Almirante Cervera-class cruiser

The Almirante Cervera class (or Alfonso class) were three light cruisers built for the Spanish Navy in the 1920s. The ships were built by Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval in Ferrol which had strong British links and were designed by Sir Philip Watts. The design was based on the British Emerald-class cruiser, but had all boilers grouped together reducing the number of funnels to two. The main armament comprised Vickers pattern 6-inch guns with single mountings in "A" and "Y" positions and twin turrets in "B", "Q" and "X" positions. The programme was initially authorised in 1915 but was delayed by World War I with construction of the first ship starting in 1917.

Almirante Cervera in 1927
Class overview
Name: Almirante Cervera class
Builders: Sociedad Española de Construcción Naval, Ferrol
Operators:  Spanish Navy
Preceded by: Blas de Lezo class
Succeeded by: Canarias class
Built: 1923–1929
In commission: 1925–1970
Completed: 3
Retired: 3
General characteristics
Type: Light Cruiser
  • 7,475 long tons (7,595 t) standard
  • 9,237 long tons (9,385 t) full load
Length: 579 ft (176 m)
Beam: 54 ft (16 m)
Draught: 16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)
Propulsion: 4 shafts, Parsons-type geared turbines, 8 Yarrow-type boilers, 80,000 hp (60,000 kW)
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 564
  • 8 × 6-inch (152 mm) guns 3 twin turrets and two single mountings
  • 4 × 4-inch (102 mm) guns
  • 3 × 47 mm guns
  • 12 × 21-inch (533 mm) torpedoes in triple tubes above water

Galicia and Miguel de Cervantes had substantial refits in the 1940s. The 6-inch turret in "Q" position was replaced by a catapult for a seaplane and the single 6-inch mountings were replaced by twins to retain an 8 gun broadside. Extra AA guns were fitted in all three ships.


Ship Launched Commissioned Fate
Principe Alfonso / Libertad / Galicia 27 July 1922 30 August 1925 Stricken Feb 1970
Almirante Cervera 16 October 1925 May 1927 Stricken 1966
Miguel de Cervantes 17 May 1929 10 Feb 1930 Stricken 1964

Service history

Principe Alfonso conveyed King Alfonso XIII on several foreign tours in the late 1920s and in 1931 took him to exile in Italy. During the Spanish Civil War, renamed Libertad, she served in the Spanish Republican Navy and was interned in Bizerte at the end of the conflict. She returned to Spain in 1939 and was renamed Galicia. Miguel de Cervantes (named after Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra) was also part the Republican fleet during the civil war and was torpedoed by the Italian submarine Torricelli in 1936. The ship was interned in Bizerte and returned to Spain. She was badly damaged by fire in 1943 and repaired. She represented Spain in the Coronation Fleet Review in 1953. Almirante Cervera (named after Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete) served on the Nationalist side in the civil war and was present in most of the major battles.


  • Whitley MJ. Cruisers of World War 2: an International Encyclopedia
  • Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946
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