By Francisco José Díaz Díaz

Other views of  CARLOS V:
View of the turret ||| Carlos V at dock ||| Carlos V at sea with Pelayo


The CARLOS V was the largest ship built in the Spanish shipyards in this era. She was named for the King of  Spain and Emperor of Germany who lived during the 16thXVI Century. Her greatest characteristic was her great cruising range.


The CARLOS V  was classified as 1st class battleship, according to Spanish
naval classification, but was actually an armored cruiser. Her keel was laid in 1892 and the vessel was launched on March 12, 1895 at the Vega-Murguía Shipyards. The CARLOS V was the largest vessel built in the Spanish shipyards during the era leading up to the Spanish American War and her construction was made difficult by the variety of sources required for her various components. Her engines and boilers were Spanish, her armor was produced in Germany, stern and stern-post were produced in England, and her turrets were the products of France. By 1897 she was in El Havre, France, for the installation f her turrets.

On April, 1898, at the outbreak of the Spanish American War, she was not yet fully operational, but she was still included in Camara's Squadron. The CARLOS V was under the command of Captain D. José María Jiménez Franco.

On June 16, battleship PELAYO, cruiser CARLOS V and several auxiliary ships were sent to steam to Manila to counter the Americans in the wake of the Battle of Manila Bay/Cavite. When Camara's Squadron arrived at Port Said (Egypt), the Egyptian government delayed the supply of coal to the squadron. By the time the Squadron arrived at the Suez Canal (Egypt), the war was already effectively lost for the Spanish. An order was sent to Admiral Camara to return to Spain on July, 7. The squadron was dissolved on July 25.

After the War, the CARLOS V represented the Spanish Navy in several naval
ceremonies in foreign countries, such as the coronation of King Edward VII of Great Britain in 1902.

CARLOS V remained in commission until 1922 and was finally dropped from the navy rolls in 1932.


CARLOS V was a good vessel but her actual speed (16 knots) was well under her theoretical design speed of 20 knots. The armor on her sloping protective deck was inadequate.  Her best characteristic was her great range.


Carlos V in broadside

Image courtesy of Jose Poncet

Classification Battleship, 1st Class (actually armored cruiser)
Launched: March 12, 1895
Completed Jun 2, 1898
Rig: 2 masts
Armament: Two 280 mm (11 inch) guns
Eight 140 (5.5 inch) guns
Four 100 mm (3.9 inch) guns
Two 70 mm (2.7 inch) guns
Two 55 mm (2.2 inch) guns
Six torpedo tubes
Contractor: Vega-Murguia Shipyard (Cadiz, Spain)
Length: 116 meters (404 feet)t
Beam: 20.7 meters (67 feet)
Draft: 7.8 meters (25 feet)
Displacement: 9,235 tons
Complement: 590 men
Engine Type: Engines listed as generating 18.500 hp.
Boiler Type: ?
Speed: 20 knots (theoretical) 16 knots (actual)
Coal bunker capacity: 1,200 tons
Weight of main guns: 32.5 tons
Coal Endurance:
12,000 miles at 10 knots
Armor: Turrets - 250 mm (9.8 inches), decks/ sides - 62 mm (2.4 inches)
Cost: 18 million pesetas

Martin Lopez J., Cruceros.  (Madrid: Editorial San Martin S.L., 1976).

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