Battle of Cape Cherchell

Battle Of Cape Cherchell

Military Conflict
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Battle of Cape Cherchell

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The Battle of Cape Cherchell was a sea battle between the Nationalist heavy cruiser Baleares and the Republican light cruisers Libertad and Méndez Núñez in the Spanish Civil War. In the early morning hours of September 7, 1937, Baleares unexpectedly met a Republican convoy consisting of several merchant ships escorted by Republican cruisers and destroyers. Baleares was beaten off and badly damaged in the engagement.

The biggest danger for the convoy was not the Baleares itself, but Nationalist shore-based aircraft that might have appeared once the Nationalists had radioed the convoy's location. Because of this, the four destroyers quickly broke off the engagement and continued as escorts for the merchant convoy.

While these ships steamed ahead, Republican cruisers Libertad and Méndez Núñez engaged Baleares. A crashing volley from the Libertad smashed Baleares' electronics, temporarily disabling the cruiser's guns. But the Nationalists repaired the damage and the Baleares renewed its pursuit.

The ships met again in the afternoon, Libertad scoring two more hits on critical areas of the Baleares. Baleares then limped off to wait for her sister-ship Canarias. The retreating Republican ships were later attacked, ineffectively, by several Nationalist airplanes, most of them Italian bombers from the Aviación Legionaria, a squadron of the Regia Aeronautica which fought in Spain under Franco's orders.

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