Giussano-class cruiser

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Bartolomeo Colleoni in Venice
Bartolomeo Colleoni in Venice
Class overview
Operators: Italy Regia Marina
Built: 1928–1930
In commission: 1931–1942
Completed: 4
Lost: 4
General characteristics
Displacement: 6,570 tonnes (6,470 long tons) standard
6,954 tonnes (6,844 long tons) full load
Length: 169.3 m (555 ft)
Beam: 15.5 m (51 ft)
Draft: 5.3 m (17 ft)
Propulsion: 95,000 hp
Speed: 37 knots (69 km/h; 43 mph)
(42 knots (78 km/h; 48 mph) in trials)
Range: 3,800 nmi (7,000 km) at 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 507
Armament: 8 × 152 mm (6 in) in 4 twin mountings
6 × 100 mm (3.9 in) in 3 twin mountings
8 × 37 mm machine-guns
8 × 13.2 mm machine-guns
4 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
Armor: Decks: 20 mm (0.79 in)
Belt: 24 mm (0.94 in)
Turrets: 23 mm (0.91 in)
Tower: 40 mm (1.6 in)
Aircraft carried: 2 × CANT 25AR (later Ro.43) seaplanes
Aviation facilities: 1 × catapult launcher

The Giussano-class light cruisers were built before World War II for the Italian Regia Marina, to gain predominance in the Mediterranean Sea. They were designed by general Giuseppe Vian and were named after military commanders of the Italian Mediaeval and Renaissance periods.

Between the two World Wars, the world powers started a rush to gain the supremacy on the seas. In 1926, France started to produce the Le Fantasque class of destroyers, which were superior in displacement and firepower to the destroyers of that period. In order to counter the French menace, Regia Marina decided to produce a new class of cruiser that would be of intermediate size between the new French destroyer class and the cruisers built in that period. In fact, they roughly equated to the British Leander class cruisers.

There were 4 ships, all laid down in 1928:

Meant to hunt down and overwhelm the big French destroyers, the emphasis on firepower and speed resulted in these ships being virtually unprotected, against both gunfire and underwater threats; this was a major factor in all four ships being sunk by torpedoes:

  • Colleoni sank during the Battle of Cape Spada in 1940.
  • da Barbiano and di Giussano were sunk during the Battle of Cape Bon in December 1941 by a group of Royal Navy and Dutch destroyers.
  • Bande Nere was sunk by torpedo from the British submarine HMS Urge in 1942 while off Stromboli.

See also[edit]

Media related to Di Giussano class cruiser at Wikimedia Commons

External links[edit]