Italian aircraft carrier Sparviero
The Sparviero under construction
|Builder:||Ansaldo Shipyard, Genoa|
|Launched:||13 December 1926|
|Fate:||Taken over by the Kriegsmarine|
|Fate:||Scuttled in 1944; scrapped, 1946|
|Installed power:||28,000 HP|
|Capacity:||1,420 men (including 107 officers)|
Sparviero (Italian: "Sparrowhawk") was an Italian aircraft carrier designed and built during World War II. She was originally the ocean liner MS Augustus. The conversion was started in 1942 and was almost completed, but the ship was never delivered to the Regia Marina. She began to be scrapped in 1946, a process completed by 1952.
As MS Augustus
In 1936, a project to transform the 30,418 GRT ocean liner Augustus into an auxiliary carrier was prepared. The idea was initially abandoned but then resumed in 1942. The passenger ship Augustus was first renamed Falco and then to Sparviero.
The superstructure was to be removed. She would have also been equipped with a single hangar with two lifts and fitted with a flight deck that ended 45 meters (148 ft) before the bow. She would have had a narrow flight deck. Her air group was to be either 34 fighters or 16 fighters and 9 torpedo bombers. The propulsion plant was to remain unchanged, the diesel engines giving an estimated speed of under 20 knots.
The conversion began in September 1942, the work undertaken by the Ansaldo Shipyard in Genoa. Apart from removing the superstructure little else was done before the Italian capitulation in September 1943. The hull was captured by the Germans and was sunk on 5 October 1944 to block access to the port of Genoa. The wreckage was recovered after the war and finally scrapped in 1951.
Like Sparviero, the Italian aircraft carrier Aquila, a modification of the sister ship of Augustus, SS Roma, was scuttled and scrapped before the conversion into the aircraft carrier was finished. These two ships were the last attempts to build aircraft carriers for the Italian Navy until 1981, when work began on Giuseppe Garibaldi.