Giussano-class cruiser

The Alberto da Giussano class of light cruisers were a sub-class of the Condottieri class built before World War II for the Italian Regia Marina, to gain predominance in the Mediterranean Sea. They were designed by general Giuseppe Vian and were named after Condottieri (military commanders) of the Italian Mediaeval and Renaissance periods.

Bartolomeo Colleoni in Venice
Bartolomeo Colleoni in Venice
Class overview
Name: Giussano class
Operators:  Regia Marina
Built: 1928–1930
In commission: 1931–1942
Completed: 4
Lost: 4
General characteristics
Type: Cruiser
  • 6,570 tonnes (6,470 long tons) standard
  • 6,954 tonnes (6,844 long tons) full load
Length: 169.3 m (555 ft)
Beam: 15.5 m (51 ft)
Draft: 5.3 m (17 ft)
Propulsion: 95,000 hp (71,000 kW)
  • 37 knots (69 km/h; 43 mph)
  • (42 knots (78 km/h; 48 mph) in trials)
Range: 3,800 nmi (7,000 km) at 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 507
Aircraft carried: 2 × CANT 25AR (later Ro.43) seaplanes
Aviation facilities: 1 × catapult launcher

Between the World Wars, the world powers started a rush to gain the supremacy on the seas. In 1926, France started to produce the Le Fantasque class of destroyers, which were superior in displacement and firepower to other destroyers of that period. To counter the French menace, the Regia Marina decided to produce a new class of cruiser that would be of intermediate size between the new French destroyer class and cruisers. The Italian ships equated to the British Leander-class cruisers.

There were 4 ships, all laid down in 1928: Alberto da Giussano, Alberico da Barbiano, Bartolomeo Colleoni and Giovanni delle Bande Nere.

Meant to hunt down and overwhelm the big French destroyers, the emphasis on firepower and speed resulted in these ships being virtually unprotected against gunfire and underwater threats; this was a major factor in all four ships being sunk by torpedoes.


Ships of the Alberto da Giussano class[1][2]
Ship Builder Laid down Launched Completed Fate
Alberico da Barbiano Ansaldo, Genoa 16 April 1928 23 August 1930 9 June 1931 Sunk 13 December 1941, by a group of Royal Navy and Dutch destroyers during the Battle of Cape Bon.
Alberto da Giussano Ansaldo, Genoa 29 March 1928 27 April 1930 5 February 1931
Bartolomeo Colleoni Ansaldo, Genoa 21 June 1928 21 December 1930 10 February 1932 Sunk 19 July 1940, during the Battle of Cape Spada.
Giovanni delle Bande Nere R. C. di Castellammare di Stabia 31 October 1928 27 April 1930 27 April 1931 Sunk 1 April 1942, torpedoed by British submarine HMS Urge while off Stromboli.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gay, Franco; Gay, Valerio (1987). The cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-453-9.
  2. ^ Fraccaroli, Aldo (1968). Italian Warships of World War 2. London: Ian Allan. OCLC 801794763.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Di Giussano class cruiser at Wikimedia Commons