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Career Armada Española Ensign until 1931 Armada Española Ensign 1931-1939 España Armada Española Ensign 1939-1945
Name: José Luis Díez
Namesake: José Luis Díez y Pérez Muñoz
Builder: SECN, Naval Dockyard, Cartagena, Spain
Completed: 1929
Commissioned: 1929
Decommissioned: 1965
Identification: JD
Nickname: “Pepe el del puerto”
Fate: Scrapped in 1965
General characteristics
Class and type: Churruca class destroyer
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 1,650 tons (normal); 2,067 tons (maximum)
Length: 101.00 m
Beam: 9.60 m
Height: 6.02m
Draught: 3.30 m
Propulsion: 2 Parsons turbines.
4 Yarrow boilers
42.000 horsepower (31 MW)
Speed: 36 knots (67 km/h)
Range: 5000 nautical miles (9,260 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h)
3,100 nautical miles (4,500 nautical miles) at 14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement: 160
Armament: 5x120 mm (4.7 in) L45 (5x1)
1x3-inch (76.2-mm) antiaircraft gun
4 machineguns
6x21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes (2x3)
2 depth charge racks

José Luis Díez was a Churruca-class destroyer in the Spanish Navy. She took part in the Spanish Civil War on the government side.

She was named after Teniente de Navío José Luis Díez y Pérez Muñoz.

Civil War

The ship sailed into Vizcaya Gulf in 1936 and was anchored off Santurce for some time; for this reason, she received her nickname “Pepe el del puerto” (Pepe, the diminutive of Joseph), from people in the harbour.

On 20 April 1937, her anti-aircraft guns shot down Felipe del Río's Polikarpov I-15. The gunners mistook the aircraft for a German fighter.

On 31 May of the same year, the Police and the Marina de Guerra Auxiliar de Euzkadi took control of the José Luis Díez and the Císcar. At the request of the Republican government, the ships embarked more than 200 sailors of the auxiliary Navy from Euzkadi to replace their original crews, who had been deemed untrustworthy. The ships were eventually returned to their original crews.

On 10 June 1937, Císcar, under the command of Alférez de Navío Juan Antonio Castro and Jose Luis Díez commanded by teniente de navío Evaristo Lopez engaged the cruiser Cervera (capitán de navío Manuel Moreu). The result was inconclusive.

Jose Luis Díez and Ciscar left Bilbao on 15 June 1937, heading for France. They were loaded with refugees and several civilian and military personalities who took advantage of the trip to desert, shortly before which the insurrectionists entered Bilbao. Both ships went on to Santander, and after its fall, to Gijon. The Jose Luis Díez then took refuge in Falmouth in England where, among others, the commander, the engine room chief and the navigator deserted. Subsequently, the destroyer sailed to Le Havre in France.

She then used her strong resemblance to a British destroyer as part of a ruse in an attempt to break the blockade of the Gibraltar Strait and return to the Mediterranean Sea in August 1938. The ship was painted with the pennant number of HMS Grenville and used the Royal Navy flag, but was intercepted by Canarias and other ships. After two frustrated attempts, she was forced into Gibraltar, where she underwent repairs while looking for an opportunity to try again.

On the night of 29/30 December, she left Gibraltar prepared for a new attempt, but was spotted by the gunboat Calvo Sotelo. A close-range battle ensued , between the destroyer and several rebel ships, including the gunboat-minelayer Vulcano. She was beached in Gibraltar to avoid being sunk or captured. The crew were returned to the Republican side by the British.

Post Civil War

In March 1939 the British government, delivered the ship to the Nationalists. She was collected by the gun-boat Calvo Sotelo.

José Luis Díez was decommissioned and scrapped in 1965.


  • El destructor José Luis Díez: "Pepe de los Muelles" (1927-1965), by José Manuel Solloso García, Cartagena histórica, ISSN 1696-991X, Nº. 18, 2007 , pgs. 36-46. (Spanish)
  • Dionisio García Flórez. Buques de la Guerra Civil Española. Destructores (Spanish Civil War Ships, destroyers) (in Spanish). Library. ISBN 84-932284-7-8.  
  • Hugh Thomas (2001). The Spanish Civil War. Modern Library. ISBN 0-375-75515-2.  


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