Ruggiero di Lauria-class ironclad

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MM - Ruggiero di Lauria 1884.jpg
Painting of Ruggiero di Lauria
Class overview
Name: Ruggiero di Lauria class
Builders: Regio Cantiere di Castellammare di Stabia
Venetian Arsenal
Arsenale di La Spezia
Operators:  Regia Marina
Preceded by: Italia class
Succeeded by: Re Umberto class
Built: 1881–1891
In commission: 1888–1911
Planned: 3
Completed: 3
Retired: 3
General characteristics
Type: ironclad battleship
Displacement: 9,886 t (9,730 long tons; 10,897 short tons) normal
10,997 t (10,823 long tons; 12,122 short tons) full load
Length: 105.9 m (347.4 ft) length overall
Beam: 19.84 m (65.1 ft)
Draft: 8.29 to 8.37 m (27.2 to 27.5 ft)
Installed power: 10,591 ihp (7,898 kW)
8 cylindrical boilers
Propulsion: 2-shafts, 2 compound steam engines
Speed: 16 to 17 knots (30 to 31 km/h; 18 to 20 mph)
Endurance: 2,800 nautical miles (5,186 km) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 507–509
Armament: 4 × 17-inch (432 mm)/27 guns (2x2)
2 × 6-inch (152 mm)/32 guns
4 × 14-inch (356 mm) submerged torpedo tubes
Armor: Belt: 17 in (431.8 mm)
Deck: 3 in (76.2 mm)
Barbettes: 14.2 in (361 mm)
Conning tower: 9.8 in (249 mm)

The Ruggiero di Lauria class was a class of Italian battleships which served in the Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy) during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They essentially were improved versions of the Caio Duilio-class battleships which had preceded them.


Starting in the 1870s, following the Italian fleet's defeat at the Battle of Lissa, the Italians began a large naval expansion program, initially aimed at countering the Austro-Hungarian Navy.[1] The program included the Caio Duilio and Italiaes, which were both designed by Benedetto Brin. The Ruggiero di Laurias were authorized in the naval program for 1880, and the task of designing them was assigned to Engineering Inspector Giuseppe Micheli. Vice Admiral Ferdinando Acton opposed the very large ironclads designed by Brin, and so he charged Micheli with creating a ship that would not exceed 10,000 metric tons (9,800 long tons; 11,000 short tons). Micheli chose to base his new design on a cut-down version of Caio Duilio, though he incorporated several improvements, including more modern, breech-loading guns, a more powerful propulsion system, and new, more effective compound armor.[2]

General characteristics and machinery[edit]

Line-drawing of the Ruggiero di Lauria class

The ships of the Ruggiero di Lauria class were 100 meters (330 ft) long between perpendiculars and 105.9 meters (347 ft) long overall. They had a beam of 19.84 m (65.1 ft) and a draft of 8.29 to 8.37 m (27.2 to 27.5 ft). They displaced 9,886 metric tons (9,730 long tons; 10,897 short tons) normally and up to 11,145 t (10,969 long tons; 12,285 short tons) at full load. The ships were built with a high forecastle to improve sea-keeping over the Caio Duilio class. A single military mast with fighting tops was located amidships; a hurricane deck connected the forward and aft superstructure. Both sections of superstructure was used to store several smaller boats; each section also had a large crane to handle the boats. The ships had a crew of 507–509 officers and men.[3]

Their propulsion system consisted of a pair of compound steam engines each driving a single screw propeller, with steam supplied by eight coal-fired, cylindrical fire-tube boilers. The boilers were trunked into two funnels, one in the forward superstructure and the other in the aft superstructure. Ruggiero di Lauria was the fastest member of the class, reaching a top speed of 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph) at 10,591 indicated horsepower (7,898 kW). Francesco Morosini and Andrea Dorea had a top speed of around 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph). The ships could steam for 2,800 nautical miles (5,200 km; 3,200 mi) at a speed of 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[3]

Armament and armor[edit]

The Ruggiero di Laurias were armed with a main battery of four 17 in (430 mm) 27-caliber guns, mounted in two pairs en echelon in a central barbette.[3] These guns were the A 1882 model, and they fired a 2,000-pound (910 kg) shell at a muzzle velocity of around 1,837 feet per second (560 m/s). Their rate of fire was very slow, taking eight minutes to reload after each shot.[4] They carried a secondary battery of two 6 in (150 mm) 32-caliber guns, one at the bow and the other at the stern, and four 4.7 in (120 mm) 32-caliber guns.[3] The 6 in gun fired a variety of shells, including 102 lb (46 kg) armor-piercing shells, while the 4.7 in guns fired 36 lb (16 kg) shells.[5] From 1900, the ships had their secondary battery significantly expanded with two 75 mm (3.0 in) guns, ten 57 mm (2.2 in) 40-caliber guns, twelve 37 mm (1.5 in) guns, five 37 mm revolver cannon, and two machine guns. As was customary for capital ships of the period, they carried five 14 in (360 mm) torpedo tubes submerged in the hull.[3] The torpedoes carried a 125 kg (276 lb) warhead and had a range of 600 m (2,000 ft).[6]

