipo (Fiat-Laurenti)
  • Bulk of the ship: 262 metric tons on the surface & 319 metric tons in immersion.
  • Length: 45,6 m.
  • Breadth: 4,20 m.
  • Depth: 45m.
  • Speed : 13.2 knots surfaced & 15.5 knots dived.

(Holland type) improved "B" type

Submarino Clase 'B' (Tipo Holland Mejorado)
Submarino Clase 'B' (Tipo Holland Mejorado)
  • Bulk of the ship: 556 metric tons on the surface & 740 metric tons in immersion.
  • Length: 64,1 m.
  • Breadth: 5,60 m.
  • Depth: 60m.
  • Speed: 16 knots surfaced & 10.50 knots dived.

"C" type

Submarino Clase 'C'
Submarino Clase 'C'
  • Bulk of the ship: 925 metric tons on the surface & 1144 metric tons in immersion.
  • Length: 73,3 m.
  • Breadth: 6,30 m.
  • Depth: 90m.
  • Speed: 16.50 knots surfaced & 8.50 knots dived.

"D" type

Submarino Clase 'D'
Submarino Clase 'D'
  • Bulk of the ship: 1095 metric tons on the surface & 1399 metric tons in immersion.
  • Length: 84,3 m.
  • Breadth: 6,90 m.
  • Depth: 80 m.
  • Speed: 20.50 knots surfaced & 9.50 knots dived.

"General Mola - Sanjurjo type

Submarino Clase 'General Mola - Sanjurjo'
Submarino Clase 'General Mola - Sanjurjo'
  • Bulk of the ship: 985 metric tons on the surface & 1250 metric tons in immersion.
  • Length: 70,5 m.
  • Breadth: 6,90 m.
  • Depth: 100 m.
  • Speed: 17 surfaced & 7.70 knots dived.

"G" type (VII-C)

Submarino Clase 'G' (Tipo VII-C)
Submarino Clase 'G' (Tipo VII-C)
  • Bulk of the ship : 769 metric tons on the surface & 871 metric tons in immersion.
  • Length: 66,5 m.
  • Breadth: 6,20 m.
  • Depth: 100 m.
  • Speed: 17 knots surfaced & 7.50 knots dived.

S "30" (Balao type)

Submarino Serie 30 (Tipo Balao)
Submarino Serie 30 (Tipo Balao)
  • Bulk of the ship: 1880 metric tons on the surface & 2160 metric tons in immersion.
  • Length: 95,0 m.
  • Breadth: 8,3 m.
  • Depth: 120m.
  • Speed: 18 knots surfaced & 10 knots dived.

"Guppy" series II-A

Submarino Serie Guppy II-A
Submarino Serie Guppy II-A
  • Bulk of the ship: 1840 metric tons on the surface & 2445 metric tons in immersion.
  • Length: 93 m.
  • Breadth: 8,2 m.
  • Depth: 125 m.
  • Speed: 18 knots surfaced & 15 knots dived.

S 40 ( Seal type)

Submarino Serie 40 (Clase Foca)
Submarino Serie 40 (Clase Foca)
  • Bulk of the ship: 20.38 metric tons on the surface & 21.22 metric tons in immersion.
  • Length: 13 m.
  • Breadth: 1.72 m.
  • Depth: 40m.
  • Speed: 9.50 knots surfaced & 11.50 knots dived.

S 50 (Shark type)

Submarino Serie 50 (Clase Tiburón)
Submarino Serie 50 (Clase Tiburón)
  • Bulk of the ship: 76.80 metric tons on the surface & 79.30 in immersion.
  • Length: 18,8 m.
  • Breadth: 2,4 m.
  • Depth: 100m.
  • Speed: 10 knots surfaced & 14.50 knots dived.

S 60 (Daphne type)

Submarino Serie 60 (Clase Daphné)
Submarino Serie 60 (Clase Daphné)
  • Bulk of the ship: 870 metric tons on the surface & 1040 in immersion.
  • Length: 58 m.
  • Breadth: 6,75 m.
  • Depth: 300m.
  • Speed: 13.50 knots surfaced & 16 knots dived.

In order to distinguish & differentiate the crew on board submarines, in 1918 it was contemplated the idea of providing the submariners with an insignia visible on the uniform and it was king Alphonse XIII who supported & established it the Royal Decree on 5 of September, 1919.

Distintivo de 1919

Chief & officers shall show this insignia on the right side of the chest and N.C.Os & sailors shall show it on the right arm.

Such insignia will be made of gold filament or tin of the same color and will be red in the oval for all the crew serving in submarines, now and before, being the background substituted by a blue one for the alumni at the School of Specialties as well as for the staff who, having completed the studies, has not served in that kind of ships yet.

