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25/10/2020: Cold war Spanish Navy (Armada Española)

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The story of the Spanish Navy right after WW2 could ne be separated from the political and economical context. The great naval plan of 1943 was partly realized in 1946-47 when most of these ships were completed, but due to Spain’s isolation and economic issues, other completions went on in the 1950-60s based on old designs. Not part of NATO, but reintegrated into the UN and then benefiting from MDAP, Spain was seen as a stauch anti-communist ally, trusted with massive military aid from the US, bolstering the fleet.

Most US-inspired or design Frigates in the seventies and eighties were, like the others, built in Spanish yards, but often with imported armament and electronics of various origins. The Descubierta class corvettes were a good example of this early “European cooperation”. From 1967, with the loan of USS Cabot, Spain was also trusted defending the balearic triangle against possible soviet submarine incursions and protection trade lines in and out of the Mediterranean and transiting towards the southern hemisphere, with a dozen of destroyers and a dozen of frigates, and two task forces. The first was constituted around the Dédalo, purchased in 1972 and modernized in 1976, and the second around the Principe de Asturias in 1988, long after the death of the Caudillo (1975) and the democratic transition.

The Alta Mar plan in 1989 defined the post-cold war generation, leading notably to an excellent amphibious forces around the Juan Carlos I LPD and the AEGIS Alvaro de Bazan class missile frigates, destroyers in disguise and Navantia’s export successes. Spain was also part of NATO from 1985 and fully integrated in 1992.

The First Online Warship Museum

What it is about ?

Naval Encyclopedia is the first online warship museum. Dedicated to the history of all ships of the industrial era, roughly since 1820 to this day. Although the main scope is about the XXth century through four main eras (WW1 and second world war, cold war and modern-day fleets), the website also covers (and will cover) civilian liners, first steamers, ships from the age of sail from the ancient ships of classical antiquity to medieval ships and renaissance vessels up to the enlightenment era ships which ambition also to cover most main types of ships of the time and famous examples.

Naval History is indeed quite old and warships has been a constant evolution, just as tactics which adapted to existing sources of power. The wind and human power (rows) and from the XIXth century, steam power and the rule of fossil fuels, up to the dominance of nuclear energy for the most valuable assets. There has been path of divergence and convergence also between civilian ships and their navy counterparts, like the famous Galleons of the XVI-XVIIth century that blended the role of cargo and warship. This survived well into the twentieth on civilian ships, first as a precaution (like fake ports) then as a tradition on mixed and tall ships.

Nowadays the most complex hand-built moving crafts ever designed by mankind, arguably, are nuclear submarines. Specialization and optimization helped global trade in the last XXth century, and especially the XXIth one frequently called “globalized”, based on the consumer society. The challenges world’s fleets are facing are huge, traducing like always the shifting weight of nations in geopolitics. The rise of the Chinese Navy is a perfect example of this.

A bit of history:

Naval Encyclopedia was born in 2010, by the same creator as tanks encyclopedia. For long, it has been a dependency of navistory.com, dedicated to the age of sail, as its industrial era expansion. Now traduced in English, with navistory’s contents ported too, it is mirroring tanks encyclopedia for everything related to warships…

But not only. Civilian ships has always been an interesting part of naval history, almost as exciting when thinking of huge container ships, race boats, clippers or the romance of blue ribbon luxury liners. Tanks and aviation emerged in 1915, whereas warships were already there in the Bronze age, empires makers, and are still to this day the largest, costliest, mightiest, and sometimes most complex vehicles ever designed.

He who controls the sea controls everything (Themistocles)

 

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