Italian cruiser Alberico da Barbiano

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Career (Italy)
Name: Alberico da Barbiano
Namesake: Alberico da Barbiano
Laid down: 16 April 1928
Launched: 23 August 1930
Commissioned: 9 June 1931
Fate: Sunk at the Battle of Cape Bon, 13 December 1941
General characteristics
Class and type: Giussano-class cruiser
Displacement: 6,571 tonnes (6,467 long tons) (standard)
6,954 tonnes (6,844 long tons) (full load)
Length: 169.3 m (555 ft 5 in)
Beam: 15.5 m (50 ft 10 in)
Draught: 5.3 m (17 ft 5 in)
Propulsion: 6 boilers
2 shafts
95,000 hp (71,000 kW)
Speed: 37 knots (69 km/h; 43 mph)
Range: 3,800 nmi (7,000 km) at 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph)
Complement: 507
Armament: 8 × 152 mm (6 in)/53 guns in 4 twin mountings
6 × 100 mm (3.9 in)/47 guns in 3 twin mountings
8 × 37 mm/53 machine-guns
8 × 13.2 mm machine-guns
4 × 533 mm (21 in) torpedo tubes
Armour: 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

Alberico da Barbiano was an Italian Giussano-class light cruiser, that served in the Regia Marina during World War II. She was named after Alberico da Barbiano, an Italian condottiero of the 14th century.

Launch and Sea Trials[edit]

Da Barbiano was launched on 23 August 1930. During her trials she managed to reach a speed of 42.05 knots (77.88 km/h), but to do that the propulsion was pushed to 123,479 hp (92,078 kW), far beyond the safety limits. She could only maintain this speed for about 30 minutes.

Service history[edit]

On 9 July 1940 Alberico da Barbiano was present at the Battle of Calabria (Punto Stilo). Due to the weakness of the class, on 1 September 1940 she was assigned as a training ship but on 1 March 1941 was returned to active service. On 12 December 1941 she left port together with her sister ship Alberto di Giussano. Both she and her sister were being used for an emergency convoy to carry gasoline for the German and Italian mobile formations fighting with the Afrika Korps. Jerry cans and other metal containers filled with gasoline were loaded onto both cruisers and were placed on the ships' open decks. The use of these two cruisers was predicated on their speed that would act as a protection against attack. Nonetheless, the ships were intercepted by Allied destroyers guided by radar and sunk on 13 December 1941, in the Battle of Cape Bon, when Alberico Da Barbiano, before being able to open fire, was hit by at least three torpedoes (two from HMS Sikh and one from HMS Legion or HMS Maori) and gunfire, burst into flames, capsized and sank within a few minutes, leaving behind a massive fire. 534 men, including Admiral Antonino Toscano, the commander of Italian Fourth Naval Division, his entire staff and the commanding officer of Alberico Da Barbiano, Captain Giorgio Rodocanacchi, were lost with the ship. 250 survivors reached the Tunisian coast or were picked up by rescuing vessels.

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