Santa Clara Battery

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Santa Clara Battery, Havana, Cuba. Batery of Santa Clara.1 Havana, Cuba.png
Santa Clara Battery, Havana, Cuba.

The Santa Clara Battery, with its two remaining coastal guns, one a caliber 305mm (12") Ordóñez HSE Modelo 1892 rifle and the other a 280mm (11") Krupp, stands on the grounds of the Hotel Nacional de Cuba, in Vedado, Havana. UNESCO in 1982 included the battery, together with Old Havana, in its list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. There is a small museum featuring the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis in the battery. During the crisis, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara set up their headquarters there to prepare the defense of Havana from aerial attack. The museum is in tunnels there known as the Cueva Taganana (Taganana Cave), for the hill on which the battery stands.

Coastal artillery Military service branch equipped with artillery in defense of territory against attack from the sea

Coastal artillery is the branch of the armed forces concerned with operating anti-ship artillery or fixed gun batteries in coastal fortifications.

Krupp German family dynasty

The Krupp family, a prominent 400-year-old German dynasty from Essen, is famous for their production of steel, artillery, ammunition and other armaments. The family business, known as Friedrich Krupp AG, was the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century, and was important to weapons development and production in both world wars. One of the most powerful dynasties in European history, Krupp flourished for 400 years as the premier weapons manufacturer of Germany. From the Thirty Years' War until the end of the Second World War, it produced battleships, U-boats, tanks, howitzers, guns, utilities, and hundreds of other commodities.

Hotel Nacional de Cuba

The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is a historic Spanish eclectic style hotel in Havana, Cuba, which opened in December 1930. Located on the sea front of the Vedado district, it stands on Taganana Hill, offering a commanding views of the sea, and the city.

Overview

305mm (12") Ordonez rifle at the Santa Clara Battery, Havana 12-inch Ordonez rifle, Santa Clara Battery, Havana.JPG
305mm (12") Ordóñez rifle at the Santa Clara Battery, Havana

The first battery on this site was built between 1797 and 1799, and was named for Juan Procopio Bassecourt y Bryas, Count of Santa Clara, the Spanish governor of Cuba from 1796 to 1799. The battery was modernized in 1895, when it received new guns. It was armed with three 11" Krupp and two 12" Ordóñez guns, as well as two Nordenfelt 6-pounder quick firing guns for close-in defense. There were also some leftover older, obsolete pieces, including eight 8" howitzers, [1] which may have been 210mm (8.3") sunchado howitzers.

Ordóñez guns

Ordóñez guns are a type of coastal artillery that Salvador Diaz Ordóñez, an artillery officer in the Spanish Army, designed in the late 19th Century. Most of the models were field guns, but some were howitzers. The guns ranged in caliber from 150mm (5.9") to 305mm (12"). They were made in Spain, at the Trubia Arms Factory, in Asturias, and the Spanish installed them in forts and batteries at home, for instance at Ceuta, and throughout their empire, in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines. The Ordóñez guns appear to have been used for protecting Spain's colonies; reportedly the Spanish generally reserved the higher quality, and much more expensive, Hontoria guns for the defense of Spain.

Thorsten Nordenfelt Swedish arms manufacturer

Thorsten Nordenfelt, was a Swedish inventor and industrialist.

Sunchado cannons

Sunchado cannons, meaning wrapped, belted, banded, or built-up, described Spanish coastal artillery weapons constructed in the third quarter of the 19th century. Some, such as the 150mm (5.9") caliber rifled guns, were breech-loading. However others, such as the Model 1872 210mm (8.3") rifled howitzers, were muzzle-loading.

On 7 May 1898, during the Spanish–American War, the Spanish lured the USS Vicksburg and the US Revenue Cutter Morrill into chasing a Spanish schooner under the guns of the battery. The battery fired too soon on the US vessels, which were able to escape without taking a hit. [2] Then on 13 June the Krupp gun fired on the protected (armored) cruiser USS Montgomery at a range of 9000 meters, [3] also without effect.

Spanish–American War Conflict in 1898 between Spain and the United States

The Spanish–American War was an armed conflict between Spain and the United States in 1898. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the internal explosion of USS Maine in Havana Harbor in Cuba, leading to U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence. The war led to emergence of U.S. predominance in the Caribbean region, and resulted in U.S. acquisition of Spain's Pacific possessions. That led to U.S. involvement in the Philippine Revolution and ultimately in the Philippine–American War.

USS <i>Vicksburg</i> (PG-11) United States Navy gunboat

USS Vicksburg was a United States Navy gunboat, laid down in March 1896 at Bath, Maine, launched on 5 December 1896, and commissioned on 23 October 1897.

The United States Revenue Cutter Morrill was built at Wilmington, Delaware, and commissioned in October 1889 under the official name Lot M. Morrill. She served off Florida and in the Spanish–American War. She then served on the Great Lakes. After the United States entered into World War I in 1917, she came under the operational control of the United States Navy. She rendered particular assistance in the aftermath of the December 1917 Halifax Explosion. Following the war Morrill again served on the Great Lakes. She was decommissioned in October 1928.

Following the Spanish–American War, US troops were billeted there and later a barracks was constructed, which was torn down in 1928 or 1929 to provide a site for the hotel.

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Battle of Manila Bay 1898 battle during the Spanish–American War

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USS <i>Montgomery</i> (C-9)

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Salvador Diaz Ordóñez y Escandón (1845–1911) was an artillery officer in the Spanish Army and the designer of several pieces of artillery, the Ordóñez guns. As a colonel, Ordóñez served in Cuba during the Spanish–American War, where he was wounded at Santiago de Cuba. He went on to reach the rank of General. He died on 14 October 1911 at Izhaven, near Melilla, from shots from a Rifian while inspecting the Spanish position there during the Third Melillan campaign of the Rif Wars.

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References

  1. Linares, Abel (1899). Cuba, An Illustrated Guide Book on the Island: Its History and Resources. Havana: Wilson's Book Store. p. 107.
  2. "Our Gunboats Fired On" (PDF). New York Times. 8 May 1898.
  3. Plaque on the site of the gun.