Italian cruiser Pola

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Career (Italy)
Name: Pola
Builder: OTO shipyard, Livorno
Laid down: 17 March 1930
Launched: 5 February 1931
Commissioned: 21 December 1932
Fate: Sunk at Cape Matapan, March 29, 1941
General characteristics
Displacement: 13,531 tonnes (standard), 13,145 tonnes (full load)
Length: 182.8 m
Beam: 20.6m
Draught: 7.2m
Propulsion: 8 boilers, 2 turbines, 2 shafts, 95,000 hp
Speed: 32 knots (63 km/h)
Range: 5230 miles at 16 knots
Complement: 841
Armament:

guns:

  • 8 x 203 mm /53 Italian naval guns (in 4 double housings)
  • 16 x 100/47mm OTO 1927 model guns (in 8 double housings)
  • 6 x 40 mm/49 Vickers-Terni machine guns (in single housings)
  • 8 x 13.2 mm machine guns (4 double housings)

Torpedoes:

  • 8 x 533 mm torpedo launch tubes (in 4 twin fixed housings)
Armour: 70 mm (horizontal), 150 mm (vertical), 100 mm (towers), 100mm (control tower)
Aircraft carried: 2 Piaggio P6 seaplanes
Aviation facilities: 1 catapult

The Pola was a Zara class heavy cruiser of the Italian Regia Marina. She was built in the OTO shipyard at Livorno and entered service in 1932. She was sunk in the battle of Cape Matapan (29 March 1941) during World War II.

History[edit]

After intensive peacetime activity, at the start of the Second World War the Pola was made the flagship of Admiral Riccardo Paladini, commander of 2nd Squadron, and took part in 12 actions between then and her sinking, including the battles of Calabria and Cape Spartivento.

She also participated in the cruise across the western Mediterranean which culminated in the battle of Cape Matapan. At Matapan she was detected by the radar of a Royal Navy ship, then badly damaged by a hit from a torpedo fired from a Fairey Swordfish aeroplane and immobilised near the Matapan peninsula, though the rest of the Italian fleet continued its return journey. This immobilisation indirectly led to the later phase of the battle, when Admiral Angelo Iachino ordered Carlo Cattaneo to take the two remaining Zara class cruisers and four Oriani class destroyers to rescue the Pola. The rescue group's route there brought them directly within range of Admiral Andrew Cunningham's force. All but two destroyers of the rescuing ships were sunk.

A British destroyer HMS Jervis went alongside the unresisting Pola and boarded her taking off the wounded (275 of the Pola's crew in total) and some materiel. It being impracticable to tow the ship to Alexandria, it was sunk by torpedoes first by Jervis then Nubian.[1] The Italians were signalled of her position so those not already picked up by the British destroyers could be rescued.[2] with most of her crew rescued by Gaetano Tavoni (the great effort of the rescue caused him a fatal heart attack and his body was never found).

Popular Culture[edit]

The Pola appeared in the alternated history Japanese anime Strike Witches 2 episode "Higher than the Sky" with sistership, Zara. The ship were recreated in detail with CGI animation technology.

References[edit]

  1. ^ HMS Jervis
  2. ^ The Habit of Victory, Capt P Horr p288

Coordinates: 35°19′N 20°59′E / 35.317°N 20.983°E / 35.317; 20.983