Italian battleship Littorio
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|Namesake:||Italian Fascist emblem|
|Ordered:||10 June 1934|
|Builder:||Ansaldo, Genova-Sestri Ponente|
|Laid down:||28 October 1934|
|Launched:||22 August 1937|
|Sponsored by:||Signora Teresa Ballerino Cabella|
|Commissioned:||6 May 1940|
|Decommissioned:||1 June 1948|
|Struck:||1 June 1948|
|Fate:||Scrapped at La Spezia 1952-54|
|Class & type:||Littorio-class battleship|
|Displacement:||37,820 long tons (38,430 t) (light)
40,723 long tons (41,376 t) (standard)
43,143 long tons (43,835 t) (normal)
45,237 long tons (45,963 t) (full load)
|Length:||780.05 ft (237.76 m) oa
734.070 ft (223.745 m) pp
|Beam:||108.104 ft (32.950 m) max beam
106.408 ft (32.433 m) waterline
|Draft:||34.252 ft (10.440 m) @ 45,029 long tons (45,752 t; 50,432 short tons)|
|Installed power:||128,222 shp (95,615 kW) (normal)
138,085 shp (102,970 kW) (overload)
|Propulsion:||8 × Yarrow boilers, 4 × steam turbines, 4 × shafts|
|Speed:||29 kn (33 mph; 54 km/h) (full-load)|
|Range:||3,920 mi (6,310 km; 3,410 nmi) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)|
|EC 3 ter 'Gufo' Radar|
|Armament:||3 × 3 381 mm (15.0 in)/50 cal guns
4 × 3 152 mm (6.0 in)/55 cal guns
4 × 1 120 mm (4.7 in)/40 guns for illumination
12 × 1 90 mm (3.5 in)/50 anti-aircraft guns
20 37 mm (1.5 in)/54 guns (8 × 2; 4 × 1)
10 × 2 20 mm (0.79 in)/65 guns
6 × 1 8 mm (0.31 in) guns
|Armor:||max 350 mm (14 in) (vertical)
max 207 mm (8.1 in) (horizontal)
|Aircraft carried:||3 aircraft (IMAM Ro.43 or Reggiane Re.2000)|
|Aviation facilities:||1 stern catapult|
Littorio was a Littorio-class battleship that served in the Regia Marina during World War II. She was named after the Lictor ("Littorio" in Italian), in ancient times the bearer of the Roman fasces, which was adopted as the symbol of Italian Fascism.
Littorio and her sister Vittorio Veneto were built in response to the French battleships Dunkerque and Strasbourg. They were Italy's first modern battleships, and the first 35,000 ton capital ships of any nation to be built under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty. Littorio was the second of the class to be launched, about a month after the Vittorio Veneto, and was commissioned 6 May 1940, eight days after her sister. Littorio took part in several operational sorties, most of which failed to result in any action, the notable exception being the Second Battle of Sirte, where she damaged several British warships. Littorio was the victim of several Allied aerial attacks throughout her career, the worst of which was the British air raid on the Italian fleet at Taranto on 11 November 1940, which put her out of action until the following March.
Littorio was renamed Italia in July 1943 after the fall of the Fascist government. On 9 September 1943 – the day following the announcement of the Italian armistice – the Italian fleet was attacked by German bombers. During this action, which saw the destruction of her sister Roma, Italia herself was hit by a Fritz X radio-controlled bomb, causing light damage to her bow. As part of the armistice agreement, Italia was interned at Malta, Alexandria, and finally in the Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal, where she remained until 1947. Italia was scrapped at La Spezia 1952-54.
Construction and Commissioning
The design studies of what was to become the Littorio class was headed by Inspector-General of Naval Engineering, Umberto Pugliese. At 35,000 long tons (36,000 t), the initial two ships nominally met the terms of the Washington Treaty. 
Littorio was laid down at the Ansaldo shipyards in Genoa on 28 October 1934 to commemorate the Fascist Party's March on Rome in 1922. Her sister Vittorio Veneto was laid down the same day. Changes to the design and a lack of armor plating led to delays in the building schedule, causing a three-month slip in the launch date from the original plan of May 1937. Littorio was launched on 22 August 1937, during a ceremony attended by many Italian dignitaries. She was sponsored by Signora Teresa Ballerino Cabella, the wife on an Ansaldo employee. After launch, the fitting out period lasted until early 1940. During this time, Littorio's bow was modified to lessen vibration and reduce wetness over the bow.
