Saturday, December 8, 2007
The Infanta Maria Teresa
Early in my life, I had studied the Spanish-American War. My copy of the 1894 Brassey's has coverage of many of the ships involved. The Spanish flagship at the Battle of Santiago Bay was the belted cruiser, the Infanta Maria Teresa. This was a ship of nominally 7000 tons, with dimensions of 340ft x 65ft x 21ft-6in, with an armament of 2-11in and 10-5.5in guns. There were additional 6pdr and 2pdr QF guns, as well as the six above water torpedo launchers that were so hazardous. The wooden decks were a terrible fire hazard, as well. The Infanta Maria Teresa was listed with a maximum speed of 20.25 knots. The belt was 10.5 inches and the deck varied between 2in and 3in. The conning tower was 12in, of steel, as was the rest of the armour. The main armament was mounted in 10.5in barbettes with hemispherical shields. Belted cruisers of this sort were obsolescent in 1890 when the Infanta Maria Teresa was completed. The Spanish belted cruisers were destroyed in an hour-and-a-half hour at the Battle of Santiago Bay by shellfire from the American ships, according to William Hovgaard, in the Modern History of Warships. The Infanta Maria Teresa had a narrow 12in belt and a high, unprotected side.