Azio-class minelayer

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Italian Naval minelayer Lepanto in 1938 at Yokohama.jpg
Minelayer Lepanto at Yokohama on 18 April 1938
Class overview
Name: Azio-class minelayer
Builders: Cantiere Navale Triestino
Planned: 6
Completed: 6
Lost: 1
Retired: 5
General characteristics
Type: Minelayer
  • 708 - 718 tons (normal)
  • 954 tons (full load)
Length: 62.5 m (205 ft)
Beam: 8.7 m (29 ft)
Height: 4.8 m (16 ft)
Draft: 2.6 m (8.5 ft) - 2.9 m (9.5 ft)
Installed power: 1,500 shp (1,100 kW)
  • 2 × Thornycroft tube boilers
  • 2 × vertical triple-expansion reciprocating steam engines
  • 2 × shafts
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h)
Range: 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) at 10 kn (19 km/h)
Crew: 5 officers and 66 ratings
  • 2 × 102/35mm (or 102/45mm) Terni (or Ansaldo Schneider) mod. 1914
  • 1 × 76/40 mm Ansaldo mod. 1917
  • 40 mines

The Azio-class minelayer was a class of 6 minelayers conceived in 1920 and built between 1924 and 1927 in Italy for the Regia Marina. The ships were conceived for colonial purposes and in this role they spent almost the whole Italian career. Some units were sold to the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela where they served until their decommissioning and scrapping in the early 1950s.


These units had a standard displacement of 615t, between 708 and 718t in normal load, 954t full load (850t according to other sources). Their waterline length was 58.79 metres (192.9 ft), with a length overall of about 62.5 metres (205 ft), a beam of 8.7 metres (29 ft), a draught of between 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) and 2.9 metres (9.5 ft). Steam was provided by 2 Thornycroft tube boilers and they were propelled by 2 vertical triple-expansion reciprocating steam engines with a power of 1,500 shaft horsepower (1,100 kW); they had 2 screws and a maximum speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph), giving a range of 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km) at 10 knots. They were manned by 5 officers and 66 ratings.[1]

Ships were built in Monfalcone, near Trieste, in the Cantiere Navale Triestino (Trieste Shipyard).[2]


  • Azio
  • Lepanto
  • Legnano
  • Ostia
  • Dardanelli
  • Milazzo


Ships of the class spent their Italian career on colonial duty, with Lepanto deployed to China. In 1937 Milazzo and Dardanelli were sold to the Venezuelan Navy in exchange of a great amount of naphtha for boilers.[3][4]

Okitsu escorting convoy «ShiSe 603», in Eastern Chinese Sea, 18 June 1945

Lepanto was extensively used in China, and when the Second World War broke out, was still there unscathed, Italy being allied with Japan. After the surrender of Italy to the Allies on 8 September 1943, Lepanto was scuttled by her crew, but was raised by the Japanese. She was renamed Okitsu (Japanese: 興津) and used for escort duties for the rest of conflict. She was then seized by the Republic of China Navy and finally the People's Liberation Army Navy and renamed Sien Ning. In July 1950 Sien Ning seized a British merchantman. Struck in 1956, the ship was scrapped in the same year.[5][6][7][8]

Dardanelli was rechristened General Soublette, while Milazzo become General Urdaneta. Both were reclassified gunboats.[9] These units were the only relatively new vessels of the Venezuelan Navy,[citation needed] and spent their Venezuelan career patrolling territorial waters until their decommissioning in the late 1940s or early 1950s[2][9][10][11] and scrapping.[12][13]


  1. ^ (Italian)L’impresa del sommergibile Perla.
  2. ^ a b (Italian) Museo della Cantieristica.
  3. ^ (Italian) Naviearmatori
  4. ^ (Italian) Un marinaio del Tigullio in Cina ("A Tigullio sailor in China"),
  5. ^ (Italian) Associazione Navimodellisti Bolognesi[dead link]
  6. ^ Okitsu gunboat at
  7. ^ (Russian) Lepanto at Navyworld
  8. ^ Italian Lepanto / Japanese 興津 (Okitsu) at Warships 1900-1950 website.
  9. ^ a b (Russian) Venezuelan Navy category at
  10. ^ ARV General Soublette at Navyworld
  11. ^ Minelayer Dardanelli (1924) at
  12. ^ Warships 1900-1950
  13. ^ IN Ostia (1926) at Oceania