Littorio ran a series of sea trials over a period of two months between 23 October 1939 and 21 December 1939. She was commissioned on 6 May 1940, and after running additional trials that month, she transferred to Taranto where she - along with the Vittorio Veneto - joined the 9th Division under the command of Rear Admiral Carlo Bergamini.
Littorio's design speed was 29 kn (33 mph; 54 km/h) at full-load. During full speed trials, she reached an average speed of 31.293 kn (36.011 mph; 57.955 km/h) on a displacement of 41,782 t (41,122 long tons). Although speed tests at overloaded power levels were not performed, it was determined that the ship had a theoretical top speed of 32.2 kn (37.1 mph; 59.6 km/h).
Range as designed was as follows:
- 4,580 mi (7,370 km; 3,980 nmi) at 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph)
- 3,920 mi (6,310 km; 3,410 nmi) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)
- 1,770 mi (2,850 km; 1,540 nmi) at 30 kn (56 km/h; 35 mph)
During service, Littorio's actual range was calculated to be:
- 4,870 mi (7,840 km; 4,230 nmi) at 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph)
- 4,050 mi (6,520 km; 3,520 nmi) at 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph)
On 31 August - 2 September 1940, Littorio sortied as part of a large Italian force to oppose British naval forces taking part in Operations Hats and "MB.3", but contact was not made and no action occurred. A similar outcome resulted from the movement against British Operation "MB.5" on 29 September - 1 October.
She was in Taranto harbor during the Battle of Taranto on 11 November, during which she received three torpedo hits, which caused extensive damage requiring five months repairs.
After repairs, Littorio participated in the attack of the Allied convoy Albert on 27 September 1941. The convoy was transporting supplies to the island of Malta. On 17 December, she took part in the First Battle of Sirte. She was assigned to the distant covering force for the convoy M 42, which was bound for North Africa, carrying supplies for Rommel's Afrika Korps. Littorio, along with the rest of the distant covering force, engaged the escort of a British convoy heading for Malta, and drove them off.
On 3 January 1942, Littorio was again tasked with convoy escort, in support of M 43. On 22 March, she participated in the Second Battle of Sirte, as the flagship for an Italian force attempting to destroy a British convoy bound for Malta. During the battle, Littorio struck and seriously damaged the destroyers HMS Havock and Kingston with her main guns, nearly destroying Kingston, which managed to limp back to Malta the following morning. Three months later, on 15 June, Littorio participated in the interception of the Vigorous convoy to Malta. During the return to port, Littorio was struck by a torpedo dropped by a British Wellington bomber, but the ship was able to return to port for repairs.
On 30 July 1943, after the fall of Benito Mussolini, Littorio was renamed Italia. The Armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces took place on 8 September, along with the rest of the Italian fleet she was formally surrendered to the Allies on the following day. During the steaming to the Allied port of Malta, the Italian fleet was attacked by German Dornier Do 217s armed with Fritz X radio-controlled bombs. During this attack Italia was hit on the starboard side underneath her fore main turrets, while its sister ship, the Italian flagship Roma, was sunk after it was struck by two bombs. Italia was then stationed in the Great Bitter Lake in Egypt until the end of the war, she was dismantled at La Spezia 1951-54..
Littorio participated in 46 war missions, nine of which were enemy hunting and three were as an escort.
- Whitley, Battleships of World War Two, 171
- Bagnasco and de Toro, The Littorio Class, 46
- Bagnasco and de Toro, The Littorio Class, 34
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- Garzke and Dulin, Axis and Neutral Battleships, 407
- Bagnasco, Erminio; de Toro, Augusto (2010). The Littorio Class. S Yorkshire: Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59114-445-8.
- Garzke, William H.; Dulin, Robert O. (1985). Battleships: Axis and Neutral Battleships in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-101-3. OCLC 12613723.
- Whitley, M.J. (1998). Battleships of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-184-X. OCLC 40834665.
Media related to Category:Littorio class Battleships at Wikimedia Commons