Italian destroyer Audace (1916)

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Audace at Brindisi, 1917
Class overview
Preceded byPilo class
Succeeded byGiuseppe Sirtori class
In service1917–1944
Kingdom of Italy
BuilderYarrow Shipbuilders, Scotstoun
Laid down1 October 1913
Launched27 September 1916
Completed23 December 1916
Acquired3 July 1916
Commissioned1 March 1917
ReclassifiedAs torpedo boat, 1 September 1929
CapturedBy Germany, 12 September 1943
Nazi Germany
Acquired12 September 1943
FateSunk, 2 November 1944
General characteristics (as completed)
Class and typeUrakaze-class destroyer
Displacement922 t (907 long tons)
Length87.59 m (287 ft 4 in)
Beam8.38 m (27 ft 6 in)
Draft2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)
Installed power
Propulsion2 shafts, 2 steam turbines
Speed30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range2,180 nmi (4,040 km; 2,510 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement5 officers and 113 enlisted men

The Italian destroyer Audace was originally ordered by Japan from Yarrow Shipbuilders in Scotland under the name of Kawakaze, but was transferred to Italy in 1916 while still under construction. She served as the command ship for the radio-controlled target ship San Marco in 1937–1940 and then was rearmed for convoy escort and patrolling duties when World War II began. Audace was captured by the Germans in 1943 and used by them as a minelayer and escort ship in the Adriatic Sea until she was sunk by a pair of British destroyers in late 1944.

Design and description[edit]

Audace had a length between perpendiculars of 83.9 meters (275 ft 3 in) and an overall length of 87.59 meters (287 ft 4 in). She had a beam of 8.38 meters (27 ft 6 in) and a draft of 2.5 meters (8 ft 2 in). The ship displaced 922 metric tons (907 long tons) at normal load, and 1,170 metric tons (1,150 long tons) at deep load. Her complement was 5 officers and 113 enlisted men.[1]

The ship was powered by two Brown-Curtis steam turbines, each driving one propeller shaft using steam supplied by 3 Yarrow boilers. Designed for a maximum output of 22,000 shaft horsepower (16,000 kW) and a speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph), Audace handily exceeded this, reaching a speed of 34.5 knots (63.9 km/h; 39.7 mph) during her sea trials while lightly loaded. Her intended German-built diesel cruising engines were not delivered because of the war. She had a cruising range of 2,180 nautical miles (4,040 km; 2,510 mi) at a speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) and 560 nmi (1,040 km; 640 mi) at a speed of 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph).[2]

Only two quick-firing (QF) 39-caliber two-pounder anti-aircraft guns had been installed before the ship was transferred to Italy in 1916.[1] The gun fired its 40-millimeter (1.6 in), 0.91-kilogram (2 lb), high-explosive shells at a muzzle velocity of 620 meters per second (2,040 ft/s).[3] The ship's main armament consisted of seven QF Cannon 76/40 Model 1916 guns in single mounts.[2] This gun fired a 13.75-kilogram (30.31 lb) projectile at a muzzle velocity of 2,480 feet per second (755 m/s).[4] Audace was also equipped with four 450-millimeter (17.7 in) torpedo tubes in twin mounts, one on each broadside.[2]

Construction and career[edit]

The Imperial Japanese Navy ordered a pair of Urakaze-class destroyers from the British Yarrow Shipbuilders in 1913, and Kawakaze (as the ship was originally named) was laid down on 1 October 1913 at their Scotstoun shipyard. Construction was delayed by a backlog of previous orders and then by the outbreak of World War I in August 1914.[5] The Italians, desperately short of destroyers, began negotiations with the Japanese to acquire Kawakaze and succeeded on 3 July 1916 when they agreed to transfer the ship. The Regia Marina named their new acquisition Intrepido two days later, but renamed her Audace on 25 September.[2] She was launched on 27 September and completed on 1 March 1917.[6] She saw action in the Adriatic Sea during World War I, and was the first Italian ship to enter Trieste at the end of the war, celebrating the final union of the city with Italy (the pier where she moored was renamed Molo Audace, "Audace Pier", and her anchor became part of the Victory Lighthouse).

Audace was reclassified as a torpedo boat on 1 September 1929 and was modified to serve as the command ship of the radio-controlled target ship San Marco from 1937–1940.[6] She was rearmed in 1940 for escort duties with her main armament reduced to three 102-millimeter guns. In 1943 one 102-millimeter gun and the two 2-pounder AA guns were replaced by five 20 mm (0.79 in)/65 Breda Model 35 autocannon in single mounts.[7] Between 1940 and 1943 she was mostly used as an escort in the Adriatic Sea.

The ship left Trieste on 9 September 1943, following the Italian Armistice and the beginning of Operation Achse, intending to reach an Italian or Allied-controlled port in southern Italy; but engine problems forced her to make for Venice, where she was captured on 12 September when the Germans occupied the city. She was then commissioned into the Kriegsmarine and renamed TA20. The Germans augmented her anti-aircraft armament to 20 Breda guns in 10 twin mounts and assigned her to escort and minelaying work in the Adriatic Sea.[8] On 15 March 1944, she laid a minefield south of Ancona and others east of San Giorgio on the night of 17/18 and 29 March. The British destroyers Wheatland and Avon Vale ambushed and sank TA20 and two accompanying corvettes on 1 November south of Lussino in the Adriatic.[9]


  1. ^ a b Fraccaroli 1970, p. 72
  2. ^ a b c d Fraccaroli 1985, p. 269
  3. ^ Friedman, p. 119
  4. ^ Friedman, p. 241
  5. ^ Fraccaroli 1970, pp. 72, 74
  6. ^ a b Fraccaroli 1970, p. 74
  7. ^ Brescia, pp. 136–37
  8. ^ Brescia, p. 137
  9. ^ Rohwer, pp. 312, 370


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  • Brescia, Maurizio (2012). Mussolini's Navy: A Reference Guide to the Regina Marina 1930–45. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-544-8.
  • Campbell, John (1985). Naval Weapons of World War Two. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-459-4.
  • Fraccaroli, Aldo (1970). Italian Warships of World War I. London: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0105-7.
  • Fraccaroli, Aldo (1985). "Italy". In Gray, Randal (ed.). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1906–1921. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. pp. 252–290. ISBN 978-0-87021-907-8.
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War One. Barnsley, UK: Seaforth. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7.
  • Gardiner, Robert & Chesneau, Roger (1980). Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1922–1946. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-146-7.
  • "New Yarrow Destroyers" (PDF). The Engineer. Vol. 128. 4 July 1919. pp. 3–4.
  • Rohwer, Jürgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945: The Naval History of World War Two (Third Revised ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-119-2.
  • Whitley, M. J. (1988). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-326-1.

External links[edit]