Friday, 5 January 2024, 17:49
Fishing nets had been cast, then suddenly something put the brakes on the boat. Off the coast of Huelin an object, about 40 fathoms down (73 metres deep), was holding them back. The crew of the fishing boat José Jiménez worked to haul in the rigging and, once on the water's surface, they saw that their catch was not what they expected. It was an elongated device measuring almost 7 metres and, although very damaged, it clearly had the appearance of a torpedo.
That same day, 3 October, they reached port with their unusual cargo. It weighed over three tonnes as the torpedo was still stuck in the firing tube. It was quickly assessed by experts from the navy's high command and both the catch and boat were held there until any explosion risk was ruled out.
A couple of days later, and with the aid of a heavy-duty crane, the torpedo was offloaded. By then, they already knew that it was a Nazi-made weapon as it was inscribed with the wording 'G7e', the identifier for German torpedoes at the time. We could call it the 'first cousin' of the torpedo that sank the Republican army's C-3 submarine in El Palo in December 1936. What was unknown at that time was how the device had reached the bottom of the Bay of Malaga.
Thanks to a SUR publication in October, we can now complete the tale. The missile came from the torpedo boat Falange, part of the arms supplied by Hitler to Franco in 1936. Based in Ceuta, the boat had a confrontation in Malaga waters with the Republican battleship Jaime I, although it withdrew owing to the enemy's fire power.
In May 1937, when returning to Malaga from a mission and before entering the port, a fire broke out onboard that caused an explosion, inevitably sinking the boat with its military cargo. Part of that payload was the Nazi G7 torpedo that, 47 years later, was caught by the crew of the José Jiménez. Fortunately for them, the torpedo had no fuse, so it could not have exploded when it became trapped in the nets and hoisted onto the boat.
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