Wednesday, 8 July 2020

All at Sea - On the Stocks in JJ's Dockyard, Spanish Builds Part Two

'Here comes the Santa Anna' - Carlos Parrilla Penagos

It's so nice to be back into working up the 1:700th collection of ships and the next part of the build which is concentrated on the Armada Espagnol, started with my build of Santisima Trinidad  back in May.

As covered in my previous post announcing this work, the mighty 112-gun Santa Anna was destined to pick up where we left off and thus featured as my header is the amazing work of Carlos Parilla Penagos depicting the great Spanish first rate hoving into view under a full spread of canvas and formed part of the inspiration in the production of this model.

My rendition of the Santa Anna flying the pennant of Vice Admiral Alava at her foremast

The Santa Anna was a Spanish 112-gun first rate ship of the line designed by Miguel de la Punte and built by Jose Joaquin Romero y Fernandez de Landa and when launched on the 28th September 1784 at Ferrol, was the prototype for a class of 112-gun ships to follow, which included the Mejicano, Conde de Regla, Salvador del Mundo, Real Carlos, San Hermenegildo, Reina Maria Luisa and Principe de Asturias.

Jose Joaquin Romero y Fernandez de Landa 1735 -1807
Engineer General of the Fleet

Having completed her sea trials in February the following year, under Captain Felix de Tejada who reported that "she kept the battery in good use in a fresh wind and heavy seas" his report effectively gave the go ahead for work to commence on her sister ships that would form the core of Spanish first rates during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

A fine model of the Santa Anna which informed the completion of my own, built by the master naval modeller Fernando Gonzalez Ruiz

The Santa Anna appears to have had a fairly quiet war, at least in the early years with her shown as 'In Ordinary' in 1793, acting as the flagship for Teniente General Domingo de Perez de Grandallana between 1797 to July 1799.

Teniente General Domingo de Perez de Grandallana was the Flag Officer aboard the Santa Anna during the French Revolutionary War.

Santa Anna was to have her particular moment of glory and an immortal place in naval history on 21st October 1805 when as part of the Combined  Franco-Spanish fleet under Admiral Villeneuve, she was the leading ship in the rear division under Captain Don Jose Gardoqui a seasoned commander having taken part in the capture of HMS Ardent 64-guns on 17th August 1779 in the English Channel and the only Spanish captain to have commanded three of the other Spainish 112-gun ships previously.

The Action of the 17th August 1799 in which Captain Gardoqui participated in the capture of HMS Ardent 64-guns.

Santa Anna leads the rear division of the Combined Fleet at Trafalgar seen positioned ahead of the French Forgueux 74-guns.
Another view of the stern galley of Fernando Gonzalez Ruiz model

The Santa Anna was not part of the combined fleet when it sailed for the West Indies in the summer of 1805 as she was laid up in Cadiz having her hull copper sheathing replaced at that time and although joining the fleet in October it appears Villeneuve was less than happy with her state of completion describing her as 'barely out of the dockyard' and 'not in a condition to engage'

Vice-Admiral Don Ignatio Maria de Alava

Her flag officer at Trafalgar was Vice-Admiral Don Ignatio Maria de Alava, second in command of the Spanish fleet at Trafalgar and who would assume command on the death of the Spanish commander Admiral Gravina following the battle.

 HMS Royal Sovereign is depicted leading the British lee column under Admiral Colingwood with the Santa Anna ahead and about to open fire. - Stuart Bolton

Being the leading ship of her division and flying the pennant of Admiral Alava at the head of her foremast, she became the focal point for Admiral Collingwood's attack as he led in the British lee column at Trafalgar, describing the Spanish flagship as that 'Spanish Perfection'.

The Royal Sovereign broke through, astern of the Santa Anna shortly after noon, delivering a devastating raking broadside from which the Spanish flagship never really recovered.

Following up on this opening attack, Royal Sovereign luffed up alongside Santa Anna to begin exchanging broadsides yardarm to yardarm.

The next British ship to pass through the line was HMS Bellisle 74-guns, which promptly delivered another raking broadside into the stern of the Santa Anna which struck at about 14.15 at the same time as Collingwood learnt of Nelson's death.

The Santa Anna was by then a dismasted, crippled hulk, with casualties amounting to 238 (97 killed and 141 wounded, including Captain Gardoqui and Admiral Alava) surprisingly light at just 20% following the close range pounding she received.

Taken in tow by the frigate HMS Euryalus, the Santa Anna would be recaptured by a Spanish squadron two days later and towed back into Cadiz for repairs.

Back Home - Carlos Parrilla
The Santa Anna is towed back to Cadiz by the French frigate Themis after being recaptured following the Battle of Trafalgar.

At Trafalgar Santa Anna would have carried 30 x 36-pdr long guns on her lower deck, 32 x 24-pdrs on her middle deck, 32 x 12-pdrs on her upper deck, 12 x 8-pdrs on her quarterdeck  and 6 x 8 pdrs together with 6 x 24-pdr obusiers on her forecastle.

Needing 250 men on her capstans to lift her mighty anchors, Santa Anna had an over-strength compliment of 1,189 crew consisting of 720 naval personnel, 383 army and 86 marine artillerymen.

Next up, a book review providing some fictional inspiration to our hobby and the Spanish 3rd Rate Montanes 74-guns joins the fleet.


  1. I assume the obusiers on the forecastle fired broadside, given the jibs, staysails and rigging carried for'ard.

    Never have understood howitzer placement, except on bomb vessels, as it all sounds very messy.


  2. Fascinating - I had no idea the Spaniard's had as many big first rates as that... those ship yards in Cuba must have been a sight to see...

  3. Thanks for your comments chaps, glad you like my new addition.

    Vince - Although obusiers are often described as howitzers, I think it is safe to say that they are generally regarded as French designed carronades with a tendency to explode!

    Steve - The Cuban shipyard at Havana was one of the finest overseas yards and you have to feel for the Spanish admirals commanding in the Caribbean seeing some fine ships roll down the slip only to be sent off to Spain on their completion. That said Ferrol and Cartegena added a significant contribution with the Santa Anna being built in the northern port.


  4. I love your models; the paint work is very inspirational and realistic looking.
    For my own Santa Ana model I went with the black / maroon stripe paint scheme as shown by the modern-day artist Ivan Berryman. This was the colour also described by a midshipman on the Revenge at Trafalgar. The black scheme with variations was also used by the Rayo and San Justo at that battle. As all three ships were in dock just before the battle, I reasoned that they may not have had the time to fully finish painting the ship before sailing. I know that Santa Ana did have yellow stripes following the 1810 Ordnance degree and I think it is this that is illustrated in the Adkin Trafalgar book (some of the paint schemes for other ships in there may be incorrect for this specific battle too).
    I very much look forward to seeing your remaining ships once they leave the stocks. Best wishes.