IRN Cristobal Colon (BB-1941)


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The Cristobal Colon was laid down at the completion of the large cruiser Ebro. While the Ebro and Canarias types were described only as 'Large Cruiser' (CB), the use the Iberians made of them was as battlecruisers and their building followed on from the construction of the Granada class battlecruiser. The Granada was the last full size capital ship built by the Iberians and the hull and layout of that ship was followed for the Colon. A large increase in dimensions was neccessary as the Colon was to be armed with 15" guns while the Granada had only 12". Four twin Mk1 15" turrets were ordered from Vickers in 1935. Vickers offered a twin turret version of the 15" Mk2 that they were building for the King George V class in triple turrets. Iberia accepted and these twin turrets were delivered in late 1938 and early 1939, two turrets in each delivery. The Mk2 fired further with a slightly heavier shell than the Mk1. The ammunition from the Mk1 could be used in the Mk2 but not vice-versa as the extra propellant in the Mk2 charge could split the Mk1 barrels.

The side armour belt of 12.6" was ordered from the Germanic States. The deck armour of 2.6" upper deck and 5.1" main deck were supplied locally. The secondary armament was the locally made 4.5" weapon system tied to 4 of the dual purpose Germanic States AA directors, eight twin mountings being fitted. 2 pounder and 20mm weapons made up the light AA armament. Up to six aircraft could be accomodated in the spacious hangar areas. The propulsion system was a Germanic States combined Diesel and Steam Turbine layout (CODAT), with the boilers forward and exhausting through the fore funnel with the diesels utilising the aft funnel. The diesel installation provided 50,000bhp for a maximum speed of 22 knots on diesels only. The 110,000shp Turbine installation was brought online only for full speed runs, which together the propulsion system could propel the ship at 30 knots. The diesel installation provided the ship with an extremely large radius of action.

This was a seriously big ship for the Iberian Navy to build, with a standard displacement of 40,000 tons it was smack in the middle of the 35,000 ton types that were built 1935-38, and the 45,000+ ton types built 1941-45. While the main armament of eight 15" did not scare any of the worlds navies it was more than adequate, remembering that the Royal Navy utilised its spare 15" turrets to produce the Vanguard.

Wartime additions added a further four quad 2 pounder mountings, while the number of 20mm increased dramatically with single and twin mountings sprouting wherever there was space to swing and fire the guns.


Displacement 41,500 tons std, 50,440 tons full load
Length 785 ft
Breadth 105 ft
Draught 30 ft
Machinery 2 shaft geared turbines, 110,000shp        2 Shaft diesel engines, 50,000bhp
Speed 30 knots
Range 16000 miles at 16 knots
Armour 12.6" side, 5.1" deck, 13" turrets
Armament 8 x 15" (4x2)

16 x 4.5" (8x2)

48 x 2pd (3x8 6x4)

16 x 20mm (4x2 4x1)

Aircraft 6
Complement 2100
Notes IRN Cristobal Colon


1. Building it, 2. Fitting it, 3. Taking it green on trials in the Atlantic.


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