Mărăști-class destroyer

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Marasti1917-1944-2.jpg
NMS Mărăști
Class overview
Operators:  Regia Marina
 Romanian Naval Forces
 Soviet Navy
 Spanish Navy
Succeeded by: Regele Ferdinand class
Completed: 4
Retired: 4
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,410 long tons (1,430 t) standard
1,723 long tons (1,751 t) full load
Length: 94.18 m (309 ft 0 in)
Beam: 9.47 m (31 ft 1 in)
Draught: 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in)
Propulsion: 2 shaft Tosi type geared turbines, 5 Thornycroft type boilers, 45,000 hp
Speed: 34 knots (39 mph; 63 km/h)
Range: 1700 nm at 15 knots
Complement: 139
Armament: (as modernised for Romania)
    • 5×120 mm guns (2x2, 1x1)
      •4×76 mm guns (4x1)
      • 2×13 mm machine guns
      •4×18 in (457 mm) torpedo tubes (2×2)
      • 30 mines

The Mărăști class were a group of destroyers built in Italy for the Romanian Navy. The ships fought in both world wars but for different owners and had a complex history.

History[edit]

Mărăşeşti destroyer

In 1913, the Romanian government ordered a class of four large destroyers from the Pattison yard in Naples, Italy. The four ships were named Vifor, Viscol, Vârtej and Vijelia. The Italian government requisitioned the ships in 1915 upon entering World War I, renaming them Aquila, Falco, Nibbio and Sparviero. These ships were significantly larger than contemporary Italian destroyers and were rated as Esploratori or scout cruisers. The armament comprised three single 6 inch and 4 x 3 inch guns.

After the end of the First World War, two of the ships (Sparviero and Nibbio) were re-sold to Romania, arriving in Constanța in 1920. The other two ships were retained by Italy until sold to the Nationalist faction of Spain in 1937. The six inch guns proved too heavy for the Romanian Navy and were replaced by two twin 120 mm guns in powered turrets and a single 120 mm gun.

Both ships were active during the Naval war in the Black Sea in World War II. Chiefly convoying supplies between Romania, the Crimea and the Bosphorus. Mărașești sank the Soviet M class submarine M-31 in July 1943. Both ships were surrendered to the Soviets in August 1944 on the Capitulation of Romania and were incorporated into the Black Sea Fleet as the Lovkiy (Ловкий, ex-Mărăști) and Lyogkiy (Лёгкий, ex-Mărășești) but were returned to Romania in October 1945, served in Naval Forces of Romanian People's Republic under the numbers D12 and D11 and scrapped in the 1960s.

Aquila and Falco were sold to the Nationalist Spanish Navy, which, in 1937 only had one destroyer available (Velasco). They were renamed Melilla and Ceuta, and saw heavy service, in spite of their poor condition. To conceal the fact that Italy was selling ships to Franco's side, they were often referred as Velasco-Ceuta and Velasco-Melilla. After the war, they were retained by the Spanish Navy.

Ships[edit]

Ship Launched Commissioned Fate
Mărăști (ex-Sparviero, ex-Vijelia) 26 March 1917 15 July 1917 Written off 1963
Mărășești (ex-Nibbio, ex-Vârtej) 30 January 1918 15 May 1918 Written off 1963

The former Aquila and Falco served in the Spanish Navy as Melilla and Ceuta until 1949

Name

Name in Italian Service

Builder

Launched

Transferred to Spain

Decommissioned

Fate

Melilla Aquila Patison - Naples 1916 1937 1950 Scrapped
Ceuta Falco Patison - Naples 1919 1937 1948 Scrapped

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Whitley, M.J. (1988). Destroyers of World War 2. Cassell Publishing. ISBN 1-85409-521-8. 
  • Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946