History

Submarines School

Rear-admiral Mateo García of the Kings
Rear-admiral Mateo García of the Kings

The 1908 ‘Squadron Law’ already contemplated the construction of submarines, but in those years there were other priorities so the Submarine Flotilla was not set up until 1915 by the Navy Minister Admiral Miranda with a total of 28 submarines originally envisioned.

In order to provide the nation with the necessary deterrent elements, the so-called ‘Miranda Law’ considered the purchase of four submarines. Lieutenant-Commander García de los Reyes launched the Submarine Flotilla and acquired the first submarine in the United States, later named ‘Isaac Peral’ in honor of the Spanish inventor of submarine. The other three boats were purchased in Italy: the A-1, A-2 and A-3. At the same time, a fresh submarine station and school were built in Cartagena.

Upon conclusion of World War I, and taking into account the successful performance of the German submarine fleet, the Spanish Government ordered the construction of six new B-type units in Cartagena while a rescue ship was purchased in Holland.

The first submarine built in Spain was commissioned in 1922 and named B-1. Further submarines were built on a yearly basis until 1926. In those years the naval stations of Menorca and Ferrol were activated to provide support to the incipient submarine service.

During the War in Morocco, the submarines were used to evacuate civilian personnel and send the necessary supplies to the troops. From 1927 to 1929 a new series was designed and more units built. In those years the Spanish Navy operated 16 submarines.

During the Spanish Civil War the submarine force suffered considerable casualties in the number of units. It was not until 1959 that the submarine service upgraded and boosted its capabilities when the US Navy transferred the ‘USS Kraken’ to the Spanish Navy. This submarine had been previously modernized and was the first Spanish unit to use Snorkel, a device which serves to recharge the batteries while sailing submerged.

In 1968 a new series of four French-designed submarines - the ‘Daphne’-class - were built in Spain and commissioned in 1973: the ‘Delfin’, ‘Tonina’. In 1975 the ‘Marsopa’ and ‘Narval’ entered service.

From 1983 to 1986, a further series of more modern and capable submarines, the ‘Agosta’-class, entered service: ‘Galerna’, ‘Siroco’, ‘Mistral’ and ‘Tramontana’.

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Rear-admiral Mateo García of the Kings
    

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