On 7 of November, 1978 by means of a government Decree the design was modified:

Distintivo de 1978

The specialty insignia or aptitude for submarines shall be of gold filament or tin in the same color and shall include a red stone in the oval. Commanders, Chiefs, Officers, N.C.Os and First Rates shall show this insignia on the right side of the chest and sailors shall show it on the right arm.

The staff of all Corps, ranks and specialties officially in possession of the specialty of submarines is authorized to the use of the corresponding official insignia of this specialty. In the same way, the navy Corps is authorized to this insignia with a black stone in the center as established in Chapter IV of this regulation.

On On 29 of July, 1986 in the Decree number 414/16641/1986 of the Defense Official Bulletin 151 it is modified:

Distintivo de 1986

The official insignia of submarines shall be of gold filament or tin of the same color and shall include a red stone in the center for the specialists & a green stone for the staff in possession of the aptitude.

In the festivity of Cadiz in 1886, the singing groups used to sing different chants on the submarine designed by Lieutenant Isaac Peral and one of those chants said:

I pray God for sure

And to the Virgin of Pilar

That you are dignified in glory

For your colossal invention

When Isaac Peral first dived with his submarine in 1888, he prayed the image of Virgin of Pilar that he had on board, which had been given to him by some friends, a married couple from Zaragoza .He overcame great difficulties and never suffered an accident.

In 1945 in the festivity of Virgin of Pilar, an event was organized in Zaragoza to commemorate the 4 anniversary of the printing of the book Short collection of the sphere & the navigation chart written by the illustrious cosmographer Martin Cortes from Zaragoza, which was a necessary reference book for centuries for sailors all over the world.

The Council of Zaragoza in collaboration with the Secretary of the Navy appointed to the Chief of Naval Operations of the Maritime Department of Cartagena MR. Francisco Bastarreche representing the Navy.

…Besides the honor I am granted personally and as a seaman, I also have the pleasure of being in Zaragoza, city of which I have unforgettable memories , such as the one of Santo Rosario de Cristal de Nuestra Señora del Pilar in 1944, when as Chief of Naval operations of the Maritime Department of Cartagena we included a lantern of the navy, which circulated along the streets of Zaragoza with popular interest, attracted by the crew of the Spanish warships which used to tune the 'Salve' of the seas. And I am still moved by the chance I had to speak in such occasion in the metropolitan cathedral of 'El Pilar', near the Virgin or by the feeling of heroic sounds next to the eroded stones of Puerta Del Carmen.

I will speak clearly. In Cartagena, as a unique monument representing the Spanish science, the Peral submarine is kept as the invention of that man who was ill-treated in his last days. In that submarine, when the first trials of immersion were carried out in Cadiz, Peral and his fellows, carrying on board an image of Virgin del Carmen, they prayed to her in a moment of despair and danger; they managed to escape of the danger to the surface and afterwards, as a promise and in order to thank the Virgin, a safety pin representing a gold submersible was designed, which certainly I have seen among the jewels of Virgin del Pilar.

Francisco de Bastarreche

The Council of Zaragoza in a special session held on 15 of January, 1946, decided unanimously: the gift of an image of Virgin del Pilar to the Submarine Force..

The Holy Image, together with the minutes of the plenary agreement, was given to the Navy and it was decided to place it on a stand in the tile mural situated by the main staircase in the building of the Submarine Base in Cartagena. It has remained there since then.

Since 17 February 2004, the robe donated by the Submarine Force can be seen wrapping up our co-patron in Basílica del Pilar.


Throughout centuries the robes have been a symbol of the devotion to the Santísima Virgen del Pilar out of the basilica and, even inside the basilica, a robe has always been the best offering by the faithful.

The first news of the robes dates back to 1504. In his testament before Martín de la Zaida, notary of Zaragoza, Juan Benedic donated 100 “sueldos” for a robe to be made for the Blessed Virgin. It was the dawn of the XVI century.

Further on in the same century, in 1577, in the notarial record of Mr Pablo de Gurrea there was already a catalogue with an accurate description and valuation of 72 robes. The fact that the valuation of the robes ranged from 2 to 90 escudos seems to suggest that not only upper-class people donated robes to the Blessed Virgin, but also those from other social classes.

From that date on, donations of robes to the Virgin have been made continuously up to now.

The oldest robe that the Virgin has now was donated by the town council in 1762 and was made by the Madres Capuchinas of Zaragoza. It is still in good condition.

The placing of the robe on the Image has not always been the same. In the old days the robe was placed very high on the Virgin, so high that only the heads of the Virgin and the Baby Jesus remained uncovered. That’s the way it can be seen in a painting inside the chapter house of La Seo and on a medallion on display in the Museo Pilarista.

