Condottieri-class cruiser

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The Condottieri class was a sequence of five different light cruiser classes of the Regia Marina (Italian Navy), although these classes show a clear line of evolution. They were built before World War II to gain predominance in the Mediterranean Sea. The ships were named after condottieri (military commanders) of Italian history.

Italian cruiser Montecuccoli.jpg
Condottieri-class cruiser Raimondo Montecuccoli at Venice
Class overview
Name: Condottieri class
Operators:
Subclasses:
  • Giussano class
  • Cadorna class
  • Montecuccoli class
  • Duca d'Aosta class
  • Duca degli Abruzzi class
Built: 1928–1937
In commission: 1931–1972
Completed: 12
Lost: 6
Retired: 6
General characteristics
Type: Light cruiser
Displacement:
  • 5,323–11,350 tonnes (5,239–11,171 long tons) standard
  • 7,113–11,735 tonnes (7,001–11,550 long tons) full load
Length: 169.3–187 m (555–614 ft)
Beam: 15.5–18.9 m (51–62 ft)
Draught: 5.2–6.9 m (17–23 ft)
Propulsion:
  • 2 geared turbines
  • 6 boilers
  • 95,000–110,000 hp (71–82 MW)
Speed: 37 kn (69 km/h; 43 mph)
Complement: 507
Armament: 8 152 mm (6 in)/53 cal. guns
Aircraft carried: 2–4 × reconnaissance floatplanes
General characteristics Duca degli Abruzzi-class
Displacement:
  • 11,350 t (11,171 long tons) standard
  • 11,735 t (11,550 long tons) full load
Length: 187 m (614 ft)
Beam: 18.9 m (62 ft)
Draught: 6.9 m (23 ft)
Propulsion:
  • 2 geared turbines
  • 6 boilers
  • 110,000 hp (82 MW)
Speed: 34 kn (63 km/h; 39 mph)
Complement: 640
Armament: 10 152 mm (6 in)/55 guns
Aircraft carried: 4 × IMAM Ro.43 reconnaissance floatplanes

Each class is known after the first ship of the group:

Giussano class:

Cadorna class:

Montecuccoli class:

Duca d'Aosta class:

Duca degli Abruzzi class:

EvolutionEdit

The first group, the four Di Giussanos, were built to counter the French large destroyers (contre-torpilleurs), the first being the 2,500 ton Le Fantasque-class, and therefore they featured very high speed, in exchange for virtually no armour protection.

The following two Cadornas retained the main characteristics, with minor improvements to stability and hull strength.

Major changes were introduced for the next pair, the Montecuccolis. About 2,000 tons heavier, they had significantly better protection, and upgraded power-plants to maintain the required high speed.

The two Duca d'Aostas continued the trend, thickening the armour and improving the power plant again.

The final pair, the Duca degli Abruzzis completed the transition, sacrificing a little speed for good protection (their armour scheme was the same of the Zara-class heavy cruisers) and for two more 6-inch /55 guns.

ServiceEdit

All ships served in the Mediterranean during World War II.

The ships of the first two subclasses (with the exception of Luigi Cadorna) were all lost by 1942, primarily to enemy torpedoes (with Bartolomeo Colleoni sunk by destroyers at the Battle of Cape Spada after being crippled by HMAS Sydney, Alberico da Barbiano and Alberto da Giussano suffering a similar fate at in a night action of the Battle of Cape Bon, and Armando Diaz sunk by the British submarine HMS Upright), which led many authors (including Preston) to question their real value as fighting ships. However, the subsequent vessels fared considerably better with all, except Muzio Attendolo (torpedoed in August 1942 and sunk by an Allied bombing in December 1942), surviving the war.

After the end of the war, Eugenio di Savoia and Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta were given to the Greek Navy and the Soviet Navy respectively as war reparations; Luigi Cadorna was quickly stricken, Raimondo Montecuccoli became a training ship, and the Duca degli Abruzzi subclass served on in the Marina Militare until the 1970s, with Giuseppe Garibaldi becoming the first European guided missile cruiser in 1961 .

ShipsEdit

Ships of class
Ship Builder Laid down Service
Giussano class
Alberto da Giussano Ansaldo 29 March 1928 1 January 1931 - 13 December 1941
Alberico da Barbiano Ansaldo 16 April 1928 9 June 1931 - 13 December 1941
Bartolomeo Colleoni Ansaldo 21 June 1928 10 February 1932 - 19 July 1940
Giovanni delle Bande Nere Cantieri Navali di Castellammare di Stabia 31 October 1928 1 January 1931 - 1 April 1942
Cadorna class
Luigi Cadorna Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico 19 September 1930 11 August 1933 - May 1951
Armando Diaz Odero Terni Orlando 28 July 1930 29 April 1933 - 25 February 1941
Montecuccoli class
Raimondo Montecuccoli Ansaldo 1 October 1931 30 June 1935 - 1 June 1964
Muzio Attendolo Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico 10 April 1931 7 August 1935 - 4 December 1942
Duca d'Aosta class
Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta Odero Terni Orlando 29 October 1932 13 July 1935 - 20 February 1959
Eugenio di Savoia Ansaldo 6 July 1933 16 January 1936 - 1965
Duca degli Abruzzi class
Duca degli Abruzzi Odero Terni Orlando 28 December 1933 1 December 1937 - January 1961
Giuseppe Garibaldi Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico 28 December 1933 1 December 1937 - 1971

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Preston, Anthony (2002). The World's Worst Warships. Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-754-6.
  • Whitley, M.J. (1996). Cruisers of World War Two : an international encyclopedia (Reprinted ed.). London: Arms and Armour. ISBN 1854092251.

External linksEdit