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|Succeeded by:||Regele Ferdinand class|
|Length:||94.18 m (309 ft 0 in)|
|Beam:||9.47 m (31 ft 1 in)|
|Draught:||3.5 m (11 ft 6 in)|
|Propulsion:||2 shaft Tosi type geared turbines|
|Speed:||34 knots (63 km/h; 39 mph)|
|Range:||1,700 nautical miles (3,100 km; 2,000 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)|
The Mărăști class were a group of destroyers built in Italy for the Romanian Navy, based on Romanian specifications. The ships fought in both world wars but for different owners and had a complex history.
In 1913, the Romanian government ordered a class of four large destroyers from the Pattison yard in Naples, Italy. The four ships were named Vifor, Viscol, Vârtej and Vijelia. The Italian government requisitioned the ships in 1915 upon entering the First World War, renaming them Aquila, Falco, Nibbio and Sparviero. The four ships were significantly larger than contemporary Italian destroyers and were rated as Esploratori or scout cruisers. They were armed with three single 6-inch and four 3-inch guns.
After the end of the First World War, two of the ships (Sparviero and Nibbio) were re-sold to Romania, being renamed Mărăști and Mărășești. They arrived at Constanța in 1920. The other two ships were retained by Italy until sold to the Nationalist faction of Spain in 1937. During the 1925-1926 refit of Mărăști and Mărășești at the Galați shipyard in Romania, the 6-inch guns were removed and later used as coastal artillery, with the two destroyers being sent back to Naples for re-arming after the refit. They were subsequently armed with two twin 120 mm guns in two turrets and a single 120 mm gun, the latter being removed during World War II.
Both ships were active during the Naval war in the Black Sea in World War II, chiefly convoying supplies between Romania, the Crimea and the Bosphorus. On 26 June 1941, Mărăști helped repel a Soviet naval attack against the main Romanian port of Constanța, together with the destroyer Regina Maria and the minelayer Amiral Murgescu. Surprised by the level of resistance and the accuracy of the return fire, the Soviet fleet withdrew, losing the destroyer leader Moskva into a Romanian minefield, laid by the Romanian minelayers Amiral Murgescu, Regele Carol I and Aurora on 19 June. Her sister ship Kharkov was damaged by the German coastal battery Tirpitz while the cruiser Voroshilov was also damaged by Romanian mines. Amiral Murgescu claimed to have shot down 2 Soviet aircraft. On 7 July 1943, Mărășești depth-charged and sank the Soviet M-class submarine M-31. Both ships were surrendered to the Soviets in August 1944 on the Capitulation of Romania and were incorporated into the Black Sea Fleet as Lovkiy (Ловкий, ex-Mărăști) and Lyogkiy (Лёгкий, ex-Mărășești) but were returned to Romania in October 1945, served in Naval Forces of Romanian People's Republic under the numbers D12 and D11 and scrapped in the 1960s.
Aquila and Falco were sold to the Nationalist Spanish Navy, which, in 1937 only had one destroyer available (Velasco). They were renamed Melilla and Ceuta, and saw heavy service, in spite of their poor condition. To conceal the fact that Italy was selling ships to Franco's side, they were often referred as Velasco-Ceuta and Velasco-Melilla. After the war, they were retained by the Spanish Navy.
|Mărăști (ex-Sparviero, ex-Vijelia)||26 March 1917||15 July 1917||1925-1926, Galați shipyard||Written off 1963|
|Mărășești (ex-Nibbio, ex-Vârtej)||30 January 1918||15 May 1918||1925-1926, Galați shipyard||Written off 1963|
The former Aquila and Falco served in the Spanish Navy as Melilla and Ceuta until 1949
Name in Italian Service
Transferred to Spain
|Melilla||Aquila||Patison - Naples||1916||1937||1950||Scrapped|
|Ceuta||Falco||Patison - Naples||1919||1937||1948||Scrapped|
- Frederick Thomas Jane, Jane's Fighting Ships, p. 204
- Adrian Storea, Gheorghe Băjenaru, Artileria română în date și imagini (Romanian artillery in data and pictures), p. 109 (in Romanian)
- Jonathan Trigg, Death on the Don: The Destruction of Germany's Allies on the Eastern Front, Chapter 3
- Antony Preston, Warship 2000-2001, pp. 70 and 71
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