The ships' protection scheme consisted of compound armor. The Ruggiero di Laurias had an armored belt that was 17.75 in (451 mm) thick; the citadel received the same thickness of steel. They had an armored deck that was 3 in (76 mm) thick, and their conning tower was armored with 9.8 in (250 mm) of steel plate. The barbette had 14.2 in (360 mm) of steel armor.[3]


Name Builder[3] Laid down[3] Launched[3] Completed[3]
Ruggiero di Lauria Regio Cantiere di Castellammare di Stabia 3 August 1881 9 August 1884 1 February 1888
Francesco Morosini Venetian Arsenal 4 December 1881 30 July 1885 21 August 1889
Andrea Doria Arsenale di La Spezia 7 January 1882 21 November 1885 16 May 1891

Service history[edit]

Andrea Doria underway on 18 April 1899

The three Ruggiero di Laurias served in the Active Squadron for the first several years of their careers, into the mid-1890s. By 1895, Ruggiero di Lauria had been transferred to the Reserve Squadron,[7] though Andrea Doria and Francesco Morosini remained in the Active Squadron.[8] That year, Ruggiero di Lauria and Andrea Doria joined the Active Squadron for a major cruise to Britain and Germany.[9][10] All three ships were assigned to the Active Squadron in 1899.[11] That year, Ruggiero di Lauria and Andrea Doria took part in a naval review in Cagliari for the Italian King Umberto I, which included a French and British squadron as well.[12]

All three ships had been transferred to the Reserve Squadron by 1905,[13] and they were quickly discarded. In 1908, the Italian Navy decided to discard Ruggiero di Lauria and Francesco Morosini,[14] while Andrea Doria remained in service until 1911. Francesco Morosini was expended as a target ship for torpedo experiments in September 1909. Ruggiero di Lauria was converted into a floating oil tank in 1909 and was renamed GM 45; she was sunk in an air raid in 1943 during World War II. Andrea Doria served as a depot ship until Italy entered World War I in May 1915, when she was employed as a guard ship in Brindisi. After the war, she too was converted into an oil tank, before being broken up for scrap in 1929.[15]


  1. ^ Greene & Massignani, p. 394
  2. ^ Gardiner, pp. 340–342
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Gardiner, p. 342
  4. ^ Friedman, p. 231
  5. ^ Friedman, pp. 239–240
  6. ^ Friedman, p. 347
  7. ^ Brassey 1896 p. 134
  8. ^ "The Italian Manoeuvres", pp. 131–132
  9. ^ Neal, p. 155
  10. ^ Sondhaus, p. 131
  11. ^ Brassey 1899, p. 72
  12. ^ Robinson, pp. 154–155
  13. ^ Brassey 1905, p. 45
  14. ^ Brassey 1908, p. 31
  15. ^ Gardiner & Gray, pp. 255–256


  • Brassey, Thomas A., ed. (1896). The Naval Annual (Portsmouth: J. Griffin & Co.).
  • Brassey, Thomas A., ed. (1899). The Naval Annual (Portsmouth: J. Griffin & Co.).
  • Brassey, Thomas A., ed. (1905). The Naval Annual (Portsmouth: J. Griffin & Co.).
  • Brassey, Thomas A., ed. (1908). The Naval Annual (Portsmouth: J. Griffin & Co.).
  • Friedman, Norman (2011). Naval Weapons of World War I. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-84832-100-7. 
  • Gardiner, Robert, ed. (1979). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1860–1905. London: Conway Maritime Press. ISBN 0-85177-133-5. 
  • Gardiner, Robert & Gray, Randal, eds. (1984). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1906–1922. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-907-3. 
  • Greene, Jack & Massignani, Alessandro (1905). Ironclads at War: The Origin and Development of the Armored Warship, 1854–1891. New York, NY: Dodd, Mead & Co. 
  • Neal, William George, ed. (1896). The Marine Engineer (London: Office for Advertisements and Publication) XVII.
  • Robinson, Charles N., ed. (1899). "The French and Italian Fleets at Cagliari". The Navy and Army Illustrated (London: Hudson & Kearns) VIII (118): 154–155. 
  • Sondhaus, Lawrence (1994). The Naval Policy of Austria-Hungary, 1867–1918. West Lafayette, In: Purdue University Press. ISBN 9781557530349. 
  • "The Italian Manoeuvres". Notes on Naval Progress (Washington, DC: Office of Naval Intelligence): 131–140. 1897. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Fraccaroli, Aldo (1970). Italian Warships of World War I. London: Ian Allan. ISBN 978-0-7110-0105-3.