According to Mullé de la Cerda, among others, the placing of the robe was lowered – maybe at the request of Ventura Rodríguez- so as to leave most of the Image uncovered; the robe of the town hall was placed that way every year on 12 October until 1969. It was not until the very end of the XIX century that the robe began to be placed as it is nowadays, leaving the whole Image uncovered and covering up only the Pilar but not completely, as about 30 cm of the lower part of the Pilar can be seen

All the robes are cone-shaped. When the robe is fully outspread, the straight line which links the top apexes is 0,47m long and the line which links the lower ones is 1,39m long. The robe is 0,85m high but it is reduced to 0,79m on both sides.

Every night, after the people responsible for silence to be kept in the basilica have invited the faithful to leave the place, the chaplain climbs the stairs and devotedly removes the robe that has wrapped up the Image all through the day and dresses her in another robe for the following day.

Flotilla de Submarinos
Flotilla de Submarinos

The streamlined laurel-trimmed golden submarine which shines in the chest of submariners,

with the motto AD UTRUMQUE PARATUS - READY AND WILLING - (established by Mateo García de los ReyesReyes on the foundation of our Submarine Arm) embroidered on a golden ribbon at the bottom.


The organization of the Submarine Force consists of:

  • Admiral of the Fleet Admiral (ALFLOT)
    • Commanding officer of the Submarine Force (COMSUBMAR)
      • Submarine Staff
      • Submarine Base
      • Training Section
      • Submarine Tactical Programs Center (CPTSUB)
      • Submarine Galerna
      • Submarine Mistral
      • Submarine Tramontana
    • GRUSUB. Secretary
  • Admiral of Personnel (ALPER)
    • Director of the Submarine School
    • Assistant Director
      • Weapons
      • Tactics. Languages Department
      • Power and Propelling
      • Technical Department
Organigrama del Arma Submarina
Organigrama del Arma Submarina

Submarines are high offensive –capability units with the advantage of operating covertly for long periods of time. These characteristics make them useful for a multitude of missions. They represent one of the basic means used by our Armed Forces to guarantee freedom in the operations carried out by Surface Units; that is, to neutralize submarine and surface threats which can prevent the Naval Force from gaining access to the places chosen for their operations, which are usually coastal settings far from our country.

In addition, they can carry out other tasks such as intelligence gathering, reconnaissance and intelligence operations in forward positions to support Naval Force and Special Operation Units performing infiltration missions on the coast.

In the days of Fernando VI, two dry docks were built at the north quay of the dockyard in Cartagena; they were the first to be built in the Mediterranean. The first one was built in 1753 and the second one in 1756.

After the magnificent reign of Carlos III and the declining reign of Carlos IV, the unfortunate reign of Fernando VII brought with it the prostration of the Navy.

The docks fell into disuse; the wooden doors became rotten and the water pumps dismantled.

Opposite the docks there was an XVIII- century building used by the staff of the dockyard and the moulding loft. That building was given over to the Base and School of Submarines, with the quarters, warehouses and barracks. The useless dry docks were transformed into mooring quays for the submarines, being popularly known as 'basins' nowadays.

Hardly a month after the arrival of the three class-A submarines from Italy, a law was passed (R.O 23 October 1917) ordering the submarines to dock every three months in order to be painted and for the hulls and the rest of elements to be checked.

In the early days of the Flotilla, it was usual that its units sailed periodically to Barcelona, where they were checked on the floating dry dock belonging to Junta de Obras Del Puerto. Workers of the factory Talleres Nuevo Vulcano carried out the checking and painting of the hulls and then the submarines sailed back to Cartagena.

The Submarine Base was founded after the R.O. 11 October 1918 was passed. It was inaugurated in 1920 and called 'Submarine Station' to avoid confusion with the Base of Cartagena. Being the most senior commanding officer of the fleet, Lieutenant Commander Mateo García de los Reyes took over the leadership of the base.

The Law of 17 February 1915 ordered the building of a floating dock allocated to low-tonnage ships. At the beginning, this floating dock was intended to be set in El Ferrol but in the end it was assigned to the Submarine Base in Cartagena, where it was put into service in 1924. The Submarine Station registered it (R.O. 30 November 1924) and in December that year it was in service. That way, the grounding of submarines could be planned independently and meet the needs of the Flotilla.

By order of the Admiral of the Fleet (Ministerial Decree num. 414/25/82, 7 January D.O. 8/1982), the name of Lieutenant Isaac Peral was perpetuated in the Navy. Otherwise, as the Submarine Isaac Peral S-32 was due to be decommissioned, his name would have disappeared.

