Churruca-class destroyer

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Destructor Jose Luis Diez (DZ).jpg
Destroyer José Luis Diez
Class overview
Name: Churruca class
Builders: SECN, Naval Dockyard, Cartagena.
Operators:  Spanish Navy
 Argentine Navy
Preceded by: Alsedo class
Succeeded by: Oquendo class
Built: 1923 to 1951
In commission: 1927 to 1982
Completed: 18
Lost: 2
Retired: 16
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 1,536 – 1,650 tons (normal); 2,067 tons (maximum)
Length: 101.00 m (331.36 ft)
Height: 3.30 m (10.8 ft)
Draft: 3.30 m (10.8 ft)
Propulsion: 2 Parsons turbines.
4 Yarrow boilers
42,000 hp (31,000 kW)
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h)
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h)
3,100 nautical miles (4,500 nautical miles) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 160
Armament: (5 × 1) 120 mm (4.7 in) L45
1 × 3-inch (76.2-mm) antiaircraft gun
4 machineguns
6 × 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (2 × 3)
2 depth charge racks
Notes: 240 tons oil fuel
The first Churruca destroyer (1925), sold to Argentina in 1927 and renamed ARA Cervantes

The Churruca class was a Spanish destroyer class built for the Spanish Navy based on a British design. Eighteen ships were built, two sold to Argentina.

The ships were authorized on 17 February 1915 by Navy Minister Augusto Miranda y Godoy. The program planned for four light cruisers, six destroyers, 28 submarines, three gunboats, and 18 coast guard vessels; of these, five light cruisers, three Alsedo and fourteen Churruca-class destroyers, 16 submarines, and the three gunboats were actually completed.

Some of the later ships of the class were completed without the central gun due to an arms embargo during the Spanish Civil War.


The three first ships (Churruca, Alcalá Galiano, and Sánchez Barcáiztegui) were launched between May 1925 and June 1926. When Plus Ultra went to Argentina, she was accompanied by Méndez Núñez and Alsedo. These vessels arrived in Buenos Aires on 7 February 1926. The Argentine Navy was interested in purchasing Alsedo, and the Spanish government on 25 May 1927 provided credit to buy ships in Spain. Argentina eventually purchased Churruca and Alcalá Galiano, renaming them Cervantes and Juan de Garay.

Between 1928 and 1933, Churruca and Alcalá Galiano were launched, along with four other vessels, followed by seven more between 1935 and 1937.

Spanish Civil War[edit]

At the start of the Spanish Civil War, the class served on the Spanish Republican Navy and blockaded the Gibraltar Strait. Class members saw some action. Almirante Ferrándiz and Gravina took part in the Battle of Cape Espartel, where the Almirante Ferrándiz was sunk by the Nationalist cruiser Canarias. Lepanto, Almirante Valdes, Almirante Antequera, Gravina, Jorge Juan, and Escaño participated in the Battle of Cape Cherchell. Lepanto, Sánchez Barcaiztegui, Almirante Miranda and Grafina were engaged in the Battle of Cape Palos, where Lepanto sank the Nationalist cruiser Baleares with torpedoes. Ciscar was sunk by aircraft in Gijon harbour, refloated by the rebels, and used by them in the final phases of the war.

One member of the class, due to her strong resemblance to a British destroyer, was used in an attempt to break the blockade of the Gibraltar Strait and return to the Mediterranean Sea after the fall of the Republican government in the north of Spain in 1938. José Luis Díez, painted with the pennant number of HMS Grenville, was intercepted by Canarias and other ships, and beached herself in Gibraltar.

When the Spanish Civil War ended, the class was turned over to the Nationalists.

The last two ships were commissioned in 1951, updated with only 4 guns but quadruple rather than triple torpedo tubes, Q gun being landed as weight compensation.








1925 1927 Sold to Argentina, renamed ARA Cervantes Decommissioned 1961

Alcalá Galiano

1927 1927 Sold to Argentina, renamed ARA Juan de Garay Decommissioned 1960

Sánchez Barcáiztegui

1928 1964 Obsolete Scrapped

José Luis Díez

1929 1965 Obsolete Scrapped

Almirante Ferrándiz

1929 1936 Sunk In action, by the cruiser Canarias


1930 1957 Obsolete Scrapped


1931 1957 Obsolete Scrapped

Alcalá Galiano

1931 1963 Obsolete Scrapped

Almirante Valdes

1933 1957 Obsolete Scrapped

Almirante Antequera

1935 1965 Obsolete Scrapped

Almirante Miranda

1936 1970 Obsolete Scrapped


1936 1957 Ran aground


1936 1963 Obsolete Scrapped


1936 1963 Obsolete Scrapped

Jorge Juan

1937 1959 Obsolete Scrapped


1937 1963 Obsolete Scrapped


1946 1982 Obsolete Scrapped


1947 1978 Obsolete Scrapped

Argentinian Navy Service[edit]

Churruca and Alcalá Galiano were sold to the Argentine Navy while under construction. They were renamed ARA Cervantes (E1) and ARA Juan de Garay (named after Juan de Garay) respectively. The ships were commissioned on 3 September 1927 and modernised after World War II. The modernisation involved removing the midships 120mm gun and the 3 inch gun and replacing these weapons with 40mm Bofors guns. These were Swedish built weapons in hand-worked twin mountings with air-cooled barrels and locally controlled, not the more familiar director-controlled, water-cooled and power operated mountings popularized by the U.S. Navy, British Royal Navy and others. Cervantes was severely damaged by Gloster Meteor fighters loyal to Juan Domingo Perón while evacuating personnel from the rebel naval base of Rio Santiago during the 1955 Revolución Libertadora. The ships were decommissioned in 1961 and 1960 respectively.


  • "Buques de la Guerra Civil Española. Destructores" (Spanish Civil War Ships, destroyers) by Dionisio García Flórez, ISBN 84-932284-7-8. (Spanish)

External links[edit]