Italian ironclad Enrico Dandolo

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Enrico Dandolo
Enrico Dandolo on 6 December 1898 after her reconstruction.
Name: Enrico Dandolo
Namesake: Enrico Dandolo
Laid down: 6 January 1873
Launched: 1878
Commissioned: 1882
Decommissioned: 4 July 1920
General characteristics
Class and type: Caio Duilio-class ironclad turret ship
Displacement: 11,138 long tons (11,317 t)
12,267 long tons (12,464 t) full
Length: 109.2 m (358 ft 3 in)
Beam: 19.79 m (64 ft 11 in)
Draft: 8.8 m (28 ft 10 in)
Installed power: 7,710 ihp (5,749 kW)
8 coal-fired boilers
Propulsion: 2 Shafts, 2 compound-expansion steam engines
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Range: 3,760 nmi (6,960 km; 4,330 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 420
Armament: 2 × twin 450 mm (17.72 in) rifled, muzzle-loading guns
3 × 356 mm (14 in) torpedo tubes

Enrico Dandolo was one of two Caio Duilio-class ironclad turret ships built for the Royal Italian Navy (Regia Marina) in the 1870s. They were fitted with the largest guns available, 450 mm (17.72 in) rifled, muzzle-loading guns, and were the largest, fastest and most powerful ships of their day.[1]


Line-drawing of the Caio Duilio class

Enrico Dandolo was 109.16 meters (358.1 ft) long overall and had a beam of 19.65 m (64.5 ft) and an average draft of 8.36 m (27.4 ft). She displaced 11,025 metric tons (10,851 long tons; 12,153 short tons) normally and up to 12,037 t (11,847 long tons; 13,269 short tons) at full load. Her propulsion system consisted of two vertical compound steam engines each driving a single screw propeller, with steam supplied by eight coal-fired, rectangular boilers. Her engines produced a top speed of 15.6 knots (28.9 km/h; 18.0 mph) at 8,045 indicated horsepower (5,999 kW). She could steam for 2,875 nautical miles (5,324 km; 3,308 mi) at a speed of 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph). She had a crew of 420 officers and men, which later increased to 515.[2]

Enrico Dandolo was armed with a main battery of four 17.7 in (450 mm) 20-caliber guns, mounted in two turrets placed en echelon amidships. As was customary for capital ships of the period, she carried three 14 in (360 mm) torpedo tubes. Enrico Dandolo was protected by belt armor that was 21.5 in (550 mm) thick at its strongest section, which protected the ship's magazines and machinery spaces. Both ends of the belt were connected by transverse bulkheads that were 15.75 in (400 mm) thick. She had an armored deck that was 1.1 to 2 in (28 to 51 mm) thick. Her gun turrets were armored with 17 in of steel plate. The ship's bow and stern were not armored, but they were extensively subdivided into a cellular "raft" that was intended to reduce the risk of flooding.[2]

Service history[edit]

Enrico Dandolo, named after Enrico Dandolo, the 42nd Doge of Venice, was laid down at La Spezia on 6 January 1873 and was launched on 10 July 1878. Fitting-out work was completed on 11 April 1882.[2] During the annual fleet maneuvers held in 1885, Enrico Dandolo served as the flagship of the 1st Division of the "Western Squadron", with Vice Admiral Martini commanding. She was joined by her sister Caio Duilio, the protected cruiser Giovanni Bausan, and a sloop. The "Western Squadron" attacked the defending "Eastern Squadron", simulating a Franco-Italian conflict, with operations conducted off Sardinia.[3]

The ship served as the flagship of the 3rd Division of the Active Squadron during the 1893 fleet maneuvers, along with the ironclad Affondatore, the torpedo cruiser Goito, and four torpedo boats. During the maneuvers, which lasted from 6 August to 5 September, the ships of the Active Squadron simulated a French attack on the Italian fleet.[4] For the rest of the year, Enrico Dandolo was assigned to the 2nd Division of the Italian fleet, along with the protected cruiser Vesuvio and the torpedo cruiser Partenope.[5]

