Italian cruiser Giovanni Bausan

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Italian cruiser Giovanni Bausan LOC 4a04852v.jpg
The Italian cruiser Giovanni Bausan.
Class overview
Builders: Elswick
Operators: Regia Marina
Succeeded by: Etna-class protected cruiser
Built: 1882–1885
In commission: 1885–1920
Planned: 1
Completed: 1
Scrapped: 1
Career (Italy)
Name: Giovanni Bausan
Namesake: Giovanni Bausan, a naval officer and politician of the Kingdom of Naples
Builder: Elswick
Laid down: 21 August 1882
Launched: 15 December 1883
Commissioned: 9 May 1885
Decommissioned: 15 January 1920
Fate: Sold for scrapping 1920
General characteristics
Type: Protected cruiser
Displacement: 3,082 long tons (3,131 t)
Length: 280 ft (85.3 m)
Beam: 42 ft (12.8 m)
Draft: 18 ft 6 in (5.6 m)
Installed power: 6,470 ihp (4,820 kW)
Propulsion: 2 shafts, horizontal compound steam engines
Speed: 17.4 knots (32.2 km/h; 20.0 mph)
Range: 3,500 nautical miles (6,500 km; 4,000 mi) at 10 knots
Complement: 13 officers and 254 men
Armament: 2 × 1 - 10-inch (25 cm)/30 guns in barbettes
6 x 1 5.9-inch (15 cm) in casemates
4 x 6-pdr Hotchkiss
2 x 1-pounder
3 14-inch (360 mm) torpedo tubes
Armor: 1.5-inch (38 mm) deck
Notes: Fuel load, 400–600 long tons (410–610 t) coal

Giovanni Bausan was a protected cruiser of the Regia Marina (the Royal Italian Navy) that was designed and built by Sir W G Armstrong Mitchell & Co.'s Elswick Works in England in the mid-1880s. One of the first ships of her type,[1] Bausan was intended for use as a "battleship destroyer", but the low rate of fire of her guns and her lack of steadiness as a gun platform made her ineffective in this role.[2] Seeing service in both the conquest of Eritrea and the Italo-Turkish War, she had been relegated to auxiliary roles by the outbreak of the First World War, and was sold for scrapping soon after the conclusion of that conflict.


The design of Giovanni Bausan was based on that of Elswick's earlier Esmeralda, built for Chile, and was the first modern protected cruiser constructed for the Italian Navy.[3] Referred to by some as a torpedo ram,[4] she was equipped with a ram bow and initially fitted with rigging as a schooner.[5] She was fitted with an armoured deck 1.5 inches (38 mm) in thickness, and had an 'armor' belt of cork at her waterline,[5] which was intended to swell through water absorption after being hit. This proved to be unsuccessful as hits would result in the destruction of the cork.[6]

Armament was heavy for her size, with the main armament consisting of a pair of 10-inch (250 mm), 30-50-caliber, breech-loading guns in barbettes fore and aft, capable of training up to 30 degrees abaft of the beam.[6] Six 5.9-inch (150 mm), 26-caliber secondary guns were mounted in casemates three to a beam, while 14-inch (360 mm) torpedo tubes were mounted in the bow underwater and one on each beam above water with 50 degrees of train.[6]

The three Etna-class protected cruisers were half-sisters of Bausan, built to a modified, slightly enlarged design.[2]

Operational history[edit]

After her commissioning on 9 May 1885, she departed from England on 21 May to join the Squada Permamente (Permanent Squadron), and in 1887–1888 she participated in the conquest of Eritrea, where she acted as the flagship of the Italian Red Sea Squadron.[2]

Following the conclusion of the Eritrean campaign, Bausan would spend much of her time in service overseas, particularly in the Americas.[2] During this service, she made a port visit to New York City in 1892,[7] during which she was the first foreign warship to be repaired at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 15 years.[8] By 1905 she had been designated for use as a training ship, and served as such until the outbreak of the Italo-Turkish War in 1912.[2] Returning to active duty as Flagship Cyrenaica, she served in the shore bombardment role until the end of the war, when she was again returned to second-line service as a distilling ship.[2] Fitted with four distillers and capable of producing 200 tons of fresh water every 24 hours,[9] she was operating in this role at the start of the First World War.

Because of the pressing need for artillery for service with the army, Bausan was disarmed during the war,[9] and was reassigned for service as a seaplane depot ship at Brindisi.[2] Decommissioned in 1919,[10] she was sold for scrap in 1920 and broken up soon after.[2]


  1. ^ Brook in Preston 2003, p. 94
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Brook in Preston 2003, p. 97
  3. ^ Marshall 1995, p.268.
  4. ^ The Illustrated Naval and Military Magazine, Vol. 5, London: W.H. Allen. p. 316. (No. 29, Nov. 1, 1886)
  5. ^ a b Reed 1888, p. 137.
  6. ^ a b c Brook in Preston 2003, p. 96
  7. ^ The Giovanni Bausan: Arrival Of The Italian Man-Of-War In This Port. The New York Times, 2 October 1892.
  8. ^ Two Cruisers Compared: Differences Between The Giovanni Bausan And The Cincinnati. The New York Times, 12 November 1892.
  9. ^ a b Jane's WW1, p. 220.
  10. ^ Jane's WW1, p.212
  • Brook, Peter. "Armstrongs and the Italian Navy". in Preston, Antony (ed.). Warship 2002-2003. London: Conway Maritime Press, 2003. pp. 94-115. ISBN 0-85177-926-3.
  • Jane's Fighting Ships of World War I. Originally published by Jane's Publishing Company, 1919. New York: Military Press, 1990. ISBN 0-517-03375-5.
  • Marshall, Chris, ed. The Encyclopedia of Ships: The History and Specifications of Over 1200 Ships. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1995. ISBN 1-56619-909-3.
  • Reed, Sir Edward James. Modern Ships of War (1888). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009; originally published 1888. ISBN 1-112-55429-7.

External links[edit]