Hello everyone, just a quick one from me that I have to post as it is naval themed. Today we have been given a sneak peak at the first 7 Italian Cruisers as well as a Tier X destroyer. In this article we will look at each ship and will give a brief outline of them.
Rank I – RM Eritrea
The rank I ‘cruiser’ for Italy is the RM Eritrea, a colonial sloop with a main armament of 4 120mm, the ship itself had a highly unique career, starting off in the Red Sea supporting Italian forces in East Africa before moving to the Pacific to act as a commerce raider and submarine support, operating out of Japanese bases. After the capitulation in 1943 she sailed to Sri Lanka where she was interred and handed over to the French where she acted as a colonial support ship before being sunk in nuclear tests.
Rank II – RM Nino Bixio
A First World War design, the RM Nino Bixio was the lead ship of her class and was named after the Italian general who aided Garibaldi in the invasion of the Two Sicilies and his 1848 campaign, the vessel was armed with 6 120mm cannons, 6 76mm cannons and 2 450mm torpedo tubes. She had a top speed of 27 knots however she was hampered by unreliable endings during the course of her career. Operating from 1911-29 she took part in the blockade of the Austro-Hungarian fleet, despite being sent on sorties against Austro-Hungarian sorties, she never successfully intercepted any enemy vessels during her career.
Rank III – RM Taranto
At rank III we have the RM Taranto, and this is an interesting ship that was operated by the Regia Marina from 1920 until she was scuttled in 1943. Originally known as the SMS Strassburg, she was a Magdeburg class light cruiser armed with 12 105mm cannons and 2 500mm torpedo tubes and had a top speed of 27.5 knots. She served at Heligoland Blight and supported the bombardment of Scarborough in 1914 but she missed Jutland as she was transferred to the Baltic theatre in 1916 to support operations in the gulf of Riga. She was transferred to the Italians in 1920 and first served in the Red Sea but by 1940 she was transferred to the Mediterranean and acted as a minelayer and was set to support the planned invasion of Malta. She ended her days as a training ship and was scuttled in La Sapienza in 1943 to prevent capture by the Germans. The Germans attempted to raise her but efforts were stopped when she was sunk in an air raid in 1944. During her time with the Italians she received 2 76mm cannons, 8 20mm cannons and 10 13.2mm heavy machine guns, however they also removed her forward boilers which reduced her top speed to a measly 18 knots.
Rank IV – RM Alberto da Giussano
At rank IV we have the first of the Condottieri, the RM Alberto da Giussano. She is armed with 8 152mm cannons, 6 100mm cannons, 8 37mm cannons, 8 13.2mm heavy machine guns and 4 533mm torpedo tubes and she has a top speed of 37 knots. However her army is extremely thin, with 40mm on the conning tower and the main hull and deck not going over 30mm. RM Alberto da Giussano served in support of the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War and spent all her career in the Mediterranean. She took part in the Battle of Calabria in 1940 and spent the rest of her career supporting convoys to North Africa before she was sunk in 1941 at the battle of Cape Bon where she was sunk by British torpedoes and gunfire.
Rank V – RM Montecuccoli
For rank V we see a slight upgrade in the form of the RM Montecuccoli, the leader of the 3rd sub series of the Condottieri class. With the same armaments and speed as the rank IV, the main difference will be the layout of her armour with 30mm of deck armour, 60mm of belt armour and 100mm on her conning tower. RM Raimondo Montecuccoli was one of the few Italian light cruisers to survive the war, taking part in Calabria and Pantelleria. She was interred after the 1943 armistice and served as a training cruiser until 1964.
Rank VI – RM Trento
We see the first heavy cruiser at rank VI in the form of RM Trento. Armed with 8 203mm cannons, 16 100mm cannons, 8 40mm cannons, 8 13.2mm heavy machine guns and 8 533mm torpedo tubes she is set to be quite a heavy hitting ship. With a top speed of 31 knots she is not sluggish either, however with deck armour of 50mm at best and a belt of 70mm she will be a vulnerable ship. She had an active career during her service between 1929 and 1942, protecting Italian nationals during the start of the Chinese Civil War, and she fought at Calabria, Spartivento, Cape Matapan, both battles of Sirte before she was finally sunk in 1942 during Operation Harpoon where she was torpedoed by Beaufighters and the submarine HMS Umbra.
Rank VII – RM Zara
One of the best known Italian ships of the War, the RM Zara was Italy’s most modern cruiser design at the outbreak of the war. She was one of four ships and she was armed with 8 203mm cannons, 16 100mm cannons, 6 40mm cannons (later 8 37mm cannons), 8 13.2mm heavy machine guns but no torpedo armament. Unlike the previous ships she has a moderate armour layout of 150mm on the belt and 70mm on the deck and she still retains a good speed of 33 knots. She served at Calabria, undertook several attempts at convoy raiding on British supply lines to Malta and was present at the Taranto raid but avoided any damage. She was ultimately sunk in 1941 at the Battle of Cape Matapan when she attempted to provide support to her sister ship RM Pola before being decisively engaged by a British squadron and sunk along with the RM Pola and her another sister the RM Fiume
Rank X Destroyer – RM Paolo Emilio
This will most likely be an Arsenal or reward ship, this is an Italian light cruiser designed to be a Flotilla leader. She comes with 8 135mm cannons, 8 37mm cannons, 8 20mm cannons and 8 533mm torpedoes. She has extremely thin armour but has a top speed of 41 knots. Named after the subjugator of Ancient Macedonia, Consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, she was laid down in 1939 but was cancelled at the outbreak of the war in 1940, other ships of this class went into service with the French Navy after the war.
With that, the sneak peak is over, hope you find this interesting and look forward to seeing what else we have in store for the other Italian cruiser, and I shall see you all next time!