She was thoroughly reconstructed between 1895 and 1898 to a design created by Inspector Engineer Giacinto Pulino. The ship's old, slow-firing 17.7 in guns were replaced with new quick-firing 10 in (250 mm) guns, and she received a new secondary battery to defend the ship against torpedo boats. The battery consisted of five 4.7 in (120 mm) 40-caliber guns, sixteen 57 mm (2.2 in) 43-caliber quick-firing guns, eight 37 mm (1.5 in) 20-caliber revolver cannon, and four machine guns. The main battery guns were placed in significantly smaller turrets that had 8.8 in (220 mm) of armor plating; the lighter guns and turrets reduced the ship's displacement to 10,679 t (10,510 long tons; 11,772 short tons) normally and 11,264 t (11,086 long tons; 12,416 short tons) at full load. Enrico Dandolo also received a new engine, though her performance remained the same. The ship's crew increased to 495.[6]

In 1901, Enrico Dandolo was joined in the 2nd Division by the ironclads Andrea Doria and Francesco Morosini, the armored cruiser Carlo Alberto, Partenope, and three torpedo boats.[7] She remained in service in the Active Squadron the following year, with Andrea Doria, Francesco Morosini, the three Re Umberto-class ironclads, and the new pre-dreadnought battleship Ammiraglio di Saint Bon.[8]

In 1905, Enrico Dandolo was transferred to the Reserve Squadron, along with the three Ruggiero di Laurias and the three Re Umbertos, three cruisers, and sixteen torpedo boats. This squadron only entered active service for two months of the year for training maneuvers, and the rest of the year was spent with reduced crews.[9] She thereafter served in the Gunnery School as a training ship, along with the torpedo cruiser Saetta.[10]

At the start of the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–12, Italia was assigned to the 5th Division of the Italian fleet, the ironclads Italia and Lepanto, but she saw no action during the conflict.[11] She became the guardship at Tobruk, Libya in 1913 and was transferred to Brindisi and Venice during World War I.[12] While stationed at Brindisi, six of her 37 mm guns were removed. She was stricken on 23 January 1920 and later broken up for scrap.[13]


  1. ^ Silverstone, p. 285
  2. ^ a b c Gardiner, p. 340
  3. ^ Brassey, p. 141
  4. ^ Clarke & Thursfield, pp. 202–203
  5. ^ "Naval and Military Notes – Italy", p. 567
  6. ^ Gardiner, pp. 340–341
  7. ^ "Naval Notes", p. 614
  8. ^ "Naval and Military Notes – Italy", p. 1075
  9. ^ Brassey (1905), p. 45
  10. ^ "Naval Notes – Italy", p. 1429
  11. ^ Beehler, p. 10
  12. ^ Silverstone, p. 297
  13. ^ Gardiner, p. 341


  • Beehler, William Henry (1913). The History of the Italian-Turkish War: September 29, 1911, to October 18, 1912. Annapolis: United States Naval Institute. 
  • Brassey, Thomas A., ed. (1886). "Evolutions of the Italian Navy, 1885". The Naval Annual (Portsmouth: J. Griffin & Co.). 
  • Brassey, Thomas A., ed. (1905). The Naval Annual (Portsmouth: J. Griffin & Co.).
  • Clarke, George S.; Thursfield, James R. (1897). The Navy and the Nation. London: John Murray. 
  • Gardiner, Robert, ed. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 
  • "Naval Notes". Journal of the Royal United Service Institution (London: J. J. Keliher) XLV: 606–625. 1901. OCLC 8007941. 
  • "Naval Notes – Italy". Journal of the Royal United Service Institution (London: J. J. Keliher). XLVIII: 1428–1431. 1904. OCLC 8007941. 
  • "Naval and Military Notes – Italy". Journal of the Royal United Service Institution (London: J. J. Keliher) XLVI: 1072–1076. 1902. OCLC 8007941. 
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1984). Directory of the World's Capital Ships. New York: Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-88254-979-0.