IRN Ebro (BC-1939)
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The Spanish for some generations have had a tie in with the Vickers Armstrong consortiums of companies. They had assisted the Spanish with the building of the small Espana Class small battleships. When the Spanish started looking to build a new battleship, it was to those companies that they turned for assistance. This is at a time when the British are pushing for both a reduction in size of ship and gun size. The Japanese refuse to be ordered about and marginalised by the 'white' powers anymore. All the treaties get thrown out and abrogated. The standard is kept to 35,000 tons and 16" guns till 1835 if by which stage the Japanese have not come to heel, the limit raises to 45,000 tons and no limit guns.
Back to the Spanish. The agreement is to have one ship built in Britain with all of the relevant materials, jigs and equipment then being supplied to Spain to build the second ship at Ferrol SNECE shipbuilding yards. Work on the design and equipment starts in 1932, with the ship being laid down in 1933. 1934 and equipment for the building of the second ship starts arriving in Ferrol. The second ship being laid down in the second half of 1934. July 1936, the construction of the Guadalquivir is stopped as Spain goes into Civil War, the workers joining the Nationalists. With the outbreak of war the Armstrong consortium stop sending any further resources for the building of the Guadalquivir until payments resumed. The Ebro was also under a cloud. The ship was running acceptance trials and would have been due for delivery in early 1937. There was a final payment due on the Ebro and Armstrongs were reluctant to let the ship go with the flux of political uphevals within Spain. Both the Nationalists and the Republicans demanded the Ebro be released to them but neither side would front up with the cash.
The civil war dragged on through to 1939 with Franco and his Nationalists finally coming out on top. Again the release of the Ebro is demanded and again Armstrongs proffer the final bill for the ship, payment of which is not forthcoming. Armstrong's gives the Spanish government notice that if payment for the ship is not received within three months the ship would be sold to recover the outstanding bill and expenses. The Spanish are broke. The civil war has bled the country dry. The Spanish still have the uncompleted Guadalquivir at Ferrol and decide that any further effort should be made to complete that ship. An intense dislike of the British over this affair is made worse when the Second World War breaks out and the British seize the Ebro for use by the Royal Navy. On the Fall of France, Spain joins the Axis.
While the Spanish may have the plans for the ship the heavy armament and heavy armour was to be supplied by Armstrong's. In 1941, now being under the German sphere of influence, new plans were cast with the Germans supplying the heavy guns and armour. Other such specialised items such as optical equipment and then radar would also come from the German workshops.
The Guadalquivir was not completed till late 1943. The ship had had to wait for the Germans to provide the four twin turrets full of 13.8" guns made to fit the barbettes that had already been fitted to the ship in 1936. Superstructure changed to Germanic style. The secondary armament was provided by the Italians with eight twin 5.3" turrets and guns being fitted. Twin 40mm with radar predictors were fitted as the light AA armament.
Being an evil sort of person I have had thoughts of putting these two on different sides in an encounter. Difficult to do in 1943. Especially in a scenario where Spain is on the Axis side. With the Mediterranean an Axis lake, the Axis fleet could be based at Gibraltar which would include Turkish, Italian, Spanish and any captured ships from the area. What keeps the Axis Fleets as European Fleets is the lack of aircraft carriers. That is something that takes years to rectify. On the other side, as you build your carriers, the Allied countries are building aircraft carriers at a two for one, even three to four for one more than the Axis build. The photo below shows "Murderers Row". A photo of an American Task Force at Ulithi Atoll in December 1944. 5 Essex class carriers are the feature. The USN had more than one Task Force with this sort of make-up. Once the Essex class started rolling off the American production line, the Japanese were beat. The Americans could have spared one or two to keep the Axis Fleets at home ports and still hosed the Japanese.
|Displacement||30,500 tons std, 37,750 tons full load|
|Machinery||4 shaft geared turbines, 140,000shp|
|Range||6500 at 15 knots|
|Armour||12" side, 6" deck, 12-4" turret (G11"/5.9" turret)|
|Armament||8 x 14" (4x2)
20 x 4.5" (7x2)
56 x 37mm (7x8)
18 x 20mm (18x1)
|8 x 13.8" (4x2)
16 x 5.3" (8x2)
24 x 40mm (12x2)
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