Tuesday, 4 November 2014

I have been to ... Cartagena Naval Museum, Cartagena, Spain: The Peral submarine

My wife and I had just left the Cartagena Naval Museum when one of the warding staff ran after us to make sure that we knew about the existence of another part of the Museum. She pointed us around the corner ...

... in the direction of the next door building ...

... where Isaac Peral's submarine Peral, was on display.

The Peral was one of the first (if not the first) fully capable military submarine. It was armed with two torpedoes, and on trials it showed that it was capable of operating underwater for many hours and was able to launch its torpedoes whilst submerged.

Despite the fact that it was undoubtedly the best submarine of its time, the Spanish Navy did not build further Peral-designed submarines. Had they done so, they would have enjoyed a superiority in underwater warfare that it would have taken other navies years to match.

The submarine was withdrawn from service in 1890, its equipment was removed, and the hull was stored at La Carraca Arsenal. The hull was supposed to be scrapped in 1913, but the order to do so was seemingly ignored. In 1929, Admiral Mateo García de los Reyes, first commander of the Spanish submarine force, had the hull towed it to Cartagena, where it was stored ashore within the submarine base. It remained there until 1965, when the local government of the city had the hull moved to the Plaza de los Héroes de Cavite and put on display. The hull was moved again in 2002 to the Paseo Alfonso XII, and to its present location in 2013. The hull has now been renovated and restored.

The Peral's characteristics
  • Displacement: Surfaced: 77 tonnes; Submerged: 85 tonnes
  • Length: 22m (72' 2")
  • Beam: 2.9m (9' 6")
  • Draught: 2.8m (9' 2")
  • Propulsion: 2 x 30hp/22kW electric motors driving two propellers
  • Speed: Surfaced: 7.8 knots; Submerged: 3 knots
  • Range: Surfaced: 400 nautical miles at 3 knots
  • Armament: 1 x 14-inch Torpedo Tube (in the bow); 3 × 14-inch Schwarzkopf torpedoes


  1. Superb stuff my kind of thing- amazing to think of how many technologies had their genisis in the late 19th century but were never really capitalized on at the time.



  2. Pete.,

    It never ceases to surprise me how many 'modern' innovations actually have their origins over one hundred years ago. People back then certainly had lots of ideas but often lacked the technology to make them work.

    All the best,


  3. Gonsalvo,

    It certainly was! If you are ever in Cartagena, I would highly recommend a visit to the Naval Museum.

    All the best,