Sunken Submarine Honoured

AND C3 SubmarineHave you ever heard of the Republican Navy, C3 Submarine that was sunk off Málaga during the Spanish Civil War? Well, you have now!

Operation Ursula was a secret Nazi, naval mission carried out in Spanish, Mediterranean waters, beginning on the 20th of November, 1936. All identification markings were removed from two submarines and if damaged, they were to sail into an Italian port under an Italian flag. U-33 patrolled the waters off Alicante and U-34 off Cartagena.

They had problems with torpedo malfunctions but even so, U-34 managed to sink the C-3. The Germans claimed that it was the Spanish submarine’s own torpedo that sunk it whilst the Republican Government, unwilling to admit that one of its submarines had been sunk in combat, claimed that the submarine had sunk after an internal explosion.

Well, that’s the history but now the Rincón de la Victoria Town Council has approved, unanimously, a motion to pay tribute to the submariners who lost their lives when it was torpedoed by the a Nazi U-boat in December 1936.

Only three of the 37-man crew survived the attack carried out by U-34 whilst the Republican submarine was patrolling the waters in the bay of Málaga.

In 1996 a Málaga-based lawyer, Antonio Checa, managed to find the site of the wreck, which lies at a depth of 68 metres at 3.9 nautical miles south of Puerto El Candado. He had noticed, after all these years, bubbles of diesel coming to the surface.

In 1998, the Spanish Navy, auxiliary vessel, Mar Rojo sent down divers who confirmed that the wreck was that of the C3.

The Asociación de Familiares de las Víctimas del C3, which is based in the submarine’s home port, Cartagena, and where 90% of the crew were from, was founded in 2002, with the aim of refloating the wreck and giving a decent burial to the remains of the crew.

“Lamentably, 22 years after its discovery and 82 years after the sinking, 34 members of the crew remain on the seabed between La Cala del Moral and Málaga, and for this reason it is important to remind the Ministry of Defence that the crew needs to be buried and the submarine brought to the surface,” said the Councillor for Culture, Sra. Sánchez.

Accordingly, on the 12th of December, the day of the sinking, a memorial wreath will be cast into the sea over the wreck site and a plaque in the town hall will be uncovered to commemorate the event.

Finally, in the Festival de Cine de Málaga in 2007, film director José Antonio Hergueta screen his documentary film, Operación Úrsula, which recalls the sinking.

(News: Rincon de la Victoria, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia)

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