Lieutenant Isaac Peral was the first navy officer who devoted his life to the study and development of the submarine, having his name gone down in history as a forerunner of submarines.

By reason of Ministerial Decree number 1.061/77, 7 September, at the suggestion of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Mediterranean and in accordance with the Navy Staff,


the Submarine Base in Cartagena will be called Submarine Base Isaac Peral from 1 April 1982 on.

Since its foundation and up to now, the base has undergone many vicissitudes but has always kept the same structure.

  • Main Building
    • COMSUBMAR office
    • Submarine Commanding Officers’ Desks
    • GRUSUB.
    • Assembly Room
    • Library
    • Officer’s and Petty Officer’s mess room
    • Submarines’ warehouse
    • Mess hall
    • Maintenance Shops
  • Submarine School
    • Classroom building (Narciso Monturiol)
    • Escape training Tank.
    • Simulators Building (Cosme Garcia)
  • Seamen quarters
  • Supplies building
  • Sick bay and Chapel building
Localización base de submarinos
Localización base de submarinos
Simulateur Sous Marin Agosta (SISMA)
Simulador SISMA
Simulador SISMA

A navigation and immersion safety simulator for Galerna-class submarines, which was set up in the Simulators Building of the Submarine Base in 1981.

  • To train the crew of the central room in a Galerna-class submarine in the acquisition of skills in navigation and immersion manoeuvres.

  • To make the crew react promptly to any incident or breakdown, following the established procedure.

Simulateur Propulsion Agosta (SIMPRA)
Simulador SIMPRA
Simulador SIMPRA

A simulator to train the crew in propulsion control and electric current distribution in a Galerna-class submarine.

It is not a mobile simulator and was placed inside the simulators building in the Submarine School in 1983.

  • To provide the crew with training on propulsion checkpoint equipment in order to become more skilful and experienced in average manoeuvres and other circumstances.

  • To get the crew to react automatically.

Submarine Tactical Training Simulator (SATS)
Simulador SATS
Simulador SATS

Attack on surface ships or submarines

  • Defence against surface warships, submarines, air assets.


  • Great number of targets.

  • Different kinds of weapons.

  • Environmental features of the area.

  • To help the crew in the control room to become more skilful and experienced in the use of weapons and the management of tactical situations in a submarine.

  • Training control
  • Steering control
  • Periscope
  • Plotting table
  • Torpedo launching control
  • Bow sonar
  • Passive sonar (Hydrophone group)
  • Countermeasure system
  • Sound field plotter
  • Narrowband analyser
Submarine water leakage simulator (SIFAS)
Simulador SIFAS
Simulador SIFAS

This is quite a simple simulator where submarine crews perform flood and leakage drills inside a cylinder which represents a submarine compartment.

Different leakage sources with different pressures can be represented, simulating different damage and failures in the submarine.

It was built in 2000.

  • To acquaint students with contingency and accidents which cause floods and leaks to enable them to detect a serious accident or failure and react quickly and calmly following pre-established rules.

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Flotilla de Submarinos
2 / 37
Botadura Submarino Peral
3 / 37
David Bushnell
4 / 37
Robert Fulton
5 / 37
Wilhelm Bauer
6 / 37
Cosme García
7 / 37
Narciso Monturiol
8 / 37
Isaac Peral
9 / 37
Submarino de Maxime Laubeuf
10 / 37
Sanjurjo Badia
11 / 37
Ministro Miranda
12 / 37
En el verano de 1921 se produjeron en Marruecos los desastres de Annual y Monte Arruit.
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Buque de Salvamento Kanguro
14 / 37
Isaac Peral (Tipo Holland)
15 / 37
Submarino Clase 'A' Tipo (Fiat-Laurenti)
16 / 37
Submarino Clase 'B' (Tipo Holland Mejorado)
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Submarino Clase 'C'
18 / 37
Submarino Clase 'D'
19 / 37
Submarino Clase 'General Mola - Sanjurjo'
20 / 37
Submarino Clase 'G' (Tipo VII-C)
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Submarino Serie 30 (Tipo Balao)
22 / 37
Submarino Serie Guppy II-A
23 / 37
Submarino Serie 40 (Clase Foca)
24 / 37
Submarino Serie 50 (Clase Tiburón)
25 / 37
Submarino Serie 60 (Clase Daphné)
26 / 37
Distintivo de 1919
27 / 37
Distintivo de 1978
28 / 37
Distintivo de 1986
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Nuestra Virgen del Pilar
30 / 37
Flotilla de Submarinos
31 / 37
Organigrama del Arma Submarina
32 / 37
33 / 37
Localización base de submarinos
34 / 37
Simulador SISMA
35 / 37
Simulador SIMPRA
36 / 37
Simulador SATS
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Simulador SIFAS

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