Italian cruiser Giovanni delle Bande Nere

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Bande Nere 2.jpg
Name: Giovanni delle Bande Nere
Namesake: Giovanni dalle Bande Nere
Builder: Castellammare di Stabia
Laid down: 31 October 1928
Launched: 27 April 1930
Commissioned: 1 January 1931
Struck: 1 April 1942
Fate: Sunk by HMS Urge, 1 April 1942
General characteristics
Class and type: Giussano-class cruiser
  • 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)
Draft: 5.3 m (17 ft 5 in)
  • 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
Aircraft carried: 2 × CANT 25AR (later Ro.43) seaplanes
Aviation facilities: 1 × catapult launcher

Giovanni dalle Bande Nere was an Italian light cruiser of the Giussano class, which served in the Regia Marina during World War II. She was named after the eponymous 16th century condottiero and member of the Medici family. Her keel was laid down in 1928 at Cantieri Navali di Castellammare di Stabia, Castellammare di Stabia; she was launched on 27 April 1930, and her construction was completed in 1931. Unlike her three sisters, the finish and workmanship on the vessel were not rated highly. She was sunk on 1 April 1942 by the British submarine HMS Urge.

The Giussano type of cruiser sacrificed protection for high speed and weaponry, as a counter to new French large destroyers.[1]


Bande Nere's service was entirely in the Mediterranean, initially as a precaution during the Spanish Civil War and afterwards in the Navy Ministry's Training Command. At the outbreak of Italy's war in June 1940, she formed the 2nd Cruiser Division with Luigi Cadorna. She did some mine-laying in the Sicilian Channel on 10 June and in July covered troop convoys to North Africa.[2]

Bande Nere and Bartolomeo Colleoni, en route from Tripoli to Leros, took part in the Battle of Cape Spada (17 July 1940), when the light protection was clearly exposed. In the fight between the two Italian light cruisers and the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney with five British destroyers, the Allies sank Colleoni and damaged Bande Nere. Colleoni was disabled by a shell that penetrated to her engine room, allowing the destroyers to torpedo and sink her. Bande Nere scored a hit on Sydney and returned to Tripoli.[2]

From December 1940 into 1941, she was assigned to the 4th Cruiser Division and covered several important troop convoys and attempts to interdict Malta. In June 1941, Bande Nere and Alberto da Giussano laid a defensive minefield off Tripoli which, in December, effectively destroyed the hitherto aggressive and successful British Force K; a cruiser and a destroyer were sunk and two more cruisers damaged. Further minelaying was done in July in the Sicilian Channel.[2]

In 1942, Bande Nere continued to support Italian convoys and interdict British ones. The Italian operation K7 ran supplies from Messina and Corfu to Tripoli with heavy naval support and there was an attempt to block the British convoy MW10, which led to the Second Battle of Sirte on 22 March 1942. Bande Nere was part of the battleship Littorio's flotilla. The Italian cruiser scored a hit on a British counterpart HMS Cleopatra during this engagement, damaging her after turrets.[2] Other reports state that Cleopatra's radar and radio installations were disabled.[3]

On 23 March, Bande Nere was damaged in storms and, needing repairs, was sent to La Spezia on 1 April 1942. While en route, she was hit by two torpedoes from the submarine HMS Urge, broke in two and sank with the loss of 381 men.[2][4]

During the war, Bande Nere participated in 15 missions: four interceptions, eight convoy escorts, and three mine layings, for an overall total of 35,000 miles.



  • 8 May: attack against Tiger convoy


  • 21 February: operation K 7 (convoy escort to Libya)
  • 22 March: Second Battle of Sirte
  • On the morning of 1 April 1942, Bande Nere left Messina for La Spezia, escorted by the destroyer Aviere and patrol boat Libra. Eleven miles from Stromboli, at 0900, the group was intercepted by the British submarine Urge; a torpedo broke the Bande Nere into two sections, and she sank quickly with the loss of 381 of the 772 men aboard.[5]


  1. ^ Whitley, M J (1995). Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press. p. 129. ISBN 1-85409-225-1.
  2. ^ a b c d e Whitley, p.132
  3. ^ Woodman, Richard (2000). Malta Convoys. London: John Murray. p. 301. ISBN 0-7195-5753-4.
  4. ^ "VITA OPERATIVA DEGLI INCROCIATOR". Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  5. ^ Franco Gay, Incrociatori leggeri classe di Giussano, Edizioni dell’Ateneo & Bizzarri – Rome, n. 4 - 1979

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°42′32″N 15°0′31″E / 38.70889°N 15.00861°E / 38.70889; 15.00861